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Skins Quotes 11/02/11: Shanahan, Beck, Harbaugh, Rogers


The Commissioner
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Apr 11, 2009
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November 2, 2011
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On signing running back Tashard Choice:
“Obviously, we needed some depth at the backfield position. We’ve watched him through the years [and] we think he has a chance to come in and help us once he learns the offense and gets over his hamstring injury. So we’ll wait a week or two and see how he is.”

On how close Choice’s hamstring injury is to being healed:
“Well, [the injury] was 10 days when we brought him in, so I would say next week he should probably start practicing. It’s a grade one hamstring [strain], so he thinks he can start practicing next Monday.”

On the injury status of fullback Mike Sellers and tackle Trent Williams:
“Mike practiced today. Mike was full-go – a little bit sore, but he went through practice. Trent, I would say limited, but he’s probably in the 70 percent range.”

On the decision to sign Choice even though he’s currently injured:
“First of all, you’ve got seven guys that are going to be inactive, so you have to make a decision there on who’s going to be active and who’s going to be inactive. And you have a chance, if you need a running back, to let somebody go and move him down for the game and bring somebody else up. What we’re trying to do is get the best football players long term. We looked at a lot of backs that were out there and we thought he could help us the most. That’s why we brought him in.”

On the decision not to bring back San Francisco 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers:
“I was only with Carlos for one year. I liked him as a person and he was wanting a big payday and we weren’t going to go in that direction. We weren’t going to make that type of commitment long term. I’m hoping for him that he does get that with some football team – hopefully, the 49ers.”

On Rogers’ performance last year:
“If he was as consistent as we would have liked, then we would have signed him long term. But the reason why we didn’t is we decided to go in a different direction.”

On if Rogers is a different player this year for the 49ers:
“No, he’s playing well though. He’s playing well. He’s got three interceptions and that’s pretty good.”

On cornerback Josh Wilson’s performance this year:
“I like Josh. I’m glad we’ve got him on our football team. I think he’ll keep on getting better and better as he becomes more comfortable with our system. He’s been banged up a little bit [and] he’s fought through it, but I like what I see.”

On what he likes about his game:
“Everything. He’s got great speed. He’s got the ability to play by himself. He’s got the ability to slice and play underneath. Everything that we look for in a corner, he’s got that type of ability. When you’ve got great speed like he does, you play with a lot of confidence.”

On mixing up pass coverages:
“We change it up depending on what teams do. You’ve got to be able to play bump [coverage] in this league. You can’t play off all the time, especially against these teams that dink and dunk, throw the quick slants or what we call 'kitty.’ Each game, you try to get a game plan and take away what the team does best.”

On if he likes what the defensive backs did:
“They did a pretty good job.”

On the injury status of tight end Fred Davis:
“He did not practice today. He went through walkthroughs, but he did not practice.”

On the importance of Sunday’s game for quarterback John Beck:
“They’re all huge. John’s going to get a chance to start his third game for us and hopefully he’ll play well. I told John, 'You’re going to have some highs and lows in this profession, especially at the quarterback position [and] especially when you have about six or seven new guys at the position that you’re playing with, like last week.’ Well, that’s the nature of the game – as a quarterback, you’ve got to find a way to get it done. After it’s over, you look at the things you did poorly and try not to make that mistake again. And feel good about yourself and have a good week of preparation.”

On his involvement in the play calling:
“I won’t go into the percentages — defense or offense — but I’ve always been involved in offense, defense and on some occasions, special teams. I don’t get into special teams too much because I spend so much time with offense [and] defense. That’s what I enjoy doing. That’s what I’ll continue to do. That’s how you keep your job if you’re involved with the offense — all phases, short-yardage, goal line. If you’re talking about what you’re doing, you’re talking about the first 15 plays of the game and what we do is 16. You get a game plan of all the short-yardage, red zone, two-minute [situations] – all of the things you get involved in.”

On if he oversees Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s play calling:
“You have a plan on how you’re going to attack certain coverages, how you attack certain fronts. You talk about the running game. You talk about protections. You talk about the passing game. This is ongoing all through the week. Depending on what a team does, if they play man-free, are they playing quarters? Are they playing two-deep? You have a plan how you’re going to attack all of those coverages. You try to get your run-pass ratio on first down and second down. And if you’re behind or you’re ahead, you go through all those scenarios that you normally go through. There’s a lot of involvement there. There’s a lot of conversations going on.”

On if Kyle Shanahan calls the plays:
“Of course – somebody’s got to call it. But, what I’m trying to do is give you an idea on how the game is called and the same thing defensively. If you go through the defense, what are your pressure defenses? What are you going to do in two minutes? What’s your first down with the different groups? Are they an unbalanced team? Are they a two tight end team? Are they a three-wide receiver team? That’s part of coaching and putting your game plan together.”

On if it’s ever simple enough to pin the struggles of a team on one member of the coaching staff:
“That’s the nature of the job. You’ve got to go after somebody and, after me, it’s the coordinators. Sometimes, it’s a debate between the head coach and the quarterback. We understand this game and how it works. Somebody’s going to be accountable. At the end of the day, we’re all accountable and when you do have a game like that, hey, you look at what you did poorly and try to rectify those mistakes [and] make sure they don’t happen again. When you do go through a situation like we went through, we have a new guy at center, a new guy at left guard, a new guy at left tackle, you’ve got a new wide receiver at X, a new Tiger-man, you’ve got a new guy in there for Santana [Moss], a new halfback, [and] a new quarterback. Sometimes, those guys have to be almost flawless and your quarterback has to play at a very, very high level. Sometimes they do [and] sometimes they don’t. As we talk about it as a group, I say, 'Hey, that’s the nature of the NFL.’ We’re not the only team that goes through that. A lot of teams lose players… After you go through something like that, you’re hoping next time you play with a couple of guys missing you play a lot more effectively than we do.”

On if it’s hard to hear the criticism about Kyle Shanahan:
“Believe me, I don’t worry about the criticism. I understand that goes with [the territory]. All you have to worry about what your game plan is and what you intend on doing. I understand there are going to be highs and lows. I’ve been doing this for a long time. We’ve had a lot of success doing what we’ve been doing. I understand when it’s not a perfect situation that there is going to be the second guessing, especially when a lot of people have no idea [about] some of the questions being asked: How do you call plays, how do you do it, does somebody do it on their own? It’s just not that simple. When you’re not effective, you’re going to get criticized and we understand that and hopefully you do a much better job getting these guys ready and play at a higher standard or better, because we’re playing a very good defensive football team [this week]. We’re playing a team that’s given up the fewest points in the NFL, the best job against the run in the NFL. So we have challenges ahead.”

On Williams saying he’s 70 percent healthy:
“You can’t play unless you’re 100 percent. So we’ll see how the practice goes during the week and we’ll see where he’s at.”

On trying new people at different spots on the offensive line:
“You’ve got to always keep that option open. You’ve got to do what you think is most effective for your football team. Usually you don’t have three guys [move] because, when you move [Will] Montgomery to one position, it does change the dynamics a little bit. That’s the nature of the game… I’m not going to go through all of the scenarios. I’m just hoping that, by the end of the week, Trent has a chance to play. If not, it will be very similar to what happened last week. We’ve got two more guys, [Willie] Smith and [Maurice] Hurt – they’re gaining valuable experience as we practice during the week.”

On if Will Montgomery played well at center before the injuries:
“He was doing a good job.”

Quarterback John Beck

On if he saw a common thread in the sacks allowed against Buffalo:
“Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is that there’s things that I could’ve done better to help avoid a handful of those. Just getting rid of the ball—those are things that I can help and that way we don’t have that happen again.”

On the thought process behind not getting rid of the football on those sacks:
“A few of them you are hanging in there, some of them you aren’t. It’s kind of a fine line and that’s what makes playing quarterback difficult. Where’s the line of 'do I hang in here and try to make the throw or do I get it out?’ There were a few in there where I could have easily just said 'You know what, we don’t have a play right here.’ Just get the ball out of my hands. Live to play the next down.”

On if it’s difficult to throw the ball away:
“You always want to make a play. You always want to do something to get a drive going—to get some type of spark—because we were kind of trying to get going. There were a few there where maybe I could have just said 'It will be on the next drive that we get something going.’ Let’s just get the ball out of my hands, not take a sack, put us in better field position—those types of things.”

On if he now feels an inclination to get the ball out faster:
“The good thing about this week is that anytime you have a game where you don’t feel like you played your best, it’s exciting to come back to a new week, new game, fresh start for this week. [It’s exciting to] just get working with the guys again and get focused on our opponent.”

On if, after watching film, he thought there were plays that should have been made:
“I can only talk about myself because when I watch the tape that’s who I’m watching and rating. There were some plays out there where I felt like I could have made a play but maybe didn’t see it the way I wanted to see it—or should have seen it, I should say—and that’s where as a quarterback you say 'Okay, I didn’t have my best game but I’m going to come back this next week, improve and do a better job.’”

On the importance of the passing game when the running game isn’t working:
“You want both phases to be rolling and you want to get both going. Sometimes it doesn’t happen the way you would like but that’s why you want to be so good at both phases that if it takes a little bit longer for one phase to get rolling the other phase is holding up. That’s where we want to be in this offense. We want to have both phases rolling but we always want to, in a game where it’s taking a little bit longer to get one going, we want the other one to be rolling full steam.”

On the importance of being able to stretch the field:
“You definitely want to be able to stretch the field and [wide receiver] Anthony [Armstrong] has been our guy. We’re including some other guys in getting the ball down the field because you don’t want the defense to be able to just sit. It’s something that we feel is definitely a part of our game. We just didn’t really hit on it this game.”

On how he would evaluate the long passing plays against the Bills:
“It’s tricky because so many things went into it. We had a couple where we just weren’t on the same page and that’s where having this other week of practice will help.”

On if he has input with Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan on play-calling:
“He’s the one that is calling the plays and has the most experience. My experience doesn’t even come close to what his experience is. There are times where I will go to him and say 'hey, what are you seeing out there, what do you feel about this or that.’ But for the most part, I’m listening to him because he is the one that has the experience in this offense and has had a lot of quarterbacks that have been successful. I want to step in and do my part.”

On San Francisco 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers’ play this year:
“I think he’s been doing a good job. I think because of some familiarity you do feel somewhat knowledgeable about the person but he has been playing very well. Their entire defense has been playing well. They do a great job of stopping the run and they’ve created some plays on defense. We have to come out and do our very best to execute.”

On if he sees himself growing into a role where he could suggest play calls to Kyle Shanahan:
“Right now my mind is not even thinking that way because I have so much trust in him. The way he sees things, the way that he’s coaching me—I’m just trying to do that.”

On if he’s more comfortable in shotgun than under center:
“Not necessarily. There are some plays where I could go either shotgun or under center depending on what I liked. A lot of those I chose to go under center because you can have your eyes up quicker—you don’t have to put your eyes down for the ball. So, I don’t know, it’s kind of either/or for me.”

On the importance of getting his first win as a starting quarterback:
“I definitely want to win. That’s why I play this game. Do I dwell on that? Not at all. I’ve tried to do my very best each and every game that I’ve played and I can’t get over-concerned with the outcome before the start of the game. I have to worry about the process of making plays, executing and getting us in and out of the right thing. That’s what I focus on on a day-to-day basis. I do believe that it will come.”

On how offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan adjusted the offense to get the ball off quicker:
“One thing I think you can see there is that later on we tried to get the ball out a little quicker…quick, shallow routes and stuff like that. When I really think about it I feel there are definitely some things that I could have done to help out and that could have made a difference. The good thing about this is I feel that our team is ready to move forward. This last week was just one of those ones where you just have to say 'okay, that was gut-wrenching but that’s not us. We know that’s not us so let’s move ahead, put that behind us and let’s move forward.’”

On the difficulty of incorporating so many new players on the offense:
“There’s been a lot of change and with change comes time to adjust. I feel like we’re doing everything we can to speed that process up with the people that are coming in because we feel confident in our teammates. We’ve been with these guys. When they step in and get an opportunity, we do feel comfortable with them. It will continue to grow and that’s the way we look at it. Let’s continue to get better each and every day and that’s why each day of practice is so important.”

On if it’s difficult not to focus on the rush and keep his eyes downfield:
“As a quarterback you are trained to trust. I’m going to stand in there regardless and do everything I can—and that continues, regardless of if you get knocked around a little bit or you don’t. You believe in your guys and that won’t change.”

On fighting the instinct to run with the ball:
“I feel like my feet help but it’s kind of the resort I use at the end. I’m going through my reads. I’m going through my progressions. I’m trying to get the ball out. Then, if I have to, I can use my feet. In this league, you’re not just going to run around everybody. You can’t run around like that so it’s the last resort for me.”

On picking up the morale of the team:
“I think we’re all programmed to move forward. This is the way we’ve been playing the sport our entire lives. We’ve all had to go through games where you lose and you lose badly. It hurts inside and there’s that pain that goes along with it but you learn that 'alright, I have to move on and I have to put that behind me.’ If I want to be able to give myself the best opportunity this week I have to be able to move forward and move forward strong. I feel like this team has already done that. I can just kind of tell from the way walk through went that we’ve moved forward. We’re totally focused on the 49ers right now.

San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh

On cornerback Carlos Rogers and his signing in the offseason:
“Well, he’s done a very good job. Going back to the [off]season, we’re talking about a three-, four- or five-day window for free agents. You just start it up rather abruptly there. We were just trying to get in and throw our hat into the ring with Carlos and had a couple of good conversations and identified him as someone that we wanted to make a run at.”

On what he liked about Rogers:
“We thought he was an experienced, athletic corner. And that’s what we needed. And [we] also had really good feedback from people that we knew of what kind of person he was and what kind of team member he would be.”

On his previous impressions of Rogers and if he evaluated pro cornerbacks before this season:
“I remember when he was drafted. I was really immersed in my season last year — we’re talking about when I was coaching at Stanford. In terms of the NFL, I was watching the Ravens a lot and looking through the keyhole of the league in general, but I wasn’t studying corners or free agents when I was at Stanford.”

On the process of implementing his system:
“It was very challenging. It’s almost to the point where now I don’t remember how challenging it was but I remember it being challenging. It seems like a long time ago now, doesn’t it?”

On if he has watched more film from recent Redskins games because of the team’s roster turnover:
“Honestly, I’m more focused on the last few.”

On quarterback Alex Smith:
“I really liked being around him when I met him and found him to be really quick minded and smart… I went and watched a lot of tape on him going back to the last four years. I found him to be a tough, good, starting NFL quarterback. All those combinations of things — I thought that was the best thing for our team. And I think the thing that was especially intriguing to me beyond those other things was that it seemed like he wanted to come back here. He wanted to prove himself in San Francisco, a place that, if you’re being fair and honest, would say threw him under the bus on more than one occasion, or at least made him the scapegoat. That he would want his fresh start to be here was, I thought, a rare character trait. Somewhere between rare and extinct, probably, in today’s world.”

On what has made Smith and the team more effective this season:
“A lot of people have asked that question, too. We really don’t have any answers for anybody or even ourselves, just really more questions. Are we good enough to keep winning? Are we disciplined enough to keep learning? Are we smart enough? Are we going to learn from mistakes that we’ve made? Are we tough enough? Do we have the right amount of work ethic and can we do it week-in and week-out? Can we get motivated to where we need to be? So we’ve got more questions than we’ve got answers.”

On linebacker NaVorro Bowman:
“NaVorro really didn’t get a lot of time as an inside linebacker [last year], but I really think Patrick Willis is one of the premier linebackers in the game and has a chance to be one of the great linebackers in the history of the game. If he can keep playing the way he is right now, year after year consistently together for a decade… He’s got the ability to be a downhill backer, with his ability to run sideline-to-sideline, the ability to drop into coverage, the tempo to play the blitz and the timing to play the blitz. All of those things, Patrick is playing at a very high level. I kind of compare him to Willie Mays. He’s like the five-tool player for a linebacker. He’s the Willie Mays of linebackers or has a chance to be if he can do that over a long period of time. Now, getting back to NaVorro, NaVorro’s darn close to that. He has got the ability to be, the license and the talent to be, every bit as good as Patrick. That’s how good NaVorro is.”

49ers Cornerback Carlos Rogers

On if he thinks he’s playing his best football:
“I’m doing pretty good — not even just talking about the interceptions, you know everybody just looks at that — but I think all-around play, this is one of my real good seasons, including the interceptions. What I had going out there in my first eight games — I had a pretty good season going — but adding the interceptions, that makes it even better.”

On the difference in his play this year:
“Just relaxing. Having fun and playing football again. I think that’s most important. Me coming in here already knowing the defense [is also a difference]. I’d been playing the same positions in Washington and that made it much easier. Coach [Harbaugh] has been putting in a lot of plays for me. [I’ve] been able to blitz, been able to sit in a zone… Once we feel around and read routes and combinations, those are the routes we’re going to take away in a game.”

On if he felt it was time to leave the Redskins:
“I think it felt like it was time for me to leave. I didn’t think that the Redskins were going to re-sign me anyway. Since I’d been there, I think the only draft picks that they did sign was Chris Cooley and Chris Samuels. I don’t remember any other draft pick that they did sign there. Almost everybody came from outside. Being that I was drafted, I didn’t think that I would be signed either way.”

On when he came to the decision he needed to leave:
“It was two seasons before [last season]. I was kind of ready to get out of there with the changing of coaches… Once you’ve made it big and you know coaches, things just start to look different. I was just ready to go.”

On motivation for playing the Redskins this Sunday:
“I’m past the Redskins. I’m over them. I just want to go out there and have fun, play against my friends and for bragging rights against them. I have no hatred towards the coaches. With that coaching staff, my mindset was already to get out of Washington anyway. This is our next opponent in the way of what we’re trying to accomplish over here. No matter who it is, we want to win.”

On how he remembers his time in Washington as a whole:
“Fun. I had some fun times with Washington. On the football field, off the field, I had a lot of good relationships with guys on and off the field. The fans are unbelievable. They want to win. My brother is still down there and hearing comments about the fans saying how much they miss me. You can’t count out the guys that are going to have your back through the good and the bad. I played for some good coaches. I am always going to remember Coach [Joe] Gibbs. I’m still a friend of Gregg Williams, Jerry Gray, Steve Jackson, Coach Danny Smith — that’s one of my closest coaches to this day. I’ve built some good relationships with teammates. It’s a lot of stuff that I remember and a lot of good stuff that I can take from that team. Even with last year’s coaches, they were just hands on with me learning this defense and learning this nickel position. That allowed me to come into this situation right now where when I came into training camp it was just about getting the calls down. I already knew the defense by how much time me and him spent together. It’s a lot of stuff I can mention. It’s not always negative with me towards that team.”

On what it would feel like to return an interception for a touchdown in his return to FedExField:
“That would be real nice. I’m looking forward to challenging those guys. I pretty much know they’re going to try and come after me. They’ll try to have some stuff for me — probably some double moves or whatever — but I’ll be well prepared on what stuff we see on film. We’re trying to diagnose those guys right now.”

On his calling cornerback DeAngelo Hall after getting his interceptions this season:
“We were just talking about the games. I heard he said that, but he also didn’t say that I talk to him even when I don’t have an interception. That’s my friend. We’re going to always be friends on and off the field. During the offseason we spend a lot of time with each other. You know, I just said 'I got another pick this week’ and he’ll say 'For real? I can’t get my hands on anything.’ We joke around about that but he’s just happy for me. He understands the situation that I was in. We always talked when I was there and now that I’m gone we still talk about things that are going on and he couldn’t be happier for me.”

On Kevin Barnes getting his old number and his locker:
“It’s cool. He’s one of my boys. Playing the same position and I know that nickel is a lot for him but I think he learned a lot and he’s going to continue to learn. He’s going to be productive at that position.”

On if he’s surprised by the 49ers’ 6-1 start:
“When you start, you’re always going to imagine that you’re going to win all the games… The start that we have had, I didn’t think at the beginning we were going to be that good. Throughout [the season] just seeing guys playing, seeing guys focus and seeing how we work, I’m thinking that we can win every game if we come in with that same mentality. Our coaches do a good job of keeping our heads level. It’s always about how sorry the 49ers are going to be, Coach Harbaugh’s in his first season, no OTA’s — all the negative things… He always reminds us of that and keeps that in our head, that people thought we were going to be sorry. Don’t get too high about people praising us right now because as soon as we lose a game or something, they’re going to be back down on us. We do a good job of just sticking with our plan, keeping our heads strong and don’t get too big and don’t ever get too low. Always have confidence and know our abilities.”

On if he’s surprised the Redskins have lost three in a row:
“[They have] a lot of injuries. They have a lot of things that are going on over there. That’s them. They’ve got to deal with it. The team I’m on is 6-1 and we’re headed in the right direction.”

(Courtesy of the Washington Redskins)
Carlos Rogers said:
On if he felt it was time to leave the Redskins:
“I think it felt like it was time for me to leave. I didn’t think that the Redskins were going to re-sign me anyway. Since I’d been there, I think the only draft picks that they did sign was Chris Cooley and Chris Samuels. I don’t remember any other draft pick that they did sign there. Almost everybody came from outside. Being that I was drafted, I didn’t think that I would be signed either way.”

This is one of the problems that the front office needs to correct. Not only do they have to draft better, as they've started to do, but they need to maintain some homegrown talent and not look almost exclusively to outside free agents.
Right now, we have to see improved play from Laron Landry to legitimize giving him a long-term deal. He was the #6 overall pick in the draft but has not played this season as if he is a 'must have' performer for this club going forward.

Trent Williams? He needs to show he can stay healthy and that he can be a solid pro at left tackle. Jason Pierre-Paul ate him for lunch in the opener.

This year's draft beyond Kerrigan is a question mark so far. Jenkins looks like he could be a keeper and a real contributor down the road.

Hankerson and Helu seem to have physical skills but are transitioning slowly to the NFL game. Part of that may be the lack of offseason work.

I think Shanahan to his credit will spend money to keep productive players we have drafted. And he certainly has passed on expensive free agents like Julius Peppers, Asomugha and others that the Redskins money might have been able to snag.
Not at all. From my observations at practices, camps, etc...Danny Smith is probably one of the most motivated, motivating, and cool cats on an NFL sideline. Any player would love to play special teams for him. Whether or not he is a great special teams coach is debatable, but he's a great guy from everything I can tell.

It's only odd in terms of him picking a special teams coach as his 'favorite' - maybe that's what you meant....dunno.
I'm really not sure although someone here will remember. I am sure that he just remembers Danny Smith fondly because the guy has an amazing personality.

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