December 5, 2011
Redskins Park


Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On TE Fred Davis and T Trent Williams facing possible suspensions:
“There is a strict confidential protocol between the NFL and the Players Association and I have not talked or spoke with the NFL thus far so until I do, there is not really anything I can say at this point.”

On the next step of the process and when he expects to hear something:
“I really don’t know, but I would think it would be fairly shortly, and when I do I’ll be sure to share that with you guys.”

On how big of a loss it would be if they are suspended:
“Like I said, I don’t want to go through those scenarios, hypothetical situations until I know for sure what the NFL and players association has agreed to or what’s going on.”

On if he told Davis and Williams not to come to the facilities today:
“No. I spoke to both of them today. They are watching film. Like I said, nothing has been said to me and until something is said to me they will be here.”

On how he would describe how Williams has played the last few games:
“Trent has played well. Trent’s getting better and better every game, I thought he played his best game yesterday.”

On if there is uncertainty as the week goes on how that will affect his preparation for Sunday:
“I’m guessing that if something is done it will be done in the next 24 hours.”

On if this is considered a breakout year for Davis because it’s a contract year for him:
“Fred has had an opportunity since Chris [Cooley] has been down to take over the tight end position. He has really taken advantage of an opportunity. You can see that he has big play ability and that he has practiced hard. Now, we wait and see what the situation is.”

On if a player suspended for a recreational drug has to spend the suspension away from the facility or not:
“To be honest with you, I don’t want to get into all of those details. Number one, I’m not sure what they agreed to with the new CBA [collective bargaining agreement] with all those scenarios or familiar with what happened before. As soon as I find out, I’ll share that with you.”

On if he has had a scenario in the past where he has dealt with player absences because of suspension:
“Yeah, I’ve had it happen in the past. It’s always a tough situation when you lose players, but I’ll feel more comfortable talking about that once I know what the NFL Players Association has agreed to.”

On the difficulty of assessing the character of a full roster of players:
“It’s paramount to me in putting a football team together and there are a lot of issues that concern you. You are trying to make decisions based on what you think is best for the football team and we will continue to do that.”

On why he expects to hear from the league within 24 hours:
“I’m just going from past history. Normally, if they wait until Wednesday, that player plays through the week. It has been that way in the past. They would never call you on a Wednesday and say, ‘Hey, somebody is suspended,’ because you have already started your game plan, so if somebody is suspended usually you would know today or tomorrow.”

On if a potential suspension affects his trust in younger players:
“Instead of hypothetical situations, as soon as we know something… In general, everything is being evaluated. I mean, everything — everything that you do. Everybody is accountable and we know that. We look hard at free agents, we look hard at draft choices, we look hard at how people handle themselves on a day to day basis... That all goes into the evaluation process of trying to put a football team together.”

On the number of chances for players facing potential suspensions:
“I’m trying to say this the right way and be as honest as I can with you guys. You are going to try to put your best football team together. We know that. We know to put your best football team together you need talented players and you also need players with high character. You can get to the playoffs, at least in my experience, with teams… with a lot of talented players. To win a Super Bowl, to be the top organization, you have to have character and that’s how you win it. That’s how you separate yourself once you get to the playoffs with that type of football team. We are always looking for not only the great athletes but great character. Some people will make mistakes we understand that along the way. That doesn’t mean we are just going to drop somebody because they make a mistake but we are going to make sure they are made of the right stuff and we will adhere to that.”

On what ways Davis and Williams have contributed to the run game this season:
“Well, Fred does a great job in both the run game and the passing game and it’s one of the reasons why I think he is considered one of the top tight ends. Trent, obviously the fourth pick in the draft, I think everybody knows his size, his weight, his speed, very likeable guy, works extremely hard and has upside as a football player.”

On if he expects to have S LaRon Landry back this week:
“I really don’t know. Same thing, [he was] getting treatment today. We will see on Wednesday how that groin feels.”

On his impression of TE Logan Paulsen this season:
“As Logan is getting some playing time, I think he is feeling more comfortable in our system. I think he is enjoying playing more so now than he ever has because he is getting to play in game situations and I think he is taking advantage of an opportunity”

On T Willie Smith:
“he has done a good job. You never know about a young player until he goes out there and plays but he does have a lot of athletic ability, I like his upside and you are just hopeful that he does get the opportunity and can play at the level you think he can play at.”

On the offense in the first few drives last week as opposed to later drives:
“Well, I think the second, third, and fourth drives were OK. You are not going to move the ball consistently all the way through, but the thing I was really disappointed [in] was the third quarter. You get four drives, we get a chance to separate ourselves. What I mean by that is we’re ahead by three points. We score one touchdown on even one of those four drives and we put them behind 10 points and they’ve got to get away from their very conservative offense and start throwing the football instead of just running it for a couple of first downs here and there… When we didn’t go that, I felt we hurt ourselves and put a little bit more pressure on our defense. When you take a look at the second half and the first six drives of the Jets, they had 38 yards. So that means our defense was really stepping up, playing some pretty good football. We’re still ahead 16-13 with five minutes left, and they returned it to the 50 or the 49, they got that big play and all of the sudden we shot ourselves in the foot.”

On Graham Gano’s short “bloop” kickoff in the fourth quarter:
“The first kickoff was the same thing. The hangtime is usually the same, you’re just not kicking it as deep. You’re kicking higher so you kind of ruin the timing of the return team. And what just happened is he kicked behind the ball, so it really did bloop, but not like the first return where it was downed at the 23-yard line. He just mi**** it. But the hangtime is usually the same.”

On Patriots DE Andre Carter:
“I’ll be honest with you, I liked Andre Carter as a football player and as a person. What people forget sometimes is the salary cap, how much money it is involved in keeping a player, especially when he might not fit your scheme, or you want to bring somebody back at a reduced number, as a pass rusher or whatever role he may have. But I thought Andre had a big upside. He’s got great character. He’s a relentless player that plays extremely hard, one of the reasons he’s doing so well for New England.”

On the personal foul called on CB Kevin Barnes:
“I was told that they stopped the game and he said that they blew the whistle and it wasn’t because of a helmet-to-helmet hit. I’m not really sure what it is, but I did call the NFL office today to ask exactly what the call was because everybody was playing. So, they did flag Kevin for hitting after the whistle. Nobody knew the whistle had blown except for maybe two or three guys by the line judge on the far side of the field from us.”

On FB Darrel Young:
“He felt pretty good today so that was a good sign.”

On how he evaluates Barnes’ play this season:
“Good. I think Kevin’s done a fine job for us at the nickel position. He has good size, great speed. He seems to get better each week.”

On turnovers:
“If you don’t fix it, you don’t win. Again, if you turn the football over like we did on the 11-yard line back there and you give them 10 points, that’s the difference between winning and losing. It’s something you emphasize and players know that if you don’t succeed in that area, you’re not going to win. But you work on it. You try to get turnovers. You try to prevent them. And that’s about all you can do.”

On RB Roy Helu:
“I thought he did a good job again. I thought he ran hard. You could see some of his big play ability just getting three or four yards. I think [you saw] on that one screen when he got about six, seven or eight yards, the ability to make people miss. Had a couple of runs there, I think he was a hair away from breaking it and going the distance. I really like what I’ve seen over the last couple of games.”

On P Sav Rocca:
“He’s got really a sore ankle right now. It’s black and blue. Hopefully it won’t keep him out. But he is quite sore.”

On Helu’s demeanor:
“Well, I know a lot of good manners can be misinterpreted as weakness, too. He’s just a nice kid. He’s very respectful. He’s sharp and easy to get along with. At the same time, he’s mentally tough. He’s got a good disposition. People like being around him. But I’ve seen him grow. He works at it. He’s got a lot of pride in everything he does and I keep on looking at him getting better and better.”

On evaluating Helu’s personality before the draft last year:
“You guys have talked to him, so you know how he comes across. He’s an easy guy to talk to. You say this guy might be too good to be true. Talking to [Nebraska Head Coach] Bo Pelini, he felt the same way about all of his plays. And he was right. All three players that we got from Nebraska [Helu, DeJon Gomes and Niles Paul] were three solid people.”

On the delay of game penalty:
“We got screwed up on a formation. Rex called something and two people heard it differently. The tight ends and wide receivers were on the same side. They should have been on opposite sides. It took us too long to get it adjusted. That’s why we got the five-yard penalty.”

On Helu’s ability to get extra yards:
“I think you see right now, as the game gets going, he gets more comfortable and you can just see him go for those extra yards. He’s still averaging 4.5 or five yards a carry early. When you give him as many opportunities, you kind of play him into where he’s at right now. He deserves to play a lot. He’s taken advantage of the opportunities over the last couple of games.”

On if he’ll play more young players down the stretch:
“I’ll be honest with you, I’m always one to play the best players. If a young person earns the right to play over a veteran because I think he’s playing better or he’s practicing harder, then he gets that opportunity. I’ve always been that way. Young guys, very often, give it everything they have this time of year in practice. And if that person we feel gives us the best chance to win, that’s the direction we’ll go.”

On QB Rex Grossman’s performance:
“I thought Rex probably did not play as good as he has played over the last few games. I think as he looks at the film, he’ll be somewhat disappointed in his play. But that’s the nature of the quarterback position. You’ve got to be able to wipe it out and bounce back and concentrate and look for that perfect game… At the end of the day, a quarterback knows if he’s on or off a little bit.”

On WR Jabar Gaffney:
“I used Jabar as an example of a veteran player that played hard for 60 minutes. I mean, he got open, did some things, then when you take a look at film, even though [Jets CB Darrelle] Revis was covering him, he was open. The way he blocked, the way he played in the running game and on screens, just to see somebody’s character playing for a full 60 minutes when he didn’t get the ball, that’s what you like to see. You like to see veteran players playing hard, even when they aren’t being shut out or somebody doesn’t go to him. That usually gives you a chance to be pretty special as a football team when you have veteran players not getting the ball but still playing at that level late in the game.”

On LB London Fletcher:
“Everybody here knows what type of guy London Fletcher is, both on and off the football field. He’s a guy that prepares like every game is a playoff game. When you have that type of mindset, that type of work ethic, that type of football ability, then you play at the level he plays at.”

On if Grossman’s left shoulder pain affected his play:
“Even if it did, he wouldn’t admit it. I can’t tell you for sure because quarterbacks will never tell you if they’re really hurting, but if they get a shot, you know they need it. Hopefully that wasn’t the case.”

On if he has used more combinations of offensive lineman than he usually does:
“There’s no question about that. Usually, offensive line, normally you don’t lose too many of them, just over the years. We’ve had to shuffle them around a little bit more than normal.”

On the impact of the offensive line shuffle on his scheme:
“It’s really any scheme – that continuity – but especially when you’re kind of getting started with the zone blocking scheme. But what it does do is give some younger guys an opportunity to show us what they can do. We already talked about Willie Smith. Maurice Hurt has done a great job. We’ve got a chance to look at some of our backup players with Erik Cook. Sean [Locklear] has come in and played a little bit and done a good job for us.”

On his history of injuries with his offensive lines:
“Sometimes they come in bunches. Other years you’re pretty lucky. I think everybody’s looking to keep that continuity. It never seems to happen. A lot of times, when you do lose a guy, that guy will come in and sometimes will play better than the starter. You didn’t even know you had really a good football player until he gets that opportunity. And, if not, at least you got one of the younger guys some valuable experience for the future.”

On the roster shuffle this season:
“It’s part of the NFL. You know you’re going to lose people at the beginning of the year. You talk to your coaches and say, ‘Hey, expect it.’ You’re hoping it isn’t going to happen, but you know it is going to happen. You’re hoping, most years, is doesn’t happen at key positions. Sometimes you’ve got more depth at one position than another and it doesn’t really bother you. Sometimes you’re not very deep and all of the sudden it can be devastating. So you kind of keep your fingers crossed.”