Who are the Redskins really concerned about injury wise? What dish are the Zorns famous for at…
Conference Calls: Jim Zorn & Clinton Portis
Q: With the Sean Taylor ceremony Sunday, does it concern you at all that it might be a distraction for the players that were so close to him?
A: Well, I'm hoping that we can take the time necessary to honor him and then continue to kindle his memory. I think that we have done a little bit of each week to where I don't think it is going to be unusual or an event that is out of the ordinary for our players. We have tried to create an atmosphere where he has been talked about. We have heard stories, we have continued with some of these memories. This will be, I believe, just another opportunity to keep that kindled.
Q: Have you noticed that the Giants have an ability to change their style of play even within a game as the events of the game unfold, whether they get into a shootout or defensive battle that they seem to be able to do whichever they need to do that particular week?
A: I have noticed that because they are 10-1 and I really believe that it is what every team wants to do when you get into a ball game. It's that team that can adjust the quickest, that makes those little fine tune adjustments to be able to give themselves a chance to win and certainly New York has done that. Yes, I have.
Q: You guys have a much better record when Portis rushes for 100 yards. I know that in Week One he was held down by the Giants defense. How important is it for him to have a big game this time?
A: I think it is important. Not so much that he gets 100 but that we can actually run the ball efficiently. We don't have to – I'm not going to give him more carries, I'm not going to call up to the press box and ask how many yards does he have. I'm just going to make sure that we try to stay steady and balanced if we can. And again, I really believe that one of the reasons that we are winning is because we are getting that many yards is because we have the opportunity to run the ball at the end of the game.
Q: What did the Giants do in Week One that kind of contained him a little bit? I guess he didn't have any touchdowns. That game was his second lowest yards per carry.
A: They are a great defense. I think the defensive line itself, they play hard. They are hard to block. They have two big guys inside. Their outside ends are outstanding. I think Antonio does a really nice job of balancing his group out at the linebacker position. He just commands so much from those guys to get them in the right position. And I think that is what kept our guy from getting yardage. But also other teams as well – they do a nice job against the run.
Q: Clinton was just on with us and talking about how much more guys are comfortable and confident in the system. How much more comfortable are you with this team and as far as them doing what you want to do now than you were in Week One?
A: Yeah, that is a good question. I think we have grown a lot. We have made some adjustments to each other. I think we are enjoying each other. We had some success, some limited success. And I think our guys truly believe that we are kind of on a – we are some sort of – we have a good learning curve, if you will, on the offense, getting to know each other and how everybody fits into the offense. I think my biggest push and always my biggest concern is that we just continue to get better in the passing game. And work together in that passing game with routes, depths, adjustments, protections and things like that. I wouldn't say that anybody is more comfortable but we are not kicking back and relaxing. We have to continue to push in that passing game.
Q: In that regard, how has Jason Campbell been doing? He was noted more as a down the field passer. Is he adjusting now to your kind of offense?
A: Well, we are still trying to throw the ball down the field but I think the thing that he has made adjustments to is that he is willing to come off and check the ball down. We do have some – the west coast game, like everybody, we have some shorter passes and we throw those. But he is just not forcing the ball down the field because he knows where other receivers are. So I think that is the thing that has made him improve during the football season. He continues to improve. One of the things that I think creates an environment of improvement for players is that coaches have to notice what is going wrong and be able to correct those things in the player. And be able to verbalize that and make the corrections, not just let it go on. And then the player himself has to make those adjustments and actually change the way he acts and change the way he actually puts the ball in the air or holds the ball or whatever. I think that is what Jason is doing so well. He is making good progress of kind of changing his style of play.
Q: What is the status of London Fletcher and Carter?
A: London Fletcher is probably not going to practice today. He has a sore foot and Carter won't practice today. He has a sore foot as well.
Q: You didn't get to coach Sean Taylor, but just being surrounded by all of those people who were so close to him, does it almost feel like you have a relationship with him?
A: I think I had a really good relationship with Sean Taylor just kind of vicariously through the players. I kind of know him better than when I first came in here. I know far better what he stood for. We have continually had a story here or there and just the idea that we get to listen to some of the things that he did; again, that he stood for, that he created on this football team, I think there is a lot of pride in that. And I certainly have pride just being a coach and being a part of it even though it was such a tragedy. And it still is in everybody's mind.
Q:Can you talk about how different a team the Redskins are now than when you opened the season against the Giants?
A:I wouldn't say we are different as a team. I think it is just further along in the season and there aren't going to be any distractions and in the first game of the season they came out and won, they were ready, they won the game. I think right now we are going into the 12th game, everybody is banged-up, and now it is really a battle of will.
Q:How much more comfortable are you guys under Coach Zorn now?
A:I think everybody feels good. We are growing as a team, but I don't think we completely have the system down the way Coach Zorn wants us to have it down, but I think we are growing as a team.
Q:The Giants held you to your second-lowest rushing total of the season in the first game. Was that something that they were doing or the team not being comfortable in the new system yet?
A:We really didn't do a lot. It was a new offense, the first game of the season, they came out, and we got behind early. We kind of got away from the running game. They knew it, it was the first game of the season, they knew I was going to be the focal point, but now I think a lot of guys are stepping up and we have all the guys on our team making plays so it is kind of hard to just sit and focus on me and determine to stop me when we have other guys capable of making plays.
Q:How badly banged-up are you and is it a situation where at this point in the season you just have to suck it up?
A:Yeah, that is pretty much it. I don't think I am the only one banged-up. I think all around the league is banged-up. I think the fight is finding a way to play and being on the field as opposed to not playing. The whole NFL is banged-up and for the people that are playing out of the 22 starters that are on the field, I can't think of anybody who is going to tell you they are not banged-up.
Q:What kind of emotions are you expecting on Sunday with the ceremony for Sean Taylor?
A:I think it is going to be big, but I think we went through the bigger ceremony last year and we were able to make it through that so therefore I don't think this one is going to be as bad as it was last year.
Q:What do you think of Kenny Phillips?
A:I think Kenny is going to be a good safety. I petitioned to get him here, unfortunately that wasn't a need. They didn't think the idea of bringing another safety in immediately after Sean from the University of Miami was a good idea. You don't want to put that pressure on Kenny, but I think he is going to be a good, young talent.
Q:He was compared a lot to Sean and Ed Reed when he was at Miami, do you see any of those two in him?
A:Those are big shoes to fill. You are talking two of the best safeties to ever play the game, but I think he has the potential. He is learning the curve, he is young in the league, and I think he is going to bring a lot to the Giants organization. I think he is going to make plays and hopefully he just never makes them against the Redskins. I really think Kenny is going to be something special.
Q:How ready were you for the first game against the Giants and how do you compare that with where you guys are now?
A:I think we were ready as far as knowing our game plan and knowing what we were doing, but I think at this point in the season right now you see all the guys. At the beginning of the season, the first game of the season, everybody wasn't going to be involved and we knew that. I think they knew a big part of the game plan was to let me carry the team in the first game and we were running the ball a lot so you get to this point in the season where guys are catching on, we have a bigger playbook, we are throwing more looks at you, we are doing more stuff instead of the basics we are wide open. Now we have guys that are getting better and better.
Q:How much more do you want to show the Giants that week one wasn't your best shot?
A:We knew. You can't get real big on that. I think they were well-deserving of the center stage on Thursday night and for us, we came out and didn't get it done. As for them, we have another game, bro, we are playing Sunday. Like I said, the stage is different, we are at home, we know it is going to be a tough game, but we feel good about this game. We feel like they are going to come to play and we know they are going to come and bring their best game and we feel like we need to bring our best game so we just have to be on-point.
Q:Would you like to have a 100-yard game against this defense?
A:I always want to have a 100-yard game. I would love to have a 200-yard game against the defense, but if I don't and we find a way to win, I am fine with that, too.
Q:Did you expect the Redskins to do what they are doing for Sean this weekend?
A:I think this is a great organization and I think Sean did a lot for this organization and I think Mr. Snyder is doing the right thing in honoring Sean for everything that Sean brought to this organization and the effect that he has had around the world. I mean how could you not?
Q:Could you put it into perspective? Has it been a long year, or has it flown by since that happened?
A:It is, but it isn't. I think time flies by, but you come up with memories and you come up with the appreciation of a person, man, that never can really be taken away from you. You don't look at it as the time, ‘oh man, he has been gone a year,' I think that the true fans and the true friends of Sean it doesn't take all of a sudden a one-year anniversary to realize Sean is gone. I think in your everyday activities and everyday duty you realize Sean is not around and you miss him so it doesn't take a year anniversary where the whole world is paying attention. I think every day I think of the situation.
Q:Is it weird to have players on the team this year that didn't know him?
A:Yeah it is, but I think those other guys are aware of him. The players who weren't on the team at the time being around now were able to get the appreciation of Sean through the players that were. The players who were in the league and around and even the players who weren't in the NFL, they had the opportunity to watch Sean and see what Sean meant.
Q:How did you change as a person after that?
A:I think I just became a more appreciative person. Try to enjoy the people around me and try to make the best out of all the situations and leave an effect, a positive effect, on the people that I come in contact with.
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