On K David Akers not making the Pro Bowl:"Dave has had a really good season this year. He did miss a few field goals earlier in the season that kind of threw him off early. He has rebounded well and has been really consistent on his field goals. I was very pleased with the way he kicked off last week, in particular, with three touchbacks on seven kicks. Especially when you have a great returner like [Browns WR Joshua] Cribbs back there, it was just very big from a standpoint of not giving him an opportunity to get a return and starting field position. Dave has come on and he has had a really good season this year."
* On Akers' leg strength and endurance:*
"It definitely makes covering kicks a lot easier. Obviously, you never know when you're going to get that touchback, but any time you do get it, the main thing is the starting field position. You get those guys starting at the 20-yard line. It kind of gives your guys confidence as they go out the next time, just knowing that we have the opportunity to pin them deep, from a starting field position standpoint."
On whether he works with S Quintin Demps to take him to a higher level on his kickoff returns: "The main thing with our kick returns is just knowing exactly where to hit, and knowing what his reads are so he's not trying to see too much. Earlier in the season, he didn't understand exactly what we were trying to get accomplished. It kind of worked against him that he has such great vision. He would see too much and kind of see guys coming in from different directions, rather than trying to stick with the return and getting up through there before the defenders have an opportunity to get to him. Now that he really understands exactly what our reads are, he is hitting it hard, he knows exactly where he is looking, and he's able to get the ball upfield for us. Quintin is doing a nice job."
On the different types of vision between kick and punt returns: "Kick return is an area that is a lot different than punt return where you have to see the whole field and have that vision. Kick return, you have guys kind of wadded up, coming right down at you. You have to make sure you're hitting it up the field fast and trying to change those angles on them before they can close in on you on things. We definitely have a great challenge for us this week, in particular. I think Washington is giving up 20 yards a return. Hopefully Quintin can maintain that level of confidence, go out there and hit those holes well."
On whether Demps is a guy who could make a career out of being a kick returner:"I think so. Hopefully he will continue to get better each week. Like I said, he has definitely made a lot of progress from the beginning of the season. You never know from one year to the next. He is doing a great job. He has the speed, he definitely has the tackle-breaking ability, and I think he will continue to get better there."
On how tough it is for WR DeSean Jackson to be a receiver and a punt returner: "It's tough from that standpoint. If you look at guys who are doing that now, even [Bears WR Devin Hester] is falling off just a little bit, if you look at the number of reps he is taking on offense. You would like to think that wouldn't be a factor on things, but it definitely is. Once you get out there and get those number of reps, it has definitely shown that it can affect your level of play. DeSean is doing a great job for us this year. I think one of the things that happened last week was they had some really good gunner play. With Josh Cribbs out there, they had a couple good gunners. You have to give them a lot of credit. They were getting down the field fast and keeping us from getting started in the return. DeSean definitely has the ability. If we can get him out there at the right point in time, when he's fresh and ready to go, I think he can still give us some big returns."
On whether it is okay for Jackson to go backwards sometimes, in order to break a bigger return: "There is a fine line. Different returners have different styles. That's kind of the thing with DeSean. He is going to try to set up his blocks and try to get that big return every time. There are times, obviously, where we'd like for him to catch a ball and get up the field to get eight or 10 yards on things. You can't fault a guy for trying to make the big play. The main thing is just understanding the situation of the game and where we are and what we need to get accomplished at that point."
* On whether Demps' kickoff returns could be affected by playing more on defense:*
"We have several defensive backs who are playing right now. I know that Quintin is getting a few more reps there on the defensive side of the ball. He has maintained his level of performance. The last couple of weeks, he has played there on defense. It hasn't affected him at this point. We will continue to keep him going and see if anything changes."
On what the biggest change in Demps has been this season: "I think confidence and his ability to read the schemes, knowing exactly where he is trying to read on the returns, and just hitting it up field and being decisive in where he is going on things."
On whether there is a situation where he would consider using CB Lito Sheppard as a returner:"Lito has actually been playing corner for us the last couple weeks. He and [CB Joselio] Hanson and those guys are splitting some time on defense there, as well. We are just trying to give DeSean the best opportunity to get going. Lito has caught some balls during practice, fielding some punts on things there. He is definitely an option. Right now he's doing a great job at corner and we are going to leave him there to see how things progress."
* On whether he is worried about field goals getting blocked:*
"I thought we made some progress there this past week. We had [Browns DT] Shaun Rogers in there, coming after field goals. He's a guy who has blocked 12 field goals in his career. I thought we pretty much held him in check there. We have had a couple issues there, especially with the Giants game a couple weeks ago. Again, we made those corrections this past week and have that pretty well situated."
* On DE Trent Cole's blocked field goal against the Giants:*
"It was a great athletic move on his part. Each week, you're going to face a different field goal protection unit. They block things a little bit differently, so you have to adjust your field goal block scheme that you run against those guys. I feel like we've been getting some pretty consistent pressure on our field goals and our guys continue to give great effort on things."
* On DeSean Jackson's punt return touchdown against the Redskins and whether there are things, schematically, they want to take advantage of against Washington:*
"Obviously, they are going to try to make corrections there and make sure they are covering the field the best they can. I think one of the things was we had a returnable ball. A lot of times, your coverage comes down to the punt or kick. DeSean had a little bit of room there to set up his blocks and get started on things. I think that had a lot to do with it—just having him with the opportunity to set things up. Another thing is that they have a great coverage unit and some great core guys in there. We are going to have to do a great job, in terms of making our blocks at the line of scrimmage and keeping those guys from getting out. They are going to look to do better on their part and obviously we will have to do the same on our part."
* On the Redskins kick return ability:*
"First of all, [RB Rock] Cartwright is a tough runner. He breaks a lot of tackles, he has really good speed, and he gets in there and hides behind the wedge. Secondly, their front is a really athletic bunch. They are a bigger bunch, they're athletic, they get on blocks and sustain very well. They probably have one of the most physical wedges that we play against. They run a four-man wedge. They get that thing going and move their feet on contact and they're really physical. That's going to be a great challenge there, making sure we are playing up to that level of physical play with them and getting out and playing fast."