On losing a lot of close games recently: "We are in games to win at the end and we're not making plays to win at the end. Well, not always at the end. During the game there are a couple of plays that could swing games the other way. As a team, you go in every week and you prepare for a certain way. You try to make sure that the plays you can control, you control and you make the plays that count. We've been able to do that sometimes. Other times, in those close games you're referring to, we haven't been able to."
On whether it's worrisome when the team can play so well until a critical moment of the game and then make a mistake: "No, not at all. The only thing is just more attention to detail at those times. I think that's the only thing you can refer to. Every game, we are going in physical, doing what we are supposed to do. We are getting turnovers, we're making big plays. In those last few moments, maybe the attention to detail needs to come into key. We need to make sure we are where we need to be on every play. That's in every phase, not just offense and defense. It's special teams also."
On whether there is a difference in this group of players than the one that won a lot of close games: "The only difference you could say is what we just talked about; we're just not making the plays. I'm pretty sure if we do our homework and go back and research back in the day, at some point, before we started making those big plays as a unit, people were talking about how we weren't making those big plays at the end and we were saying the same thing again. 'We are not making the big plays at the end. We're in every game, but we're not making the big plays.' All of a sudden, we begin to make those plays and those games that were close games weren't even close games anymore because we were up on the other end of the points. Our attention to detail was there."
On how a team acquires a killer instinct: "It's a building process—brick by brick. That means week by week and practice by practice. You take one game at a time, one practice at a time, and you make sure that you have everything you need to have, going into the game, so that you don't have to think about anything. When your conditioning is where it needs to be, and I believe we are, when your mindset is where it needs to be, and you are physical, you can go in and play ball. You don't have to think about anything. That attention to detail, because you've done it so many times in the past, it just comes natural to do it in the game."
On whether people are pressing too hard to make big plays: "That can come into play, yes it can. I believe we're not there. I think guys are doing what we feel like we need to do. We are just not coming up with the one or two plays that, in these couple of cases, mattered. You never want to boil your game down to one or two plays, because there are other plays during the game that maybe could have or should have gone a different way, and you wouldn't even have that last play at the end. Because we're focusing on these last plays at the end, we need to make sure we are doing what we need to do in those situations to win."
On the difference between the first and second half against the Bears, defensively: "They came out with some different things that went against some of the things that we studied on film. Kudos to them for doing those things. Other times, they just made plays. The second half, we came out of the locker room and we were bent on not allowing them any more points in the second half. We gave up way too many points to Chicago. Give them credit for making the plays, but we gave up too many points to them. That second half, we came out of the locker room and we understood what we needed to do, which was keep things in front of us and make them drive the whole field. We didn't think they could."
On the increase in takeaways so far this season: "We work hand in hand with the d-line. If we can make the quarterback hold onto the ball, you see what's happening. If those guys get after the quarterback on three-step or four-step drops without blitzing, you see what happens in the secondary. We can make plays like that. We work hand-in-hand. We all said it before the season that the potential for us to get these turnovers is going to be great. What we are going to have to do as a secondary and as a defense is stop giving up the big ball. We stop giving up the big ball, the big plays, these games that are getting up there in points are not going to be that way and the potential for us to get more turnovers is there."
On how different Redskins QB Jason Campbell is now compared to the beginning of the season: "Obviously, he is learning a new system. It's always a tough thing for any player, especially a quarterback, to learn a new system. I think this is number three or four in four years or something like that. It's a tough thing for anybody to do. The thing you saw last year is he grew throughout the season. Every time you faced him, he was a different quarterback. You see on film now that he is more decisive in his throws and with his reads. He is getting the ball out and he's always had a cannon. That's always in his pocket. You definitely can see a different quarterback right now. He's very confident in what he has."
On how important division games are right now: "There is always a sense of urgency. I don't care if we are 4-0, there is always a sense of urgency when you are talking about the people inside your division. That's not going to change, especially at the house. We lost last year to these guys at the house and that's not a good feeling, that's not a good memory. It's definitely a big game for us."
On going up against a no-huddle offense: "For the offense, there is only so much they can do out of certain packages. It's just going to be for us to slow our minds down. The no-huddle, it's not a fast-paced thing. It's just they are lining up on the line of scrimmage to get your thoughts screwed up as far as where they are lined up and personnel and all that stuff. Defensively, we just have to slow down, take in the defense, and then understand what they're trying to do to us. Offensively, they're trying to get the tempo up. They're trying to get you off balance. I think they still can do everything they want to do pretty much, as far as the offense goes. If we are doing what we're supposed to do, we understand that they're going to be breathing hard, too, so it's going to be a mental thing."
On Redskins RB Clinton Portis: "To me, if you allow Clinton to be running the rock and gaining chunks and chunks of yards, that sets up everything they want to do. They have those speedsters outside. Double moves, play-action passes, and all of that stuff. It all starts up with him running the ball and that offensive line coming off and being physical. Also he's a great chip blocker. He's a great blocker in general, but especially a chip blocker on our ends. I think emotionally, he sets the tone for that offense, because he's that kind of guy."
On whether you should win a game if you have four takeaways: "You would think it wouldn't be close, but we gave up too many points early. We gave up too many big balls. If we keep that down and we get those turnovers, the game probably won't be close, if we do what we're supposed to do."
On not allowing CB Lito Sheppard's situation distract the team: "We do like we've been doing. We go out and play. We understand it's a tough situation for him, but that's for he and the organization to figure out whatever they're going to do in that situation. For us, when he comes on the field, he's going to play. I've always said that. He's been doing just that. We are going to go out and play ball. The focus of everybody on this team is one way, and that is Washington this week. The big goal at the end of it all, but this week it's Washington."