September 5, 2011
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

Opening remarks:
“I voted on captains today. Our defensive captains are [linebacker] London Fletcher and [cornerback] DeAngelo Hall. On offense, it’s [wide receiver] Santana Moss and, on special teams, for the first game, it’s [linebacker] Lorenzo Alexander.”

On selecting the starting quarterback:
“I got a chance to talk to the quarterbacks over the weekend. It was a very good battle. I have a lot of faith in both of them and it’s been very competitive all the way through, but I wanted to announce it today and the starting quarterback will be Rex [Grossman].”

On what went into deciding the starting quarterback:
“Day-by-day, practice every day, game situations and just watching how guys performed in all different areas. It was close, but I have a lot of confidence in both guys after watching [both] through this camp.”

On why he announced the starting quarterback today instead of waiting:
“I just thought it was the best thing if we knew what direction we were going to go. I wanted to let everyone know and, Wednesday, everyone can focus on the Giants and not all of the speculation that goes on in between. I wanted to take as long as I possibly could to know that we did make the right decision.”

On what he saw in Rex in the preseason:
“It’s a big evaluation process. You’re talking about seven-on-seven, team [drills], check-offs, audibles and blitzes. All-in-all, I thought he did a great job. I thought John [Beck] did [well] too, but I thought Rex won it by an edge.”

On if Rex improved from this year compared to the end of last:
“It’s always nice to get some snaps. I wish we would have had the OTAs. You miss those couple of months there, but he’s familiar with the system. I thought he’s pretty automatic with a lot of his reads and hopefully he plays accordingly.”

On if he’ll re-evaluate the starting quarterback after the Giants game:
“We evaluate every position. That’s the nature of this game. You have to be at the top of your game to stay at any position. I know everyone wants to make the quarterback controversy ¬– how long he’ll be here – just like any position. You have to perform whether you are a Pro Bowl player or you’re coming in as a first-round pick. We’re going to evaluate you every day. I told these guys from the start, ‘I have no idea what direction we are going to go, but, whoever plays the best is going to start.’

On if Rex will be the starter for the season:
“You make decisions that are based for the season. When you pick a guy out, you’re not going to say, ‘I think he’s going to fail.’ You’re hoping he’s going to be very successful.”

On how quarterback John Beck took the news:
“I think he took it the same way Rex would. He’s very competitive. Whatever way we went, the other guy was going to be disappointed. They are going to support their teammates and he’s one play away from being the starter. I have a lot of confidence in him.”

On keeping eight wide receivers on the 53-man roster:
“I don’t look at Brandon [Banks] as a receiver – he’s a returner. He’s a guy that I’m even afraid to practice as a wide receiver because that knee swells up. I thought he did such a great job in punt returns and kick returns that it would be silly not to dress him on game day. I think he’s a difference maker out there, but he will be a specialty.”

On safety LaRon Landry and tight end Chris Cooley:
“He didn’t practice the whole practice, but he practiced some. He’s making progress. We have to evaluate him and Chris [Cooley] throughout the week and then make a decision right up to game time to see how they practice… Chris probably got a few more reps than LaRon. They both practiced some and hopefully they keep on improving.”

On who the backup guard is:
“You probably would have Erik [Cook] go in at the center position and either Kory [Lichtensteiger] or Will [Montgomery] go to the guard position.”

On tight end Mike Sellers making the team:
“He helped himself by having the mindset to go in there and not be disappointed that Darrel Young was getting a shot to be the starting fullback. Mike is a pretty strong guy mentally. It’s always tough as you get older to go and work as a third and fourth-team tight end. He never wavered and worked hard at both the Y and Tiger position. He still backed up the fullback position. When he played in the game against Tampa Bay, he played well at the fullback position. And he can play special teams. He’s a guy that can help us in a number of different ways and I appreciate how hard he’s been working.”

On tackle Willie Smith:
“He has a lot of talent. He’s a big guy with long arms. Like everybody, he gets in there and had a chance to compete and win a spot. We didn’t want to take the chance and put him out there and lose him.”

On keeping nose tackle Chris Neild over Anthony Bryant:
“That was very tough because Anthony has worked hard and did some good things last year, but we thought Chris separated himself and that’s why he made the team…You can see he’s mentally tough and a student of the game. He works extremely hard and I think he has a chance at a good future.”

On keeping running back Ryan Torain on the 53-man roster and putting running back Evan Royster on the practice squad:
“[Ryan] Torain beat him out in the last game. That’s why he’s the third running back. We liked [Evan] Royster and that’s why he’s back on the practice squad, but we have competition and that’s what we’re doing. With a guy like Ryan, we kind of knew what he’s done. We were hoping that he would come back and play well and we thought he played well against Tampa Bay to earn himself a position. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot of confidence in Royster because we do, but it’s going to take some time and I’m looking forward to working with him.”

On if having six defensive linemen is too thin:
“We wouldn’t have to activate all of them. We would probably activate five with a three-man front because you’re taking a look at your outside linebacker in the nickel and you’re taking a look at four guys or possibly five with Markus [White]. So you have plenty of weapons there. We have two practice squad players too so we have eight linemen. When you have a 61-man squad, you can do a lot of combinations of who’s going to be on game day.”

On if the team had more depth this year:
“When you take a look at free agency, you added a number of players to your football team. You added 12 people in your draft so you’ve added a number of people to your football team. It was a lot more competitive than it was a year ago. Last year, for free agency, you had to be in your seventh year and everyone protected the players on your football team. It was really a different year last year and we didn’t have a full draft so we needed a number of player to come in, especially young players.”

On if today’s practice was productive despite the rain:
“We needed this day. Any time you play on a Thursday and do a little something on Saturday, I wanted to get pads on today and hit a little bit. Tomorrow will be their day off and you have Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday for normal preparation. If you don’t have a good practice today, usually your Wednesday practice is very poor. I found that out through the years.”

On having nine rookies on the 53-man roster:
“I think it’s pretty usual to have that many rookies on the team. I felt very good about the draft and, hopefully, in four years, we’re talking about Pro Bowl players.”



(Courtesy of the Washington Redskins)