Not to be lost in the flurry of excitement surrounding Robert Griffin III's NFL debut, the Redskins defense shined in Sunday's victory over the Saints.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed less than 50 percent of his passes for the first time since Week 16 of the 2006 season. Brees also threw two interceptions into an active Redskins' secondary.
Helping lead the charge in the defense backfield was free safety Madieu Williams, who got his first start for the Redskins.
Williams finished with four tackles and a pass defensed, bringing veteran leadership to the back end of the defense.
"Madieu is really a smart guy and there's a reason we wanted to get him," defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. "He's kind of like London [Fletcher] is in the front. He runs the back end."
Despite adjusting to the playbook, Williams has been a leader in the secondary and credited Sunday's results to a collective effort.
"It always starts in the front with the guys we have up there," Williams said. "Then you have linebackers, who did a great job. In the secondary, guys were just flying around and making great plays."
Redskins coaches gave players a day off from practice on Monday, telling players it was an opportunity to rest up and stay healthy heading into a very exciting season.
"I think any time you play your first regular season game, you're going to be sore," Williams explained. "It's the first time that we actually go the full four quarters."
Williams was also able to catch a glimpse of quarterback Robert Griffin III in his first regular season game. Griffin III is the only player in NFL history to throw for at least 300 passing yards, at least two touchdowns, and throw zero interceptions in his NFL debut.
"I thought he did a good job," Williams said. "[Griffin III] showed a lot of poise for his first start, especially in a hostile environment as New Orleans. He had a great command of the offense and actually did a great job of leading us."
Williams also appreciates the opportunities the offense gave him to be on the sidelines for a longer period of time. After the offense controlled the ball for 39 minutes and 20 seconds against the Saints, the Redskins lead the NFL in time of possession by nearly two minutes over the second-place team.
"[Griffin III] helped us with the time of possession, and giving us the much needed rest," Williams said. "It was a team effort."