December 12, 2011
Redskins Park


Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the injury statuses of tackle Jammal Brown and fullback Mike Sellers:
“JB – just a sore groin. Exactly when he’ll be able to come back, I’m not really sure. Mike Sellers the same thing we talked about after the game. He’s quite sore today. [He] hyperextended the elbow. We’ll find out more on Wednesday.”

On captains getting penalties:
“When guys are in a leadership role. I think you understand that you have to keep your cool, regardless, if you like a call or don’t like a call. That’s your job to handle yourself in a professional manner, more importantly, to not put your team in a hole by getting a 15-yard penalty. So those are things that I’ve talked about with our football team. If you make too many of those mistakes, eventually you’re not with us.”

On the offense gaining the most yards of the season against the Patriots defense, which was one of the lower-ranked defenses going into the game:
“I think earlier in the year we had a couple of games that we moved the ball pretty good in that first four games. It was the best game we had for a while moving the football. I think it’s a combination of those things. I think our guys did a good job [and] really stepped up moving the football. I know they were injured as well. I was proud of our football team. To lose a guy in pregame and no excuses. Tyler [Polumbus] stepped in and really did a good job playing and you’ve got a young guy like Willie Smith coming in for the first time and playing against a good football team and handling himself well. Collectively, I think they did the things you have to do to win the football game. [I am] disappointed that we didn’t score when we were inside the five-yard line. Our penalty for five yards, our penalty for offsides on that third-down and inches or that third-down-and-one, and then obviously on the offensive pass interference. You’ve got to score against a good football team like that, especially a team that scores as much as they do. I was disappointed because we could have won the football game there. We’ll keep on working. Hopefully from an improvement situation, we can pull some of these games out.”

On the offensive pass interference call against wide receiver Santana Moss:
“Yeah, I agree with the call. You can’t extend your arms. You can have that call – I’m not sure how many times they are going to call offensive pass interference, but any time there is an extension of the arms, it’s a proper call.”

On safety Oshiomogho Atogwe saying that he felt good going into the Patriots game but didn’t receive many snaps:
“He did play good the eight plays he did play. Coaches felt that he looked better out there. Part of it is the evaluation during the week – how we see players practicing and to see if they’re full-speed. He’ll never tell you that he doesn’t feel good and that’s the way he is, which is what you want players to say. But we’ve got to evaluate him, coaches have to evaluate him during the week as well as I do [and] take a look at film and see where he’s at. But I was, I shouldn’t say pleasantly surprised, but our coaches felt he played at a very high level and so did I when he was in there, which gives him an opportunity to play more.”

On the penalty against linebacker London Fletcher:
“I thought I saw exactly what I saw on the replay. Looking at the end zone copy, our film, just reinforced what I thought after the game.”

On if he will follow up with the league on the call against Fletcher:
“No. Of course, any time you call a personal foul, you know there’s a fine involved. What they’ll probably do is look at that and say, ‘Hey, that’s a missed call.’ That’s what I would guess, but I can’t tell you for sure.”

On the penalty called on the Patriots for a low hit on quarterback Rex Grossman:
“Do I think it was a foul? It could have went either way. Any time you go below the knees, there’s always a question about the safety, but I can see the argument either way on that call.”

On if he looks at which officials are assigned for games in advance:
“Any time you get an official crew, you kind of go back the last time you had them and take a look at the calls that you think they made correctly or made incorrectly and you go through [them] with each official… Human nature is, in the back of your mind, when somebody does miss a call, it’s like, ‘Hey, people are going to miss calls.’ And usually they even out over the course of the year. That’s the nature of the game. You’ve got to live with the good ones [and] live with the bad ones. You can’t use it as excuses and find a way to win.”

On tackle Willie Smith allowing a sack on his third play against the Patriots but then bouncing back:
“I thought it was a little on the quarterback and a little on Willie and I still feel that way after taking a look at the film. Those things do happen. It’s part of the process for a guy playing in his first game. I think, especially being at home, it’s more advantageous than it is on the road because of knowing the snap count [and] taking off. On the snap count, usually that’s where guys have a hard time when they first start playing offensive line. I thought Willie did a good job [and] gave some good effort. I think he’ll continue to get better, but it was good to get him in the game and get him some experience.”

On if Smith will start against the Giants:
“I think we’ll do the same thing we did last week where we’ll get both guys practicing at that position and go with the guy we feel has the best week in practice. If we do alternate them like we did last week — the guy that we feel gives us the best chance to win.”

On if cornerback DeAngelo Hall slowed down on the play when Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski broke tackles near the sideline:
“I was disappointed because one of the things DeAngelo usually does is finish. A lot of corners don’t like to tackle. He’s one of the more physical guys in the league. I know he was embarrassed by it as well as our whole football team. You’ve got to finish, especially when someone is inbounds. Those things like that do happen.”

On adjusting to not having tackle Trent Williams and tight end Fred Davis:
“One thing about offense that you can’t do on defense, you can control what personnel groups you have. If you do lose somebody, not necessarily on the offensive line, regardless of tight end position or wide receiver, you can go with different packages and so that’s what we did. We used three wide receivers and two backs for the first time. I thought it helped us. We did some things that they hadn’t seen, so I thought it was a little bit of an advantage there. Overall, we’ll make those adjustments each week.”

On playing more three-receiver and two-back sets:
“They make adjustments very quickly too. They made two or three in the game and so did we. You rotate your personnel around a little bit, but try catch them a little bit off-guard and they try to catch you a little bit off-balance. It’s a little bit more of a chess game than anything else. I like the way we ran the ball. We ran the ball much better than we have. That’s what you have to be able to do to be one of the better offenses in the NFL.”

On the importance of winning in December and what it takes to do it:
“First of all, you’ve got to have a little depth on your football team so if you do have injuries you can stay at a certain level. Winning and getting used to winning – you know how to win. To me, the great organizations and teams can do that even when they do lose players. That’s part of the process of being a great team or a great organization.”

On if tackle Tyler Polumbus will be the starting right tackle if Brown is unable to play:
“Yes.”

On running back Evan Royster’s performance against the Patriots:
“He did a good job. He had [six rushing] opportunities out there to show what he could do, but I was pleased overall.”

On what improvements he has seen from Royster:
“Just feeling comfortable with our system, comfortable with the blocking responsibilities, blitz pick-up. The game slows down a little bit for him. A lot of times when you throw a guy in there, there are so many different things that they have to think about. When you put a guy in there after he gets a little more experience, going through a game and giving you a chance to win.”

On kickoffs going out of bounds:
“You don’t want to give anyone the ball on the 40-yard line and so if someone can not kick a ball in a certain area… You’d like the kickoff to be in the corner, it’s a little bit easier to cover. If it’s close to going out of bounds, obviously it defeats the purpose. That happened one time. It was disappointing. He just missed it. It was just a hook and the ball never got off the ground so that was the last time it happened during the game. There was not another kick that was even close and I thought [Graham] Gano did a good job of kicking the ball with some good hang time and some good distance after that.”

On why running back Ryan Torain was inactive:
“We have a few guys beat up. I thought the chances for us at least that looking at the injuries it was better off for us to have [tight end Dominique] Byrd up than Ryan Torain. Ryan was not going to play unless the two running backs, something happened to them. There’s always a chance of somebody going down and you make the wrong decision. Since Ryan doesn’t play on special teams, I thought we would need help on special teams and have a little bit more depth at the tight end position if he didn’t dress.”

On if quarterback Rex Grossman has been making a case to be on the team next season with his play in the past few games:
“Well, like I told you or told everybody before, it’s not just one person. It’s everybody playing together. There’s not very many quarterbacks that can be the quarterback without their supporting cast [and] put all the pressure on one guy. Part of it is having that cohesive offensive line, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends. It gives the quarterback a chance to be pretty good. Sometimes, when those pieces aren’t there, you go from looking at least pretty good to looking average. What we’ll do at the end of the season is we won’t go into any particulars because I don’t want to go through each position. We’ll address the particulars at each position at a later time.”

On if Grossman is one of many players playing to be on the roster next season:
“Sure, everybody is. Everybody is every game. You’re playing for that opportunity to come back and be part of the football team, especially when you don’t have a shot at the playoffs everybody’s playing for jobs [and] coaching for jobs.”

On the explanation he was given about the penalty against Fletcher:
“I’ll be honest with you. It wasn’t very clear exactly what the foul was. My understanding was London’s shoulder went into his chest. Sounds OK to me, but, like I said, just one person has to see it differently. One official saw it differently and I think the other two guys were talking and I think they came up to him and didn’t see it that way. One person felt he saw it that way and that’s what the call was and you can see obviously that wasn’t the case.”

On if the offensive momentum now can be carried over to next season:
“Any time you’re improving, especially with the guys who haven’t played, like Maurice Hurt, you’ve got a guy like Willie Smith, a guy like Tyler coming in. Any time you have some backups come in and you have a little more cohesiveness, that means these guys are getting valuable experience. I’m not even talking about the running backs. Yeah, that’s what you like to do. We talked about [Leonard] Hankerson too, just his involvement in that one game. He would have had a few more games under his belt and I still think that one game helped him. Come next year, these guys have more than one game [and] some of them many games.”

On running back Roy Helu getting stronger as the season has progressed:
“He’s a student of the game and he works extremely hard. He’s very conscientious [and] very accountable. Usually when you get guys like that, you give them some responsibility. They’re kind of biting at the bit and that’s what he is. He’s a guy that I think looks forward to playing. He doesn’t make many mistakes and, when he does make a mistake, it really hurts him. So guys like that really usually don’t hit the wall even though it is a long season for him.”

On linebacker Perry Riley’s performance against the Patriots and his tough assignment matching up against their tight ends:
“Yeah, it’s pretty tough because they do a lot of no huddle and so you’re getting signals from the sideline for the defenses that you’re in and all of a sudden you’ve got to be off just by a little bit. So you’ve got to be on top of your game. When you go against the Patriots, they’ve got that no huddle offense and they’re trying to pick up the pace with different substitution groups. You’ve got to work at it. Collectively, we did some good things and we did make some mistakes as well… I think he just keeps on getting better and it’s going to be a growing process learning the defense and getting comfortable with both inside positions. You can see he can run. He’s got great agility. He’s got a nose for the football and his best years are ahead of him.”

On if he received clarification from the NFL about if Fred Davis and Trent Williams can come to Redskins Park:
“You know it’s not perfectly clear right now. They’re kind of going over all those rules with the new CBA. It’s not definitive right now.”

On if there would be a scenario in which he would revoke someone’s captainship:
“If I thought a person wasn’t a leader for one example or another, obviously I wouldn’t revoke it. The players vote on the captain. I think people would lose confidence in the captain if he kept on making bad choices or bad decisions. A captain is a guy that you want to lead your football team. [He] plays at a very high level and that’s why he’s selected. Now, saying that, everybody makes mistakes. That’s part of the process. You have to keep your cool, keep your poise. Just because somebody throws a flag, it doesn’t mean that he’s a bad guy. It means you have to keep your poise and you can’t give your football team a 15-yard penalty. There’s nothing more important than your team. You have to put your team first. It’s kind of like when people see a guy retaliate. A lot of time the guy that retaliates is the guy that just got hit. What you’ve got to do is you can’t hit back. You’re going to cause your team a 15-yard penalty even though he might have gotten a cheap shot. That’s again putting your team No. 1 and you No. 2.”

On attacking Patriots defenders who were initially on offensive players, like Patriots wide receiver/defensive back Julian Edelman:
“That’s really hard to say because they do double team the guys. Sometimes, it all depends on who is being double teamed and who is being singled out. The quarterback will go through a progression and, obviously, if a wide receiver is covering a wide receiver one-on-one, you like that matchup a little bit more. Some of these guys are pretty good athletes and feel very comfortable in that role. That’s why there was a little disappointment on the goal line that we didn’t score. We had a wide receiver matched on Santana. Any time you’ve got that matchup, you feel pretty good and disappointed that we couldn’t finish it.”

On wide receiver Brandon Banks receiving more offensive snaps:
“Well, we put him in there for one reason: to throw. And he’s left-handed. We just didn’t want to put him in there for one play – everybody would have been looking at him, so we put him in there on another play, a running play so it didn’t look like it was some type of reverse. And then he did run it. He did a great job cutting to the left and making a play.”