Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the injury status of running back Tim Hightower, wide receiver Santana Moss and linebacker London Fletcher:
“Tim [Hightower] had an ACL [injury]. Santana [Moss] had surgery. He had three pins put in his index finger in that area. He’ll be out in the area of five to seven weeks. London [Fletcher] has a hamstring pull. How serious it is? I really don’t know. I don’t think it’s that serious, but we’ll find out more on Wednesday… [Hightower’s] out for the season.”

On if he can remember having this many serious injuries in back-to-back weeks:
“No, I can’t really remember to be honest with you. You kind of go through some situations like this, hopefully not too often where you lose a number of starters. I don’t think I’ve ever lost so many just on one side so quickly.”

On what losing Hightower means to the offense:
“Tim has handled himself extremely well. He played very good in this game coming back from the shoulder injury. He was ready to play and was playing well so it’s always tough to lose a player like that who leads both on and off the football field.”

On if Hightower was put on injured reserve:
“We’ll talk over the next 48 hours and make decisions which direction we’ll go there.”

On quarterback John Beck:
“John [Beck’s] a smart guy. John knows he has to go out there and concentrate on his job – make plays. I thought he did an excellent job doing that. I was really proud in the way he played. That’s what he has to do. He made some plays with his feet, throw on the run. I thought he handled himself well in drop back situations. Our goal right now is to get a supporting cast around him that can play at a very high level. The better they play, the better he’ll play.”

On running backs picking up the blitz:
“I feel very comfortable with Ryan [Torain]. He’s gotten a lot better here over the last year in his blitz pickup. Tim, as you mentioned, was a natural in blitz pick up, but Ryan has improved drastically. [Roy] Helu has done a good job as well. He’s come in, and not doing a lot of it in college, he’ll release most of the time. He’s come in here and done a good job and did a good job in the game.”

On the offense getting to the line late on the fourth-and-two play:
“I didn’t think [Beck] rushed the play off. We just gave a bad play to be honest with you. Every once and a while, you’ll do that. They had a good blitz and they caught us a little off balance. We had a missed assignment in there and they got a little bit of penetration. Without the proper call, he didn’t have anybody open so sometimes that turns into a sack.”

On what areas he needs to better prepare the team:
“When I took a look at that game yesterday, first of all, you took a look at our defense – we’ve been playing very physical throughout the year. I thought they did a good job of kind of keeping us off balance with the option, a little bit of their formations and shifts and doing some things with Cam [Newton] that we haven’t seen a lot of. I have to do a better job of making sure that we’re better prepared during the week because our defense is too physical and too good. Even though they are a top five team, I’m going to give them credit too. They have been pretty consistent through the season keeping defenses off balance. I have to make sure that I put them in situations more times than not to make sure that they feel very comfortable in every look that they see.”

On the team’s mentality moving forward:
“We have to win. That’s the nature of the game. We have to find a way to win. The guys that will step up are guys that are going to be starters. They’re on our football team for a reason. Now, we have a chance to see what they could do. We have a lot of young players that we’re going to get a chance to see how much talent they do have and hopefully they can improve and hopefully it’s quick.”

On Beck’s interception when the pass was intended for wide receiver Leonard Hankerson:
“I think it’s [Leonard] Hankerson’s first play of his NFL career. Hankerson has been making some unbelievable plays in practice. We put him out there to get an opportunity. What John did is he threw the same ball to Hankerson that he did to [Jabar] Gaffney right at the end of the half. He kind of under threw it for a reason because the corner was playing over the top. Obviously, Leonard thought a little bit differently, but that’s the nature of this game. That’s going to happen and then you just go on. He’ll learn from it. John will learn from it, especially with a guy that’s new to that position against a pretty experienced defensive back. That’s the growing pains that go on with a young player.”

On not having cornerback DeAngelo Hall matched up one-on-one with Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith:
“Sometimes, with an offense that does a lot of things – they run the option, they run the Wildcat, the unbalanced – you have to decide on what matchups you want and what’s best for your defense. Josh [Wilson] had been playing very well, so we thought in the best interest of our defense and not confuse people that we would continue doing what we did.”

On the benefit of having the younger players thrust into the game:
“They have to No. 1 prove that they can handle the pressure. Niles Paul’s done a great job in special teams. He’s played a few plays and, when he’s played, he’s taken advantage of it. Logan Paulsen has been very consistent since he’s been here. He’s a guy that does a good job in the running game, does a good job in the passing game. He’s really consistent. I thought he handled himself extremely well in that game, making some big plays, some big catches, some big blocks. And he’ll continue to get better.”

On safety Kareem Moore practicing:
“He’s going to come back to practice this week.”

On if Moore will be added to the 53-man roster:
“Possibly, possibly. We have two weeks to make that decision.”

On the health of quarterback Rex Grossman:
“We’re going to keep him in the hospital for about the next 48 hours. He’s in there today, keep him in there tomorrow. Hopefully, [we’ll] have him back by Wednesday or Thursday. With pneumonia and the type of temperature that he had, [Redskins team] Dr. [Anthony] Casolaro felt that it was in his best interest to keep him in the hospital for obvious reasons and hopefully he keeps on getting better.”

On the performance of the offensive line:
“I thought they did pretty good considering we had a new left tackle, a new left guard and center, especially with Santana going down early and Chris Cooley going out and Logan coming in. I thought overall there were some good things done. A lot of things we can work on and get better at. For the first game, I thought there was some great effort out there.”

On returner Brandon Banks:
“I think we know with the new rules that he hasn’t had a chance to do anything with kickoffs. With punts, you just really never know depending on the hang time of the punter. So he hasn’t had a lot of opportunities.”

On Hightower’s post-game speech:
“Any time you lose a player that has the type of energy that Tim does and has the type of game that he has, obviously everybody is disappointed. They feel bad for Tim because he’s worked so hard to get himself in this position. Everybody understands that we’re going to lose some players, you hate to lose them and somebody has to step up and get the job done. Tim is a guy that’s been very physical, you could see how emotional he was in that game and how well he blocked and how hard he ran. It’s always tough to lose a guy like that.”



(Courtesy of the Washington Redskins)