Redskins Haslett, Smith highlights

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Redskins Confidential,Sports,John Keim

Highlights from our interviews with defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and special teams coach Danny Smith Wednesday:

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett on:

Jarvis Jenkins: “He is healthy. He has no problem learning. I thought that all throughout OTA’s he struggled from the standpoint of staying on his feet. He was on the ground too much. I thought that at the start of camp he kind of started that way and then maybe last week he came out of it. To me, the last three days he has looked like himself last year. He really sprung off the ball. He is pushing off his leg and he is athletic. When you miss a year it is hard but I think he has worked through that. He has worked hard in the weight room and he has worked hard on the field. The last three days have been outstanding.”

Madieu Williams: “I think the guy is really smart. He knows the show. He is a good playmaker. He has good athleticism and ball skills. You can see why at one time he was the highest paid safety in the league. As you get older you lose a little bit of your athleticism but I don’t see much. I do think he is really athletic and is really a smart player.”

Perry Riley: “I love Perry. I think Perry really works his butt off to get to where he is. Last year I think hurt him not having the offseason. It takes a while to learn a spot because, like I said before, you are not just playing the weak inside position, you are playing both when they change the strengths. I think Perry has really limited the mistakes he has made. Obviously he is very athletic and he can do a lot of different things for us. I love where he is at right now.”

Chris Baker: “Chris is a guy that was kind of under the radar. He’s bounced around a couple of teams. I think he’s finally grown up. He was about 350 [pounds]. They cut him because of his weight. He’s down to about 320. He has great power. I think he’s really matured since last year unbelievably. I still think he has a ways to go in learning the scheme and techniques. But he’s got a lot of the little attributes you look for that the great ones have, those guys, the [Vince] Wilforks in New England have. They’re athletic. They’re powerful. They do a lot of different things. Now those guys are ones that have made plays, and he hasn’t. But he has those traits. Whether he can bring it out all the time, we’ll see. But he’s made great strides from last year.”

On if Brian Orakpo has added pass rush moves: “I think he has. He works hard every day. He goes against offensive tackle Trent Williams all the time. I think he has the ability to move around a little more because Brian feels more comfortable moving around to the right side. I think that will open up a little bit more for him. To me, he is the kind of guy that when he wants to, when he puts his mind to it, he is going to be one of those that is going to get you 15, 16, 17 sacks. He has the ability to do that.”

The safeties: “I’m really impressed with them, because we have six of them that are all athletic guys. They’re smart. They’re competitive. They like football. The more I’m around Brandon [Meriweather], he really loves football. He loves being around the game. He’s a competitor. Madieu [Williams] is really smart and kind of runs the show back there. [Tanard] Jackson’s really athletic. The way the game is right now, with the throwing and all of that stuff, you need a safety that can go out and do a lot of different things for you. Because in college football, you see those guys get one-on-one with running backs and if you don’t have a great safety…You still have to have a safety that can tackle, can do those things and be in the box, but can he go out and cover a wideout? Can he play zone? Can he play man? I think we have a couple of guys that kind of fit that mold.”

The young corners: “I think Kevin [Barnes] is really doing a good job outside on this team. He really has. I think he can get better. I think he has the ability to make plays out there. I think he’s done a nice job. He’s tackling. He understands what we’re doing. I think all that helps him over the other guys that haven’t been around as long. There’s a lot of athleticism. I like [Richard] Crawford.  He loves football. He works. He’ll do anything. He’ll play nickel, corner, dime and he’ll punt return, so he does a lot of different things. We picked up David Jones. I like Brandyn [Thompson], who was here last year. We know a lot about Brandyn. It’s a good, healthy situation.”

Special teams coach Danny Smith on:

On how the kicking competition is unfolding: “It’s progressing well, but ultimately it’s games, and I think that’s what separates everybody and I think that’s what’s going to separate the guys that make this football team in other areas as well. I always use the example…it’s execution under pressure. It’s the same thing. Everyone out there thinks they can do your job. Everyone out there thinks they can do my job, and they can in some instances. It’s execution under pressure. When you have to have a score, when you have to go on the air and do this right, when you have to do this and I have to make that decision, we’re all in that boat. It’s about the execution under pressure. We’re going to try to put them in those pressure situations and see who executes the best.”

On Graham Gano: “It’s just a matter of consistency. It’s in all of us, and it’s just being consistent. Day in and day out you have to do it. You have to be in pressure situations and see how you operate in those pressure situations. Just because we do it for a couple years doesn’t mean we have it. Even as a coach in this league, you have new coaches in this league and they got their first contract and they think they’ve arrived. I don’t think you’ve arrived until you got another contract. That’s just me, and I think it’s the same with the kicker, so I treat it all the same. It’s a matter of being competitive and being on top of your game and I think the competition will make everyone better.”

On the blocked field goals last year: “We had a lot of issues there last year, to be honest with you, and that’s a positive thing. It was a positive thing that it wasn’t one problem. It was here, and it was there, and it was there, and we kept sticking a finger in here, and it happened here, and we kept sticking a finger here, so it was a variety of issues, which makes it a little tougher as far as the correction of it, but yet it’s not one specific thing. Ultimately that’s me, that’s my fault, that’s my job, I take the blame for all of those situations. And we did have issues that we worked on and without point fingers and without being specific as far as different things, ultimately that’s me.”

On how the loss of defensive lineman Kedric Golston hurt the field goal protection last year: “A lot. When you lose guys like that, as an example, we’re sitting in a meeting and we had a rookie long snapper a year ago playing on another team. I guess it was two years ago because now you were allowed to cover the center then and you’re not allowed to cover the center now. We’re sitting in a meeting, and I say ‘We need a guy to blast this center. It’s going to be his first game, it’s the middle of the season, no reps in the Pro Bowl. We’re going to try to shake him up and do this. I need the toughest son of gun in here to do that.’ Everybody yells out ‘Kedric!” So we did it with Kedric. My point is when you lose a guy like that, you lose a lot.”

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