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Interview: Washington Football S Landon Collins

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

ASHBURN, VA -- August 18, 2020 Washington Football Team safety Landon Collins speaks to the media after the first practice in pads.

On playing with a new culture within the organization:

“[It’s] just a fresh start. It’s a weird type of football, but at the same time it’s football. I’m glad to be back on the field with these guys, to be playing football and to be doing what I do and do what I love. The atmosphere is pretty good, so I love how it’s going so far.”

On his impressions of Head Coach Ron Rivera:

“Great guy. Great coach. A person that’s going to ask a lot of us players and want a lot. He’s expecting a lot and wants us to be the best players we can be and that’s what he’s harping on. He’s pushing us to the limit, so that’s a good thing for us.”

On the intensity between this training camp and past camps:

“I think the intensity is a higher level than previous camps since last year. I would say the only difference is trying to make sure with the COVID stuff, just trying to keep our distance and trying not to pass anything if anyone of us having something to pass along. Other than that, I think the competition out there is upbeat, up-tempo. They’re putting us in situations where we have to be on point with it. So, from that standpoint, I think it’s going good.”

On trying to ease himself in to avoid injury:

“Honestly, I take care of my body so I’m not really concerned about soft tissue issues or getting hurt out there. If you concern yourself with being hurt, you’re probably going to wind up getting hurt. So, I go out there and play ball. From that, I worked my tail off in the offseason, especially the extra months we had to work. So, I don’t have to worry about concerns about any tightness, any muscles or any bones getting broken. I’m out there playing ball. And then from that standpoint getting ready to go into the season, I’m just preparing myself for practices and stuff like that. I just know the game. I play within our team rules, within our defensive rules and the new system and just go from there. They let me kind of work different things. We talk about different things and different issues and what we can and cannot do within the defense and just go from there.”

On keeping old team gear:

“I keep that. That’s like what you pass down. It’s like I used to play for the Redskins and now I play for the Washington Football Team and then I’m going to play for a different name in the future. I keep it to pass it down. That’s like stuff you just hold onto forever because you can always say, ‘I played for this team.’ It’s always something that’s close to me because I was a Redskins fan.”

On playing under the new name:

“It’s kind of cool to get to change the name, I guess. I can’t really put my finger on it, but it’s cool. Just a new era, I’d say.”

On what LB Reuben Foster adds to the defense:

“Intensity. A tone-setter. Quickness and explosiveness through linebacker protocols and knowing what he’s supposed to be doing on the field. Just making sure if someone’s going to set the tone, he’s going to set it.”

On S Troy Apke:

“He’s doing a great job. He’s understanding what he’s supposed to be looking at. We’re talking all the time on the back end, making sure what he sees. He’s picking my brain on my knowledge about how to play different things and playing within the defensive calls and how we’ve got to see things and see different adjustments. Just being on the same page. My biggest thing to harp on with any safety that’s next to me, and as of right now that’s him, is communication. Communication is key between both of us because if we’re on the same page it makes everything go smooth. It makes everything easy. Our corners understand we’re on the same page, our nickels and our linebackers on the same page because we know the rotation, we know where we’re supposed to be at. It makes everything easy when somebody back there is able to talk to me and is a consistent role.”

On working with CB Ronald Darby:

“I never knew him personally [in the past], I watched his game. I think he is an excellent corner, especially playing in Buffalo, playing with the Eagles. He’s doing a great job. He’s put on the island all the time. And like I say, when you get on the island, you win some and you lose some. But he knows how to turn the page and continue playing and doing his job. He’s gone through a lot of injuries, but I think he’s back healthy. He’s doing a superb job out here on the field and doing what he’s supposed to do and making plays on the ball. That’s what we brought him in for.”

On what DB Jimmy Moreland has improved on:

“Instinct-wise, player recognition. Formation recognition, stuff like that. He’s absorbing it to where he can see stuff happening before it happens. Once you feel like you’ve got a step on an offense, knowing where the ball might be going, it puts you a couple steps ahead to make a play.”

On COVID protocols and not seeing old team gear in the facility:

“I’m more used to not seeing Redskins gear because we’ve kind of harped on it. It’s kind of a big thing in our society and our world, so I’m kind of used to that part by now. But the COVID part, yeah we have to take the test but I’m kind of tired taking the test at the same time, going in there and getting something stuck in my nose and then going to practice after you had that jammed in your nose a couple times. So, yeah I’m kind of tired of that part. But I know it’s for health reasons, I know it’s for keeping everybody safe so we have to do it. If we want a season, this is something we have to do. I love football, so I’ll do what I have to do to play it.”

On what he’s looking for in the defense this year:

“I think what I’m looking for next is just making sure we’ve got a sound team, a sound rotation if somebody goes down. If somebody goes down, the next person up knows what he’s doing. I think this is a rotation how they’re putting different guys, different linebackers, different corners, different nickels, different defensive linemen, everybody that’s in there is different. Just making sure that if somebody goes down we have somebody that can step up and that can do the job. I think that’s the biggest part because if you have a great rotation and key guys that’s going to step in and make plays, I think you’re going to be on a good roll.”

On an increased intensity in practice:

“I think because I know they’ve looked at a lot of tape from last year you can see that we have stepped a lot of times, one side of the ball would be up and one side would be kind of lagging. If you’re hitting on all cylinders we’re hitting on all cylinders, but we’re trying to keep that consistent. So, we’re continuing to keep that consistent on everyday battles. Jogging to the ball, jogging on and off the field, running to the ball, trying to make a play on the ball, receivers trying to make a play on the ball, DBs trying to make a play on the ball. Gap assignments, offensive linemen making sure they make their reads and their pulls and their gaps and cutting off what they need to cut off. From that standpoint there, definitely critiquing everything and putting us at the right position. Knowing what we need to look at because on critical downs, you have to be able to react to everything. Remember what you’re taught, reaction is everything.”

On seeing QB Alex Smith return to the field:

“It was a dream come true. I watched him over at the Chiefs and then watched him a little when he was playing in [Washington] before he got hurt. It’s a dream come true. That’s a crazy injury to go through. I was cheering him on because at the end of the day he’s a great guy. He’s a great person. Big loving heart and deserving. I asked him, ‘Just tell me how it feels to put that jersey back on.’ He said, ‘It just feels amazing to get to do what you love.’”

On creating comradery in the backfield with a rotation:

“I play next to Apke. I’ve been playing next to Apke, [FS] Sean Davis and [S] Deshazor Everett throughout the camp. So, I think like I said today you saw me with Apke today. So just being on the same page. Like I said, my biggest thing is communication. I move around a lot. I decide what side I play on the side of the ball. So, just being on the same page as the guy next to me is the biggest key and knowing what you’ve got to do. Because you could give me a key, you could give me a little nugget to tell me I need to run a little bit wider because he feels like a run is coming my way or a pass might be coming my way or I might be giving up my leverage. It’s the same thing what I give those guys. Just being on the same page with everything and knowing the knowledge of the game. I think a lot of them didn’t get a lot of playing time, and just knowing what they can and cannot do during this training camp is teaching them a lot.”

On if he has a particular compatibility with any safeties:

“It’s different for each guy, but we all communicate. To pick one right now—it’s like, what, day three, day four of practicing? I’m just going through rotations seeing who I can really communicate more with and be on the same page with.”

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