Will Blackmon on Redskins' DC search: 'I'd pick Gus'

NFL Media's Oklahoma Drill series presents exclusive, quick-hitting one-on-one interviews with players and coaches from around the league. No nonsense -- just football experiences directly from the source.

Will Blackmon

Free safety, Washington Redskins

Born: Oct. 27, 1984

Experience: 10 NFL seasons

Interview by Brooke Cersosimo | Jan. 13, 2017

Dallas is the best team that I've seen all year. They have the same defensive players as they did last year, but they're playing so hard and extremely physical. Every tackle they made looked like it hurt somebody else.

And Zeke is unreal. Nobody looks at him and says, "He's a big back." But he's a big boy who can run. He was a hurdler in high school and we've seen him jump over everybody. It just shows how athletic he is, and he can actually take it the distance.

Dak does a good job, does what he needs to do. He doesn't make a lot of mistakes, which is what you ask your quarterback to do.

If Green Bay can stop the run, Green Bay wins [against the Cowboys].

[As a freshman at Boston College, Matt Ryan] was the scout team quarterback and slicing up our starters. I was like Man, this kid is pretty good. It wasn't until he took over his redshirt freshman year as starting quarterback. At the time, our coach was Tom O'Brien and we had a real military-type staff, real disciplined. Matt didn't get the call so he called a timeout. Matt was 19 years old, and he ran over to the sideline and cussed the entire staff out. I didn't know what to think. Then, he came back in and threw me a deep ball. I knew right there. He gained everyone's respect and is a true competitor.

I do think he's done enough [to be the league MVP]. I think he's always been a solid quarterback and now they have all the pieces together. As a team they're doing so well, and his numbers show it.

With Josh [Norman], I went in with an open mind. I actually watched him when I played corner last season on how he was getting all these picks. He came in and is a hard worker and super competitive. As a person, he's a really good friend. He's super down-to-earth, real chill, real quiet.

As far as what you see on Sundays, that's his stage. ... His alter ego is the Dark Knight. He is Bruce Wayne during the day and Dark Knight in the game. That's who he is.

Josh did call me the Swiss Army knife. He said that 'cause I was starter at free safety. Last year, I was starting nickel [corner] and have played there this year. I am the third corner, the other strong [safety] and I was the starting kick returner and backup punt returner. So I'm pretty much Swiss Army knife/Band-Aid. I got all kinds of nicknames.

You can have a great coach but he can't be in every room at the same time. Whoever is hired [as Washington's defensive coordinator], it's important that he hires the right staff. The position coaches are in the ones teaching, motivating these guys and inspiring these guys to do well.

I played for Gus [Bradley] in Jacksonville and worked out for him when he was in Seattle. He's had the most recent success in terms of building solid defenses. Obviously, Coach [Mike] Pettine had the defense with the Jets and did really well with them.

If I had a preference, I'd pick Gus. I already know what I'm going to get because I've seen it. I just know he brings a competitive atmosphere where the best guy is going to be on the field. He's going to challenge everybody, motivate everybody and inspire everybody. He's an uplifting person and I think you need that out of a coach. The biggest thing about him is he's genuine. He genuinely wants to see you succeed.

Trent Murphy [deserves more credit]. He switched positions this year, and comes in every day and is consistent.

The cool thing with Sean McVay is he took our offense to third in the league this year. His body of work right there is the team getting better. The Rams are looking for offense, and maybe they wanted somebody fresh or brand new.

Ironically, I was talking to my wife last night and said, "It would help Sean if he brought in someone like Wade Phillips." [Phillips] is somebody who has that head coaching pedigree and who's been around the league forever. Sure enough, I saw it come across my phone that Sean brought in Wade. Once again, it's important who your staff is. I don't care about his age. I'm all about beating the odds no matter what happens.

The way I feel right now, I could easily play four [more years] at a high level. But I always say I'll play until they throw me out because I love football so much. My body feels good and teams are still giving me opportunities to compete.

I do want another ring. Once you feel it, you want it again and want other guys to feel that, too.

[We have what it takes to win a Super Bowl] because we were so close in a lot of games. So many games were so close and should've gone our way. When you're so close like that in games, we definitely have a chance.

In all fairness, [Kirk Cousins] deserves anything over $19 [million per year]. But the tricky thing is do you max out, therefore it's harder for people to sign on our team? Or do you find a happy medium and bring guys in and build our team to where we can win? At the end of the day, it's a team sport.

The only beneficial thing about that year off was being a full-time dad. I got to hang out with my son and I saw all the milestones. We had Thanksgiving at our house for the first time. We had Christmas in our own house for the first time.

I was a typical kid who had a dream when I was 4 years old. I wanted to go to the NFL but didn't know how to do it, so I competed all the time.

My very first day of training camp in Green Bay in 2006, I broke my foot. First day ever. It was crazy and after that was just a domino effect of non-contact injuries. I got this far and my whole mindset was I'm supposed to be here. I was just very fortunate to find resources in terms of trainers, physical therapists and doctors, who were confident they could fix my injuries.

My wife, Shauna, has been a warrior in terms of being positive about anything. She believes anything is possible. My leg could've fallen off and floated in the Pacific, and she'd be like, Find it, sew it back on and you can make the Pro Bowl. It's so nice to have that. She's 95 percent of what it is.

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