Skins Quotes 10/23

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Marine Corps Virginia


October 23, 2013
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the injury report:
“[Wide receiver Leonard] Hankerson hurt his foot playing with the kids yesterday. He did not practice today. [Safety] Reed [Doughty] with his concussion was limited in drill work. [Defensive end] Stephen Bowen was limited in drill work as well. [Nose tackle] Chris Neild, limited with his calf. Full practice was [tight end Jordan] Reed, [tight end Logan] Paulsen and [center Will] Montgomery.”

On returning to Denver:
“You know it’s been four and a half years, so it’s not like it was yesterday or the year before. So, I think it’s a little bit different than what normally happens when you’re gone for six months or nine months. I’ve done it before when I was with the 49ers and with the Raiders you go back to the place you’re at – a lot of emotion. I think this is a little bit different than most.”

On returning to a place where he has a home and where his son grew up:
“It’s something that you look forward to. You’ve got so many friends there. You spend 21 years, you raise your kids there, people that you’ve spent a lot of time with – a lot of great experiences there. Seven as an assistant coach, 14 as a head coach and that’s been our home. Yeah, it’s something that you look forward to and what a great experience with the fans both as an assistant and a head coach. Yeah, we’ve got a lot of great memories there, no question about it.”

On what Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is doing well right now:
“Well, number one, he’s got a great supporting cast to go with him and he knows the game extremely well. He knows where to go with the football as the ball is being snapped. He looks at defenses very quickly and it doesn’t matter if you are coming with a five-man, six-man, seven-man blitz. He knows where to go with the football. He understands protections. He redirects the line to pick up a lot of different blitzes as well, but he gets rid of the ball so quick that he doesn’t get sacked very many times, doesn’t make very many mistakes. That’s one of the reasons they’ve racked up the points they’ve had. They’ve got a good supporting cast. He knows what to do with the ball and usually puts them in a good play or gets them out of a bad play. He’s pretty special.”

On if he wonders what could have been if Manning ended up in Washington instead of Denver:
“You know, you really don’t. You have that a lot of times when you are thinking about the draft or free agency and after you have those conversations and you talk to somebody – I really had a strong feeling after talking to Peyton. Any time you have a brother within the same division that wasn’t going to happen. And so even though I enjoyed spending time with him, my gut was understanding from a family standpoint it would be very tough to come within the same division, especially in the NFC East.”

On if the Broncos discussed a possible video tribute with him:
“You know they didn’t. [Redskins Senior Vice President] Tony [Wyllie] told me I think on Monday afternoon that that was going to happen. I thought it was very thoughtful of them and I’m sure it’ll only be a few seconds but it’s a nice gesture.”

On how his coaching techniques on hitting have changed as the rules have changed:
“You know, I’d kind of like to address that more after today after a decision has been made what direction they’re going to go on the appeal process. It’s being heard right now. Maybe it’s already finished, but if you don’t mind I’d like to talk about that… I had a similar case with [former Broncos safety] Kenoy Kennedy back in 2002. We were playing Miami in a Sunday night game and he had already been fined twice and he had a hit on [former Dolphins wide receiver Chris] Chambers and what I thought at the time and when I looked at the film, you know, there were a lot of differences in opinion. Right before Kenoy hit Chambers, he was pushed in the back which obviously made him go helmet-to-helmet, at least that was my view of it. We didn’t get a chance to really go through an appeal process. He was out for the next week and so you really don’t know. You’ve got differences of opinion. You go through an appeal process. But I think what people are trying to do at least from a coaching standpoint – you cannot have penalties. They’re going to cost you a game. So not even talking about the way you teach, you can’t have those things happen. You can’t have helmet-to-helmet. If you’re close, all of these officials, if they’re going to make a mistake, they want to protect the player, so if it’s anywhere close to being a helmet-to-helmet they are throwing a 15-yard flag, and that’s what they’re being told to do. If you get anywhere around that head you’ve got a chance to hurt your football team. We’re constantly emphasizing it but it’s tough in the heat of battle for these guys. You’re very competitive. You want to get after them. Then all of a sudden a guy might duck at the last second, and all of a sudden you have helmet-to-helmet and they don’t even look at intent. I think it’s a very tough situation.”

On the league protecting offensive players from hits but not defensive players, specifically the hit on Reed Doughty against Chicago:
“I’m going to bring that up at the next meeting because that was one of the most vicious hits I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy get hit quite like that – at that speed at 10 yards and Reed just being completely helpless. I think that will be changed for the safety of the players, but that hasn’t been brought up yet. We all want players’ safety first, but there’s a lot that goes into it as we just talked about.”

On if he thinks defensive backs are having the hardest time adjusting to new tackling rules:
“We used to have – wide receivers could block below the waist. There’s been a lot of changes. You can’t have wide receivers now block below the waist. The only way we could get people to kind of get off of the wide receivers with bump coverage was to get into their legs. Now that’s illegal to do so there’s a lot of give-and-take through the years by both sides of the ball. Chop block on offense, you know, peeling back on somebody on a screen. We made some strides on both sides. It’s not perfect, but we’re at least going in the right direction.”

On what running back Roy Helu Jr. does in the red zone:
“I think I tried to emphasize this – when we were in that fast-paced offense and Helu came in, I think he was a little bit fresher than everybody else and he’s an excellent running back as well. So when he had a couple of big plays there I think because he was fresh, he hit the hole hard. We did a good job blocking for him, but I think his ability to be fresh at that time did help us out.”

On if Helu brings something that running back Alfred Morris doesn’t in the red zone:
“No, he’s very talented and when a team is tired and he’s talented and you block fairly well, he’s got a chance to get in the end zone. I think that’s what happened.”

On how much of an effect the altitude in Denver has on visiting teams:
“Oh, we just made that up a long time ago, there’s nothing to it [laughter]. No, there is something to it, there’s no question. If you ever go outside the area and you come back and you haven’t been working out and you try to work out there and you haven’t been working in that environment, it does take you a while to get used to it. That’s why a lot of Olympians have trained in that area just for a conditioning standpoint. It is a little bit different. You try to go in as late as you can, and over the years they feel that is the best way to do it.”

On if defenses can disrupt the flow of the Broncos’ offense:
“It has been pretty hard. You’ve got to play harder and you’ve got to play better. He [Manning] does present a lot of different challenges to your defense and we’ll obviously have a game plan and hopefully we can do better than a lot of teams have.”

On the effect of having three running threats and if he remembers having a similar situation in Denver:
“First of all, if your quarterback can run, he presents a lot of problems to the defense and they have to respect your running game, especially if you have a chance to run an option every once in a while because it changes the responsibility of the defensive players. So that’s a little bit of added pressure, but you still have to run a National Football League passing attack. The more you can do and obviously the better execution you bring the more effective your offense will be.”

On how coaching the defense changes if they play cornerback E.J. Biggers or backups at safety:
“Everybody has injuries during the season. You’ve got to deal with those injuries. A lot of times it’s not the perfect scenario, especially going against a guy like Peyton, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed and hopefully Reed will be ready and [safety Brandon] Meriweather will be ready. If not, we’ll have some guys step up and play well.”

On if his comments earlier in the week about Meriweather’s possible suspension were a guess:
“It was just my guess. I was trying to help myself too.”

On how much of quarterback Robert Griffin III’s rushing success the past two games has been related to a change in play calling or improvisation by Griffin III:
“I think it’s a little bit of everything. We talked about it early, if you fell behind, you couldn’t run that style of offense. Robert is feeling more comfortable with himself. We feel like we can do some things we couldn’t have done a little bit earlier. Then you get in a game like that, they did take away [running back] Alfred [Morris] the whole game which gave Robert some opportunities to run the football. Next week might be just the opposite; they’ll take Robert away and Alfred will be carrying the ball or it may slow down a team rushing the quarterback. There’s a lot of different things we look at and we’re trying to run an offense that gives us the best chance to be successful, and part of that is the evaluation of your personnel – their injuries, their talent and different things we talked about a year ago.”

On how much of a help it is to have cornerbacks that can play safety if needed:
“You have to have depth. We do have some depth. Like I said before, everybody is going to have some injuries and guys have got to step up once they get that opportunity.”

On if there is optimism that Doughty and Bowen will be able to play against Denver after seeing them participate some in practice today:
“Yeah, you really don’t know, especially with Reed. He’s got to take these concussion tests and it’s based on how he does on those tests. Like I said, that hit that he had was… you don’t see a hit like that very often. I haven’t seen a hit like that in a long time in the National Football League.”

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

On if growing up a Broncos fan gives this game extra significance:
“Yeah, I mean I was a Broncos fan growing up, so it’ll be exciting to get a chance to play there. But I know the fans, they’re going to want their team to win, so they’re not going to be cheering for us or care that I was a fan growing up anyway, so I understand that. You try to cherish every moment, so I’ll walk around the stadium and take it in when we get there.”

On how having running back Roy Helu, Jr. as an extra weapon helps Alfred Morris and the offense:
“[He’s] just a back that we can rely on to spell [running back] Alfred [Morris] at times. We trust him. He’s made a lot of great runs. Obviously, he had three touchdowns in the game. So just to allow Al a chance to get out of the game and maybe not get as many carries as he would have had last year, keep his body fresh, that helps when you have a capable back like Helu.”

On if Morris is upset by losing some of his carries to Helu, Jr.:
“No, I think people know Alfred - he doesn’t worry about that kind of stuff. When he gets the rock, he’s going to do what he can to help us win football games and that’s all that matters.”

On he made a concerted effort to run more often or if it has been dictated by game situations:
“I think it’s presented itself in the past two games and it’s worked to our benefit as far as taking an aggressive mindset into the game. We’re not forcing the run. We still had to throw the ball. We were still good on third downs this past game, so that was big as well. But just being more aggressive when it comes to having the opportunity to run and taking it, I think I brought that mindset in and it’s also presented itself in the running game with the zone read with the defense making me take the ball. It’s not just, 'Hey, I’m going to run,’ and then start running. It’s just played out that way.”

On if there was a specific moment when he decided to run more:
“No, that didn’t happen. I think everyone wants to have that story and say, 'It clicked mentally for him and his knee was fine at this moment.’ I don’t think that’s what it was. I just think it’s presented itself the past two games.”

On how much of a factor confidence in his knee is when he rushes:
“I don’t think it was a factor. That’s what he’s asking about – the confidence from the get-go. I had the confidence. It’s just presented itself these past two weeks and I took full advantage of it.”

On Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning:
“He’s a great quarterback. He’s always been great. He’s always done a good job leading his team. Whenever you play against him, he’s the type of quarterback that you can never kind of relax and look at a lead and say, 'Hey, we’ve got the game in the bag.’ We’ve got to keep pushing forward. You can’t take your foot off the gas pedal. I’ll leave the sappy stuff for after the game or when I send him a text message here and there. But right now, he knows he’s got to focus on his team and I’ve got to focus on mine.”

On if he has learned from watching Manning:
“Yeah, you have to. You have to learn from the great quarterbacks in this league that have paved the way for all of us. He’s one of those guys even though our styles are varying. He still paved the way for quarterbacks like myself to have the chance to play in the NFL, so you learn from those guys and I have learned. I won’t tell you what I’ve learned, but I have learned.”

On if having a big play early helps him get his mojo or get into the flow of the game:
“Yeah, I think anytime you get a chance to make a big play early in the game, it can help get you in that flow. It helps your mojo start rolling for you. It could be a pass, it could be a run, either one. But trust me, I’d rather get Alfred rolling in the running game than take it upon myself to do it, but I know I have to be able to run and take advantage of the run for us to win games.”

On how this week is different after a win:
“I think there is a better vibe, as you guys can see. There’s a better vibe in this room, too. Just talking to you guys, you guys seem a little bit happier. I’m a little bit happier. We can smile. We won a football game and you try and carry that momentum into the next week and I think we’re carrying it onto the field in practice. We know we can get better in certain areas on offense. We still put up a lot of yards, put up a lot of points, so that’s a good thing. You can keep getting better from things like that. So I think the vibe, the win, all that stuff working together has only been beneficial for us.”

On if he built a rapport with tight end Jordan Reed during the offseason:
“Yeah, he spent the whole entire offseason with me. We built a rapport and he’s a talented guy. He’s come in, he’s learned the system really fast. The one thing – he’s just willing to try, willing to go out there and give it his all and that’s all you ask from guys. Obviously, he’s got playmaking ability and him being with me the whole offseason only helps our chemistry out there on the field.”

On if the sporadic use of the turbo offense is more effective than using it all the time or not at all:
“I think it does. I mean, there are benefits to both. When you have the coaches like ours that work real hard to put the game plan together, there are certain plays that they’re going to want to huddle up and do and you have to go out there and execute them. When we get a chance to get into the no-huddle and take advantage of the defense being tired of the long drive, we can do that, too. I think that’s a big benefit and eventually we’ll see where it goes as far as what we do more.”

On what he liked about Reed prior the draft:
“We knew we needed another tight end. We were definitely expecting [tight end] Fred [Davis] to come back and have an impact for us and there’s still a chance for that. That’s not said and done either. We needed another guy to spell him and be opposite of him and Jordan had that. Like I said after the game, he’s got a wide catch radius, which basically means he can catch anything you throw at him – high, low, behind him. He’s a friendly target for a quarterback and can help with mismatches out there on the field.”

On if the NFL is shifting away from dropback passing:
“I think college has kind of drifted away from the dropback passer, so you see less and less of guys that can’t move a little bit at the college ranks, which makes it harder to get those guys in the pros. If you look at some of the top college quarterbacks that are coming out now, all of them can move a little bit. You don’t have to have world-class speed, but as long as you can move a little bit and threaten the defense with your legs, it helps. I don’t think that quarterbacks like Peyton are going to be extinct ever, but I think there is a shift going to guys that can move a little bit. When you have got 6’6”, 6’7” 290-pound defensive ends running 4.4’s, it’s kind of hard to just sit back there in the pocket.”

On he has had more opportunities to run in recent weeks:
“I think it just depends on what the defense gives you. Every defensive coordinator is going to have a different philosophy. Some are going to say, 'We’re going to take Robert out of the game and not let him run.’ Some are going to say, 'We’re going to take the dive and make Robert run so we can hit him and punish him.’ It just depends on what they have that week and Philly wasn’t doing it and the week after that the team wasn’t doing it either. You just have to go with whatever that defense presents and all defenses play it a little bit different… Once you get down by as much as we were down those first couple of weeks, it’s kind of hard to sit back there and be patient and try to run your entire offense. We had to get into a two-minute mode. At that point, running the quarterback wasn’t an option, so that’s another reason why.”

On if he has noticed anything different this week from Head Coach/Executive Vice President Mike Shanahan prior to his return to Denver:
“I haven’t seen anything of that nature. He’s going to tell you, just like any other game, he wants to win. We want to win and at the end of it we’ll see what he says, but so far he hasn’t said anything about it.”

On if the offense feels pressure to answer scores with scores:
“I mean, you want to have a challenge. Obviously we don’t want them scoring every time we score. We want our defense to go out there and shut them down, but you’ve got to be ready for anything and that’s what we said at the beginning of the year. You’ve got to be ready to win any kind of game. Whether it’s a shootout or it’s a tough, hard-fought defensive battle, you’ve got to be able to win either of those and so if they score, we score, they score, we score, hopefully we’re the last ones to score.”

On if the team can afford to run the turbo offense at high altitude:
“Yeah, I think the altitude – I’ve played up there before – it can be tough but you’ve got to be mentally tough to go up there and execute and be able to fight through being tired. Guys are getting extra conditioning, getting ready for it and I think we’ll be fine, but I think we can afford to do it.”

On what he learned about suppressing his emotions in his first game in Dallas and how that applies to Shanahan’s return to Denver:
“You just know why you’re there. It’s a business trip. I can’t talk for Coach. You guys talked to him already, but it’s a business trip for us. You go up there, you play the game. You go out, you execute. You focus small and let the little things fall into place. That’s all you can control. You can’t control it being his first time back or me being my first time back to Dallas. You have to go out there and play the game and realize why you’re there.”

On the team’s feeling going into Denver while being considered underdogs:
“I mean I’m used to being the underdog myself, coming from Baylor University – they’re doing really good right now so I had to throw that out there – but I’m used to that and a lot of guys on this team are used to that as well. Confidence is a choice. You’ve got to choose to be confident and it’s our job to go out there and play and it doesn’t matter what anybody says. It matters what we do.”

On where he feels he has improved in terms of his passing mechanics since Week 1:
“Just everything. Being more in-tune with the receivers. Like I said, I thought we were all on the same page. We just weren’t all singing the right notes, so that’s a play on words but I think that’s what it was. We weren’t all just thinking the same things at the same time and making it happen and now we’re making it happen a little bit better. It’s shown in our third down efficiency and the completion percentage the last game was higher, so that’s where I feel like I’m better. You always get better week-to-week with your feet, with your eyes and then just completing passes.”

On Baylor’s offensive production this season and how proud he is of them:
“I mean, I’m really proud of them. A lot of them text me and ask me when I’m going to be able to come back and I just want to tell them I wish I could come back. Obviously I’ve got a job to do, but they’re holding it down down there and doing a great job of it. I know myself, [Tennessee Titans wide receiver] Kendall Wright, [Dallas Cowboys wide receiver] Terrance Williams, [Cleveland Browns nose tackle] Phil Taylor, a lot of guys that are in the league that helped build that foundation down there – we talk all the time. We’re real proud of what they’re doing. We want them to keep pushing forward and take it one game at a time.”

On the impact his winning the Heisman and bowl games had on Baylor:
“I can’t describe that. You’ve got to talk to coach, the AD, all those guys about that kind of stuff. It’s tough to try to put your own spin on what you think you did for a school. I think that’s real conceited if you can really put that into words so I’m not even going to try to touch that.”

On how he has seen Baylor evolve from when arrived:
“When we got there the facilities weren’t what they are today. The belief in the system and just in the program wasn’t what it is today. From women’s basketball to men’s basketball to women’s soccer, football, all the sports have just done a great job stepping up their level of play to make Baylor – a small private school – relevant at a national level. It’s just fun to watch. It’s heart-warming. In 20 years I can look back and maybe shed a couple of tears, but right now I’ve got to do my job and be a Washington Redskin.”

Broncos Coach John Fox

On quarterback Peyton Manning not throwing in practice today:
“We had a bunch of guys that did not participate today. We had eight guys that did not practice today, and Peyton was one of them with a sore ankle.”

On Manning’s emotional return to Indianapolis and getting him back into his routine:
“I hate speaking for him and he did speak to that, but I think it’s fair to say he’s probably glad it’s over. And I’ll just leave it at that.”

On how he prepares his team with the uncertainty surrounding the Redskins at safety:
“Well, just that we have to have different jerseys at practice and we speculate as much as possible. You pretty much deal with that every week whether it’s being a suspension, injuries, you know the whole allotment of reasons why players may or may not be playing. You have to address that early in the week because you don’t have your official injury report until Friday.”

On what adjustments he’ll make after Indianapolis was able to have success in the pass rush:
“I think number one is not putting yourself in the position where you’re down 19 or down 16 and become one-dimensional. That puts you in a tough spot. It’s not an excuse, it’s just reality. So I think that’s the main focus this week.”

On his thoughts about Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather’s suspension:
“Again, it’s a little bit out of my pay grade, but there is a big push for player safety, and like any penalties during the course of the game, I think for any head coach there’s some that they agree with, some they don’t. But the reality is there’s a huge push towards player safety and defenseless receivers are one of those. And I think the players, for the most part, around the league are adjusting. You know we’re in a game of adjustments, so that’s kind of the rules and emphasis and just leave it at that.”

On if he coaches his players different techniques given the league’s emphasis on player safety:
“No doubt. We talk in terms of strike zone and doing your best to avoid the head and neck area – just lowering that strike zone. Sometimes it’s a fast game and sometimes some of those things happen. I think the emphasis is there. I think coaches and players around the league are adjusting the best they can.”

On Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and his play last weekend:
“What I look at is obviously, statistically, they’re fourth in the league in offense. So much of the credit or blame goes on the quarterback, and I don’t always agree with that assessment. But I think that for a guy that didn’t play at all in the preseason – forget about the injury for a second, I know it is an injury and I’m not slighting it – but at the quarterback position, to not have that time with your teammates and getting in shape so to speak… This is kind of the ultimate team game just trying to get 11 guys to do the right thing every play. I’d say they’ve done a tremendous job at working back into that synchronization and I know that he looked very, very crisp last week against Chicago.”

On what he sees in Redskins tight end Jordan Reed:
“I see a very athletic guy, a young player that’s making a name in this league at an early stage and they’re using him more and more as the season wears on, a little bit like our use of Julius Thomas. So he’s a huge threat.”

On if he can pinpoint a particular reason for defensive struggles:
“I think in the first seven games we’ve had pretty big leads in six of them, so that typically causes the other team to throw the ball a lot more. Statistically, I’m not into too many statistics except the wins and losses.”

On Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan and the legacy he left in Denver:
“Mike and I go way back. We’ve been friends for a long time, I have tremendous respect for him. Anytime you can spend 21 years with an organization – 14 as a head coach, seven as an assistant and accomplish the things that they did winning two Super Bowls – I know I have the utmost respect for Mike Shanahan.”

On Griffin III re-establishing himself as a running threat and what that does to a defense:
“For many years, your run fits didn’t involve the quarterback. A couple years ago we were doing it as much as anybody in the league with Tim Tebow. It’s a different offense and there’s more and more teams doing it in the National Football League – in y’all’s division over there in Philly and in our division, the guys in Oakland. So it’s becoming a part of our game, it’s more of a college-type offense. It’s very much entered into the National Football League.”

On linebacker Paris Lenon and what he brings to the team:
“Wesley Woodyard, our starting Mike linebacker, has been injured or not up in uniform for the last two weeks. Fortunately for us, we have got a veteran guy in Paris that has stepped in and I think done a very credible job.”

Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning

On missing practice today:
“I don’t know what the injury report says. I guess there’s probably something on the injury report, but the trainers had me take a day off to try to get a little bit better.”

On going back to Indianapolis last week and his emotions there, and the similarity with Mike Shanahan returning to Denver this week:
“I kind of covered all that last week. I just can’t speak for anyone else. I think it’s very much an individual thing, so for me to speak for Mike or anybody else just wouldn’t make a lot of sense. Yeah, I just don’t have a lot more to add for you on that one.”

On if he has gotten back to normal this week:
“I mean every week as far as being normal, I guess as far as preparation and getting ready for a new team, I think is very much the same. This is an important week for us. We’re coming off a loss. We’re playing a team that we’re not very familiar with, a team that’s got an explosive offense, a tough defense on third down, can create a lot of pressure on the quarterback. That’s kind of where our focus is this week.”

On what they learned from the amount of pressure and blitzes Indianapolis brought last week:
“I wouldn’t say they brought a lot of pressure… I couldn’t agree with that on the blitz. Really some of their four-man pass rushes were successful, but there really wasn’t necessarily a lot of blitzing.”

On the challenge posed by outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan:
“Those guys are excellent players. They have good versatility. They drop in coverage. They can cover. You’re not sure whether they’re blitzing or whether they’re dropping. It speaks to their athletic ability, but when they do rush, they’re definitely outstanding pass rusher. They’re both good against the run as well.”

On his memories of meeting Mike Shanahan as a free agent and if he ever considered Washington as a possible destination:
“That was early on in the process and I wouldn’t have met with them had I not been kind of considering a number of options. That was very early in the process for me and I was just kind of getting a feel for how this whole process works. I’ve known Coach Shanahan for quite some time. I’ve been in the league 16 years now and have played in two Pro Bowls for him and have always had great respect for him. So I enjoyed that visit with him and [Offensive Coordinator] Kyle [Shanahan] both. [I was] very impressed with Kyle Shanahan and like I said, Mike and I have had somewhat of a relationship for quite some time now being in the NFL as long as I have.”

On if the Redskins were a possibility deep into his decision-making process:
“Right about the time of that meeting was when they made the trade to get I guess the second pick, so in some ways that sort of changed a lot of things.”

On if he has a relationship with Mike Shanahan outside of football:
“It’s through football that I know him. That’s kind of how I got to meet him. Like I said, I’ve played in two Pro Bowls for him and enjoyed spending the week and just kind of seeing – I can tell why he’s been such a great coach. I know it’s just an all-star game but I know just in one week – especially in two weeks just in two different times – I could see why he’s been… Has it been one or two Pro Bowls I’ve played for him? Maybe it’s just been one, but just like I said, just in that one time, I really felt like you can see why he’s been so successful as a coach. The way he operates, just the schedule, the meetings and you get to talk a little bit of football with him as well, so I definitely enjoyed that week.”

On preparing for the Redskins’ secondary while not knowing if safety Brandon Meriweather will play:
“We’re preparing for what we’ve seen on film, for [safety Reed] Doughty and Meriweather to play and any changes from that, you just try to adjust.”
*Note: Conference call was conducted prior to the league’s ruling on Meriweather’s appeal

On his observations of quarterback Robert Griffin III:
“I really haven’t had the chance to see him a lot this season. We haven’t had much common film, necessarily, so I can’t speak a lot to this season. Obviously an outstanding player and a real challenge for our defense. Sounds like they’re kind of heating up on offense and they scored a lot of points against a good Chicago defense last week, so our defense will be in for a tough challenge.”

On cornerback DeAngelo Hall:
“He’s an excellent cover corner and has great ball skills. When he gets near the ball, it’s being caught by him. He’s got great hands and he was a returner early on, so obviously he’s got great skills with the ball once he gets the ball in his hands. He’s matched up with a lot of top receivers, whether it’s [Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez] Bryant, he’s followed those guys. That tells you what kind of skills he has. It’ll be a tough challenge for our guys going against him.”

On how wide receiver Pierre Garçon grew as a player during their four years together in Indianapolis:
“I think Pierre’s a great player. I really enjoyed the time he and I had together. He was a late draft choice and didn’t play a lot his rookie year, but Marvin Harrison retired that offseason and Pierre was thrust into a starting role and just had an awesome year. He’s got great speed. He’s a great blocker. Pierre is a guy that, I’ll always tell you, loves football. You can tell a receiver that loves football by the way he blocks. It’s not just about catching passes. He loves everything about it and I’m glad to see him doing so well.”

On playing against linebacker London Fletcher:
“London’s a great player. Not many of us left from 1998. There’s only a few of us – I think [Oakland Raiders safety Charles] Woodson and [Patrick] Mannelly, the long snapper from Chicago. What is it, 245 consecutive games started? That really tells you everything you need to know about Fletcher playing linebacker at that position, as physical as it is. For him to always answer the bell every Sunday, it tells you how tough he is. It tells you also what a professional he is, you know, keeping himself in great shape and taking care of himself. But also, there’s real want-to in that. There’s no question. He’s had tons and tons of injuries, but he always answers the bell. There’s nothing he hasn’t seen. A smart veteran, like you said, and really kind of the leader of that defense – gets them lined up. It’s always a challenge playing against London.”
 

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