We got to speak to Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn today about Monday’s game against Washington, the defensive line rotation, and more. Here’s some of what he said below:
(On how he evaluates QB Kirk Cousins and figures out what he’s all about with two career starts) The good news for us is that we’ve had some ability to go back, not only has he played this year but he’s also had some experience last year. So for opponents like that where you have to find more information, you have to go even to snaps in the preseason to find the information that you’re looking for. He’s got plenty of experience through a career of getting started so far, just not maybe all in a row.
(On if their receiving group with WR DeSean Jackson and WR Andre Roberts is more dynamic than when they last played them two years ago) They certainly have some unique guys. I think it’s the quickness they can play with. We know all about Roberts and the stuff that he can bring just from him being in the division and the strength that he plays with as a receiver so a good combination, like most teams, where they have some unique guys – quickness, strength, size. They have the whole package of different unique players so it will be a great challenge for us.
(On if RB Alfred Morris compares to anyone that he’s seen more often than the Redskins) I think, really, the one thing, when you see him run and you admire his toughness, like [Robert] Turbin, who has good yards on contact and I think that the one thing you feel is strength when you watch tape. That’s one of the things that jumps out at us, is how strong this guy is. Not only does he get to the contact but he can make yards after contact. That’s one of the things that jumped out for us. We know it’s going to be a really important tackling game and he’s at the front of the list for sure.
(On what he has seen from defense the past couple of weeks to make him more comfortable with the guys up front stopping the run and making those tough tackles) Two weeks ago we missed a lot of tackles. In fact, we had 12 when we were down at San Diego so that number went from 12 to three. That’s really more of the style that we play. Like every week we make a big emphasis on that and that will be an important part of this game as well. We’re sure of it.
(On if he is closer to pinpointing where he wants to be with the rotation on the defensive line) Yeah, I hope so. This team presents some more challenges, where the teams in the first couple games played a little more in the three receiver sets, so it might not have been a game for some of the bigger guys. Now that we’re getting into this part of the schedule, where they’re going to feature more two tight end sets and a full back so there may be a bigger rotation of players going through.
(On if that means more Tony McDaniel, Jordan Hill and guys like that) Yeah, certain games call for that. Not to say that these guys aren’t terrific throwing it but when it calls for the run game to be at hand, we’re going to be prepared for that.
(On how much more of an every down D-line man Michael Bennett has become and how you can use him inside and out, run and pass) I think you can. One of the things that is unique about him is not only does he play run and pass but he’s an end and a tackle for us. The thing that he provides most for our team is pass rush so that’s where we like to feature him when we can and Cliff [Avril] as well but both of them have worked hard to make sure they’re part of the game and the run game is solid as well.
(On how encouraging the success in the run game has been the past few weeks) This team is a real challenge in terms of the success that they have had running the ball. We’re looking forward to the challenge, we really are. Each week the emphasis is always there, in terms of the way we want to stop the run and the physical nature that we like to play so that’s going to be at the front of the list pretty much every week. Like I said, each team has unique challenges, in terms of even the style that they run for us. So this week the challenge is a stretch run game similar to what our offense does. One of the things that I like best about the way that we practice, not only in a carded practice, we get to go 1-on-1’s and make it has hard as we can with our offensive line, our running backs leading the way. Those days, like today and yesterday, where we get to go against our offense, it’s a real challenge for us. It’s one that we look forward to each time we go out to practice against our own guys.
(On if game planning for the first three games was simpler because the teams were somewhat similar in the way they went offensively) I don’t think so only because the QB’s that were part of that list were so unique and they’ve seen lots of stuff. I guess there was, we call it, carry over. You may have seen this route from San Diego into Denver so that part and now you’re kind of back to a normal week, in terms of this is the style that this team plays. They’ve got their own challenges as we’re getting ready to prepare for them so we can’t wait to get there.
(On what Bobby Wagner is doing to get the tackles he has gotten this year and how middle linebackers are usually supposed to get the majority of tackles) One of the things I think with Bobby is the work that he put in in the offseason, really to improve his game. That was one of the areas that he really wanted to improve on. In terms of not only being more involved in the running game but the amount of tackles that he had. I think a lot of that is also due to the film study. The guy works incredibly hard here in the building to get himself ready to play so it’s no surprise for the guys who are around him all the time to see the numbers and tackles, how well he’s played through the first part of the year.
(On how much of that is what QB Peyton Manning can execute in that moment) When you go against terrific players like him, you love the challenge. You know there are going to plays that come up that we haven’t played or scouted. So it’s up to us to take care of our rules and play it out. But you love those games. You really do, even though we didn’t play as well as we wanted to on the final drive of the game. There were lessons learned for us as well. I loved the effort and the style that we played with up until that spot. It was certainly one that we learned from. It was a blast, the whole time playing it.