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Skins Quotes 10/10: Shanahan/RG3/Frazier/Peterson

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Marine Corps Virginia


October 10, 2012
Redskins Park


Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On his evaluation of quarterback Robert Griffin III:
“He had a good practice today. He was limited in his practice. But I thought he performed well.”

On if Griffin III seemed “perfectly fine” today:
“He had no symptoms, at least that is what he shared with me. Well, you guys talked to him a little while ago. So far so good.”

On if there is a difference between normal “no contact” rules and “no contact” if you are a quarterback:
“We don’t have contact on Wednesdays but they are always wearing the gold jersey and they never get contacted throughout the week. For a guy like Aldrick Robinson last week - usually our receivers don’t get contacted but we do put a yellow jersey on him because of the concussion that he had right before the game and it just reminds people to stay away from him.”

On if he feels comfortable preparing a game plan expecting Griffin III to play:
“I think you have to look at both sides of it. Something could happen tomorrow or the next day and you have to be able to go just like you do in the game. When somebody takes all the repetitions during the week, and you lose somebody on the first play, the person behind him has to be ready to go. He didn’t take his normal reps today but he took a significant amount.”

On if he watched Griffin III with a keener eye today:
“If he came in on a Tuesday and said 'I wasn’t feeling good, just a little dizzy,’ or 'light bothers me a little bit,’ then you’d be worried. I’ve had a couple of concussions too and there is a big difference when you got them; I just had one not too long ago. I told the players I could take a hit pretty good because I was OK. I came back the next day and of course they gave me a hard time being knocked out for a minute or so, but you kind of have fun with it. I was fine the next day, and just like these guys, you kind of get a feel if a guy is OK. You don’t know for sure. You are not an expert so what we try to do is the doctors will come in, they will evaluate him, just like they evaluated me that one day and you go with it.”

On when Griffin III will be cleared to play:
“Well, something could happen Saturday right before the game. You don’t know. So each day, we will monitor him and if he feels good, we will go with him.”

On if there is a difference in the playing styles of Griffin III and quarterback Kirk Cousins:
“Well, they’re really not. You got a few plays you can do with Robert that you can’t do with Kirk. I think everybody knows what those plays are but besides those, they are very similar.”

On if he is calling fewer designed runs because of Griffin III’s injury:
“No, that’s why you say sometimes you go into a game and you don’t plan on running at all because of the nature of the defense or the way they play a defense. And then the next game, you may have a number of running plays in there. It all depends on the defense, what our game plan is and what we think is our best chance to win.”

On what he likes about Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder:
“I liked him when he came out. I thought he was an excellent quarterback. He had good speed, he was in that 4.6-4.65 [40-yard dash] range, so besides being a good quarterback he’s a good athlete as well.”

On what difference he has seen out of Ponder since last year:
“You can see he feels a lot more comfortable with the system. I think [Vikings offensive coordinator] Bill Musgrave does a great job of looking at his personnel and learning an offense that fits his personnel, not just his quarterback, but the supporting cast. They change things up each week. They use Harvin a lot of different ways as well as the rest of their running backs. [They have] a lot of different personnel groupings. You kind of incorporate the offense and the defense. You take a look at the defense and take a look at how many points you’ve given up and you try not to turn the football over and try to win the game.”

On what difference he has seen from Vikings running back Adrian Peterson since his season-ending injury last year:
“He looks really good. Thank God he looks really good because you hate to see somebody go down with an ACL [injury], especially in our game. He looks strong as ever. He looks impressive.”

On what impressed him with most about kicker Kai Forbath and if his inexperience at the NFL level was an issue:
“Everybody’s got inexperience to start out with; I mean, you’ve got to have an opportunity. We had some great competition on this field and he won it through the competition. We had a couple other guys who were a little bit more seasoned, one in particular was really seasoned, but he performed in a very tough situation.”

On if the Vikings potentially needing to game plan for Cousins or Rex Grossman:
“You’re play away from being the backup. The starter could go out just like that, so they know Rex by watching the preseason games and they know Kirk Cousins by watching the preseason games. So they are ready for those guys. But they anticipate Robert starting because probably that is what has been talked about through the media outlets that he should be ready to go unless there is a setback.”

On what he knew Forbath before he decided to sign him:
“You would have to ask [Special Teams Coordinator] Danny Smith. I know he studies all the kickers and I know he was one of the top kickers in the country and we looked at all the percentages, but I’m sure Danny knew him well.”

On if Forbath’s inexperience on kickoffs in college is a concern:
“That’s part of the evaluation process – how they kickoff as well as how they perform with the field goals. He won the job for both.”

On who was limited in practice in addition to Griffin III:
“[Cornerback Cedric] Griffin was limited. He still has that hamstring and we’ll evaluate that day by day.”

On if Griffin is doing better:
“He’s getting better. But he’s still limited.”

On injury updates:
“[Defensive end] Doug Worthington, he did not practice. [Safety Brandon] Meriweather’s out... [Wide receiver] Brandon [Banks] was full speed. [Running back Evan] Royster was full-go.”

On if the league has contacted him about the announcement of Griffin III’s injury in the press box:
“No, but I heard about it. I heard that 'shaken up’ got everyone upset. But I understand. We’ll try to go with the correct language from now on and keep you informed. But I thought we did things the right way relative to how we treated Robert. So whatever’s the correct way to make sure that you guys get the up-to-date information, we’ll obviously do that.”

On if he was more vocal with Griffin III on protecting himself:
“I think everybody understands. Every player knows that we need Robert to be healthy and ready to go. I think our players share that with him. But like all quarterbacks, if you’re a competitor, you want to get that extra yard. I think when he looks at himself, he said, 'Hey, I could’ve thrown it out of bounds. I didn’t even have to slide.’ Once you get outside the pocket you’ve just got to throw it from the line of scrimmage. I think he’ll learn through experiences like that. That’s the problem that you want to have, like I said before. I’ve been around some quarterbacks that they just fall out right away. Every time somebody gets pushed, to me, this is a problem that you want. Hopefully it will be a learning experience for him and next time he’s in that situation, he’ll throw the ball out of bounds. He won’t even slide.”

On how wide receiver Santana Moss is adjusting to his new role:
“We talked about this a few days ago. I think he’s done a fantastic job. Everybody’s got a role on the football team. Not everybody has to like it but you’ve got to go out there and give it your best shot. If you’re on the scout team, giving the offense and defense a picture of special teams. Or if you’re starting in this league and you’re at a reduced role, you’ve got to make sure when you’re called upon, you make those plays. Santana’s a competitor, and like I shared with you before, he’s one of the few guys I’ve been with that really doesn’t care about stats. He wants to win and he’s going to give everything he’s got, blocking as well as receiving. If we had everybody like that, we’d be in pretty good shape.”

On running back Alfred Morris’ attitude:
“You could tell right from the beginning he’s a genuine guy, exceptionally hard worker. No nonsense. He wants to go out there and perform the best job he can do possibly for the team. He puts the team first. He could care less about any accolades or things along those lines. He just wants to go out there and perform at a very high level and that’s what he’s doing. He’s a fun guy to be around.”

On linebacker London Fletcher’s 230th consecutive game this Sunday:
“He’s amazing. For a guy to be able to play that many games, I just take my hat off to anybody that has a physical ability or capability to endure that type of pressure, that type of shape to keep his body in-shape where he can take that kind of punishment and play at the level he’s played at. So a lot of accolades go out to him for being able to accomplish that.”

On waiving linebacker Markus White and signing linebacker Mario Addison:
“You’re constantly looking at different people, evaluating different people on practice squads sometimes. He might be on somebody’s 53. All of a sudden a guy gets put in a position you feel you have a chance to get him on your football team. You might have him ranked the same or maybe one guy a little bit higher than the other. So we got him in here because he had him ranked at a certain level. We’ve got a chance to evaluate him and see if he helps us as a pass rusher. But one of the reasons we brought him in is we had him ranked fairly high.”

On why he moved away from Graham Gano when making roster moves at kicker:
“I don’t share that. What you do is you get a gut feel for watching people every day. We had him in the spring, had him in the fall. That’s one of the reasons why we bring the kickers in is we’ve been around them a long time. We brought three new guys in. I’m not saying that if one of them doesn’t step up, we could’ve gone back to one of those guys, but I’m very impressed with the guy we got. Hopefully, he’ll have a long future here. So hopefully, he’ll be here for the next 15 years so I don’t have to answer any questions about kickers anymore. I know we’ve got a few in and out of here. I read that in the paper today or somebody told me about it. I guess we’ve been through a few so hopefully this is the start of something new.”

On the chain of command for relaying injury information to the press box:
“I have no idea how information gets to you in the box. I saw Robert when he came off the sidelines. He said he was OK, and I said, 'No, you’re not OK.’ I said, 'Something’s wrong. Your eyes are glassy.’ I said, 'Go see the doctors.’ That’s the last [of it]. We’ve got a game going on.”

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

On how he’s feeling:
“Practice went good. I felt sharp. I felt good – no symptoms of a concussion or anything like that, no dizziness, or feeling off-balance, or things of that nature. So, I feel good.”

On if he hasn’t experienced any symptoms since leaving the locker room on Sunday:
“Right. I’m not just saying that, because I know it’s a serious issue. I felt fine when I left the locker room. I went home, watched some TV and kind of just relaxed. I haven’t had any bad symptoms or any symptoms at all since I left the locker room.”

On if he had any leftover symptoms after experiencing a concussion in college:
“No, I did not. Kind of the same thing – came back to in the fourth quarter similar to what I did this game. I was fine. I played the next week – played Texas and we won.”

On playing aggressively after this experience:
“It doesn’t make you less aggressive, but it is a learning lesson. The one thing I learned was I can’t do that to my team, to the fans or to my family because life is more important than the game of football. These things that happen to us, getting hurt, getting hit in the head, that affects us down the road and I have to make sure I limit that. At some point, all players and our fans stop becoming players and fans. We start becoming people, and people care. I have to make sure I keep myself safe while still being the same player that I am. Keep myself safe so that my family and the fans and my teammates aren’t let down.”

On if he saw linebacker Sean Weatherspoon coming:
“I did. I tried to get down, but if I had slid a half second earlier I would have been safe. I tried to get down too late and he had already launched. At that point, it was just a matter of absorbing the hit and I absorbed it the wrong way.”

On if he considered going out of bound:
“It was just at the last second. I was running, I made the one guy miss and then I saw Spoon there at the end. I tried to get down. There was no way I could get out of bounds at that point. In the future, looking back on it – hindsight is 20/20 – I would’ve either thrown it away or got out of bounds.”

On other ways to keep himself safe without losing aggression:
“Just being aware of it. I ran out of bounds today at practice and I imitated a slide and got a huge cheer from the team. It’s just something I have to make myself aware of – conscious. It’s not about being soft. I don’t have anything to prove to anybody. The team has let me know that. Everyone has let me know that. Everyone knows I’m a tough guy. I promised I’d get up from hits like that and I did get up. I kept that promise and I don’t have anything to prove, so it’s just about getting the yards and if you have to live to play another down, then you live to play another down.”

On if it is difficult to program himself to slide in the red zone:
“It is. I talked to the coaches and we watched the film and they said I was going to have to really convince them that I could have gotten out of that with four guys right there. The one in college I actually did slide. It was actually just a shoulder to the helmet – how I was sliding. They don’t protect you as much in college as they do in the pros. It’s kind of the same situation but completely different. This one, I should have just got down earlier or thrown the ball away. I learned from it.”

On if there’s any doubt he’ll be ready for Sunday:
“For me, no, there’s never doubt as a player. You always feel like you’re going to be ready to go. [Head Athletic Trainer] Larry [Hess] and the guys are doing their job. They’re taking the proper precautions to make sure that I am ready to go and I don’t have any symptoms. I continue to get evaluated every day. The only symptom I do have is irritability because they keep asking me the same questions. They’re doing their job and I respect them for it. They kept me out of the game even though, as they just told me earlier, I still refuse to say I had a concussion. I had temporary memory loss. It’s their job to make sure I’m safe and I had some temporary memory loss and that’s why they kept me out. It was the same thing that happened in college. I respected my college team and coaches and trainers for that. I respect them for doing that for me as well.”

On telling Mike Shanahan he was 'fine’:
“That’s the same thing I told Coach [Art] Briles at Baylor. I told him I was fine, put me back in the game. You want to play and your survival instincts take over and it just shows that I care about this team and I didn’t want to leave them hanging. I told him I was fine and he looked at me and told me I wasn’t. What am I supposed to say? I said, 'Alright, Coach.’ They held me out. That’s what they were supposed to do. I came back to literally 15 minutes later and I started talking to them in the locker room – explaining everything that happened so they knew that I was fine. They told me it was too late and I had to shower up and watch the rest of the game. So, I did just that.”

On his family’s reaction to the hit:
“Not a strong reaction…Moms are moms. She probably had the strongest of them all, but they all came in the locker room. My dad came and found me and they made sure I was OK. I told them I was alright and they stayed a lot of the night with me that night at my house to make sure I was fine. There didn’t seem to be any difference. Woke up in the morning on Monday and my mom called me at 8:00 because I told her I was coming to the facility at 8:00. I was here and picked up and said, “Hi, Mom.’ She said she just wanted to hear my voice. That’s how moms are going to be. They’re going to worry about their children. And like my dad told me, he said he’ll be 100 before I am, so there won’t be a day that he’s not worried about his son. I love my parents for that.”

On medical findings about concussions:
“I’m not scared of it. For me, something similar to this happened in college. The trainers and doctors have obviously talked to me about it – all the symptoms. I knew once I did come back to. I didn’t have any sensitivity to light, dizziness, wasn’t tired, my appetite wasn’t thrown off, I had great balance, I could remember everything. I pretty much put myself through that concussion test and knew that I was OK. Like they told me, things might look right but if you don’t feel right then you shouldn’t play. I feel right today and we’ll see what happens come Sunday.”

On how he cut his chin:
“I think it came from the chinstrap – either that or the guy that I hit, whoever I fell on. I didn’t think
Spoon’s hit caused the stitches. It’s whatever. It doesn’t matter.”

On if he will get cleared to wear a tinted shield:
“I don’t know if they would allow that, but everybody wants to have the cool tinted shield. If that is a way to get one, maybe [laughter].”

On when he took his concussion test Wednesday:
“That’s why I went in. I got tested. Doctor came by, wanted to make sure I was fine after practice. I worked out a little yesterday – did some cardio, some drills, some throwing just to make sure my motor skills were still there and that I was fine and that I wasn’t getting dizzy after I was running. To come out of practice, they wanted to do it again so they put me through that. I passed that, but I’m still not cleared by any means for full contact or anything like that. As a quarterback, you don’t get hit in practice so I could still go out and practice a little bit.”

On what kind of test he took:
“It was just balance, remembering numbers backwards, remembering three things that they tell you to remember, those kind of things – being able to walk in straight line and do those things.”

On when he hopes to be cleared for contact:
“I’m not sure, preferably before Sunday. That’s my only thing – that I’ll be able to practice and do those things. There is no contact for me, so I can still go out and be with the team and work on the game plan. The biggest thing is just making sure that I’m cleared and ready to play by Sunday.”

On if there was a touchdown available before he got hit:
“It was an exotic look – as we like to call it in football. That’s why I kind of stopped, to try to see if I could go back and try to hit, but I was indecisive. I decided to roll out of the pocket. You don’t want to throw it over the middle late. Hindsight – yeah, I probably would’ve tried to throw that ball. It was definitely a look that we hadn’t seen on film. Stuff like that happens sometimes. You’re going to miss some things.”

On if all the testing affects his preparation for Sunday:
“No, it hasn’t. If anything, it keeps me here longer. I make sure I continue to do the same things I normally do – whether it’s with their scouting report, what they do, talking to different people about the team, watching film. I still stay on top of all those things. They said it was OK for me to watch film since I wasn’t having any sensitivity to anything or just watching guys run around on the screen. I’ve been able to do the same things.”

On his performance in the game prior to the hit:
“As an offense, we moved the ball. It’s just like Coach [Shanahan] said, we have to get better on third downs, whether it’s running the ball or throwing the ball, third-and-short or third-and-long. We’ll get better at that. It’s not something you need to press about. It is something that is a glaring issue for us right now. Teams are going to try to exploit that and say 'Hey, whatever we run on third down, these guys aren’t being able to move the ball
and get first downs.’ We’ll make sure we clean that up and that takes everybody.”

On what the offense must do to get better at converting third downs:
“If it’s third and one, you have to get one yard. If it’s third-and-nine or third-and-12, you have to be able to get the ball to your playmakers and allow them to make plays. Whether that’s throwing the right ball, catching the passes that are thrown or it’s getting the calls out there, it’s not one issue. In the past game, we had a couple drops and then there’s plays out there that I could’ve thrown a better ball. I look at the receiver and they look at me. We all know who has to come up and make big plays for us. We’ll make them.”

On balancing protecting himself and making plays on third down:
“It’s kind of like the same view you have to have if you’re hot. Like they say, if they’re blitzing and bringing pressure and you’re hot, you have to trust that you’re hot and they’re going to get you the first down. When teams, on third-and-seven, they drop guys in deep coverage, we have to trust each other that if I throw the checkdown, you’re going to get the first down or extremely close to it. There are times to break the pocket and make plays and then there are times you just have to take the checkdown, take what they’re giving you and just know that the guy you’re throwing to is going to try as hard as he can to get the first.”

On if Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan are trying to protect him by not giving him as many designed runs:
“I don’t think so. It’s whatever the game presents and what we’re doing at that time. Our game plan and the call sheet we’ve had has been different for every game. Whether they dial up QB runs or not, it doesn’t matter to me. It’s just a matter of winning.”

On wide receiver Santana Moss adjusting to being a 'bit player’ this season:
“I think, to me, 'Tana is not a 'bit player.’ I guess you guys feel that way. I respect the guy a lot and he’s done a great job being a team player – not lashing out or saying that he wants to have more balls thrown to him. He’s definitely had his share of great seasons and we want this one to be one for him still. We have a long year and he has a chance to make a lot of plays for us. We definitely need to get the ball into his hands.”

On throwing the ball behind wide receiver Pierre Garçon:
“There’s one where [cornerback] Asante Samuel was sitting on the route. He was playing disguise coverage, trying to bait me into throwing an interception. I saw it at the last second and I placed the ball the only place that I could. With me and Pierre, he’s our guy. We’ll hit those passes whether it’s a little off or not. Not every pass is going to be perfect and not every pass is going to be caught. It’s about not being frustrated and knowing things are going to click. We’re doing things the right way in practice and it will definitely show up in a game.”

On if he’s leery of taking the next hit:
“No. For me, it is about being smart. Like Coach said, it is a learning experience for me. It’s something that you appreciate things a lot more after something happens that can, not scare you, but definitely make you aware of things. My brain, my head, my future outside of football, my life is more important than trying to get that touchdown on third-and-four on the goal line. I just have to know when to run out of bounds and just know that what happens to me affects a lot of people. You just have to take that approach to it and know if I can run out of bounds, run out of bounds. If I can slide, just slide. But if feel like you can make play, go make that play. Things like that hit don’t happen all the time and they haven’t happened all the time for me. I’ll be smart about it.”

Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier

On developing a rookie quarterback:
“We went through it a year ago with Christian [Ponder] – just trying to find things that he’s comfortable with that we also thought could help us to be successful. We also knew that there would be some growing pains and that it was going to take a little time and a little patience on our part. We felt like as he saw more things and went through some of the ups and downs of being a rookie quarterback, we’d be better for it – and we are. But, it can be difficult – the speed of the game, the concepts that you’re teaching, just so many factors that go into the development of that quarterback. Patience is critical.”

On what he attributes to Ponder’s success this season:
“I think for sure the way our defense is playing right now. The fact that we do have a good run game has definitely helped him along with what we’re doing on special teams. But also, the hard work that Christian put in this offseason after having a rookie season to go back and look at some tape just to see what areas he didn’t perform as well in and what he had to do to improve. Being around our coaching staff for the first time in an offseason was a big deal for him. I thought Bill Musgrave and Craig Johnson, our quarterbacks coach, and Bill being our offensive coordinator, have done a great job explaining to him what the expectations are at his position. [We] need him to play. The fact that he is a smart football player and a very good football player, he’s gotten that information, he’s done with it what we needed him to do. It is important that you have some pieces around him. This offseason [to] go out and get a Jerome Simpson, to have a healthy Adrian Peterson, to improve our defense like we did, to do some of the things we’ve done on our special teams, those were part of helping Christian be all that he can be at quarterback.”

On Adrian Peterson’s knee injury last season:
“I was hoping he would play this season…I didn’t know. I don’t think any of us did. We were all hoping that he would be able to come back and play. When it happened, none of us really knew. We had an idea based on the history of other players who have come back and played the year after an injury like this. But to say that he would come back and play as well as he’s played up to this point is amazing to me. To open up the season against Jacksonville and run the way he ran…I was hoping he would be able to come back and play, but to see him perform the way he has performed…It’s a credit to his hard work, to our doctors and trainers doing the things they’ve done, but he is an amazing athlete – just amazing.”

On if Peterson is his old self again:
“He’s pretty close. If you ask him he’ll probably say he’s about 5 percent away from being where he thinks he needs to be. The runs he’s made the last couple weeks tells me that he’s real close to being the Adrian that we’re so familiar with. He’s on the cusp of one of those breakout games. We’ve seen it the last couple weeks with some of the long runs he’s had and the authority he’s running with. He just doesn’t seem to have any inhibitions at all at this point. I think he’s very close.”

On if he had a chance to talk with Mike Shanahan at the Senior Bowl last year:
“Coach Shanahan and I actually had a chance to interact. We went to the, I think, Hall of Fame dinner at the Senior Bowl for some inductees – some former Senior Bowl players. So we had a chance to sit and talk over dinner that night. I got to know him a little bit better than just shaking hands pregame or postgame. I really enjoyed our time together.”

On being 4-1:
“I would attribute it to the hard work we put in this offseason – having over 90 percent participation in our offseason programs starting from April 23 when phase one of the new CBA began. Our guys showing up, going through the things we needed them to go through so we could really set the foundation for this 2012 season. I really look back on that and I think that’s when things began to change for us.”

On how things change in the game with or without quarterback Robert Griffin III:
“I don’t think we’d be preparing very much for option if it’s Kirk [Cousins] or Rex [Grossman] at quarterback. We won’t spend a lot of time on that for sure. I think their run game is not going to change a whole lot and their pass game won’t change a whole lot. But the option threat definitely, I think, definitely changes if Robert is not playing.”

Minnesota Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson

On if he thought he could come back from his knee injury:
“Yeah, I did. That was my goal. Just after accepting it for was it was, [my goal was] getting back as soon as possible.”

On how he was determined to recover from the injury:
“Just believing in God and putting my faith to work. After knowing, I had a good eight, nine months to bounce back, I just set my goal – praying and believing that if I did my part then God would come through and help me reach the goal I set. That’s pretty much what I’ve done my entire life when
faced with controversy or whatever – just put it in his hands and do my part and see how it turns out.”

On his feelings after the injury:
“This situation I’ve been through…If you hold your head down during that situation, it doesn’t help the process. My process at that point was trying to get back and recover. It was tough a little bit getting home on Christmas, but I just had to change my mind frame and head in a direction that I had set for myself.”

On if he holds a grudge against safety DeJon Gomes:
“Not at all. I don’t think it was anything done intentionally. He was just out there playing ball and it happened. No grudges at all. I don’t have anything against him. I don’t know what he could have said that would make me feel better, but it happens.”

On quarterback Christian Ponder:
“I noticed a big change. He’s just becoming more of a leader – more vocal. I can see that the confidence level is continuing to rise each week. He has made a big jump.”
 

tshile

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I thought players weren't allowed to speak to the media the week after a conclusion? Or is it just after the game?
 

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I thought players weren't allowed to speak to the media the week after a conclusion? Or is it just after the game?
If they pass the early week testing and are allowed to practice, then that can speak to the media.
 

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