A: With Coach Martz it was his attitude. They called it egotistic, but his belief was that he was good. The confidence, the air about a person. Coach Spurrier has that same air. The way the team starts is the way the coach thinks. If you go in thinking you're going to lose or you've got to have a chance to win with one big play, that's how it will go. But if you go in believing you can win, knowing you can win, it makes a difference and it rolls all the way down to the players.
Q: That makes a big difference, doesn't it? A: Definitely. That's the biggest thing I noticed with Coach Martz last year and the same thing I see with Coach Spurrier. And then it's the offense, the speed of practice, how hard we work. The amount of offense that we have in and the amount we put in each day.
Q: Both coaches tend to annoy other coaches with their words. Do players like that?
A: I think so, definitely. This is a game where you don't want to make a lot of friends. You are perceived as tough guys and to be tough sometimes you can't make everybody happy. To be successful you definitely can't make everyone happy. It starts with his mentality and that attitude that the team takes off from his character.
Q: What do you see when comparing the talent level to St. Louis?
A: I told the guys in St. Louis all the t
ime that, in Cincinnati, we had more in terms of talent. I believe that. It was an attitude of the team and it started with the belief of the organization. It wasn't a thing of where they wanted to win. That wasn't the question. It was we're gonig to win and by how much. This team has lots more talent.
Q: Have you seen that attitude here or does it take time to develop?
A: I think it's here. You've already got some good components, guys like Darrell Green, Bruce Smith, Jeremiah Trotter, Renadlo Wynn. All come from winning organizations. They bring their own attitude to the team and it all makes a huge difference.
Q: How is the transition going from tackle to guard?
A: I started one game at left guard in Cincy my rookie year. But there's not much difference. Guard is a little easier because you're not on an island. You're facing bigger guys and you're going to bang more. There's more confrontation rather than catching them with your feet. At tackle you have to be athletic and you face the best athletes on the team every week.
Q: Do you look forward to playing guard?
A: Yeah. I'm a big guy, the biggest guy on the line here. That plays more to my advantage. I'm strong. I like when teams run the ball; I like to pull.
Q: What do you bring to the line?
A: Strength, power, agility, attitude, toughness. I take pride on being physical and hopefully that will carry over to the whole team. You can look forward to week in and week out the Redskins line being physical tough guys in for a fight for four quarters. At the end the other team will walk away beat up and hopefully a loser, too. Q: How do you pace yourself as a blocker with all this passing; is there more pressure?
A: It depends on the quarterback and how well he knows the playbook. Hopefully they know the window of opportunity to throw the ball. You only get a couple of seconds so if they know the window and the receiver and the quarterback are on the same page, it'll be a beautiful thing like it was in St. Louis.
John Keim covers the Redskins for The Journal Newspapers and is a correspondent for Pro Football Weekly.