With the Ravens preparing to faceoff with the Washington Redskins in the Beltway Battle, two members of the enemy team answered a few questions about their squad.
BR.com gives you head coach Jim Zorn and wide receiver Santana Moss.
Head Coach Jim Zorn
Why do you think the Redskins' offense has struggled and is it related to Clinton Portis not being 100%?
Jim Zorn:"Some of it. I just think that we play some very tough defenses, and we're certainly facing another one, so we haven't fared well. We've just got to get back and get after it again. We've left some things on the field that we've had chances for. We just have not finished what we started, that's all."
How does it affect the Redskins' offense when Portis is not able to go full speed?
JZ:"The good thing, if there's a good thing about your running back not being able to play, is that we do have Ladell Betts. He is able to step right in and, to be honest, I haven't seen a drop off in ability to do what we ask. Clinton seems to be getting the yards; Ladell is having to get reps now not being able to have had all the runs that Clinton has had. So he just has to feel his way on some of these. But as far as a blocker and a pass-route runner and a ball catcher, he does excellent and steps in when we need him as well. I'm hoping that his responsibilities when they increase, that he can give us the same kind of stuff that Clinton has given us."
What do you think is the key to the Ravens' defense?
JZ:"You're really confronted with six big, fast defensive linemen. You look at [Terrell] Suggs
does a nice job reading it out, so does Jim [Leonhard]. Both of those guys do a very nice job of filling their gaps and their responsibilities. So they get a lot of guys around the ball."
What do you think of the way John Harbaugh is handling things in his first year as an NFL head coach?
JZ:"We talked a couple of times early in the season and he just seems to have a real peace about where he is, and I think he's brought tremendous enthusiasm. I think he coaches with encouragement. I always hear him encouraging his players, and he seems to have a real positive effect on men. I think that's what you need. This will be the first time we've gotten to watch them extensively and they're very organized. They know what they're doing. I think Cam Cameron does a great job as the coordinator there. So, they just have a good feel for what they're doing and they do it well."
What is your impression of Ravens rookie quarterback Joe Flacco?
JZ:"I saw him last year at the Combine. He had the strongest arm. He was very impressive. Here's a guy from Delaware who's a guy that you had to speculate could he really manage the NFL game plan. It seems to me like [he can]. If he's in development, he's doing a wonderful job. I think the quarterback coach there [Hue Jackson], Cam and all the people involved with progressing him through the season are just doing a great job and he seems to [be doing well]. When he has a chance to make a big play, he's making it. He's got a big arm. I like what he does."
WR Santana Moss
What are your thoughts on facing the Ravens' secondary this Sunday night?
Santana Moss:"To tell you the truth, mainly we're just thinking we just have to go out there and get something established as far as just offensively – period – whether it's in the passing game or in the running game. Coming into this game you know by now just how good the defense is. When it comes to Baltimore, that's all you kind of think of is defense. But of lately, they've just been a great offense, too.
"So we're playing a good team, all around, and offensively our mission is to just go out there and get something established and try to do the best we can to put ourselves in a situation where we can get a rhythm going so we can put more points up and try to win this game."
How is the Redskins' offense affected when Clinton Portis is not 100%?
SM:"I'm not sure. I feel like he is one of those guys, like everybody else, you've got to get a rhythm with him. He's one of those guys that whether he's nicked or not, if you get him in there and he gets some good holes and he's got some good lanes to run in and he's got the rhythm going, we can all feed off of it. The same with the offensive passing game, if you get Jason [Campbell] out there and he gets some throws early or we give him something to feed off of, we can all get in play and have a productive outing. But it all goes together to me."
What kind of opportunities do you feel you will have against the Ravens' secondary?
SM:"I never know; I never really know. I'll have to watch film and see how they play, but I never really know until I get down and really watch them. I don't know what coverage [or] how they're going to play, so I just go off the film. I take it [as] a day-to-day thing. The more film I watch, the more I learn about the coverages and then I know what my outing might be like."
How much of a rivalry do you believe there is between the Redskins and the Ravens?
SM:"I don't really know. I'm not sure how many times the Redskins have played the Ravens. Since I've been here – this is my fourth season with [the team] – all we have done is practice against each other in the preseason and had that one preseason game against each other. So, I'm sure as far as how close we are, there might be something big, but I'm not sure how big the rivalry is."
What do you think it says about the Ravens and Redskins that the game was moved to the prime time spot?
SM:"I really don't know what makes you change like that. I guess it's a prime time game. When you have a team like the Ravens and you have a team like us, we have a lot going for ourselves [at this time in the season] and they have a lot going for themselves, I guess that's how they kind of weighed the options and stuff. It all depends on who was playing in that spot before. I don't really know how much it meant or whatever, but it sucks as players knowing that you're going to play at one time and then you hear it changed.
"I'm glad they told us two weeks in advance. Other than that, man, it's going to be a good game. We know that we all can do a lot of specialty things, offensively and defensively, on both sides of the field, and it's going to be one of those games to watch."