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Skins Quotes 10/24: Shanahan/RG3/Tomlin/Roethlisberger


The Commissioner
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Apr 11, 2009
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October 24, 2012
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On linebacker London Fletcher:
“He’s having some problems with his balance and so he is going to talk to Dr. [Anthony] Casolaro. He did talk to him Monday evening when he came in later on that day or he said something to me that day. He was a little more specific come Tuesday, but I'm hoping it is nothing very serious, but that is why he is talking to Dr. Casolaro and a neurologist to find out why he is having a little problem with his balance.”

On if Fletcher will be ready for the Pittsburgh game:
“I’m not saying we’re worried, let’s get a review from the doctor and see what they have to say, especially because we have two great guys today looking at him and I will give you more once I know tomorrow.”

On quarterback Robert Griffin III’s supporting cast stepping up:
“Just like when [tackle] Jammal Brown went down, we expected Tyler Polumbus to step up and do a good job. I think Tyler has done a great job. You are going to have guys go down during the season. Other guys get opportunities, but you mention two excellent football players in [wide receiver] Pierre [Garçon] and [tight end] Fred [Davis] and guys are going to have to step up and play at a high level.”

On how he will handle playing time for tight ends:
“I wouldn’t go into detail about that now, but we’ve got three guys that have got to be ready to play because a guy could go down at any point during a game and you have to have tight ends who can play. Sometimes you can move a tackle over to tight end in goal line situations. Lorenzo Alexander is a guy who has worked at the tight end position as well and he is ready to go in. But, we expect our guys to play well. [Tight end] Logan Paulsen has proved that he can play. [Tight end] Niles Paul really adjusted well to the running game and the passing game, it’s a learning experience for him but he stepped up and has done some good things. Hopefully he can play at a high level. [Tight end] Chris Cooley is back. I thought Chris had a good first day at practice. You can see he is excited and ready to go and hopefully he keeps on practicing well.”

On what kind of shape Cooley was in when he came back to the team:
“You know you really don’t know. Wednesday is the first day, you’re not allowed to go in pads. Tomorrow we have a padded practice; you get a chance to see more in a live situation. But it looks like he is in good shape. He’s ready to go. He knows the system, which gives him a tremendous advantage knowing what to do, and it looks like he has been running just by the way he handled the workload he did today.”

On linebacker Keenan Robinson:
“He’s got speed. He’s got size. [He is] extremely bright. When he has had the opportunities, he’s taken advantage of his opportunities. I think he has a great future. [He’s] picked things up very, very quickly. He’s looked good on special teams; as you can see, he is an athlete. He just has to get used to the system.”

On Griffin III being able to balance patience and aggression:
“Like we talked about at the beginning of the year, the more of a balanced attack you have, the less pressure you put on a quarterback. You don’t like to throw too much on a quarterback because he hasn’t experienced everything. Robert picks things up very quickly. He’s a threat both in the run and the pass so the defense has to play fairly honest. He learns very quickly. He knows that you can’t win football games if you turn the football over and he has done a great job throughout the preseason and the regular season trying to avoid that.”

On if Robinson and linebacker Perry Riley are the future at the linebacker position:
“We’ll find out when they get their opportunity to play. Whenever a guy goes down, somebody else gets an opportunity to show us what he can do. When Perry Riley got his opportunity he took advantage of it. You could see right away that he is an athlete. He has quickness. You hate to lose a guy like [former Redskins linebacker] Rocky [McIntosh], but you saw very quickly that [Riley] ran at a different level and had to become more comfortable with the defense and he keeps on getting better and better but we will wait and see.”

On what he saw out of newly acquired running back Keiland Williams:
“We were hoping to get him on the practice squad at the end of the year and it never did work out. When Detroit picked him up, I was very disappointed because I thought he could play both the fullback and halfback position and play it well. Here is a guy about 230 or 235 pounds that can run that 4.5 [40-yard dash] range, a good blocker, good runner, just liked the way he handled himself. So when he did become available, we thought it was as good option for us.”

On if Williams still has some familiarity with the offensive system:
“Yeah, he had a good first day. Keiland is very bright. He will pick it up quickly.”

On if Garçon seeing specialist Dr. Robert Anderson:
“He is supposed to be the best in the country or top two, three, or four, whatever it is. But he has looked at the MRI on Pierre a number of times. So every time he goes to see a doctor, Dr. Anderson does look at those MRI’s. But I thought it would be good for him to go down there and actually talk to the doctor and kind of let the doctor see him and talk to him about where he is at. There is nothing like those one-on-one situations.”

On if he will tell Garçon to be prepared to play after the bye week:
“You know it could very well happen that way. But we don’t know what is going to happen with London. We don’t know what is going to happen with Pierre. I’m taking this day-by-day. Listen to the doctors, see what they recommend and obviously I’m not going to force somebody to play if the doctors don’t think he is ready or London doesn’t feel like he’s ready or Pierre doesn’t feel like he is ready. These guys we are talking about are a couple of the toughest guys we have on our football team. Very physical, they want to play and want to help our football team win so we’ll go with the opinions of the doctors.”

On Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being a game manager as a rookie:
“I think he was his first year. When you take a look, he had the No. 1 defense and No.1 rushing offense. That gives you a chance to manage the game and still win. I think they did a great job; that is what the coaches did for him. It took a lot of pressure off the quarterback but he kept on getting better every year. That is why they are leading the league in third downs because he can make plays. He can break tackles, he knows where to go with the football, he doesn’t make very many mistakes; one of the reasons they are doing a good job.”

On former running back Ryan Grant:
“He’s a good player. I like Ryan Grant. He took advantage of the opportunities when he was here but I think he will get picked up by somebody else. If not and we lose another running back, he’d be a guy we’d consider because he came in here and really did a good job for us.”

On Garçon’s status:
“He was swollen when I talked to him yesterday. I brought him up, asked how he was feeling; he said 'I haven’t improved at all.’ He went swimming, we put him in a pool and he didn’t even improve in that area. So just for peace of mind, I said, 'Why don’ you go talk to a specialist. Fred is going to be operated on. Dr. Anderson is going to do it. You’ll get a chance to go one-on-one and see what he says and hopefully something positive comes out of it.’”

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

On if he’s learned anything from watching Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger:
“He’s doing a good job extending plays, helping his team win. But other than that, not too much. You can always learn from watching guys but I couldn’t tell you one specific thing that I took from him.”

On the success of his rookie class:
“You want your class to be the best class. The rookies in our class are doing a good job thus far so we’ve just got to keep it up and make sure that we’re all successful for the long run. Like I’ve said many times, I always root for quarterbacks and want us all to be successful.”

On if he feels more pressure without wide receiver Pierre Garçon or tight end Fred Davis:
“I don’t feel that burden. The guys have come to me numerous times and told me, don’t feel like I have to do more than what I’m doing right now. Just go out and continue to execute the offense, do what the coaches ask me to do and everybody will step up where they need to step up.”

On if he tries to not take on too much:
“You just try not to do that. You don’t want to go into the game and Coach [Mike Shanahan] tells you one thing and you say, 'Well, I’m going to do it this way because I feel like it.’ You always try to listen to Coach. If what Coach says isn’t there, you try to make something happen. But other than that, you try not to do that. You can’t replace Pierre or Fred. They’re two unique individuals, two unique players. You’ve just got to find guys that can step up and go out and be successful with you.”

On his chemistry with wide receiver Santana Moss:
“He’s a guy that has seen it all, done it all, and can still do a lot with the abilities that he has. He can be a security blanket. Like I’ve told people, you don’t try to force it to guys like him that can make plays. You take it if it’s there. If it’s not there, you move on.”

On tight end Chris Cooley returning to the team:
“It was great to have Cool-Man back as I call him. He did good today. I’ve always wanted to throw a pass to him. I completed one to him in the preseason but that doesn’t count, so hopefully we can get one here in this next game. But he’s coming back to do his job that involves blocking and doing a lot of other things.”

On being compared to Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton:
“We are both athletic quarterbacks so him, myself, Mike Vick, Aaron Rodgers, all these guys, and even Jay Cutler went out there and ran a little bit Monday night. Whenever you can move a little bit, you’re going to get those comparisons. I try not to play too much into that or listen to much of that at all.”

On linebacker London Fletcher’s longevity and his consecutive games played streak:
“It’s tough to do that. I’ve seen it. You see a lot of guys with those kinds of streaks – the Brett Favres, the London Fletchers. You want to be able to do those kinds of things. You realize it’s a true testament to him how tough he is and just how well he takes care of himself. There are guys out there that take care of their bodies really well and still do get injured. But it makes it so special that he’s a guy that’s been in the league for a long time and been able to stay healthy and be productive at the same time.”

On if Fletcher will extend his streak this week against the Steelers:
“I’m not a betting man, but I think he’ll be out there.”

On tight end Logan Paulsen:
“He’s a reliable guy. He’s always where he needs to be and he works hard. He works hard at his craft. That’s what makes him so reliable and he can step up in those big moments and make catches like that. It was a fourth down play and it was the third and long where he caught the corner out on the sideline, things like that when you have guys that are willing to put it on the line every week. He’s one of the last guys to leave this building every time so it’s good to see him do so well. He’ll get his shot to be the starter.”

On playing in Pittsburgh:
“I look forward to it, going out there seeing how their fans are. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be pretty loud. Their fan base is very fanatic. I take in all those experiences. But at the same time, I know I’m there to do a job. It’ll be fun. It’ll be loud. It’s our job to go out there and execute.”

On focusing on missed opportunities when watching film:
“You’re always like that as a quarterback. You might make a big play and some people might say you don’t look at good plays you made, only the bad ones. Sometimes you find yourself looking at the good ones, if I could’ve done something on this play to make it better or what was the right thing I should’ve done on this play. I look at those kinds of things but that’s for me, for me to get better in practice.”

On if there’s a play from the Giants game that sticks out:
“Not really. No one play’s perfect. I didn’t play perfect. But that’s not my job to come out here and tell you guys all the bad things that I did.”

On if he relishes moments when he has a last-minute chance to drive the ball down the field:
“You have to… I would love to go out and dominate a team and put them away early and be able to sit on the sideline and eat some popcorn. But if you are in that situation, when you are down, or you’re up, and you’ve got to stay on the field and run the clock out, you do relish those situations. You want the ball in your hands in crunch time. You want to show everybody that you can go lead your team down the field. Sometimes it happens. Sometimes it doesn’t. But for the most part, you always believe that you will.”

On the importance of a young player being a leader in front of the team, the fans and the camera after both wins and losses:
“It’s big. Body language is a big tell-all. For football players, you don’t want to get way too excited after a win and be holly-jolly and then be super down after a loss. You stay even keeled – let guys know you feel like you’re doing the right things as a team and eventually, those wins are going to start coming. You just stay at it. You’re not lackadaisical about it all. You do have a sense of urgency but you’re not panicking.”

On if his approach to balancing football and marketing opportunities has changed:
“My focus hasn’t changed on that aspect. You try to do things that you feel are productive for this community and if you feel it’s a good cause, you go ahead and do that. For the most part, I’ve tried to stay focused on football only. I don’t do very much off the field. The thing that I did the other day was strictly about bringing awareness to the vote and the election. You try to do those things when you can, but for the most part you stay away.”

On Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger winning a divisional championship his first year and a Super Bowl his second year:
“Anybody wants to play and win a Super Bowl. That chance is still out there for us, but like I said, you have to take it one game at a time. We’re doing a lot of great things. Like I told people, it’s just not reflected in the record, but we are doing a lot of great things. We’re stopping the run and we’re running the ball extremely well. All the stats are there, all the numbers are there. We just have to make sure the wins are there.”

On why he is more statistically accurate when under pressure:
“I have no idea. You try to make sure whenever people are blitzing you or anything like that you get the ball out of your hands on time or where you’re supposed to get it. Teams are going to blitz me because I’m a rookie. Other teams are going to drop back into coverage. It’s whatever the team decides to do. If they’re going to try to blitz me and things like that, I know where to go with the ball. If they’re not, then you just work your progressions.”

On Steelers Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau and his blitz packages:
“They love to blitz quarterbacks, period. They like to bring a lot of pressure and make it a chaotic game. It’s something that you truly can’t be ready for until you’re out there on the field – definitely watching tape and being ready for their blitzes. If they don’t blitz and decide to drop into coverage, that won’t shock us either because we’ve seen about everything that a team can do. They run that 3-4 defense and that’s similar to the one we run. They’ve had guys that have been in that system for a long time so they know what they’re doing. I look forward to playing them. It’ll be a good chess match.”

On how he handles the defense allowing as many points as the offense puts up:
“You just tell the guys that you’re in this together. It’s not an offense/defense type of team. We win and lose as a team. We can put up all the crazy stats we want on offense or on defense and it’s still a lost game. We still lost the game as a team. That’s my biggest message to the guys. It’s never going to be, 'Well, the offense played great and the defense played bad.’ In my mind, we either won the game or we lost the game. Whatever kind of game it has to be, we have to find a way to win them. I think the guys respond to that.”

On Steelers safety Troy Polamalu:
“I said earlier that I was going to prepare my mind as if he was playing. I know [Steelers Head] Coach [Mike] Tomlin ruled him out. I would love to get a chance to play against Troy. He’s a great player and you want a team at full strength whenever you play them. They ruled him out, so they’re going to have some other guys in there. They’ve still learned from that guy and he’s done a lot of great things and you can teach them a lot.”

On if he expected to have more growing pains this season:
“No, you try not to be surprised. I tell people you trust in your preparation. I trust my preparation every week I step on the field. If I wasn’t prepared and I went out there and played bad, then that’s my own fault. I feel like I’ve been prepared every week. You’ll still have bad games here and there, but preferably those don’t come and we can keep moving forward and playing well. My biggest thing is I try to make sure I prepared harder every week and go out and just allow my ability that God has blessed me with – whether that’s running, throwing the ball, or just being a manager of the game – to help us win.”

On his comfort level with road games:
“It’s going about what we expected. The fans on the road are extremely loud. That’s how it’s supposed to be. For the most part, it’s been a lot of fun. I think having so many games on the road has been a great start because when you get to come home and feel that home-like atmosphere, it makes it that much more special. We’ve kind of gotten used to playing on the road – I know I have at least. I look forward to doing it more, but we want to be home more than that.”

On his offensive line in the fourth quarter of the Giants game:
“We got them a lot. We had them stymied and a little confused, so they weren’t really rushing the passer a lot. Those are good players. They’re going to have their moments when they have good plays. Every team has a player and it’s kind of hard to hold them down throughout a whole game. I thought our offensive line did a great job in that aspect. I never point the finger. I never say, 'You have to block that guy.’ They know what their job is to do and I trust that they’re going to do it.”

On what tells him a defensive line is confused:
“Just not rushing aggressively up the field or kind of looking around not knowing what to do. That’s the kind of things you see, but then they hit that frustration point and they just fire up the field – kind of like [defensive end Jason] Pierre-Paul did on one of those and slung me around. But it is what it is, I’m not mad about it. It happens, but if you can keep them limited to those one or two a game then you’ve been successful.”

On how he could have avoided being stripped of the football:
“Kyle [Shanahan] told me I just should’ve not tried to move the ball away from them, because he said he has arms that can wrap around me three times. He said I should’ve just ate it. I was trying to eat it – it’s a football term – but I just couldn’t. I tried to move it away and he hit it out. The worst feeling you could have as a football player is when you fumble and the ball is literally like three feet in front of you and you’re trying to get to it and you can’t. I actually had my hand on the ball, but [linebacker] Chase Blackburn pulled me from under the pile. I’m not mad about that either [laughter]. He made a good play on that one. Maybe next time I’ll just go in the fetal position or something [laughter]. We’ll see.”

Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin

On Defensive Backs Coach Raheem Morris helping turn the Redskins defense around:
“They got capable men over there, starting of course with [Defensive Coordinator] Coach [Jim] Haslett. I’m sure we all go through ups and downs over the course of a season. I’m sure they’re doing what it takes on a day-to-day basis to right anything they feel like needs to be righted.”

On seeing Morris, with whom he worked in Tampa Bay from 2002-05, this weekend:
“It’s business as usual. I think we’ve all been in this league long enough that we’ve got close friends just about every weekend on the sideline. I consider [Offensive Coordinator] Kyle Shanahan a close friend of mine. We worked together – as is [General Manager] Bruce Allen.”

On cornerback DeAngelo Hall saying it’s harder to stop the pass than ever before:
“I don’t necessarily have an answer to that. I agree numbers [for passing] are up, but it’s an early juncture in the season. I try not to paint with a broad brush. It seems like those things always have a way of balancing themselves out over the course of 16 games. I’m not ready to say that it’s not going to do that at this point.”

On quarterback Robert Griffin III:
“He’s a special talent – not only in terms of what he can do with his arms, but also his legs. I really think they’re doing a nice job of maximizing his talents and putting him in a position to be successful. But bigger than the physical talent, it’s obvious that the stage isn’t too big for him and he’s really representing himself well and appears to be extremely comfortable while executing.”

On Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton:
“It sets a tone in the middle of the defense, if you will. Casey is a guy that takes a great deal of pride in, of course, not being moved and maintaining an interior presence. That’s always a great place to begin in regards to playing good defense.”

On safety Ryan Clark:
“Ryan is a really good football player. Besides his physical talent, he’s extremely sharp. He does the things that come with playing the safety position extremely well. He’s a great diagnoser of offensive formation and pre-snap clues – does an awesome job of communicating pre-snap. He has all the characteristics that you look for in a safety – a guy that represents the last line of defense, if you will.”

On how much teams have to prepare for the zone read since they don’t see it often:
“Really, quite a bit because it was non-existent, of course, five years ago. I think it also helps that the guys that we’re now working with coming into the league have exposure to it, of course, from playing in college. I think familiarity speeds up the process in terms of game-readiness. There’s no questions that the guys are coming into the league better prepared to see it. I think that that aids in the preparation time.”

On how a defensive coordinator prepares for the zone read:
“More than anything, you have to build defenses that are sound – that are capable of standing up and forcing units, are squared away, you know who sets the edge, who turns things back, what is the proper engagement or pursuit angles. We tend to do that with all the defenses. More importantly than trying to figure out how to stop an option-like attack, we knock the dust off our rules and play to them.”

On what he means by 'knock the dust off’ their rules:
“What I mean is defenses have option responsibilities when they’re installed, but because you don’t see option on the week-in, week-out basis, it’s not something that you spend a great deal of time talking about. When you do, it’s simply an opportunity to reiterate rules and reinforce rules and practice those rules, but it’s not like they were nonexistent prior to this week.”

On the similarities between the Redskins’ and Steelers’ defenses:
“There are some, of course, obvious similarities. At the same time, I’m sure there are some differences – particularly from a positional standpoint in terms of the techniques that are taught. I’m sure that the coaches are working within their comfort zone there and playing to strength of their men from a technique standpoint. So, it has a potential to be very different. Although, the calls may be the same, the way things are ruled out and things are played technically may create something that looks at times like a different defense.”

On if knowing the 3-4 scheme helps them prepare:
“Any benefits that we gain from it will be nullified by the benefits that they gain from it. Usually, it’s a wash.”

On quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s ability to read defensive coverages:
“He does nice job of that, but he’s a veteran player. He’s been in the league now for some time and I think that experience has benefited him.”

Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

On quarterback Robert Griffin III:
“He’s playing well. He’s doing some great things. He’s putting up a lot better numbers than I did my rookie year, but I felt like I was very fortunate. I played on a very good team that I just had to go out and try and just win games and didn’t have to try to put up big numbers. He’s doing some amazing things.”

On what helped him make adjustments from college to the NFL:
“For me, it was just trying not to do too much. Like I said, I had a very good team around me so I didn’t have to go out and do too much. That was the biggest thing for me.”

On what makes the Steelers so good at converting third downs:
“I think it’s just the sense of urgency – keeping a drive going, keeping our defense off, giving them a break and for us to just keep a drive going to go down and score.”

On the transition from being a running team to a passing team:
“I think you have to utilize the weapons that you have, and we’ve got a lot of good weapons at receiver and tight end. We just want to be a balanced team and try and do the best we can.”

On his preparation if linebacker London Fletcher does not play this weekend:
“I don’t think London Fletcher is going to break his streak. Doesn’t he have 270 [consecutive games played] or something going? Some kind of crazy number. I don’t foresee that – him missing a game – so I’m not even preparing without him.”

On defenses changing looks on him before the snap:
“I’d say that’s what Washington does so well is the confusion factor. They try and really throw you off and mix it up. The only good thing about that is I have to see it every day – from training camp when we’re playing the Steelers defense. Hopefully, that will help us a little bit compared to if we never saw that at all.”

On if Griffin III was more prepared for the NFL because of the way college football has evolved:
“He’s a great player. If you’re a great player, you can make it work. I think [Colts quarterback] Andrew Luck is doing some great things as well. I still think you have to give a guy – a quarterback especially- more than just one year to see what he can really do and see if he’s going to be an elite guy. If he continues at this level for the rest of the year and into next year and maybe even into year three, then you know what? I guess he was primed and ready in college.”

On if he felt like an elite player at the end of his rookie year:
“No, of course not. I got lucky and just made some plays and our team was very good.”

On playing a defense ranked last against the pass:
“It just makes you weary of their pass rush and the guys that they get after. That’s all. I don’t look at numbers. That’s totally misleading. I think they’re a very good defense and they get after you and confuse you. If you get caught up in the numbers game, it will bite you in the butt.”

On if it excites him seeing the Redskins’ defense give up big plays:
“You’re looking at that and people look at that, but I look at the number of turnovers they’ve created and the scores and opportunities they’ve scored on defense. To me, that’s more glaring than any big play.”

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