Interview: Washington Football DE Ryan Anderson

ASHBURN, VA — August 20, 2020 Washington Football Team defensive lineman Ryan Anderson spoke to the media after the third day in pads and final weekday practice of the week.

On playing with the defensive line:

“Football is pretty much football. These first couple of weeks, the few days of practice have been a struggle learning these new techniques. I wouldn’t say learning, but executing. Getting out of the old habits of playing a certain way. I was always outside arm free, and now it’s different mechanics I’ve got to use just to get to where I need to be. Just these first few days, it’s been slow. It’s probably been the slowest I’ve ever played ever. But today I felt better just getting back into the groove. I’ve got a little way to go. Overall, it’ll be alright. Just play fast and get to the ball. It’ll work itself out. I try not to think about contract year and all that, I’m just trying to have fun. Right now I’m just trying to get back to the basics of having fun and playing football.”

On what he needs to improve on:

“Overall, I’ve got everything to work on in my game. Being out of football, missing OTAs, right now it’s like being a rookie again for me. Everything’s been slow learning a new scheme, new stuff. Today was the first day I thought I took a turn in the right direction, but I’ve still got a way to go.”

On sitting out the first day of padded practice:

“I was waiting on a brace to come in for my wrist. That was it. It was just precautionary. I got it in and I’m back full-go.”

On defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio:

“I love Jack Del Rio as a coach and I love his scheme. I love his aggressive attack scheme. It’s not robotic. There’s really a lot of freedom in his scheme. You’re basically attacking and I like that. Like I said, I’m just trying to get into executing that instead of two outside, shoulder free, versus just going. I’ve been playing in a 3-4 my whole life, so it takes time just to go because you’re always thinking of outside, this responsibility. Right now, it’s just go, and I like that.”

On getting used to new techniques:

“I don’t feel like the techniques are hard, I just feel like it’s breaking old habits and getting the repetitions going. I really feel like it’s not a hard scheme to play in. He keeps everything player-friendly so you can play fast. So, it’s all about, like I said, playing fast and attacking. Right now, I need the reps. I need every rep I can get, getting used to just going. That’s it. Not worrying about, you know, I’ve got to drop here. It’s just going into my spot.”

On helping RB Reuben Foster through his recovery:

“Just being a brother. That’s my brother. I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. I did what a brother’s supposed to do. I did the same thing I hope he’d do for me if I was in the same situation. That’s it.”

On Head Coach Ron Rivera:

“I think he’s done an excellent job so far, being up front with the players. He’s definitely a player’s coach. So far, I like him. I trust him. I’d run through a wall for him.”

On DE Chase Young:

“He can have a huge impact. He’s a mature guy. For him being so young and coming out of college, he handled his business like a pro. He’s definitely as advertised. I’m excited for him and looking forward to playing with him.”

On his expectations for himself this season:

“Just to put myself, my body, in the best position and the best shape I can be in to help this team and this organization to move in the right direction. I’ve played on some teams that weren’t so good. I wouldn’t say weren’t so good, but we didn’t win. We’ve got a great group of guys and we’ve got some leaders in here now that knows what it takes to win and know how to win and know how to lead a group of guys that want to win. So I’m excited for that. I’m going to buy in. I just want to put myself in the best position to help this team, and like I said buy into the principles and values of the organization.”

On if he knew he was going to be moved up front:

“I’ve been with the d-line since OTAs. Pretty much I played d-line and nickel. Most of this stuff we had last year. In base I was a sam. but when I’d go to sub I’d always play d-line in every system I’ve played in. My body, weight-wise, I run the same. I feel like I’m strong at the point of attack where I don’t have to bulk up much. I can get my weight down so I could run more.”

On his approach to learning a new scheme:

“I could sit in the meeting room and I could learn a play. I could draw it out after I hear it one or two times. But the thing with that is, to be able to perfect it, I need to be on the field. It might sound weird, but I’ve got to mess something up a few times before I’m like, ‘Okay, this is why I’m doing it. That’s why I can’t do that.’ And then I know. Without having OTAs and all of that, it kind of sets you back physically as far as where you need to be, your steps and all of that. That’s what I was saying earlier. So, these first few days have been slow for me, just getting back into football.”

On not being able to hit the quarterback in practice:

“That’s what comes with the game. It’s the same with my last year as a sam or as a will linebacker, just rushing off the edge. It’s the same thing. I was pretty much a d-line last year. It’s the same thing, just a different scheme. The concepts are a little different, but at the end of the day, you’re rushing the passer.”

On what he has realized about his new position:

“Like I said, most of the time I can go now. In the old scheme I played in, I was standing up and I had to look. I had pre-snap stuff to try to go hit, but now it’s none of that. It’s not a lot of thinking, just going. I can just go. I’ve got stuff I can just go free with. I don’t have to sit outside. I’m free with it. If I see something I can just go. Just going off instincts, basically.”

On if the defensive line will lead the team:

“Definitely. That’s a room full of alpha-males and leaders. There’s no question in my mind. Everything [defensive line coach Sam Mills III] told you is true. That group can really lead this team.”

On how close Foster is to playing like he did in college:

“Like I said, a healthy Reuben, that’s the best player I’ve ever played with. A healthy Reuben Foster. Just for him to be back after the injury he’s had is incredible. It shows perseverance and the determination he has as a man. He’s out there running around. I don’t think he’s far off from it. I don’t think he’s close to where he used to be, but I don’t think he’s far off from being an elite player, either though.”

On if he’s seen flashes of Foster’s old play:

“In the team run drill the other day, he was getting downhill pretty good, popping. It brought back some memories.”

On forcing fumbles:

“I’m an opportunist. There’s no skill, no practices. It’s something I learned at a young age playing this game. If you can get the ball off of them, you’ll play for a while. That’s pretty much what it is. When I get a chance I’m going for it.”

On how different the locker room feels this year:

“Definitely refreshing. It’s just like new life. It’s a new start, a new beginning. Like you said, it’s refreshing.”




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