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Skins Quotes 1/2: Shanahan/RG3/Morris/Carroll/Wilson

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Marine Corps Virginia


January 2, 2013
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On challenges of facing Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch:
“When you have a big back that has all the things that you look for in a running back, that’s why he’s one of the best, to me, in the league. He can do it all. He can make you miss in space. He has the speed. He has the toughness. He’s got the running skills to make you miss, at the line of scrimmage and the open field. He’s a back that I’ve admired for a lot of years.”

On scouting Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson before the draft:
“I really liked Russell. He has a lot of the intangibles you look for in a quarterback. He’s really a class act. He’s handled himself extremely well and a fun guy to talk to. I had a chance to be around him at dinner for about an hour one evening. We were together at the Senior Bowl which was a good experience to be around him. He’s got the intangibles you look for. He’s a natural leader as well. He’s playing some good football.”

On comparing Wilson to Robert Griffin III:
“One thing you do know is right away who you like as people. They’re fun to be around. You know that they are leaders by the way they handle themselves, the intangibles you look for in people. I didn’t spend the time with him that I did with Robert, but I liked him.”

On how Wilson compensates for his lack of height:
“How does [New Orleans Saints quarterback] Drew Brees compensate for not being tall? Drew is six feet and Russell is 5’11’’. He’s 4.5 in the 40. He has great running skills. He’s a sharp guy. He’s playing well. We’ll see over time.”

On rookie quarterbacks doing so well this season:
“The funny part about it is up until last year I really didn’t know the stats on rookie quarterbacks. When you go back through 40 years and take a look at all the first round draft choices, there are only seven guys with winning records. You’re saying, “How come?” With all the first round quarterbacks that have gone on, only seven guys have winning records and to have three this year, it’s really hard to explain. Obviously three excellent quarterbacks. I think now colleges are a little bit more sophisticated in the passing game. You have three quarterbacks who are excellent football players. I think you’ll see more in the future.”

On where the rookie quarterback readiness has come from:
“I think they’re throwing the football a little bit more than in the past. I think that gives them a big advantage. I think they have the ability to come in, go through OTAs and really learn the system in the offseason, where I know 20 years ago you never had an opportunity like that. To go through a system again gives you time. You have a lot of hours in the classroom with a quarterback that you never had 10 years ago, a chance to learn the system. A lot of these guys are coming out and are ready to go. They’re used to a good passing attack, they’ve thrown the ball quite a bit and are a little bit more prepared.”

On if the brace on Robert Griffin III’s knee limits his ability in any way:
“He’s wearing it so we can protect him. He probably doesn’t have to wear it, but the doctors thought it would be best for him to wear it to protect it so we don’t further injure the LCL. Like I said last week, he still can run well.”

On how valuable a great running game is to the passing attack:
“Everybody has a little different philosophy. A lot of teams have been very successful over the last five or six years not having a great running game, but usually good enough to get in the playoffs, some even with the ability to win the Super Bowl. That’s always been my philosophy, to have a balanced offense. Especially if bad weather occurs, you’re able to have a little bit more balance. That’s always been one of my philosophies. There are a lot of different ways to do it. If you have the skillset to go back and pass all the time and be effective, so be it. When there are injuries, you want to go back and have that running game and I think it’s a big part of any system.”

On cornerback Cedric Griffin:
“He looked like he has been away for a few weeks. I thought he had a good day of practice, but we’ll evaluate him day-by-day.”

On if Wilson would have been drafted by the Redskins if he was available in the fourth round:
“That’s why we don’t talk about all of the different scenarios that could happen. I can’t tell you how many times we are going to pick a guy in the second, third or fourth round and the guy gets picked up just the pick before. I did like Russell. I liked the way he handled himself. I liked the way he played. If you really went back and took a look at all of his games through college you can see that he had the ability to really run the football extremely well, even though he didn’t have to run it very many times because his big offensive line had him well-protected.”

On if there are enough similarities between Griffin III and Wilson that both teams’ defenses are familiar with their style of play:
“I think everyone has a little different scheme. We do have a lot of similarities over the zone-blocking scheme and they’re running a little bit of the zone-read as well. I think it helps both defenses so they’re a little bit more aware of the zone-scheme compared to not knowing it at all.”

On playing at home relative to playing in Seattle:
“You always want to play at home. You’re in front of your fans where it’s toughest on your opponents. The big difference is crowd noise. You have a hard time getting a jump. If you are an offensive football team, you have silent counts most of the game. It’s very hard to audible. For their defense, we have the snap counts, especially a team with that rushes the passer as well as they do. A typical home field advantage.”

On what has allowed the team to have success with long passing plays on play action passes:
“You just explained what it’s all about in the play-action game. You have to have a good running game. When the defense doesn’t know what’s occurring, whether it’s a run or a pass, that’s where the big plays come. That’s why you like to have a good running game, so you can get some big plays in the passing game. That’s one of the reasons why we’ve had some of the success in yards-per-play this year. We haven’t run it as many plays on people, but the yards-per-play is one of the reasons why we have had that type of success off the play-action pass. If everyone is on the line of scrimmage, you’re going to have some big plays.”

On what Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris do to help play-action:
“They’re effective in the running game. The more effective they are, the more they have to commit to the run. It could be off a quarterback keep. It could be off of a play-action pass. It could be off bootlegs. There are a lot of different ways to offset tendencies. I think that’s what most coaches try to do. If you have a running game, you use play-actions off of it on first or second down. Usually the great offenses are up there consistently in third down because you have to make third downs. We’ve gotten better since the midway point. We were very average. Over the last half we have improved in that area. That comes with experience. I’m really pleased with the guys on how we’ve stepped up a little bit over the second half of the season.”

On Griffin III as a natural leader:
“Everyone has different ways to lead. It’s not always a loud guy, but it’s a guy who everyone respects. So when he comes to work every day, everybody respects what he does and how he handles himself. One of the first guys in and one of the last guys to leave. He leads by example. He’s going to go out there and have the game plan down and be prepared. He understands that he’s not the only guy out there. He understands the responsibilities that the team needs. He can pick a guy up and at the same time he can demand perfection. For a young guy, not a lot of people can do that. They can’t focus the whole season. As we’ve talked about, he’s a bright guy. He understands what it’s like to be a leader in life. What I mean by that is trying to bring everybody into the fray, offensive guys, defensive guys and people look up to him.”

On if leadership is an area in which Griffin Iii can excel even if he’s injured at this point of the season:
“I think what he is doing is showing that guys play hurt. They’re telling their teammates, 'You know what, I’m going to play. I’m not going to let you down.’ I think that’s one of the reasons why he wanted to play in the first game [against Cleveland]. He understood that a number of football players on our football team who are playing hurt. He did not want to let anybody down. When he sees London Fletcher, Trent Williams, guys who can hardly even walk, he wants to be in there. That’s why he was mad at me. I said, 'You are injured, you are not hurt. You’re injured and you cannot play when you’re injured. This is not the best for you and your future for me to put you in this situation.’ I think his teammates appreciate that he wanted be out there, and if I were to let him, he would have gone out there, or I should say if the doctors would have let him. He’s that type of guy. Once you have a guy that is going to put his body on the line when that might not be the best thing for himself or the future of him, they gain respect very quickly.”

On tight end Niles Paul’s 48-yard kick return:
“Any time you have a return like that…we needed a big return. It was a three-point game and he takes us out to midfield. It’s the difference between winning and losing. He broke a couple of tackles there and that’s what we were hoping he would do. I’m not sure the last time, or the first time, he returned a kickoff. That was against Baltimore in the preseason game. It was right at the end of the game and he almost broke that one and we thought it was going to be a squib kick and he picked it up and he did a heck of a job. He’s got a lot of ability and he’s going to keep on getting better and better.”

On if Griffin III was set to start from the moment he was drafted:
“When you took a look at film and you had a chance to evaluate him over a season or a three-season time frame, I know I wouldn’t be fooling anybody by having three or four weeks. I wanted him to get every rep from the start. It lets everyone know that he was going to be our quarterback because you could see that he had skills most people don’t have. What you don’t know is how he is going to handle himself. You’re hoping that he comes in and does the things that will give him a chance to be successful. He did all of those things. You could see, the more you gave him it was not very hard for him and he picks things up very quickly. Not a lot of people are able to do that because a lot goes into a playbook in the National Football League. There are a lot of check offs, a lot of audibles. He was a student of the game. He worked extremely hard to put himself in the position that he is today.”

On if he noticed an extra level of excitement or emotion from the players and staff for a playoff game:
“We’ve been in this situation now for seven weeks. Every game has been a do-or-die, so we’re kind of used to this scenario. The only thing we talked about is now instead of playing for the NFC East, you’re playing to win the Super Bowl. For everybody, it’s either a three-or four-round fight. For us, it’s a four-round fight. We have to take care of business in round one to get to the next round. We just talked about that very briefly, but again, business as usual. You want to still have your best practices. You want to do a great job every day to give yourself the best chance you can to play well during gameday. That’s what we’re working for. One day at a time.”

On players having coaches who have playoff experience:
“I’m hoping that it helps. Hopefully they have confidence in us to give them the best plan possible to give them a chance to win. That’s what coaching is. Giving those guys a chance to go out there and be prepared so they don’t have to think, they can react. We understand that we’re going up against a talented football team that is on a five-game winning streak and who has probably played its best football. It should be a great matchup.”

On Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who announced his intention to retire at the end of the season:
“To me, he’s a guy when you look at all of the guys that prepare and guys who play at the highest level…the only way you play at that level consistently…I look at him and [Ravens safety] Ed Reed the same way. They knew what was coming before it came. Their preparation was off the charts. That’s why I think he has so much respect, not only by players and coaches, is how hard he prepares and he seems to always know what’s going on and did play at that level consistently for a lot of years.”

On Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and if his style has changed during this coaching run relative to his first coaching experience in the NFL:
“Pete has always been very excitable. In fact, I almost had a chance to hire him in Denver when I was there as a defensive coordinator and he just left New England. I almost had him, but at the last second he went to San Francisco. He wanted to live in the West Coast. I got Greg Robinson at that time. He was on staff, so he and I go back a long time.”

On Carroll’s excitable style of coaching:
“I think you have to be yourself and that’s what Pete has done. He’s been himself. Everyone knows they type of job he did at Southern Cal. He’s a guy who is very enthusiastic in everything he does and a good friend.”

On if it helps that some of the Redskins players played against Seattle last year:
“We just didn’t have a lot of receivers that played on our football team last year that played against them. Yeah, for the guys that did play against them, like Santana [Moss], I think it does. Very talented guys, great size, they play a lot of man coverage. There’s a reason why you’re the No. 1 defense in the National Football League, at least in points. That’s the best stat you can have is point production. They’ve been consistent the whole year. We have our work cut out for us. We’re looking forward to it.”

On why practice was held in the bubble today:
“We did it last week and the weather was way too windy last week for two days. This week, just to make sure. It was cold out today. And sometimes what I like to do when you have a lot of walkthroughs, you may have so many plays that you’re trying to get to perfection and we had 40 of those. Everything else was more of a walkthrough to get the legs back along those lines. That’s what we did and that’s what we’ll do sometimes. We’ll go inside for those types of practices. You always get out once or twice to make sure you’re practicing in the same environment, but sometimes it’s good to focus without guys trying to go by the heater. When there are no heaters outside, people want to come in a lot quicker than I wanted them to go in.”

On if Griffin III’s accuracy was affected by the brace on his knee:
“No, not really. Being 50 percent sounds like it’s not very accurate, especially for him, but they challenged us a little different way last week and we didn’t throw the football as much. Sometimes games are going to occur like that. When you run the ball 30 to 40 times, it all depends on what defenses are doing. Sometimes we’re going to run the option a little bit more, sometimes we’re going to run keepers more, sometimes we’re going to run drop-backs more. It’s all predicated on what the game plan is from the defensive perspective. We thought the best way to win was to control the tempo of the game, hold the ball, try to limit the amount of reps that Dallas had and we thought we could control it a little better on the ground better than throwing. That was our gameplan going in. Just by what they were doing from a defensive perspective, one of the reasons why we weren’t as successful.”

On what he looks for in a potential offensive lineman:
“We look at people, number one, who have an offensive line mentality. That means that they love playing football. They give you everything they have. We’re actually looking at people who are a little bit quicker than most, who have the ability to get downfield and be able to block linebackers and secondary guys. It’s not very often when you get a guy like Trent Williams who is that talented. For the most part, we’re trying to get guys that are quick enough and take pride in locking onto defensive linemen and they work as a unit because you’re only as good as your offensive line. When they take pride in not having a missed assignment and guys knocking linebackers down, defensive ends down, and they’re not really happy unless guys have 100 yards rushing, then you know you have the right guys.”

Running Back Alfred Morris

On why play action has been successful this season:
“Because the O-line made it their goal to get it done on the ground. Our ground game leads the NFL right now and that definitely helps out with play action.”

On keys to the play action with quarterback Robert Griffin III:
“A good mesh makes it definitely a lot tougher to see if you’re actually running the ball or if you are disguising it to pull it. But he’s done a great job. Just over the time that we’ve been here, we’ve gotten a lot better with our meshes, not only on play action, but as well as on our option series that we’ve been doing. We’re just being a lot better on our meshes and it makes it a lot harder for defenses to figure out who has the ball and who doesn’t.”

On if he’s watched any highlights from Sunday’s game against the Cowboys:
“I’ve watched clips from it and we’ve watched some more game film today to kind of review right before we get on to watching the Seahawks because we weren’t able to do it at the beginning of the week.”

On if the reactions to his performance were different than any other regular season game:
“After a big game like that, it was as normal as expected. There’s people reaching out to me – family friends, that type of deal. I think after the game I had 130 text messages which wasn’t too bad. It was a lot worse than that before. A couple voicemails. But I mean that’s about it. It was pretty simple. The usual. Nothing unexpected.”

On the Seattle Seahawks’ defense:
“They’ve got a great defense. I think, if I’m not mistaken, they’re the top 10 in every category. They have great players from linebackers to secondary and especially the D-line. They have a great front four. That’s where defenses usually, I think, start. Good defenses have good front fours. They definitely have a good front four and that’s why they’re in the top in every category.”

On competing against Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch:
“Going head to head against Marshawn Lynch, that’s an honor. He’s a great back. I kind of grew up watching this guy. He’s a hard runner. I definitely respect his game. I can relate to the way he runs. So, it should be fun.”

On how his body felt after recording a season-high 33 carries:
“I didn’t feel any different. It was a typical Monday, Tuesday. A little soreness. Nothing out of the ordinary. I’m a workhorse. I’ve told people many times. I was made for this. It’s a long season – 16 games, not counting the preseason games. It’s a very long season but I held up fine. Knicks and bruises here and there but that’s part of the game. If I had to, I would’ve went out there Monday and played it all over again.”

On the media attention surrounding his success:
“I really don’t care for it to be honest, but I know it’s part of it. I accepted that back in college and I knew doing this on this level that you definitely get a lot of media attention when you’re successful or when you’re doing something negative. You’re going to get it and I accepted that. But that’s not why I play the game. I love the game and I’m just thankful I get to go out there and do something I love to do, not only on Sundays on game day but during the week as well practicing, just going out there and having fun. Not too many people have fun in their job. It’s a fun experience and I’m just loving it.”

On being named NFC Offensive Player of the Week:
“That’s an honor, with so many great backs, great quarterbacks, great players period in the NFC. It’s an honor to be named that and I’m just thankful that I was able to go out there and do my part and help my team get a win. Like I said, me coming in as a rookie, sixth-rounder, not much expected of you, just to go out there and be able to do that and to accomplish some of the things I’ve accomplished is just an honor. I don’t take it for granted and I’m definitely not getting complacent. There’s so much more work to be done. Every day, I’m going out there and trying to get better.”

On if a strong running game has more value in a passing-dominated NFL:
“It definitely does. It goes to show that the ground game is definitely still needed. Like you spoke of earlier, our play-action passes definitely, without the run game, they wouldn’t be as effective as they are. I know a lot of teams now pass the ball around a lot but you definitely need a running attack. I think a lot of teams, they don’t go as far because they don’t have a rushing attack. They might have a lot of receivers who get it done in the air, but you can’t win games if you don’t get it done on the ground as well.”

On what he thought about the opportunity to play in this type of offense when he was drafted:
“I was definitely thankful when I got drafted. I’ll start with that. Just coming from what I came from, 1-11 team and getting drafted, it was a blessing. So I’m definitely just thankful for that part. In knowing Coach [Mike] Shanahan’s history, I knew my first goal coming in was to make the team. I’m all in to what they want to do. I know they’re going to make me a better back just seeing them, growing up watching the [Denver] Broncos and the type of scheme that they had and the success the running backs would have going into that scheme. I think they do a great job of finding running backs to fit into their scheme because not every running back can fit into a zone offense and be successful. I really think that. So, they do a great job of finding great backs to fit their scheme.”

On how difficult it was to learn the Redskins’ offense:
“It was like a second language when I first got here. I was like, 'Oh man.’ You know, just coming from college, having that playbook still in your head, you kind of have to erase all that and learn something new. So, it was a little difficult, but once I got the hang of it, it just became more natural and I got more and more comfortable with it. Now, it’s like second nature. I don’t even think about some of the plays or just reading. I’ve just been doing what I’m doing for so long and that’s running the ball, running with my vision, finding the hole, setting up the blocks for the offensive linemen. We’ve got a great group of linemen here. I just do my best. I set them up. They fit up and I make my cuts off them. It makes it a lot easier now once you know the offense.”

On if he noticed a difference in how the Dallas Cowboys’ defense reacted to Griffin III’s rips in the zone read when compared to the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense’s reactions:
“I definitely do. It was a huge difference... I feel like more so they keyed on me because they felt that Robert couldn’t run or he couldn’t do some of the things he was able to do. It kind of came back to bite them because he was able to get some runs. But he did a smart job of not doing too much but doing just enough. It gets him the kind of respect... It just further opens up holes for us to get it going on the ground like I was able to get a lot of good runs and be successful, find a lot of holes because they kind of had to start respecting Robert once he was able to do some runs and get something going. I think coming into the game, they didn’t expect him to be able to run because the previous game, he wasn’t able to do as much. His knee’s getting better and better so they definitely have to account for him.”

On how he’s maintaining business as usual during the playoffs despite the magnitude of the games:
“Not paying attention to that, to be honest with you. All these big games, like Sunday night, Monday Night Football, I don’t add any pressure to myself. Every day I come in, it’s just another day at the office. Game day, it’s just another day at the office. Regardless how big the stage is, I don’t get caught up in the hype. I don’t let the pressure of it get to me. I just go in there and do what I’ve been doing for so long. I’ve been playing football since I was five years old and I just go in, going out there, I’m going have some fun. That’s just what I do. So, I’m not going to think about who’s in the playoffs. I’m not going to think about what’s on the line because we’ve been in a playoff situation since our bye week and I don’t have time to think about that. I’m going to go out there and leave it all on the field and do everything I can to help my team win and we’re going to see what happens.”

On if the mentality of 'being a rookie’ left his mind:
“It did. It definitely happened after the bye week. Coach Shanahan told us, 'You guys are not rookies anymore…’ That solves that right there. Definitely after that, we’re not rookies anymore. We definitely earned the respect and the trust of our teammates. So, that’s an honor in itself – being a rookie and they consider you not a rookie.”

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

On if he followed Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson this season:
“I’ve been able to see it – what the Seahawks have been doing all year. I wouldn’t say follow them, but I’ve been able to see and it’s been very impressive. I look forward to playing them.”

On how he feels:
“I feel good. I’ve felt better every day, every week. The good thing is there’s been no setbacks in the games, so I get to go out there and see what I can do. Each week I’ve been able to do more. Today I felt a lot better than I did last week. That’s all you can ask for at this point.”

On what made him so ready to play in the NFL:
“I think life experience did. At the end of the day, it comes down to the guys around you and the coaches. The one thing our coaches did was they didn’t baby me. They weren’t going to make it baby steps. They threw everything at me and made me learn on the fly. They were really hard on me in OTAs and training camp and it’s paid off. I just think if you have a mindset that, 'Hey, it’s going to take me a year,’ then it’s hard for you to go out and be successful. I don’t have that mindset. The coaches didn’t have that mindset. You can’t when you have guys like [linebacker] London Fletcher. I don’t think he’s going to retire any time soon, but that’s always a possibility. He’s played for a long time and you want to be successful for those guys.”

On if he thought when he was drafted that he would sit out the first year:
“I’m not a guy that likes to sit on the bench. Even if I feel not ready or whatever, I still want to be out there and play. Coach [Mike Shanahan] drafted me to be the franchise quarterback for this team and that’s what I planned to do from day one. Really, my goal was to come in and show them that they picked the right guy and show the team that they could believe in me.”

On if his knee injury changed his running style:
“No, I think, if anything, the injury has shown me a lot – just from a quarterback perspective. This game is not easy, but it [the injury] did show me some things I can do to make the game easier for myself – easier on my body. Ironically, I’ve done a better job of protecting myself since the injury – sliding, getting down, getting all the possible yards I can and getting out of bounds. Sometimes, things have to happen like that for you to really, really grasp that. It’s shown me a lot. I don’t think I’ve ever rushed for 10 yards a carry in a game and I did that in this past game. That was kind of funny.”

On if he and Wilson have a relationship:
“Me and Russell, we didn’t train together. [Quarterback] Kirk [Cousins] trained with him down in Florida. I trained in Arizona, but I did get to meet him a couple times and talk to him – great guy. Like I tell you guys, I don’t play against quarterbacks. It’s not my job to compare us. You guys will do that for the next week. I hope you guys have fun, but I’m not going to try to.”

On what he likes about Wilson’s game:
“Just a determined guy. I know his whole story as far as going to college and leaving N.C. State to go to Wisconsin. I know me and him last year dueled it out for one of the records. I don’t remember which one it was, but we were dueling out for that. It’s just good to see him being so successful. At the same time, I want our defense to go out and shut them down.”

On how it feels to play with a brace:
“Not a lot of people talk about the limp with the brace, but any time you wear a brace like that, it’s to protect you. So, it’s going to cause a natural limp. You’re not going to be able to bend your knee normally. It restricts your flexion and your extension. It’s just to protect the ligaments in there, so there’ll be a natural limp in there. At the same time, you can still generate power.”

On how much he is affected by the knee vs. how much he is affected by the brace:
“It’s getting pretty close to just being mostly the brace. The doctors aren’t going to let me take it off, I don’t believe. [Head Athletic Trainer] Larry [Hess] is not going to let me take it off. I try to do as much as I can without the brace. Then, whenever they find out that I don’t have it on, I have to throw it on.

On if he will wear the brace for the rest of the season:
“I don’t know. My leg – I can feel it healing. I might not wear the brace this week. I’m sure Larry Hess is shaking his head downstairs right now, but we’ll see what happens. There is no rest of the season right now. We just have to focus on Seattle.”

On how it felt to be voted captain:
“I looked at it as an honor. I try to make sure I appreciate everything in life. What I’ve been able to tell myself in my self-talk is you focus on the little things so the big things can fall into place. To me, being voted a captain might be a little thing to everyone else, but it is a big thing in my opinion to be a rookie quarterback coming in and leading your team and your team votes you captain halfway through the season. I don’t know if me being a captain changed the season by any means, but I just think everyone else bought into me as their leader so I could be more vocal if I needed to be or just lead by example like always.”

On how important that belief was moving into the bye week:
“I think it was paramount, but I don’t think that was the biggest difference in the team. I’ve said it week in and week out, I think it was just a mindset change. They voted me captain, but I don’t think that had anything to do with them showing up to work every day ready to go more so than they had the previous weeks. We all knew we were in seven-straight playoff games. We’re going to make this one eight.”

On how much the change in his run because of his knee injury played into his incompletions:
“I don’t think much of it was at all. One time I did break the pocket and ran all the way to the sideline across the field and no one got open. Sometimes, there are going to be dead plays whether I scramble or don’t scramble. I don’t think any of it was based on that.”

On if he changes his preparation for a playoff game:
“You don’t change your preparation. For bowl games, most of the time you’re just doing way too much thinking trying to devise the perfect play for the perfect defense. Then, you get in the game and they do something totally different because they’re doing the same thing for the past month. I think it’s just like a regular season game, but with a playoff game atmosphere. Guys are going to give it their all no matter what. There will be no plays taken off and we’ll be ready for it.”

On the challenges of facing taller cornerbacks:
“They’ll look good, but when you get out there on the field – not in a weird way by any means. You like how I worded that? – they’ll be tall, rangey guys. There’s some throws that you throw that maybe a normal, six-foot corner might not get to, but because these guys are so tall, they can get to those balls. You just have to be aware of that. Watch the film, see how they play. Then, after that, just go out there and try to execute.”

On if teams have played him differently since the knee injury:
“I don’t think so. I think D-Ware [DeMarcus Ware] hit me again kind of like he did the first game. I think they’re pretty keyed in. I think it’s just some of the stuff we do can take pressure off of myself to get out in the open and do some things. Even if they are truly focused on me or [running back] Alfred [Morris], sometimes you just have the right play at the right time. Hopefully, it will be that way this week. We know they will have something ready for us and we’ll be ready.”

On the offense using play-action passing so effectively:
“I’m not a big stat guy, but stats don’t lie. We’re No. 1 in the league in rushing. If you run the ball, you’re going to play-action pass. That’s just the way it goes. Teams have to stop your running game and if they don’t, you run for 274 yards. When you have a back like Alfred and an offensive line that’s great at run-blocking and coaches that know what they’re doing in the running game, it’s hard to stop. That’s why we play-action pass so much and when we have to dropback pass, we do.”

On Ravens’ linebacker Ray Lewis announcing his retirement:
“I haven’t had the chance or the honor to meet Ray. I know earlier in the year when it looked like his season was going to be done, I personally felt bad for the guy and then for the fact that I didn’t get a chance to play against him. There’s still a possibility of that in the future, but for him to say he’s hanging it up, I think there’s a lot of sad people today. To me, he played the game the right way even though he had to overcome some adversity early in his career. He showed guys the kind of passion you have to play with, how you have to prepare. This is just coming from me as an outsider because I didn’t really get a chance to meet him or be around him. It’s just sad for everybody to see him go.”

On Fletcher’s advice to him:
“Fletch… He’s a man of few words, but he plays with a lot of aggression. The biggest thing he’s told me all year is, 'Don’t be afraid to speak up,’ because guys look to me as their leader, as their captain even though I am only 22. He says he can see a look in their eyes when they look at me and how they’re inspired by me. [He said] just to not be afraid to speak up when you feel like you need to say something.”

On what he learned from watching the way Fletcher prepares and plays:
“Just being the first guy here, last guy out. He’s that kind of guy. Just the fact that he’s been playing for so long – so many straight starts, plays through injuries. Doesn’t matter what it is, he’s tough-nosed. He’s not afraid to tell a coach, 'Hey, we need to run this [or] we need to run that.’ He’s built that up over some years, so I probably can’t go to [Offensive Coordinator] Kyle [Shanahan] and tell him what to run. It’s just good to see a veteran like that – a guy who’s dedicated his whole life to the sport and just being there for his team.”

On what it says about the importance of the running game to have all the top rushing teams in the playoffs:
“I think whatever you’re trying to do, as long as you buy into it totally, you can be that. So if you want to throw the ball every down, you can throw the ball every down. You just have to execute. It’s easier for a quarterback with a running game to be successful. As we all know, it’s not easy to play quarterback in this league. I love having the running game that we have – being able to play play-action pass and dropback pass with little to no pressure. Teams will do different things. They’ll blitz you. They’ll play soft coverages and then just dare you to run it. That’s what we present. If you play those coverages, we’re going to run the ball. Once you get out of them, then we’ll throw the ball.”

On if inexperience in the postseason is a negative for players in the playoffs:
“I don’t think it’s a negative. I think the way we’re approaching this game is just the same way we approached the last seven. It is a playoff game, but that’s the way we approached those other games as well. We’ll be ready. I think all the guys in the locker room know what’s at stake. You just have to go out there and play like you have nothing to lose.”

On if his leadership role inspires him to play through his knee injury:
“A lot of guys have played injured or a little bit hurt – just showing the character that they have. Whether it’s London, myself, [tackle] Trent [Williams], [guard Kory] Lichtensteiger, there’s a bunch of guys that are playing with a few injuries. It shows the rest of the team that they’re willing to put it on the line for them every week. I won’t talk about myself. Everyone that wants to know what percentage I am, what I’ll tell you is I’m 100 percent because I’m out there. The team knows how I am and what’s going on with me, but they know when I’m on that field that I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.”

On when teams started seeing Alfred Morris as a threat in the run game:
“Right there in the middle of our winning streak, teams started keying in on Alfred a little bit more. That’s when I said he was getting those tough yards where he’s running 22 times for 90 yards and not really getting any big runs, but he stayed with that. The past couple games, whether teams have tried to take me away or take him away, they switch it up a bunch. Basically, every other series they’re deciding who they’re going to take away that series. He’s just done a great job with the runs – hitting them where they’re supposed to get hit and then when there’s an unblocked guy, he runs the guy over or he bounces off of him and gets a few more extra yards. It’s a combination of him running extremely well and then teams trying to take one of us out of the game.”

Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll

On being called “excitable” by Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan:
“That’s OK. I don’t mind that – that’s alright. We kind of have a good time around here and enjoy what we’re doing and sometimes I guess it looks like that.”

On the approach he is taking with his team this year:
“We’re taking it just like we’ve been preparing all season long to be in another championship setting. We’ve been working at it every week and trying to convince our guys that’s how we prepare week to week so that when this time comes, we don’t have to change what we do and shift gears. So we can feel comfortable about the preparation and how we plan, our expectations, our standards and all that stuff. Those are well in motion and oiled up pretty good and we’re hoping we can take this next step.”

On if he was different when he returned to the NFL after his time at USC:
“No, I think a lot of growth took place the time I started as the head coach of the Jets. Now, I ain’t the same, you know? A lot of things took place. I was in the league for, I don’t know, 16 years or something and went back to college. I’d been in college for 10 or whatever and then 16 in the league and then back for nine years at SC. All of that time had to do with what we’re doing now. The building, the process, and getting my philosophy and my approach tight and together and at SC, with all the winning we did there, I had a chance to really I think hone the message. Now we came here and have done exactly to the letter what we did there in our approach and our thinking and everything. Fortunately here we’re in a pretty good spot right now.”

On if he took compliments about his style fitting in the college game as a statement that he couldn’t win in the NFL:
“There’s no question that I was a really good fit. At that time with the preparation and all of the struggles, getting fired and all that to get to that point, I was prepared for it and it worked out great. I had a great time. I had the time of my life down there. But I always thought and I was always anxious to see if we could do what we had developed – our approach and mentality and the way we cared for people and the way we looked after players and evaluated talent and all those things – I wanted to see if it would fit on the greatest stage on the highest level of competition. But I never thought it was going to happen because I thought I was never going to leave SC unless… I just didn’t think I would ever leave because I didn’t feel like anybody would give me the freedom that I needed and that I had there to run the program exactly the way I wanted to. And when it came up here and I trusted what they were saying, Mr. Allen [Chairman Paul G. Allen] and [former Chief Executive Officer] Tod Leiweke was here at the time, they impressed upon that we were going to get that chance. So we grabbed [General Manager] John Schneider and went together and put this thing up and I’m really proud of that. I’m proud at this point that we’ve done well and we’re in a position to do something in the playoffs and we’re a very, very young team and we have a future ahead of us.”

On Redskins running back Alfred Morris:
“He’s a hammer. He doesn’t ever stop moving his feet. Breaks tackles. Totally understands the scheme. They’ve done a great job of preparing him to be such an effect zone runner, which those guys know better than anybody in the world. Mike and Bobby [Mike Shanahan and Bobby Turner], those guys know what they’re doing and they’ve done it again with a young running back that nobody thought had a big chance. He’s relentless with his effort. His competitiveness is really obvious when you watch him play. He’s had an incredible season.”

On comparing Morris to Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch:
“I don’t think anybody really is like Marshawn. He’s got his own style that we see, and he’s got this jerky, back-and-forth type of split-legged thing that we see that’s unique. He’s a ferocious competitor with terrific speed and great vision and sense. He’s really hitting it these last few years with us and we’re thrilled, but those guys have arguably the same effectiveness for their teams within a couple of yards and they’re both very, very instrumental to the success of us on both sides.”

On if he sees similarities in quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, the two highest rated rookie passers in NFL history:
“Yeah, I think in that regard, yeah. They’re both rookies. They were both over 100.0 or higher in the QB ratings. They’re incredible individuals. They’re unbelievable men. They lead their teams. They’re dynamic in that they have the running ability and all of those things are similar. I think they’ve grown up differently in the style of offenses that they were raised in. So we look different than they look. But the end of it is you see them both run some of the time and Robert’s had a great year running. Our guy has run when he needed to in much more conservative numbers than Robert did, so they’re very similar.”

On if Griffin III and Wilson could be as effective if they flipped schemes:
“I think they could both do anything they want to in the schemes.”

On if there are sharp differences in the teams’ zone reads:
“They’re a Pistol team, which doesn’t matter in that sense, but they’re a more committed quarterback running team. They rely more on the QB to carry the load running the football, but that doesn’t mean Robert can’t throw the football. He’s a marvelous thrower – extraordinary accuracy and all that. Ours is a little more classic in the overall makeup of the offense that also features the quarterback on the edge and we utilize him [Wilson] in the running game some.”

On why rookie quarterbacks may be more NFL ready than in the past:
“They definitely are more NFL ready, as you said it. They are because of their upbringing. The coaching that starts way back when they’re in Pop Warner, throwing the football around in spread offenses, and the high school teams are throwing 300-400 passes a year for these kids and they have the offseason camps – the Elite 11 and all of those – are part of the process raising kids. When we get them in college, a few years ago at SC, they were way, way far ahead. [Matt] Barkley was an example of that. He started as a freshman. He’s no different than these kids. They’re just so precocious and so well-prepared and so much better-coached because of their background. So now we get them here and [it is] the same thing. I always go back to Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan and those guys. When they jumped in and did really well as rookies, I think that was the start of the big turn. It’s totally turned in the last five, six years. It’s exciting, I think, for the league. It’s exciting for the future because you know there’s another guy out there that you can get that you can put in front of your football team. For so many years, you could never think you could do that.”

On if this season’s rookie quarterback success is a trend or an anomaly:
“I think it’s totally a trend.”

On running back Michael Robinson:
“Mike has been a great leader on our team and he’s captain again for us. Just hard-nosed, tough, smart, says the right thing, leads in the right manner, is a great special teams player and loves being part of that. He just has been solid as a rock for us in all the time he’s been here and been a great addition since we picked him up. “

On taller cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner:
“They’re really tall [laughter]. I just think you can say it again because they’re really tall. They’re really long. Both guys have a real knack for the position as well. They’re not just tall guys out there playing. They both have a style and they’re different, but they have a style that allows them to be aggressive and a factor on players they play against. They both ball-hawk and can catch the football well. They both run real well. We’ve just been fortunate. We lucked out that we found both those guys in the same lifetime and they can play together. It’s really exciting to have those guys back. To get Brandon back on the field for us is really cool.”

On what it says about the place of the running game in the NFL that the top rushing teams are all in the playoffs:
“I think it’s the game of football. If you have the proper commitment and you build around it, it’s maybe the best way that you can count on being consistently successful. At Southern California all those years, we did the same thing. We balanced our offense out. You think of all our flash and all that, but it was always about balancing out the running game with the passing game. That’s what we’ve done here. Know that as you’re bringing up a young quarterback, there’s nothing better than to run the football as they grow. That all fits together. We always want to run the football for attitude and the style of play that compliments playing really good defense and special teams. I think that’s enough of a formula to be highly successful on a regular basis no matter what league you’re playing in.”

On why it seems like teams with a good running game are becoming an anomaly:
“I think it’s the same emergence of the quality of the quarterback position and the commitment to the throwing game and the belief that – like for instance, New England – they can control the football throwing it with great efficiency and great players and all that. Sometimes it’s even easier than locking people up front and running the ball. To be consistent on that, it takes a great quarterback and terrific system and all that. We don’t always know who our quarterback is going to be. I didn’t want to build an offense around some special player that could come and go. I wanted to build it around a philosophy and an approach and an attitude and a mentality that we could consistently present to our opponents. That’s how we look at it.”

On Wilson as a person:
“I can’t even come up with enough descriptive words to define what this kid is all about. He’s just off the charts. I’m so impressed when I get a chance to really focus in and listen to Robert Griffin III, too, how remarkable of a young man he is, too. I can see why everybody is so thrilled about him in that program, because these two kids are just unbelievable. They’re off the charts in terms of character and attitude and work ethic and creativity. [The list] just goes on and on. Really, I can’t even describe him well because it’s too hard because he’s so many things.”

On if the similarities between Wilson and Griffin III will help his defense prepare:
“No, I don’t think so. They have a very, very difficult style to deal with because of all the option game they have available to them. If they’re putting that into their run game, it just adds to it. It’s always been the element of the running quarterback to add the entire dimension that really changes the factor. The whole thing about the gun and the gun runs and all that is legit. It’s a numbers problem. When you have a really good triggerman back there, it changes the game.”

On what separated Wilson this season:
“His ability to be consistent and on the mark. His numbers have risen all year long on third down and all year long on red zone, which always have been the two markers – that, plus interceptions – of a young quarterback. Can they handle those areas? Most of the time, they can’t. He’s improved the whole season. I don’t know how many picks he threw here in the second half of the season. It might have been two in the last eight games or something. That’s amazing conscience and consistency and understanding and all that stuff. Really, I can’t stop talking about him once you get me going because there’s so much to accentuate. The cool thing is he’s going to go out today and practice and he’s going to work his butt off. He’ll be the first guy out there and he’ll be the last guy off. He’ll be the first guy in the film room and he’ll be the last guy to leave the building. That’s just what he is. We’re just very lucky that he joined our team.”

On why Wilson doesn’t get as much notoriety as Griffin III:
“I don’t know. Just look at their hair styles. They’re different kids in that regard. But at the core, they’re extraordinary individuals and I don’t know how that works about the flash and whether that attracts… I think Russell would be the first [to tell you] he doesn’t care if he’s the Rookie of the Year. I mean, he’ll take it if they give it to him, but he wants to win football games. I think RGIII says the same thing. That’s what’s amazing about these kids. Even though they have totally different styles in how they carry themselves, in the core they’re really the real deal. It’s pretty hard to distinguish between those guys in what they bring to their teams.”

Seattle Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson

On if he sees the similarities between he and quarterback Robert Griffin III:
“Definitely. I think Robert is doing a tremendous job of helping his football team win – similar with me. I think the biggest thing is we’re just trying to help our football teams win and that’s the key. It’s going to be a great game and we’re really excited about the opportunity. We know it’ll be a hostile crowd and it’ll come down to who makes the most plays and who eliminates the mistakes.”

On if his style of play is similar to Griffin III’s:
“It’s definitely similar. I think Robert runs extremely well. He throws the ball well – does a nice deep ball. I think we’re very similar. He’s a little bit taller than me, but I think the key with us is trying to have that leadership mentality and just leading our football teams to victory. That’s the mentalities that we both have.”

On if he surprised himself this season:
“Not at all. I always believe in myself and I have full confidence in myself and my abilities. I’ve been blessed to be able to play the game of football and be able to throw it and all that kind of stuff. I think the biggest thing is my height doesn’t define my skillset. I believe that my separation is in the preparation and that really helps me play on Sundays.”

On what helped him and other rookies succeed so quickly:
“I think this class is very, very special. First of all, I think that just the work ethic and the mentalities that we all have is just striving to be great. For me, every day I wake up, I’m striving to be great and striving to be the best one day. It’s a long journey. You just take one day at a time and you just enjoy it and you love it for what it is. I love the game of football. I have so much passion for this football game. Every day I wake up it’s something new and you’re trying to get a little bit better every day.”

On if he thinks quarterbacks are more NFL-ready now than in the past:
“I definitely think so. I think for me, especially. I went to N.C. State – a West Coast style of offense – and played in the ACC for three years and then I transferred to Wisconsin and played in the Big Ten, so I played in two major conferences and that really helped me. At Wisconsin, I was a vertical, play-action game under center, behind a huge offensive line averaging six-foot-six, 320 pounds or whatever. That really helped me prepare for the NFL. I think just playing in front of big crowds, being in big-time situations and big moments and playing at a high level always helps.”

On adjusting to having more notoriety:
“I’m not about flash, but I don’t mind being in the spotlight. I think that if you want to be great and you want to be the best one day, you have to be used to it and you have to be able to know how to handle yourself. For me, I give all the glory to God for what I do and just try to humbly play for him and just try to live in the right way, try to do the right thing. The more successful you are, the more attention you get. I think that the key for me and for any famous football player or sports figure – or any figure, really – is just key in and ignore the noise. That’s what I’ve always told myself – just ignore the noise. No matter how well you’re doing or how poorly you’re doing, just focus on what you can control and just try to help your football team win.”

On his relationship with Griffin III:
“He’s had a tremendous season. I’ve obviously met Robert several times and we’ve hung out a little bit here and there. He’s a great human being and he’s been very, very successful and I’m happy for him.”

On who gets his Offensive Rookie of the Year vote:
“I don’t know. That’s not for me to vote on. I think whoever wins, it’s going to be the right decision. I don’t know who’s going to win, but for me it’s not about that. For me, it’s just improving every week, which I’ve done throughout the whole entire season. It’s about winning games for the Seattle Seahawks and this franchise and hopefully, doing something very, very special.”

On playing for Head Coach Pete Carroll:
“He’s a tremendous coach. His energy that he brings every day is unbelievable. It’s unmatchable. He loves the game of football. He loves us players. In terms of just the energy that he brings to practice and in the meetings and everything, you really want to play for him. You just want to put your best foot forward every time you step out on the field. “

On the disadvantages of a road game against the Redskins:
“It doesn’t matter. We’ll be ready to play. I think that, obviously, it’s going to be a great crowd. We know that it’s going to be a hostile crowd. It’s the playoffs. The Redskins always have tremendous fans. I personally know. I’m from the East Coast, so I know that the Redskins fans are great. We’re going to have to play our best game and be tuned in. Like I’ve always said, 100 yards is 100 yards. It doesn’t matter where we play it. The key is just eliminating those distractions and just knowing, like I said earlier, playing great football.“

On if he rooted for the Redskins growing up in Richmond, Va., and if he has a lot of family attending the game:
“It’s so hard to get tickets. Everybody had to jump on StubHub and get them. I used to watch the Redskins a lot. Just growing up, obviously, I was right down the road. I was always busy playing games myself – football, baseball, basketball, whatever – so, I didn’t get to go to many Redskins games, but I went to one when I was younger.”

On what it says about the importance of the running game that the top rushing teams are in the playoffs:
“Just having a good running game really helps everything and it all starts with the offensive line. If you can have an offensive line that can be versatile and do different things to allow you to be successful on game day, it really helps. Our offensive line is doing a tremendous job. Their offensive line is obviously doing a tremendous job being able to run block for [running back] Alfred Morris and obviously our offensive line is doing a great job for [running back] Marshawn Lynch and the other running backs that we have. It definitely helps and puts pressure on the defense.”

On if it’s harder for defenses to prepare for a team that can run and pass:
“I think it all depends on who you’re playing and how you’re playing. I think when you have balance, it always makes it difficult on the defense. That’s for sure.”

On the zone read:
“I didn’t run it too much in college. At N.C. State, I threw it 50 times a game. At Wisconsin, we had more of a downhill, play-action vertical attack game – in terms of the passing game. Also, I didn’t run it too much in college, which is just as well. I like a challenge. I like to learn and work different things.”

On the hardest part of the zone read:
“Nothing at all, really…You just have to trust your read. Obviously, the goal is to give it to Marshawn Lynch. He’s one of the best running backs in the National Football League. For him to get the football is a key part there.”

On how far he’s gone back watching the Redskins defense:
“I’ve gone back to the last probably six games or so. You can’t watch every single one all at once, but I’ve watched a bunch of them. They’re doing a tremendous job. Their defensive corner is doing a great job. Their defensive players are tuned in. It all starts with [linebacker London] Fletcher and his ability to make the right calls and get them in the right situations. He’s a great, great player. The defensive line has done a great job and their defensive backs are making great plays – in terms of [DeAngelo] Hall and [Josh] Wilson and other guys as well.”

On where he got the phrase 'the separation is in the preparation’:
“I don’t know. I just thought of it one day and was thinking about it and just realized that if you want to separate yourself, you have to prepare the right way. That’s my only fear, is not preparing – not preparing the best way to help myself to be successful.”

On if that phrase or 'no pressure, no diamonds’ is a better catch phrase:
“I don’t know [laughter]. Both of them are pretty good.“

On if he trademarked his phrase:
“No, I didn’t do that.”
 

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