October 20, 2011
Redskins Park


Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the practice status of safety Oshiomogho Atogwe:
“He was out today.”

On the practice status of cornerback Byron Westbrook:
“He was out today. [It was a] hamstring [injury] from practice on Wednesday.”

On if Atogwe’s chances of playing on Sunday:
“You don’t know until somebody can go. When we hold a guy out, it’s for a couple of reasons. We’re trying to heal him up. We’re afraid if we push him, we’ll set him back.”

On the practice statuses of running back Tim Hightower and wide receiver Anthony Armstrong:
“Full practice today — both guys. No setbacks.”

On if the injury to Atogwe changes how the team will handle the roster status of safety Kareem Moore:
“Possibly, depending on how he looks tomorrow.”

On if Moore practiced on Thursday:
“No. He’s not activated yet… Once we activate him, we’ve got a couple of weeks to make a decision.”

On what Moore needs to show the coaching staff before being activated:
“Just what’s in the best interest of the team — the depth of our team, how he’s doing, and his conditioning.”

On the injuries to the offensive line:
“Any time you have three guys go down on your fourth play, your seventh and 11th play, it is a little different. I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen since I’ve been in coaching where three starters that started the game went down — your left guard, your left tackle and your tight end — by the 11th play of the game. So, guys came in and got some experience, and some guys did a pretty good job under the circumstances.”

On Panthers quarterback Cam Newton:
“He’s done a great job. He’s got a lot of poise. He’s got arm strength. He’s got a good supporting cast: probably the best offensive line we’ve faced this year — very experienced, very talented — two great running backs, a great wide receiver out there, a couple of excellent tight ends. So he’s got a good supporting cast and it’s one of the reasons why they’re tops in the league.”

On if turnovers have kept the Panthers from wins:
“Not only turnovers, but if you take a look, they could have five or six wins very easily. They’ve lost a lot of those games in the last seconds. A 1-5 record is not indicative of their football team.”

On defensive end Charles Johnson is a bull rusher or a speed rusher:
“Yes to all of those things. [He’s a] bull rusher, speed guy and they move him around to all the different positions — left side, right side, inside, outside.”

On center Erik Cook’s pregame injury against the Eagles:
“He was out there practicing an hour and a half before the game – he was out there when he did it.”

On what would have happened on the offensive line if Cook was active but unable to play:
“[We] probably would have put Logan Paulsen in at either the guard or tackle position… That’s kind of a bad situation to be in. That’s happened to me before, but not right after [turning in the inactive sheet].”

On Mike Sellers potentially playing tight end:
“He gives us depth at that position. He can play tight end or the fullback position. Like we talked about before, with a guy like Mike, he helps us because he helps us on special teams, fullback and either the tight end or H-back.”

On Newton:
“He’s an excellent athlete. He has great mechanics. He’s a natural thrower. I think everybody knows what type of athlete he is and, if he has time, he’s going to get it to the right guy. He’s playing with a good offensive line that gives him some extra time, a couple of excellent running backs and tight ends and he’s taking advantage of it. They run the ball pretty well. And he can do some things with his legs that most people can’t do. That’s one of the reasons why he was the first pick in the draft.”

On guard Kory Lichtensteiger’s knee surgery:
“What they usually do – when it’s inflamed – it usually takes seven-to-10 days before they operate on it. I don’t think we have a date yet, but we’re going to wait for the inflammation to go down.”

On tight end Chris Cooley’s surgery:
“You know what, I haven’t talked to [the doctors]. I just know the surgery went well. I saw Chris and he was still in a little pain this morning, but I have not talked to the doctors yet.”

Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan

On how quarterback John Beck has looked in practice:
“He’s done a good job. It’s really his first time running with the first team since training camp and he’s done a good job. We’ll get him better each day and get him ready for Sunday.”

On if the rhythm of the offense is different with Beck:
“No, I think it’s the same. I think both of those guys, they do a good job getting them in and out of the huddle. Last week, getting thrown into that game, it was his first time in there, but I think John does a good job.”

On if there were any differences between Beck from the preseason to the Eagles game:
“Not really. I think John came in in a tough situation – having some guys down, not getting the reps during the week – I thought he made some plays and there are some plays that he’d like to have back. But I was impressed with what he did in his few drives.”

On how involved he was in making the decision to name Beck the starter:
“I think it goes like anywhere else. I’m the offensive coordinator, so [Mike Shanahan] obviously asks for my opinion. I don’t think there’s a coach on our staff that he doesn’t ask for their opinion. I think he talks to a lot of guys, but when it comes down to it, it’s definitely his decision.”

On how much it helps Beck to have reps in practices instead of just throwing him into the game:
“Yeah, I think that’s really good. I think it’s good for him. It’s good for us. The more reps you get with anybody, usually the better you get and the more comfortable and confident you can be.”

On the offensive line:
“I’m confident in our players. It’s a challenge any time you have three starters go dow.,Iit’s always going to be a challenge, but I’m confident in the guys we’ve got on our team and I’m excited to see them play Sunday.”

On Sean Locklear playing left tackle instead of moving right tackle Jammal Brown to the left side:
“We’ve already moved our center to left guard. Jammal’s been playing right tackle for a couple of years now. I think he’s comfortable there. It’s hard to just flip a guy. I know Jammal could do it, but it does take time. We’re trying to keep some continuity with those five guys.”

On if the change at quarterback affects him as an offensive coordinator:
“I don’t think so. I’m confident in both of our quarterbacks. I like both of our quarterbacks. I think we can win with both of them. I think they are similar. There’s obviously some things that one guy does better than the other and vice versa. In Houston, there was always one guy. Here, it’s been a couple guys, but I don’t really change depending on who it is.”

On center Erik Cook’s progress:
“He’s come a long way. He’s done a good job for us at center and I feel like he’s gotten better each week he’s been here. He did a good job stepping in that game. I know he wasn’t feeling great either and he stepped in and did a good job… I don’t think the game is too big for him. If Erik gets in there, he’ll battle you. He’s not going to look great right away. Each play, he looks to work and, when it’s all said and done, he does his job. He doesn’t get overwhelmed under the lights. Against a tough guy, you give him some reps and he’ll figure it out.”

On if Beck missed some potentially big plays against the Eagles:
“I think that was kind of the story all game. I think there were a few opportunities we had throughout the game, whether it was Rex [Grossman] in or John. Both of them had chances to make big plays. Both of them did at times. Whether it was a receiver, tight ends or the [offensive] line, sometimes those guys didn’t come down with it. I think that was kind of the story of last week.”

On how much the Panthers have played in the 3-4 defense:
“Not much. I want to say it was three times last week. They put in five D-linemen. It’s still an under front, but it’s pretty much the same thing, just five bigs in the game.”

On studying Panthers quarterback Cam Newton before the draft:
“He’s one of the most talented guys that I’ve studied.”

On the difficulties of changing the offense to suit a new quarterback during the season:
“You always want to put your guys in the best situation to be successful. I think those guys do some similar things well and there are some things that one does better than the other and vice versa, like I said earlier. It always changes a little based off our game plan, but everything is built in to the offense. You don’t have to make changes week-to-week. We didn’t have to make a big change into the third or fourth quarter whenever we put him in and we just ran our game plan. We expect whoever’s in there to execute it.”

On if there will be an emotional impact on quarterback Rex Grossman:
“I don’t think so. I think Rex is a strong guy. I have a lot of confidence in Rex. He’s a great person, hard-worker and I think he’s a very good quarterback. I think Rex has been through a lot in his career and I don’t think he pays attention to that stuff. He goes and battles as hard as he can and he does the best he can. He’s been great these last few days and I don’t expect it to change.”

On Beck’s mobility:
“I think anybody can tell, I’m not giving away a secret that Beck is faster than Rex. So I think he can do more with his legs, but I know he’s not faster than all of those guys on the defense. You can do a little bit more with his legs, but you definitely can’t totally depend on it.”

On Beck needed to secure the ball when he runs:
“Yeah, he has to get used to that. Those few times he got out of the pocket, all quarterbacks do that, especially when you don’t have as much experience. Beck runs around a lot. He did a lot in college. If he gets out of the pocket, he has to understand that some fast [defensive] lineman is coming from the other side. That’s what happened to Rex in the Dallas game. It’s what happens to quarterbacks all of the time, [ones] with experience. He has to do it now because we can’t afford those type of turnovers. I think that’s something you learn and we’re definitely aware of it and we’re trying to make him aware of it as you can be.”

Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett

On if the team played on its heels in the first half against the Eagles:
“Not necessarily. We actually played pretty well. I thought the penalties kind of took a toll on the game. We kind of got a little cautious. We didn’t play as aggressive as you would like, but after that first drive, I thought we kind of got into the swing of things and we were fine.”

On if the defense was giving the Eagles a cushion to prevent deep plays:
“Yeah, we were playing a little soft because of the deep balls. Just our coverage is based on what they’re trying to do, but we weren’t pressing and we were playing two-man or whatever you want to call it. We were doubling the receiver, but we were doing it from off [coverage]. We weren’t doing it from the press technique because we didn’t want anyone to run by anybody, so we caught them from off and had a guy over the top.”

On if he was pleased that the Eagles didn’t beat the defense deep:
“Well, the one that was disappointing was [when] they got a deep-in early on us, like a 30-yarder, and we had four guys covering two and our safety didn’t get into the right spot. It really should been an interception. We didn’t lock the corner in the backside and then on the deep ball on DeAngelo [Hall], I thought we were going to intercept it. We were actually in pretty good shape. That’s the only two plays they got us on deep. They were smart. They changed their game plan up from what they’ve been doing earlier. They were throwing a lot of quick slants and hitches. They were trying to put Michael [Vick] in a position where he could get the ball out of his hands fast. We actually had to adjust to what they were doing as the game progressed.”

On how much the Eagles moved the pocket:
“They do that all the time. That’s so they can get the ball out of his hand fast and they do a little West Coast sprint and that’s always in their game plan.”

On how moving the pocket affects the defense:
“You just try to get the ball out of the guy’s hand and make sure he doesn’t have to sit in the pocket all of the time.”

On if there is a way to counter quick passes:
“We actually changed a couple of things up and that’s when Josh [Wilson] almost had the interception. If he would have sat on it, he probably would have had a chance for a pick.”

On rookie quarterbacks being able to start and play well immediately:
“I really think it’s truly the individual and, when you watch [Panthers quarterback] Cam [Newton], he’s a mild mannered guy and nothing really rattles him. Blitzes don’t rattle him, different coverages [don’t rattle him]. He’s poised. He really looks good to me. He just sits in the pocket and he’s obviously a big stature guy. The ball whistles when it comes out of his hand. So far, you like what you see… And Rob [Chudzinski], the offensive coordinator, does a great job with him.”

On if the Panthers have added more to Newton’s playbook each week:
“Not having the offseason, I don’t see them adding a lot. They’ll game plan to what you’re doing and what they’ll kind of do the rest of the game. Like I said, I think Rob, the offensive coordinator, has done a great job of getting the quarterback in position to make plays.”

On the Panthers’ weapons:
“Well, I think we’re going against one of the best offensive lines we’ve played, if not the best. They have two really good tight ends. Obviously, Steve Smith, one of the all-time greats in the league, and then they have two explosive running backs. And then the quarterback kind of complements everything. It’s an explosive offense and, by the numbers, you see they are putting up a lot of numbers. I think as the young quarterback goes, they are going to get better and better.”

On if a quarterback change can spark a team on defense as well:
“They kind of go hand-in-hand. You know, offense and defense go hand-in-hand.”

On if preparing for Eagles quarterback Michael Vick last week helps the defense prepare for Newton:
“Not necessarily. They are not the same type of guy. Cam will run, [but] he’s not really Michael Vick 4.3 [second 40-yard dash] speed. He’s a big body that’s hard to get down. He’ll stay alive and obviously he’ll throw the ball. I think they are two separate entities.”

On if Newton is like Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger:
“Stature-wise, he’s like that. He’s a big guy that’s hard to get down. It’s kind of funny when you watch the tape. You see guys hit him and they kind of bounce off. You kind of wonder, does he know he’s getting hit? That’s a big guy.”

On the pressure on the defense this week:
“We try to do our thing and obviously keep the points down. I think one thing we have to do better as a defense is we need to get more turnovers. Last year, at this point, I think we had a lot more turnovers than we do right now. We just have to start getting our hands on more balls and getting the balls when balls are on the ground. If there’s a bad snap — we haven’t gotten one of those yet. I think we’ve had like eight balls that have hit the quarterbacks when we’ve thrown them to the ground and I think we’re zero-for-eight. Hopefully that will fortunately start turning around and we’ll get those balls.”

On safety Oshiomogho Atogwe’s knee:
“He didn’t practice yesterday and we’ll see how we go through the rest of the week, but I feel comfortable with the guys we have. If he can’t go or he does go, we’ll be good. If he can’t go, then Reed [Doughty] will fill in and we’ll be fine.”

On Newton’s turnovers and rushing ability:
“Again, he’s a young guy that has a strong arm and he uses that and he’ll throw some balls. All quarterbacks’ interceptions aren’t all the quarterbacks’ [fault]. Sometimes, it’s other people — protections, wide receivers, it’s a combination of everything. But the running touchdowns, yeah, he’s a force in the running game. They run a lot of different plays with him and you have to be able to deal with it, but he’s a force on all of their running plays.”

On the lack of turnovers:
“It’s not like we don’t have any. It’s just that we could have a lot more. It does bother me because I think we need to have more. Obviously, if we get the ball a lot more, it will help our offense score some points so we want to get as many turnovers as we can.”

On Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith:
“He’s unbelievable. He’s the most competitive guy I’ve probably seen playing that position. He’s ultra-competitive. He wants to be the best. You can see when he wants the ball. He’s dangerous when he has the ball. He can still run. He has great catch ability and [can] run after the catch. It’s amazing. Back in the days when I used to play him two times-a-year, he’s still a great football player.”

On defensive end Jarvis Jenkins:
“He’s still around. He’s in meetings. He’s working out. He’s running up the steps today for me. He looks great… Yeah, I think he’s gaining just because he’s in the meetings and paying attention. We’ve had a couple of guys here last year – a guy went on IR and we didn’t see him all year. He went home or whatever. I love the way Jarvis prepares to play the game and the way he’s done his rehab. If you probably gave Jarvis another month, he’d probably be ready to play. I mean he works hard and he tells me what he does at night… He ran up the steps today and it was impressive… He just can’t plant and go side-to-side.”

On safety Kareem Moore:
“I haven’t seen Kareem practice yet so that’s up to Mike [Shanahan] and Bruce [Allen] what they’re going to do with him.”

On cornerback Phillip Buchanon:
“We worked him in some last week. We’ll work him in this week and obviously Coach will make a decision at the end of the week what we’re going to do.”

On the Panthers two tight end sets:
“They’re on the field a lot. That’s their main personnel grouping. They both do a great job. [Greg] Olsen can catch a lot of balls and [Jeremy] Shockey’s still a good blocker. He’s violent with his run after the catch. That’s a good duo they have.”

On nose tackle Barry Cofield’s pass deflections:
“I think it’s kind of a knack. He’s one of those guys, he’s always in front of the quarterback. He gets his hands up and he’s not leaving his feet. He has six or seven already this year and he’s caused three turnovers this year. I think it’s a great quality to have because one, from the nose, you’re never going to get a great sack total, but if you can stay in front of the quarterback and disrupt the throws and be in his face, that’s something that we didn’t have last year.”


(Courtesy of the Washington Redskins)