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Game 12 - Philly. No biggie. Just a season in the balance ...

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    Marine Corps Virginia

    Helmet Skins Quotes 12/07/11: M. Shanahan, Grossman, Belichick, Carter

    December 7, 2011
    Redskins Park


    Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

    On the suspensions of tight end Fred Davis and tackle Trent Williams:
    “It’s always disappointing when you lose two of your better football players for the rest of the season. I talked to both of them this morning and they spoke to our football team. They are obviously very disappointed in their decision as well as we are disappointed in their decision to do what they did. Obviously, I’ve talked to them about it.”

    On if he asked Davis and Williams to address the team:
    “No, I didn’t. They wanted to. I talked to them a little bit on Monday and they asked me what I thought. I said, ‘Well, first of all, I’m not sure if you’re allowed to do it through the NFL. I don’t know if that is possible or not, but I think it would be smart for you to do it. I think that’s what a person with responsibility would do, especially when you let down your teammates when you get suspended for the rest of the season.’ Everybody’s accountable. Everybody’s got a job to do. When you can’t fulfill your obligation, obviously it’s a big disappointment. They made a couple bad decisions and they’ll pay the consequences for it and so will we as an organization [and] as a team.”

    On if he’s concerned about Davis and Williams going forward:
    “Well, I think any time that somebody’s suspended like they are, they better prove themselves. I can’t say one way or the other. What are they going to do for the future? Time will tell. Kind of like drafts. When you have a good draft, well, you really don’t know for three, four or five years sometimes. Is someone going to be a great player? Some people have the ability to be a great player. You don’t always know how that’s going to turn out. We know about their athletic ability [and] the bad decision that they made. Are they smart enough to go down the right path? I’m hoping they do. They both have a lot at stake and time will tell.”

    On the fact that one more suspension will result in a full-year suspension for Davis or Williams changes his thinking about them moving forward:
    “When you do make decisions, you usually make them based on the information you have at hand and you do what you think is right.”

    On if he spoke to Davis and Williams after they failed the initial drug test:
    “When we found out as an organization is when they start taking away paychecks from them. If they make a mistake after that, then they’re suspended. And we found out when they started to take checks away from them. When they start taking checks, if they do keep going, then you’ll be suspended and that’s what happened.”

    On how involved the team was at that point:
    “First of all, you’ve always talked to different people and you’re not with them 24 hours-a-day. They’re going to make decisions and you’re hoping they’re going to make decisions that are in the best interest of them, the bets interest of the organization and the Washington Redskins. They represent us. Everybody in this organization represents the Washington Redskins logo. When they get suspended like that, it’s disappointing for our whole organization. It’s disappointing for the commitment to their teammates. You’re talking about accountability [and] people being there through thick and thin and, when you don’t do that, there’s not really anything you can say except you screwed up. And they were man enough today to talk in front of the team and they said, ‘Hey, we did screw up, but we promise you it won’t happen again.’ We will find out in the future if they’re true to their word.”

    On if the team is going to ask that Davis and Williams have counseling:
    “Once they get in the first stage, they have counseling all the time. That’s an ongoing process – first stage, second stage, third stage.”

    On if he feels let down by Williams since he was his first draft pick with the Redskins:
    “I think our whole team feels let down. There’s no question about it. You should feel let down. Everybody should feel let down. Everyone is accountable for what they do. You always put your team first. You know the consequences when you go through something like that. Like I said, people do make mistakes. I liked the way Trent’s handled himself from the first year to the second year, how he practiced, how he went about his business. He probably played his best game last weekend, so he’s getting better and better. That still doesn’t take away from the decisions he made. Like I said, hopefully in the future he’ll make the right decision. If not, it just takes one time, one more time and he’s gone for the year. We’ll find out very quickly if he’s going down the right path.”

    On if Davis and Williams are allowed to be at the facility:
    “Can’t tell you. They just gave us the ability to do that [talk to the team this morning]. We found out at 4:00 or 4:30 and we hadn’t had a chance to talk to them and they hadn’t had a chance to talk to the football team. And they said that they have the ability to do it… Right now, this is a new CBA. I can’t tell you for sure. I’ve heard a couple different reports. I’ll tell you probably in the next couple days for sure exactly what the procedure is. Initially, it was no. Then, there was a maybe. So we’ll just wait and see.”

    On the times of the suspensions:
    “I can’t really speak on the grace period because that was between the NFL and the Players’ Association. Exactly what was talked about, I can’t even get into that. I just know they’re suspended for four games.”

    On how quickly he can tell when a player has turned a corner after a suspension:
    “Just like I said, you don’t know. You really don’t know. But you sit down and talk to a player and you say, ‘Hey, what direction are you going to go with your life?’ If it’s not football, it’s making a commitment to somebody. Once you make a commitment to somebody, it doesn’t take long to figure out if your word means anything. People do make mistakes. I’ve seen guys come back after this fine for the rest of their career. They don’t even stumble. I’ve had other guys that are out of the league within two or three months. You just don’t know what type of problem they have. The question about counseling and helping people? Those type of things are available and hopefully they take advantage of it.”

    On what he said to Davis and Williams:
    “I’m not going to go through my conversations with these guys. It was very personal, but we did talk in detail and I had a great conversation with both guys. I told them how disappointed I was and they understood that. I’m hoping that they go in the right direction because I really believe that both of these guys are very good people [that] made a couple of bad decisions.”

    On if Davis and Williams expressed remorse:
    “Very much so.”

    On if Davis’ suspension changes his thinking about him for the future:
    “We’ll take that part of the evaluation process and we’ll see where Fred is going. I can’t get into a lot of detail, but any contract that anybody would sign somebody to knowing that, with one failed test, they could be gone just like that, they’re going to protect themselves in the contract. It will be based on performance and based on demonstrating what they know.”

    On if he’ll build the offensive line differently in the future because Williams could be suspended at any time for a season:
    “Well, you can lose somebody at any time – to a sprained ankle, to a knee… Now, we’re going to have guys step up and we’ll see who gets the job done. [There are] no excuses. You lose guys during the season. We lost two guys to something a little bit different other than an injury, but as a football team, there are no excuses. You lose people and you go on. The rest of our football team has to step up and play at a certain level and these guys that are backing them up to show us that they can play in the NFL and play at a very high level.”

    On if he’s confident Davis and Williams will do the right thing going forward:
    “Any time somebody makes a mistake and they’re remorseful, you’re hoping they are. You’re hoping they learn from their mistake. Did they? There’s only one way to find out and that’s time. We will find out in time. Am I hoping they both do? Yeah, because I like both of them. They’re good people. They work extremely hard. They made a bad decision and we’ll find out in time. I’m pulling for them because I like them both. I like them personally. I like their work ethic. I like how they go about their business. Am I disappointed in them? Big time because they affect not only themselves, but this organization and their teammates. That’s a bad decision and they know they put us in a heck of a position – not even talking about themselves and what it means to them and their future.”

    On who will play left tackle:
    “We’ll have both [Willie] Smith and Sean [Locklear] work out at it this week. Both guys will rotate and we’ll make a decision by the end of the week what direction we’ll go.”

    On if Tyler Polumbus will play left tackle:
    “He’s working at the left guard position and the right tackle position.”

    On his relationship with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick:
    “Bill and I go back a long time as assistant coaches [and] as coordinators. I’ve always had a lot of respect for him. We’ve talked through the years as friends, as assistant coaches, coordinators, head coaches. They asked me a long time ago- it was kind of funny after the Cleveland situation – they asked me who I thought the best coaches were in the NFL. He had just gotten fired and I said Bill Belichick and everybody laughed at that time, but nobody is laughing anymore. You know when there’s a good football coach and I’ve always known that Bill’s been a great football coach. I mentioned Joe Collier and Bill Cowher as well. He’s a student of the game [and] extremely bright. It’s always fun to go against him.”

    On how much time he spent with Belichick in his year off:
    “Just a day. I watched New England practice one day and maybe a day and a half – I did three practices and I did the same thing with Pittsburgh.”

    On if he learned anything watching the Patriots’ practices:
    “I always learn something from practices when you visit colleges or you visit pros, but I’ve looked at a number of teams that have won Super Bowls – Pittsburgh and New England – I always heard how physical their practices were and I wanted to see it first-hand… and see how they went about their business. It was fun to see because you don’t get a chance to do that as a head coach in the NFL or as an assistant.”

    On Belichick’s philosophy:
    “I think we’ve watched each other through the years. We know what type of people that we try to get on our football team, what’s your makeup going to be and so I’ve watched him through the years. I know that he’s watched me. It’s been fun to talk about over a couple beers or dinner, something like that.”

    On the hallmarks of a Belichick team:
    “Well, he knows football. He knows offense, defense, special teams. He lives it. He breathes it. It’s what makes him tick. I think anybody who is as passionate about something as he is and is as intelligent, they’re going to be good. He enjoys what he is doing.”

    On if he takes some things from Belichick:
    “I always try to steal things from people who are doing good. With four wins, I’m not in a position to talk a whole lot about what we’ve done in the past. All you keep on doing is fighting and try to put the best team you can together.”

    On his similarities to Belichick:
    “I’m sure there’s some and I’m sure there’s some drastic differences as well.”

    On beating Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the playoffs as head coach of the Denver Broncos:
    “He’s impressed me through the years and you keep on seeing him get better and better. That was a big one for us because they hit 10 in a row and they played in Denver. That was a pressure-type game. We didn’t take advantage of the opportunity when we played Pittsburgh the next week. But you always look back when you have those type of games. At the end of the year, there’s only one team that’s happy and that’s the team that wins the Super Bowl.”

    On what makes Tom Brady so special:
    "Well, number one, he's extremely bright... He gets it. He’s cool, calm and collected. He reads the defenses extremely well. You can tell that he’s very calm [in] demeanor. And it’s kind of fun to watch him. He sits back in that pocket sometimes and it doesn’t look like he’s got a care in the world and he’s able to find the open receiver very quickly. But you don’t come across a lot of great ones and he’s one of those great ones.”

    On the poor rankings of the New England defense despite the team being 9-3:
    “It’s a trait of Bill’s. He doesn’t really care about stats. He cares about winning. What he does a great job of [is] he doesn’t give a lot of points up. They’re ranked 13th in the NFL in points given up, so all those other stats really don’t matter. How many points do you give up? How many points do you score? At the end of the day, they’re doing a pretty good job with not giving up a lot of points.”

    On if he spoke with Belichick before the Albert Haynesworth trade:
    “I didn’t talk to him at all before he was traded. I talked to him afterwards, after he was traded, soon afterwards. I would have probably done the same thing. You’ve got a chance to get a good price on a guy with that type of ability. You bring him in, see if you can get him changed the way you run a defense. You run your organization and you’re hoping that he fits in. You got him at a perfect price and you know that if he didn’t play good for you, the chances are he’s out of the league. So I thought it was a smart move for him. It just didn’t work out.”

    On Patriots defensive end Andre Carter:
    “Well, Andre’s more comfortable in a 4-3 defensive scheme, there’s no question about it. And, you know, Andre asked to be released because he understood we were going to the 3-4 and he understood that if he was used, it was only being in passing situations or nickel situations. We granted him his wish. But you talk about a class act, a guy that’s taken advantage of an opportunity. I’ve always been pulling for Andre Carter because he’s a guy that I think you guys would say that, ‘Hey, he’s pretty easy to get along with.’ Very accountable.”

    On fullback Mike Sellers responding to more playing time on offense:
    “Well, one thing you have to do when you get older as a player, you have to understand that you may not be the starter but you have to prepare yourself like you’re going to be the starter. And you’ve got to help on special teams and you’ve got to run scout team. You’ve got to do a lot of the dirty work. Some veterans can’t handle it. Mike did. He was able to run the scout team. He played well on special teams. He gave us everything he had in preparation. So when somebody did go down, he took advantage of that opportunity. That’s why he’s in the league at his age.”

    On adding defensive lineman Chris Baker and tight end Dominique Byrd to the active roster:
    “Well, it was unfortunate today. Chris Baker pulled a little quad, so that’s not good. He didn’t practice today. We gave him the kiss of death by activating him. Then, Dominique Byrd, when he was here, we saw some athletic ability in him. We didn’t have the luxury at that time of keeping him on the squad, but with Fred going out and Dominique available, we thought we’d bring him back and give him another shot.”

    On if taking a chance of Byrd is similar to taking a chance on defensive end Kentwan Balmer:
    “We’ll find out, but when he was here, he handled himself extremely well. He practiced very hard. I liked him coming out. He’s an athlete. And if he can get everything together on the practice field, we think he has ability to play and play at a very high level in the National Football League… I think he’s got a good upside and now we’ll see if he can get it done on game days and do the things necessary to get us a win.

    Quarterback Rex Grossman

    On his performance against the Jets:
    “Generally, there were some plays, normally on our field goal drives, had I made quicker decisions, we might have had four more points. Our last field goal, there might have been an attempt to move the chains and we ended up getting a long field goal. End of the first half, I was a little late on one play – it got tipped. Those are two areas that I definitely just need to do a better job during the week of exactly how I’m going to go about running those plays with footwork so that everything times up. It was more of a fundamental footwork area that I was late to both of those plays. Those are the things you look back on when you lose as plays you can do better. When you win, those kind of get shoved under the rug.”

    On his shoulder injury:
    “You’ll have to ask Coach [Mike Shanahan] about that.”

    On if the injury hindered his accuracy:
    “No.”

    On how he’s feeling:
    “A lot better.”

    On the Patriots:
    “The Patriots are a good team. They play pretty good defense. They’re top half of the league in points allowed. A little bit of the bend-but-don’t-break type defense. They’ve given up some yards, but they’re still well-coached, they’re a smart football team and how they go about their whole team scheme to win games. We’ve got to be sharp. We have to do a real good job of moving the chains and having some long scoring drives. My mindset doesn’t really change at all rather than just understanding their basic philosophy and reacting to everything I see with a plan and not try to overcompensate for things you don’t control.”

    On if he has to study more during the week because the Patriots’ defense uses multiple fronts:
    “Yeah, a little bit. Any time you’re playing a team out of your division, I guess where you don’t see them a lot, It takes a little bit more time. That happens [10] times a year. There’s definitely challenges they present that, during the course of a week, not that much different than your normal plan — amount of time to prepare — just there might be a few different things.”

    On how much time he spends watching film of the Patriots’ game this past weekend compared to all of their other games:
    “Generally speaking, it’s a four-game breakdown. Everyone in the NFL goes back to the last four games they played and do all of their cut-ups in the last four games. Definitely, from my point of view, I like to watch all 12 games just to see how they’ve mixed it up. A lot of teams have a certain defense or game plan for a certain team and they basically run that the whole game or they have a specific blitz for that team or just constantly run a certain coverage that they do a lot. So maybe you can pick up some tendencies like that if you’re starting to see something early maybe you can expect it later. I don’t know if that’s the case this week, just that’s how you go about it just for watching all 12 games.”

    On if the way Colts quarterback Dan Orlovsky played in the fourth quarter against the Patriots gives him more confidence:
    “Not really. Any time somebody does well or something specific, you can use common sense that they’re going to correct their errors as well. You can’t always guarantee that, ‘Well, that play worked for them, it’s going to work for us.’ Everyone’s a professional in this business. They fix whatever problems they have. Just like on offense, we don’t pick up a certain blitz or have trouble against a certain look, we definitely, on Monday, go about it to fix those problems. You can never count on the same looks.”

    On playing without tight end Fred Davis:
    “We’re just going to have to have other people step up. Other people have to fill that role and that doesn’t necessarily need to be a tight end, just that production. The production needs to come from somewhere, whether it’s the running game or the receivers or Logan Paulsen. Just collectively, as a group, we have to find a way to fill that missing piece.”

    On how tough it is to lose Davis and tackle Trent Williams:
    “They’re extremely talented players. It’s definitely going to hurt, but at the same time, we’re hoping that somebody surprises us. Whoever’s playing left tackle, hopefully he steps up and plays his best game [and] finishes out the season playing extremely well. That’s our challenge. Then at tight end, like I said, hopefully we can just find that production collectively as a group and go about it that way. We’re losing two guys that have rare ability. It’s just another thing that you have to figure out a way to fill that void.”

    On the team’s struggles this season:
    “A lot of things haven’t gone our way, but at the same time, we’ve put ourselves in a position in several games to take advantage of our opportunities. In too many games, we haven’t finished. In too many games, we haven’t done what’s needed to win. I think the team as an organization – I think you can tell that, any time you’re competitive, we give ourselves a chance to win every game. It’s about taking that next step and dominating more of the game so you’re not in those situations at the end. It feels like to me that this team is pretty close, but we’re still in that mode of not dominating, not taking charge of the games where it’s not close at the end where anything can happen. That part is frustrating, but we know that we give ourselves a chance to win every game. We’ve got to start finishing and playing better when the chips are down.”

    On why Patriots defensive end Andre Carter is having success this season
    “Because he’s a hell of a player. You talk about defensive ends, you’re just talking about man-on-man and winning and getting to the quarterback unless it’s a coverage sack, which happens. Most of the time, it’s about a defensive end, a skilled defensive end, that’s been around a long time that knows his move [and] knows how he wants to go about things. [He] also has a lot of talent.”

    On if he feels let down by Davis and Williams:
    “No, it’s a tough situation. I’m not going to talk about their situation. I just know that they feel bad about it. They talked to us today in a team meeting, letting us know that they’re remorseful and they’re apologetic about it. They feel bad enough. It’s a tough situation and they know they made a mistake. They know they have to pay some pretty harsh consequences for it and, as a teammate, you wish they were out there with you. They’re going through a tough time right now – a self-imposed tough time – but at the same time you feel for them a little bit. I think they’re definitely going to be better pros because of it.”

    On how Davis and Williams addressed the team:
    “Just real quick, they both got up and expressed their remorse. [They’re] apologetic for what they did. It was extremely genuine. You could tell that they’re both not exactly in the best mood right now. As a team, it was nice to hear.”

    On not having a winning season:
    “It’s frustrating. It’s a situation where we’re playing the game like [former coach] Herm Edwards said, ‘You play to win the game.’ Winning games is fun and winning each week just going through all the work we put in Monday through Sunday to get to that point is rewarding in itself – to feel good that you worked as hard as you can. Come game day, you execute, you play well, you win [and] right now, that’s satisfying enough.”

    New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick

    On defensive end Andre Carter:
    “I think Andre was a good player coming out of college. He’s had a real good career for San Francisco and Washington. He’s done a great job for us this year. [He’s] very professional, as you guys know. He’s a very professional guy that’s smart [and] a well-conditioned athlete. He really works hard at football and things are really falling into place for him here. I know the 3-4 is probably a tough fit for him. I can felt that when I scouted him when he was at California, but I think in our system in a four-man line, he fits right in. He’s really done a great job for us. I think the system is definitely part of it.”

    On Carter’s 4.5 sacks against the Jets:
    “He’s had several outstanding games and it’s not all about sacks. It’s about just doing his job and playing his responsibility. He’s been very consistent doing that for us. Of course, there was production in that game, but he’s really been productive for us all season long as far as doing his assignment and taking care of his job.”

    On if he would have anticipated that Carter would have nine sacks through 12 games:
    “Well, I’ve never really coached Andre before so all I know is what I’ve seen and in meeting with him and being around him. I don’t try to put expectations on players and, again, statistics sometimes can be a little bit misleading. What’s more important is their play-to-play consistency and their performance. And his has been very good. The numbers are there with it, great, but there are a lot of players that play well on a down-to-down basis that don’t necessarily have the numbers to show for it. Sometimes they do [and] sometimes they don’t. Sometimes that’s a function of what the play is or what the defense is, but as far as doing his job, he’s been outstanding.”

    On how tough it has been to prepare for the Redskins’ offense without tight end Fred Davis:
    “Well, Fred’s been having an outstanding year and he’s certainly a high quality player, but I know Coach Shanahan, both Mike and Kyle, whatever they have to work with, they’ll do a good job. I’m sure people were saying the same thing when the running backs were injured. [Roy] Helu came in here and he’s done a great job for them and he’s a high-quality back. We’ve been through the same situation with ourselves when players have gone out and so forth. That’s certainly not what any team wants is to lose one of their better players, but at the same time, it creates an opportunity for someone else. Sometimes those opportunities – that’s where the next Tom Brady and Roy Helu has come from – is when they get to step in for somebody else. One thing I’m sure of is Coach Shanahan will have his team ready to go like I’m sure he always does. They’ll be well-coached. They’ll be well-prepared and I just hope that we can do the job with our group.”

    On how long he has known Mike Shanahan:
    “Probably a while. Mike and I go back to when we competed against each other back in the 80s and the 90s. We were both coordinators at the same time and then head coaches in probably several matchups. I’ve always had tremendous respect for Mike and what he’s done on the offensive side of the ball as a coordinator and his accomplishments as a head coach. I always felt like his teams were amongst the hardest to prepare for and to handle their game plans. He does a great job of that as I can see with the Redskins now. This is a hard team to get ready for [with] the schemes they have on offense and defense and in the kicking game. They’re very good in all three phases and I think they’re very well-coached with Kyle [Shanahan], Danny [Smith] and Jim [Haslett] on defense. They do a great job.”
    On how much he interacted with Shanahan the year that he was out of football:
    “He did [come visit the Patriots] in training camp. We’ve spent a little bit of time together and talked a little bit. It’s certainly nice when you’re not butting heads against each other it’s a lot easier to have conversations and try to help each other out. I mean, I have so much respect for Mike and what he’s done, the way he goes about his job, the way he coaches his team and the accomplishments that he’s had as a coach throughout his exceptional career. He’s one of the people that I respect the most in the NFL.”

    On being one of Shanahan’s influences for switching to the 3-4 on defense:
    “Well, I’ve probably learned a lot more from him than he’s learned from me, I’ll tell you.”

    On what impresses him about linebacker Ryan Kerrigan:
    “Ryan has, I think, had a tremendous year. He’s a very consistent player. He’s strong. He’s physically strong and he’s tough. He lines up play-after-play and takes on tight ends and tackles, all-comers. He does a great job in the running game. He’s rushed the passer well. He’s certainly been a good complement with [Brian] Orakpo on the other side and, even for that matter, when Rob Jackson’s come in there, he’s done a good job too. So they’ve got excellent depth at outside linebacker. But Kerrigan’s strong, he’s physical, he’s very instinctive, he’s got a good feel for what’s happening on plays – like the play he made against the Giants – the slip screen where he beat the cut block, tipped it up in the air and returned it for a touchdown. Screen passes. Things like that, he doesn’t get fooled a lot. He’s a tough player, he’s a smart guy and he’s very instinctive. It seems like he has a real good feel what plays are trying to be run against him and you don’t see him get beat by the same thing twice. Even if they get something on him, they come back and run it the next time and he’s ready for it. He plays it better. He’s been very impressive.”

    On if he feels spoiled by quarterback Tom Brady:
    “The impressive thing about Tom is similar to what we talked about with Andre. You get the same thing every day from Tom. Every week, he’s consistent with preparation. He performs well. He’s in good condition. He works hard. He spends a lot of time on our game plan. He spends a lot of time studying the opponent. He’s confident when he walks out on the field. He’s performed well in some difficult situations. You see that on a daily basis. He does the same thing every day he comes to practice and to the meetings. He’s a very consistent guy that’s always ready to go. The same comments I made about Andre — he’s very professional. You can count on him every day and that’s a great feeling as a coach.”

    On Brady distributing the ball, especially to his tight ends:
    “I think Tom has always done a good job of trying to take advantage of the matchups and trying to get the ball to the receivers that have the best opportunity against whatever coverage our opponent happens to be playing, And, of course, knowing the route the we happen to have on that particular play. So, he does a good job of seeing the field. He’s accurate, and he can find receivers usually where there’s not too many defenders. Those are good qualities.”

    On if he has time during the season to look ahead to scouting for future teams:
    “No, we have our scouting department and Nick Caserio, our personnel director, and our college scout, Jon Robinson and our staff, they spend the time on the college draft. Really, it’s a full-time job for me to try to prepare our team on a weekly basis, especially a team like the Redskins that’s just so hard to get ready for. I need all the time I can get to prepare for Washington.”

    On if Redskins receivers Jabar Gaffney and Donté Stallworth appear to be playing at a high level:
    “They do. Jabar had a real good stint there in Denver and I think he’s done a nice job there for the Redskins as well. You know, he’s a smart player. He runs really good routes. He has a good understanding of the passing game. He understands concepts and can do a lot of different things. He can play outside. He can play in the slot. [He] can run deep, can run intermediate routes and can run the underneath stuff. He’s a very adaptable, very dependable player. Stallworth is real explosive and fast. He’s a guy that can cover a lot of ground in a hurry, a very explosive player. The Redskins have great depth at receiver. They have a lot of good receivers and a lot of fast guys, like [Anthony] Armstrong and, of course, [Santana] Moss out there. [Terrence] Austin and [Niles] Paul have done a good job for them in the kicking game as well as [Brandon] Banks. [David] Anderson has come in there and helped. That’s a good group, has got a lot of depth and a lot of quality. Stallworth is part of that.”

    On the growing importance of the tight end position:
    “Over the last I don’t know how many years, the game has gone from being a two-back game to more of a one-back game, although there are teams that have elements of two backs and fullbacks, but I think you’re seeing the overall numbers in the league of fullbacks’ playing time decline and more multiple tight end sets. I think it always comes down to a function of your personnel. Whoever your best players are, skill players, whether it be tight ends, backs or receivers, you’re always trying to look to get your playmakers on the field. If there are more of them at one position than another, then you tend to see that formation or that personnel group featured. And if the personnel changes, then you’ll probably see a shift in the groupings based on who the actual players are themselves.”

    On former defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth:
    “Speaking for myself and the organization, I think everybody really tried to work hard to make that work. I think Albert tried hard. I didn’t really have any criticisms of him or what he tried to do. I just think in the end, it just didn’t work out. And so we felt like at that point in time, a few weeks ago, it was just best to move on. I thought he tried hard to do what we asked him to do, but in the end, it just wasn’t a good fit for both of us.”

    On his memories from Patriots’ 20-17 loss to the Redskins in 2003:
    “We didn’t play well enough to win. It’s as simple as that. The Redskins played better than we did. We had some opportunities, but in the end, they made more plays than we did in all three phases of the game. We just didn’t play good enough and that’s usually what happens in this league. When you don’t play well enough, you don’t deserve to win. And when you go out and play well, then things usually work out in your favor. It was a long time ago. I don’t think that game’s a big factor in what’s going to happen this weekend, but what I think is going to be a big factor is how well we prepare and what kind of week of preparation and practice we have and then how well we perform on Sunday. We want to try to put that to the highest level because we know what the challenges are going to be down there. The Redskins are a good football team. They’re really strong in all three phases of the game. I’ve really been impressed with them in the kicking game. They’re explosive on offense and capable of making a lot of turnovers and big plays on defense. So we know we’ve got our work cut out for us and we need to have a good week here.”

    New England Patriots DE Andre Carter

    On if he anticipated this type of success when he signed with New England:
    “You know what, I’m a man of faith. God works in mysterious ways. In all, I was just blessed to have the opportunity to play another season and play a few more downs and, in general, just play for a great organization.”

    On being back in a four-man front:
    “It’s fun, man. This is something I’ve done for a long period of time. Just for Coach [Bill] Belichick and the Patriots organization to take the chance on me to go out there and just try my best to be productive or just to try my best to play a great game with great teammates…”

    On if he had offers from teams other than the Patriots this past offseason:
    “I had offers from New York. I took a trip to New York [to meet with the Giants] and unfortunately, we had to shake hands and part ways because it didn’t work out. I ended up getting a call from the Patriots, so I was very blessed.”

    On if he is playing better than ever:
    “I hope so. I’m just my own worst critic. Every game I analyze and look at what I can do to get better, what techniques and fundamentals can I do to improve my game. That’s just how I look at it. I take it one game at a time and just play hard. If things flow with you, great. If not, you just go back to the drawing board.”

    On if he compares Belichick to Redskins Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan:
    “Yeah, I do. I mean, they’re two coaches that are definitely hard-nosed. They pay attention to detail. They’re definitely goal-oriented as far as what needs to be done. In each game, they know the players. They’re just fundamentally sound. That’s some similarities that they share.”

    On what he did to register 4.5 sacks against the New York Jets:
    “Just playing hard like every other game. You would ask other players or other [defensive] ends that just get on a roll on those particular nights that are so productive, it’s a blessed performance and I’ll definitely remember that game.”

    On if he was surprised that he will not be facing Redskins tackle Trent Williams:
    “It’s unfortunate that it ended up the way it did. I wish the best for him because he’s a heck of a player and when we did pass rush, we had some good battles. Hopefully this will subside and just be a speed bump in the road, but he’ll bounce back and be ready to go next year.”

    On if he has faced Redskins tackle Sean Locklear in the past:
    “I think I did, but maybe once. I was trying to remember. If I recall, I think he played more right [tackle] than the left. I don’t think we played against each other that much.”

    On if there is a different mindset playing defense on a team with a prolific offense:
    “I think the mindset, in general, whether you’re successful or unsuccessful on offense, defense, [and] special teams, is to go out there and execute and play hard. Definitely the game can change or the game situation can change when you’re playing ahead or behind, but in general, whatever the score is, you’ve just got to go out there and play your best game, play by play. And that’s just something I’d just stake my pride off of when I was a Redskin, when I was a 49er and now as I am a Patriot.”

    On if the defense can afford to gamble more when supported by a strong offense:
    “I don’t think it’s necessarily ‘gamble.’ I just think in regards to rushing the passer, you’re just in sync with the rest of the linemen and you communicate. In general, you constantly communicate when you’re on the sideline.”

    On what he has learned about Patriots quarterback Tom Brady since the Patriots defeated the Redskins in 2007:
    “I’ll tell you what, one thing about Tom Brady, man, he can definitely move the ball very effectively. He’s just definitely a great professional quarterback to have. He studies the game. He definitely tries to control the tempo and that’s something he did in ’07 and that’s something he continues to do now.”

    On drama during his time in Washington:
    “It was never easy. It’s definitely never easy. The thing is to be optimistic, that’s something I always learned being there and being in any tough situations. Nothing in life is ever perfect. Being there in Washington, I played with some great men. Definitely, London Fletcher is on top of the board. Phillip Daniels, Renaldo Wynn. As far as coaches, ‘Go Crazy’ Gregg Williams. Joe Gibbs brought me in from day one. It was a lot of good memories despite the tough times.”

    On the culture change between Washington and New England:
    “No matter what organization you’re playing for, there’s always a sense of history. Now, granted, this organization has not always been successful as far as winning, but as a whole, in general, to almost any other team, there’s always a tradition and there’s always a little bit of history that each organization has. So there’s always some similarity and that’s something that you always remember.”

    On the similarities between Belichick’s and Shanahan’s rules for player conduct:
    “It’s the same. To some degree, it’s really simple. Do your job. Come to work on time. Work hard. Study your film. Know your plays. Go home, rest up, and do it all over again. Those are pretty much the simple answers to stay out of trouble. That’s pretty much it.”

    On Shanahan and the Redskins’ progress:
    “I think he’s headed in the right direction. Unfortunately, winning doesn’t come overnight. I’m a firm believer that they do have the right group of guys, a great level of character to turn this thing around. Unfortunately it’s going to take a little bit of time, but overall, as far as his fundamentals, I think the guys in particular in the Redskins organization, they understand that. So, it’s coming along. It’s unfortunate, but I know good things are coming their way.”

    On if the Patriots defense needs to improve before the playoffs:
    “We’re not really focused on playoff time. I think what’s most important is how we’re going to play on Sunday… We’ve just got to get ready for Sunday just like any other week, take the time and preparation to put on the best performance. One day a week. Everybody’s watching. That’s what’s important now.”

    On the current struggles by the Patriots defense:
    “I know it’s bottom of the heap, but you know, it’s on us as players to possibly get better and know what we can do right and try to rectify the situations that haven’t been very successful for us. But overall, we do have a great group of men here that love this game. We just go out there and try to have fun.”

    On if he can tell offensive lines that haven’t been together very long:
    “Oh, yeah, of course. Sometimes guys or players just are not in sync in regards to making calls or understanding how each man works, kind of like playing defensive line, especially when there’s a new guy or group of men that is just kind of coming in. It takes time to jell. Once everything starts flowing, then things can get a little bit easier in regard to the running game and passing game.”
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    On Patriots defensive end Andre Carter:
    “Well, Andre’s more comfortable in a 4-3 defensive scheme, there’s no question about it. And, you know, Andre asked to be released because he understood we were going to the 3-4 and he understood that if he was used, it was only being in passing situations or nickel situations. We granted him his wish. But you talk about a class act, a guy that’s taken advantage of an opportunity. I’ve always been pulling for Andre Carter because he’s a guy that I think you guys would say that, ‘Hey, he’s pretty easy to get along with.’ Very accountable.”


    just think, it only took Shannahan a year to figure out what almost every knowledgable redskin fan already knew. this makes me so very vexed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rymanofthenorth View Post
    just think, it only took Shannahan a year to figure out what almost every knowledgable redskin fan already knew. this makes me so very vexed.
    Why do you think it took him a year to figure this out? Do you seriously believe he didn't realize this? There was a significant lack of options available...Carter had to stick around.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rymanofthenorth View Post
    just think, it only took Shannahan a year to figure out what almost every knowledgable redskin fan already knew. this makes me so very vexed.
    I think Shanahan knew it as well as anyone. He just wasn't going to build his defense around a 31 year-old defensive end.
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    Shanahan's rebuilding program is taking that much extra time because he has been fixed from the beginning on what offensive and defensive schemes the team is going to run.

    The talent currently on the team was not really a consideration of any significance.

    That's where his path diverges from a guy like Harbaugh with the 49ers who came in and tried to accentuate what the existing talent did well and augment that with better depth and filling in some holes.

    Shanahan's way is more radical and takes more time. It can be effective as Johnson's Cowboys and Walsh's 49ers have shown in the past.

    But it requires EXCELLENT work from the front office to evaluate and bring in the right people.

    Already Shanahan and Co have made significant errors at quarterback and on the offensive line.

    Right now that's why the team isn't .500 or better.

    The decisions made on defense have been better and the unit is competitive in almost all the games.
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    maybe you guys need to go back and read the quotes from the debacle year, and leaving him in at OLB didnt suggest that he knew anything not when they waited until the middle of the year before running more four man front packages and suing him properly and replacing him in the 30 package. BT is the closest thing to correct, he simply didnt take our talent into account when he took over he had a preset idea of what he wanted.

    the defence is about where it was before he blew it up, so we went through that for what? to get a few more sacks 2 years later? blech.
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