Collins talks about acclimating in new and unusual work environment, thoughts of this defensive unit

Washington Redskins Safety Landon Collins Q+A

By The Sports Pulse Staff

On his adjustment to the new coaching staff:

“I mean I like the adjustments to the coaching staff. The coaches we had last year were really good. The ones that coached me and the defensive room were really good. The coaching staff now is very hands on. I like the details, I like the awareness of what’s going on, how people know exactly what’s going on. The fine details with them. When the motion needs to happen, if something were to change with the call or change within the formation that makes our defense change. Everything gets pinpointed, and that’s the best thing about the defense for me. Everybody’s going to have their job and know what their job is. If anything happens, they’ll know what to do within their job. That makes it easier for everybody to be on the same page. Everybody literally knows what everybody else is supposed to be doing. That makes it easy to communicate and be on the same page. We react faster. Everything is about split second reaction and inches. We just need that part to be very sound.”

On what he has been able to get out of the Zoom meetings with the defense:

“Everything. It’s like there is basically a team meeting. If we’re in the facility right now, we’d be going over installing the defense or we’d be installing whatever we’re installing, it’s the same way. We’re going through the same process that we’d do. The only thing we’re not doing is taking what we got from the classroom on to the field. That’s the only difference right now. It’s fairly easy. We ask our questions and we tell our group that there is no dumb question. There are no questions that we cannot answer. Today I had a question about a couple things because I wasn’t getting it. I was trying to picture it in my head and most of us players picture a lot of stuff in our heads. So when I was trying to picture it in my head, I didn’t see what they meant by it, so I just asked my questions until I got it down. Regardless of how long it takes, we have to get it down because at the end of the day, once football season starts or once we all start back up, we don’t know if we’re going straight into football or if we’ll have some time before we start. Those questions, those answers, how everything goes within the Zoom meetings, it’s fairly the same as if we are in a team meeting room.”

On if he has kept in touch with his teammates to make sure that everyone is staying in shape:

“Most of us post what we do on Instagram, so I know what everybody is doing. I follow everybody on Instagram, so I can just look up their Instagram and see that they’re working. But more than everybody knows right now since we don’t have OTA’s, don’t have everything going on, this is the time and period where everybody starts to work out because we won’t have mini-camp. Everybody wants to go into training camp at least in decent shape to play football because playing with your defense in a week or so from starting camp, it’s very, very tough as we all know. In saying so, having to text guys to ask them if they’re working out, no I don’t have to do so.”

On if he has had a chance to talk to Coach Rivera and what the team meeting with Rivera and the entire team on Zoom was like:

“That meeting was very stern and straight to the point. He was telling us his expectations of the team and where he wants to go with us and what he’s looking for once we all get together. It was very, very good. Very stern. Putting his philosophy in place and setting the tone to let everybody know what to look forward to and what kind of mindset to come in with this team. Personally with me and his text messages and what we’ve talked about, I think we’ve talked on the phone maybe three times. We text more than – I was surprised – we text more than we talk on the phone. It’s just like common stuff. Then if anything needs to be mitigated, he asks me for stuff. He asks me to be the leader I am and stuff like that. To give you a focal point, to always be myself and continue to be the leader that I am and keep doing it the right way. That’s kind of the gist of how we handle our stuff.”

On the defensive line’s potential:

“I think playing with the defensive front that we have with the veterans like Jon Allen, Daron Payne, [Tim] Settle, Montez [Sweat], [Matt] Ioannidis, all those guys are going to be able to teach Chase [Young] NFL football. He’s already a great athlete, so that’s going to be a dominant force that he already has within himself. Having those guys around him to teach him how to attack this, how to read that, how you can play this better in a professional league and getting out of his college form is going to be great. It helps us with having a great speed guy with Montez Sweat off the edge and how we have another physical guy like [Ryan] Kerrigan and getting Kerrigan some more rest time because we know when Ryan Kerrigan has rest legs, we know what he can do. That’s a big plus for us because we can always rotate him in and out, and they make plays. They make plays, and it makes it easier for us on the back, so we don’t have to cover for so long. By the ball not coming out fast, you’re not getting big gains. The ball is not going over our heads as DB’s [defensive backs]. That’s a major key for when we’re playing with a great D-line like that.”

On how his interactions with Coach Rivera have compared to his experiences with other head coaches:

“My experience with other head coaches, every experience with a head coach is different. It depends on the guys you have around. I think we have a fairly young team, a coach with a stern background coming in with a focal point of how he wants things to be run, just to give guys an attention grabber. The other coaches I’ve dealt with had an older group, so they didn’t really have to say much. Everybody just knew what was known to be done and it was already done because those guys were professionals and stuff like that. From there, Rivera is just a solid coach, from that point on he just [inaudible] he was about to get the job done. That’s why he said what he said the way he said it.”

On his thoughts on the changes in the secondary:

“The changes, we’ll see how they go. I like it. I watched [Ronald] Darby, I watched Kendall Fuller, I know how these guys play. I will watch Sean D [Davis]. It’ll be my first time. I have to look up his stats and talk to a couple guys from the Steelers to see how his attitude was towards everything and how he runs things just to get a background and stuff like that. These guys are great pickups by our team. I’m looking forward to it. I definitely will always miss Josh [Norman] and Dunny [Quinton Dunbar], but at the same time, we have to move on and we have to move on with what we have. I think the team has some great defensive backs that can be put around me and myself around them to make this thing work. I’m looking forward to that opportunity. It’s a blessing to me because I’ve watched these guys play and they play really good.”

On what he can do to help the younger players out during this virtual program:

“All I can do for these guys is just tell them that I am here. Open line of communication. Ask me any questions about the league if you have any just to give them knowledge. It is hard to give them knowledge when I am not around them even if they have questions. Usually vets tend to feed off what a guy is doing right or doing wrong if he has suggestions to give a guy in different aspects of the league and what he should do for the league. There is not much I can say over the phone to do that. All I can do is keep a line open. Our rookie right now, [S] Kamren Curl, I just have an open line with him. Any questions he has, I am here to answer anything. Don’t be scared. At the end of the day we have to be a brotherhood on the back end. If anyone has any questions, my lines are always open on offense or defense.”

On CB Jimmy Moreland:

“Jimmy was supposed to have seven picks last year. That was just off of athletic ability. He was doing what he was supposed to be doing in the game but at the end of the day he was all athleticism. I was like. ‘Wow, he is going to be special.’ Once he got it down and could see it before it happened, he could jump for a pick six. He could jump before the play. He just didn’t trust himself within his ability to do those things. That is just a rookie not being sure or seeing what they want to do and just going for it. I think he has the confidence now and the trust that he knows we trust him in his ability to do something, have his back and cover him. That’s how it is as a rookie. I saw things and didn’t do it because I was scared that a veteran was going to be mad at me. It’s all praise. We all try and make plays. I feel that way about Jimmy.”

On if the optimism around this season feels different than in years past:

“It feels different because of the coaching staff. We have changed the whole coaching staff and have switched the defense around. I can’t speak for everyone, but it was much needed. When I talk about concepts and rules, set in stone things that need to happen within a defense, this defense has it all.”

Washington Redskins strong safety Landon Collins (20) brings down Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) during an NFL game between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField in Landover, MD. Michael R. Smith/The Sports Pulse

On if there are any specific examples that he can point to that makes him feel confident:

“No, the guys, just talking to them. Talking to the coaches and Coach Rivera, knowing who we brought in. These are coaches that all have coaching backgrounds that have all had great athletes that have made a killing with their team. From that aspect, it is going to be the same way. Guys have to literally buy in. If we buy in, you win. If you don’t, you are going to fight here and there. From that standpoint we are going to make this thing work.”

On if his approach to film study has changed at all:

“No, I think this is my fourth defensive coordinator. I have never changed my approach on how to study and how to look at what I am supposed to be doing because it is second nature to me. It is how you study the game and how you study the game within the defense. What I can and cannot do within the defense. I work hard and ask questions about it. I was in the meetings the other day and was asking questions if I could do this or do this. If this was to happen. Just finding ways to make certain adjustments within the defensive call to get an inch or a yard out of making the play. From there what I am studying, the defense and if I have to make the calls and adjustments to what is going on, I have to be really on point. Every formation has an adjustment to it.”

On his campaign to feed frontline workers and what his foundation has planned for the future:

“My foundation is going fantastic. We really didn’t end the campaign, we just wanted to move somewhere else with it. We were helping the nurses, now lets help the custodians that are cleaning up everything and the police officers that are on duty, stuff like that. We never have stopped yet, we just try and help more than one group of people. We just want to jump here and there for different groups in different communities and different parts of the cities. We don’t stop. I appreciate you bringing it up.”

On if he plans to incorporate any of his teammates in any future events:

“I am going to try. I want to see who is down there. Make sure they stay safe. The lesser people the better controlled the environment can be. I am not trying to bring the whole team, I just need maybe five. I am just going to see who is down there. I know [QB] Dwayne [Haskins Jr.] is down there, I think [DT] Jon Allen is down there. I know [DE] Ryan Kerrigan is down there, [DT] Daron Payne, [LB] Shaun Dion Hamilton. I have a couple guys down there that I can ask to come through, so yes.”

On the defense’s potential:

“I am looking forward to that. It reminds me of all the guys we brought in during my 2016 year in New York. Those guys are major pickups and they helped us tremendously and we had a crazy year. Having that big pickup with [DE] Chase Young and having those two corners brought in along with some solid safety help. I don’t see why we don’t have that breakout year that we want.”

On if he has any personal stories about how COVID-19 has affected him:

“No, I don’t have any. No one has caught the virus yet and hopefully no one does in my family. Knock on wood. I am praying to God no one does. I don’t have any stories about what is going on in the world in my personal life.”

On his concerns with getting back to playing football:

“I really don’t have any concerns. I just want to get back to playing. It is big on me. I just really want to play.”

On S Sean Davis:

“I heard great things. He is very fast and knows how to run the sky and make things happen. He has done a good job.”

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