Part II: They Said What?

Joe Gibbs and Todd Collins answer media questions about the upcoming game.

Head Coach Joe Gibbs

On the health of the team:

"We are in pretty good shape. Of course we walked through so I think we are in good shape."

On the Seattle Seahawks:

"The problem with Seattle on offense is that they have a Pro Bowl quarterback, two running backs and one has been the MVP of the League. They have a big playmaker at receiver. They have a control passing receiver who does a great job. All the way around it is a tough assignment for us. Their return guy on teams is exceptional. He runs back punts and kickoffs. Defensively they are one of the top teams in the League at taking the ball away. We have a short work week, have to travel all the way to Seattle and play them at home. That is a tough assignment all the way around. They won four division titles in a row. I would say to Coach (Mike )Holmgren that is a big congratulations on that because that is hard to do."

On if he has any good stories on Seattle Head Coach Mike Holmgren:

"Not really, the trouble with coaches is that you just don't hang out together. You are normally trying to take each others jobs and that doesn't lend to spending a lot of time together. We have the League meetings but they are normally a bunch of meetings. I have known him for a long time and I have great respect for him. I have watched him over the years. He is one of the best play callers in the game. He has done a great job putting that whole deal together out there. We do know each other kind of conversationally but you just don't get to spend a lot of time with other coaches it seems like."

On if the winning streak that occurred at the end of the season reminds him of the winning streak to get into the playoffs during the 2005 season:

"What is probably similar is playing well at the end of the year. We got in real trouble in the middle of the year in '05. The guys got together and we won six in a row there. That portion of it is definitely the same. This team also, like that team, has over come a lot of injuries. The thing that is really different is losing Sean (Taylor). That was a totally different deal for us. This team has had to deal with that. I think there are some similarities. Certainly our veteran guys that came in with that first group have been here for four years. Now they remember that and of course they remember going to Seattle because we had a tough time out there and they knocked us out."

On if he is leaning on the guys more this year than he has in the past:

"I have always felt the best football teams that we have had are when they are player driven and it wasn't the coaches trying to get something done. It was more or less the players taking it upon themselves. Having said that you try and do that and they try and do that but it is hard to get and grasp. Since I have been here it has probably happened five times out of the 15 times that I have been here where the players take responsibility.

You can hear them in the meetings and hear them at halftime. Like I said we meet with a committee of the players to talk about a little bit of everything. I think they have done a great job this year with leadership of directing things. This team has that. It is player driven. They took it upon themselves and they are the ones making sure things get done."

On the double timeout being the worst moment of his career and what it meant to him when he tried to take responsibility in front of the team and they wouldn't let him:

"I really appreciated later on in the week a number of the players saying things to me. I felt like it was important at that point. You always hold them accountable and you want to make sure that if you have a bad moment that you acknowledge that. I felt like that is what happened there and I said what I felt."

On if he can talk about the philosophy these last four weeks of letting them have walk-thru's instead of full practices:

"What happened was it was our short work week when we played the Bears. We had everything going on that week and the team was emotionally at that point going through a lot. We made a decision on it as a coaching staff to just walk thru that week. I will say this on the sideline before the Bears game they had a lot of excitement on that short work week. I could notice it on the sideline. Coaches are a product of if it works you stay with it. That is kind of what happened. Clinton (Portis, RB #26) and a bunch of them have been on me, they just want to be in pajamas all week and show up and draw some stuff on the ground. As a coach you are a product of if it works you stay with it. Certainly our guys looked fresh to me and they had a great attitude on the sideline. I talked it over with them and we proceeded with taking that approach. What we normally do is walk-thru the first day back, than have a normal practice and a normal practice. This week we will have Friday work tomorrow, which is Thursday if you can figure all of that out."

On if he believes momentum carries over when a team is playing well at the end of the season and going into the playoffs:

"Each game for me I have always tried to guess what teams are going to do and I can't. We were dressing in the locker room on one away game and I am going ‘oh my gosh' because it did not look like we were mentally with it. Then we went out and played great. It is hard to determine. Each one of these games when you get into the playoffs is a season in itself. You know you have to have it. We have actually been in that environment for four weeks. I am hoping that plays in our favor. We have been under the gun since the Chicago game where we had to have it or we are out. Our guys have really responded and I am hoping that carries over."

On if he says anything to the young guys or if he lets the veteran guys handle them:

"I do talk to the young guys particularly in the meeting. Lots of times I address them. You leave it to the veteran guys too. The danger with the young guys is that they think it is going to go on forever, we are in the playoffs and are going to be in the playoffs every year. The veteran guys know that is not the case. They have been around for a while and it is hard to get. Another thing for young guys is that they are normally just happy to be on the team sometimes. We have some that have really stepped up and filled important roles for us this year. It is a little bit different for a younger guy than the veteran guy. I have noticed that the veteran guys yesterday were here the longest in meetings themselves. They realize how important this is. You kind of worry more about young guys."

Todd Collins (QB, #15)

On what about the Seattle defense pops out to him:

"Fast, quick on the outside, opportunistic, lots of turnovers, sacks, capitalizing on mistakes of the offense, creating turnovers."

On the crowd noise in Seattle:

"I guess Minnesota was pretty loud- that's indoors. I would think that an indoor facility would be louder than outdoor, but I hear that Seattle is louder. The last time I was out there in a game was in Kansas City in I think '03 or '04. It sure is pretty loud, but you just deal with it. You can't do anything about it. Guys have to pay attention and listen and try to make plays in your favor to quiet them down."

On how important is it to continue not making mistakes:

"It's real important. It is just a basic principle of football. You just try to protect the ball and not put your defense in a bad situation and be smart with the football, make good decisions."

On what he likes about Santana Moss (WR, #89):

"He is just a play maker. We have a lot of them on this team but you can just tell he gets excited when he gets the football. He is one of those guys who can change the game in one play. That is his demeanor. When he is getting the ball I think he is even playing better."

On if he is surprised that the chemistry has been so good, so quick with Santana Moss (WR, #89):

"I'm not really surprised because he is a great player. I just try to get the ball to him, put it in the right spot. If he gets there, if he beats his guy then he is going to get to the ball."

On the check-down pass to Clinton Portis (RB, #26):

"It is just something that is going through my progressions. If it is not downfield I am going to check it down, so that is one of the basic things you do playing quarterback. He has done a great job of being there. You can't even get your check-down if you don't have the proper protection and that is what has been happening. Proper time to get through the progressions, get through to the second, third, fourth read and get it down to Clinton and he is making guys miss."

On the offensive line:

"That is a great story. Our whole right side of our line guys, Randy Thomas (OL, #77) and Jon Jansen (OT, #76), guys that have been here for years, cornerstones of the offensive line go down. Then we put Fabini (Jason, OL, #69) in and a rookie (Stephon Heyer, OL, #74) and Todd Wade (OL, #71), how they have held that together- the right side of the line- has just been phenomenal. It takes a lot."

On what has been going through his mind the past couple of weeks:

"This is great. I'm just taking it one day at a time though, just one game at a time. I'm not trying to get too caught up. I know the last four weeks if we don't win we go home and now it is the playoffs and that is

definitely the case. Just putting in our days preparing to play and then try to go out there and play with great emotion on Sunday's."

On suddenly becoming a starter and getting media attention:

"It has been great. The attention is fine. You realize you have it when you are successful and then you get the flip side when you are not successful. It is really not why I play. I played for a long time without that. There are other things about the game that drive me rather than just the attention. Everyone likes to be recognized, but I think what is important with this is it has been the whole team that has been recognized as opposed to an individual."

On if he were another team in the NFC, would he want to be playing the Redskins in the first round:

"You want to be playing your best football at the end of the season. It looks like right now we are doing that. [We] won four in a row, so that is where you want to be. Every game is different. What you do the week before has no impact on what happens next week. We look to continue our momentum and I'm sure obviously Seattle is trying to keep their momentum going."

On if he would rather have kept the team's success a secret:

"No, if you win four in a row and the story of the team and what has happened and after losing four in a row it is going to be a story. Teams that get hot toward the end of the season are going to make news and that is what we have been doing. What is great about it is the team. It is just not one aspect that is overwhelming the other. It is all three phases of the game coming together and playing well when we had to."

On what he knows about the stadium and how tough it is to play there:

"I have played in it a few times. I know it is tough. I hear the noise is incredible. It is a good stadium. I don't know what the weather conditions are going to be, but personally I like the design of the stadium. The few times I have played there I have enjoyed it."

On what he felt like coming off the field after the Buffalo game when Coach Gibbs called back-to-back timeouts:

"It was hard to believe. The double timeout I don't really think that cost us the game. The guy made the field goal. I think he was going to make it regardless. In terms of the double timeout I didn't really see that as the reason why we lost the game. We had chances early in the game to score and we didn't. Then they had that great drive at the end with that pass, that 35-yard pass. That is the one that kind of broke our backs a little bit. You just can't boil it down to one play. I felt bad for him (Coach Gibbs) personally, because you could tell how badly he felt. He felt like he cost us the game. Personally and I know a few of the other guys, we didn't feel that way at all. No one call wins or loses a game and especially not that call. The guy made the field goal and I think he was going to make it no matter what. We lost the game before that happened."

On the feel in the building right now:

"I kind of noticed the difference the last few weeks. Preparing for games and on game days guys just seem to be playing loose. They seem to be having fun playing, even practicing. There just seems to be an upbeat nature to the team right now. It is really fun to be around."

On if he thinks he will have butterflies before the game Saturday:

"You always have some butterflies. That is part of the game. You experience that ever since you've been playing football. Once you get into the game it is just football. We have kind of been playing playoff football for the last four weeks. This is going to be the playoffs now, but in terms of you have to win to keep playing, that hasn't changed."

On if he ever thought that he would get the chance to be the starting quarterback again:

"There was no guarantee that I was going to get another start, but I thought that the odds had to be in my favor that at some point I would get a chance. I knew it might be my last chance so that is how I prepared every game

getting ready this could be it. I didn't know when it was going to come. It took a long time but I just wanted to be ready for that time so I had no regrets."

On what Al Saunders (Associate Head Coach- Offense,) has meant to his career:

"He has meant a lot to my career. I wouldn't be here in Washington right now if it wasn't for him. When Dick Vermeil (Kansas City Head Coach) brought Al in Kansas City and the quarterback coach Terry Shea, I thought I really improved as a player greatly over those years. I didn't get a chance to show it a lot in regular season games because I had a guy in front of me, but he has made a great impact on my career. There is no question about it."

On Clinton Portis' (RB, #26) performance the last couple of weeks:

"He has been running great. I think what has helped him a little bit too is I think he is enjoying catching some of those passes out of the backfield. He realizes that is almost an easier opportunity for him to make yards than slamming it up in there every time. I think he is in a rhythm right now. Like the other guys, he enjoys making plays and the more he makes the more excited he gets and I expect him to make some more."

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