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Sports Illustrated: The Making of a Defense

EXCERPT: With players such as Cornelius Griffin, Marcus Washington and Shawn Springs, and with coaches like Gregg Williams, the Redskins have forged a new culture. Cornelius Griffin is so soft-spoken and unpretentious, one may assume that sacking the quarterback isn’t a big deal to the Redskins’ star defensive tackle. Griffin goes to great lengths to avoid praising himself, while bobbing and weaving to dodge complements from others. He instead stresses the importance of the Redskins doing well as a team, specifying that the defense needs to handcuff opponents, prevent them from scoring in the red zone, or simply shut them out. After all, he says nonchalantly, making three or four sacks means nothing if you lose: “The thing is getting the W.” Griffin’s modesty aside, his ability to put quarterbacks on the seat of their pants is instrumental to the Redskins’ fortunes. Take the pivotal sack he made with 1:32 left in Washington’s season-opening win over the Bears at FedExField.