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H.Jackson: Top-Ranked 'D' Presents Challenge


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H.Jackson: Top-Ranked 'D' Presents Challenge


From the Coach's Booth

With Hue Jackson

The Redskins offense returned from the bye week with a purpose, says offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. The unit has had an upbeat week of practice and aims to start afresh this Sunday against Dallas. But the offense will have a big challenge ahead of it: The Cowboys’ defense is ranked No. 1 in the NFL in fewest yardage allowed. Jackson spoke with Redskins.com as the team prepared for the Week 9 game at Dallas:

Q: As the Redskins head into the halfway point of the season, who or what has been the biggest surprise for you this season?

A: “That we’re not where we expect to be. We’re not hitting on all cylinders like we thought we would be at this time. I’ve told our players it’d be hard for me to say any one of them have really stepped up above anyone else on the team because we’re not playing like we should. But there are nine games left and we’re going to give each one of them our best shot. I think our best shot when we’re playing well is good enough. We have to execute our offense, we have to take care of the football, we have to play with some energy and we have to eliminate the turnovers and penalties.”

Q: In watching game tape, do you see defenses attacking the offense differently now than in earlier in the season:

A: “No. I don’t notice anything that defenses are doing differently that’s changed over the weeks. Maybe defenses have come after us a little bit more, but that’s because we’ve fallen behind in the last couple of games. Overall, I think what most defenses are doing is giving us their best shot. We haven’t executed our offense the way we like, so what you get is some haphazard play.”

Q: This is your third year coaching in Washington. Have you gotten a sense of the intensity of the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry?

A: “No question about it. Dallas is an unspoken word around here. We don’t say it very much—we always say we’re playing that team from down there. Obviously we had the streak stopped a year ago and that was exciting. We’re on the upside of that streak now and we want to turn it around and keep that alive.”

Q: Is it a bit of a relief to not have that streak hanging over your head again this year?

A: “It was a relief a year ago. It’s not so much a relief now because we’re not playing as well as we should be. I think when we get back to playing winning football—playing Redskins football—we’ll all be feeling well.”

Q: In watching game film of Dallas, what are your thoughts on their top-ranked defense?

A: “Well, we’ve played some real good defensive football teams the last few games, and Dallas is ranked No. 1 in all of the NFL. And I think they're No. 1 in pass defense, too. So we have our work cut out for us. They are very athletic and very fast. Their front seven really jumps out at you and they have two excellent safeties in Darren Woodson and Roy Williams, plus a young cornerback in Terence Newman who was a first-round draft pick. To win the game, our offensive line has to control the line of scrimmage. La’Roi Glover is a special player and he’s the headliner for them up front. Plain and simple, we have to get him blocked.”

Q: [Redskins’ defensive coordinator] George Edwards coached in Dallas from 1998-2001 and knows some of their schemes. Has his knowledge been of help this week?

A: “We’ve asked George what he thought about certain things about the defense. But we have to mostly go on what we see as we evaluate a team on game film. For the most part, Dallas has the same type of scheme that we’ve seen from them over the last couple of years. They have the same defensive coordinator in Mike Zimmer—he’s been there since 2000, when George was there. But I think there’s a new aggressive personality on the team, and I think Bill Parcells is responsible for that."

Hue Jackson is in his first season as offensive coordinator with the Redskins after serving two years as running backs coach. He previously spent four years as offensive coordinator at USC. Jackson is regarded by players as a high-energy, hands-on teacher and motivator. Look for his Q&A column every week on Redskins.com

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