On Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett addressed the media after an afternoon practice at Redskins Park in Ashburn, VA.
On dealing with things outside of football in his career:
"I'm not dealing with anything. I'm just dealing with the players I have, but my belief — I'll give you a take and then I'm going to let it go — my belief in all of this stuff is that as a head coach you should do whatever you think is best for the organization long term, period. Whatever the situation is, whether you're 10-6, 10-3, 3-10, whatever the situation is — going through [Hurricane] Katrina like I did the one year — you try to make the right decisions based on what you think is best for the organization long term. I think that's what [Executive Vice President/Head Coach] Mike [Shanahan] did."
On the challenges posed by Atlanta's offense:
"Well, obviously the quarterback [Matt Ryan] is outstanding. He's good. He can make all the throws. He's got great weapons around him. Not having [wide receiver] Julio [Jones] and their line is beat up a little bit, obviously that's affected him, but they've still got receivers that are really scary. They do a great job blocking. They've got probably four of the best running backs as a whole, as a group, as anybody in the league. They're still good. They're ranked high on offense. They're good and they've got a lot of weapons."
On linebacker London Fletcher's play this year:
"I don't think anybody is having the kind of year that everybody would like to have, but he's effective. He's not doing as much as he's done before in the past, coverage-wise, on third down but I think he's playing pretty well."
On if Fletcher is at the tail end of his career:
"Let me say this – how many linebackers do you know that are 38-years-old that playing in the game? There's not many… Age catches up with everybody, and he's played a long, long time. He's had a great career and whether he plays another year or not, obviously that's up to him, but I think as you get older you can't do the things that you did when you were 28, 29, 25, 26. That's just life. That's how it works."
On how he evaluates the defense despite other teams; field position:
"First of all, points are not just a product of the defense. Points are a product of — offense can give up points, special teams gives up points, defense gives up points. So when you throw the points out, 'You gave up so many points,' I think that's kind of misleading. We break that down as we go during the season. And at the end of the season we'll figure out exactly how many points the defense gave up. But I will say this, if you're put in a bad situation where you're starting off at the 20 or the 15, I do expect the defense to hold them to at least a field goal and we didn't do that last week. We had opportunities. We had a team third-and-7 and we let a slant go with a missed tackle and the guy scores a touchdown. We had another opportunity to hold a team to a field goal instead of a touchdown and we didn't do a very good job in those two situations."
On what he says to his players on defense regarding the uncertainty of Shanahan's future:
"Things like that are always a distraction when you have our record and it's disappointing, the record obviously. But I think once you get in the meeting rooms you can see the players change. They start focusing on what we're trying to do. Once you get on the field they start focusing in on what we're trying to do. When it counted, I don't think it really is a distraction. Obviously when they're at home tonight, when they think about things, they hear things, that affects everybody, but once they were in this building, in the meeting rooms and on the field, I thought they did a nice job, at least these last two days."
On if he thinks the players have checked out:
"I don't think that's right, I just think the situation kind of put us in a… at least on the defensive side, we just didn't get it done. I don't think they checked out. We missed a lot of tackles on the back end. The weather conditions had something to do with it – I'm not going to make an excuse – but we didn't do a good job. We played a great running back. We knew that. We thought we'd do a better job in the run game. We did a nice job against four guys earlier and we just didn't do a very good job. I don't think we checked out, we just didn't play very well."
On what signs he looks for to see if players have checked out:
"Guys not hustling to the ball, guys not flying around, not doing what you're supposed to do. I'll promise you that, John, if that happens they're not going to be playing the next week. So you'll know the guys that have 'tapped out' or whatever you want to call it and I don't think that's going to happen. At least from a coaching standpoint we're going to try and not let that happen."
On safety Bacarri Rambo struggling to tackle against Kansas City:
"Yeah, I agree with you. He didn't tackle very well. I didn't think the secondary tackled very well as a whole. We missed more tackles last week than we've missed all year in the back end. The disappointing thing is we let the running back get to the back end, so it's a little combination of both."
On helping Rambo improve his tackling in the offseason:
"That's something he's going to have to make a conscious effort on trying to get better, because if you can't tackle in this league then it's hard to be a player in this league. Whether you're a defensive lineman, linebacker, corner, the good teams make the DBs tackle — corners, safeties — they make them tackle, because you get mismatches. DeAngelo Hall is a perfect example. I think he's one of the better tackling corners in the league. If you don't have guys that can tackle, it's hard to play the run."