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Saints @ Redskins: Scouting Report

It's that time of the week again. Time to go across enemy lines and find out anything and everything we can about the Saints upcoming opponent. This week it's the Washington Redskins. After the jump, I have compiled a bunch of quotes from various Redskins sources to help us get acquainted with our next foe.

Landry Brushes Aside Rust, Gets Ready for Saints

"My conditioning is fine, it’s really all mental," Landry said. "It’s just about being comfortable and confident that I can do all of the things I did before the injury."

-LaRon Landry

"Drew Brees is going to put the ball in the air and give us some opportunities to make some big plays," Landry said. "We just have to make sure we come down with the ball."

-LaRon Landry

How to Slow Down Bush? Get Physical.

"You can’t let him get out into open space," defensive tackle Kedric Golston said. "That’s when he is at his best. He can make people miss. We have to run to the ball and keep him corralled. You have to hit him and get a lot of bodies on him."

-Kedric Golston

"Reggie Bush is one of those players that can definitely change the game if we let him. You just want to be physical with him.

"If they let him touch the ball 30 times, then we want to make sure that we hit him 30 times. If we’re physical with him, it’ll tone him down."

-Fred Smoot

"You have to be conscious about when to take your shots," London Fletcher said. "When you’re running at a guy like that, you have to take better angles knowing that he can juke you and make you look bad. He can really hurt, especially when he’s in the open field."

-London Fletcher

For Moss, Third Downs are First Priority

"We didn’t have a problem with our route-running," Moss said. "We had a problem with just not getting that extra yard. The routes aren’t different. We have high, low and medium routes in this offense.

"Everyone was in their place. Jason just took the read that was open. And if that guy is open, regardless if it’s short of the first down or not, you have to try to get that extra yard.

"We kept on falling short when he threw to the guy underneath. We need to convert."

-Santana Moss

"If you’re a team and you looked at what we did last week, sure you might want to stop the run," Moss said. "But don’t forget about the wide receivers outside. We can make plays."

-Santana Moss

"We have to make the play work, regardless of what’s called," Moss said. "I feel like last week we had opportunities to make plays, but we didn’t make the play. We need to get the first down, or get the extra yard. It’s not always all on Jason.

"At the same time, as an offense, everyone has to work together and we have to be on the same page. That’s the only way to be a good offense."

-Santana Moss

Cooley Not Practicing; Defense Braces for Run

"No doubt, you can't take anything away from those guys," he said. "Reggie Bush, being on the outside, he can be deadly. They've got great speed at wide receiver, guys who can go up and go get the ball.

"Brees is going to put it up there and those guys go get it. And the majority of the time they come down with it, no matter if they've got great coverage on them or not. We've got to play great all-around defense."

-LaRon Landry

Bush lines up in the backfield, in the slot and out wide, so defenses "have to know where he's at at all times on the field," Landry said. "When you put that guy out there as a receiver, as a threat like that, a green light goes on. You know where he's at then. In the backfield, he could get a handoff, or it could be a play-action pass, a screen or anything. "But with him at receiver, you say, 'Hmm, something's up. Why is Reggie Bush at receiver?' He's going to be a big part of the game plan, but they have a big package on offense. You just can't single him out as the biggest threat."

-LaRon Landry

Reserve Defensive Lineman on Alert

"We just need to get more snaps to those guys because they're quality players and they're good enough to help us and we need to keep our top guys fresher than we have," he said. "We need to do a little bit better job of that."

-Redskins Defensive Coordinator Greg Blache

"It will make a lot of sense to make sure guys are giving their all at the end because the Saints are an offense that likes to throw screens, and we'll be running after guys like Reggie Bush," Evans said.

-Redskins defensive lineman Demetric Evans

"I thought we would rotate a lot more knowing we have guys that can play," Evans said. "It's not like we have guys that are inexperienced or didn't perform well in training camp. If he does rotate more this week, that's a good thing because it will keep guys fresh down the stretch."

-Demetric Evans

"It's hard to get a feel for what the offense is doing," he said. "If you're getting two plays, you hope they're passing downs so you know what they're going to do. It's tough to get an idea of what's going on or get an idea of the scheme and how a certain guy blocks you."

-Demetric Evans

Cooley Misses Practice

"We felt like it was the best option to rest it today and not hurt it further," he said. "I'm very frustrated - it was kind of an inside goal of mine to not miss practice because that's something I take a lot of pride in. At the same time, what happened this morning, the game is so much more important, and a little rest is what I needed."

-Chris Cooley

"It's more painful for him to miss practice than to have a little strain," coach Jim Zorn said. "He reads his body pretty well, and he'll get out there as soon as he possibly can."

-JIm Zorn

"He ran a route today, and I saw his long arms come out and snatch the ball, and he looked pretty good," Zorn said. "He doesn't want anybody talking about his legs. He's going to start working hard. It may take him a little time to get comfortable with everything he's doing."

-Jim Zorn

Taylor Hopes Rest Helps

"All days help," he said. "If I get 10 days and we were lucky to have a long week, it will definitely help. ... It's hurt. It's a physical game, and my knee's hurt. But that's not an excuse. I have to make more plays. But this is football, and we're going to get hurt and banged up and play our way through it."

-Jason Taylor

"That's tough," Taylor said. "Nobody in this league is immune from getting injured. The thing you learn is that the league doesn't stop for anybody - it keeps going, and they have enough talent on that team to rally, but you don't replace a Tom Brady, period."

-Jason Taylor

"You're lucky to not have the big injuries to prevent you from playing," he said. "A lot of it is fortitude. You're going to be dinged up. If you want a nice, cushy job, you should go sit in an office. There's no carpal tunnel syndrome in this game, but there are a lot of bumps and bruises and things like that you have to play through."

-Jason Taylor

 Springs Will Not Stop Doing it His Own Way

"Until [the calf] happened, this was the best I had felt since maybe Year 6, 7," said the 12th-year veteran, who trains each offseason in Arizona. "I look at it as a challenge every year when I read the clippings: 'He's getting older. He's lost a step.' But I came in two steps faster than everybody else. Me losing a step I can still run with anybody. There's no reason for me to play and not help the team and go out there and get hit on my leg and miss five more [games]. My goal's bigger than the Giants."

-Shawn Springs

"How long have I played?" Springs said. "How'd I look in the preseason? Phil was pissed I wasn't here. So what? The bottom line in the NFL is [expletive] producing. That's all that matters. If I stayed here and I looked like [expletive] would that be better?"

-Shawn Springs

"Once a guy has been successful doing it one way, he doesn't want to break the routine," Gray said. "People make out like Shawn doesn't like the organization. Shawn loves the organization. Shawn didn't miss any time until last week. He had a good preseason and did everything we asked. If you're dominating at corner, you're dominating at corner."

-Redskins cornerbacks coach Jerry Gray

"Obviously with the things that happened with my dad you know that life's not guaranteed," Springs said. "I really don't trip on [tension with the front office] anymore. For me, it's about doing what I love and having fun. I love football and the Redskins. I'm under contract. I can't complain right now. My coaches take care of me."

-Shawn Springs

"At this point I can't worry about that," Springs said. "Maybe I'll be out of here, but with the way I feel and if I have the year I think I'm going to have with six, seven, eight picks, everything else will take care of itself."

A Must Win Situation

"They've got [middle linebacker Jonathan] Vilma [acquired from the Jets] playing with a lot of speed in the middle," Randy Thomas says. "Their first-round pick [nose tackle Sedrick Ellis, the seventh selection overall] is showing strength in the middle. We've got more things to worry about than we did [in '06]."

-G Randy Thomas

"Two years ago," he says, "the other guys had already been in the offense for two years. I was the only one trying to adjust. But now the whole unit is trying to adjust."

-Jason Campbell

"You can probably ask me the same question next week, and I'll agree with you. That's the thing about the NFL season - it just builds.

"I remember in Seattle a few years ago, we'd be saying to one another, '[A game] can't possibly get any bigger than this.' But they did keep getting bigger - first playoff game, NFC Championship game, Super Bowl.

"Had we won last week and you asked me, 'What does [the Saints] game mean?' I would have said, 'This game's bigger [than the opener against the defending Super Bowl champs] because we want to get to 2-0.'"

-Jim Zorn

Third Down is a Priority for Redskins

As the Redskins start preparations for Sunday's home opener against New Orleans, they are aware that staying on the field is paramount, primarily because the defense will have trouble enough stopping the Saints' efficient offense without having to trudge back on the field after a three-and-out.

"We just need to execute," center Casey Rabach said. "We've been put in good situations, and when our number is called, we need to complete the pass, get to the first-down [marker] on third-and-short and find ways to stay on the field and make first downs."

-C Casey Rabach

Redskins Fighting Injury, Age

"Every game won't go the way it did against the Giants," linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti said. "Marcus will give us whatever we need that week, like last week when he played on special teams [after linebacker Khary Campbell was a late scratch]. Marcus is a good football player who can do a lot of things. He hasn't changed. He's going to do things that make the defense work that sometimes aren't always the flashy things."

-Linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti

"It's definitely fun getting to sack the quarterback, getting to come off that corner, and it's just you and that offensive tackle," he said. "Everybody wants to go to the Pro Bowl. Everybody wants the individual accolades. We're only human. But it's about the team winning. Individual goals have to be subordinate to team goals. If they want me to play defensive end on third down, I'll play defensive end. If they want me to play linebacker, I'll play linebacker. That's just the way I've been taught since I was young."

-Marcus Washington

"I had two really good years when I first came here," said Washington, who rested during team drills Monday but expects to start Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. "But in this game, you're going to face adversity, and you gotta be resilient. Football's not a contact sport - it's a collision sport, and being a linebacker sometimes you're going to get a little nicked. The injuries I had weren't like a broken finger or hand where you can tape it up and play through it. They were injuries I had to let rest before I could get back out there."

-Marcus Washington

"I don't have anything to prove to anybody," Washington said. "I felt good the other night. I didn't make any huge plays, but I played OK. I didn't have any loafs. I missed maybe one assignment, one tackle. ... You gotta take care of your responsibility and be consistent doing it."

-Marcus Washington

"It's a fun game, and you gotta play with energy and enthusiasm," Washington said. "[But] sooner or later, [age] is going to catch up with you. As a competitor, you hate to admit that. You try to fight that off as long as you can. It's hard to face that mortality."

-Marcus Washington

Feeling Trapped in Tight Spaces

Give Portis the ball, and the Washington Redskins tailback will carry it. No back in the league did so more than Portis's 325 times last season, and if the Redskins' offense is to succeed, the burden falls not only on quarterback Jason Campbell -- the subject of so much scrutiny as Sunday's home opener against New Orleans approaches -- but on the ox-strong legs of their 27-year-old featured performer.

"We're going to use Clinton," first-year head coach Jim Zorn said. "We've got to."

"I wish I could go to a team for one week with the best offensive line, or the team with the best scheme, and switch places with their back and see how others would do in this system," Portis said, sitting on a couch the other day at Redskins Park. "I get a lot of touches with nowhere to run. I could see if I got all those touches and had some lanes, but there's nine or 10 men in the box.

"You know, I'm dodging all the people in the backfield, fighting just to get back to the line of scrimmage, and people [are] looking around like, 'Oh, he just missed it.' I'm dodging people getting the handoff, because nobody's really respecting us as a passing team."

-Clinton Portis

"His decisiveness as a runner between the tackles seems a little bit hampered by the blocking schemes up front," said Sundquist, who drafted Portis and eventually traded him for all-pro cornerback Champ Bailey. "Especially under [former coach Joe] Gibbs, they weren't running a zone blocking scheme. As I watch Washington now, he gets kind of caught up in there and tends to start dancing, and he loses that lower power that he has. I just see more two- or three-yard runs out of Clinton than I ever did here. Even his bad runs here, they felt like they were four or five."

-Former Bronco's GM Ted Sundquist

"People just outside looking in see 'Clinton Portis: 80 yards,' " Portis said. "Even though Clinton Portis would love to have 160 to 170 yards, those 80 yards, sometimes it's the hardest 80 yards you possibly will see somebody get if you watch the game. It's not like it's daylight there."

-Clinton Portis

"They prepare full-speed," Portis said. "I prepare to learn. I prepare to get my game down. On Wednesday, I'm thinking, 'Learn my system, not making the mental mistakes. Know what I got to do.' On Thursday, I'm thinking, 'Get everything in place, more up-tempo, get my reads and that.' On Friday, I'm thinking, 'Relax, know everything by Friday, not have questions, not be clueless.' On Saturday, let me go out here and execute my plays correctly. No false steps, no missteps, make all my reads. And then when I get into the game on Sunday -- play football."

-Clinton Portis

"I can guarantee you there's never been a time a defensive coordinator came into the game and was like: 'Portis, don't worry about Portis. He's not capable of winning this game,' " Portis said. "I guarantee you that. I guarantee you when they turn on the film, they say, 'We stop Portis, we got a great chance.' "

-Clinton Portis

Redskins' Kelly Lengthens Strides

"I know what I can do," Kelly said earlier this week at Redskins Park. "Once I get on the field, I know what's going to happen. I know I've been out, and I know the doubters are out there, but I can play this game. And to know that I have the confidence in the guy who's going to be throwing you the ball, that means a lot."

-WR Malcolm Kelly

"The whole time stuff was being said out there, 'He's not going to be effective this year,' me and Jason had long a talk," Kelly said. "He was just telling me that he's learned not to listen to what people are saying, so I just really put stuff out of my mind. The best way to do it is just go out there and do what you do."

-Malcolm Kelly

Taylor: "I'm nowhere near 100 Percent Yet"

"Now I think they might use Shockey more in that role [Colston] played," Springs said.

-Shawn Springs

Cornerback Fred Smoot did little in practice and did not participate in team drills. . . .