Linebacker LaVar Arrington discussed the Redskins' top-ranked defense as the team began preparations for the Week 8 matchup against the Green Bay Packers at FedExField:
Q: What do you like best about the defense?
A: "It is an adaptive defense. It adapts to the weaknesses of every team that we play. Any time you have a coach that is bright enough to understand the concepts of a very good defense and the concepts of a very good offense that you are going up against, that always puts you in the situation where you can be successful. When you have a situation like that, you can make things happen."
Q: How meaningful is it that this group is ranked No. 1 in the NFL?
A: "I am just proud of the guys. We are facing so much adversity with all of the injuries and different things and everyone is rising up. I think Cornelius Griffin has probably has had the best year out of any defensive tackle in the NFL. Fred Smoot never ceases to amaze me because he plays with a lot of heart. They're all really fighting. And I know the offense is going to catch up. We're going to be well-balanced."
Q: How key is it that the defense is so successful on stopping third downs?
A: "Third down wins games. It gets us off the field and it gets the offense back on the field. Any time you can win on third downs consistently, that definitely plays mind games with the offensive coordinator on the other side. Any time you can do that, you don't let them get comfortable or in a rhythm. We weren't too good at third downs last year, so this has been a great change for us because now it gives us the advantage. It gives our offense as many opportunities as possible to score points."
Q: Does success on third down start in the film room, or is it mostly just stepping up on gameday?
A: "It's all about knowing your opponent, so I'd say it's a little of both. You have to know your opponent, then you have to go on the field and execute."
Q: How integral has [assistant head coach-defense] Gregg Williams been in the defense being so highly ranked?
A: "I had a lot of in-depth conversations with Coach Williams this offseason. He has had me in his corner for a long time. He wants guys who are quick, make quick decisions, and are team players. He's a man of his word and that's all you can ask for. He's done everything that he has said he was going to do. It's not hard to put your blood and guts on the line for someone like that."