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Joe Gibbs Media Session

On whether the Redskins' growing injury list frustrates him:

"Yes, but we've been fortunate this year to avoid the serious [injuries]. Last year, we had a lot of serious things where the guys were gone [for many games]. That part of it has been good. In [the Giants] game, we wound up with quite a few guys that were hurt some. We'll just have to see toward the end of the week [whether they can play on Sunday night]."

On why WR, #89 Santana Moss did not practice:

"[He's] sick. He came in, went to all of the meetings, and went through the walk-through, but he was sick. I think the [trainers] sent him home."

On whether he has considered signing a defensive lineman off waivers:

"We have not talked about that. [Defensive coordinator-defensive line] Coach [Greg] Blache feels that we're going to be getting some [injured] guys back. At this point in the year, you're scrambling sometimes because you have a few guys nicked [up]. We're expecting a couple of those guys to come back on defense. We'll see. I think [DL, #93] Phillip [Daniels] will practice later in the week. That's our hope, anyway."

On DL, #95 Joe Salave'a's injured foot:

"[The athletic trainers] feel like he is going to be able to play. He didn't take work today and wasn't out there [at practice], so we'll just have to see."

On whether scrambling around to replace injured players catches up with a team:

"You're blessed if you go through [a season] with everyone healthy. It's just not going to happen. It's a physical contact thing. What you don't like to have is a number of things in one week. For other guys, that's their opportunity [to display their abilities]. I told the team today, 'There are going to be some guys who get a chance to play in this one [against the Eagles], really help the football team, and make a statement about what they can do.' Some [backups] have worked and practiced extremely hard, but haven't had a chance to show what they can do in a game. From that standpoint, there will be some guys who have a real opportunity."

On whether he expects LB, #56 LaVar Arrington's playing time to increase against the Eagles:

"He had a good day today. He practiced extremely well. He's in a lot of the stuff that we're doing. It's up to the defensive coaches, when the packages [he's in] come up, and where they think he can help the team the most. Gradually, he has been doing more and more each week."

On QB, #8 Mark Brunell's role in mentally preparing the team for Sunday's game:

"A quarterback is a key person. [But] I believe they get more attention than they should because they're so dependent on everyone around them. Certainly, Mark is one of our leaders. In general, everyone across the board [needs to lead]. We have some [mentally] strong people in the locker room. We're going to need every person on this team to stand up and do their part as a leader. Last week was extremely disappointing for us. We're playing someone [Philadelphia] who for four straight years has been the dominant team in this division. I'm sure they're saying to themselves right now that if they win this game, they're back at a point where they're talking championship. They have a high-quality group of guys over there with the coaching staff [and players]. They've proven that they can do it. We haven't. If you're going anywhere in this division, Philadelphia has been the one that runs it. They're the boss. Last year, we couldn't do anything about it."

On whether winning home games against NFC East opponents is necessary for a successful season:

"We would certainly like to be a dominant team at home. Our fans give us a lot. If you think about where we have been--we've been in Kansas City, Denver, Dallas, and New York--those are some of the best football towns with some of the best football fans in the NFL. [Yet] I always think that our group is the best. Our place is hopefully going to be hard for other people to play in. Hopefully, Sunday night, that is going to be the case. We certainly need them this week. Say a prayer. We need good health and [players] that will come out fighting."

On whether he expects Eagles WR, #81 Terrell Owens to play on Sunday night:

"Yes. I don't think there is any question. You always hear things like [he's doubtful]. I've learned over the years that they always play. They always play great--that's the other bad thing. That's the approach we always take with it. You take all of that with a grain of salt."

On whether Eagles WR, #85 Darnerien McCants, in the event he replaces WR, #81 Terrell Owens, will be especially motivated to face his former team:

"I sure think he would. We had a long time here with Darnerien. We wish him the best, except against us. We don't want him to play well against us on Sunday night. I'm sure anyone that has played somewhere else has a chip on [his shoulder]. They're going to play the best they can."

On whether injuries to the defensive line will force the Redskins to employ a 3-4 defensive scheme more often than usual against the Eagles:

"The packages are up to the [defensive] coaches, [but] we don't think [injuries] are going to dramatically alter what we're doing. [DL, #93] Phillip [Daniels] and some of the others guys [should be] back. [DL, #91] Cedric [Killings] practiced today. [DL, #94] Aki [Jones] practiced today. I don't think it will change our philosophy and force us into something we don't want to play."

On whether he expects the Eagles to run the ball more often against the Redskins than in previous games this season:

"If I had their quarterback, I would probably have a tough time [committing to the run]. They also have good running backs. They have a tough assignment in trying to decide who to give the ball to. We've had trouble with [Eagles QB, #5 Donovan McNabb] getting out of the pocket and making something happen. The guy is phenomenal. He makes great plays against us. They also want to give the ball to [RB, #36 Brian] Westbrook and others. It probably [depends on] how they look at us, how they look at themselves, and what they think they need to be doing to win football games. It's always hard to tell. I never try to guess."

On whether game film suggests that Eagles QB, #5 Donovan McNabb's sports hernia has limited his ability:

"We don't see it. I think they're throwing it more than they've ever thrown. He's capable of making a lot of plays that most guys [can't make]. He's big and strong. You can't [easily] get him down. His deep throws against us last year brought rain. They dropped right on top of his receivers. When he got [the ball] up, I said, 'There's no way he's going to hit someone with that.' It was right on target when it came down. He's an unusual guy. He's a big deal. That's the reason why they've had four straight years like they've had."

On when he will decide who will kick against the Eagles:

"It will probably go until the end of the week. We're trying to make a decision about what we're going to do. I don't think there is any reason to do it early."

On how the coaches determined that LB, #56 LaVar Arrington was ready to play more frequently:

"It's been a long, hard process with him. He missed so much--all of last year and a big chunk of this [year]. I don't care if you're in the meeting rooms. You have to be out [on the practice field] working [too]. He was behind. He's closing the gap. He's getting a lot more work. As you get more work in the [defensive] packages, you get in football shape and mentally [ready]. It's a work in progress. He'll continue to work and get better."

On the importance of using the running game on Sunday to dictate the tempo:

"Anytime you play in a game [such as against the Giants last week] where you rush the ball 13 times, the next week, you always look back on it and say, 'There's no balance there.' When you get imbalanced, you get sacked. Bad things happen. You turn the ball over. [In the NFL, teams] have to be balanced. You may win a game every now and then throwing it a bunch, but that's not the way to go. Statistics say that you can throw for a bunch of yards and make a bunch of yards, but you're not going to win ballgames. It takes balance. Week in and week out, you have to rush the football. We know that. Sometimes, when you get in a situation where you're trying to make something happen in a hurry, it's hard to hand it off."

On whether the 2005 Eagles defense compares unfavorably to units in recent team history:

"They've had a couple of games where they gave up points. [But] can they [shut down teams]? [San Diego Chargers RB LaDanian Tomlinson] is one of the best running backs I've seen. He couldn't make an inch [against the Eagles]. They stoned him. It was impressive. Can they do it? Yes. They've had a few games like we did. Against the Giants, you [wonder,] 'Could we have done it?' Maybe, but we didn't. I think that's what has happened to them. Even at the end of the [San Diego] game, they were hustling. They were trying to get to the ball and hit people. They're a talented group. Both [defensive] ends [LDE, #93 Jevon Kearse and RDE, #94 N.D. Kalu] are extremely good. The middle linebacker [#54 Jeremiah Trotter] goes hard in there. They're well coached. They don't get discouraged. They're going to pressure things and come after you. They're not backing off an inch. That's what we see and that's what we're getting ready for."

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