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Skins Quotes 10/4: M. Shanahan/K. Shanahan/Haslett


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

Marine Corps Virginia

October 4, 2012
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the recovery time of wide receiver Aldrick Robinson after his pregame concussion:
“I’ll be honest with you, after talking with him after he went out, I thought he could have played that afternoon. It was one of those situations with the rules that you can’t play after you’ve been knocked out. He felt very good and never had any side effects even right from the start. He felt good that evening, the next day. You never know if he’s going to pass the test for sure, but I felt pretty good about it and there was a good chance.”

On the date of Robinson’s concussion testing:
“It was yesterday.”

On the role of wide receiver Santana Moss in the offense compared to past seasons:
“We talk about this all time. Everyone has a role on your football team. You don’t always have to accept it. You don’t always have to like it, but you have to understand once we do make a decision, hopefully you can play at a very high level whether it’s on the scout team, or as he is, on our Gator package playing as a third wide receiver. We expect these guys to go out and do a great job, but, as you mentioned, sometimes it’s very tough when you have an older guy like Santana who has had a lot of success and who has done the little things. When I did approach him, it didn’t surprise me that he was 100 percent in. Not only did he lose the weight, it’s been the way he has handled himself since day one. He’s a competitor. He could care less if he catches a pass if we win. When you have that type of mindset, then good things normally happen with a guy like that.”

On being credited with creating the strategy of icing a kicker:
“What happened was we were playing the Raiders and I called a timeout just before the center snapped it and it was a lot of attention that was brought to it because he missed it. In my mind, I said, 'What would happen if it would have been just the opposite?’ I called it the next year, I think we were playing Houston, it was in the first half and I iced the kicker. He had made 14 in a row, he had missed that one, then the next kick after icing him, he hits it right down the middle and you feel like a complete idiot. You just have to go with your gut sometimes. What I do, if I see a kicker who goes out there with a lot of confidence and he is ready to go, sometimes I will call a timeout. You feel like he has a lot of confidence and other times I just let it go. So it’s kind of a gut [feeling]. I don’t think there is any strategic advantage one way or another.”

On if experience plays a factor into icing a kicker or not:
“Not for me. I say that but a guy like Jason Elam actually wanted you to call a timeout so you had a little bit more time to concentrate so I think each kicker is a little bit different. remember when we played Houston a couple years ago and they iced us. Graham [Gano] kicked a 50-yarder and came back and missed it so you really don’t know for sure.”

On if calling a timeout before a kick is beneficial:
“I think if a head coach is really smart, he would call it before he snaps it so he doesn’t get second-guessed, because a lot of people call it and then all of a sudden you get a timeout. You see a lot of people do that. I’ve never been smart enough to do that.”

On quarterback Robert Griffin III drawing defenses offside:
“You have to practice those things. If you see a defensive team like Tampa was, especially in short yardage situations, they get off the ball as good as anybody in the National Football League one of the reasons they have a top rushing defense. So you have to slow down the defense and that is about the only way you can is with a snap count, home or away. Usually when you are away you don’t get to utilize that snap count like we did but it wasn’t that loud so we were able to utilize it.”

On if he has seen any changes in running back Alfred Morris’ confidence level:
“I don’t know if he was very confident coming in, you have to ask him. But I was very confident in him as soon as I saw him run in the preseason games. You could see right away he has a natural feel and can make people miss. I like the way he practices everyday because he goes out there with the mindset that he is going to give everything he’s got, if it is in the running game, if it is in pass protection, if it is picking up his responsibility. He is really a unique kid, he’s really down to earth and I think he has a big-time future.”

On if he reminds him of anybody he has coached before:
“Yeah, I hate to put that label on a guy but he does. I have told him, I’m not going to share with people just because it is unfair to him to put a label on him, but he has a chance of being very good.”

Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan

On if they used a more conventional passing game by design in the last game:
“I don’t really think so. I don’t think we did as much dropback passing as it would seem. It was about the same as other games. It was coming more off play-pass keepers. We did some dropback – about four plays in a row – there on the last drive, one of them being a screen, so really only three plays. I thought it was about the same. We didn’t do as much of the zone read. It was more what they were doing. That was kind of the plan going in. We put it in a little bit, but we didn’t do it as much.”

On if it’s easier for quarterback Robert Griffin III to get in a flow as a passer when they are in a conventional scheme:
“I think it’s like that with almost everyone I’ve been with. Whatever the position is, you want to get in some type of rhythm. The more completions you can get, the easier it gets. It’s kind of tough on guys when you take a big shot the first throw of the game. Sometimes it’s like that. I know if quarterbacks have their choice, they’d always like to get a few easy completions before you do that. Same with the receivers, they want to get a few touches early in the game. It goes for everybody, but sometimes it’s hard to please everyone.”

On how the offense changed with wide receiver Pierre Garçon playing:
“It was good to have Pierre out there. I still know he wasn’t 100 percent healthy, but for him to show up and battle like he did…He only had one catch, but he had a huge fumble recovery in the end zone for a touchdown. His presence was definitely felt on the run game.”

On if he can see coverages changing when Garçon is playing:
“It changed. [Buccaneers cornerback] Aqib [Talib] went with him the whole game. Pierre was rotating with guys every two plays. We never kept him in there too long. Whenever he was in, Aqib was with him, so it affected it some.”

On Griffin III’s headset going out last game:
“It’s frustrating, but it’s happened to me a lot in my career – hasn’t happened yet this year.”

On if the headsets go out mostly on road games:
“Yeah, yeah, usually on the road. It’s funny. It does happen in two-minute more – home and away. It does happen in two-minute to me personally more than in any other situation throughout my career. It’s something we always do practice. When we do two-minute on Fridays I don’t call the plays, I just let him do it. We always prepare like it’s going to go out and it happened to go out out there.”

On how Griffin III handled the headset malfunction:
“He handled it well. He’s done a pretty good job in those situations. We ended up only having to do four plays. What was the most impressive part was when the headsets did go out, it only ended up being one play because there was a huddle call to start the next play when it went out. I’m calling stuff and he didn’t get anything. You never know how a guy is going to handle that. He might sit there and freeze and waste a lot of time. He didn’t hesitate at all. He just went and called a play. That’s when I realized they were out. I didn’t get what play we were running and I could see he didn’t hear it. Then, he just looked over to the sidelines and went like this [hand motion] and was able to signal it in after that. We had two more plays and it worked out.”

On running the two-minute offense earlier in the game:
“Everyone takes that into account when you want to change stuff up – get some momentum for the offense going. I can’t say we’ll never do it. Maybe we’ll do it this week and see how it goes. I think the guys have been doing a pretty good job. I think our guys are capable of doing whatever. It’s just whatever you decide on, your guys all do it together and execute.”

On if the Falcons defensive front moves around more than usual:
“They definitely have in these first four games, I think, especially when you play some of the games they have. They’ve moved around in all their their games. When you watch them versus Denver, when you’re dealing with a quarterback like Peyton [Manning], who does most of the stuff at the line, they really had to plan a disguise a lot and do a lot of crazy stuff. You see that every game that they do, but you definitely saw an abnormal amount of it versus Denver.”

On how he deals with the defensive front moving around:
“You just try to make sure everyone has a hat for a hat. You separate the numbers, who the positions are and sometimes you have to block structure. Sometimes you have to block certain people. Sometimes you have to block the look. You make sure you just aren’t missing assignments. It’s just an illusion of complexity. It’s guys just running around trying to confuse you. It’s about keeping it simple and making sure everybody is on the same page. Even if you mess up and you do it wrong – if the 11 guys do it wrong together, you have a chance.”

On running back Alfred Morris:
“I think Alfred – just like everybody – he’s getting better each week. He’s seeing more looks, he’s correcting his mistakes each week. I think he’s played very good for us each week and he’s gotten better each week. He’s a guy who’s very conscientious, never feels like he’s arrived. He’s working every day in practice, walkthrough. He only goes one speed. We try to slow him down in walkthrough, but he’s just running as hard as he can. He’s always going to get better because he works at it.”

On running quarterback draws:
“That’s something we’ll work with through the year. We’ve done it the last couple weeks and it’s been pretty good. Right when you think a team is going to stop it, they don’t. You keep doing stuff until people stop it. When they do stop it, it’s how are they stopping it and how can you adjust to counteract that?”

On teams spying Griffin III:
“Guys have spied him at times. Even when there is spy, usually on planned run plays you have a blocker for him. Spies are usually for dropback plays when you’re looking and nobody is open and then you take off to run and they’ve got a guy sitting there to chase him.”

On the luxury of being able to run several different schemes with this personnel:
“I think that was what we were excited about going into it. I think I talked a little bit about it last week. You always want that [the option] to be a part of your offense, but if it’s ever your whole offense then I think it’ll be hard to be successful. Anytime you make it a part of it, it does cause a lot of problems for defenses. Defenses in the NFL definitely can stop that stuff, they just have to work at doing it. It’s kind of nice when teams have to spend a lot of time working at that stuff when it’s only a third of your offense. It helps other stuff be a little more fresher to the guys because they haven’t been working on that all week. They’ve been focusing on the option.”

On if watching Atlanta defend Carolina quarterback Cam Newton helped him know how Atlanta might defend Griffin III:
“Every team is different. You’re always trying to decide and guess how a team is going to play you going into the game. When your game is Peyton Manning on one game and Cam Newton on the other game, you get a little bit better an idea watching someone like Cam – someone who can make plays with their feet and stuff. Their offense is still different from our offense, so it’s never exact. There are things that are different. It helps you a lot more when quarterbacks are similar.”

On if Morris has surprised him in any way:
“Alf’s best thing is running the ball, which everybody sees. He’s got to get better in all those other aspects and he has, just [in] catching the ball he’s come a long watch since OTAs. You feel confident to throw him the ball and stuff. And in protections he’s come a long way. All guys out of college struggle with protections because it’s a lot more complex in the NFL with the looks you get and everything. He struggled like everybody. He’s been good enough to play for us and not hurt us. In a matter of time even a veteran back will make a bust in stuff and have to bounce back from it. Like I was saying earlier, Alf is very conscientious and works at every aspect of the game. He’s more upset with himself when he has a bust in protection than when he has a bad run. When you have a guy like that, he has a chance to learn it quicker than others.”

On tackle Trent Williams:
“It was huge. Trent is one of our best players. He’s a captain. Just to have him out there and not get many reps throughout the week in practice and to come out there and still play at a high level…You’re always nervous when a guy doesn’t practice much –no matter how good they are – that they’re not going to play that well. It’s a tough decision for the head coach to make on whether he allows them to or not. They went with him and Trent didn’t let us down. He didn’t get a lot of reps, so you always worry about that. But he came out there and made it through the game and played at a very high level. I was extremely proud of how he played.”

On if Williams playing altered his play calling:
“No, not really. You call a game the same way you always would, regardless of your players when you get in there. If a guy is struggling and stuff, you have to always adjust your game plan, but you go into it with the same plan. If Trent is out and someone else comes in and they’re struggling, you definitely have to limit what you’re calling.”

On Griffin III’s goal line fumble:
“It was third-and-five I think – from the eight [yard line] or something – and he got the first down. You [would] love for him to slide and we definitely tell him to slide. Afterwards he thinks he should have slid, but a lot of times your competitive instinct takes over. And he sees that goal line. You don’t see many people slide right on the one [yard line]. It’s tough. You want him to. You have a new set of downs and we’ll get three, possibly four tries to try it again. He went for it and he has to protect that ball better when he does. [He] definitely should have slid, and live to play another down.”

On wide receiver Santana Moss taking on the role of slot receiver:
“I think it says a lot. 'Tana said all the right things when we told him about that coming into the season. But you never really know how a guy is going to handle it until it happens. He has exceeded expectations. 'Tana has been great. He made some key plays at the end of that game which were huge. That’s what he’s here for. Starting out that drive with a play that we run – a dropback play – got a 15-yard gain on a tough look. I think two-minute drives usually come down to so much on that first play. You get a big first play and it just gets everybody going, makes everybody a little more confident, start moving the chains. That started with 'Tana. The way he’s handled it has been great. He’s excited when we win – never heard him upset about not getting as many opportunities. I think he really is an example for everyone else in that room.”

On if that speaks to Moss’ reliability:
“We know what 'Tana can do. He’s a hell of a player. He’s been one of the best players in this organization for a long time. I think he’s got a lot more football left in him.”

On the double pass between wide receiver Brandon Banks and Griffin III:
“I was obviously excited about it. It made me a little nervous how it looked almost straight down the line. I didn’t know if they were going to overturn it or not. Banks didn’t throw it as good as he normally does, but he got it there and he got the job done. It was exciting to get that.”

On Griffin III drawing offsides penalties against Tampa Bay:
“He does a real good job. He’s got a big voice. Guys can hear him. That was a real game, but even in the louder stadiums and stuff, he’s done a good job. We haven’t always had to go silent count. Guys hear him well and he’s done a good job mixing up the cadence. We had some big first downs there against them. We knew they were a team that really liked to come off the ball. It’s very good d-line that they have. That was something that we knew we had to be able to do or it was going to be tough to block them. By him getting it three times, it really helped throughout the game – not just those three plays.”

Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett

On the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
“I thought we played really well in the first half. I thought we did a nice job in the second half except we gave up two big plays again. Overall, it was probably one of our better games. Not as good as the Saints game, but we did a good job on the run game. Then in the end, we got beat on the cover six, quarter-quarter-half and then we got beat on the fire zone. We had missed tackles, which was not real good.”

On his defense against the Buccaneers:
“We’ve been playing the run pretty well most of the time and the pass game, like I said, we got a break down here and there, we’re trying to correct and trying to fix. But as a whole, for the whole game, besides those two plays, we played pretty well.”

On how to keep pressure on the quarterback:
“You can take two approaches. You can send everybody and you’ll always have one more than they have, or you can back up, and that’s kind of what we did. We backed off. We had a three-man rush, four-man rushed a lot and played more coverage. They were sending three to four out and we had five, six, seven covered.”

On if he has ever lost a player in the pregame who was included in game plan:
“Actually, as a head coach, I did. I lost a couple players. The other day we knew [safety Brandon] Meriweather was going to play. We had a lot of plans for him, a lot of things to do. He actually becomes our third corner in a lot of situations so we had to scrap all that stuff. So, you’re sitting in the locker room crossing things off and thinking of things you can do, and we decided to go with [safety] Reed [Doughty] as the starter. It changed your plans because everybody has their strengths and weaknesses. Meriweather has great strengths because he’s an ex-corner that can play coverage. He’s a really good cover guy and we just lost that ability at the time.”

On choosing Doughty over safety DeJon Gomes:
“We just thought Reed deserved an opportunity. Nothing against DJ, but we’re trying to find the right combinations obviously. Since the beginning of the year, we thought [safety] Tanard Jackson and Meriweather were going to be the two. It didn’t work out that way so we’re just trying to get the right combination.”

On Doughty’s performance:
“I thought Reed played pretty well. He had a couple things like everybody else on the team that we can obviously do better. But I thought, as a whole, he played pretty well.”

On the defensive linemen in the nickel against the pass rush:
“Last week, it was run game, quick the ball, and get your ball out of the hands. The first week they were seven-step drops against New Orleans. And then all a sudden, you play St. Louis and it’s quick, quick, quick, quick, quick. We got a lot of batted balls. You go to Cincinnati and you get a couple deep balls, but everything else is quick, getting the ball out of your hands. Obviously that’s a credit to the. They’re saying that you’ve got to be a pretty good pass-rushing group inside. But Stephen [Bowen] and Barry [Cofield] are really active. Ryan’s [Kerrigan] done a nice job so far. I think he’s got four sacks, or three and a half, or whatever it is… So I think credit goes to those guys that the teams are looking at you that way.”

On if Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons is a “statement” game:
“I think every week’s a statement game. This is a great football team we’re playing. They’ve got the hottest quarterback in the league, really good running back and two receivers. These two are really good. They’re explosive guys and they can go out and make all the catches. They’re big bodies. They’ve got maybe the greatest all-time tight end that ever played. So it’s a great challenge for us again. We’ve played some pretty good offenses so this is another challenge. Good thing it’s at home. We hope we have our fans behind us and that’ll help us out.”

On the front seven helping out the secondary:
“Obviously, that’s a key to any game against a great quarterback. You like to pressure him. They’ve got a heck of a running game also. You have [Falcons running back Michael] Turner who rushed for 103 last week. He’s a big guy, explosive guy. They have a really good offensive line so it’s a combination. We’re going to have to play well on defense this week.”

On Falcons wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones:
“Well, one’s big, athletic and can go out and catch the ball, and the other is really fast, great route runner, make all the catches. And [they are] maybe the two best blocking wide receivers in the National Football League. They go up and throw their bodies around. They’re tough. They’re physical. They’ve got a mean streak to them. It’s a great challenge for our back end to see if we can control these two.”

On why he thinks Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez has been successful for so many years:
“He still has a great run after the catch. That guy can go. He’s a heck of a football player. I think he’s put 15 years in the league right now. I know his position coach really well, Chris Scelfo, and he tells me he’s the real deal on and off the field. He’s your ultimate football player, and he said he has a great understanding of the game, love for the game. He said he’s the best he’s been around.”

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