September 29, 2011
Redskins Park


Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the practice status of wide receiver Anthony Armstrong, safety DeJon Gomes and fullback Darrel Young:
“[Armstrong] was limited. He’ll go day-by-day with those hamstrings. You don’t want to push too fast, but all of them got a chance to work it and we’ll just have to see how they are tomorrow.”

On if the shortened offseason is the cause of the hamstring injuries:
“You know, I don’t think so. Anthony’s in good shape. He just kind of pulled it on one of the routes. I don’t know with [Gomes] what happened with him. We had [Young] do some practicing on Thursday, so you really don’t know. Maybe they’re a little tight, not quite loose enough. We’re going to make sure they get a good stretch, because we can’t afford to have any more pulls, that’s for sure.”

On if he evaluates injuries differently with a bye week approaching:
“No, it’s like every other week. I mean, if they can go, they can go. If they can’t… You just don’t know. Some guys heal a little bit quicker than others.”

On a third-and-5 from the 18-yard line on the Redskins’ second trip to the red zone against Dallas:
“We had a chance there. We were just a hair away. We got a little bump on the wide receiver. I thought it was a great throw. We almost got that one.”

On red zone trips against Dallas:
“We had the ball on the 19 and we had third-and-3. [Tim] Hightower caught a little option route, took it the 12-yard line. First run we had a plus-six. Second run we had a plus-five. We had first-and-goal from the one and we put it in the endzone… Your second one was third-and-5 from the 18 and you got a chance, so that’s that scenario. You can’t lose yardage on second-and-7 on the seven. It puts you in a bad spot — third-and-9. But you’re still working to convert those third downs. They had a good defense with the play we had called. We just couldn’t get in the end zone. And we had a shot on a third-and-5 and just missed it and the other one we got in the endzone. Third-and-3 from the 19, Hightower did a good job. We were able to have a couple of good runs there by Hightower. First and goal from the one, we elected to pass. So that worked out. But those are the things we keep on working on. First week we were 3-for-4. Second week we were 2-for-7. I’ll take that any time, being down there in the red zone seven times. That was not one of our better games moving the football against Dallas. You’ve got to get down there more. So hopefully we can rectify that with a little bit harder work and once we do get down there, put some more points on the scoreboard because 16 points is surely not enough to win.”

On what makes a team better in the red zone:
“You want to be good consistently. Usually the teams that move the ball the most consistently usually score in the red zone. You’ve just got to be able to run the ball, you’ve got to be able to throw the ball, you’ve got to be able to keep the defense off-balance and you’ve got to be at your best down there. And hopefully we can keep on getting better.”

On how he handles the players the week before the bye week:
“Basically what I do is let them know the schedule so their mindset is totally on the game. They know what time they’re going to have off. They know what they can concentrate on. They don’t have the wife or the girlfriend asking them, ‘hey, what day are you going to get off?’ ‘I don’t know. I don’t want to ask the coach because if he’s mad at us, he’s going to make us go an extra day.’ All that kind of stuff. I treat these guys like grown men. I expect everybody’s best shot, everybody’s concentration level and this is what our schedule’s going to be. Let’s go into the bye week hopefully 3-1.”

On if he favors having the bye week early in the season:
“It really doesn’t matter. When you have the preseason games, when you have the lockout like we did, I think it comes at a good time. You’ve got — I think it’s what, 72 days? — into it with 12 weeks left. You can say it’s almost the middle of the season with the preseason the way it went and the early games. I think we could use a little rest. It sure won’t hurt us.”

On the schedule for next week:
“Players will be off Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. What we usually do is take our first two days, Monday and Tuesday, and we’re getting ready for [Philadelphia] and we’ll hit them hard. Then [we’ll] come back on the following Sunday, get some work done. Monday prep — players will come in and work out on, get the pads back on and get a chance to hit a little bit. They’ve been off for five days. We have two runs on Thursday and Saturday to run a little bit to get some workout in. Tuesday’s their day off and Wednesday we’ll practice.”

On the commitment to the running game:
“First of all, we’re going to run the football. If they look at rushing attempts, we’re going to be in the top 10. We believe in the running game. We’ve got to be more effective. That’s the bottom line. Anybody that’s going to complain about getting carries on our football team, then they’ve got to go to a different league. Because, you know, we’ll be in the top 10 normally. If not, we’re not nearly as effective as we need to be, because that’s part of our philosophy. But I think now we’re eighth in rushing attempts, and we’ll probably continue to be pretty close to the top 10. We’d just like more plays and we’d like to execute them a little bit better.”

On Tim Hightower slipping in the game against the Cowboys:
“I’ve never seen Tim slip that many times in a game. He slipped three or four times in that game. Hopefully we get a little bit better footing. That’s what we do in pregame – get a feel for the field. I think every player has got about 20 pairs of shoes, so hopefully there shouldn’t be a problem. We should test everything out.”

On getting away from the run at times in 2010:
“I think I said this last year — Take a look at my philosophy and what I’ve done since I’ve been in the National Football League, at least offenses that I’ve been with from an assistant coach to a head coach, and I think you can see what my pattern is. And sometimes you get behind. Sometimes it’s game situations. Sometimes it’s a number of things that I can’t go into detail about. I think when you evaluate somebody, you evaluate what they’ve done over the last 20 years and how many times they’ve run it and that will stay pretty close to the truth.”

On the importance of dictating tempo on defense with blitzing:
“I know from an offensive standpoint, the hardest defense is when you don’t know what to expect. They have the ability to do everything and you just don’t know when they’re going to do it. And so if it’s a three-man front, a four-man front, [defenses] have the ability to run different coverages, keep you off-balance, they’re not doing the same thing every time. Now, there’s some teams that can do that, and when they do do that, they usually have great personnel. They could line up in one defense and pretty much dictate what they want to do. There aren’t too many of those teams anymore. If there are, they’ve got to stay injury free… You’ve just got to go out and execute. Some teams are very basic in their offensive scheme and they’ve got certain type of personnel. Others teams try to keep it a little more off-balance. Everybody’s got a different philosophy. Some people like throw it a little bit more than run it. Some people really don’t even care about the running game anymore. They’re just going to throw it and dictate it. So, find different ways to win.”

On if he generally gives the players five days off during the bye week:
“It has been my norm through the years. Now I think the new rule is four days, but I give them five days. I think it’s always good to get players away from me a little bit. It’s such a demanding season. They get a chance to spend a little time with their families. One thing that I ask them to do is get a couple of runs in on their own. I always tell them God is watching, so they’re on the honor system. But down deep, I said ‘that guy knows upstairs if you’re running or not.’ You just trust them. You want them to come back in shape. They know it’s a chance to get away. It’s a long season. There are a lot of demands during the season and a lot of guys really enjoy that break to get away and come back refreshed and ready to go.”

On the limited number of padded practices allowed by the collective bargaining agreement:
“It’s not really a big difference. They have 13 padded practices and those pads are big shoulder pads. You can wear shells to every practice. If you looked at us today, we had shells on. It’s hard to tell the difference between shells and shoulder pads. If you looked today, you probably would have said we were in pads with the size of some of these shells. There’s different sizes, different variations [of shells], so if somebody wants to have an aggressive practice and they want to hit, they basically can hit. That all depends on the size [of the] shells. This is the first time we’ve had shells on. We didn’t have pads on this week. I thought we had a very physical game Monday night. I felt hitting our football team right now would not be the proper thing to do. We need to heal up a bit to get ready to play on Sunday. Very physical game on Monday night, so we did have shells but there wasn’t a lot of contact. More speed, quickness, explosion type of practices. Depending on the year, depending on if we’re banged up or not, will determine if we had pads on one day a week.”

On how the league holds coaches accountable for the number of padded practices:
“You just tell them what you do. Like I said, any day [the league] can say ‘send us your film from Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We want to take a look. Did Darrel Young practice today? It says so-and-so is limited. Show me where he’s limited. Show me where he practiced.’ So they have the ability to call that in any time they want to, so when they call it in, you have to give them the complete week’s practice, and they get to look at everything.”

Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett

On safety Oshiomogho Atogwe:
“Oshiomogho actually played his best game last week – a lot better because of the hamstring. He had an excellent game last week. He had seven tackles and he was all over the field. He did a nice job. He didn’t have a lot of opportunities to make big plays, but he was in position to do what he was supposed to do. I thought he played well.”

On if the corners play differently with safeties Atogwe and LaRon Landry playing:
“It depends on what the call is. I just think there is more of a comfort zone now that you have LaRon and Oshiomogho back there. They haven’t had a lot of work together. They only had three practices together as a whole, so as they get more time on the grass, they are going to get a lot more comfortable together. As a whole, we’ll be a lot better on the back end.”

On the 3rd-and-21 play call against Dallas:
“There were a lot of things that go into that. First of all, we ran it 10 times this year and we’ve had one touchdown, two interceptions, a fumble and we won nine of [the plays] and we lost one. It’s a great defense. It really is. We ran [that play] on 3rd-and-18 and we got the interception. It was one of those deals, talking to coaches in Dallas, that they had a comeback on and they avoided the comeback because of the blitz and he just started running for his life and kind of threw it up in the air. They made a play and we didn’t. Would you take it back? Of course you would. Coaches always second guess themselves, but it’s still a great defense.”

On the results of plays on the other occasions when the defense blitzed:
“[Tony Romo] threw a smoke one time and that’s when we got the fumble. The other time, they just threw a hitch for a four-yard gain.”

On Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo’s decision on the third down play:
“It was on the fly from what I understand. He got the ball and started running for his life and just threw it up. He does a good job. He picks the ball up on a fumble and starts running around and gets a completion out of it. The ball is on the ground five times and the ball bounces right back into him. He had it on that day.”

On if the blitzes are decided during game preparation or if they are in-game adjustments:
“We have an idea going into the game exactly what we want to do and then we adjust it accordingly to what they’re doing. We played well on third down last year – I think fifth or sixth in the league on third down – and I think we’re No. 1 on third down right now. It’s a process and we mix it up. We don’t blitz all the time, we mix it up. We play coverage depending on what they’re doing and protection-wise if we think we can get there. Can we four-man rush? Can we five-man rush? It’s not like a blitz-fest. There is a good mixture of what we do. We mix it up and I think we’re pretty good in those situations.”

On the team’s pass rushers:
“We have guys that are pretty good at it. You have two rush ends now and LaRon can do it and Oshiomogho is pretty good at it. We send corners and safeties depending on what the situation is. We feel good about all of the guys. Kevin Barnes had two or three sacks in the preseason from the nickel spot. It’s based on protections, what we come up with that week.”

On the facemask penalty against cornerback DeAngelo Hall:
“I agree with him. He hit the facemask, but he never grabbed it and touched it. I didn’t think it was a good call.”

On Hall’s comments after the game:
“He’s emotional guy and he’s high-strung. He felt bad about the play and I understand. Stuff like that doesn’t bother me. I played the game and I was probably worse than that. Everybody wanted to win. I’ll tell you this though, we played our butts off on defense. We held the team to six field goals, which I don’t think I’ve ever lost to a team with six field goals. [I’ve lost] by five one time, but I don’t remember six. Those guys gave everything they had. I was proud of the way they played under the conditions. We did everything we could do to win the game. It just came down to them making a play and we didn’t.”

On the Cowboys’ long runs:
“We had three-on-two on the runs and we just missed a tackle one time and misplayed it one time. We had a new linebacker one time and we misplayed it. Those things will be corrected. When they had two guys blocking three, we missed a tackle and then we didn’t play it right, so those things will be corrected. We should have played it better, but that’s really the only blemish we’ve had on the run so far. We’ll fix that.”

On the reason for opposing offenses’ success in the second half of games:
“I’m not really sure to be honest with you. I didn’t look at it that way. I’ll take a peek at that.”

On Landry’s performance against the Cowboys:
“I thought he played excellent. He got a little tired at the end. We substituted him a little bit and we put Reed [Doughty] in. He didn’t want to be substituted, but we thought he was getting tired. As a whole, I was really surprised that, one, he could last that long and that means he’s in great shape obviously and, two, he had no mental errors for a guy that hasn’t done much. He’s been standing behind watching. He had one technique error, but he was sharp. He played great, covered a lot of the field and tackled well.”

On cornerback Josh Wilson’s performance against the Cowboys:
“I thought Josh was excellent. He had four pass breakups, tackled well and covered well. I thought he played really well this game.”

On if Wilson’s getting more comfortable:
“He’s another one that if they keep improving together and keep working together, then they are going to get better and better.”

On if Atogwe and Landry’s personalities and playing styles complement each other:
“They are two different types of guys. One is high-strung and one’s level-headed and relaxed. They work together well and they talk well together. They sit together in the meetings and they talk through plays. I think it’s a good mixture.”

On if nose tackle Chris Neild helps spell nose tackle Barry Cofield:
“I thought Chris played excellent the other day. We want to get him some more time. I think he had 18 snaps in the game if I’m not mistaken, but every time he’s out there, he just keeps showing us stuff. I thought he played really well against a pretty good center and a pretty good front. He did a nice job… He’s using his hands. He’s playing front-side. He knows what he’s doing, which helps. He pushes the pocket well. He’s really done a nice job and all of the young guys have done well.”

On if the loss to St. Louis last season is motivation for this week’s game:
“I hope so because we didn’t play well up there. We didn’t play well in any facet and we had guys hurt before the game, blocked punts, missed assignments and missed tackles. It was the whole gamut. Our guys are pretty focused and we’ll go out there and play well.”

On Cowboys center Phil Costa’s accusations about the defensive line mimicking the snap count:
“I thought the guy needs to get the snap back better. It didn’t hurt them because they got them all back. I know for a fact that [after] talking to Barry, Stephen [Bowen] and the guys that nothing was said. I don’t know what he was hearing or seeing or whatever.”

On the Rams’ offense:
“I think they are a pretty good football team. [Their struggles] are probably a product of the lockout a little bit. The quarterback I think is excellent. I know Steven [Jackson] and the running backs, they upgraded with Cadillac [Williams] and they have [Jerious] Norwood. They have three [running backs] as good as anybody in the league. Their receivers are solid players [and they have] athletic tight ends. [They have] a lot of first round picks and a lot of money in the offensive line and they’ve done a good job. I think they’re just a team waiting to break loose and hopefully not this week.”

On if the Rams’ offense has changed a lot from last year:
“They are a totally different offense. They have a great scheme and they do a lot of things differently. They change from week-to-week so you have to be up on it and be ready to adjust to whatever they are going to give you. I think the scheme’s excellent.”

On if the Rams’ offense has added more during each game thus far:
“I think they are consistently getting better. They have done some things that have kind of hurt them and they’ll correct that. This will be a good game for them because obviously they are playing at home and they are going to try to put it together. I think they have all of the makings to be a really good offense.”

On if there are risks vs. rewards when blitzing:
“There is and there isn’t because we do a lot of blitzes and we played zone behind it, if that makes sense. We do a blitz and we’ll play two-deep behind it or we’ll play quarter, quarter and halves behind it. Let’s say they block up the blitz. It doesn’t really make a difference because we’re playing coverage behind it. We’re giving the illusion that it’s a blitz, but it’s really not… The blitz [on third down] was everybody. That was a zero blitz.”

On if he liked playing for an aggressive coach during his playing career:
“I think coaches kind of look and see what they have and know what they can do. If they feel good about the guys that can execute the defense, they’ll take more leeway.”


Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan

On tight end Chris Cooley playing fullback against the Cowboys:
“I thought he did a good job. He had limited reps in practice and [we] kind of threw him into that role towards the end. I thought he did a very good job. It was very impressive how he could do it from a mental stand point and a physical stand point… It’s a similar position – the fullback and the tight end position. They really have a lot of the same blocking plays, but it’s just a different spot on the field.”

On if playing Cooley at full back confuses a defense:
“It’s just nice when you put two tight ends on the field for a defensive guy not to know whether you’re in a two-back or one-back. I think it causes some defenses some issues.”

On if he was nervous to hand the ball off to Cooley:
“Not really. He had looked good at it in practice and we felt good about the play. I think we went to the well one too many times with the second time. We were pretty confident it was going to be a good play and we did a pretty good job on it.”

On if the offense got away from the run late in the game:
“I was happy with how the game went. In the third quarter, I think it was five runs and six passes and we were balanced then. In the fourth quarter, the problem was it’s going to get one-sided when you don’t have long drives. We had too many, I don’t know if it was three-and-outs, but it was about four-and out and then we’d pick up a first down. We had very quick drives. We’re happy with how we’ve run the ball this year. There are only six teams that have run the ball more than us, so I think we’ve been fairly balanced. It’s something that we believe in and, when the game dictates [it], it’s what we’ll do.”

On if offensive balance is overrated because of the short passes:
“I don’t think so. I think people look at stats at the end of the game and see that you threw it too much at the end. To me, when you have a one-point lead with seven minutes left, and you’re on your 15 yard line, that is not a time to run out the clock. You need to do whatever you think you can to move the chains. With what the defense was doing at the time, we did what we thought was best to move the chains.”

On the running game against the Cowboys:
“We knew it was going to be a challenge. [The Cowboys] have a very good defense and a very good run defense. When it’s like that, you’re usually just one guy away. There were a couple of times that we had some chances and I think we lost our footing on it. A couple [of plays] just came down to one block and that’s the NFL. You keep hammering away and it’s very rare that you just come out there and there are gaps wide open. When it’s not and you’re going against a good defense you’re going to stick with it and hope you get that crease and it will change your run average for the whole game. We never really got that long one and it really hurts your average.”

On if Rex was supposed to protect the ball on the Redskins final play from scrimmage when he fumbled:
“That’s a position where you obviously don’t want him in. His job is to protect the ball. He broke the pocket and you can tell that he was concerned about it, but he didn’t protect the ball. He has to make sure to keep two hands on it.”

On the team’s red zone performance thus far in the season:
“I think it’s about normal. We had a really good first week and I think our second week versus Arizona – we got down there a bunch, but I think we were two-for-seven, so I was not happy with that at all. Then, this week, it was a little frustrating. We got down there three times. The first time was the most disappointing one because the defense did a hell of a job and got us the ball on the 10 [yard line]. We ran it on first down and got three yards. On second down, we lost two yards and had third-and-nine and you’re not going to get in when you do that. The second time down there, we only had one play. We were on the 18-yard line on third-and-five and took a shot to the end zone and it was the right read. Terrence Austin just stumbled out of the break and we just missed it. The third time down there, we scored. [Tim] Hightower made a hell of a play on third-and-three to get us to the 12-yard line. We had two runs that got us to the one and then we scored. I didn’t think it was a terrible day, but, we have to make sure we get more opportunities to get down there more.”

On how play calling changes in the red zone:
“Third-and-long is tough anywhere on the field. When you get third-and-long down there, it’s twice as tough because the field’s a lot smaller. They can come after you, which does give you more opportunities because you have some more lanes. If they don’t come after you, then there are not a lot of people open. There’s rarely someone open in rhythm. There are just too many people in the end zone with not a lot of eligible [receivers], so it gets tougher the tighter you get down there. That’s why you have to stay out of those third-and-longs anywhere on the field, but especially in the red zone.”

On if Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware was having success particularly against the right side of the offensive line:
“I didn’t notice that. I thought Jammal [Brown] got beat one time in particular and that was because of crowd noise and the player got a hell of a jump off of the ball. [DeMarcus] got a hell of a jump off of the ball and beat everyone. Jammal did everything he could to get to him, but Rex just tucked the ball away and took the sack.”

On how tackle Trent Williams played against Ware:
“I thought Trent battled. It was a tough matchup, but he battled. Obviously, as a whole, we all didn’t do well enough. I thought he competed and did a very good job.”

On tight end Fred Davis’ decline in production against the Cowboys:
“That’s just the NFL. You don’t just call a play to Fred. You read the coverage out and what it dictates, who gets it [and] protection dictates who gets it. He didn’t get as many opportunities, but that’s just how the game works out sometimes.”

On if Davis has to adjust because he has teams’ attention after the first two games:
“I don’t think so. I hope they do because that gives everyone else a lot more opportunities also. When you mix the ball around, it’s pretty tough to just take one guy away.”

On the Rams’ defense:
“I know they struggled last week and they gave up some big plays in the first half and it kind of all just fell apart for them. I know they have some good players and I know they have a very good scheme and very good coaches. I know we’re going to get their best shot. Any time a team struggles like that, they’re going to play as well as they can. I know it’s going to be a real tough challenge on Sunday.”

On the Rams’ struggles against the run:
“It’s very rare that you see that in the NFL where you just see wide open run lanes. They’ve gotten hit on some big plays and a lot of those big ones have been pretty good run defense. [Philadelphia Eagles running back] LeSean McCoy made some unbelievable runs, making a lot of people miss. It really messed up their stats and they’ve been hit on some big ones. The Giants are a pretty good run team and they pretty much shut down their run game.”

Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan

On if he has exceeded his own expectations:
“Not by any means. I’d love to be 3-0 right now and I’d trade the [NFL Defensive] Rookie of the Month award – which I’m very honored to receive – but I’d trade that for a 3-0 record any day.”

On the adjustment to pass rushing while playing linebacker:
“Well, this is something I had to work on in practice and develop in practice. It was very evident on the film after the first week that I needed to do a better job of rushing the passer. That’s what I was brought here for — to get after the passer and do other things to help our defense succeed. I was able to make some adjustments from Week 1 to Week 2 and then to Week 3, so hopefully I can continue to progress.”

On if the game is starting to slow down for him:
“Once the game starts, everything kind of slows down. It’s just that first play, your adrenaline is pumping and your mind is racing 100 miles an hour. But then after that first play, everything kind of slows down and you can kind of catch your breath.”

On his transition to linebacker:
“I’ve still got a long ways to go, no doubt. From a pass rushing standpoint, a coverage standpoint, I’ve still got a lot to work on and that’s the beauty of football. You’ve got a week to work on everything before every game. Then you’ve got a week of practice to work and then a game to use as your measuring stick.”

On how he found out about being named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month:
“Actually, one of the front office people told me this morning. I walked in the building and they showed me the paper and I was like, ‘oh, well, that’s nice.’ But I was pretty excited to see that.”

On if he likes playing for an aggressive coaching staff:
“We want to attack. You want to keep the offense on their toes and that’s what our mentality is. I’m behind [Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett] and whatever he calls. That’s what I think, and I’d say everyone else on the team is as well. I love that mentality that we’re going to attack no matter what the situation is.”

On facing the winless St. Louis Rams:
“They’re 0-3, but it’s almost like a little disguised 0-3 because they’ve played some really good opponents. When you look at the Ravens last week, year-in and year-out, they’re one of the best teams in the NFL. You’ve got to kind of take their record with a grain of salt because it doesn’t indicate how good of a team they actually have.”



(Courtesy of the Washington Redskins)