A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
Game 12 - Philly. No biggie. Just a season in the balance ...

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    Marine Corps Virginia

    Helmet Skins Quotes 10/12/11: Shanahan, Grossman, Reid, Asomugha

    October 12, 2011
    Redskins Park


    Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

    On how his bye week went:
    “It was good to get away for a few days and kind of re-energize your battery and get ready to go.”

    On the injury status of fullback Darrel Young, wide receiver Anthony Armstrong, running back Tim Hightower and cornerback Phillip Buchanon:
    “Darrel [Young] was full-go today. Anthony [Armstrong] was limited... [Tim Hightower] was limited. [Phillip Buchanon] was limited with his neck. His neck is a little sore.”

    On how much he has to see from Buchanon for him to play against the Eagles:
    “Well, when you have people limited, we’re going to try to evaluate him during the week to see how he practices and see how they look. If somebody looks good over the next couple of days and you have a good feeling about them, then you let them play. If not, obviously you don’t.”

    On if Buchanon has a lot to learn:
    “Well, with a guy like Phillip, you have to make sure that he’s in football shape. You have to make sure that his neck is feeling good. He hasn’t had football-related drills for over a month. Even though he practiced one day last week and he’s getting in condition, it’s still football-related drills that he hasn’t done. We’ll evaluate him this week and do what’s best for the team.”

    On where Buchanon fits in the secondary:
    “He has the ability to do both – he can play outside and he can play on the right side. He’s done that before. He’s worked inside and he’s done it before. He’s practicing there to have the ability to help us wherever he can.”

    On cornerback Kevin Barnes:
    “He’s done well. He’s been our nickel [cornerback] from the beginning and he’s played well.”

    On the Eagles’ defense:
    “Everybody has different schemes. Everybody talks about the “wide nine” and sometimes the linebackers are out there and sometimes the defensive ends are out there. The defensive ends are outside or either a linebacker or safety inside… We’ve seen wide nines by a number of teams throughout the years and everybody has a little different philosophy on what they like to do.”

    On if the Eagles’ defense is still trying to get comfortable with a new defensive scheme:
    “Any time that you introduce a new system — offense, defense or if you are a first year coach or first year coordinator and you miss those OTA’s — you’re missing a lot of reps that you normally get. Obviously, they miss a lot of reps that they normally have and you bring into that the equation of new free agents and new draft choices, then it does take some time. A big difference for our football team from the first year to the second year is understanding your personnel first and you get draft choices and you get players adjusting to a scheme, people that fit within your scheme. It doesn’t happen overnight.”

    On evaluating quarterback Rex Grossman:
    “I think quarterbacks, when they evaluate themselves, look at each game and he would probably say that ‘I played pretty well against the Giants, but I’d like to have a couple of throws back. [Against] Arizona, [I] made some big time throws in clutch situations, but there are a couple of plays that I would like to have back. Probably against the Rams, I had a chance to put them away. A couple of throws in that fourth quarter [I would want back] – one a deflection and another one when it was a drop.’ He still knows that he has to take care of that ball and that’s kind of typical. You can go back through all of those games. Against Dallas, on the final drive, he probably wishes that he would have made one play a little differently. Quarterbacks have to be tough on themselves, but you have to find a way to win. When you find a way to win, it does a lot because it’s not just throwing the football. It’s the way you manage the game. It’s the way you handle your teammates. It’s how you prepare and how you work on game day. A lot of things go into being the quarterback of a football team.”

    On the team’s opportunity to continue leading the division:
    “I think our football team understands that it’s a 16-game season. We talk about it all of the time. We talk about ‘don’t worry about what happens three weeks from now, just take care of business.’ If you do that, you have a chance for good things to happen. I think our football team really thinks that way. We understand that this is a big game and a division game in the NFC East. We understand our opportunity to separate ourselves in the division, but we also know that we have to take care of business and do it the right way and play one of our best games, because we’re playing a very talented team and a team that we know is desperate for a win. They don’t want to go into the bye week 1-5. We understand that and we’re going to get their best shot.”

    On the challenge of knowing what's on the minds of quieter players:
    “Everybody's got a different personality. Just because some people speak their mind and other people won't, that doesn't mean someone's not ready to play. There's a lot of different types of personalities and a lot of different styles. But ultimately, you have to have everybody going in the same direction and people believing in themselves and preparing themselves and that's what we're hoping we're doing."

    On if it's tough to get a mental read on running back Ryan Torain:
    "No, it's easy for me. He's always ready. He's always ready to play. He works extremely hard. What's been Ryan's problem over the years is staying healthy. It's nice to have him back full-speed and the hand is feeling good. I think everybody saw what he did against the Rams, so I hope he can stay at that level."

    On if Torain's play has changed the role of running back Roy Helu:
    "No, it doesn't. You know, at the tailback position, it's really a unique position because you're really not sure how many times you're going to run the football during a game. So many different situations pop up where a guy carries it three, four, five times in a row and a guy needs a break and you put somebody else in, somebody gets hot, somebody doesn't get hot, they turn the ball over. What you want to do is have depth at that position. We have some depth at that position, so I feel pretty good about where we're at."

    On building a winning team in a market that craves success from this franchise:
    "I think what you do, or at least what I've tried to do, is put the best football team together that you can. We talk about last year — a lot of people ask me about the Philadelphia game — we'll have less than half the people that were part of the 46-man squad actually dress in this next game. They weren't part of this game last year — over half. That's a huge amount. You take a look at free agency, you take a look at the draft, you think about half of the people weren't even associated with that game a year ago. We've got some young players, we've got some new players. We've got a lot of tradition here. The thing that I enjoy about the fans is that they want stability, they want character, they want a football team that's going to play hard week-in and week-out, and hopefully we can show some consistency too now."

    On being in sole possession of first place:
    "We're four games into the season. I don't even think about first place. That's the furthest thing from my mind. The thing in my mind is playing a great game against Philadelphia. They came in here last year and kicked our rear ends. You know, 59-28, that was very embarrassing for our organization, as well as our coaching staff and our players. Even though only half of them will be out there, there's still half that were here a year ago. We're hopefully getting better. We're not there, by no means. We've got a lot to improve on on both sides of the ball. Our football team knows that and I think we're smart enough to know that we've got to keep on getting better. If we play our best football through the season, then we've got a chance to do something special."

    On what he said to his team about last year's game against Philadelphia:
    "I usually talk about teams every year. When I'm preparing to talk to our football team, if I'm talking about Dallas or the Giants, I'm usually talking about what happened the year before. Did we win? Nine out of 10, did we win? Nine out of ten, did we lose? Is it 50/50? There's a little bit of history and I go through the keys to winning the game — offense, defense and special teams. I usually give a synopsis of something that's happened if it's been out of the ordinary from the year before and go through the things it will take to win as a team."

    On advantages gained from the bye week:
    "Sometimes it's an advantage because you've got guys hurt. Maybe you get three or four guys back. We weren't very banged up. So from that perspective, we didn't gain an advantage there. Byes come at different times and, to be honest with you, I'd just rather go straight through. But they don't give me that option. But, hey, we deal with it. Guys got a little time off mentally for a few days to get away. I think that's always good, because [when] you're going those crazy hours in a week, it's kind of nice to have a little break and get ready for the last three quarters of the season."

    On if the bye is advantageous in preparing for an opponent:
    "Yeah, it is. You take advantage of that if you've got a couple extra days early in the week and then you get another couple of days. But you get used to studying people, especially within your division. Over the years, you know them better than anybody. You know their personnel, you know their scheme. It's kind of nice getting an extra couple of days because we got a chance to look at their scheme, which is different than it was a year ago."

    On the difficulty of stopping the Eagles’ offensive weapons:
    "Very seldom will I ever say that a guy like [Eagles running back LeSean] McCoy is probably the best back in the league. You can argue if it's [Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian] Peterson or it's him. I know one thing, any time they touch the ball, they've got a chance to go the distance. Not too many people can do that. You take a look at [Eagles wide receiver DeSean] Jackson, you take a look at [wide receiver Jeremy] Maclin, you take a look at [quarterback Michael] Vick, [there are] a few guys when they break the line of scrimmage you think they have ability if the ball is in their hand to go the distance, so it's a big challenge for our football team."

    On if the players came back from the bye week in-shape:
    "I think most guys [did]. We've got that kind of football team, that type of character on our team. But when you do come back after five days, I don't care what you've been doing, it takes a day to get adjusted to get back in football shape. We worked for about an hour and 50 minutes [on Monday], and it was pretty average, but we got the kinks out so we had a pretty good practice today."

    On when the indoor practice facility will open:
    "To be honest with you, I don't think I've ever seen as much rain in a three-week, four-week time period in my life, even if you're in Seattle. And I know one thing about construction, you cannot lay a foundation if it's raining outside, so there's nothing we can do about it. We'll just have to deal with the elements. I really don't mind practicing outside in the rain. The thing that's tough is when the lightning hits and you can't practice in the rain. Luckily we didn't have any rain today. If it was raining, there was no lightning. Of course, it's raining pretty hard out there right now. So I don't mind dealing with the elements, but sometimes you can't practice and that really sets you back."

    Quarterback Rex Grossman

    On what he did during the bye week:
    “I threw to Fred [Davis] on Thursday and Friday. I had some people in town and just hung out in D.C. It’s always good to get away for a little bit and push the reset button.”

    On if he looked back at the first four games of the season:
    “I watched every clip a couple of times just to refresh my memory, especially on the first three games and the fourth game as well. I was able to do that and figure out some things that I can get better at.”

    On what he can improve:
    “[Just when] breaking it down into specific plays, a few technique things and fundamentals in certain situations – dropping back to my left and opening up a little more.”

    On if he evaluates himself based on the team’s record or if there is more to it:
    “Each game dictates how I grade myself. The flow of the game can skew some things as far as what you’re allowed to do that creates the final result. I tend to evaluate per game. I feel like I can definitely get better. I’m really happy with a lot of things and just need to clean up a couple of plays per game.”

    On if the offense can beat the Eagles with a performance similar to the one it had against the Rams:
    “A Rams-like output would get it done. Any time you’re up 17-0 and you’re running the ball like that, you tend to keep running it. Obviously, we need to finish. Every game’s different and I thought we played well enough to win the game and that’s all you need. We’re in pursuit of that perfect game that we haven’t had yet. You’re always striving to be perfect.”

    On if the Eagles’ defense is still in transition:
    “I see a talented group that’s fast and is extremely talented. We’re going to have to be sharp. We’re going to have to be sharp in our routes, our run blocking and pass blocking. It’s a very talented group so we’re going to be challenged. We’ll be ready to go.”

    On how much the Eagles’ defense has changed this year:
    “They’re running their style of defense and it’s very popular in the NFL now. We’ve seen it in a couple of different teams last year and this year. I don’t want to get too much into the specifics, but it’s a popular style of defense.”

    On coming off of a bye week:
    “Everybody kind of has to focus in a little bit. We haven't practiced yet with the gameplan so everybody's in the process of digesting that gameplan and then going out and practicing. We'll see how we do at practice, but I expect everybody to be fresh physically and it's going to be an important day mentally to get back out there.”

    On if it's difficult to avoid criticism:
    “No. You've been in this league long enough to realize that the fans and the media, they judge week-to-week, more so the media than the fans. But generally speaking, as long you're doing your job and trying to accomplish your task and keep getting better, that's all you should focus on. It's pretty easy to not read or turn on the TV. I'm happy with where we are at 3-1, and I know we can be better, which is exciting... Sometimes you can't avoid [criticism]. It doesn't really affect me one way or another. You want to be praised and you want to be thought of as a great quarterback and a great team and a great offense, and you know you can be so you work hard to get better. And I think we're right on the cusp of doing a lot of great things and I know we can take that next step so that's all I focus on. So it's just part of the business.”

    On how he would rate his performance in the first four games:
    “That's kind of a complicated thing because I can play better, but at the same time, I thought I played well against the Giants. And the Cardinals game, I thought I played good and made the plays at the end of the game to win and played pretty well. Dallas game, I would have liked to have finished better. St. Louis, it was better on tape than I thought it was going to be. So, overall, it was good. But I can definitely play better. We can play better as an offense and we are going to play better.”

    On taking sole possession of first place in the division during the bye week:
    “It's nice when your division opponents lose, but it's so early that you can't get too excited about anything.”

    On if he’s surprised that the Eagles are 1-4:
    “I am very surprised.”

    On the importance of this game:
    “Any time that you are in a division that is this tough, every team is capable of winning the division. Especially at home, when you have a little bit of an advantage, you want to make sure that you take advantage of this opportunity. We’re off to a good start and this would definitely propel us to 2-0 at home against our division, so it’s a very important game.”

    On if he thinks about what a win on Sunday would do to the Eagles’ playoff chances:
    “Not really. Anything can happen in this league. They can lose their next two, but that team can get on a run. We’re worried about getting to 4-1. Anything could happen to that team because they have so much talent. They are eventually going to get it right and they’re eventually going to get on a roll, so we want to take advantage of this opportunity.”

    On if the next four games will define this team:
    “We’re really just focused on this game. This is a huge game for us. We’re worried about just beating the Eagles. Down the line will take care of itself, but it really doesn’t matter if we don’t take care of this game. We have to take care of this game and that’s all we’re worried about.”

    On how dangerous the Eagles are:
    “Especially at 1-4, we know that we’re going to get their best shot. This is a huge game for both teams and we know that they are one of the most talented teams in the NFL. An angry and talented team is going to be a challenge. We’ll be ready for it and we expect our best game as well.”

    On if cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is playing more man-to-man or zone coverage this year:
    “They are using him in a lot of different ways. A lot of times, he is man-to-man and he does a great job of jamming receivers in press and playing man coverage when there could be zone by all of the other defenders. It’s a tough challenge for that receiver and for me to put the ball in the right spot and for [the receiver] beating him in press coverage. He’s definitely one of the best that I’ve seen on tape.”

    On if Asomugha plays on an island even if everyone else plays in a zone:
    “It definitely looks like man. He may be playing man and still playing that deep third, so it’s a unique look, but he does a good job of it and they definitely play to his strengths.”

    On what kind of backlash there was when he predicted that the Redskins would win the division:
    “There was just a lot of talk. I didn’t have any idea that it was going to be turned into a prediction. I was just saying that we have the capability of winning the [NFC] East. It got turned into a kind of big thing so now I own it and it is what it is.”

    Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid

    On how he’s dealing with the tough start and any criticism:
    “I need to — just like our team does — get back to stuff that you can control and work on. The other things you can’t worry about. You just need to move on.”

    On if the Eagles are hiring a defensive consultant:
    “That’s not true.”

    On if there’s a common thread among his division championship teams with the Eagles:
    “Yeah, there are some things… I don’t think I’m going to go on that right there. I’m just going to leave that one alone.”

    On what he remembers about last year’s game at FedEx Field:
    “It’s always a crazy game when you play against the Washington Redskins. The NFC East is always a knockdown, drag-out fight every time you play another team.”

    On if the Redskins’ start has surprised him:
    “They have good players and good coaches. It doesn’t surprise me at all.”

    On if he can pinpoint the source of the offense’s turnovers:
    “When it comes to turnovers, everybody’s got a little piece of the pie, from coaches to players. What it comes down to is that we all need to do our job a little bit better. We need to make sure we’re putting the guys in the right positions and that we’re doing the right thing. That’s how it works. You can’t point at one thing though, other than that [turnovers] have occurred. We just have to fix it.”

    On why the Eagles did not keep Redskins punter Sav Rocca:
    “Sav is a great punter. I think this is a great opportunity for him. That’s just part of the National Football League. It wasn’t anything personal with Rocca or his ability. He’s a good player.”

    On if he’s spoken to anyone about the defensive consultant job:
    “There was no defensive consultant thing. Nothing. Zero. I haven’t talked to anybody. I’ve talked to you guys and I’ve talked to our media. That’s it. I haven’t talked to anybody.”

    Philadelphia Eagles Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha

    On if he’s surprised by the Eagles’ 1-4 start:
    “[I’m] very disappointed by the 1-4 start. Obviously coming into [the season], the expectations that we had, we expected to be doing a lot better at this point than we are.”

    On if he can pinpoint the problem in the Eagles’ defense:
    “Well, there’s been a lot of growth on defense. You see it in defenses all across the league this year – you see it in well-established defenses throughout the league – we are a defense that’s brand new. From coaches to players, the majority of us are all new. We’ve been learning it and the tough thing about it is that we’ve been learning a lot of stuff in games because we didn’t have as many practices throughout the year to rep them. It’s been a big learning and growth process for us up until this point in the season, but it’s progressing for us, and that’s a good thing.”

    On if the Eagles need to ‘learn’ how to tackle:
    “I think we’ve all missed tackles. I’ve probably missed two. When that happens, coming from the experts, it can sound like you’ve missed 100, but the thing about it is we’ve got to run to the football. No, we don’t have to teach how to tackle — we know how to tackle. We’re football players. We’ve been doing it our entire lives. When you run to the football, then you get guys down. Every football team in the National Football League misses tackles. There are missed tackles on the majority of the plays in the game. The thing about it is, those missed tackles — when everyone is getting to the football and crowding the football — those missed tackles aren’t as blown up as they are when it’s one guy and not everybody else is around it. What we’ve been focusing on is everyone getting to the football faster so that if there is a missed tackle, because we’re playing fast and it happens, then the next guy can come in and clean it up and make the tackle. So, no, it’s not something where we need to learn how to tackle or anything like that. Obviously it’s going to turn into a big deal with the fact that we haven’t won games.”

    On if it’s been difficult to block out criticism from Philadelphia fans and media:
    “It hasn’t been hard because we haven’t been paying attention to it. I can speak for myself and most of the guys on the team, including the coaches — we don’t pay attention to it and we make a point not to. There’s going to be criticism but the only people that know what we’re going through are the people that have been here. The only people that knew this thing wasn’t going to be a perfect well-oiled machine overnight are the people that are here. The criticism is going to come from the people on the outside that think that all you have to do is snap a finger and this thing is a perfect running deal. That’s not the way it is. Like I said, there’s growth to this process. We’re 1-4 and by the end of the season our goal is to be 12-4. Our goal is to be in the playoffs and that goal has not left.”

    On if he’s surprised by the Redskins’ success:
    “I’m not surprised at all. I understand what the NFL is all about and I know that every game is a brand new game and every season is a brand new season. I’ve worked against Coach Shanahan for several years now, and I know the type of coach he is, and I know that he can get his guys to play. I know his background. There’s no shock that the Redskins are playing good football right now. I’m not surprised.”

    On the play of Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman this season:
    “He’s a confident quarterback. I think that once the job was given to him, you saw that confidence level go up a little bit more. He understands the offense. He knows what match-ups he wants to attack and, on any particular play, he does a good job of reading the defense to figure that out. He’s been smart with the football so far. That’s what I see from Rex.”

    On his relationship with defensive coordinator Juan Castillo:
    “My relationship with him has been really good. I talk to him all the time as one of the leaders of the defense. We’re just trying to get on the same page and get everyone on the same page in such a short time. It’s a task. There are a lot of us that go up to him and work with him. Obviously he’s been with the offense for a long time so there are some things that he’s learning, just as the players are learning, with this new defense. I talk to him all the time and have a really good relationship with him. Everybody has one goal and that is to continue to build and continue to get better. I don’t know how difficult the transition has been for him mentally because I just don’t know. We haven’t discussed that. Obviously, when you go from doing one thing to a completely different thing, and we haven’t been the most successful at that, it’s not going to be an easy thing to deal with. It’s not going to be something that you just pass off. It’s something that you’re going to work harder to improve.”

    On what this past week has taught him about the Philadelphia media and fans:
    “Nothing in particular. I’m a different type of guy. You don’t know that because you don’t know me. I’ve been through a lot during my career, whether it’s personally or with the team, and I understand how to block it out. I understand how to not read [the criticism] and to not look at that stuff, whether it’s good or bad, because each play is a new play, each game is a new game. None of us are perfect. We go into these games with these expectations of being the perfect player and the perfect team, but the reality of it is — there’s growth. There’s a learning process. The more you get caught up in what the experts and the critics and everybody else is saying, you can lose that opportunity to get better. Everything will be focused on the negative things that you are doing or your team is doing. I just don’t operate that way. This is my ninth year. The struggles of my rookie year have been well-documented but that hasn’t stopped me from reaching the level that I’ve reached in my career.”

    On if he feels the Eagles’ season is on the line this Sunday against the Redskins:
    “I think every game is important. I think every game gets more important as the year goes. So obviously this is the most important game of the season. The season is not on the line but this is the absolute most important game of the season. Every game of the season is a must-win. You don’t come out one week and say ‘Okay, well, this game is a must-win.’ Well, what was last week? Every game is treated like a must-win. Every game is treated equally. If the season is on the line this week then it was on the line last week. That’s just the way that I approach it. It’s no different. We’re playing a divisional opponent and you have to win. You don’t accept losing in any way.”


    (Courtesy of the Washington Redskins)
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    Not sure where to post this but Cooley did a podcast with Rich Eisen that was fairly entertaining and is good followup to his "choker" comments.
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    Shanny says a lot compared to Gibb's vanilla interviews
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