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Skins Quotes 11/14: Shanahan/RG3/Reid/Cole

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Marine Corps Virginia


November 14, 2012
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On additional team captains:
“On offense: Robert Griffin III. On defense, we had a tie at the top with Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen and obviously Lorenzo Alexander was already captain on special teams. Trent Williams obviously was on offense at the beginning of the year and London Fletcher on defense and Lorenzo Alexander on defense...Obviously we voted at the midpoint or right after the bye week and those are the guys that were voted in by their teammates.”

On having six captains:
“Usually I’ve had five. Sometimes I've had three. [This is] the first time I had six just because of the tie. I felt it was important for both Barry and Stephen to be out there, so we will be well-represented.”

On if how far back he has elected captains after the first half of the season:
“To be honest with you, a lot of times guys come in with free agency and the draft; I don’t think they know each other. Usually guys that are voted in are the guys that have been there from the year before. When it does, voting at the midpoint, you get a chance for players to see guys play during the season like Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield. These are guys that have been around for a year, then all of a sudden you see them through the first half of the season and say, 'Hey, we want these guys to be our captain.’ I think it is a great honor. And you get a guy like Robert Griffin III, a rookie coming in, it’s very hard to vote a rookie to be your captain, and midway through the season they say, 'Hey, he’s our leader.’ So, it is something I have done before. I like it. Each year is a little bit different, but I think it has worked out well for us this year.”

On if he has had a rookie captain in his coaching career:
“I was trying to think if I ever had a rookie captain. I don’t believe I have.”

On the status of injured wide receiver Pierre Garçon:
“You know he was limited today, but he practiced so that was a good sign. So hopefully there is no setback and he keeps on progressing.”

On the status of tackle Jammal Brown:
“He worked. He got good work in. I don’t think there was any setback for him. Tomorrow will be his first day in pads so I think he is looking forward to that to see how he fares with the equipment on.”

On Garçon getting more work in individual drills:
“He has been doing that the last couple of days which is a big plus because he hadn’t been doing that for a long time. So it is a good sign.”

On Griffin III saying he is hungrier:
“I think people get a chance to rest their body a little bit to get rejuvenated. There is a lot of stress that goes on just getting ready for a game plan. It doesn’t surprise me, Robert is a team leader. He wants to get us going in the right direction. So I would expect that of him.”

On how productive conversations with the players after the bye week were:
“Well, I can’t tell you exactly. You just covered something we talked about for an hour. Usually, what we try to do in the bye week is take a look at the things you have been doing poorly, try to figure out why, and improve in those areas. Sometimes, as a coaching staff, you’re looking at personnel because you don’t get a chance to really hone in because a lot of times you are getting a game plan ready.”

On the status of safety Brandon Meriweather:
“He looked good today. He was limited. He didn’t take full reps, but he was looking good. [He has] a lot of enthusiasm out there. He is playing with a lot of confidence so just keep your fingers crossed that there is no setback tomorrow or the next day.”

On if Griffin III’s running style worries him because of the number of injuries Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has sustained:
“If anybody could answer that, they would be pretty smart. I don’t know if you can answer that in the National Football League. You’re always hoping people can stay healthy and I think Robert has gotten much better knowing when to slide, throw the ball away, and different things we talked about earlier in the season. You’re always trying to keep away from those concussions, those head injuries which are obvious. There were a number of them last weekend and I think that brings attention to how much contact is involved, especially at the quarterback position.”

On if there is a change in the tenor of his football team after a bye week:
“I think our football team understands we are going to play our best football in the second half of the season. I think all football teams do regardless of what your record is. You’ve got to play well. Our focus is on one game and that is Philly. Let’s play our best football and let’s concentrate on one game and do it that way, the old-fashioned way.”

On if there is an advantage of having the bye week late in the season:
“I’ve always liked them in the middle for some reason. In my past history, most of the bye week has been mid-season or later. Yeah, I like them a lot better then.”

On if it helps that the Giants have come back toward the pack in the NFC East:
“I think everybody can figure out the math and everybody can take a look at the schedules, but our concentration is on Philly.”

On the differences in handling Griffin III and former Broncos quarterback John Elway are rookie stars:
“We are protecting Robert more than John was protected back then. It was kind of open season. Imagine if Robert had open season this year, how many interviews he would have and things along those lines where he can concentrate more on football. So I think you learn from some of those previous experiences on how to handle a guy or at least give him a chance to get ready to be a quarterback on your football team. So hopefully it is a little easier on Robert than it was on John back then.”

On if he looks at teams like Philadelphia and says it is a “good time” to catch them:
“If I was the head coach there, they’ve got the same opportunity we have. You take one game at a time and you win the rest of your games. That is your focus. [They are] a very, very talented football team as we are well aware. They are going to take care of business just like we are going to take care of business to get ready for a game.”

On his relationship with Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid:
“I’ve never spent a lot of time with Andy with him being in the NFC and me being in the AFC through all those years. But we have had a couple of beers together, we have talked and we are friends. But, it is not one of those situations where we hung out or were assistant coaches growing up even though we both coached in San Francisco.”

On tackle Trent Williams:
“He was hurting a little bit today. Just a little bit sore.”

On tight end Chris Cooley not being involved in the passing game:
“We really don’t know who is going to be involved in the passing game. Somebody tells you that for sure, I don’t think they will be telling the truth because you can always double team somebody. But, you know we are going to have game plans and try to the best thing we can do to move the football.”

On if he thinks the NFL is taking the right steps to protect guys who get concussions:
“I think they put in some strong language, but I think common sense prevails. I know when our quarterback comes to the sideline, you look in his eyes you can tell something is wrong, don’t put him back in. That is my gut. And doctors are obviously on top of all those things and they know what to do. I know that one time Robert came to the sideline if he was OK, I said, 'No, you’re not OK. Go see the doctor.’ Then sometimes, I don’t know what happened with [Bears quarterback] Jay Cutler, but Jay is a guy that is kind of hard to tell. When I was with Jay, he wasn’t coming out of the game no matter what. And, it was just a mindset. I don’t think he ever missed a minute in high school or college and he is kind of hard to tell. Because he was hit a couple of times with me and I couldn’t really tell. So everybody is a little bit different.”

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

On the similarities between him and Eagles quarterback Michael Vick:
“I got a chance to meet Michael Vick at the symposium. He talked to us and it was good to hear from him. One of the things he said was 'I look forward to playing each other during the season.’ But he’ll be out for this game. That’s unfortunate for a lot of different reasons. I think the key factor that people look at when it comes to me and him is just the excitement level that we bring to the game – the things that we can do. Aside from that, I try to stay away from the comparisons.”

On if seeing how much Vick has been hurt over the years is a cautionary tale for him:
“It’s not a cautionary tale. Football is a violent game. Vick has been beat up a little bit throughout his career. There are other quarterbacks that get beat up throughout their career. There’s a number of quarterbacks right now that are out with either concussions, shoulder injuries, anything like that. Like I said, I try to stay away from the different comparisons.”

On if he is still enjoying his fame and the pressure that comes with it:
“It comes with the territory. Being the quarterback, you’re going to get a lot of excitement around you, especially in a city like this one. They’ve been hungry for victory for a long time. I plan to be the guy to bring it to them as a leader of the team. Like I’ve told everybody, it’s not just myself out there. All these guys put in a lot of work and it’s going to pay off. People are going to see.”

On what he did during the bye to come back as a better quarterback:
“You just try to make sure you clear your head and don’t get frustrated with anything. All these guys are out here putting in a number of hours to be great and it’s going to happen. That’s the bottom line. You continue to do what you did to get to this point – whether it’s technique, film work, just being great and trying to approach every practice like it’s your last practice – like it’s a game. Those are the things I tried to do – just clear my head, make sure I came back even hungrier and I think I have.”

On at what point he can say the risk isn’t worth the reward of putting himself in danger like in the fourth quarter against Carolina:
“If it’s fourth-and-four, it’s worth anything. That’s the way I looked at it. It was a fourth down play and we needed a first down. It doesn’t matter what the score is, how much time is left in the game. You make that decision in the heat of the moment. If it was the first quarter and it was third-and-three and at the 3-yard marker and there was a couple guys there, I would’ve slid or just gotten down. In that point of the game, you make the play you have to make and I made it.”

On if he traveled back home to Texas during the bye week:
“I didn’t go back to Texas. I just tried to get away from the familiar, so I went away.”

On there being no room for error in the remainder of the season:
“You take it one game at a time. Philly is the only thing that’s on my mind. It’s the only thing that’s on all these players’ mind. We have to take care of what we can handle and what we can control. Philly is the only thing that we have on our minds and that’s the way I look at it.”

On if he felt like he needed a physical or mental break going into the bye week:
“For a lot of the rookies, it’s been a long journey thus far. For a lot of the players in general, it’s been a grind. I think everybody needed that week to just get away. Like I said, we wanted to go into that bye week with a win and we didn’t. A lot of guys went out and probably had to do some soul searching just to find themselves to come back hungry and I think everybody did that.”

On playing so many games in a row without a break:
“It doesn’t bother me. It’s another obstacle that you have to handle. The amount of games – 16 games and however many it is after that – doesn’t bother me. I don’t approach it that way.”

On if wide receiver Pierre Garçon will play this weekend:
“I’m not the coach, but it would be good to have him back. He’s looked good. Like I told him, we’re going to have many great seasons, many great games together. We might as well go ahead and start it now.”

On if it will be difficult to recapture the chemistry he and Garçon created in the beginning of the season:
“I don’t think so. The whole week we’ll work on our timing – getting that back. I threw to him all offseason, so it’s just a matter of getting that channeled back in. I think we’ll be able to do that.”

On if it helps the Redskins that other NFC East teams are struggling:
“The rest of the NFL definitely helped us out by having teams in our division lose. It does bring everything back. Guys can put that in perspective however they need to. The way I look at it, Philly is the only thing we have to worry about.”

On if he watched Vick play growing up:
“When Vick first came out, I don’t think anybody couldn’t help but watch him. The things he was doing on the field were amazing. I watched him growing up. He’s a very exciting quarterback and he’s had a journey of his own. Aside from that, he was a good quarterback, in my opinion a great quarterback. I enjoyed watching him.”

On what a 'hungrier’ Griffin III looks like:
“It’s just the attitude you bring. I think whenever you do get away for a week… I thought I was hungry before the bye week. You come back and you realize just how much more energy you have just having that week off, getting away and not seeing guys. Not that you don’t want to see them. You want to see them all the time. But just coming back with a lot more energy and you just know that everybody is looking at me to be the guy to make everything work. To me, that’s not pressure but I just echo it to everyone else that it’s not just me. People will say it’s me and I’ll get all the blame and all the fame, but it’s the guys around me that make me great.”

On playing two games in five days:
“Football wise, you usually don’t get that experience in high school or college, so I’ve never dealt with anything like that. Of course, basketball you play game after game after game. Football’s a lot more physical so it’ll be interesting. But you just try to make sure you take care of your body whether it’s foam roll, stretching, cold tub, different things. Hydrate to make sure that you can go.”

On what he can do to do more:
“The way I look at it is I’m my hardest critic. My dad is also my hardest critic. So if you have a pass that’s not where it needs to be, you fix that and I’m all about fixing my mistakes. So I can’t go out and tell you guys all my mistakes or divulge any secrets, but I’m all about that. Make sure you fix those mistakes so you don’t make them again so you don’t have any excuses.”

On Baylor quarterback Nick Florence:
“I talk to all those guys. I’m proud that Nick has his chance to have his year as a quarterback. It’s a lot of hours. He was there just as long as I was. It’s good to see that. They’ve got K-State [Kansas State] coming up. I think it’s a home game so it’ll be interesting. I look forward to seeing them go out and be successful.”

On returning to Texas next week as an NFL quarterback:
“It is what it is. I know a lot of the fans told me they pay attention to the Redskins now because I am the quarterback here. But I’m a Texas kid, so it’ll be fun to see the kind of reception I get in Cowboys Stadium. I’m not expecting good or bad. It’s just a matter of it’s football; it’s the NFL. So for that one day, fans won’t be fans of me but hopefully they will be.”

On what he needs to improve on based on his first nine games:
“Just negative plays and decreasing the negative plays as far as coverage sacks or just not getting rid of the ball. I thought I did a good job even throughout the preseason eliminating those, knowing what I needed to do, where I need to do it and I just trust in my instincts.”

On reading the field:
“You just have to know where your eyes have to go on different plays. There’s a lot of moving parts to the offense so if you’re not on top of what you’re supposed to do, you’ll get lost in it and not know where you’re supposed to be looking. Just over the course of the whole time throughout the season and having those in-game reps, being able to see things clear, it is showing up a lot better for me.”

On if the playoffs are a realistic goal:
“I don’t think it’s an unrealistic goal. For us, the biggest thing, like I said the whole time, it’s one game at a time. You don’t look to the future because you have to take care of what’s in front of you. What am I saying? Yeah, I think the playoffs are a realistic goal for us and I don’t think there’s a guy in that locker room that doesn’t believe that.”

On if the concussion evaluation process worked for him:
“Yeah, I thought it did for me. For most players, it’s just based on your experience and how your body and your head responds to everything. For me, I was back to normal relatively quickly. For other guys that get headaches, they get off-balance, they get dizzy. You just have to be honest. It’s just as much on the player as it is on the staff. You have to be honest with the coaches. You have to be honest with everybody no matter how bad you want to play. I knew something was wrong, and you had to get out.”

On if it’s a secret where he went during the bye week:
“Yeah, it is.”

On wearing different color shoes:
“In college, I used to wear a white shoe and a black shoe. The whole message is just everybody’s working together…. Wednesday, Thursday the shoes will be different, and on Friday we bring it all together to get ready for Sunday.”

On what Kentucky fans should know about Baylor University basketball during football season:
“They should know that football is king. But aside from that, basketball is really important, especially at Baylor with how good our men’s basketball and women’s basketball have been doing. I almost played basketball. But they should know it means as much as football, but football is still king.”

On if Baylor can pull off an upset:
“Can the Bears pull off the upset? I mean yes. I mean of course. They are the Baylor Bears so of course they can pull off the upset.”

On if he developed a sense of knowing when is the right time to take a hit after sustaining a concussion:
“Yeah, it’s just about being there for your teammates. Like I said, with football, you only get to play football for so long. With things like that, you give it perspective. You know my health, my well-being beyond football is more important than that one play. So you have to know when to do things like that. The refs are going to do their best job to protect you. Your teammates are going to do their best job to protect you. But you also have to protect yourself. So no matter what you feel about the hit, it happened. It put you out of the game. You just have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

On his rib injury:
“I’m fine. I should be alright.”

Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid

On dealing with a season that has not gone as expected:
“Listen, that’s part of this league. I understand it. You keep trying to get better. That’s what we’re doing.”

On if practicing against Michael Vick helps his defense prepare to play quarterback Robert Griffin III:
“You could say that, but at the same time they run a few different wrinkles with Robert with the option game. We didn’t do quite that much option with Mike like they do.”

On the NFC East being tight and if that means they still have a chance to make the playoffs:
“That’s the way the National Football League is. You’re in it and so you keep playing and you play hard and you keep working hard. That’s how you go about your business.”

On if there is anything about Vick’s running style that leads him to be more vulnerable to getting hurt:
“I think any quarterback that runs in this league – you’re open. Once you get out of that pocket, you’re free game – just like a running back would be. Michael is not the biggest guy, so those hits, they’re going to hurt. That’s how it works. Robert’s seeing the same thing. You play the style that they play and you’re going to take some hits.”

On if quarterbacks have to learn a sense for when to get out of bounds and when to throw the ball away:
“Yeah. At times, there is a time to go down and a time to throw it away.”

On his impressions of Nick Foles:
“We really have only seen three quarters on him in the real football part of it. I can tell you he’s a smart kid and he’s a tough kid and he has a good arm. The players have respect for him.”

On what he liked most in Foles coming out of Arizona:
“Probably those qualities. I thought he handled things properly. I think you have to be wired right to play in the NFC East as a quarterback and to deal with the media, to deal with the fans and to deal with the football part. That’s all part of it. I thought he could do that. He did well in college. He threw the ball around and utilized a lot of receivers, looked like he understood coverages and seemed like the players around him played hard for him.”

On if he is surprised by Head Coach Mike Shanahan’s record with the Redskins:
“He’s a great coach. You’re talking about a Hall of Fame coach. A lot of things go into that and he’s trying to rebuild that program. That doesn’t happen overnight, but you’re talking about a Hall of Fame football coach.”

On if this season has been disappointing in terms of where the Eagles are right now:
“Listen, this year is not over. We’ve had some things go the other way where we lost games and that’s all part of this league. You just keep battling. We’re playing in the National Football League. There’s only 32 of each one of us that has an opportunity to do this. I’m talking about players, coaches, everybody. It’s a privilege to play and coach in this league, so you don’t put yourself in that position where you’re down like that. You have an opportunity and that’s how you look at it.”

On if he has a relationship with Shanahan:
“We’ve talked at the meetings and such. I have a lot of respect for him. I do.”

Eagles Defensive End Trent Cole

On his impressions of quarterback Robert Griffin III:
“He’s a very athletic player. He’s a guy [that] reminds me of Michael Vick. To me, he’s more of the running back type. He’s more like a running back. He’s an all-around player that you have to watch out for. He’s just somebody you have to respect coming into the game.”

On how Griffin III hurts defenses:
“Like I said, when he needs to run, he can run. He can work. He wears us down by running the ball. You give him an area to run, you give him a gap to run, if he sees daylight, he’ll take advantage of it and he’s going to take it.”

On if working with quarterback Michael Vick prepares his defense for Griffin III:
“Yeah. It doesn’t pretty much help us to play him, it’s just that we know we can’t let him out of the pocket. We have to keep a tight pocket as a whole defensive unit. Just keep a tight pocket. Also, like I said, he can get the ball downfield to his receivers, too. It’s getting that pressure on him. That’s the key. Once thing I’ve seen them do is they like to run the ball a lot. I think that’s one of our biggest keys going into this game is stopping the run. If we can do both of them things, we have a chance of winning this game.”

On his impressions of quarterback Nick Foles:
“We’re behind anybody that steps up – whether it’s Vick, Nick Foles, whoever is in there, they will get the job done. It’s not something we’re suspect about. We’re all for it and it is what it is.”

On how Foles can win games and hurt defenses:
“The only thing I can really say is I think he’s a very poised quarterback. He’s comfortable. He doesn’t get distracted.”

On if the playoffs are still a realistic option for the Eagles:
“Yes. I think that’s still there for us. There’s a lot of teams that are sitting in our position. There’s a lot of teams that have sat in our position and made it to the playoffs and made it to the Super Bowl. There’s always hope. This is the NFL. Any given Sunday, anything can happen. I’ve played eight years in the league. I’ve seen some of the craziest things happen. Like I said, we’re not going to give up. This is Eagles football and we’ll fight until the end. It doesn’t matter what happens.”

On the changes in the team over the last couple years:
“Like I said, coaches can coach and as players, we have to do our job. It’s just a matter of us, as a team. We have to go out there and execute. We have to go out there and can’t have mistakes, can’t have turnovers. You have to do everything right to go out here and win games. There’s great teams out here that when we go to play them, they’re on their A-game and they’re going to go in there and bring their best game. It’s all about who is going to come to the game, not have turnovers and not have mistakes and go out there and play on the other side of the ball.”

On the burden a quarterback places on his team when he constantly puts himself in danger in order to make a play:
“RGIII and Michael Vick, they both are sacrificing for the team. They want to win and they’re going to sacrifice their bodies to help us succeed and be successful. You have to give it to players like that who know that they’re putting themself in jeopardy when they’re running downfield like that.”

On the positives of a quarterback being willing to put himself in danger to make a play:
“When a quarterback is running downfield like that, there’s a positive and a negative side to it. You just hope there are more positives out of it. If there’s a negative outcome, you just hope it isn’t bad.”
 

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