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Skins Quotes 10/16


The Commissioner
Staff member
BGO Ownership Group
Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC

Marine Corps Virginia

October 16, 2013
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the injury report:
“[Cornerback David] Amerson with a concussion, he was limited today. [He] had no side effects so hopefully he’ll be OK tomorrow. [Nose tackle] Chris Neild was limited with his calf. Full practice was [linebacker] Brandon Jenkins, [tight end] Fred Davis,
Will Montgomery, [cornerback Jerome] Murphy and [tight end Logan] Paulsen. [Long snapper Nick] Sundberg had surgery today on his meniscus – about a five-month recovery time – and surgery went well.”

On quarterback Robert Griffin III’s completion percentage:
“I don’t really worry as much about completion percentage, even though it’s an important stat, as I do points – points that you score. We’re not doing as well in the red zone. That has hurt us. When you don’t score points, when you don’t score touchdowns in the red zone, it comes back to haunt you. We’ve been moving the ball well, so that’s a good sign, but we’ve got to get better in that area.”

On what Griffin III meant by his comments that he’ll “go back to what got him here”:
“I don’t know, you’ll have to ask Robert… He’s got to be himself. Robert is Robert. We don’t ask quarterbacks to do anything in particular. We have a game plan going in. Whatever that game plan may be, we are hoping they execute the game plan.”

On tight end Niles Paul’s comments that the team is still building trust with Special Teams Coordinator Keith Burns:
“That happens on every football team. I don’t care if you’re putting in an offense, defense or special teams, you earn the right to be trusted. You’ve got to prove yourself, both as a player and as a coach. That’s just typical. Same thing with [former Redskins Special Teams Coordinator] Danny [Smith]. He’s got to go to Pittsburgh and he’s got to earn that trust, and if things aren’t going good, you just keep on working harder. A lot of people overreact to things like that because you have something that’s negative and all of a sudden people don’t really understand what happened. It could be one small little thing and all of a sudden that snowball starts rolling and people jump on the bandwagon and all of a sudden the sky is falling. But we’ve got to pick up our kickoff coverage. Anytime you have a kicker that doesn’t really hang the ball very high, you have to have extra special coverage. We’ve got to be at our best, especially going against a team like Chicago who is ranked number one in the National Football League on kickoff returns. We’ll keep on working on the little things and gain experience, but we will get better.”

On if the hang time on kickoffs is an issue:
“Sure it’s an issue. I’m saying if you take one kicker that kicks touchbacks, kicks it out of the end zone every time, you really don’t have to worry about your kickoff coverage. That makes your kickoff coverage pretty good if nobody can ever return it. If you do return like we did, we were trying to make a play, [wide receiver] Josh [Morgan] was, and I thought he did a good job. They actually had eight guys inside the 15 yard-line. When you have eight guys inside the 15 yard-line when you hit the goal line, even though you don’t kick it out of the end zone, you’ve got some really good hang time. So we’ve got to make the correct decisions not to take it out when they hang it that high even though it may be five yards deep in the end zone. That’s part of the process of making good decisions on special teams.”

On if linebacker Josh Hull and safety Trenton Robinson were signed with special teams in mind:
“First of all, when you lose a couple of players, you have to go out there and get the best people possible and they’ve got to play both positions. Not only do they have to play special teams but they’ve got to play the linebacker position, they’ve got to play the secondary. We got two guys that have been very good on special teams in Hull and Robinson and now we’ll see how they practice this week and see if they can help us on game day depending on how they practice during the week.”

On if the team is playing to compete or playing to win:
“Normally for me, guys that are very competitive are trying to win. If you’re a competitive guy, the first thing you are thinking about is winning the game. If you get competitive people by nature, usually you’re in good shape.”

On the play of cornerback DeAngelo Hall this season and how he will matchup against the Bears:
“DeAngelo, as we’ve talked about in the past, you could tell how excited he was to play in that game [against Dallas]. You play a Sunday night game. You’ve got a great test against a guy that’s playing extremely well, and as you mentioned, DeAngelo played a great game. But DeAngelo is also smart enough to know that game is over. What you did last week really doesn’t matter and you’ve got to concentrate on this week. You’ve got a quarterback that’s playing very well and you’ve got a receiver like Brandon [Marshall] who is extremely strong, has great hands and it’s another challenge for him and our defense in general. You’ve got to play well as a group because not one guy is going to shut Brandon Marshall down. One guy is not going to shut down Cutler. As a group we have to play like we did against Dallas or maybe even a little bit better.”

On if he expects Bears quarterback Jay Cutler to have Hall’s four-interception game in his mind:
“No. Jay is one that can wipe things out just like that. He doesn’t have a long memory. He’s very competitive. He’s going to give it everything he’s got, but after something’s over, he can concentrate very quickly on the next game. He always wants to play well. I know there’s a couple of words here and there said, that’s football –competitors after a game.”

On if Griffin III ran more instinctively last week:
“Yes, I thought so. I thought you could see some of that burst that he had a year ago. Yeah, I thought you could see that on a couple of runs.”

On how they work on getting him to react instinctively:
“Same thing in practice, what you do every day. He practices that. If you’re going against our defense or going against the scout team, not everything’s perfect. Not everything is drawn up the right way. When you put quarterbacks or whoever in those situations, you can see a guy step and scramble or try to make a play or before they hit the line of scrimmage they throw the football down the field. But that’s something you do every day. We’ve been doing it since camp.”

On if he feels the need to approach players about stepping up on special teams:
“Well, if they are one of those guys [that needs to be approached], they won’t be on the team very long. First of all, they realize that everybody is accountable every time they go out there. [Safety] Reed [Doughty] is one of those guys. Reed would be embarrassed about the comment I made yesterday about Lorenzo [Alexander] being one of those guys because Reed is one of those guys. He takes a lot of pride in everything that he does and he tries to rally the troops for everybody to play at the level that he plays. We have a number of new faces in different positions. When you take a look at that game, if you look at it a little differently, if we would have got the ball down on the 23 yard-line like we should have, you know the mistake by the official kept us from getting the ball at the 23, all of a sudden our special teams did a pretty good job. If they get the block on Niles, or you take a look at [linebacker Bryan] Kehl when he loses his ACL, he’s right there to make the play. You can’t overreact. You want to make sure our guys are accountable. We get better every day. There is a sense of urgency knowing what type of team Chicago is and you try to do that on a day-to-day basis.”

On if there are players that he has to remind that they are primarily special teams players:
“No, not really, because we talk about those things all the time. We talk about people that aren’t starters that once you get your opportunity and you let up on special teams, the chances are you won’t be in the National Football League very long. You’ve got a guy like [linebacker] Perry Riley who plays every snap, yet he plays on punt protection, he plays on special teams like his life depends on it regardless of if he’s playing 75 plays or 90 plays because he knows it gives us the best chance to win. You want to put your people that have the ability to make plays on special teams and hopefully they’ve got the mindset to help you win.”

On the miscommunication between Griffin III and wide receiver Pierre Garçon:
“What happened on the goal line – There is a two-minute drill and we have a signal that tells the quarterback to the receiver to run a different route. And you saw Robert on the film doing that and Garçon, Robert wasn’t looking at Garçon at that time, and he thought since he did it for a little bit, he thought Garcon [saw it]. But that’s part of signals. You give signals all the time. There’s a lot of times that Robert could have went to the other side and nobody would have known that it was a missed signal, but he did go to that side and we missed an opportunity there to score a touchdown.”

On general miscommunications on offense this season, such as a running back being on the wrong side on a draw play:
“We missed a handoff on a draw. That’s what happened. Sometimes those things do occur. You don’t like them to occur. Robert went a little bit further back than he should have. Those things, sometimes we fake a little bit of a pass and sometimes the timing is not perfect, but we have been doing a pretty good job on that. That was one of the times that we didn’t do a good job.”

On if he will spend more time with special teams this week:
“Anytime we do a little bit poorer in one area than the other – whether it’s the secondary, the linebackers, defense, the offensive line, receivers, if it’s special teams – that’s where I spend my time that week. I’m going to work on the things that we do poorly and try to emphasize what the coaches are emphasizing and make sure there’s a sense of urgency there and hopefully we can improve.”

On if he feels like there are communication issues between Griffin III and skill position players:
“I’m saying when you have one missed signal during the game, that’s not too bad.”

On safety Reed Doughty addressing the special teams unit:
“Well, Reed is that type of guy. It doesn’t surprise me at all. When we voted for the first captain of the year, it wasn’t even close with Reed. That’s his mindset. The way he handles himself on a day-to-day basis, both with the secondary and regardless of what core group he’s on on special teams, he always gets the job done. He is one of the guys that sets the parameters on what we should do on special teams. And we have to have a number of other guys who step up – guys like [linebacker] Rob Jackson who is back, and a lot of these young guys who are just getting a feel like Reed did and Rob did when they first came in. They’ll be excellent special teams players. There will be some mistakes made along the way, but if those mistakes are full-speed, then we’ll have a chance to get better.”

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

On to what he attributes the difference in his completion percentage this season:
“It’s exactly what you said. It’s a matter of missed communications. There’s some missed throws in there. There’s some dropped passes. All of that accumulates into what the stats say, but it’s a long year and we’ve got a chance to make sure that those numbers do get back up and we’ll make sure it does.”

On miscommunications with his receivers:
“I’m not concerned by them. It is frustrating when you have a situation like we had there in the red zone, but you have to move on from those things. You can’t let those things linger in your head. For us, we do practice so hard at that kind of stuff. We’ve just got to be on it on game day.”

On if he and his receivers are on the same page:
“Yeah, I mean we all want to win. All of those guys know what they’re supposed to do. They know where they’re supposed to be. Sometimes, it just doesn’t happen that way, and we have to make sure we limit that.”

On his comment that he wants to go back to playing the way that got him here:
“It just means you can’t lose faith in who you are. You can’t lose confidence in what you’ve done to get to the level that you’re at. Countless the number of players, you never forget what got you to where you are. That’s all I’m saying. It’s not a shot at anything else or at the coaches or anybody or anything like that. It’s just saying, 'Look, I’ve got to be the guy that I know that I am.’”

On how that comment relates to his rushing performance last Sunday:
“The yardage was different; it was one of the questions I got after the game. I was really just talking about running the ball. Everybody wants me to slide and get out of bounds and do that whole thing. For me, it’s just about I can’t really listen to that. It’s not that you ignore it. I understand that people are concerned, but at the end of the day, you have to go out there and play with your instincts. So when you say I was more instinctive, it’s just because I let my instincts take over as opposed to, 'Let me run out of bounds so everyone doesn’t get mad at coach,’ or something like that, or mad at me or whatever they want to say – just more instinctive running the ball and just playing football.”

On if thinking about running out of bounds and sliding was hindering his ability to run the football through the first four games:
“I think it was. It’s not a bad thing. I could still get out there and play with instincts and slide and get out of bounds, but this team needs me to do more to help them win and help us win. That’s what I’ve got to do. I’ll still go out there and protect myself. It’s not that it was a bad thing the first couple of games. Maybe it was a good thing. Now I can move on from it.”

On if he feels pressure to be the same player he was last season:
“There’s just an expectation. Whenever you play the way we played as an offense in general – not just myself – moving the ball, making big plays, putting points on the board, whenever you play like that and you come back the next year and you don’t play like that and your quarterback has a significant knee injury in the offseason, the scrutiny is going to be there. But I think for a lot of guys in this locker room, nothing has ever been easy for us as far as in life. It’s never been given to us. Some guys in this league get a break and some guys don’t. With all the scrutiny going on with our team as far as the name, my knee injury, the way we started the season – all that stuff can pile up. The good thing about the locker room is that we do have a strong locker room. And Coach says it all the time – we have too much character on this team to fold. And Fletch [linebacker London Fletcher] said it today, I saw what he said. We have the guys in the locker room and we have the ability to dig ourselves out of this hole and I think we will.”

On if he needs to be the same player as last season or evolve with the league:
“I think the league does evolve, but at the same time, I have to be that guy. There’s no pressure, none whatsoever. You’ve still got to go out and play football, and that’s what I was talking about after the game – just getting back to being me. You know how to play the game. Listen to your coaches, go through that whole thing and just go out there and play and have fun, and that’s what it’s about. So it’s not that there’s pressure to be a certain guy or have a certain amount of numbers – I could care less about the numbers as long as we win. If we win games, all is good.”

On if having success rushing was the last hurdle before he could be satisfied with his recovery:
“I think that’s for everyone else to see. I’ve been fine. Like I said, I just ran with more instincts in the past game and it showed up with the numbers and just the big plays we were able to make with myself running and then [running back] Alfred [Morris] getting some big runs there, too. I think it’s good for everyone on the team to see that and feel like I’m back.”

On the offense’s struggles in the red zone:
“To put it quite simply, we’ve just got to score. We moved the ball really well on Sunday night – 400 yards of total offense – and you don’t ever really see that with just 16 points. We had a lot of field goals, and we just can’t do that. It’s just that simple. When we get down there, we have to execute and we have to make plays. So, just go score points. That’s what we’ve got to do.”

On how his knee feels now compared to Week 1:
“The farther you get away from surgery, the better you’ll feel. So I feel better every day.”

On if teams will defend him differently after his success rushing on Sunday:
“I think teams will. Dallas did. They just put [Cowboys linebacker] Sean Lee in the middle and had him spy me the rest of the game. Teams will choose what they want to do. Dallas played a lot of man coverage there for most of the game – a lot of single-safety. They brought a lot of guys down in the box to stop Alfred [Morris] running the ball, and then when I started running the ball, they left Sean Lee in the middle of the field to spy me. That can open things up on the outside, so teams will have to pick their poison and pick what they want to take away. Whatever they take away, we have to go to the other thing and have to rely on that.”

On if the first four games influenced him to “cut loose” and run more:
“I know people will think that after the bye week I just felt better and that’s why I did it. It was just more of I feel like it’s what I have to do. That’s what I’ve always had to do. You have got to use every ability that you have. Break the pocket - we broke the pocket a couple times, hit some guys down the field with the defense collapsing on me. Then there’s a couple of times when you just take off and you go. It’s a healthy mix of that – a healthy mix of just executing the plays that are called, running the ball and then scoring touchdowns. You can’t – it’s just unacceptable to have [433] yards and not score as many touchdowns as we should have.”

On if having no preseason action is affecting his passing ability:
“No, I don’t feel that. We’ve had to throw the ball a lot more than we would like in dropback situation. At times we’ve executed and at times we haven’t. We’ve got to make sure that we don’t put ourselves in those situations where we have to throw the ball that many times – 40-50 times a game. That’s just not what we’re built to do. We’re built to do certain things and we can switch it up within that, but one of those is not dropping back 50 times a game.”

On if he is having fun despite the Redskins’ record:
“I think fans and people in general will sit there and say, 'Well, you’re sitting there at 1-4.’ One of you guys asked me, 'How’s life?’ And I say, 'It’s great,’ because we get to come out here and play a game that we love. You can’t let anybody steal your joy. You can’t let your record steal your joy. The only way to get away from being 1-4 is to go out and win football games, and you do that by having fun. You come out to the practice field ready to go. You have a smile on your face. People say, 'How can you smile when you’re sitting there at 1-4?’ Because that’s all you have to do. If I come out here with a frown on my face, no one’s going to want to be around me, no one is going to want to play hard for me. So I have to be that leader in that respect and put that smile on my face and get the energy up in practice so we can get ourselves out of this hole.”

On the impact a win against Chicago could have in turning turn the season around:
“It’s big. It’s big for us to get a win. There’s no doubt about it. We’ve got to go out there with the mindset that there’s no way we going to lose this game. Chicago’s going to come in here and try not to let us win that game, but it’s not even about them. They’re a great team. They’ve got a lot of great players. We’ve just got to go out there and accept the challenge, and not just go out there and compete. We’ve got to go out there to win.”

On tight end Jordan Reed’s emergence:
“I got to spend a lot of time with Jordan in the offseason. He was recovering from an injury as well, so he was a friendly target for me to get some reps in and he’s just done a great job of learning fast. He’s a dynamic player –
great after the catch, great hands – a guy that has a wide catch radius. The greatest thing he’s done is he just accepted his role early in the year and he took his catches here and there, took his plays here and there, and now that he’s becoming more of a starter for us, he can be dynamic. There’s definitely ways you can use him, not only in the pass game – he’s a good blocker too. That’s the great thing. He’s just not a guy you bring in in throwing situations and throw him the ball. He’s a guy you can put in there and keep teams off-balance because he’ll run block too.”

On the unnecessary roughness penalties called against opponents who hit him along the sidelines:
“I think I was trying to draw the penalty on [Lions defensive back] Rashean [Mathis] there and he’s a smart player. He didn’t hit me. Good for him, move on from that. In a rivalry game against the Cowboys, [safety] Barry Church is not going to pull off from that. I gave him a little move there before I went out of bounds, but I was clearly out of bounds. He hit me and it does suck, but some guys are going to take those penalties. It’s hard to walk that line and you’ve always got to try to protect yourself. I know I was going out of bounds another time and [Cowboys cornerback] Brandon Carr went low at my legs, not anything dirty, but I had to move out of the way and you’ve just got to be aware of those things. The sideline is your friend and you can get out of bounds at the sideline, but a lot of defensive players, they just really don’t care. Sometimes they’re going to still get that hit on you.”

On his relationship with Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman:
“Charles hates when I tell this story, but he came back to [Griffin and Tillman’s hometown of Copperas] Cove when I was in seventh grade and played basketball with us so it was pretty cool. I was a young kid. I was excited to meet Charles Tillman from Copperas Cove, Texas, and he’s always been a great guy. He came back a lot. [He] spent time with us, gave us a lot of advice. He’s a guy that I talk to, a big inspiration, and he’s a great player. I look forward to playing against him in a regular season game. He’s got great instincts. He’s one of their best players, but we can’t allow him to do what he does best just like they’re going to try to stop us from doing what we do best.”

On if there are opportunities to gain extra yards when defenders pull up along the sidelines:
“There is that opportunity sometimes, but the two situations that we’re talking about, I don’t think there was. With Rashean, I kind of stopped well inside inbounds to try to get him to hit me and he didn’t. He said, 'I’m not taking that penalty, Griff,’ and I said, 'I got you, man.’ With Barry, it was more I was out of bounds. I didn’t slow down at all. I kind of gave him a move and stepped out of bounds and he hit me. There will be situations and I think that is why guys don’t want to pull up. I think it’s happened in the past. I don’t know with Mike Vick or someone like that who has run to the sidelines, stopped, and then gotten 20 more yards because the guy runs out of bounds trying not to hit the quarterback, so that could be a reason.”

On the success his alma mater Baylor has had since he left in 2011:
“Coach [Art] Briles is a great coach. He talked to me when I was there and he told me some coaches can get you to play for them, and he’s a coach that can get you to play for him and with him. He’s a great motivator. He’s got a great staff there, and it was a foundation. When we got there, we went 4-8, and then we went 4-8 again. Then we went 7-6, 10-3, and they’re continuing to rise and continuing to do well. The foundation was built, a lot of the guys that I went to school with skill-position-wise and even offensive lineman are in the league today or were at one time. They get players, they develop them and it’s about a choice. You’ve got to make a choice if you want to be great and that’s what they teach there.”

On how the Bears’ defense has changed since the departure of former head coach Lovie Smith:
“I’ve only been in the league one year. I know Lovie. Lovie is a great coach and he definitely left them some players that can definitely ball out for the Bears. They’ve got a lot of great personnel. [Defensive end Julius] Peppers is still one of the best. [Linebacker] Lance Briggs can bring it. They’ve got guys all around the field. Tim Jennings, Charles Tillman, you know, their safeties, their other linebackers. They just have a lot of playmakers on the field on defense and we have to be able to rise up to the challenge and take advantage of it.”

On how much is on receivers to create separation in press coverage or on him to throw them open:
“It is up to us. We have to make the difference. They’re going to see that Dallas played us in man coverage and that we didn’t have the separation when we needed it and I didn’t make the throws when we needed it at times either. We have to be able to make that difference. I talked to the receivers about it already this week and we’ll do that. If they’re going to come up and press us or if they’re going to play off, whatever they decide to do, we have to be ready to take advantage of that, so it is on us.”

Bears Coach Marc Trestman

On the chance to work with quarterback Jay Cutler:
“It’s been great since the day we started. He’s a guy who loves football, he’s a gym rat, he cares about the football team, cares about the game. He’s been great. Every day is a work in progress. We’re trying to get better – individually at the position that we’re playing and collectively as an offense.”

On if coaching Cutler, whom he knew previously, was a selling point when he was approached about the Bears job:
“No. I didn’t know Jay very well. I had the chance to spend a very short day and a half with him prior to the combine when he came out and really didn’t work him out – we didn’t have an indoor facility and it was raining. We had a chance to do some meeting work, but I really didn’t get the chance to know him and really didn’t get to know him until I got the job.”

On spending time with Cutler during his second interview for the Bears’ job and what he was looking for during the interview:
“I wasn’t really looking for anything. We just had a conversation that was about personal lives and probably a little bit more about football – just X’s and O’s and protections, route structure, fundamentals, things like that. But it wasn’t anything that was real substantive. It was just a general conversation.”

On how he and Cutler have gotten to know each other since becoming head coach:
“We just work each and every day at growing our relationship just like any teammate would do or any coach and player would do. It comes through hard work and just spending the time – we spend an invaluable, inordinate amount of time. And you work through some success, you work through the adversity you have along the way and continue to try to move forward here, it’s just one long journey. And the first year won’t end for quite some time yet, so we’re just embracing each day and not making it about anything more than the team. It’s just always about the team and what’s best for the team.”

On if he has stressed the importance of body language to Cutler:
“I really haven’t done much to let him know, I really haven’t. I think it’s part of the process of really initiating him into our plan, our proactive plan to try to get him to improve on multiple levels. But I think Jay, that’s something he’s really done on his own.”

On what they’ve done to help Cutler improve:
“I don’t know that I’ve done anything. You know, [General Manager] Phil Emery brought in [left tackle Jermon] Bushrod, [guard Matt] Slauson and [tight end] Martellus Bennett, and drafted two young players that have started on the right side for us since the start of the season. So I don’t know that I’ve done anything substantial. Jay has been very proactive in his pursuit to become a better quarterback. I think Jay, with the help of [quarterback coach] Matt Cavanaugh and [offensive coordinator/offensive line coach] Aaron Kromer and the guys, they’ve done a good job of creating an environment for him to be a better player and Jay’s done what he can do on his own individually.”

On kick returner/punt returner Devin Hester and his potential against the Redskins’ special teams:
“I can’t speak for them. I know Mike’s [Shanahan] going to do everything he can to shore things up this week and we expect that he will, but we can only take care of ourselves. And I’m a big Devin Hester fan – I’ve said that from the beginning. Like a lot of people, they’re on the edge of their seats, when he catches the ball you know really good things can happen. We’re trying to utilize the limited opportunities that he gets to catch the football to try to get him in a position to have some success. That’s happened this year. It hasn’t happened as much as we would have liked, but it certainly has happened. And we’ve seen the Devin Hester of old show up periodically when he’s had some moments and opportunities to work.”

On why they wanted to sign Jermon Bushrod and what he’s shown so far this season:
“Number one is Aaron Kromer has an association with him. He coached him for three or four years in New Orleans. And Jermon, he’s just the ultimate teammate – he’s quiet, confident, does his job at a very high level, he’s a Pro-Bowl-level left tackle. We couldn’t ask for more. And he’s brought a demeanor to our offensive line and a standard. We have
Roberto Garza in there that’s been with the team for a long time, but then to bring Bushrod in and Slauson in to hold down the left side, it’s been instrumental in us getting better and moving forward.”

On what he has seen from Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall on film:
“I thought he played very hard last week. He held [Cowboys wide receiver] Dez Bryant to four or five catches and continues to play at a high level. When he’s challenged, he steps up and plays.”

On benefit of having Bushrod on the field since he’s familiar with Kromer’s system:
“You know, 'Bush’ is a very quiet guy. He doesn’t say much on the field. He does his job, he’s your typical very, very good left tackle. He’s got a personality where he’s never too high or low, he’s very even-keeled and he just goes about his business. In the meeting rooms obviously his words are important because he can help translate and explain sometimes the things that Aaron’s got going on because they’re so technical in the meetings. But, you know, overall I think Bush is a guy that does everything by example. Everything he does is in a high-class way, whether it’s in the lunchroom, locker room or in a meeting room. He really is a consummate professional.”

On how much his Canadian Football League experience helped to get him where he is now:
“I don’t know. I think when I was in Montreal and I was experiencing things as a head football coach – that really was the difference. When I was in the locker room, I was around the players coaching the guys. There I recognized that they were the same players that I coached for 17 years in the National Football League – they love football, they were hard-working, the game was important to them, they paid attention to detail and wanted to be great. So I knew that the players were relatable there. I think the big difference was I was standing in the shoes of a head coach and had the opportunity to lead the football team entirely but I never knew that it was going to lead me back here. And I wasn’t really concerned about it; I was just concerned about doing the best job I could up there.”

If he thought a head coaching job in the NFL wasn’t going to be an option for him:
“I never thought about it one way or the other during the season. I always prepared for it in the offseason knowing that my preparation was only going to help me be a better coach the next year because everything was related to how we were going to put the team together the following year and the system we were going to use to do it. And really all I had to do was take the name off the cover and put the name of the team that I would be fortunate enough to interview with and that’s basically what I did. I always thought that I’d be going back to Montreal, and if it did happen that would be great. It was a dream to be a head coach in the National Football League. The owner up in Montreal, who treated me very well, knew all along that that was my ultimate goal but I never let it take away from the time and effort and passion I had for being the head coach there – I loved every minute of it.”

On if he could truly know what it took to be a head coach without running his own show:
“The concept of running your own show is really opposite of how I would ever think of it. You have to do it with people and you have to do it together. So I never thought when I was a head coach that I was running my own show, and I don’t mean that to be cynical or sarcastic to the question. I’m not trying to be belligerent, I just don’t look at the world that way. But I know that when you’re a head football coach there are certain demands on you and responsibilities and I enjoy that. I feel very comfortable in that environment.”

On if he views head coaching more like managing other people:
“I think that what we’re trying to do here. The only way I can describe it is we’re trying to build one big leadership team. And they’re working to grow leaders and men to be better people and better teammates along the way. It’s all about conversation and communication and clarity and really having an emotional attachment to the people that you’re working with, to serve them and try to get them better at their job every day and finding different ways to do it.”

Bears Tight End Martellus Bennett

On the Redskins’ defense this season:
“I think they have a lot of good players over there. I always look forward to playing against [linebacker London] Fletcher. He’s one of the best guys to go against. He’s got so much passion and enthusiasm when you play against him that he brings it out of you as well, so I look forward to playing against him. And then [linebacker Brian] Orakpo and [linebacker Ryan] Kerrigan, you know they come with it and then [nose tackle Barry] Cofield has been doing a great job in the middle of the front, so I think their front seven is pretty good.”

On how the Redskins cover tight ends and how that compares to what other 3-4 defenses do:
“Honestly, every tight end is different. I have no clue what they will do against me because every single game, every team that I’ve played against, they’ve been playing me different than they’ve played other tight ends. I know last year when I played against them they had London on me a lot and then [linebacker Perry] Riley Jr. had the duty the second time, so I look forward to playing against them… We’ll see how it starts off this week.”

On the advantage of having extra days to prepare:
“Well, we have a little more rest than they do. The coaches got a head start game-planning so I think that’s the biggest advantage we’ve got – the game plan kind of things, scouting their defense and the things they like to do and coming up with schemes that we feel like we can get open and make plays on.”

On what he did in his time off:
“I just hung out with the wife. I painted a little bit. I painted this like five-foot fire hydrant for the city of Chicago, raising money for fire fighters. Then I did some video stuff. I’m working on new cartoon so I did a little animation stuff. I’m working on some new ideas, the typical everyday stuff.”

On the best thing about going from New York to Chicago:
“I think just being a bigger part of the offense. I think this year I’m a bigger part of the things they are doing and I was able to come in with the new coaches, the new staff and establish myself as a guy that they could make a plan for me that works to the best of my abilities. So I think it was just mostly that and a long-term contract. Being somewhere that you know you are going to be for a long time, it’s a whole different approach.”

On his opinion of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and how it has changed since he has arrived in Chicago:
“I don’t really judge people I don’t know so I never really had an opinion on him. He’s just a guy I never knew. Since I’ve been here he’s been awesome. I love playing with him. He’s been great in the classroom, great on the field directing everybody, getting everyone in the place to be. He’s been a great quarterback. He’s been a great leader for us so far, so I’ve been enjoying every moment with him. We even have lunch. We sit down and just talk, shoot the [expletive], whatever at lunch. It’s been great.”

On his first impression of Cutler and what they talk about at lunch:
“It was just, 'Cool guy.’ Honestly, everyone is nice to me so I never really have a problem with people. We talk about everything. Whatever I feel like talking about that day, I just kind of force my conversation on the other guys on the team.”

On his relationship with Tom Coughlin, his former coach in New York:
“We got along very well because I work extremely hard. At first it’s kind of weird having a guy like me around because they didn’t really understand me that much, but as the season went on, they knew what I was going to give them every single day so they just got used to having my personality. Last week a lot of the guys from upstairs and on the team told me they missed me around the building. I guess that’s a good thing.”

On the reasons for Cutler’s success so far this season:
“I think his biggest thing is he’s just trusting everybody that’s around him from the receivers to the offensive line to the coaches. I think that’s the biggest thing for him this year; he can trust everybody to do their job and he can feel like he doesn’t have to do a whole lot. It doesn’t feel like the whole team is on his shoulders. If he throws the ball up, he’s got four or five guys that can go get it. The offensive line is going to protect him so he can just focus on his drops and stepping up in the pocket. I think his biggest thing is just trusting the other guys around him and letting his body and his athletic ability take care of everything else.”

On advice he would give to Cutler if he had poor body language on the sideline:
“We have the 'no demons’ rule. What that means is you can’t bring any demons. That’s with me, [wide receiver] Brandon [Marshall], and 'Cutty.’ So we always say, 'No demons today,’ like picking each other up. And if one of us isn’t having a great day, we just help them get going. So if anyone were to have any type of bad body language, we all do a good job of picking each other up.”

On if they have had to chase “demons” away yet:
“I had some demons earlier. It’s all the time, whether it’s at practice, you know, when you drop the ball it’s like, 'Aw, there’s demons right there.’ But we just make sure everybody stays on pace and gets better.”

On if wide receiver Brandon Marshall thought it was necessary to do that:
“I don’t know what Brandon thought. It started off as a joke but then it just kind of caught on. I have, like when the weather is bad I have SAD, like seasonal whatever [seasonal affective disorder]. I suffer from weather depression basically, so I just say I’m solar-powered. So if the sun’s not out, I’m the first person that everybody comes to like, 'Hey, the sun’s not out. No demons today. Make sure you find some kind of sunlight somewhere to go ahead and practice,’ you know, because I’m solar-powered.”​

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