The Best of the Rest

Reading a Defense: The Best

Monday, September 11, 2006

Reading a defense is a science, and only a select few do it so well as to gain the admiration of both offensive players and the defense.


Former NFL safety, Redskins safeties coach

"Joe Montana. He knew what was going to be, without a doubt, got the ball out right there. And it was hard to hit him. You had to attack Montana with the coverage -- disguise things, take all of his reads away."


Former NFL cornerback, Redskins cornerbacks coach

"When I was playing you had Joe Montana. He really understood what their offense was about. Joe knew the West Coast so well that he could spend time studying you. Peyton Manning is one of the best now, not because he can throw the ball well, but because he studies the game. You can't be good without studying. You can be gifted, but you'll be average. So you look at guys like that and they do a great job of studying the game because somebody gives them tips other than the two safeties. That's how you're able to make plays."


Redskins safety

"You don't want to take anything away from anybody else, but the two best guys going right now are [Tom] Brady and Peyton Manning. We see the formations that offenses give us and we get our alerts and make our adjustments according to that, but you have to remember that as much as we have our eyes on the quarterbacks, they have their eyes on us, because they see how we're aligned in the secondary to get a feel for what we're doing. It's a chess match. Each of us tries to toy with the other at the snap."


Redskins assistant head coach-offense

"For me, it's Tom Brady. To watch him take his team to three Super Bowls, and then see what he did against us [the Patriots' 41-0 win Aug. 26] the other night. He's got tremendous pocket presence. He gets everyone lined up. He determines the protection they're using, and he can take a big hit. He stays right in the pocket. So right now, if I had to go with a quarterback that's playing at a high level, Tom Brady would be it."


Redskins left cornerback

"It's the QBs who study the most film: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Matt Hasselbeck. I think for a quarterback it comes from overall experience, but the system has a lot to do with it, too. Some quarterbacks have better systems than others. Some quarterbacks have systems where they have great coaches, like Coach [Mike] Holmgren for example. All the quarterbacks who played for him are great. Brett Favre, Steve Young. So, that's the biggest thing. It comes over time."

© 2006 The Washington Post Company