Mikell's deflection was a big play

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley


LANDOVER, Md. -- Trailing 7-0, the Redskins had a second down at their own 11-yard line late in the first quarter. Eagles safety Quintin Mikell came on a blitz but he was picked up at the line of scrimmage. As quarterback Jason Campbell attempted a short pass across the middle, Mikell shot his hands up in the air and deflected the ball into the waiting arms of Will Witherspoon, who returned the interception nine yards for a touchdown.

"I've had a few over the years," Mikell said. "It's something we work on in practice and it obviously paid off tonight."

Mikell, who replaced Brian Dawkins as the vocal leader on defense, is the one wearing a transmitter in his helmet. He receives the call from defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and then he relays it to new middle linebacker Will Witherspoon, who calls the play in the huddle. Some players across the league don't really like being in constant communication with a coach, but Mikell said he enjoys being able to hear directly from McDermott.

"I want to be the first to know that stuff," Mikell said.

He was called on to play in the box even more than usual Monday, which allowed him to have ongoing conversations with Witherspoon.

"I was astounded at how quickly he's picked everything up," Mikell said. "We have a lot different terminology than the Rams, but he's been able to recognize pretty much everything."