They Said What?

Here are some quotes from Jim Zorn, Erasmus James, Greg Blache, Stuart Schweigert, Chris Cooley, Antwaan Randle El, Clinton Portis, and Jason Campbell about the start of the second batch of OTAs.

Head Coach Jim Zorn

On practice:

"The first day was great to see how many of our players got back out here. The way we practiced was tremendous, especially the effort that the QB's needed today to get back into the throwing, especially with the timing and things like that. Overall it was a great practice."

On absent players:

"The two noticeable absences were Shawn Springs (CB, #24) and LaRon (Landry, S, #30). They had the opportunity to be here and chose not to."

On Santana Moss (WR, #89):

"Santana Moss has the flu, so he is probably in bed right now. He came in, but he came in throwing up and we quarantined him and sent him back home."

On Rocky McIntosh (LB, #52):

"He is just taking his reps. What is nice is he is starting to become more and more involved."

On Erasmus James (DE, #78R):

"The thing that I am told is that he is about 90%. That is what I am hoping. What we are going to do is bring him along as he can feel better and work through the final stages of his rehab. I expect him to be a part of training camp. I don't expect to see a lot out here right now. I just see him fitting right in with the mix of our defensive line."

On if he will call LaRon Landry (S, #30) and Shawn Springs (CB, #24):

"I am going to call them and try to get a feel for why they decided not to come. I also know that we have great participation here. They have participated in the first eight practices. It is not something that I am going to make a huge spectacle of. We will just see what happens. I can't really comment because if I said I was really disappointed, and they had a legitimate reason for not coming, then I would misspeak. So I'm going to try not to do that."

On where he sees Erasmus James (DE, #78R) and Stuart Schweigert (S, #36R) fitting in:

"We just have to get to know these guys. We got them and they were available. We have Justin Hamilton (S, #23R) too, who has good size, and he just got here as well so these are all new guys. What we are trying to do with these guys eventually is see how they fit in, where they fit in and how they adjust to the scheme and the new environment for them. It is going to take a little time."

On if he can tell who is studying:

"It is hard to study because we threw everything at them this morning and we expected them to immediately go out and practice it this morning. Some of that stuff takes time to think through and to really study it. We didn't

give them any time to study. They have to come out here and perform it. That is what is great about the coaches. We can put a great practice together in a short period of time and we had a lot of successes both offensively and defensively. I really commend the players for what they did to come and bring it out to the field."

On if he will call the plays:

"It will be solely my play calling. As we game plan during the week it is really a group of coaches putting together a game plan. What then ends up on that plan, on that sheet, those are the things we practiced, those are the things we believe in and those are the things that should get called. The mix will be mine. The mix will also have an opportunity for the coaches to express between series, I can imagine Stan Hixon (Wide Receivers Coach) saying, ‘Listen, those guys are squatting at the corners. We need to go deep.' I can imagine Sherman Smith (Offensive Coordinator) who will be up in the coaches' box saying, ‘Listen, we have the power, we have to run the power,' and those things will be interjected in the series. Once the series starts, that is on me."

On if Clinton Portis (RB, #26) is the perfect back for his offense:

"I think Clinton bodes well with this style of offense because we will be both two back and one back. Even in the one back he has the opportunity to run patterns and he ran a couple great routes today. He has a great feel for the zone running game. I did not change the run game from what has been run here in the past. It is the exact same, with the same terminology, so we have a lot of carryover from what Clinton has done here in the past. He ought to feel very comfortable with what we are doing."

On Vernon Fox (S, #39):

"Vernon is coming off his knee scope, coming right along. He is kind of even with Antwaan (Randle El, WR, #82), if you will. I was talking to both these guys before practice, Kareem Moore (S, #41) in there too. They are just looking like three lonely guys standing on the sidelines wanting to be involved and can't. It just takes some encouragement from a coach to come up and say this is what is ahead of you and they have to deal with it. Just try to get them on at the same time."

On Tyler Ecker (TE, #88):

"He has had a nagging groin injury and he is rehabbing. We are taking it slow so he doesn't continue to re-injure it. It is a matter of his body feeling right and it is a matter of him being able to push hard and not have to even be concerned about it. Right now he is in the rehab stage."

On if he is happy with what he saw today:

"I don't like all the little nagging things. We jumped offsides once, the quarterbacks missed a couple of easy throws, once you have to hit, you have to finish, but overall if I'm just complaining about that, there was a lot of great things that happened at practice today. I just feel like we are going to continue to push and get better and better."

Erasmus James (DE, #78R)

On being reunited with defensive line coach John Palermo:

"I'm here with John Palermo, I know what is expected of him, and I know what to get done, so I am excited about that."

On being able to contribute at the defensive end position:

"I'm really excited. In Minnesota, they had me playing at 275 and I played at around 260 in college. I'm excited to get back down to that weight because that is where I think I'm best at."

On his experience in Minnesota:

"My experience had not been the best because of injuries, and not being able to play at the weight I wanted to play at."

On whether playing on a new team will rejuvenate him:

"Definitely. Especially with a team like this. I'm excited about getting my weight down, and getting back on the field."

On how he will fit into the team:

"Basically what I am doing now is learning from the older guys. It's nice being around the older guys who you can learn from."

On how his knee is feeling:

"My knee is feeling really good. I'm about a month to two months off, so I will definitely be ready for training camp."

On his most recent surgery:

"It was for a complete tear. On the first injury I used a cadaver, which did not work well with my body because it didn't hold. This time I used my patella (patellar tendon)."

Defensive Coordinator Greg Blache

On his initial evaluations of Erasmus James (DE, #78R) and Stuart Schweigert (S, #36R):

"Erasmus is a guy that we liked a lot when he came out in the draft a couple years ago. He was a player that we thought could rush the passer, and play the run. He plays with good intensity, and has good leverage, instincts, and technique. Erasmus was a great addition to get when and how we achieved him. We also got a couple of safeties in the past couple of days that popped up, which we suspected might happen as the season progressed that will give us some depth and create competition."

On how Stuart Schweigert will fit in:

"He has got to come out and compete. We don't give anybody anything here. If you got something yesterday, you have to come back out here and earn it today. It's a ‘what have you done for me lately' kind of business. He's going to come in and compete against those guys, and we'll give him a chance to come in and see what he wants to do."

On how he feels about LaRon Landry (S, #30) and Shawn Springs (CB, #24) not being in attendance:

"I don't worry about guys that aren't here. I coach the guys that are here. I've got to worry about the guys here."

On what Stuart Schweigert does well:

"He's a pure free safety, and a guy coming out of college that had a reputation for being a ball-hawk. He's a guy that made plays on the ball. We don't know what transpired at Oakland, but I looked at some tape of him, and I feel like he's got a chance to come in and compete. I'm not going to make any predictions at this time, but we do have a guy with starter's experience in this league that has a chance to compete and add to our depth."

On whether it is hopeful to expect Erasmus James to be 100% by the time the season starts:

"Right now the medical reports that we have received have been positive. Dr. Andrews did the last surgery, and he does most of our team's surgeries. We feel comfortable and confident with Dr. Andrew's assessment. We are not rushing him at all right now. We've got six weeks before training camp, and we are going to give him that time. Even once we hit training camp, there is no reason to push him. He is icing on the cake. He is a guy that we picked up late, and was not in the plans early on. If we are smart about it, we can maximize him and get whatever he's got in his tank out of him. Where coaches go awry is when they take a guy, and push him to play before he is ready. We're going to let him play when he is ready. If it takes us a little while, we'll have the patience for him to get well."

On whether Erasmus James has the potential to be a special player:

"He was the 18th player taken in the draft coming out, and the knock on him coming out was that he missed his junior season with a hip injury. The secret is if you can get him and keep him health, you will have a good football player. I think our staff has done a great job in the past and will continue to do a good job of taking care of our players and getting them to Sunday. Guys win for you on Sunday. They don't win on Wednesday and Thursday, and you have to learn how to coach them, and get them well for Sunday. In the past we have been able to do that, and hopefully we will continue to do that. With Erasmus, we will have another good football player that can line up and help rush the passer."

On the excitement of adding defensive players after an offense-heavy draft:

"I was excited about the draft. When we draft, we draft as the Washington Redskins. When the offense gets better, that is the more points they can score, and less pressure on the defense. So when we get better at any position, we get better as the Washington Redskins. Anytime we get two good receivers, and a good tight end, that helps us. The more points you score, that is the less points you have to defend. That is more opportunities that you have to rush the passer at the end of a game because you have a lead, as opposed to having to get the football back. I think what we did during the draft was fine, and what we have done since then is fine too. Whenever you add something to the team, you add something to the Redskins."

On the differences in the ways he runs his defense as opposed to Gregg Williams:

"We will be very similar in what we do, but we will play each game for itself. If I feel like we need to be blitzing, we will be blitzing. If I feel like we have a better chance of winning the game by defending and covering, then we will defend and cover. To just say that we will blitz, I need to know who will line up and start at corner and who will be blitzing. All of these things will be a factor as opposed to just saying this is what I am doing come heck or high water. If guys are telling you that they will be doing this or that, they are not being completely honest with you if they are really looking to take the players they have and maximize their abilities."

On trying not to look over defensive line coach John Palermo's shoulder too much:

"I always try to treat guys the way I would like to be treated as a coach. For me, it is not as hard as you would think, because all you have to do is put your feet in his shoes for thirty seconds. The last thing he needs is somebody standing over his shoulders, second guessing something he is doing, when he is very qualified and probably even more qualified than the old guy. The best thing about this whole thing is that the young guys will have a better chance to improve now that they have better coaching."

On why it took John Palermo so long to break into the NFL:

"I have watched his work since he was at Notre Dame since the late ‘80s. I started paying attention to his players. When he was at Wisconsin, he kept producing guys and you put it in the back of your mind. He is a guy that has done quality work. There are tons of good coaches that don't make it to the NFL because they have nobody to pull him in. The secret is getting the opportunity."

On what he likes about John Palermo's coaching:

"He is very focused on technique. He is very consistent. When you watch his players play, they play with great consistency all the time. You never see his players walk, not use his hands properly and not go through a progression. It is very easy as a defensive line coach to just have guys run up the field and rush the passer. He has a certain standard that he has set for himself. He is a person whose work I have always admired."

Stuart Schweigert (S, #36 R)

On joining the Redskins:

"It's really a blessing. I had been in Oakland for four years and it's been a struggle out there. We hadn't won a game in December since I had been there. They go through head coaches so often over there. I've been through three head coaches, three different defensive back coaches and it was tough. Last season we got a new coach and halfway, about week ten, I ended up getting a slight injury and never got back in the starting lineup and I'm not really sure why. At the end of the year they brought in Gibril Wilson, talked about bring Michael Huff to free safety, and after that it became a money issued where my contract was just too big to pay me as a backup. I didn't want to be a backup. I wanted to have a chance to go somewhere and play. Washington has given me that opportunity and I am grateful for that."

On if there is an opportunity to compete for a starting spot:

"I definitely think so. I think everyone's intention when they come into a team is that they want to be the starter. That's just how the NFL is. There are great players here, so it's going to take a lot of work. If it's on special teams at first and I work my way up then that's what I'll do. I wanted to get to an organization that has a chance to win and this team definitely does."

On what he knows about the Redskins' defense:

"I know that they are an aggressive defense. They are going to go after the ball and they are going to create turnovers. When I was watching them on TV it looks like have a lot of fun. They play with passion, their coaches' coach with passion and that's something I'm about. That's how we played in Oakland too on defense. We had a strong chemistry and even being out here for the first day I can definitely tell that these guys are friends on and off the field and there is a lot of chemistry and energy out there."

On the importance of being on a winning team:

"It's huge. Coming from Purdue we were always a winning program. We came from a very leadership-based team that every year was in contention. When you go in the NFL you expect the same type of deal and unfortunately we [Oakland] didn't have that. We had a lot of great players and for whatever reason we just couldn't win games. You only have so many years in this league and you definitely want to get on a team that has an opportunity in December to have something to play for. The last four seasons our seasons have basically been done in November."

On feeling like a rookie on a new team:

"There are some guys I know who I played with in Oakland so I am very excited. It feels like a thousand pound bear has been lifted off my chest. Now it's time for me to go and just have a fresh start in a new part of the country. I have been here for two days and this place is amazing."

Chris Cooley (TE, #47)

On if he received wedding gifts from random Redskins fans:

"We did get some gifts from random fans. We are through about half of them. I guess I should have picked out more things at Macy's. We didn't tell anybody really, we just did it for fun because that's what you do and everything got bought."

On getting married:

"It was exciting. We had such a fun time at the wedding. So many people showed up; so many of our friends and family. We had a blast and we stayed throughout the night and enjoyed everyone. It was really kind of sad when it ended because I really had a great time. The honeymoon was fantastic. We went to the Bahamas and really just relaxed for a week. We have been kind of busy getting everything planned together so it was nice to lie around and hang out with her for the week."

Antwaan Randle El (WR, #82)

On if he will wait until training camp to go full speed:

"It looks like that but we are working hard to try to get back and do some stuff now at the OTAs. If it doesn't work out then we will just be looking forward to training camp."

On how he feels physically:

"I feel pretty good. [When you are] cutting and moving you want to make sure you don't have any pain at all and I am still experiencing some of that. We don't want to push it. We have training camp coming up and if we can get out there and do some more stuff with the next couple of weeks coming up, but if not training camp will be when I come back."

On concern over his injuries:

"It's nothing that's going to keep me from being ready for training camp or the season."

On frustration about not participating:

"I'm a little frustrated. Sitting and watching is never fun. You need to fight through it. You need to be smart and certainly be available when it's most important."

On staying on pace with the rest of the team:

"I will have training camp to get a little bit sharper before we actually start the season. I did have the first two days of mini-camp, which was real good. Combine those together and I should be ready for the season."

Clinton Portis (RB, #26)

On if it is good to get back to practice:

"It is. You have a whole bunch of guys looking forward to it. For myself, I still don't love practice, but I'm here. I have to do it, so I might as well make the most of it."

On being asked to be the front man for the team:

"I'm trying to see if Vinny (Cerrato, Executive Vice President of Football Operations) is going to let me be the assistant GM. We're trying to work on that deal. If you get the opportunity, why not take advantage of it? When somebody asks you and feels like you're capable of doing it you have to appreciate it. I don't want to let the organization down."

On his goals for the year:

"To win. I don't have any personal goals. If we can find a way to win, at least get to the NFC Championship game. If we get there then you have to have all kinds of other stuff on your side, but just to get to the NFC Championship game as a team."

On if he has always disliked practice:

"I never really understood the full potential, running the same play over and over. How many times can you run 40 Gut? It's not going to change. This is my seventh year in the League. 40 Gut is still the same. It is an instinctive play. When we have something new, something I need to work on, I don't have a problem with taking those plays. When we're going to run 40 Gut again, and that's my favorite play, that's kind of hard."

On installing the new offense:

"It gets confusing because once you get everything in you get to thinking about what the concept is supposed to be. Right now, we kind of go against concepts sometimes. Sometimes you feel one way, like the concept will lead me to this way and you were supposed to be on the other side. I had a couple mentals (errors) today, but it was really concept. Once we get it I think it is going to be a great offense."

On if he is confident in the offense:

"I am. I think it is going to be simplified. Right now it is just the running parts, it is everything being thrown at you. You have a bunch of new guys learning and then you have guys who right now you might have a wide route, last year that wide route was called a swing. It is really terminology. Once you go through camp you really pick it up, going into the season it should be a breeze."

Jason Campbell (QB, #17)

On if there is a difference on having your head coach as your position coach:

"It is really not a big difference. Any time you have your position coach and your quarterback coach that is always the guy that you listen to. With him being a big part of our offense and what we do offensively it is definitely someone that you look up to and someone that you look to for answers on certain questions and things that we are trying to do offensively. Right now we are trying to move at a high level and guys are doing a great job of picking up on the system. Right now we are just trying to put everything together."

On putting in more of the offense:

"You have to stay in your playbook. It's definitely an offense that you have to get in, you have to study, and you have to set time aside for yourself to prepare yourself day in and day out. It is a good offense though. It is a very quick game. We have a quick passing game. The ball gets out of your hand quick. As a quarterback one thing he is working on with us is staying low. That is a big difference for me. I'm trying to worry about just staying low and worry about finishing plays at the same time. This is the best time to do it is in OTA's because once training camp comes you have been through all of this so now you can take the next step."

On how much his meetings with Head Coach Jim Zorn helped him:

"That is a big part of it because he is the one that is running the show. You are in a meeting room with him day in and day out and he is telling you we are on the same page, because he is looking at the same thing we are looking at. He sees us make mistakes and we get in the film room and go over it because he is behind us and he knows exactly what we're looking at and all the nuances of the offense. That is definitely an advantage to have and also with him being in there as players. You're always going to push yourself anyways because you are a professional athlete, but at the same time you have a coach that has been there and played the position before. It adds a little extra."

On his hamstring:

"It is fine. I came out today and didn't have any problems with it. A lot of it has to do with my trainers. They did a great job of working this off-season for flexibility ever since the last time I had the hamstring. I feel good on it. I thought I moved around well. It is something that is behind me."

On if staying low leads to hamstring injuries:

"It has a lot to do with it because it is something new. Anytime you are pushing yourself to do something new over and over, sometimes legs can get sore and that is how you pull a hamstring. Now, I've been able to do a lot of it. A lot of it came because my muscles were so tight, so sore at the time."

On how staying low helps him:

"It helps you out because you're staying at one level the entire time. You're not up, you're not down, you're staying at one basic level and when you throw the football it is one quick step. You don't have to come down to throw the ball because you're already low. You're already at the ending point basically."

On how important it is for the team to stay healthy:

"It is very important that we stay healthy as a team. Last year we started the season out strong and then we lost our whole right offensive line and then we started having key injuries, our receivers were having hamstring problems and a lot of people on defense through the mid-stretch of our season, in heart of our season. We still were in every game and had the opportunity to win a lot of those games based on the injuries that we had."


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