December 14, 2011
Redskins Park


Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On if he could decide to shut down safety LaRon Landry for the rest of the season:
“It all depends what the doctor says – their recommendation and when he should be ready to go.”

On if it’s still day-to-day for Landry:
“I keep on thinking that so I can’t tell you for sure. There’s still hope – should know more tomorrow.”

On Landry’s potential return:
“Even if he does come back, what speed can he practice at? What speed can he play at? Usually when a guy comes back after being away for a week or two weeks, it takes a little time to get back in football shape and play in a game. If he does come back tomorrow, we’ll see how he practices and if he can suit up for the weekend.”

On if tackle Jammal Brown’s groin injury has improved since Monday:
“He’s still pretty sore.”

On playing more young players down the stretch of the season:
“Well, like I told you before, we’ll play the people that we think will give us the best chance to win. A lot of times it is a younger player or a player we think has an upside. A lot depends if you plan on having somebody back the following year. And so you give that guy a chance to prove what he can do.”

On if the team’s record would be different if it didn’t turn the ball over as much:
“There’s no question about it. Take a look at three games – you’re talking about the two Dallas games, you’re talking about the Jets game, talk about the game last week. All of a sudden, you’re 7-6 instead of where you’re at and that’s the difference between winning and losing the games you just mentioned.”

On running back Roy Helu during the last three games:
“Well, we’ve given him a little more of an opportunity. We think he’s earned it. He’s much more comfortable with the system. We talked about why with the protections – first down, second down, third down, base defenses, nickel. [He’s] a lot more comfortable with what he needs to do, which gives him an opportunity to be successful. You can see that he gets stronger as the game goes on, which is a big plus for him.”

On if he sees things that show that Helu will improve in the future:
“Yeah, I think that experience, just with him feeling more comfortable with himself, more comfortable with the NFL [and] just knowing that he belongs and he proves that he can play at a very high level. I think that you see with his size and his strength that he gets better as the game goes on. He plays with more confidence. He’s got the power and speed to make the big play and he sees that as times goes on. And I think a guy like him just is going to get stronger and better. Like I said before, he works at it, so hopefully you’ll see a lot of that over the last three games against some pretty good defenses.”

On if play-action has been more effective the last three games because of Helu’s success:
“We’ve talked about that from day one – through preseason and our first four regular season games – when the running game is going, the play-action game always improves. It better improve because that’s where your big plays usually come. But, yeah, it has. We’ve come up with a few more big plays in play-action and a little bit more consistency. Hopefully, we can continue to do that.”

On Giants running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs being hurt earlier in the year and if quarterback Eli Manning has become more comfortable:
“To be honest with you, they’re 32nd in rushing offense and that’s not their football team. We know what they’ve done through the years and what they believe in and how good they have been in the running game. But with the injuries that they’ve had, Eli has taken it upon his shoulders and really thrown the ball well and exceptionally well over the last three games. He’s played well the whole year – very few sacks, good touchdown-to-interception ratio. He’s playing with a lot of confidence. They’re throwing the heck out of the ball and scoring a lot of points.”

On quarterbacks like Manning that play well in the fourth quarter:
“I think it comes with experience. A guy like Eli who is very talented and who is very comfortable with the system, comfortable with the supporting cast, as time goes on, he feels, ‘Hey, that’s my job - to win the game in the fourth quarter.’ And that confidence grows as maturity grows in the quarterback. He’s playing at a very high level.”

On what he liked about tackle Willie Smith when he signed:
“We saw a guy that had some excellent quickness. He had some long arms. We thought he had a big upside. I think he liked us because he saw an opportunity to come in and possibly make a football team. I think it was a combination of those two things that we had a chance to get together. Being an offensive lineman is a work in progress and you’ve got to love it. You have to enjoy what you do. I see him just enjoying what he does. He’s a talented guy that’s going to get better and better as time goes on, but he’s going to have some growing pains. They all do as a young player, but I like his attitude and his work ethic.”

On signing tight end Richard Quinn:
“I liked him as a blocker. I thought he was a dominating blocker coming out of college. I thought he was a dominating blocker with the Broncos. [He] didn’t have a lot of catches his senior year, but I was very impressed with the way he moved defensive linemen and linebackers off the line of scrimmage. We’ll get a chance to evaluate him and see how he helps our football team.”

On what he looks for in a Wednesday practice this late in the season and if it’s difficult to come out with the team out of the playoffs:
“It is if you don’t have the right guys. If you don’t have the right makeup of the football team, it’s very easy to have an average practice. We’ve got some good character on this team. We’ve got some good practices. Even today, out of the playoffs, playing a division team, I thought we had an excellent practice. [We’ll] probably have that type of practice tomorrow. You want guys to show us what they can do. As I’ve said in the past, everybody’s playing for their jobs. It shows what type of character they have [and] what type of work ethic. Hopefully, we play at a high level even though we’re out of the playoffs.”

On if he considered taking cornerback DeAngelo Hall out after his penalty like he did with tackle Trent Williams:
“I’ll be honest with you, if I would have saw it… I didn’t even see it. I saw it was like flag day. There were about eight flags out there and I said, ‘Where did all these flags come from?’ And then I found out what happened later. I just saw the five yards for the defensive pass interference or holding within five yards then I saw flags coming all over. I was looking at the book at that time. But yeah, sometimes I do. I talk to people about those type things. The only thing you have to do as a football team is you always have to keep your poise. That’s how you learn to be a good football team. When you make the penalties like we did, you take a look at Philadelphia and all of a sudden we lost our poise a little bit there and had a personal foul. I’m not going to go through all the games that we’ve lost a little bit of that, but it’s the difference in winning and losing games. Regardless of what happened, you can’t make those type of mistakes because the great teams don’t do it, even the good teams. They get to the playoffs and chances are that type of inconsistency usually costs them a game in the playoffs as well. So we keep on talking about it and if we’re going to be the type of team we want to be, we’ll eliminate those mistakes and we’ll eliminate the people.”

On if the difference between Hall and Williams’ penalties is that he didn’t see Hall’s:
“Yeah, I saw Trent, exactly what he did. I didn’t see what happened with DeAngelo. If I would have saw what happened, I would have took him out too.”

On the offense building momentum for next season in these last three games:
“I think it’s all evaluation. Sometimes, you’ve got to rate players more when you’re out of the playoffs. It’s easy to get up and play well when you’re playing for something, when you’re playing for pride, playing for character, playing to show the coaching staff what you’re made of – I think is a good indication of character and exactly how much you want to be part of the team. It’s always ongoing.”

On if the offense’s improvement will help with confidence for next season:
“Our players next year will be very confident. We’ve got to put a football team together and hopefully practice a little while together. But with some guys coming in in certain situations and playing at very high levels, I think our confidence has grown where these guys have gotten some more playing time. Part of that we’ll find out over the next three games. Hopefully, we can keep it going.”

On the versatility of Tyler Polumbus to be able to play guard and tackle:
“We weren’t even sure he could play the guard position, but we didn’t have a choice where we lost a couple of players. He did a great job of fitting in during the week for [Maurice] Hurt. And then we lost JB [Brown], he had no choice but to work at the tackle position [and] I thought he did a great job. He’s got some playing time in the NFL and really took advantage of an opportunity. He’s very bright. He’s very competitive. He came in and played at a very high level, especially for not practicing at the position the whole week.”

On punter Sav Rocca:
“Sav has done a great job. He’s amazed me since he’s been with us. I heard a lot of rumors about him – he’s big, he’s strong, a former soccer player. Until you’re around the guy and see how he handles himself when the pressure is on, you really don’t know somebody. He’s exactly what you want. He’s a great punter. He’s cool, calm and collected when he’s holding for the extra points. He’s had more punts inside the 20-yard line than anybody else in the NFL. So it’s doesn’t get much better than that. The bad thing is he’s probably our best offensive weapon and that’s not good.”

Quarterback Rex Grossman

On if the offense had its best performance of the year against the Patriots:
“Any time you lose, you have a tendency to focus on what you could have done to win. So it’s tough to talk about something we did positive, but there was a lot of yards and third-down conversions and a lot of big plays that put us in a position to be competitive. Our best offense is games we play well and win.”

On if his performance against the Giants in Week 1 was his best game of the year:
“I don’t know. You can look at a couple games now and definitely need a repeat performance of that this week.”

On what the team did well in the first game against the Giants that can carry over to this week’s game:
“We were down 14-7 for the half and got a long touchdown drive, big play to Jabar [Gaffney] to make it 14-14 at half. And then obviously [Ryan] Kerrigan’s big play and then to finish another drive on the touchdown to make it 28-14. Getting touchdowns in the red zone definitely was the reason we were able to win that game. Kicking field goals [makes] it a lot tighter, it’s a completely different type of game.”

On if play-action has been more effective recently because of the improvement in the running game:
“Most of that is just how the defenses react by what their linebackers [do] and some teams, their linebackers aren’t as aggressive so those quicker play-action passes don’t work well. But scheme-wise, when teams are really relying on their linebackers to be aggressive and have safeties come down and help, those type of play-actions work a lot better. Obviously, when you’re running the football, I don’t care what type of scheme you have, it’s going to make the linebackers come up even more and safeties and all types of things so you can get the ball over their heads into the second level. It’s a lot easier.”

On if he has noticed a difference because the running game is better:
“Yeah definitely, especially on second down on passing situations. You’re not running the ball as well, maybe it’s not as effective, but as I answer that, generally scheme-wise, it’s not that different. But you can tell that switching up our runs, we’re cutting back, linebackers are running to the sidelines pretty quickly. Cut back runs are getting big on the backside. The linemen are doing a hell of a job cutting those guys [and] getting them down. We’re running the ball extremely well because of our offensive line, our game plan and definitely our running backs.”

On turning the ball over:
“We’ve been competitive in most of our games that we’ve lost. It comes down to a play here or a play there and I think, without a lot of those turnovers, maybe we can not put ourselves in that situation where we dominate again. We’ve got to figure out a way to finish those games that are tight. We also need to figure out a way to eliminate mistakes so we get a little bit of a cushion. You look at our record, [we] could very easily, just two or three plays, be a lot better than it is. The reason those games are close is because of mistakes and we need to eliminate those so we can not be five minutes left to go in the fourth quarter [and] the game can go either way.”

On if his mental clock changes when the ball is inside your own five-yard line:
“It’s got to change. In that situation [against the Patriots], with where we were and the timing of everything, I just need to throw it away. Not go to No. 2, just go to No. 1 and just get rid of it and punt. Live to play another series.”

On running back Roy Helu emerging as the feature back:
“In this situation, we’re playing for each other. We’re playing to establish our identity on offense, defense and special teams and trying to just keep on getting better. And go out there and just play it and win. People can emerge like Roy has and gain confidence and establish who we are as a team - go about it in the right way and pull off a streak of wins here to end the season. That’s what we’re playing for and it’s important to really continue to getter better and establish who we are on all three phases of the game.”

On if the way the offense is currently playing makes him want to return next season:
“I definitely have a lot of confidence in the offensive game plan every week. I feel like it’s one of the best in the NFL. You look across the NFL and the best teams have had continuity. You look at Green Bay and New Orleans. All of these teams have established what they do well and what’s unstoppable on their offense and they go about it. They’re very precise to the point where it just looks easy for everyone – receivers, quarterback, line, running back. Everything looks smooth. I feel like we’ve played with a lot of rhythm and when we get going and have some momentum, we’ve played pretty well. We need to just keep building on that.”

New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin

On the team not letting its guard down:
“Well, I think we’ve been down that road many times before. We move quickly on to the next opponent. We try not to spend a whole lot of time on the past game right now. The locker room scene was a good one but it was a focused scene as well. It was one that was looking forward rather than backward. I think that we’ve got some checks and balances in place, and I thought the guys did a pretty good job today moving forward. We have great respect for the Redskins. They beat us earlier in the year. They’ve given everybody a tough game, a hard go. You could argue that a play here or there in the New England game, a play here or there against the Jets, both games against Dallas were so darn close… So I mean, there isn’t anybody here that’s not aware of the quality of their team and how hard they play.”

On how the Giants have changed since Week 1:
“We’ve developed and gotten better at our execution. I think we tried to stay the course. The quarterback, Eli [Manning], is playing very, very well. He’s been the catalyst. We certainly are trying to continue to utilize his abilities to the fullest extent and the development of the young receivers and tight ends. So, our execution has gotten better and simply, in a lot of ways, we weren’t a very good team when we came out of camp and you can argue about how far we’ve come with that. But it’s a matter of improving our execution and properly using our personnel. And then, to be honest with you, compensating — as Washington has had to do — for those that are injured or for whatever reason can’t play.”

On Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield:
“I think he’s done well. He’s been coached in terms of how they particularly want that position played. Barry’s a big, strong, smart guy that really can adapt to a lot of things and he’s done a good job with that.”

On Giants quarterback Eli Manning avoiding turnovers better this season:
“It’s a must. There isn’t any doubt about it. We’re playing, for the most part, games that go right to the wire. A turnover can cost you a football game. We each had one the other night [against Dallas]. We certainly have and have tried like heck to make that the No. 1 thing. We always address that way. Other than points for, points against, the No. 1 stat in the NFL is the takeaway/giveaway margin. So that’s a sign that he’s very aware of it. He’s committed to that particular aspect of the game and trying to do the best that he can. And he’s done a good job of throwing the ball away and doing some of the things that go along with the quality player that he is. Rather than always being inclined to try to fit those tight balls in there, he’s throwing some away this year.”

On his running back situation with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs:
“Both backs play a lot. Bradshaw has come off the injury and played very well for us. He hadn’t missed a bunch of games prior to a couple of weeks ago. Brandon has played well. He’s been very physical. He’s been north-south. He’s pounded the ball up in there for us, which is what we need him to be able to do. So he’s done a real good job of that. Our run stats are not great, but they have been improved over the last couple of weeks.”

On if receiver Victor Cruz and tight end Jake Ballard have gotten credit for their contributions:
“I think Victor has. Victor has been recognized at least in the home area very well. He’s a local product as well, and he’s played extremely well. He’s just done some really outstanding things this year, and he’s still learning how to play. But the guy that probably is under the radar most of the time is Ballard. Ballard makes two plays the other day that put us in position to have a chance to win the game. He’s been a guy that’s really come through for us.”

On defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul:
“He’s got his feet on the ground this year. He’s matured. He is more in tuned with what we want to do and why. He’s a better student of the game. He has outstanding — beyond outstanding — natural talent. He has the long arms. He does have a great desire to play. He loves the game. He’s just scratching the surface, I think.”

New York Giants Wide Receiver Victor Cruz

On Giants quarterback Eli Manning:
“He’s been playing awesome this year. I think some of the change is just his confidence in us. His confidence is sky high. He’s just out there commanding the field and just having a real good rapport with all of the receivers and things like that. So it’s just a testament to how hard we’ve worked, and he’s really honed in on his craft and just having an open line of communication between us and him.”

On the Redskins’ secondary:
“They’re a tough secondary, man. They play gritty. They’re a pretty good defense overall. But we see some things that we can expose them on and we can really attack them on certain levels. I think it’s going to be a good game. They have definitely a top notch defense and it’s going to be a battle, but I think we can do some positive things in the passing game against them.”

On what lessons the team took from losing to the Redskins in Week 1:
“I think we understand that nothing’s granted, that nothing’s given to us. We have to go out and take it. I think we kind of approached that game thinking that because of how we’ve owned the Redskins in the past that they were kind of going to just lay down for us and we didn’t have to work as hard or play as hard. But I think this time around, we’re a different team. I think we have a different mentality. And I think we’ll play better this game as opposed to how we did in game one.”

On the offense becoming more pass-oriented recently:
“That was kind of due to our running game struggling a little bit with Ahmad [Bradshaw] hurt and guys kind of had to pick up the slack. So we kind of had to pass the ball a little bit. As a receiver, you just want to come in and step up the best way you can. We understood that. We knew that it was going to have to be put on our shoulders as a receiving corps. Coming together, we did all those things. We remain positive. And we’ve done some really good things this year in the passing game so far.”

On safety Antrel Rolle saying the Giants would win 99 of 100 games against the Redskins:
“You know, he’s a passionate guy. He’s a guy that’s very excited about our team. He understands that we’re very talented and he believes in us. We understand that we have to rally behind him and we understand that he’s always for the team. We understand his words and we understand that, once he said that, we have to back him up 100 percent. I think we’ll do so this weekend.”