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Skins Quotes 11/19: Shanahan/Garcon/Bowen

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Boone

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Marine Corps Virginia


November 19, 2012
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On safety Brandon Meriweather:
“He played great. You can’t ask a guy to play any better than he played. Thirty-seven plays, the tackles, pass breakups, the interception; he’s just a football player. Unfortunately, it’s the first time he’s ever been hurt. He’s never been hurt in the past. He’s has a couple shoulder sprains here and there, but every once and a while these things do happen. It was the right knee. He has never had any problem with the right knee before.”

On the possibility the injury was related to Meriweather compensating for his previously injured left knee:
“You never know. I can’t tell you that for sure, but that’s a possibility.”

On what Meriweather’s presence on the field allowed the defense to do:
“He made some plays, as you could see. He made some nice tackles, pass breakups and he adds a lot to our football team. Now we’ll have some guys step up and play well in his spot. I thought DJ [Gomes] came in and did a good job. After Brandon went down, he came in and had a nice hit in there. I’m expecting these guys to step up and take his spot.”

On safety DeJon Gomes:
“I think you saw during the game that one hit he had. Hopefully it continues and he plays at a high level.”

On the time table of finding out about the extent of Meriweather’s injury:
“Just found out. In fact, he wanted to go back in the game. He talked to me after the game and said he felt great and, 'don’t worry about me coach, I’m ready to go. It’s a little sprain; I could have gone in there and finished the game.’ Obviously, with the score the way it was, we weren’t going to take a chance and put him back in.”

On if he talked to Meriweather after the discovering the extent of the injury:
“Yeah. He’s obviously shocked and disappointed. He loves football. He’s got energy out there, one of the reasons why we brought him in. It’s unfortunate because he’s been healthy. There have been a couple of freak situations. Hopefully he can take care of that and come back next year ready to go.”

On if Meriweather’s energy positively affects other players:
“I think any time you have a guy looking forward to playing, and he’s played at a high level, it’s great to have those guys out there. They add an air of confidence to your football team and more importantly, they make plays.”

On if the ankle injury to linebacker London Fletcher is a concern with a game on Thursday:
“Sure. Any time you have an ankle sprain, you’re not really sure. He’s in a boot right now. Knowing London, he’ll be back as soon as possible, but we’ll have to evaluate it day by day.”

On Gomes and safety Reed Doughty:
“You give guys opportunities to make plays. A guy like DJ…he went in there yesterday, made a couple of plays and looked good. Reed is very consistent as well. I’ve got a lot of confidence in both guys.”

On the challenges of preparing during a shorter week:
“You have about a day and a half to put in your gameplan. Normally, you have a good three days, plus a little bit of study time. What we do today is we watch through our special teams, look at some film. Guys will be on the field for about 45 minutes, just walkthroughs. We’ll have a meeting on the field. Tuesday will be like a Wednesday/Thursday practice. Wednesday will be like a Thursday/Friday practice during the season. The only difference is you’re traveling on that Wednesday, so it’s really kind of like a Saturday. You try to get as much as possible of the normal game plan done. You can’t overdo it because you want these players to go out and play, but they’re in the same situation that we are with the preparation so it evens out.”

On if having the bye week close to the Thursday night game helped with early preparation:
“It’s much better having the bye week when we did where we could prepare for a couple of days and look at an opponent rather than just have a Thursday night game and no time in between.”

On wide receiver Pierre Garçon:
“I’ll be honest with you; I was pleased with what he played. A couple of breaks in there, a slant route, a comeback route. I was impressed with how he ran the routes in comparison with how he looked after he came back from New Orleans. That was encouraging. The thing you don’t know is if he can handle the turf, if he can play on the turf. We’ll take him out before the game and hopefully the pain is not that great and he can go out there and help us win.”

On Garçon’s role in the offense:
“You would like to play him as much as possible. Two things, you have to make sure he’s in football shape and number two, it’s not bothering him, as was mentioned, so that he can go out there and help us win. He’s had a couple of weeks of getting back in football shape. He made some plays in that game. Obviously didn’t get the ball on a couple of those plays, but you could see that he could separate and do some things that give you a chance to win. The big question now is, can he do it on the turf? It’s a little bit harder, a little bit tougher for a guy like him going through the type of pain he’s dealing with on the bottom of his foot.”

On if the injury to Meriweather lowers the confidence of the defense after a great defensive performance:
“No, I don’t think so. You’re always disappointed when you lose an excellent player, but guys step up. We’ve had that happen throughout the season and most teams go through the same situation. They should be proud with the way they played. We played extremely hard. We had a number of sacks, kept the yardage down, obviously six points; you can go on and on. That was a football team playing extremely hard for 60 minutes and that’s what you’re looking for. Hopefully it can carry over.”

On Alfred Morris playing on more third downs:
“I thought he did an excellent job. He’s getting much more comfortable with the system. I told him he can stay in there as long as he wants to. When he gets tired, he comes out on his own. He’s got a good feel for our protections right now. Any time he’s in the game, he’s an added threat for us. He feels good enough to pick up all the different protection schemes. He’s strong enough right now where he’ll put his hat in there and do the things that he needs to do to give us good protection. I have a lot of confidence in him. He’s always a threat running the football, so that’s why he’s in there.”

On making adjustments to the pass rush:
“There are always different things you have in the gameplan going into each game, depending on the strength or weakness of a offensive line, different protection schemes. We’ll continue to mix things up a little bit. Sometimes it’s with different personnel groupings, other times it’s with schemes. You have to do that on a week-to-week basis because if they ever stereotype you, usually they can pick you up pretty quick.”

On what makes quarterback Robert Griffin III an accurate passer:
“You’ve got to be able to make plays off schedule and I thought he was able to do that. A couple of times, things broke down and he made some plays on his own, which is a testament to what type of quarterback he is and what type of athlete he is. To get a good feel and make plays that he made, most people can make. He just has to keep working because every week, as we’ve talked about, is a learning experience for him and he’s going to look at some things and say 'Oh man, just missed it.’ Hopefully the next week and next week it comes to him. Like we’ve talked about, it’s a two-or-three-year process, but he’s doing a heck of a job.”

On how he feels about Griffin III making off-schedule plays:
“If you watched him in college, he’s been making those plays for four years in college. He’s got the ability and arm strength to go to one side of the field and throw it back 65, 70 yards. Most people can’t do that. Or when he threw it back to Pierre, it wasn’t that far but he has the confidence in his arm to get it there very quickly. Now, sometimes you go against excellent defensive players that have speed too, so a lot of times it doesn’t get there quick enough or you’d like it to get there a little bit quicker, like that situation occurred. Not many people can make that throwback play.”

On going for it on fourth down in the fourth quarter:
“I thought I was already up by three scores, to be honest with you. Any time you take a look at 18 points, you get eight and eight is 16, you’re up by 3 scores. Seven, seven and seven is 21. I really felt two chances with third-and-one and fourth-and-one…normally we make those plays. Unfortunately, we didn’t. I’ve been doing that for a long time. It’s worked out well for me. We’re always going to be on the aggressive side of play calling. I’ve been in situations like that where I’ve gone the other way and kicked a field goal and I missed it and I gave them excellent field position where they go right down the field. Instead of thinking what you thought, all of a sudden they have the ball with the right down and distance. I thought it was a chance to wind down the clock a little bit and still score a touchdown.”

On Kai Forbath being perfect on field goals attempts this season:
“It was a great decision a couple of weeks ago on our part [laughter]. You never know. I was hoping, but as you said, he came out here with two veterans and, to be honest with you, he was a guy that no one really talked about. He came out here to kick and he won it legitimately against three veterans that have been in the NFL for a long time. Usually when you handle pressure, it translates over to game situations. Fortunately, he’s taken advantage of the opportunity and hopefully he can keep it going.”

On Forbath’s kickoffs:
“This was the first game that he really did a poor job at kickoffs. He’s been doing a good job, been doing a good job in practice. I can’t tell you why he didn’t kick the ball well in this game on kickoffs, but I’ve been pretty pleased with him since he didn’t kickoff in college. To see him kicking off consistently as he has, I’ve been pretty impressed. He just had a tough game and hopefully he can get better at it.”

On the process of choosing an inexperienced kicker over three veterans:
“I always take a look at those other couple of kickers; they’ve been cut for a reason. I’m not sure why. Sometimes it’s age, sometimes maybe they didn’t have a lot of confidence in the situation, but if they’re out on there on the street and then this guy really has never had an opportunity, I’m going to judge him from what he does on the field. This guy was in Tampa Bay’s camp and never had a chance in preseason to show people what he can do. And at Dallas, he didn’t have an opportunity to play in any games. He won the competition here and sometimes all of a sudden you’re 0 for 4 and you look kind of silly, but when a guy comes through like he has, you’re just glad he took advantage of the opportunity and glad he’s on our football team. Hopefully he’s kicking well for a long time.”

On linebacker Ryan Kerrigan’s performance:
“Ryan has been very consistent the whole year. Any time you lose a pass rusher on the other side, or a couple of guys on the other side, or another guy on his side, it puts a lot of pressure on a guy. He’s been playing extremely hard each week. He gives you everything that you want on every play. He’s never missed one play since he’s been here. He fights for 60 minutes. He’s the type of guy you want to go to war with.”

On why ACL injuries have been so prevalent this season:
“I wish I knew, because then I could prevent it. Unfortunately, you can’t. It’s a nature of this profession. Guys are going to have ACLs for one reason or another, I can’t explain why. If someone does get the answer to that, they’ll be making a lot of money quickly.”

On Griffin III playing on Thanksgiving Day:
“Everyone looks forward to playing on national television. Obviously, on Thanksgiving, everybody is watching. Your peers are watching. You want to perform as best as you can so you can show people what your organization is all about."

Wide Receiver Pierre Garçon

On how he felt after the game:
“I felt alright. I felt good. No setbacks.”

On how he felt while running:
“I can’t say I was close to where I want to be, but I just have to keep pushing, keep going with it and move forward.”

On what challenge a short week will provide him:
“The same challenges I have been dealing with everyday - waking up, checking the foot out and trying to relieve as much pain as possible.”

On if getting a victory helps make the injury feel better:
“Oh yeah, getting a victory always makes the injury feel better. You work hard throughout the week. You put a lot of effort and time into preparing for the game and when you come out victorious, a lot of things feel a lot better.”

On if the coaches had a plan for the number of snaps he would see:
“It is all up to Coach. Coach has a rotation and has an idea of the number of snaps he wants us to do. It is really all up to Coach and whatever Coach asks us, we just do it.”

On how he thought he played yesterday:
“I didn’t do anything spectacular or crazy but I helped out, blocked, caught a couple of screen passes; did everything they asked me to do really.”

On if he will wear different cleats for the turf in Cowboys Stadium:
“No, I probably will be wearing regular cleats like everyone else. You don’t really wear something special to try to get comfort in your foot.”

On if what was asked of him last game will be the limits that are placed on him this season:
“Hopefully what I did is not what I do for the rest of the season. The foot is going to get better over time. Every day is getting better. Just hopefully it will continue to get better where I can help out more.”

Defensive End Stephen Bowen

On the front seven:
“I still believe we are the strength of this team. We had injuries but we still are dominant. We are No. 7 against the run. I think we can improve against the pass, but I think after the bye week everybody had a little spark and a little sense of urgency.”

On the performance by safety Brandon Meriweather last week:
“I think he brought a spark to the whole team. [He is an] amazing player and it showed in his play. It spoke for itself. I don’t really have to talk about it; everybody saw how much of an impact he makes.”

On making adjustments during the game:
“It was just being technique sound and just carrying out the calls that Coach Jim Haslett was calling. A lot of blitzes were designed for people to come free and we were able to execute it.”

On if the game plan they utilized was what they were expecting from the Eagles offense:
“We expected them to try to establish the run. They wanted to get their running game going but because of turnovers, it kind of took them out of their game plan, so they were forced to pass. They like to max protect a lot so we tried to find a way to still get pressure in that situation.”

On the challenge of playing two games in five days:
“It is really hard. Me, I’ve always been used to it. Being at home and being comfortable even though it is a short turn-around… but we have to travel. We still have to get the work in to get a win. So I’m sure everybody is still excited from the win and they just want to keep it rolling. Whatever it takes.”

On if he ever got used to having a short week when he played for the Dallas Cowboys:
“It was just normal. We already knew we were playing Thanksgiving so it was just expected. In your mind, you knew you had to get ready to play. We had to do the necessary things, whether it’s stretching, getting in the cold tub, or getting all the knick-knack injuries cleared away for the game because you really don’t have that much [time] to recover.”

On if the game plan will be streamlined because of the short week:
“I think it is just a normal game plan. I mean it is going to be within a short span of time but I think they will try to get a good sense of what their team is doing and us trying to understand what that is. But I’m sure Coach is going to do a great job of telling us what they are going to do to us to try to win and what we have to do to stop them.”

On what he does personally to get ready for two games in five days:
“Just resting. You can’t really go as hard as you really want to. You’ve got to make sure you are still fresh for the game. But [I’ll] do a lot of studying, watch a lot of film, I will get in the cold tub and ice my knees to do the different exercises to make sure my knee is still strong.”

On why Dallas is so successful in Thanksgiving Day games:
“It is just who can execute better. For us, we want to keep this thing rolling. Nobody wants to go home a loser after Thanksgiving. It is not fun. So, we want to try to do whatever it takes to get this win, come back home and relax for a little bit and then move on to New York. By no means are we taking this game lightly. Every game from now on is very, very serious, crucial.”
 

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