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Skins/Lions Quotes 9/18: Shanahan/RG3/Schwartz/Johnson


The Commissioner
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September 18, 2013
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On if quarterback Robert Griffin III should have gotten some preseason snaps:

“I don’t know if anybody remembers, but Dr. Andrews said that there was no way he could play during the preseason. Does anybody remember that? We have to go back to this? Dr. Andrews said he could not play during the preseason. There was no chance for him to play.”

On if he thinks limited preseason action has caused slow starts for running back Alfred Morris:

“I’ll be honest with you, I thought Alfred was as good as I’ve seen a running back throughout all of camp, even in the preseason games. Anytime you do have a fumble on the first play, then you have a pitch on the goal line and there’s a safety, guys lose a little bit of confidence. And even starting out the game last week in the first half, you could see he wasn’t normal. And I tried to tell him, 'Hey, don’t worry about it, you’re too good of a runner,’ and then he started running a little bit better. And you know that happens, especially with young guys – we have some conscientious people, they want to play extremely hard. And when they do make a mistake, sometimes they’re so conscientious they lose a little bit of that edge. I think you’ll see Alfred will do a lot of great things this season.”

On safety Brandon Meriweather:

“He was able to do drill work today, which was a good sign – that means he passed where he could do some drill work. He’ll get evaluated every day and we’ll see what the doctors think each day.”

On Meriweather’s fine for his hit on Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy:

“I’m going to go back in detail, I’m going to get all the TV copies and once I do, then I can give you a better opinion because right now I haven’t seen all the angles. I just saw the fine – we’ve been getting ready for a game.”

On what he could do to make Griffin III more comfortable in his knee brace:

“I could wear it myself [laughter]. That would help him because he wouldn’t have the brace on, I’m not sure it’s in the best interest of him though.”

On what extent the knee brace is hindering him:

“Well, you’d have to talk to Robert about that, I can give you no idea, but he says it’s feeling pretty good. He’s had it on for a while, so right now doctors recommend he has it on, so he’ll continue to have it on.”

On how he addresses tackling in practice:

“I think what you try to do is get more people to the ball. You can’t tackle and you’re allowed pads one day a week. That’s tomorrow, so we’ll get some form tackling in and hopefully get a lot more people to the ball and get better than what we’ve been doing the last couple of games.”

On if Griffin III running less:

“If you take a look at the games, you take a look at the first game and you take a look at three turnovers – the first series of the third quarter we turned it over again and you’re behind as many points [as we were], you’re in a two-minute attack. And so that was our game plan to try to get back in the football game, so you can’t run a normal game plan. When you take a look at the Green Bay game, you’re 0-for-7 in your third downs – and again we didn’t do a lot after the first series, we went into a two-minute attack. So basically our game plan has been two-minutes in the first game and the second game. And I think Robert’s done some good things in those two-minute attacks considering he hasn’t had a lot of that since he’s been here or hadn’t had a lot of it in college. And so I was kind of optimistic about some of the things he did do in that two-minute attack.”

On if Griffin III has asked to be held back in running the ball:

“Wouldn’t you say right now our running game is pretty average? Well, you take a look at Alfred, he’s still averaging six yards a carry. We need to be in the game so we can run the football more, but when you’re getting beat by 25, 30 points, you try to win the football game. So hopefully this will take care of itself in time where we can play a lot better football both offensively and defensively and be in some of these games so we can run a balanced attack. And then in midseason we can have another conversation like that and see if we’ve gone one direction or another.”

On getting people more involved in tackling at practice and getting people to the ball:

“Yeah, always emphasizing people getting to the ball all the time on defense.”

On kicker Kai Forbath:

“We’ll evaluate him later in the week. We’re not going to try anything until Friday or Saturday – hopefully we can get that thing healed up.”

On if Meriweather was cleared to do anything other than drill work:

“He’s going to be evaluated every day, so Brandon will come in tomorrow, get evaluated again by the doctors, if there is no setback, he can do drill work tomorrow. They did not commit. They don’t think he’s ready yet for on-field work, and then if it goes okay tomorrow then we’ll evaluate it the next day on Friday.”

On if he has had another player with Meriweather’s bad luck with injuries:

“To be honest with you, he’s never missed any time until he’s come here and it’s been some freak injuries. If this had been a pattern of his over time, then yeah, I would be scared, but it hasn’t been. So I’m hoping he can get back this weekend and hopefully play a full game.”

On if he is pleased with the team’s preparation leading into games:

“I guarantee you there is a greater sense of urgency for us to eliminate mistakes. That is very obvious. We’ve gone a couple styles of offense that we didn’t feel very well with, and we plan on getting much better. We’re going against a top 10 offense this week. They’re doing a great job scoring points, great job throwing the ball, preventing sacks. We’re going to have to play one of our better games. I told our guys we can’t do anything about the last two weeks, but we can have a much better practice today, which we did. So that’s the first step, hopefully going in the right direction.”

On how to improve on third down:

“We’re going against the best third-down team in the National Football League, so we better find out awful quick. You just work on the little things. You just keep on working on protections and try to get a good game plan together. You can’t get behind the 8-ball like we have been, though, with as many points during the second half. Hopefully we can correct that this week.”

On the possibility of Forbath kicking only field goals and kicker John Potter specializing in kickoffs:

“That’s a possibility.”

On rookie tight end Jordan Reed playing more snaps than tight end Fred Davis:

“Most of the decisions we make are based on how people practice and what gives us the best opportunity to win. So if a guy goes into those situations, it means that he’s done a great job during the week and we feel like he deserved that opportunity. Or it could be a guy drops a ball during a game, the other’s guy is hot, and you go in that direction. There are a lot of factors that are involved. You’re trying to do what you think gives you the best chance to win.”

On how to explain the team’s tackling in the first two games:

“Sometimes it could be a missed tackle. Sometimes it could be a gap responsibility, one guy out here, one guy out here. A lot of different things that are involved, but I guarantee you, we’ll work on that this week.”

On the challenges in defending Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson:

“Anytime you get a guy that’s six-foot-five that can leap and can catch a football, you hope you can tackle him, because he’s going to make some great plays. You’ve got to change things up on him on him, try to keep him a little bit off-balance. Not a lot of teams have been able to do that, so it’s going to be a great challenge for us.”

On the pressure Johnson puts on a young secondary:

“Anytime you’ve got great players, it’s always tough, but this is the National Football League. There’s great players on every team, so it’s a great challenge for them.”

On how Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett moving to the coaches’ booth has impacted communication:

“It really makes it easier to communicate, because he can see quicker on what is going on, missed assignments. He can communicate very quickly. That gives him a little bit better chance to see what offenses are doing.”

On Griffin III’s improvement from the first game to the second:

“I think I just kind of shared with you a little bit, from the first game to the second game. I talked about the mistakes in the first half. I talked about us running the two-minute attack. I do think he played better in the second game. You could see his footwork, just his base and stepping up into the throws, he felt a lot more comfortable. This is a long process. It’s not going to happen overnight. We’ve talked about it before. This is something that he’s going to get better at and better at as time goes on.”

On if Griffin III’s confidence has been shaken:

“You have to ask Robert with that, but he’s a very confident young man, a very talented young man. There’s only one way you get better in this game, and that’s through repetition, and the more repetition you get, the better off you do. When you don’t have an offseason, like he didn’t, it’s really hard to get great in one specific area right away. But you figure, just in a couple games, what did he have, like five TD’s and three interceptions in that two-minute attack? That goes for the season, that’ll be 40 TDs and 18 interceptions. Pretty good for a guy not having an offseason program. That’s not where we want to be, that’s not where he wants to be, but hopefully we can get back and run our normal offense, but we’re going to have to play much better collectively to do that.”

On if a quarterback can practice the instinct of scrambling out of the pocket:

“You do that all the time. That’s why you practice. You practice with those scrambles, with dropback, play-action, quarterback rolls, option. You practice all those things.”

On if Griffin III’s movement and quickness when he scrambles is different than last year:

“Only Robert knows that for sure. When you don’t see people do things, it’s hard, like for yourself, unless you see it in a game situation, I’ve seen in practice that he’s got some pretty good speed. Is it the same speed that it was before? I can’t tell you that, but I do know that it’s a much different game when you get behind by 20, 30 points in a game than when it’s a very close game, different things you can do offensively. We’re not going to abandon our offense. I know it’s been two games, I know we haven’t been very impressive, but we still have a lot of confidence in what we’re doing.”

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

On wide receiver Pierre Garçon’s comments that the knee brace is slowing Griffin III down:

“I mean, like I said, I love Pierre. If he wants to race I’m more than willing to do that. Pierre is going to be Pierre, and I can’t really say anything about what he says.”

On how he feels he has improved from Week 1 to Week 2:

“Me personally, just my technique and doing what Coach and them have been asking me to do; I feel like I made strides in that area. Now it’s just about going out and playing. For us as a team it takes 11 guys to all execute and we haven’t been doing that these first two weeks. We got better at it the second game, but we fell behind the 8-ball again. So we just have got to make sure we don’t get out to those slow starts and that’s been an emphasis this week and it will be an emphasis the rest of this season.”

On if he has changed his leadership style:

“I mean, not too much of a change. We just need energy out there on the field, period. Especially when you are one the road, the crowd isn’t going to give you any energy so I take it upon myself to be that guy. I’ve never been a hype man, but Lil Jon is a Redskin fan and you can learn a little bit from him so I’ll be the hype man if I need to be the hype man and help get everybody motivated. That’s what you have got to do as a quarterback; you have got to motivate guys, you have to inspire them to go play great, and if you feel like the team doesn’t have enough energy at the time, you create that energy and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to get back to ballin’ out and we just have to get our swagger back and I think that’s what we’re going to do.”

On how he feels with regards to his accuracy and timing:

“I feel like, just as a group, we’ve all been off a little bit. We’ll figure that out and we’ll get it going. We’ve been hitting in practice, in the games at times we are hitting, so I don’t think it’s necessarily a problem. It’s showing up, especially on third down, we just have got to execute better and we will.”

On if he has experienced anything similar to the disappointment of these first two weeks in his career and how he overcame them:

“I mean, there’s going to be times in your career, no matter what level you play at that you are going to struggle and you’ve just got to keep a strong mind and don’t let it get you down. It’s kind of like, what’s a man to do when he goes to work every day and does everything the right way and it just doesn’t come out the way he wants it to? You can either give up and go do something else or you can keep pushing forward, and I think that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to keep pushing forward, keep working. If we feel like we can fine-tune things here and there that’s what we’re going to do. It’s just about doing it now. There’s nothing that we can say that is going to make it better; we have to go do it, and that’s what we have to do on Sunday… I can’t give you a specific instance in my career, from seventh grade on. It happens, and you are always going to be faced with adversity no matter what you do in life, and it’s how you respond to it. I think the response that this team will have will be a great one.”

On how the team’s swagger has disappeared:

“People are going to pat you on the back and say how great you are, and then when things turn south, people’s true colors come out. For us, it’s just about getting back to that grit that we are. We run the ball and we stop the run. There is two things this team has always done, and these first two games we haven’t done either of those very well or even had the chance to run the ball on offense because we’ve fallen behind so quickly. I think that’s where we have to get our swagger back. Guys just have got to go out there and play free. We know our assignments and we know what we have to do, it’s just about going out there and doing it.”

On how he can create more energy on the field:

“I can run more [smiling], but other than that, I’ll do whatever we have to win the game. That’s always been my mindset. I’m the quarterback, so if I have to create that energy, if I have to spit a rap line in the huddle, sure, whatever, I’ll do it. Just whatever it takes to get that energy, I’ll do it.”

On if he felt his running last year created a spark:

“I think it creates a spark. I think it creates a spark for the team. The one thing I can’t do and the mistake I can’t make is just to go out there and try to run. That’s what I said after the game. It’s not about just going out there and running to prove other people wrong or prove other people right, or whatever you want to do, you have to do it when the time arises and I haven’t had those opportunities in these first two games and hopefully I’ll get that opportunity in this game and it will be a spark for our team.”

On his reaction to the calls for quarterback Kirk Cousins to start:

“It doesn’t do anything for me. People outside of here don’t know what we go through every day. They don’t know what’s going on in this team. It’s like we said after the game amongst ourselves, if they are not for us then they’re against us, and we don’t have to worry about what they say or worry about what they want us to do. We know what we have to do and that’s how you approach that.”

On if he considers this week a must-win game based on how it could affect the trajectory of the season:

“You never want to say it’s a must win game this early in year, but we want to win this game just like we want to win every game. That’s the approach we will take towards it. Our goal is to be 2-2 by the bye. It’s going to take a lot of hard work to make that happen, and it started on Tuesday, our day off, and guys have locked in and they are ready to go for this game, just like I thought they were for the past two. But, like I said, we can’t keep talking about it. I can answer you guys’ questions all day, it’s not going to change anything that happens on Sunday. We just have got to go play.”

On Head Coach Mike Shanahan saying the offense will evolve as the season goes on:

“We really haven’t had a chance to get into our game plan the first two games. That’s everybody’s fault – offense, defense, special teams. we have to play as a team, as a well-rounded football team, and we haven’t thus far. When we get those opportunities, and we will, then you will see more of last year’s offense come back into play just because we’ll get deeper into our game plan.”

On if he wants to run more:

“I tell you what, if you would have told anybody we were going to throw the ball 49 and 40 times the first two games, they would have thought you were stupid. So, it’s not that I want to run more, I just feel like that’s what we need. If that’s what it takes for us to win games, then I’m willing to that. There wasn’t anything that I was like, 'I’m going to shy away from that,’ coming into the year. Like I said, if that’s going to spark us, then I’m willing to do it.”

On the team name:

“Me and all these players in here, we’re not the authority to speak on that issue. We can’t tell you anything from that standpoint because we have no authority to talk about that. It’s not a team directive or anything, I just don’t know what to say.”

On if the rehab/recovery process has changed his picture of his post-playing career:

“I’m not worrying about post-career. I’m preparing for Detroit, I’m not worrying about that stuff afterwards. I want to play in the NFL as long as I possibly can. If I could play until I was 60 then I’d do it, but I’m not worried about that at all.”

On his ability to make positives out of broken plays with his legs after the injury:

“I don’t think there is much of difference. I go back and I watch the film, too, more in-depth than a lot of people do. I try to look and see in certain situations, if it’s a sack or just a negative play, was there a chance for me to make something happen in this area? A lot of times they haven’t presented themselves. That’s not an excuse or anything like that. I want to go out there and make plays for this team, and I have to trust everybody on this team to go out and make plays, too. Sometimes I don’t have the opportunity to do what I did last year, and I don’t feel like the knee brace or anything like that is holding me back.”

On if he is actually reading the defense on the zone read plays thus far:

“Most of it is zone read, reading that defensive end. You’re going to give him different looks to try and keep them off-balance, but a lot of times it is zone read.”

On if he will approach the coaches about adding more running plays to the “menu” of play calls:

“They’ve been in the menu, we just haven’t had the chance to run them because of the circumstances of each game. We can keep asking these questions in different ways. They’re there. The plays are in. We’re ready to run them. I’m ready to run them. We just haven’t had a chance to do it because we’ve fallen behind too much.”

On Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh:

“I played against him one year at Nebraska. Great player, plays with a motor, plays with a lot of aggression. I’ve got to trust my guys up front to go block him and [Lions defensive tackle] Nick Fairley, if Fairley plays, and go from there. All the other stuff, that stuff gets decided on the field. You can’t really worry about that and that’s all you can say.”

On when he realized that more running may be necessary:

“It wasn’t an epiphany or anything. It was just a thought. We’re all trying to figure out ways to help us succeed. For me, if that’s one of the ways that’ll help us succeed, than I’m more than willing to do it.”

On if his knee brace restricts his agility:

“The knee brace is going to protect you, but I’ve gotten out of stuff this season, just like I did last year, in the pocket when it breaks down and I don’t feel like it’s holding me back.”

On his reaction to criticism from analysts and fans:

“When it comes to the fans, for us as a team right now, fans are there to support us. That’s what this team needs. We need the support of our fans. We don’t need them trying to tear this team apart, and that’s all you can say about that.”

Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz

On the health of running back Reggie Bush:

“Well, he wasn’t able to finish the game. He was cleared to go back in on Sunday. There is no structural damage to his knee, but he just wasn’t able to explode the way that he needs to and things like that. He was sore after the game. We’ll just progress him through this week and try to make a good decision as we get to game day. If he can do the things that make him Reggie Bush, then he’ll be out there. If he can’t, then next guy’s up.”

On if Bush will practice today:

“We’ll see. All of our guys that are healthy will get out there and practice.”

On how much of an impact Bush can have on their offense:

“That’s obvious to anybody that’s seen us. There is a different dynamic to our offense when he is out there. Not that we don’t have other good running backs, because we do. They can all make plays within the offense, but Reggie brings a different dimension, particularly in conjunction with [wide receiver] Calvin Johnson. People play Calvin a little bit different, and if they choose to spend too much time on a guy like Calvin, Reggie is a guy that can go hit a home run. I use a lot of baseball analogies, but it’s like protecting a great hitter in a lineup. If you have, I’ll say Miguel Cabrera because we are here in Detroit, but if you’ve got Miguel Cabrera and you don’t have Prince Fielder behind him, he doesn’t see pitches to hit and they intentionally walk him a lot, and maybe the next guy can hit a sac fly. But Reggie is a guy that, if they intentionally walk Calvin, he can go hit a home run. So, he means a lot to our offense. He is a pro. He’s a great guy. He took to our team right away. He’s made an impact in our first two games, and he is going to be a difference maker for us.”

On the Redskins’ secondary:

“They have some talented players and some experienced players back there. I think that, in particular, they’ve made some big plays, but they have also given up some big plays early and it’s only two games into the season. It’s tough when it’s two games, but whether you’re the Redskins or the Lions or any other team in the league, you are trying to correct your mistakes. You are trying to stress your positives, to get the next man up if you have an injury. Everybody is going through the same things, so they have experienced players there, they have experienced coaches there, and I’m sure that they will work as hard as they can to get those things fixed.”

On finding a balance between doing what the Lions do well on offense and doing what other teams have done successfully against the Redskins:

“Well, we don’t have [Philadelphia Eagles quarterback] Michael Vick. We are probably not going to be running a spread offense the way that they saw in the first game, but there are some similarities between Green Bay and us, you know, similar passing-style offenses and things like that. There’s all these things that you take from film and you say, 'That looks good, we can work that into our plan,’ or 'That fits our personnel.’ But I think you’re right, that you have a good point, that you can never get too far from who you are, and you can end up chasing two rabbits in one of those ways, and everybody knows if you chase two rabbits you don’t catch any. We have really good players. We have a good offensive scheme, players who know what to do within that scheme, and that’s every bit as important as game-planning for an opponent and changing something just for a specific scheme. We are going to have to play our very best. They have a couple of guys up front that can wreck your game – [Ryan] Kerrigan and [Brian] Orakpo. Kerrigan is off to a really good start. Orakpo is working his way back after missing last year. A lot of different pressures, you’ve got to be on your toes. I think they sacked Green Bay three times in the first quarter of that game, so they can make some big plays and they can make it difficult on you, so we are going to have to play our very best come Sunday.”

On if he is concerned with Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh not playing with his usual aggression because of discipline handed down by the league:

“I don’t think you saw any of that against Arizona. He made an impact on the game. He caused the interception for a touchdown. He has caused two interceptions this year; one was [linebacker] Stephen Tulloch in our opener and [linebacker] DeAndre Levy’s was a direct result of pressure that Ndamukong applied. He’s played the run really well. He threw the running backs for some losses last week. We are really happy with his play, and everyone on our team needs to avoid penalties. He’s no different than a lot of our guys, and like I said, every team right now is trying to correct their mistakes, trying to solidify their strengths and find out what they are good at and things like that. Probably every team right now is saying, 'Hey, we need to avoid penalties.’ Penalties have hurt us. There are 16 teams that are 1-1, there are eight teams that are 0-2, and there are eight teams that are 2-0, and every one of those teams is in the same boat. Everybody is trying to work on the things they need to work on and they are trying to find out their personality as a team, so, Ndamukong is no different than any other player as far as needing to avoid penalties. I think that he gets a lot of publicity as a player, and some things that might happen somewhere else get a lot more attention with him, but he’ll figure it out. He’s a smart guy and we have a lot of confidence in him.”

On why he thinks teams have been running the zone read less this season:

“I think anything that in the league that comes in, coaches are going to work extremely hard to take it away, whether it’s Joe Gibbs and running two tight ends, exploiting the 4-6 defense that Buddy Ryan ran in Philly, finding weaknesses in that, or people defending the run and shoot and figuring out ways to stop that. All the different things, I mean, there’s a lot of different schemes that sort of come in and out of effectiveness, and things like that. I think the most important thing is matching your schemes to your personnel. The Redskins have very good personnel to be able to run what they run. They run an outstanding zone stretch scheme that Mike Shanahan has been running forever. They’re very, very well coached within that. The running back [Alfred Morris] is outstanding. He’s strong, one cut downhill, a lot of yards after contact, moving the chains. Morris has been impressive. I know the Redskins have started 0-2, but he’s averaged over six yards a carry. For the run fronts that they see, that’s very effective. If it fits your personnel and you out-execute the opponent, then just about any scheme is going to work. I can’t really speak on other teams and their effectiveness running zone read, and things like that, because that’s nothing that’s really in our offensive scheme, even though we have worked it in training camp with an eye toward a lot of different teams that we play, including the Redskins.”

On if he addresses the fact that the Lions have never won in Washington:

“It’s hard to hold these players accountable for something that happens... I didn’t even know until people in our media told me a couple of days ago, because in five years as head coach here with the Lions, we’ve never played in Washington. We’re more familiar with our division opponents. We know what it’s like to play in Lambeau, we haven’t won Lambeau for a long time. Chicago, Minnesota, very difficult places to play. I’ve coached in FedExField before. It’s a loud stadium. It’s a very difficult stadium to play in, so we’re going to have to avoid penalties, have to really work hard at our offensive communication, work hard to try to take that crowd out of the game. It’s a very difficult thing to do. The Redskins have a great fan base and they affect the game when they’re out there. So we’re going to have to play our best, but how we play on Sunday is not going to have anything to do with anything other than the 53 guys we take to Washington, the 46 that are active for that game, and how well the 11 that are on the field execute. It’s not going to be what any player in the past did or any players with the Redskins in the past did. All of that is obviously irrelevant to it.”

On what he has seen quarterback Robert Griffin III do differently this season compared to last season:

“We’ve looked a lot of film from him last year. Just about every team that was a new opponent for us this year, we looked at probably just about every game that they played. They’re still running the same schemes that they ran. He hasn’t run it as much, but he’s still a threat. We’re going to have to play our very best, and we’re going to have to be very sound in all areas of our defense. The deep shots that he throws, we’ve mentioned before the zone running scheme that they’re still effective at, they have an outstanding offensive line. [Tackle] Trent Williams is playing at a really high level. And then the quarterback option type stuff, the play-action that comes off of that, they really haven’t had it rolling. We worry about our own team, but they’ve been behind in the two games that they’ve played. It’s very difficult to run a lot of those plays and have them be effective if you’re down a bunch of points. The play-action fakes don’t have as much credibility, and you’re willing to let the quarterback run for a few yards if you have a big lead. So those two things probably go hand-in-hand. The only thing we can go with is what’s on tape, and he’s still an outstanding player. They’ve run him on boots, they’ve run him on play-actions, they’ve moved him around a little bit. He still looks effective doing that. He’s got a lot of arm talent. We have a lot of respect for their offensive skill players, including Griffin. We’re going to have to play our best against that scheme. It’s a tough scheme to handle.”

On the decision to acquire former Redskins safety DeJon Gomes:

“He’s a young player, but he’s got some experience. He’s played well for us on special teams. He’s gotten up to speed on defense. He was a guy that we sort of had our eye on in training camp as cuts were coming. We thought we could plug him in to a role here. We’ve had, in the past couple years, a lot of injuries in our secondary. Depth is very important to us back there, particularly guys that have some starting experience that can come in and play right away. DeJon has that. He’s picked things up quickly. He’s made an impact. He had an outstanding tackle last week on Patrick Peterson on a punt, and we all know how dangerous Patrick Peterson is. It was a one-on-one solo tackle in the middle of the field. It was a really good play by him, and every week he gets a little bit more under his belt as far as our schemes, both defensively and also on special teams.”

On Bush:

“The only thing I really talk about with injuries, generally after the game I give an idea of what kept a player out or if the player did have to leave the game. After that, I generally just refer to the injury report. I’ve got some [New England Patriots Head Coach Bill] Belichick in me when it comes to injuries [laughter].”

Lions Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson

On where he thinks the Redskins are struggling on defense:

“Just making tackles, I guess. There’s been a lot of yards after the catch and guys breaking tackles.”

On if the Lions are 'champing at the bit’ to face the Redskins defense:

“Obviously, we go back and watch the film too, but we see the same things that they see. Obviously it’s a copycat league and teams try to go back and exploit the same things that other teams have had success with. The fact that they play a lot of single-high defense, it seems like there are a lot of opportunities.”

On why their offense struggled to move the football after running back Reggie Bush’s injury:

“A couple things. We didn’t get any favorable field position. Not that we need that to go score. We can score from anywhere on the field, but being backed up is tough to get out of there. I don’t know. We just weren’t ourselves down there, I guess you could say. We just didn’t ball out like we usually do.”

On how the offense changes without Bush in the game:

“It shouldn’t change at all. I’ll put it like that.”

On how defenses attack them differently without Bush in the game:

“We didn’t see much Cover 2 from the Cardinals last week, in the first half, but definitely in the second half and towards the end of the game. They played two-man, stuff that’ll try to help eliminate the passing game.”

On how to attack a young Redskins’ secondary:

“You try to go at those guys. You try to put them in difficult situations where they have to make a difficult decision and a lot of times that inexperience leads to the offense being able to make a big play. We’ll see how well-coached those guys are and how much they rely on their technique and coaching when it comes to game time.”

On Lions being winless in Washington and if they talk about that at all:

“It is what it is. I don’t think about that kind of stuff going into the game. I just think about the things we can do to gash the defense and help put us on the board.”

On if he uses his performance in his last game against the Redskins in any way during this week of preparation:

“That’s the last time we played those guys so that’s the closest film that we have, and I think they have some of the same coaches, so that film can be utilized a little bit, and then they have some of the same players, but at the same time you’ve got to get out there and play the game.”

On if he expects to be covered by cornerback DeAngelo Hall the majority of the game:

“I wouldn’t be surprised. He’s a savvy vet. He knows what he’s doing. He has great ball skills. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he followed me around.”

On Hall:

“When you prepare for somebody like that you want to be on your details. You don’t want to tip routes or do anything like that to give him a head start so he can jump your route because he will definitely jump your route and try to get to the ball, so that is one thing you want to try to stay away from.”

On how he stays away from extracurricular activity with Hall:

“I never get dragged into that kind of stuff.”

On if he remembers playing at FedExField his rookie year:

“I played a little bit that game. I didn’t play much. I had a little injury going on, but yeah I do remember that. We got beat up pretty bad.”

On if this is the type of game teams need to win to be considered a title contender:

“Yeah, no doubt. Like I was saying earlier, when teams aren’t playing so hot, we have to exploit that.”
On if he has had another player with Meriweather’s bad luck with injuries:

“To be honest with you, he’s never missed any time until he’s come here and it’s been some freak injuries.

This was not a freak injury.
The collision with Aldrick Robinson pre-game in Tampa last year. You could have called that a freak injury.
But spearing with your helmet is the furthest thing from a freak injury.
That's like saying Gus Frerotte had a freak injury when he made the decision to head-butt the side of a stadium !!!

"If this had been a pattern of his over time, then yeah, I would be scared, but it hasn’t been.

Come on, Shan. He's had, what ? About half a dozen injuries since he arrived in Washington, and you don't consider that a pattern ???

How about spearing with his helmet ?? That's been a pattern since LONG BEFORE he arrived in Washington !!
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