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

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    Helmet Skins Quotes 12/28/11: Shanahan, Grossman, Reid, Babin

    December 28, 2011
    Redskins Park


    Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

    On the injury status of running back Roy Helu:
    “He was limited today in practice. We’ll just judge him as the week goes on.”

    On if Helu looks any different than he did last week:
    “He doesn’t look a lot different. I didn’t talk to him. I’m not sure how he’s feeling. Like we talked about, before the game, we worked him out and you could tell he couldn’t go. You could tell he wasn’t full speed, but did get some reps. So we’ll have to evaluate it each day and hopefully he’ll be ready to play.”

    On the decision to release running back Ryan Torain:
    “Well, you’ve got to make some tough decisions sometimes and I’ve been with Ryan for a number of years. I was really pulling for the guy because he’s a great guy. He’s been hampered with injuries here and there, but the way he prepares and the way he works – he’s a guy you want on your football team. But you’ve got to make tough decisions sometimes you feel is in the best interest of your football team in the long run. And we had somebody that was trying to steal some guys off our practice squad and Aldrick Robinson was one of them. We decided to bring Aldrick up and let Ryan go.”

    On if he was surprised that linebacker London Fletcher did not make the Pro Bowl:
    “Yeah I was. Through the years, it has a lot to do with the won-loss record. You’ve just got to look at film and you know London played at a Pro Bowl level all year. He’s sure deserving of being a Pro Bowl player…But there’s no question in my mind that he should have been a first-teamer.”

    On if he’s surprised linebacker Lorenzo Alexander did not make the Pro Bowl on special teams:
    “There’s a lot of good special teams players, but I’ve been watching Lorenzo since I’ve been here and I haven’t been around a guy that has dominated more on the special teams as I’ve been in football as Lorenzo on special teams. Any place I’ve been, I haven’t had anybody that’s been close to that productive as a special teams player. He’s just relentless.”

    On the importance of winning in the Pro Bowl voting process:
    “There’s no question about it. I’ve been on football teams where we’ve won 12, 13 games and you look at how many guys are in the Pro Bowl and you say, ‘Hey, they didn’t have Pro Bowl years.’ I’ve been on teams that have won obviously not a lot of games and, all of a sudden, you had no players and there’s two or three that are deserving. A lot has to do with winning. A lot of players know that when they’re voting on the Pro Bowl that they didn’t have Pro Bowl years, but they’ll take it because sometimes it works just the opposite – you deserve one and you didn’t get on or you didn’t get on and you deserve one.”

    On Torain didn’t after the St. Louis game:
    “You have to make decisions and I kind of share this with you all the time that [you go with] who gives you the best chance to win and you evaluate people on a day-to-day basis. And as time goes on, you want to keep the best players that work consistently both in practice and on the field and, right now, he was the first person to go. I still think he has a chance to play in the NFL. He’s proven that he can average anywhere from four-and-a-half yards to five yards a carry. But right now with the depth that we have, I thought it was in our best interest to go in a different direction.”

    On having nine receivers on the active roster:
    “It’s not really nine wide receivers. We’ve got [Brandon] Banks as a returner. We just talked about bringing one guy up, somebody we wanted to take because we thought it was best for us to give him a chance to compete next year because we do think he has a big upside. When you take a look at the roster, it’s not normally who’s on the 53 or who’s on the 61, it’s who you want back next year to compete and who gives you the best chance to be on our football team or at least compete for a position. It’s not always just who’s on the active [roster], but obviously who’s part of your 61 as well.”

    On if quarterback John Beck will play against the Eagles:
    “If Rex [Grossman] gets hurt… We play to win. We’ll play the best players. I told you that from day one. It doesn’t matter what their record is, we’re playing to win. If young guys get in, it’s because the player that was a starter either goes down or the guy is playing at a very high level and we want to see him compete.”

    On if he saw enough of Beck to be able to evaluate him for the future:
    “We had a couple games in there, so it’s all part of the process. It’s just not games, it’s practice every day, preparation and all those type of things.”

    On if this season went by fast or slow:
    “Any time you’re not winning, it’s pretty slow, especially when you’re not in the playoff hunt. I think if you look back, you look at the opportunities we had to close games out that we didn’t close - if you take a look at the Dallas games, you take a look at the New England game, you take a look at the Jets game. You can go through a number of scenarios and you know how far you are to get into the next level. That’s what you work on and that’s what we’ll be working on in the offseason – not only working on the X’s and O’s, but trying to put the best football team together. I like the nucleus of our team. We’re younger. I think we’ve got a great attitude and we’re going in the right direction. Hopefully, we can play accordingly this weekend.”

    On if he’s surprised that the offense hasn’t produced as much as he would want two seasons into his tenure:
    “You asked me not too long ago, after the first four games, I think we were eighth rushing and then we went six games and we were dead last. I think the last six games we’d be eighth or ninth. That’s part of losing players. That’s part of people learning the system. You’ve got to really keep on working and a lot of people working together. We’ve had some highs and lows during the season and I’m really pleased with the way they’ve worked through some of the tough times and the downturns that usually go with losing people. It’s been some great effort and I think we’ve improved.”

    On if he’s learned more about tackle Willie Smith because of the players he’s had to go up against the past few games:
    “If you take a look at the last couple of starts [and] you take a look at who he’s going against, he better get good in a hurry or he’s not going be with us. He’s going against some of the great players in the league and this week is going to be no different for him. It’s a great opportunity for him to compete against the best and it’s a good evaluation for us to see how he can do for next year and years to come.”

    On if he’s learned anything more about wide receiver Donté Stallworth since he re-signed with the team:
    “He came back though and probably eliminated a couple of drops here and there. [He’s had] a great sense of urgency. He’s taken advantage of the opportunity once he’s come back to make some nice catches and turn up the field running with the football. Donté’s really a fun guy to be around. He practices hard. He has a great sense of urgency. I just like the way he handles himself. We’re just happy that he’s taken advantage of the opportunity once he’s come back and made some plays.”

    On if he’s ever seen a player come back after being released and excel:
    “Yeah, a lot of times. Remember, [James] Harrison from Pittsburgh got cut six times. He’s not too bad.”

    Quarterback Rex Grossman

    On what he likes about this offense:
    “It’s a well-conceived offense where there’s usually somewhere to go with the football. We do a great job of doing a lot of that stuff off the running game. It’s just a well-conceived offense that allows you to feel comfortable on every play and execution needs to be sharper. You watch tape [and] there’s always three or four plays that, had you been better, it changes the game a little bit. It allows you to go out as a quarterback extremely confident [and] you feel good about attacking their main coverages. And if they don’t have those coverages on for those plays, you still have answers and it’s a good play. It’s just a well-designed, well-conceived offense that plays off the running game and I think they do a hell of a job with it.”

    On having games under his belt in the offense:
    “My confidence level is at an all-time high. I just need to eliminate the couple bad plays here and there that deter a great performance. I’ve done a lot of good things this year. We’ve done a lot of great things this year. Just the consistency level, the percentage of bad plays need to go down. I think you’ve seen that for the most part as far as production for the last six weeks or so. We’ve been putting up a decent amount of points, moving the ball at a consistent pace. It’s just the negative plays - eliminate that, get everybody healthy, [having] the whole offseason for the third-time around, everybody going through everything. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this offense is going to have a great year next year just for the fact that [we’re] getting everybody back healthy and everybody fully understanding what’s going on. It’s just sometimes offenses take a while.”

    On if he feels different at the end of this season physically in light of the lockout this past offseason:
    “I don’t, but I’m a little bit different than some of the guys that hit a lot that take a pounding. I feel like I’ve taken more normal amount of shots… I don’t get hit in the offseason or anything, so it’s pretty similar for me. I’m sure other players have different opinions on it.”

    On how much rookies will benefit in the future from gaining experience this season:
    “There’s a lot of guys that got a lot better this year - Roy Helu, Evan Royster, [Maurice] Hurt, Willie Smith and Logan Paulsen - getting a chance to play a lot, Niles Paul. You can go down the line. There’s a lot of players that got a chance to play in this system and see what they can do. That’s only going to add to our talent, add to the Redskins talent going forward and provide depth as well if they’re not in there starting.”

    On how much the Eagles’ defense has changed since their first matchup:
    “Not a lot. You can tell from watching tape that they’re better at what they’re doing. Not a lot different, they’re just more sound and you don’t see those huge plays that they were giving up in the run game and some in the pass game earlier in the season.”

    On if the offseason talk about the quarterback situation affects him at all:
    “Not really. Every opportunity that I have, I want to make the best of it. I’m not sure what that’s going to be. When I go out and play on Sunday, I’m not worried about any of that. I go out and try to play for my teammates, coaches and this organization to go out there and win. When I look at my situation, I’m trying to make the best of it at every possible scenario. I’m not fully naive to the situation, but I definitely feel like some things are out of my control. But what I can control, I want to make a case for myself.”

    On if the team drafted a quarterback how comfortable he would be mentoring him:
    “As a quarterback or any position really, whatever situation you’re in, you’ve got to make the best of it. Your mindset doesn’t change. You go out there to prepare like you’re going to have a Pro Bowl year. The whole offseason doesn’t change your focus. Obviously, some situations where you’re obviously the starter and you get a lot of offseason reps and you can prep yourself for a long time getting ready to play, you know you’re going to start and you know you’re going to play – that can help a little bit, just having that continuity and that kind of mindset. But it’s just a challenge if that’s not the case for you to put yourself in that position that when you do get an opportunity to go out and ball out.”

    On if he thinks his market value is any different now than at this point last year:
    “I don’t know, we’ll see. I feel like I’ve put a lot of good tape out there. Obviously, I’ve had some turnovers. Some I could control, some I couldn’t. There is a lot of good tape out there also, so we’ll see.”

    Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid

    On the difference in Mike Shanahan’s teams from season one to season two:
    “They understand what he’s asking from a football standpoint schematically and then I think they understand his discipline. They’re doing some good things. They’ve had a few injuries, but the guys that have stepped in have done nice and are playing their tail off.”

    On how to establish consistency on offense when you turn the ball over a lot:
    “I think Mike will tell you the same thing – it’s tough. Turnovers in this league, you don’t want to do those. You don’t want to have them. You’ve got to continue to work on it and get better at it. That’s what we’re doing. That’s what we’re trying to do and with one game left here, we’re still doing that. So we’ll try to get better at it.”

    On if he’s surprised linebacker London Fletcher didn’t make the Pro Bowl:
    “London’s a heck of a player now. He’s been doing this a lot of years and he’s had some great years. I think this was one of his best ones. I don’t know all the Pro Bowl stuff. I don’t know how all that works, but I would tell you I’m sure he’s deserving by the year he’s had.”

    On what impresses him about Fletcher:
    “[He’s] a smart guy that knows how to play the game.”

    On rookie running backs Roy Helu and Evan Royster:
    “I like both of them. They’re both different, but I like both of them and it just seems like if Mike Shanahan puts a running back in there, that running back does well. He’s got a great eye for running backs as does Bruce [Allen]. So they get these guys and Mike puts them into the system and they know how to play.”

    On how Helu and Royster are different:
    “They are just different players. They have different styles. Within the system, they have different styles. I’m not going to get into all that. They have different styles running.”

    Philadelphia Eagles Defensive End Jason Babin

    On the Eagles’ season:
    “The biggest thing for us is to approach this like every other week. We’re focusing on having a good week of practice, watching the Redskins tape and going out on the field and prepare as best we can for the game.”

    On going against Redskins tackle Willie Smith, who doesn’t have a lot of experience:
    “The biggest thing for us every week is to put a big emphasis on the run because, we know if we get the run in a good place defensively speaking, then we know we get to get after the quarterback. First and foremost, we need to focus on the run. They’re a good running team and I’m sure they’re going to want to run it. It’s first in the order for us.”

    On rookie running backs Roy Helu and Evan Royster:
    “They’re running pretty hard. They’ve made some really good plays, so we’re going to do what we do – attack and get after the run and, third down, get after the quarterback.”

    On if he’s seen enough film to compare Helu and Royster:
    “No, not quite enough yet. We’re in the midst of it as we speak.”

    On adapting to their defensive scheme:
    “As the year progresses, there’s always a little bit of an evolution of a defense. And since we started from scratch, if you use that term loosely, I think where we’re at now, the way we’re jelling, the way we’re playing as a team where all the units are working together and all the cohesion we have as a defense, it’s really nice to see.”
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    Interesting...looks like Robinson was promoted to prevent from being plucked off the Practice Squad and Torain was expendable.
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