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Skins Quotes 10/15: Shanahan/Moss/Hall

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Boone

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Marine Corps Virginia


October 15, 2012
Redskins Park


Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On utilizing a running quarterback:
“I think anytime people have to account for a quarterback where you put him in a number of different positions, I think it presents problems for a defense. If you always know where a quarterback’s at, obviously you can isolate on that one position. If a quarterback is able to roll out, possibly run an option or dropback pass and there’s some question where he’ll be, I think it’s advantageous to that offense.”

On wide receiver Pierre Garçon’s foot injury:
“That toe is just quite sore. You could see when he’s pushing off and when he goes downfield, he’s just not anywhere close to full speed. I saw it in Wednesday’s practice and I saw it in Thursday’s practice. I talked to him and he was trying to work through it. It’s just a little painful, so hopefully with the rest and maybe a little bit of time off he’ll be able to go and the thing will heal up. We did have an MRI on it and you could see in the MRI that there’s some inflammation there and it was quite sore. We’re just going to have to give it some time and hopefully it can heal quick.”

On if Garçon could play next week:
“I don’t know, can’t tell you.”

On deferring possession at the coin toss:
“I’ve always been the other way. I’ve always taken the ball in the past. This year, I’ve done it because I saw a percentage I hadn’t seen before – that people that defer win well over 60 percent. I said, “Hey, that’s an interesting stat. Why not go with the percentages?’ I kind of like it, too. Coming out at halftime and having a chance to get the ball first kind of fires up the team at halftime. I know when we get the ball, we have a chance to go the distance.”

On percentages for deferring:
“There’s a few – if you win the toss, if you defer to the second half, if you win the toss, then there’s about three or four percentages. The one that was the heaviest was winning the toss and deferring to the second half. It’s nothing earth-shattering, but that’s the way we went. I kind of like starting the second half off with the ball.”

On if they should have rested Garçon like they did with tight end Niles Paul’s turf toe:
“It’s not a turf toe. If it was a turf toe, we definitely would’ve shut him down. It’s the second toe, it’s the capsule underneath the second toe. We’ve had an MRI on it and it’s him dealing with the pain. He’s fine if he has some juice before the game, but afterwards it’s very, very painful. When I saw he couldn’t go in practice at the speed I wanted him to go at, I said, 'Hey, I think you’re pushing through a little bit more pain than you tend to tell the coaches.’ I think I was right because I sat down with him and talked to him before the game and he would’ve went. I just said, 'Hey, I don’t want to lose you for the rest of the season so let’s get this thing well and you tell me when it’s ready to go.’”

On Garçon not being 100 percent in any of the six games so far:
“You’re always disappointed when somebody gets hurt. I think everybody sees you have a number one receiver. You see what he’s done when he’s healthy. We’re very excited to have him. Anytime you lose a player like the players we’ve lost – I don’t care if it’s [nose tackle] Chris Neild, you lose a guy like that, you lose [defensive lineman Adam] Carriker, you lose [safety Tanard] Jackson, you lose [safety Brandon] Meriweather. Anytime you lose a guy, you’re very disappointed. But the good thing about Pierre is he’s got a chance to come back and help us down the stretch, and hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.”

On reserve defensive personnel earning more playing time:
“That’s what you talk about when you do have people hurt and you do have some depth on your football team. You’re going to experiment with different groups – personnel groups – and try to find the personnel group that works best. We’re constantly doing that in our base packages and our nickel packages to give people a chance to earn a position or earn the starting job. That’s how these players get a chance, at least some of these young players get a chance, to show us what they can do. A lot of them never give the position up.”

On cornerback DeAngelo Hall:
“DeAngelo is very physical. He’s got no fear in him. When he’s covering a receiver or supporting the run, there’s no mindset that he’s a corner. He thinks of himself like a safety. He’s very competitive and wants to give everything he’s got and he doesn’t back down.”

On giving guys who perform well more chances to show the rest of the players that if you play well, they’ll play more:
“We’re going to always try to play the best players, so if a guy like [linebacker] Lorenzo [Alexander] has a great game, we’re going to try to find ways to get him into the football game. I think he played 27 plays yesterday outside of special teams. If it’s base, if it’s nickel, we’re going to try to get players that help us win on the field as much as possible. We can use players a lot of different ways. It doesn’t always have to be in base, it could be in certain situations where you got maybe three, four, five linebackers in the game. You could have two linebackers in the game, but we’ll always try to play our best players.”

On quantifying the improvements at the running back and wide receiver positions:
“I think just look at the stats. Look at our production of average gain per play and it’s very easy to figure out how productive you are. If you compare this year to last year, if it’s running game or passing game, there’s statistics for everything. When you’re able to threaten the field with your quarterback, your running back, your offensive line – which I think we’re able to do right now – I think you make the defense cover the whole field and you have a chance to have success at the running game.”

On the defense’s ability to score:
“The one thing I think we’ve always talked about – we’ve talked about it for the last two years – and that’s turnover ratio. The teams that win are teams that are good in the turnover area. Once you get to the playoffs, the teams that win the Super Bowl are usually the best in the turnover area. That’s always an emphasis. It’s something we’ve been talking about the last couple years. This year, we’re a lot more successful in the turnover ratio, which means it gives you a chance to be better for the season. Then, you break down your offense, you break down your defense and hopefully you improve as a team.”

On tackle Trent Williams:
“Trent’s been playing good, very good. Yesterday, he played very well.”

On the offensive line:
“There are a number of people that were worried about our offensive line. I was hoping that we would stay fairly healthy and I was hoping some of our young guys that we have – if we didn’t stay healthy – could mature very quickly. We have stayed fairly healthy, which is always a big advantage. I do believe we have some depth now, so if we do lose somebody, hopefully we can still keep on getting better and we just don’t fall off a cliff like we did a year ago. The offensive line is a group of people working together as a unit that give you a chance to be successful. Everybody’s got a piece of the puzzle – your offensive line, your tight end, your quarterback, your wide receivers. That’s why we’re very successful right now, because we have a group of people all going in the same direction. They know the system, they know each other, they’ve been fairly healthy there. They’re working together. The big addition has been [tackle] Tyler Polumbus. He’s come in and he’s done a good job of picking up the system very quickly and hopefully we keep on improving.”

On how long it takes an offensive line to meld:
“It all depends on the team. If you go to San Francisco, they all have first, second, third round draft picks – all first-round draft choices and second-round draft choices. You come into the position where all your offensive line is first, second-round draft choices, or you come in and you change and you’ve got everybody that’s completely new…Is it two years, three years, or is it the first year? It all depends on your personnel.”

On the advantages of playing six games before facing the first divisional opponent:
“The one thing I always say is I don’t even worry about when you play different teams, but I’d say it’s always an advantage if you’re going to play within your division if it’s little bit later than earlier, especially with rookie players. I think it is a big benefit for us with Robert and a kid like [running back] Alfred [Morris]. He’d rather play a little bit later than earlier.”

On what it takes to be successful in red zone defense:
“Keep them out of the end zone [laughter]. There’s a lot of different ways to do it. Some people have a red zone defense and they don’t vary from it very much. A lot of people kind of switch it up on you – they run a lot of different varieties of defenses so you’re not really sure what to call down there. You have to be kind of creative. Last year, we were one of the best on defense in the red zone area. We didn’t vary very much in what we were doing and were very successful doing it. Yesterday, Minnesota was two-for-seven and it was a difference in us winning the game. They were two-for-seven, we were three-for-three. They kicked field goals at the two, four, nine and nineteen I believe. That type of defense gives you a chance to win.”

On if there is an added benefit in Griffin III running for the 76-yard touchdown because defenses fear it:
“I think so. Anytime you have a quarterback that has the threat of making a play with his legs, a lot of times you’ll have defenses spying the quarterback. They want to play man coverage, but they won’t want to rush everybody because they have to account for the quarterback – just like we saw yesterday. Robert breaks the line of scrimmage, all of a sudden you’ve got six guys rushing and he’s one-on-one. Having guys like Steve Young and John Elway who could run, you had people spying them all the time. They’re going to find different ways on third downs to do what they think is best to stop you and they’re pretty creative on defense.”

On if tight end Niles Paul is replacing Lorenzo Alexander as the impact player on special teams:
“Not really, because Lorenzo is still an impact player no matter where he’s at. A lot of times he’s going to be double-teamed, but put Niles Paul on the outside and you have a chance. One guy is going to block him one-on-one, and chances are it’s not going to be done. He did a great job one-on-one of making a play. He timed it just perfectly. I think we saw that a year ago against the Rams – a guy going full-speed and making a collision that most people don’t make. You’re looking for impact players and special teams are going to do a lot of different things to take advantage of your players. As you mentioned, Niles is usually double-teamed and so is Lorenzo.”

On kicker Kai Forbath’s kickoffs:
“He had four touchbacks out of seven attempts, so I’ll take that anytime.”

On safety Jordan Pugh:
“With Jordan, same thing that happened [as with quarterback Robert Griffin III]. You see something happened, he comes out on the sideline and they just told me Jordan was out. Then, all of sudden, he’s been cleared and he’s ready to go. Then, at the end, they just told me that when he went down, he was dizzy, nauseous, he’s out. That was it. It’s not a concussion until they bring him downstairs and they put him through the tests, but they told me – doctor told me – that he was not coming back in the game.”

Wide Receiver Santana Moss

On if this season feels different than past seasons:
“Honestly, to answer that question the best that I can, it really doesn’t. It’s a long season and we are trying to win games and yesterday was a game that we needed, that we took over and got a chance to win. We were excited about that, but other than that, it doesn’t feel different. I really don’t hang my hat up on the season until the season is over. Every week is going to be a different week, different challenge. We’re far from getting a feeling that we can really hang our hat on.”

On the improvement on third downs against the Vikings:
“Yesterday, we converted a lot of third downs. That’s something we stumbled on last week. That was the only way that we were going to have a chance to be good on offense, if we convert our third downs. It was something our coaches went over with us last week. It was one of the reason why the Atlanta game went the way it went. Even though we had a chance to win that game last week, but sorry like we were on third-down, we didn’t give ourselves a chance to keep the ball longer and keep our defense off the field. Even though our defense played great last week and then gave up something late, if we were to control the field and the ball a little more and have longer drives then we wouldn’t have to put them out there that long, so that was a big reason why we won the game this week.”

On if the team practiced third down plays more last week before the Vikings game:
“Not at all. We just did what we always do. We just emphasized it a little bit more as far as what lost us the game. Other than that, we did what we always do.”

On the fourth-down conversion against the Vikings being a similar play to Moss’ touchdown reception against the Bengals in Week 3:
“Something similar. It had a different tweak to it. It had three receivers on one side this particular time. I was the inside and the third receiver. Last time we had two receivers on one side. It was something similar. We needed to make a play and I was surprised we ran it so early in the game. We put it in last week and I was hoping it would be in the red zone so we could try to get a touchdown out of it. When we need plays and we need to make something happen, I think it was a great call by Kyle [Shanahan] going with it early.”

On the level of confidence during the fourth quarter with quarterback Robert Griffin III on the field:
“Our team is a better team than the last two years. That’s the only feeling I can give you. Regardless of who we have at quarterback, we have a different team, a better team. That’s giving us the chance to be what we really want to be when it comes to the fourth quarter. Robert is a big talent for us that we know that we use a lot. That does give us a lot more than what we had in the last year. When it really comes down to it, fourth quarter or any other quarter, we are confident because we are a better team. That’s something we had to work to get to. First year, second year, and this is our third year here, most of us, can’t say all of us, but most of us and we are a better team than we were before. That gives us enough confidence to know that we can go out there and execute some things that we want to do in the fourth quarter.”

On beating the Giants twice last season:
“Every year when we play in your division, it’s a good game. You can erase what we did last year. It doesn’t mean jack. It’s going to be a big game regardless because they are in our division and they’re the Giants. They’re a pretty good team and they’re the Super Bowl champions. We won two games last year and we didn’t do anything after that. We went home and watched them play in the Super Bowl. At the end of the day, that’s how we look at it and I’m pretty sure what they’re doing right now they feel pretty good about themselves, so it’s going to be a big game and it should be a good one.”

On how long it took him to adjust to the NFL as a rookie and how quickly Griffin III has adapted:
“It’s a lot different in the pros. Robert is quarterback and I was a receiver. My rookie career was different than his rookie career right now. It’s a whole different thing, so you can’t compare the two. I didn’t play until Week 14 because I was hurt my rookie season. Robert is a quarterback and he tends to be able to read defenses. Especially for that position, at an early age, you get to learn how to read defenses a little differently. As a receiver, you don’t get to see the same things they get to see, so I can’t compare the two.”

On noticing a difference between defenses that do not have experience against an offense with a mobile quarterback:
“I think Minnesota was one of the toughest defenses that we played and our run game is big for us. We were pretty quiet when it when it came to running the ball. What worked for us a lot was moving the ball in the air, and when we did we had to and we didn’t do a whole lot. The other thing that worked was when we had our rollouts and boots. When Robert didn’t have anything he just took it and got as many yards as he could. It was tough on defense. It was tough to get anything out of them. What Robert did well was giving us all we could get out of every play. [He] didn’t do anything to put us in bad situations, so that was great on him and that was the only reason why we had a chance to be successful yesterday.”

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall

On finishing the game:
“I think we just had it in our minds that we weren’t going to lose this. We were ahead so many points toward the middle of the game and to keep fighting, keep fighting, we just wanted to finish. We were out there making plays. But the offense put enough points on the board for us so we just went out there and played as confidently as possible towards the end.”

On having an offense that can score a lot of points:
“It’s huge. Some of the good teams that have been in the league in the last couple years, the Super Bowl champion teams, defenses are trying to get offenses opportunities to score points. The offense can actually score points. We feel like we have that combination. We happen to have a little bit of a problem keeping the yards to a minimum, but like I said, we’re going to keep containing the pocket to try to keep those yards down. But at the end of the day, we want to win games. We want to win games. We want to get turnovers to try to score on defense and convert them into points. That’s what we’ve been doing a great job of these past couple weeks.”

On quarterback Robert Griffin III’s 76-yard touchdown:
“I actually didn’t catch it until probably he was at the 20, to be honest with you. But we knew he was going to be an exciting guy, exciting player, exciting quarterback. And he knew when he looked down and he had the ball in his hands, he had a chance to do something special. We’ve seen in it training camp. Like I was telling you, that play he bent in the corner on them, we saw that in practice. You guys finally see that now.”

On different defensive personnel combinations:
“Whatever works out there, feelings aside and emotions out of it, they are going to put whatever guys give us the best opportunity to win. It might be some mix-match, rotations out there and things like that. But we’re just trying to get the most out of our guys. Like I said, they’ve done a great job trying to put them in positions to make plays, and the guys have done a good job making those plays. Chris Wilson got the chance a couple weeks ago, and Darrel [Young], and Lorenzo [Alexander] got the chance and really rose to the occasion. So we’re going to try different things. We have Jordan Pugh out there, Madieu [Williams], Reed Doughty. We’ve going to try to mix it up as much as possible to put the best product out on the field.”

On his interception:
“We were just in the zone defense. We were just in the red zone just trying to keep those guys out of the end zone. The quarterback got the scrimmage at the line and I just kept my eyes on him so I’ve been praying and preaching these last couple of weeks, 'Keep your eyes on the quarterback instead of locked on the receivers,” and I was able to keep my eyes on the quarterback, and kind of, I guess, go through his motions too. I just saw the ball go up in the air.”

On how his productivity has changed this season:
“We’ve had a lot more opportunities to make plays. Honestly, that weighs into it. But just trying to be around the ball, just trying to understand what defense they’re asking me to do. Playing in that nickel kind of gives me a little bit more of a run-pass key. I get a little closer to the ball, a little closer to the action. But in base personnel, I still get a chance to get out there at that corner and try to play that side of the field. So, I’m really just getting a lot of opportunities. I’m trying to fly around as much as possible. We always harp on flying around to the ball and getting as many guys around the ball as possible. I guess that’s why. I didn’t feel like I was even a part of the game until we won. Because of these guys, I’m going to have to start flying around a little more. They definitely have been seeing that.”

On if the win meant more because of the home losing streak, coming up short last week and the Giants and Steelers looming:
“It was a combination of all those things. It’s a combination of being in every game we’ve been in, all four quarters and not pulling them out. It’s a combination of, like you said, not giving the home fans something to really cheer for. It’s a combination of letting big plays happen to us. The guys and Shanahan had in it in their mind that they weren’t going to be denied and that’s the kind of mentality and approach you have to have in this league. Every win is so valuable and when you’re going up against a great team like that, a 4-1 football team, we can show our guys that, hey man, we can do this against a team that’s supposed to be a top-notch team. Like you said, going to New York and going to Pittsburgh in the next couple weeks, it’s not going to get any easier. But we love playing on the road just as much as we love playing at home. There’s nothing better than taking our 60-70 guys and coaches included and going into somebody else’s stadium and silencing that crowd. We feel that we match up well against the Giants. They played a great football game. We’ll start watching film on those guys today and start coming up with a gameplan to try to execute against them. “

On his performance at safety:
“It was fun. It was mainly on some rundowns just to kind of put our safeties more in the box – kind of take the pounding off those corners. Like you said, I’m halfway I guess to my total. Two years ago, I had over 100 tackles. They’re just trying to take some of the pounding off. [Defensive Backs Coach] Raheem [Morris] knows I don’t know mind the contact, but at the same time there’s only so much banging a 190-pound guy can do. It’s just a little adjustment we do sometimes. He’ll put me down or put me at safety and put the safeties down to just to try to get them in the box a little more on some rundowns and…It just depends what kind of offense we’re going up against.”

On Adrian Peterson’s accusation that he slapped him:
“I have no idea what he’s talking about. You guys can watch the film. You watched the film, you probably…Once you heard it, you were probably like, 'Huh? What is he talking about?’ I think you all know me, so if anything happened involving me I think all you guys would have been jumping on that story right after the game. For it to be brought up a day later and talking about that I smacked him in the face…That’s just asinine. I think the play he’s talking about was the play I actually went up on him to make a tackle and my helmet kind of pops off. In the momentum of me going to hit him, I kind of pushed right after I made the tackle. I pushed right off – I don’t know if it was him or the ground. That’s the only contact I had with him, and after the play he actually said to me, 'That’s a good play D. Hall. That’s a good play,’ I was like, 'Alright.’ That’s why had he really been talking trash to me face to face and me talking trash, I think you guys know my reaction would have been a little different than what it was. If you watch the TV copy or even the sideline copy of that game, once I make the play and my helmet pops off we’re face-to-face and I don’t say a word. I just kind of nod my head at him. That’s kind of the gist of that story.”

On how long it takes a rookie to get a feel for what will happen in a game based on how the other players line up:
“I started as a rookie, so I think my rookie year I was mainly focused on what I had to do. I kind of knew where my head was for the most part. I knew what I had to do. As the years went on, like in my second year, I would go home and figure out exactly what the safeties had to do – what their responsibility was, what the linebacker responsibility is as far as drops. It took a while to get through the progression. As far as me being out there and just kind of reading formations and things like that, that actually took a little while. It definitely took a little while just to try to kind of figure out what formation or a pass concept and things like that. It wasn’t an overnight thing. That’s what so impressive with him [Robert Griffin III] and he’s done a great job of just being a student. [Offensive Coordinator] Kyle [Shanahan] and a bunch of those other coaches – [Quarterbacks Coach] Matt [LaFleur] – have done a great job, Mike [Shanahan] as well of helping him learn what it takes to be a great quarterback in this league.”

On beating the Giants twice last season:
“I think they have a little chip on their shoulder. I don’t think it does anything positive for us. There’s no sneaking up on them now. They’re going to definitely bring their A-game to us. Their defense is going to try to hit Rob – there’s no if, ands or butts about it. They know as he goes, we go. They’re going to definitely try to get physical with him. Defensively, like I said, we feel good against these guys. We feel like we match up pretty well against them. We feel like we can do some things to kind of confuse [Giants quarterback] Eli [Manning] in the passing game and we can just kind of stop that run game and turn them into a one-dimensional football team, we’ll be alright up there in New York.”
 

Fear The Spear

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October 15, 2012
Redskins Park


Wide Receiver Santana Moss

On if this season feels different than past seasons:
“Honestly, to answer that question the best that I can, it really doesn’t. It’s a long season and we are trying to win games and yesterday was a game that we needed, that we took over and got a chance to win. We were excited about that, but other than that, it doesn’t feel different. I really don’t hang my hat up on the season until the season is over. Every week is going to be a different week, different challenge. We’re far from getting a feeling that we can really hang our hat on.”
That's what I love about Santana Moss' interviews. Always level-headed. You never hear him making a brash or irrational statement. Part of that is his veteran experience, and part of that is much of that experience was on heartbreaking teams, and part of it is his nature. I only wish he was that level-headed on his post-first-down antics ON THE FIELD, and not act like every first down is a game-winning overtime TD.
 

China

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Shanahan said:
He’s fine if he has some juice before the game, but afterwards it’s very, very painful.
Juice? Is he referring to steroids? I know corticosteroids are good for reducing inflammation. Kind of scary that he's using the familiar term juice, as in his players are always juicing, for steroids. I know PEDs are rampant in the NFL, but you don't want to have your coach or team outing itself (even though this would be a legitimate use of steroids).
 

Boone

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Juice? Is he referring to steroids? I know corticosteroids are good for reducing inflammation. Kind of scary that he's using the familiar term juice, as in his players are always juicing, for steroids. I know PEDs are rampant in the NFL, but you don't want to have your coach or team outing itself (even though this would be a legitimate use of steroids).
I suspect that's not what he's referring to, but that they are injecting him with lidocaine (or some other 'caine') to numb him up. That is a loaded word, but I doubt it's some 'slip of the tongue'.
 

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