Every week, Redskins.com chats with a Redskins coach about a hot topic. This week: assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams discusses the art of blitzing in the NFL:
"In our [defensive] system, we've always coached through the eyes of the opposing quarterback. Sometimes if you can cause a hesitation in a quarterback with what you're in, you have a chance to be more successful on defense.
"We want him to take as long as possible to decide what package we're in. When a quarterback puts his hand under center and already knows what the defense is in before the ball is snapped, then his chances of success go up drastically.
"We've done a pretty good job with [keeping quarterbacks off guard]. But some of the plays that Brad Johnson got in on us in the Vikings game happened because we were too long in disguising [blitzes]. When you take too long to disguise, you put yourself out of position.
"If you make the right decision as a quarterback, then you put the ball in there. There's a fine line with that. We've been really good at [disguising blitzes] for a long time and hopefully we'll be good at it this year.
"When is the time right to throw a blitz? That comes through experience and time. I laugh and joke about that. People think that I go to Vegas and gamble. Well, I'm not a gambler. I don't do that stuff with money. All you have to do is come to ballgames and see us on third downs, or see us on first downs. All of those kinds of things--that's the fix I get from the competition part of it. When to do it, when not to do it.
"You just have to have a gut feel and what you see from a situational standpoint about what you see on film and the rhythms of the coordinator you're going against.
"More importantly, you have to play the game you're in. We go in every week with a plan of how we think the game is going to unfold. What happens is, when you're in that game, you have to be able to think, you have to be able to adjust. That keeps you in a ballgame as it happens.
"There are things that happen in a ballgame that we dial up that we didn't even rep that week in practice. Maybe we worked on it two weeks before and it can help us in a certain situation. Sometimes, we dial up a [blitz] because all of a sudden we see what their plan is and we have to counter it. That's the fun part of the game."