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“Making sure that they aren’t taken the wrong way,” Alexander said. “They’re kind of covering their backs.”

Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo said he hasn’t noticed a change in coaches’ demeanor or speeches because the Redskins have “more cool, calm, collected-type coaches anyway as far as letting us be men out there and just let us handle our business on our own.” The aggressive mentality is unchanged.

“A team takes on the character of its coach,” linebacker Chris Wilson said. “Our coaches here, we deal with X’s and O’s. They preach physical and everything else as well, but as far as the character of our coaches, they’re not in-your-face, talking, cursing and spitting type guys.”

Perhaps having more mild-mannered coaches is part of the process, but the Redskins staff knows all about what happened in New Orleans and the adjustments that might be necessary from the old way of doing things.

“You are who you are, and you speak the way you speak. I just kind of talk the way I always do. You always talk about doing a great job tackling … those types of things,” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. “But I think there’s more of an understanding about how you say things. But the game’s still about getting to the quarterback and bringing them down, it’s still about disrupting receivers at the line of scrimmage and trying to make plays on the ball. So however you verbalize that.”

What took a few Redskins players aback was that the Saints‘ bounty system put a priority on inflicting injuries. It’s not all that uncommon for teammates to make side wagers on tackles or even incentives to make big plays, but bonuses for knocking out colleagues was entirely different.

“I’ve never heard of that,” Alexander said. “I’ve heard of making plays: You get a sack, you get this much, you go down and make a big hit, but never legitimately if you take this guy out of the game, you get X amount of dollars.”

Wilson said there’s a self-policing aspect of football that players usually can tell when opponents are trying to hurt them. Learning of a team encouraging injuries came as a surprise to him because of how much effort goes into not wanting to see colleagues carted off the field.

“I think football is one of the few games you openly see prayer taking place. It’s in the locker room all the time because you can get hurt doing it,” he said. “But we’re all professionals; we’re all doing something we love to do, and we’re all trying to make a living. You pray for guys, you pray for yourself as well as the other team and hope nobody gets hurt, and then you go out there and play the game as best and as aggressive to your abilities.”

But aggression can be costly. There’s a psychological element that could come into play for Saints defenders and others who now might not have the benefit of extra bonus money.

But Alexander said guys can’t play the game even thinking about that in the heat of battle.

“We play this game because we love to play it and we’re professionals,” Golston said. “The incentive is to go out there and be a professional.”