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Skins Quotes 11/1: M. Shanahan/K. Shanahan/Haslett

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Boone

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Marine Corps Virginia


November 1, 2012
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the weather turning colder:
“It’s kind of nice practicing in the weather you’re going to play in. I think it really does help your football team to practice in this if you’re going to play in it.”

On tight end Logan Paulsen:
“He did a great job when he was at UCLA as a football player. You can see that he’s a guy that was very consistent. It really hasn’t surprised us how he’s played since he’s been with us because you saw it in practice every day. He just didn’t get an opportunity until a couple guys go down to actually practice at a very high level and play at a very high level. He’s been doing exactly what he’s been doing in practice so it doesn’t surprise us.”

On Paulsen’s workload:
“I know he can handle it. The guy’s in unbelievable shape. He is here early, late, all the time, seven days a week. He studies the game. He knows what’s going to happen before it happens. That’s one of the reasons why he can play at the level that he’s playing at. He’s really a student of the game.”

On offenses focusing on linebacker Ryan Kerrigan since Brian Orakpo was injured:
“It doesn’t surprise me. Anytime you lose a great pass rusher on the other side, you can chip more, slide the line to that side, typical things people do.”

On how Kerrigan approaches the pass rush mentally:
“You’d have to ask him. But it’s tougher when you’re getting chipped all the time. People are sliding your side. So it’s a little bit tougher for a pass rusher when you don’t have the depth that you’d like.”

On if he’s heard anything on [cornerback] DeAngelo Hall’s status for Sunday:
“No. I haven’t heard a thing… I really have no idea. We talked about that a little bit yesterday. I don’t know.”

On if no news is good news:
“Not really. I’ve been surprised before.”

On the second half of the season:
“I think our football team knows where we’re at. Anytime we’re 3-5 at the midway point, you’ve got to play your best football the second half of the season. So hopefully we can start putting some wins together instead of close football games.”

On tackle Tyler Polumbus:
“Tyler is an overachiever to start with. He’s very sharp. He’s very proud and very accountable. He’s played at a very high level since he’s come back this season and you can see him getting more comfortable with the system, more comfortable with our terminology, our offense in general. He’s been a big plus for us. He’s played at a very good level.”

On guard Chris Chester and Polumbus working together:
“First of all, Tyler does have some playing experience in the NFL and we know the experience Chris has. So both of them are very accountable guys, very sharp guys. They make very few mistakes. They’re accountable, tough, and all those things you look for in football players. Usually you get good results.”

On his meaning of accountable:
“Not making mistakes. No mental mistakes. When you go out there, you’re going to give everything you’ve got week in, week out, regardless what the score is. Guys that, when the pressure’s on, play through it, play at their best.”

On if the performance is what he expected if everybody was healthy:
“It’s what I expected. I love the guys that we had. I’ve talked about [guard] Kory [Lichtensteiger], the same type of guy that we’ve been talking about. You’ve got guys that are going to give their best every weekend. The term I use, accountability, toughness, just guys that love to play the game, and great offensive lines that we’ve had here in the past, you could count on guys playing for 60 minutes and they’re going to give their best. Each and every week, they wanted to run the football. They took pride in it. I think we’ve got a lot of guys like that on our football team. [Offensive lineman] Will Montgomery’s done a great job. We’ve talked about Chris. We’ve just talked about Tyler. That’s what you’ve got to have. You’ve got to have a little depth. You’ve got to have it worked out with the addition of [guard Josh] LeRibeus, [guard Adam] Gettis, and [guard Maurice] Hurt, and kind of get a little bit more experience at both guard and tackle positions. Obviously, Jordan [Black] coming in kind of fit into our scheme very quickly. So I like what we’ve got.”

On tackle Jammal Brown:
“We’ll evaluate him when we come back from the bye week and make a decision then.”

On Brown’s potential activation date:
“When we come back [from the bye week]. [He’ll get] three weeks [of practice]. We’ll make a decision at 21 days. Could be the first week or the last week.”

On tight end Chris Cooley:
“I think he’s a little bit more comfortable getting the pads on, doing some hitting, different things he hasn’t been doing for a long time. But you can see him really start to get more comfortable.”

On this season’s midpoint compared to last season’s:
“We could break it down. Obviously, defensively, when you take a look at the stats, they’re probably not even near where they were a year ago. But the good thing about it is a lot of these guys, our safeties are getting more playing time. Our defensive and outside linebackers are getting more playing time. We’ve got to get better to still play our best football. Some of those inexperienced guys are more experienced because they’ve had some playing time so hopefully we can start playing our best football on defense because they’ve got some more experience. Offensively, if you told me before the season, we’ve got the ability to do some of the things we’re doing with our football team, I’d say that doesn’t happen very often in the National Football League unless your defense is No. 1 or in the top three or four. It just doesn’t happen. It just says a lot about the guys we do have on our football team right now. And special teams, I think at times, we’ve played well. Other times we’ve been a little inconsistent. But that’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to start playing our best football to find a way to win those games in the fourth quarter that we haven’t done.”

On the key to turning a defense around:
“Get some more playing time and get more comfortable with the system. You’re able to do some more things from a coaching standpoint with some guys that you weren’t able to do in the beginning because they have that experience and you’ll start playing better. Maybe it’s game plans, maybe one or two guys coming back playing at a different level for a little bit higher standard. It’s your guards playing their best football knowing they have to play their best football the second half of the season. This is where, normally, football teams are taken over by their veterans. It can go one direction or the other and you expect these guys to play at a higher level, even with some of the inexperienced guys. You expect them to get the most of the other players that may not have played at the highest level they can. But it’s either step up or shut up and it’s where you’ve got to get it done.”

On the chances of safety Brandon Meriweather playing this Sunday:
“Like I told you today, he practiced today. He went through drills. He was limited. That’s all I can tell you right now. Is there a chance? Yeah, there’s a chance.”

Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan

On the Steelers defense keeping quarterback Robert Griffin III in the pocket:
“I think we had three sneaks – or two sneaks and a kneel down also. We didn’t get out to the outside edge that much. That happens when you go up against a 3-4 defense. We had some good gives going inside. We hit DY [fullback Darrel Young] on a couple going up the middle. We also didn’t get to run it enough. We didn’t get enough play calls and we didn’t get enough runs.”

On how running the ball from under center affects linebackers and safeties compared to the shotgun:
“I don’t know. I think you’d have to ask them. We do the misdirection out of the gun, but we also run all of our seams. Every run we have we can do out of the gun. You can’t do the zone read and stuff under center and everything, but you can do everything else in the gun. Sometimes you get the ball to the back a little quicker when you’re under center. You can also toss it and everything. I think it’s a little give and take with both.”

On how he addressed the number of drops by the receivers:
“You address it, but usually when you have that many drops it’s more of a mental thing more than actually a technique or physical thing. You want guys to be confident. Sometimes when guys start dropping the ball, they start catching it differently and not being as aggressive with it. You just keep trying to remind them, 'Don’t be worried about that drop. You attacked that ball every time. Have aggressive hands and an aggressive mindset and run through the ball and don’t worry about that drop. You have to play aggressive.’”

On how much he studied Carolina quarterback Cam Newton when preparing to install plays for Griffin III:
“In the offseason, we took everybody in the NFL who had run the zone read and done some stuff with mobile quarterbacks. Carolina had done a lot of it, so they were a huge part of our cut-ups.”

On wide receiver Aldrick Robinson:
“Aldrick is one of the faster guys in the NFL. He’s getting better at his routes every day. He’s getting better at blocking and stuff. With Pierre [Garçon] going down, our two X’s are him and [Leonard] Hankerson and we’ve been rotating them in together. Hankerson has probably played a little bit more throughout the games, but Aldrick has had his time also. Hopefully, he’ll keep on getting some more opportunities.”

On if Hankerson is a traditional X receiver:
“I think if everything is ideal we would probably put him at Z. Hank is a guy who can do both. You usually want your faster guys at X. Hank is not the fastest receiver on the team, but he still is a 4.4 guy. He’s one of the few Z’s who’s capable to do both.”

On the speed drop-off from losing Garçon and tight end Fred Davis:
“Aldrick is fast. He’s the fastest one, so he has it. [Tight end] Logan [Paulsen] is definitely not beating Fred in a race. It’s good just to have Pierre out there because he can definitely run, but he also does a lot of other physical things for us with underneath routes and everything. Anytime you don’t have two of your top playmakers, it’s tough. Our other guys have stepped up. They’ve done it throughout the year with Pierre being out because he’s been out most of the year. I think Logan’s done a good job with Fred being out.”

On if he can call plays the same way with backup personnel:
“It depends who you’re playing. You can’t just dial up deep balls just for any reason. No matter how fast you are, sometimes it’s hard for fast guys to get down the field because guys know they’re fast and they back up. I think all of our guys are capable of beating people down the field, unless they’re playing the go route. I think last week vs. Pittsburgh, we had more shots down the field probably than any time this year, we just didn’t come down with them. It’s a big reason why we didn’t score enough points.”

On Paulsen’s playing time:
“We have a lot of confidence in Logan. Logan has been one of our favorite players since we’ve been here, just in terms of just being reliable. Everything we’ve asked him to do he’s been able to do. He had a big role he had to step in last year when we lost Fred for those last four or five games or whatever it was. He did a decent job. He’s a lot better this year, too. I think it really helped him. Last year, he was just the third guy and knew that specific role and he had to really step it up when we lost Fred and [Chris] Cooley. He had some ups and downs doing it. This year, I think he understood that role and what was expected of him. He still owned his spot as the third guy, but since Fred got hurt and he’s stepped into that starting role, he’s been much better in that spot than last year.”

On what makes Paulsen one of their favorite players:
“I’m not saying that just from a coaching standpoint – his quarterbacks, too. He’s just reliable. He’s a big target. He’s a Neanderthal. We joke around with him and call him that because he’s just big. He doesn’t mind hitting people. He’ll run into anything. He’ll play hurt. He’s just always there.”

On Carolina having 15 sacks this season:
“They get a few with their pressures, but it’s mainly their front four. They have four guys who can rush the passer. They all can get there. When they get into pass rush mode, they’ve been very good at it – especially on third down.”

On Mike Shanahan saying the four-minute and hurry up offense takes away the play action pass:
“I think the play action and the keepers and stuff has been what we’ve done best in our pass games where we’ve gotten most of our yards. When you get in a one-dimensional game and you lose that, it hurts. It takes away a lot of your big chunk plays. You have to execute just dropback passing up and down the field. It’s harder to move the ball when that’s the case.”

On if the hurry up offense eliminates play action:
“It’s a fine line. I think there was 10 minutes left when we got it and down by two scores. It was real close to not being able to do that. We started out with a couple of keepers, a couple of play-pass, when they were still stepping up for the run, that’s when we got some big plays in that drive. I think we moved it about 60 yards. It took about four minutes to do it, but we got out big chunks by doing play-pass and keepers there. If we got it back there and stopped them three-and-out, it would have been three minutes, then is the time we probably wouldn’t have been able to do it. They would have been in complete pass mode. You can do play action as long as they honor the run. There’s going to come a time when they won’t honor it.”

On Griffin III’s leadership:
“So far, just by working with him for a year, Robert has been the same every Monday. Whether he’s been good or bad, whether we’ve won or lost, he comes in upbeat and eager to get better. He’s always trying to correct stuff even when he’s played his best games. He comes in wanting to know what he did bad. He enjoys football. He enjoys being in the building. He enjoys the guys. He’s fun to be around. When you go through something like this, it’s human nature when you don’t have a real good record for guys to get down, but you have to have guys who can stay upbeat and still stay positive. It’s a long year and we have to take one game at a time.”

On if it is usual for quarterbacks to be positive after both wins and losses:
“I think you need that from your quarterback. You need it from your head coach. You need it from your leaders on defense. You need it from specific veterans because most people are going to follow those leaders. When you have guys in those roles and they’re really down and moping around it definitely affects the whole team. I think it’s important on any NFL team to have big players in key positions, especially the quarterback, act that way. For the most part, they all do.”

On running back Evan Royster’s role on third down:
“Evan is solid. Evan’s best thing is as a runner. We put Evan in that role because we really trust him in protections and he has good hands. I know he had a drop on a screen last week, but he’s been solid for us.”

On the difference between this year’s offense and last year’s offense:
“I feel a night-and-day difference. Our line stayed healthy this year. I feel great with our running game. I feel like we’re solid in our passing game. I still think we can improve in both areas a lot. We’ve done a lot of big things, but I still don’t think we’ve played our best football. Halfway through, I think we can do a lot better. I think we have a chance to do something special. We’re going to try and put it all together every week.”

On if the impact of Griffin III on the offense has been greater than expected:
“It’s what we thought. He’s definitely played very well. The whole overall thing with Robert, combined Alfred [Morris] coming in and what Alfred has meant to the run game, some of the stuff schematically we have been able to do, having Robert on the team and a back like Alfred with him, we weren’t counting on all of that necessarily. We knew Alfred had a chance to be good, but if we thought he was as good as he’s been playing, then we probably would have drafted him before the sixth round.”

On if there is another quarterback in the league that means more to an offense:
“I don’t know. I don’t know exactly what everyone is doing right now offensively. I know he’s the most well-rounded and talented guy I’ve ever had. He can do a part of the game that I’ve never been able to do with the quarterback being a running threat and being able to be a part of the run on run plays. Every week, through my whole career, the defense, 11 guys, are trying to tackle that running back and now all of a sudden 11 guys are trying to tackle him and account for the quarterback. It definitely changes up how I see football, how we look at it schematically, the coverages you see, the fits you see from a defensive standpoint, it changes everything. It’s fun for me because I get to learn different parts of football now because I see different stuff, different plays and number counts on everything.”

On how much the coaching staff looks at other teams during the season to gather new ideas:
“We do it all the time. It’s more the teams that we’re playing against. We play Carolina this week, so we’ll go through their seven or eight games they’ve played this year. We go back to last year we go two years prior if their coordinator has been there. We see all different teams and what different schemes they’ve done and attacked them, how they’ve changed it. Sometimes you’ll go to random games to get some ideas if you’re struggling, but usually it’s against completely different defenses, so it’s usually not as relevant.”

Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett

On if practicing against quarterback Robert Griffin III every day helped the defense prepare for similar quarterbacks:
“I think it did. It hasn’t just been the last couple of weeks. The whole offseason we got a look at all the stuff that goes on, so I think there will be a lot of carryover to what Carolina is doing. I really do think it will help.”

On the difference between Carolina quarterback Cam Newton’s first and second seasons:
“I think he’s the same. To me, he’s the same. He’s dynamic. He’s still elusive. He has a great arm. He causes a lot of problems to a defense just like Robert causes a lot of problems. You’ve got to be able to handle the throwing and the running part of it. He’s a handful, that’s for sure.”

On pressuring bigger quarterbacks:
“Well, it’s hard to bring them down. You wrap them up and they get out of it. A couple of times last week, we had [Steelers quarterback] Ben [Roethlisberger] wrapped up, and he stays alive. Even on the touchdown pass, he got out of one pocket and slid around. He’s probably the best at it, staying alive and getting rid of the ball. Cam…if he stays alive, then he takes off and runs on you.”

On last weeks’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers:
“Well, obviously we weren’t pleased with the way we played and the outcome. That’s something we’ll deal with every week.”

On the performance of the run defense against the Steelers:
“We got the one big run on us for 35 yards. We misplayed it. We had a blitz on. It was the first time we ran the blitz. We misplayed it and that was for 35 yards. We had another one that we didn’t play the corner right and it went for 18 yards. So, 50 of the 140 came on two plays. Besides that, we did a good job. And the other thing was we missed a couple of tackles. The disappointing ones were the long runs.”

On preparing for Carolina with the uncertainty around the availability of cornerback DeAngelo Hall:
“We’ll be ready. I’m not really sure what the outcome is going to be. I would think that it’s kind of late in the week to make a decision like that. That’s my own personal feelings on that one.”

On the performance of linebacker Ryan Kerrigan during the last few weeks:
“He’s getting a lot of double teams, a lot of chips. Because of where he was at, he was getting a lot of people around him. The tight ends stayed in and blocked, probably 30 times out of 60 times he stayed in on Ryan’s side to chip him. We moved him around a couple of times and then they had a back on the other side. He’s going to draw attention because he’s the guy. He’s going to have to try to overcome some of those things. We’re moving him inside, doing some different things with him. When you’re the guy, they’re going to find ways to try and neutralize you, and we have one guy like that.”

On how Kerrigan is doing mentally with offenses paying more attention to him:
“He’s doing all right with it. He still gets his pressures in different ways. Obviously, it’s a lot easier last year when we had [injured linebacker Brian] Orakpo running around, but it’s a different dynamic right now and he has to deal with that. I think he’s doing fine.”

On if the double teams create a mental effect in one-on-one battles:
“Well, it shouldn’t be because you like to get the one-on-ones and you have to be successful in those. He’s not getting a lot of those right now. He stayed in last week and the back stayed in. They had seven-man protection in passing situations.”

On playing linebacker Lorenzo Alexander as a pass rusher:
“He can do a lot of different things for us. He can drop. He can cover. He gives you some rush ability. He’s played outside there before. We’re just trying to find the right combination to generate some pass rush.”

On the lack of sacks from the front three:
“Jarvis [Jenkins] has a knack, even when he was in college, he would beat a guy and then for whatever reason, he wouldn’t finish. He has to finish better. He’s kind of been doing that. He’s been getting better with that stuff. He’s doing a great job in the run and getting better in the pass game. It’s just something that he’s got to keep working at.”

On cornerback Richard Crawford:
“We have our third cornerback, Cedric [Griffin], and obviously we wanted to get him back on the field. We wanted to take a look at David Jones. He’s a big guy. Richard is going to be a good football player. He has great ball skills, he’s quick. He’s just young. He’s 22 years old. We’re just trying to get the best players out there to help us win some games.”

On if he is instilling a sense of urgency in the defense at this stage of this season:
“This is the time, if you’re going to make a push in the NFL, the second half of the year is when you want to make a push because you obviously need to win some games to get in contention. If you’re in contention in the last four games, you want to make a great push to get to the playoffs. These games at this time are crucial for our football team.”

On why teams don’t run the option frequently in the NFL:
“I think it’s more because it’s what the people wanted. People want to see the ball in the air. It’s unlike other sports where people can go to the game and see players’ faces. In baseball and basketball, you see the players’ faces. You’ve got helmets on here, so what do they track all the time? They track the ball. So when the ball is up in the air and is thrown up in the air, that’s what people want to see. Now, there’s different ways to win in this league. Teams do it through running. Teams do it through throwing, and that’s kind of the fad right now. And other teams do it through running the option and doing different things with the ball. I just think it’s more what the owners and people want to see.”

On preparing for teams that run different schemes:
“I think anytime you do something different than what everyone else is doing, it causes a problem for teams in the league. It’s hard to deal with in the short span. You’ve got Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to get ready for somebody that’s doing stuff that you just don’t see every day. It’s hard to prepare for that. It’s hard to get ready for peak teams that aren’t doing something that’s conventional to what everyone else is doing in the league.”

On how much extra work he has because of the option:
“The good thing is that we’ve worked on it this summer. We see a lot of different things from our offense so I think we’ve got a lot of carryover when we get into the game.”

On cornerback DeAngelo Hall’s ejection:
“To be honest with you, I didn’t see what happened during the game. I just saw the end result and then I saw it on the film. I’m not going to get into it. I think the head coach [Mike Shanahan] has gotten into it with you guys over that. When I saw it on film, I understand why he was upset. I don’t necessarily agree with what he said. I’m not sure what he said afterwards but I can see why he was upset with what happened on the play. After the film got cut off, I didn’t hear anything... I think he’s grown up a lot. He’s under better control of himself, even with whatever he said to the ref.”

On the season so far:
“Obviously, I think it is disappointing. I think we’re a much better team than our record shows. I’m disappointed that we are 3-5; somebody said we could easily be 5-3 or 6-2. We’re not there right now, that’s reality and we’re going to have to deal with it. Like I said, these last eight games of the year, we have to push on our side of the ball and make some things happen and get back into contention.”

On the performance of DeAngelo Hall this season:
“I think he’s played fine. I think he has played well. We’ve had some turnovers. We didn’t get any last week. We’ve got some turnovers and we like that he’s the kind of guy who is a playmaker guy. He’s got great hands, ball skills. He’s the kind of guy that can you get some turnovers, so he needs to do that. I thought we did a better job covering. We didn’t give up any big plays. We have to continue to do that. Everybody has to pick up their game. Not just D [Hall], I’m talking about everybody on this football team, especially our defense.”

On if there is one specific area of the defense he is most disappointed in:
“We’ve given up too many yards, big plays in the passing game. The rush, you know we haven’t had as many sacks as we did last year. At the end of the year last year, I think we were the 10th or 11th in pass defense, so you think you’re coming back and you’re going to be better in that and right now we’re not. That’s reality and we’re not in that situation. I thought we did much better last week, at least not giving up big plays, but we have to continue to improve and be better in those areas.”

On making up for losing pass rushers to injury:
“You always try to do that when you lose somebody. You try to make up for losing 15 sacks or 16 sacks. You try to make those up in different ways. Right now, we haven’t been successful in doing that. We’ve done some three-man rush to alleviate it. We’ve done some pressure. We’re going to continue to try and put ourselves in a position where we can get some more sacks. You have to stop the running game and have teams throw at you too. It’s a combination.”

On opposing teams using pick plays on offense:
“We haven’t had a lot of pick plays. We haven’t played a lot of man lately. We’ve been playing more zone, but if that happens you have different ways you fight across the pick. You have one guy out of the press and one guy will fight over the pick, you pass them in and out. There are different ways to beat those combinations if you’re a man team.”

On if Pittsburgh used a lot of pick plays:
“No, not necessarily. We played more zone in that game anyways. Ben in the first drive did a nice job utilizing the drive. We didn’t do a very good job of disguising. They would check with me when they came out. We were in a two show one time, they checked to a run. We were in a single show and they checked to a curl. And then he threw a bunch of rocket screens that we misplayed, which was disappointing because we worked on them all week. He was throwing a rocket screen and getting 10 [yards]. You hope you tackle for two yards. We misplayed them a couple of times. They did a good job blocking. The first one, they had great execution when they faked the rocket and went vertical on us. After that, we were kind of hesitant. Nobody wanted to go and make a play. Then once we got settled in, we actually stopped it. It took us a couple of series to get used to it again.“

On goal line defense:
“When you’re down on the one-yard-line, there’s probably a 90 percent chance you’re going to score anyways. Teams know they have a hard time running on us down there. We’re going to change some things up a little bit to help our guys out a little bit. We’re actually a pretty good goal line team. If they’re throwing on fourth-and-six, that means we must be pretty good inside.”
On if Pittsburgh did a better job of getting to the line quickly to make different checks:
“No. We’ve seen that all year – the no-huddle. They did a nice job of reading our defense in the first couple of drives. After we settled in, we moved around a little bit. Then, they actually got away from it.”

On if he has coached or been involved with a team that was able to turn a season around following a disappointing start:
“I just think that you have to put a complete game together from an offense, defense and special teams standpoint. I think once you feel good and get confidence back, things start clicking again. We just haven’t done that yet.”
 

Jimbo

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On if no news is good news:
“Not really. I’ve been surprised before.”
Now THERE'S a nice little ZING! to the NFL Front Office and Asshat Mara.
 

China

The Team Captain
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Michigan State

On the key to turning a defense around:
“Get some more playing time and get more comfortable with the system.
Since they can't get off the field they're getting plenty of playing time. I don't think it's helping. They need better coaching, talent and execution.
 

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