With Bledsoe and G. Williams, Their Reputations Precede Them
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Washington Redskins assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams cautioned against judging Dallas quarterback Drew Bledsoe's vulnerability to the blitz only by Washington's 35-7 rout of the Cowboys last Dec. 18.
In that game, the Redskins scored so quickly and Dallas found itself in such a first-half hole -- the Redskins led 28-0 in the second quarter -- that a usually balanced Dallas attack turned desperate early.
"I have a lot of respect for Drew. I have been through a lot of games with him and against him. If you are not playing exact technique he has the ability to stick that ball in there," Williams said. "We are going to have to do a good job with our pass rush and pass coverage. They work hand in hand. Whether it is pressure or not they work hand in hand on what you are trying to do to design to stop any particular play that happens out there in the game."
Bledsoe, who played for Williams in Buffalo in 2002 and 2003, was sacked seven times in December's game. He told reporters this week that a Williams-coached defense is difficult to play against.
"It is a complicated defense to look at. The thing that makes it hard is that they play a lot of cover-2 and then all of the sudden here comes an exotic Gregg Williams double-corner blitz," Bledsoe said. "At times, he's trying to lull you to sleep, and then all of the sudden here comes this fastball from out of left field. For us the number one thing that we have to do is be able to recognize, adjust to and block the blitz when it comes."
Facing the Dallas challenge this weekend, said Washington defensive end Phillip Daniels, required humility, a short memory and a fair amount of pride. Daniels said his Olympian moment of last season -- he sacked Bledsoe four times in the December game -- cannot affect his thinking for tomorrow. From a pass-rushing standpoint, it was the best game of his 11-year career. That is why, he said, he needs to forget it.
"What happened last year is in the past," Daniels said. "Last year is gone. It's a new year. It doesn't matter if I get no sacks or four sacks. As long as my team comes out on top, I'm happy."
Dallas Coach Bill Parcells said he expects some new wrinkles from Williams, but that he is quite familiar with the Redskins' defense.
"Philosophically, it looks pretty much the same and they did beat us pretty badly last year," Parcells said. "It is a team that I thought played very well last year and was a contender. They had a playoff loss and I thought they had a real good chance there as well. I thought their defense was certainly formidable."
The Big Blocks
Cornerback Carlos Rogers had a rough night in pass coverage Monday against Minnesota, but he brought down the house at FedEx Field with a vicious block on special teams, setting up a 12-yard return by Antwaan Randle El.
With 12 minutes 26 seconds remaining in the first half, Vikings punter Chris Kluwe angled his kick down the left sideline. Randle El fielded the punt, darted up field before cutting to his right, completely freezing linebacker Heath Farwell.
The play showed off the combination of Randle El's dazzling ability and the hard-hitting attitude of the Redskins' special teams. As Randle El raced to the outside, free safety Sean Taylor buried fullback Richard Owens for the first big block of the return. Then Rogers crushed Ronyell Whitaker, freeing the corner for Randle El, who raced to midfield. On the ensuing series, the Redskins scored their only touchdown of the night, a five-yard run around left tackle by Clinton Portis.
"Those guys didn't even know where they were," Randle El said of Owens and Whitaker. "They got up, but they weren't walking in the right direction. That's what you need. You need your boys to take care of you."
Defensive lineman Renaldo Wynn, who missed last week's opener with a sprained right ankle, is listed as probable to play his first game of the season tomorrow. Cornerback Shawn Springs is out with an abdominal injury. Tight end Christian Fauria did not practice with a left ankle injury, but Gibbs said he likely would play.