November 9, 2011
Redskins Park


Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On LaRon Landry’s injured Achilles:
“Well, he’s sore today, so he couldn’t practice. We kept him out and we’ll see how he feels tomorrow, but [it was sore] enough where he couldn’t practice today.”

On tackle Jammal Brown’s injured groin:
“You just don’t know with a groin. Jammal Brown is a pretty tough guy and, when he misses plays during the game, you know it’s fairly serious because he normally doesn’t miss plays.”

On if the only two players he’s ruling out are wide receivers Niles Paul and Santana Moss:
“Yeah, right now. They’re definitely out.”

On if it’s rare for him to sign four players on a Tuesday:
“It depends on injuries and what you need. All of a sudden you’ve got a guy like Jammal Brown go down and you don’t know for sure, but you know when a guy like that stays out and then you have two receivers go down at the same position, Santana and Niles Paul, you know you’ve got to bring somebody up in that position that we don’t have or haven’t had. So we need a little depth there. Those things do happen.”

On signing wide receiver David Anderson, who is familiar with the offensive system:
“That really helps. We had looked at him, too, during the offseason. He was with Houston and then he was with Denver. We felt pretty good about the depth of our football team and, with a couple of guys going down at our Zebra or Gator position, we were happy he was out there and familiar with the terminology.”

On signing tackle Tyler Polumbus:
“To be honest with you, he was in Seattle and we liked what we saw on film. I just like the guy having had a chance to be around him a lot. I like what I see on film and hopefully he comes in here and helps us.”

On signing defensive linemen Kentwan Balmer:
“I just think he has an upside and he fits into the 3-4 defense extremely well. We’ll get a chance to see how he practices and how he goes about his business. We’ll evaluate him day-by-day [and] week-by-week. We like his potential.”

On players like Balmer who were first round picks that struggled and were able to come back:
“You just really don’t know with people. Some people have great work ethic and, all of a sudden, they get a wake-up call and they find out that maybe I just blew an opportunity. They need someone to tell them they’re going to give him another chance and that’s what we are [doing]. And we’ll see what he does, if he takes advantage of that opportunity. We know he has a lot of talent and how he fits in well with the scheme. We’ll find out if he likes to work and do the things we think it takes to be successful.”

On how much he worried about Balmer’s attitude with his previous teams:
“To be honest with you, I don’t really go into a lot of detail – just tell the person that we’re aware of his background and you’re going to start out with a clean slate. Hopefully, he comes in here and does what he’s supposed to do and, if he does, great. And if he doesn’t, he won’t be here a while.”

On signing cornerback D.J. Johnson:
“We just looked at film and liked what we saw. We liked what we saw on special teams. We liked what we saw as a defensive back. He can run and he’s got some length. Now, we get a chance to evaluate him and see if he fits with our system.”

On if wide receiver Anthony Armstrong working after practice with receivers coach Keenan McCardell was in response to his comments on Monday:
“I was kind of just joking about that. It’s kind of my standing line with receivers that if any receiver can’t beat bump coverage, they can’t play in the NFL and I told him that I was kind of teasing him, but, at the same time, kind of serious because that’s the nature of this business – you have to beat bump [coverage]. And he knows that. He’s out there and, not only does he do a great job on special teams, but he’s conscientious and he’ll do everything he can to make the big play. I’m looking for him to have a heck of a career here so I’m happy with the guy. He goes about his business.”

On running back Tashard Choice’s role against the Dolphins:
“He practiced today, so that was a good sign. He came in full-speed and looked good. I’m hoping he gets a good feel for our system this week and he’ll help us out on game day… You’ve got to see what he knows and how quickly he adjusts to our terminology and our system. But today was a good practice, so hopefully he just keeps on getting better.”

On how long it takes a running back to adjust to a new system:
“You just don’t know for sure, but, last week, [Choice] had a chance to go through almost every game situation and so he couldn’t play, but that’s kind of good. So he had a chance to go through all of the mental aspects of the game plan and, today, you could see him adjust fairly quickly and he looked pretty good. I would say there would be no difference in the next couple of days adjusting to our short yardage, goal line, red zone. He should be ready to go – pretty sharp kid.”

On staking his reputation on quarterbacks John Beck and Rex Grossman:
“Like I said, I believe in both these quarterbacks. I’ve got to give them the right supporting cast. That’s my job and I’m going to get the right supporting cast for both guys to get the job done. It’s my job to give them the type of supporting cast surrounding them that can give them a chance to be successful… If you believe in people, you put your reputation on people. And I understand there are going to be some growing pains, as I said from the beginning, but I’ve got to give them the right supporting cast. If I do that, I feel very good about our guys.”

On wide receiver Leonard Hankerson’s progress:
“In the preseason games, I think we all saw him drop passes and he was a little bit inconsistent there, but he got open. He’s a big body guy and, consistently, he’s doing a good job against our defensive backs. He’s practiced over the last six or seven weeks and that’s why he got a chance to start last week. I thought he played well and I’m just looking forward to him doing the little things the right way and making some plays for us. I think he’s got a good future in the NFL. He’s the type of size you look for and he’s got the type of hands and speed. Hopefully, he can get to the next level.”

On if his confidence in Hankerson started during the Panthers game when he was first active:
“Well, we kind of give people an opportunity. We gave Niles an opportunity. We got Armstrong an opportunity. We took a look at Hankerson. And you’re judging this every day. You’ve got to put the right group together and you don’t know. It’s a little bit of a crapshoot. You think you have a feel and, all of a sudden, a guy gets in a game situation and you say, ‘Hey, he could use a little bit more time.’ All of a sudden, you put a guy in a game situation and he steps up. We’re always going to play the people that we feel give us the best chance to win – whatever that may be. Some people may be a few games away and other people may be a year away. But I think we’ve got a good feel for our guys who can play and you just don’t know for sure when a guy is going to show up and get the job done on game day.”

On determining if the quarterback or the supporting cast is at fault:
“It’s not always easy, but that’s part of your job to make those decisions based on past experience.”


Quarterback John Beck

On his feelings about going back to Miami:
“For me, right now, I’m just trying to do the best I can so we can win a football game. I did play there when I first came into the league, but other than that, there’s no [feelings].

On if there are still a few players/coaches there from his time with Miami:
“There’s only a couple guys left and really, if I would try to say what part of a group that I feel like, I was there with was the group before them. That was kind of the group that came in and picked their own guys.”

On the problems with offensive productivity:
“Well, I don’t think we can narrow it down to just one thing. There’s many things that we can get better at. I’m trying to do my job so that I can get better everyday so that I can help this team improve. Because, ultimately, we need to improve so that we can go out and win games.”

On where he believes he has improved the most over the past few weeks:
“I’ve seen things here and there where I’ve definitely felt more comfortable — getting more reps in practice and getting game reps, which are obviously the live bullets. There are things here and there in games where I can tell that there are things that I’m feeling more comfortable with, and a lot of that comes with experiences where I am learning from those experiences. I’m just trying to get better everyday. That’s my main focus right now because right now is today, and I’m trying to do the best that I can right now to help our team win.”

On if Miami is playing like a different team the past couple weeks:
“When we watch them on tape, we talked about how this is a group that you can’t look at their record at all. They had Denver beat. They had [the] New York [Giants] and they obviously did really well against Kansas City last week. This is a team that has had a lot of teams on the ropes and it’s a team that’s probably gained some confidence after getting that win. We obviously know that going into it that, we need to play our best. It’s like that every week.”

On Miami’s defense holding Kansas City to three points last Sunday:
“When I look at their defense, their defense has shown things each week where they’ve done well. They held Denver scoreless for the majority of the game. They kept New York down in points for the majority of the game. They’ve done a good job, definitely, these last few weeks. Starting today, I’ll get to watch some more of the games at the beginning of the season but as of now I’ve watched the last three or four.”

On if he saw some throws he could’ve made in the San Francisco game when reviewing film:
“Yeah, I would say so. I would say that it’s no different than any other game where I feel like ‘Okay, what can I improve on? Where are some things where I can help our team?’ Obviously, when you go back on tape you always find throws where you say, ‘You know what, maybe I could’ve got that one,’ or, ‘That would’ve made a difference.’”

On if he missed longer plays on any of his 14 passes to running back Roy Helu:
“Not necessarily on those ones. On a bunch of those throws, I had already taken my downfield reads and then came and dropped it to him. A lot of those, when we came back and watched it on tape the next day, a lot of those came on screens as well.”

On if he feels pressure to perform to back up Coach Shanahan’s statement that he would stake his reputation on Beck:
“That thought hasn’t crossed my mind just because I take pride in myself as a player and I’m trying to do the very best that I can. It meant a lot when Coach said something like that because you want a coach that does believe in you. That’s when you get an opportunity, when somebody believes in you. But I take a lot of pride in the work that I do and I want to do my very best. That’s what stands out the most to me is that I’m trying to do the best that I can because of me.”

On if he believes things would be different without injuries to the offense:
“Maybe. It would be nice, but that’s not the case. Football is football. This is the NFL. Injuries happen. That’s part of the game and the teams that are really good find a way. No matter who’s out there playing, they make plays. I think when Coach talks to me, when we talk as a group, that’s the underlying thing right now is that we need to make more plays. That’s what I’m trying to focus on because I touch the ball so much. I don’t even think about the situation or this and that. I can’t even let that go into my head. I just need to focus on the things that I can worry about and get better.”

On if the rhythm is disrupted when the offense does not convert on third down:
“It does to a point because you are trying to sustain drives; you’re trying to stay on the field. But, also, third downs in this game — you’re not going to complete them all. It would be great if we could so you have to have the resiliency to know ‘Okay, that drive ended on a third down. The next opportunity we get we need to hit it on that third down so we can keep the drive alive.’ That’s football because, like I said, you’re not going to get every third down but you have to just know ‘Okay, the next one, we need to make it.’”

On if he’s gaining familiarity with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s play calling:
“I feel like I’m gaining that the more I get to be around Kyle. How he attacks defenses, what he’s looking for, game situation things…We do some preseason things but we’re not really opening a full playbook in the preseason. Regular season now they’re scheming a little bit more and I’ve been able to have three games now where I’m working with him and we’re on the sideline talking. I’m getting a feel for that a little bit more each time.”

On how wide receiver Leonard Hankerson’s play is different from the preseason:
“I just know that he has done a great job of impressing not only the players and the coaches, but everybody during that time from the preseason until now. And that’s why he’s getting an opportunity to play, because we know that Hank can play, that he can make plays. He made some plays for us and we look to him to continue to get better… It hasn’t just been the past couple weeks. He’s been having good practices for a long time because he’s very capable. He had good practices in the preseason and he’s definitely stepped up. We’re excited to have him out there.”

On if he feels internal pressure to go out and lead the team to win a game:
“Yeah, you always want to win games, especially when you’re the quarterback and the team hasn’t been winning games, you want to step up to the plate. You want to win games. I think in this league week in and week out, you see it: the desire to win, the feel for the need to win a game. It’s always there. There’s always pressure every week regardless of who you’re playing or the situation you’re in; even when you’re winning all your games or you’re not — there’s always pressure to win.”

On if he’s looking at the Miami game as an opportunity to take advantage of a down team:
“I don’t look at them like that just because I’ve been able to see them on tape and I think, like we’ve talked about as a group, this team is a good football team. They just had a big win. They’re going to be coming off a big win. I’m sure that they’re going to be confident and we need to continue to be confident even though we’ve had some struggles. We need to continue that confidence because we can go out there and play well. We’re very capable of it.”

On if the starting quarterback position tests his patience more than being the backup quarterback:
“You’re always tested. When you’re playing quarterback in this league you’re always tested. There’s always things testing your patience, testing your will, testing your mind. That’s just how it goes. That’s just part of the job.”

On picking up the morale of the team:
“I think we’re all programmed to move forward. This is the way we’ve been playing the sport our entire lives. We’ve all had to go through games where you lose and you lose badly. It hurts inside and there’s that pain that goes along with it but you learn, ‘Alright, I have to move on and I have to put that behind me.’ If I want to be able to give myself the best opportunity this week, I have to be able to move forward and move forward strong. I feel like this team has already done that.”


(Courtesy of the Washington Redskins)