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Nov. 25: Greg Blache

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From RikkiPG

How do you feel when you meet new people and the first thing they want to do is tell you how to do your job? (Telling you what they think works and what doesn't, and what you SHOULD do...)

:point2sky Thanks for all you do.

Greg Blache

(laughs) Actually, at this point in my career, having gone through it so many times, I have a great respect for people’s opinions and that they have such a passion for the game of football. It used to bother me. It doesn’t bother me anymore. People have so much exposure that people feel like they’re really into it so, it doesn’t bother me like it did once upon a time. Right now, I just kind of smile and…its one of those things that’s part of the job. Its part of who we are being in the public eye.

Follow-up from RikkiPG

Do you have anyone in your life now that makes suggestions that you actually listen to?

Greg Blache

(laughs even harder)..Yeah…NO…actually, there’s a lot of people that’ll say different things, but most of the decisions I make are based on what I see from my players, and not on outside sources.

From TheSteve

Coach Blanche,

LaVar Arrington has a lot of potential as a linebacker in the NFL. However, the knock on him is that he is too often irresponsible in his assignments and freelances too much. Do you feel this is an accurate representation of him, is this why he wasn’t playing, and what do you feel he needs to do to take his game to that next level?

Greg Blache

Well, I think one of the things that we were asking from Lavar and from all our players, is that they perform on a consistent basis at a very high level in practice sessions, and not just assume that because we had done it in the past that it was going to happen for us. One of the things that you have to understand is that we, as coaches, are responsible for the whole football team, and not for a specific individual. So when we set a rule or we set a standard, it has to be universal. We can’t have two sets of rules, two sets of standards and I think early on it was just a matter of Lavar turning it up and practicing at the level that he’s capable of. I think he’s an exceptional talent and I think he can be a great linebacker and I think he’s headed in the right direction. I think that putting all the contract stuff behind him, putting the controversy about why he wasn’t playing earlier behind him, coming to work every day, performing, functioning like a professional, preparing during the week, has really helped him. I don’t care who you are at any level of work, if you don’t prepare, you’re not going to be as successful as you can. Tiger Woods practices golf shots daily. Larry Bird practiced free throws daily. I don’t care who you are, you have to work at your profession, or you’re going to slide backwards. And that was one of the things we were trying to sell, and that was one of the things he’s really bought into and we’ve seen an improvement in his play because he’s stepped it up.

From SlobberKnockinFootball

Greg,

The only person on your side of the ball that has had a history of sacking the QB is Arrington. Why does he come out on 3rd downs when we need pressure on the QB? Can you tell us who on the line has put up better numbers that warrants them a spot on passing plays?

Greg Blache

You know, numbers are for my CPA – I want my CPA to be really good at numbers, I think that’s important….my banker…..honestly, its production on the field NOW. Numbers that we’ve had in the past have nothing to do with what happens to do now. Arrington had a lot of sacks as a linebacker back in – I don’t know how many years ago? But, predicated on what I’ve seen in practices, what we see on a daily basis, we play the people that we’ve seen show us that they could help us on 3rd down. I think that’s one of the things, there’s a difference between perception and reality. And the people like, right now, Chris Clemons plays in that position where people assume that Lavar should play. Right now, Chris has got 2 sacks, but at the same time people have got caught up in some numbers that he (Arrington) presented some years ago as a linebacker, not necessarily as a rushing defensive end. So it’s a whole different world when you’re rushing as a defensive end as opposed to a linebacker. In one instance you’re beating running backs, the other instance you’re beating a 320 lb tackle.

From goskins

Coach,

Joe S. and C. Griffin have been amazing since coming to Washington in your tenure. What did you do to turn those two guys (but the entire D-line also) that many in NFL circles had cast-off to solid starters and pro-bowl caliber players?

Greg Blache

(laughs)…You know what? Coaches don’t ever do anything to players! Players do things to players. You know, guys make decisions. I think the one thing that happened here, we gave the guys a forum, or a place where they had an ability to grow within a system where we didn’t stereotype them, we didn’t put a ceiling on them, we just gave them an opportunity. And the one thing in each of those guy’s cases, they had something to prove. And the one thing – when you put a good man in a situation where he’s got something to prove, and you give him an opportunity to prove it, the good man’s going to respond. And those two guys you mentioned are good men. They’re tough people, they’re proud people, and they don’t take their job of being in the NFL for granted. A lot of guys feel like it’s their right to be in the NFL. They don’t understand that it’s a responsibility and a privilege and I think these guys realize it. They work very hard at their technique, they work very hard at preparing each week to play on Sunday. And that’s why they play on such a high level. Its not anything you do as a coach, but you give a guy an opportunity and when the light comes on, when guys finally get it, and the good thing is both these guys got it while they were still young enough to physically perform. A lot of guys don’t get it until their legs are no longer working, then they realize, I could’ve been better, I could’ve had a better career, but its too late, Father Time’s caught them. But both of these guys caught on long before Father Time got them, which is good….and it’s a credit to them, not to me, trust me.

From honorary hog

Coach Blache,

How concerned are you about the lack of pressure our front four seems to be generating?

Greg Blache

You know what? That’s another ‘perception as opposed to reality’ thing. Actually, right now, we’re #1 in the NFL in completion percentage against us. We don’t have great sack numbers. But out of everyone in the NFL, we have the lowest completion percentage bar no one else in the league. We live in an age where people like to see drama, they want fast and flashy. We’re not fast and flashy, but we’re efficient.

From tcfuller79

Coach! I feel our front 4 is premier, but the sack stats don't show it. But do you see the sacks increasing? We are always aggressive on "D" and I see a lot of pressure, what do we need to " get to the qb" more often?

Greg Blache

Well, I think it’s a combination of all those things. I think what you have to do is, when people recognize what type of team we are, they start to prepare and do things a little differently to be able to handle a lot of the things that we’ve shown on film. Consequently, it’s an evolution process – it’s a chess game. They make a move, then we make a move. So, as the season ebbs and flows, as things go back and forth, there’s times we’ll change a little bit of what we do, predicated on what we’re seeing, because you’re not going to be so stubborn or inflexible that you just beat your head against the wall. I think that as we continue to go through the season, we’ve changed a little bit. We fit our football team as to what we have for personnel. We don’t just ‘lock it in’ per se like people think we do. So there’s been some slight differences, some subtle differences. But at the same time, I think it’s been dictated by what we’ve seen from our opponents.

From altair4

Coach Blache,

"Football Intelligence" is an intangible quality in defensive players. Most of us are aware of the physical side of preparation for a game (and a season), but are not really aware of the mental processes and preparation. How is this typically handled week to week? Do the units study as groups (i.e.: lineman, LB's, and secondary) against the upcoming opponents, or as the full defensive unit? How is this intelligence nurtured and grown?

Greg Blache

(laughs) Oh, I tell you what…the first thing is, when we pick guys to make our football team, we pick guys with a degree of intelligence. I mean, you can’t comprehend the amount of stuff that we throw at them in a given week. It would boggle your mind. The amount of information that we give them, not only what we do, but the amount of information about the opponent. Our guys come in in the morning and start lifting at about 7:30. We have them in meetings from about 8:30 until noon. We’re in meetings all morning. As a football team, as a defensive unit, and as broken down with position units, we go out and walk through our game plan and stuff, we come back and eat lunch and we go out and practice for a few hours. Then defensively, we come back in, and look at that practice tape and go through all the mistakes and all the things on that practice tape before they leave. So there’s a lot of times, our guys are here from 7:30 in the morning until 6:00 in the afternoon on a daily basis. So you have to have the ability to read, the ability to comprehend, to intake information, be able to take it from the blackboard to the field. And be able to execute it at the speed of the game. I think that’s the thing that separates most players is the ability not only to learn it – there’s a lot of guys that can learn it and repeat it to you on a blackboard – but to take it to the field and use it and have success with it vs. the speed of the game.

From Gallen5862

Coach Blache, Thanks for taking time to chat. My question is how are the injuries affecting the defensive schemes? Do all the packages stay or do they change depending on who is injured?

Greg Blache

Well, you know, they do change based on who’s injured at times. As I alluded to earlier, you have to play the hand you’re dealt. And on certain weeks you have better hands than others. We just try and play the hand we’re dealt to the best of our ability. There’s times if you’re short DBs, there’s certain packages you can’t get into. If you’re short D-linemen, there’s certain packages you may be forced into. Same thing at linebackers, as you go through injuries week to week, we try and see who do we have healthy, what do we have available to us that’s going to allow us to be successful against that opponent. But yes, it does have a bearing on what you can and can’t do.

From mcarey032

Coach,

Thanks for taking time to talk with us. As we go further in the season and injuries mount up, how confident are you in the backups we have on the team in executing and stepping up to the next level?

Thanks,

Matt Carey

Greg Blache

Well, you know what? That’s one thing we tell all our guys – everybody we keep’s a starter. And it’s their responsibility to be ready when their numbers called. I have all the confidence in the world in those guys because I wouldn’t have kept them if I didn’t. Some guys are growing faster than others, but at the same time, you know they have the ability to. And then the challenge is going to be up to them that when their numbers called, that they’re ready to answer and respond. Because when your numbers called, that’s when you have your chance to make your notch and make your name in this league. When your numbers called, if you’re not ready, the bus is not going to sit and wait for you. We’re going to move on and find someone else to keep us moving forward. That’s the challenge for young guys. But as a coach, I sleep at night. I don’t ever lie awake worrying about my backups going in and playing, because that’s my responsibility to get them ready to play, and it’s their responsibility to absorb the knowledge and feel the confidence to go do it. And I think the combination of the two, when the time comes for them to go out and play, they’ll be able to get the job done.

From Extremeskins Staff

Here’s the most important question we can ask you. Whether we stop the run, or generate a pass rush, as the defensive coordinator, tell us the answer to this simple, most fundamental question – Gas or Charcoal?

Greg Blache

Oh…Charcoal! (audible sighs of relief and approval heard in background)

From ThatGuy

Your title is Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach. How would you say your time is divided between working the line and working on the full defensive game plan each week?

Greg Blache

Most of my time is spent working with the defensive line. Gregg Williams as Assistant Head Coach does a lot of the game plan stuff. We work with Gregg on Tuesdays in our game plan meetings, and then each day we meet on a couple of sections of the game plan as a defensive staff. But I spend most of my time with the defensive line.

From e16bball

Coach Blache--- The past two off seasons, we've heard a lot about Philip Daniels and his talents and contributions to the defense, but it's not the sort of thing that shows up to the casual fan at first glance. You've worked with him both in Chicago and now here with the 'Skins: What would you say are Philip's greatest assets as a player and what does he bring to this defense?

Greg Blache

He’s got a few. First of all, he’s a strong strong run player. He’s probably one of the best run-stopping defensive ends in the league. He and Renaldo Wynn as a tandem, I don’t know of anyone who’s got 2 guys as good as we do. And as far as putting pressure, I think those guys do a good job of putting pressure – its not flashy pressure, its not selfish out on the edge real wide where people can fit inside running the football – I think that’s one of the things that fans don’t realize, some of the guys that we quote call ‘pass rushers’ post numbers, but they aren’t as effective stopping the run, they aren’t as effective fitting in the system, stunting inside so blitzes can come outside of them, or dropping into the zones in the zone blitzes. Phillips the total player. He’s strong against the run, he gives us a good push on the pass rush, he’s good in his pass coverage. He’s one of the guys that’s an unsung hero. That’s one of the things that I say about he and Renaldo Wynn – they’re like the engine in a Mercedes. You don’t see the glitter, you don’t see the spinners, you don’t see the outside – but they’re what makes it run. Just go outside and look at your pretty car. The thing that makes it run is not the prettiness that they see, it’s the foundation, it’s the motor inside. And I think that’s what I think Phillip Daniels has been for us here like he was in Chicago, he’s part of that motor, he’s part of who we are that make us run.

From Leonard Washington

as an assistant coach you probably know some of the players who don't get a lot of playing time better than coach gibbs or williams. how do you balance working and developing those guys vs. guys who you need to be ready on Sundays?

Greg Blache

Actually, during the season, I spend most of my preparation time getting the guys ready that I KNOW are going to play on Sunday. 95% of the snaps are going to go to the guys I know are playing on Sunday. What I try to do, is coach the young guys when we’re running scout team stuff running the opponent’s defense, a lot of times it’s the same alignments and techniques. So I’ll stand with them there and really work with them and give a lot of individual reps to continue to try and develop them so when they have to go on the field, that we’ve gotten them some reps against NFL quality players. But most of my preparation, my snaps, are going to go to the guys I know are going to play on Sunday.

From LiveStrongSkins

Coach,

I would like to thank you for the wonderful job you have done. The blue collar approach our D-line has resembles what type of team we are as a whole now. My question is, when you evaluate D lineman how much of the "combine" results come into play? People seem to get caught up in someone being able to shuttle run fast. The last time I checked, to stuff a running back you didn’t have to run side to side and touch cones.

Greg Blache

Well, you know, honestly, for me, the first thing I look for in a guy is his passion for football. I look for a guy that’s got a good base and balance physically. I look for a guy that’s got a degree of intelligence, that’s capable of learning things that we need to get done. And I look for a guy with a good team attitude. For me, athleticism’s down the line, it’s not way at the top, particularly at the defensive line position. Because it’s a position where you need to be unselfish. You’re going to get smacked in the mouth by 600 lbs of humanity so many times in the course of the day, that it’s so difficult for a timid or lesser guy. You need a real tough man, you need a real committed man, a man with a passion. And not necessarily a man with a real big ego. That’s the one thing that happens with some guys that get drafted real high. You get this vision that you can’t get your hands dirty. One thing about the defensive line, you’re going to get your hands dirty. And in our system, we’re blue collar. We’re a smack you in the mouth, lets look eye to eye, we’re going to fight you fist to fist kind of D-line. We’re not a finesse group. We’re not a fancy pretty group. We’re not pretty boys. But we feel like we’re effective. So that’s what we look for. When we go to the combine, we’re not so concerned with how high they jump or how fast they run. I used to do a lot of clinics at prison. You’d be amazed at how many good athletes there are in prison. But you can’t trust them. So I don’t get hung up on athleticism. Some of the best players I’ve had over the years have been great athletes. But also some of the best players I’ve had what you’d call limited athletes, but maximum performers.

From tlk2rn

Coach Blache, I know we are still in 2005 but what area of the defense are you going to especially work on for the upcoming year and is there any particular defender in college that you especially like.

Greg Blache

(laughs) The only football I’ve seen is maybe Saturday night on the road while I’m waiting for my next meeting, maybe on ESPN. I might take a peek at it. But I’ve done nothing on the college draft and won’t until at least January.

From Marilyn M

Coach Blache

You have been known for your ability to motivate athletes with your words. You have had some pretty hard losses on a few controversial plays this season. How do you keep your players mentally tough and focused for their next opponent, so they do not dwell on those losses?

Good luck the rest of the season! :)

Greg Blache

You know what? I think one of the things you do is when you pick your guys, you try and pick guys you trust, guys that have some foundation, guys that have some pride about themselves, and it’s not about the prize at the end of the thing. It’s about the fight. Even though we all want the prize, the important thing is every morning we have to wash our face, we got to look at that fighter. If you have guys that have pride and when they look in that mirror and they see that fighter – that’s all you can ask. When you wash your face in that morning, what are you going to think of that guy looking back at you? Are you going to be pleased with the way you competed? And that’s all I’ve ever asked of them. I’ve only asked them to do their best. I rarely talk to the guys about having to win a football game. I talk to them about fighting and doing their best, representing themselves, their families, their kids, the Redskins, the community, and the fans the best they can. And if they did that on each snap, we’ll live with whatever happens. But I do know, and they know that if they do that on each snap, we’ll be successful. But there’s times where you play your heart out and it’s not enough – but I don’t beat them up for that. We go through and correct every mistake we make. But I’m much more critical of for lack of effort, on the rare occasion that that happens. But honestly, the group I have, it’s not real hard to motivate them when you have good men. I have a great group of men to work with. Even in these troubled times, they help me through it. I look at their work ethic and I look at the way they’re approaching things and know we can take on anything because I have those guys on my side.

From black1doctor3

Coach Blache,

Since the defensive line lacks a pass rusher and teams in the NFL have now figured out how to stop the blitzes are you going to start using blitzes you don't use a lot or come up with your own blitzes? Something that the teams haven't seen a lot of on tape.

Greg Blache

The one thing that happens is, we’re always evolving, we’re always rotating things. I think that one thing, the last couple of weeks we’ve had some plays that all of a sudden people are saying ‘Oh!’ – this panic thing. But like I say – we’re still #1 in the NFL in completion percentage and nobody knows about it. The fact that we’re capable of stopping people. We played a real good offense last week, and they had 16 points. That’s much more than we want, but at the same time, other teams have good players too and they’re going to challenge at times. We’re going to continue to rotate things and continue do the things we are capable of doing. There’s no question, the more people study us, the more they look at what we’re doing. I don’t know who this great pass rusher is that people thinks the answer.

Dwight Freeney or John Abraham?

Dwight Freeney, and no disrespect to him, but he’s in a system where they don’t play the run. They just go up field. And he also plays on turf. If you ever looked at Indianapolis football, they play a totally different system than we do. I don’t know what John Abraham’s numbers are, I think John’s an excellent football player, but those guys would not necessarily fit into our system to do all the things we want them to do. I think the one thing you have to understand, I don’t think you can take a Corvette motor and put it in an SUV. People see all this flash and glitter and they think that’s the ultimate answer. And its not. If that were the answer the Colts would’ve won the Super Bowl already.

Dwight Freeney’s been there the last couple years. So I don’t think that’s the ultimate answer. We live in a glitter society, we get all caught up in the glitter. Glitter is not necessarily going to be the answer for you. Sometimes we get caught up in the numbers and the flash. I kind of giggle sometimes when I look at the Pro Bowl list and see some of the guys who go because they have 16 sacks. And their team lets them go because they don’t play the run. We’re going to stop the run. We’re going to make you throw the football, then we’re going to go after you and we’re going to try and pressure you. I’m certain, people on the outside listening to the sportscasters say ‘you don’t have enough pressure’, ‘you don’t have this or the other’ – I don’t buy that. I’ve been around this business 18 years. I believe in my people and what they’re doing. I respect everybody else and I understand how they get inundated with sports talk shows and NFL stuff. It’s like the parent whose child’s a heart surgeon, and they’re complaining because they’re not a brain surgeon. We’re heart surgeons. We may not be brain surgeons, but love us just the same.

Closing Statement from Greg Blache

Thank you for all the support you’ve given us. We’re going to need you to be as loud as you can on Sunday. This offense and running back is one of the best we’ve seen all season. We’re going to need everyone home screaming and shouting and being that 12th man for us! Love us, stay with us, and we’re going to make you proud.

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