Defensive line coach Greg Blache carries the title of defensive coordinator of the Redskins (that other one, the one with two "g's" at the end, is assitant head coach, defense) so he has a strong voice in the overall defense. He's familair with one of the Redskins' newest players, linebacker Warrick Holdman.
WarpathInsiders: What made Warrick so special and can he recapture that?
Greg Blache: We drafted him so we've watched him grow and develop under Dale Lindsey. He had his best years under Dale. The combination of he and Dale, that's the magic part, because Dale has the ability to communicate with him and elicit the best out of him. He's very demanding, very precise and concise in what he wants. He explains to him very clearly and he has the ability to teach the smartest person in class and the slowest person in class. Warrick responds to Dale. It's a good mesh. We went after Warrick last year, but he went to Cleveland because they could offer him more money. He played well for Cleveland last year -- his talent level hasn't waned at all. I see him as a guy continuing to improve. I've never seen a decline in his play.
WI: Not even with his knee injury?
GB: No. My last year in Chicago he was still playing extremely well. He was right up there with Urlacher in tackles.
WI: When he's right, what does Warrick offer?
GB: He has quick feet, excellent feet. Toughness. He has good instincts and he can play the pass. He can play three downs and be a nickel linebacker, a good SAM or WILL. He can probably play MIKE for you on first or second down. He has a lot of moxie to his game. He's a good addition for us because he gives us depth at a lot of different spots and he's good enough to be a starter, possibly at three different positions. At the same time he's taken the second portion of our defense and raised it so much higher because we have a skilled linebacker in that spot.
WI: Warrick has started his whole career, but you have Marcus and LaVar on the outside.
GB: You're making an assumption. What you did last year, that goes in your clippings. When you come to camp and compete this eyar, that will be the deciding factor. What happens a lot of times is people try to hang their hat on last year, but we can't. As a defense we have to play like we were the last ranked defense in the NFL. If we don't work our butts off, that's where we'll end up. We have to work our butts off to be number one. What happened last year and in the past, when we're sitting in our rocking chairs in 15-20 years, then we can enjoy it. But right now we have to get ready for next year. For me to assume anything different is wrong and I'd be sending the wrong message. Everything will be predicated on what we accomplish in these camps and in the fall. . . . Players decide who plays. It's a great opportunity for guys to be in Washington. If I'm a defensive player I'd want to be in Washington competing for a job right now because it's so fair and wide open and competitive.
WI: How important is it for the staff to get a look at Micheal Barrow?
GB: We coach the guys who are here. If they're not here, I won't talk about you because I'm not worried about you. I'd be a fool to do anything else. The only guys I know who will be there to help us win are the guys that are there. Anyone else I don't want to discuss.
WI: Antonio made the transition from outside to inside. Does that give you hope Warrick or Lemar can do it?
GB: No question. Our whole thing is wide open. Whoever ends up being in the middle, no one knows. At this time last year, no one in the world would have ever expected AP to be a starting Mike-backer and have success. Nobody. So anything is possible. One reason we've been successful is that we have experienced coaches who go back and watch things, listen to what players are telling us and putting in the best people and letting them play and not predicating decisions based on salaries or past histories. It's what are you doing today? Dale is the one who helped take AP from being outside and never starting to moving him inside and then he got paid. Part of that success story might be the environment created by Dale. He might be the X factor, his coaching skills and savvy. When all this washes out we'll see who ends up where or does what. As long as you add athletic people, guys who have track records of being professional, then yo have a chance. We're trying to collect the best talent, put it into the hopper and let it all clean itself out in the wash.
WI: How has Phillip Daniels looked?
GB: He's fine. He's coming along. But right now, one on none, you should look good. The muscle stuff last year concerned me more than anything, but there's no indication of that still [being a problem]. We put him through specific drills to see that. So it's fine. The hand is fine. Right now he's healthy and ready to go. When you miss that much time there's a mental rhythm and physical rhythm you have to get back into.
WI: You also coached Walt Harris, who right now is the No. 2 corner. What's the best thing about him?
GB: There are so many good things. He's smart, professional, detailed. He works at his job, communicates. He allows people around him to be better players, especially the guys up front because he talks to them. He doesn't let surprises happen to him. He brings a dimension to our team -- experience and technique-detailed -- that are pretty darn good.