August 13, 2012
Redskins Park


Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan


On how tackle Trent Williams is feeling:
“Good. I think he’s still a little bit sore, day-by-day. I’m not really sure how quickly it’s going to improve, but he went through walkthroughs today in the bubble, and he did a little bit out there today. That was encouraging.”

On quarterback Robert Griffin III building chemistry with his receivers:
“I think any relationship grows the more time you spend together. A quarterback and his receiving corps, they spend a lot of time through the OTA’s and what you’re doing during summer camp. It’s a necessity. You have to get a feel for each other. They’re working as hard as they can to make that happen.”

On if the team needs veteran players around Robert Griffin III to help him adapt to the NFL:
“We need good players, not necessarily veteran guys. [We need] guys that we think are difference-makers, guys that can make plays, make a small play into a big play, which happened this week. I thought the screen that [wide receiver] Pierre [Garçon] took was quite an indication of a guys being able to make a play. But you’re hoping to have some of those guys.”

On Robert Griffin III’s read on his touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon last week:
“Well, he doesn’t really have any choices. Hopefully he’s going to throw it to him on the screen. That was his only receiver.”

On Robert Griffin III’s read on his second completion last week:
“That was a great job. He looked out to the right, keep the tight end back in the flat and did a great job of going to his third and fourth progression, really his full progression. But that is timing. He becomes more comfortable with it, the more you put him through it. The more comfortable he becomes also [with] a good job of protection with that down and distance. [It was a] combination of a lot of people working together.”

On Roy Helu, Jr.’s status:
“He has a little Achilles tendonitis. He’s had that before. Hopefully it’s not too serious, so we can get him back to normal.”

On Roy Helu, Jr.’s injury prevention:
“A guy like that, you have to make sure he’s loose before he practices, because you don’t want to pull anything. He’s had a couple of strains in the groin and hamstring area and tendonitis right there. Sometimes those hybrids, they pull a hamstring or a groin. They have to do make sure they do what’s necessary to make sure they don’t pull anything.”

On nose tackle Chris Neild’s status:
“We’ll have an MRI. We’ll see how it is. Hopefully it’s nothing serious, but he did hurt it enough where he didn’t practice the rest of practice. Hopefully, the MRI is negative on his knee.”

On what he liked about Pierre Garçon when the team signed Garçon:
“We looked at every play that he made probably over a three-year timeframe. We loved his speed. We loved his thickness. What I mean [is] he has a big body, about 215 pounds, and he runs exceptionally fast. He can make breaks very quickly. He can do it at full speed, so we thought there was a big upside. That’s one of the reasons we went after him No. 1.”

On drafting current Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler when he was head coach of the Denver Broncos:
“We had a guy that took us to the AFC Championship Game and beat a team that had won 10 straight playoff games. We weren’t in position really to make that change right then but had an opportunity to get a quarterback that I thought was a difference-maker. I think Jay is that type of guy, but other quarterbacks are a little bit different. Everybody will have their restraints.
What you do is try to run an offense around their restraints, and hopefully, it pays dividends.”

On Jay Cutler learning the offense in Denver while quarterback Jake Plummer started:
“We had a guy that won a lot of games for us and that we brought in as an eventual starter. When you draft him in the first round, you don’t move up in the draft to the 11th position to bring in a guy to backup too long. But we had a guy that he had a chance to sit behind and learn from. When he did take control, you could see that he was a natural.”

On quarterback Kirk Cousins’ performance:
“Kirk’s been doing an excellent job. He has a good background as a three-year starter in a pro-style offense. He’s very quick mentally picking up the offense. He’s gotten a lot of reps. What we did for our OTA’s, we worked two fields, which you guys saw. All four quarterbacks had the same amount of reps. That was a big plus for him for us to be able to do that through the OTA days. Coming into camp, we’re still switching off, but Robert’s getting most of the reps. With Kirk and Rex [Grossman] being able to get as many reps as they did in the OTA days, it’s really helped them in their development.”

On Kirk Cousins and Rex Grossman splitting time with the second string:
“We’ve been doing that the whole camp. No difference today than any other day. Sometimes we’ll switch up twos and threes. One guy will get four reps and the other day he’ll get three reps or the next series. We try to switch it off so it’s an even amount.”

On linebacker London Fletcher’s day off:
“We put him through drill work in the beginning so he’s kept up with our defenses. He had about 30 minutes with his coaches and then we separated and we decided to keep him out for the team workout.”

On wide receiver Josh Morgan’s confidence:
“He played in that game and he got a few reps and he will get a chance to compete over the next few preseason games so we will see what he does in live situations. But he has been hampered by a couple injuries here and there, but now he looks fine.”

On Chris Cooley’s comments about Robert Griffin III:
“Robert is very mature and he handles himself like a veteran player, I think you can see that by his interviews. The only way you can get better is by constant repetition and he is getting that as well.”

On Robert Griffin III’s biggest area of improvement:
“I’ve seen him grow every day. Every repetition you grow. The more repetition you can have in different situations, the better off you will be. I think the hardest thing you can do is get used to second-and-longs and third-and-long. A quarterback makes his money by making third downs. Every quarterback in the league, especially the great ones, is above average in that third-down area. I think that is hardest for a quarterback coming in, especially when you’re not used to the NFL and the defenses you face on a day-in, day-out basis.”

On comparisons between Pierre Garçon and Robert Griffin III and Rod Smith and John Elway:
“Elway and Steve Young were both able to mature in the system. Steve did it in the 49er system and Elway did it in the Bronco system all the way through their career. I think that really helped both men. To have both guys work that long together, it has to add up some numbers.”

On Pierre Garçon and Robert Griffin III growing into a ‘special combination’:
“They both have the ability. Now, it’s easy to say that with this being their first year working with each other, but I really do believe that Pierre is very, very special and Robert is very special as well. A lot of work will have to take place between now and then, but hopefully we will keep on improving and they will be in that company in the future.

On Pierre Garçon’s core strength:
“He probably is a little bit stronger than I anticipated; I didn’t think he was that powerful. Once he runs through somebody, he gets an extra five or six yards and he can block like most tight ends at the wide receiver position, he just has that type of strength.”

On staying in touch with Chicago quaterback Jay Cutler:
“We talk about Chicago and the type of offense he’s running. We go back and talk about some of the players because Jay’s first year was really good. He was first in the AFC in offense and second in the NFL, plus we had a young football team. We talk about the guys who were traded or moved to other football teams. We had a chance to talk at a fundraiser, play a little golf and have dinner together.”

On the acquisition of offensive lineman Chris Campbell:
“He was just the next guy on the list who we thought would have a chance to help our football team just in case somebody goes down. We thought we would have seven guys out today, and with seven guys out, its hard to carry on a practice so that is part of the reason we brought him in not knowing what that situation was.”

On tackle Jammal Brown’s status:
“I really don’t know if I can tell you that. You’ve got to be pretty lucky to know if a guy is going to come back if he is quite sore and had hip surgery and been through the things he’s been through. We are going to be patient and see how quickly he can get well, and if he can, we will give him a shot.”