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Skins Quotes 11/21/11: M. Shanahan


The Commissioner
Staff member
BGO Ownership Group
Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC
Military Branch
Marine Corps
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Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On tackle Trent Williams’ MCL injury:
“The MCL is a Grade 1, which is a good sign. We’ll just have to evaluate it as the week goes on. He’s still quite sore at this time.”

On cornerback Josh Wilson’s hamstring injury:
“Grade 1 hamstring, which is also a good sign, so we’ll just evaluate it throughout the week.”

On the decision not to go for two after the fourth quarter touchdown:
“I’ve only done it one time in my career, where I’ve gone for the two point conversion [to win the game.] I thought we were very tired on defense. We had lost a couple players. I felt like we were also tired on offense but I felt pretty good about where we were at and their defense was tired so we actually went for a two-point conversion. It happened to work, which is always positive. You’ve gotta go with your gut right there. My gut was obviously, 'Go for overtime.’”

On kicker Graham Gano’s low field goal average:
“Very disappointed. Like everybody – you have to perform and you’re hoping that he performs at a high level. [When he] gets the opportunities you want him to convert. If you don’t take advantage of those opportunities then you don’t kick in the National Football League very long. We all know that. It’s a pressure job and you’re always hoping that a guy comes through and if you don’t come through enough then you lose your job, just like every other position.”

On his other options at kicker:
“First of all, there has got to be people out there that you feel are better, that you feel are consistent. We’re always looking at different people at all the different positions…in case we lose a kicker – it could be to a hamstring, it could be to an injury. So, we’ve always got a list of people we have on the charts that might be available in case we lose somebody.”

On if Gano is still the Redskins choice at kicker:
“Yeah. Unless we find somebody that we think will help our football team win that’s better than him.”

On veteran players speaking up at Saturday’s team meeting:
“I knew it was going to happen before it happened. Sometimes you want people to speak or you invite people to speak. There’s a lot of different things you do the night before the game. We won’t get into a lot of detail of those things but that happens a lot more than you’d think.”

On Gano’s growth as a kicker since the 2010 season:
“You always want consistency from your kicker. Obviously, Graham hasn’t been as consistent as we would like. We’re hoping that he improves in that area. I thought that he’s done a great job on his kickoffs. Overall, he’s got some great leg strength. As you can see with that 59-yard field goal, he’s got the availability to make the long field goal. But you would like that consistency with a kicker and hopefully he gets better in that area.”

On why the offense was able to find a better rhythm against Dallas:
“I think they were a little more comfortable with each other. I think you gain a little confidence as time goes on. You understand that when things don’t go right you don’t panic you just kind of relax, guys get together, everybody does their job. We didn’t have that in the first quarter so I was wondering what direction we were going to go. That’s why I kind of mentioned after the game that I was really proud of our football team because a lot of teams, when they haven’t had success going against an excellent football team, a lot of people do panic. I was pleased with the way they kept their poise and the way they worked and they were able to come up with some big plays and some big drives late in the game.”

On cornerback DeAngelo Hall’s strong post-game evaluation of himself:
“Well, I always like people putting pressure on themselves and DeAngelo’s got a lot of pride. He works extremely hard. He wants to make those plays and that’s what you like to see. You’d like to see everybody do that. I think everybody from players to coaches understand we were one play away and their play could have made the difference. If they think that way then they’ve got a chance to improve.”

On his role in keeping Hall’s confidence high:
“He’s a professional and he works pretty hard at his craft – very hard at his craft. Two completely different type of scenarios – one was in an all-out blitz, kind of ran like a little stutter at the line of scrimmage, more of a hot receiver. It was a broken play and [quarterback] Tony [Romo] did a great job of throwing the ball up. This was different. This was double coverage. All of a sudden we had somebody on the inside and all of a sudden somebody trips and they make a play. You take a look at the rush, we had a chance, really, to pin them inside and not even get that…had a chance to have a sack. So, there’s a lot of things that go into a play not working, not just the coverage but sometimes the pass rush. At the end of the day, you’ve just got to find a way to win and that’s what I told our football team. I said, 'Hey, it’s over with but we’ve got to do the things to make sure that at the end of the game, we win that football game.’ Too many missed opportunities. We’ve gotta go back and work harder and make sure that those opportunities, when given, we take advantage of them.”

On Trent Williams’ status for this weekend against Seattle:
“I really don’t know. After the game [Head Athletic Trainer] Larry [Hess] told me that he thought it might be a third-degree MCL, which means that there’s a lot of movement in that knee. After the MRI it’s a first degree. Normally with a first degree, most people play but it’s very painful right now and it didn’t look very good when I looked at the tape on that field goal protection. After the MRI came back it’s a plus, so, it’s a chance [that he will play].”

On how the offensive line held up on Sunday:
“I thought we did a good job overall. We put Tyler [Polumbus] in there. In that situation, just coming into our football team, not knowing the system, not knowing the terminology, going against a number of excellent players, I thought he played well.”

On if he thought Hall’s evaluation of himself was fair:
“Well like I said, that’s the mindset you want. You want players that play with the mindset of perfection. When you do give up a play, regardless of what the play is, you want to take it very personally. I think a number of our players do that on our football team, which gives you a chance to get better. If you don’t have that type of mindset and you just say, 'Hey, you know, it’s another play,’ to me, you’re not made of the right stuff. So yeah, I like guys that are hard on themselves, but after you look at film you work to make sure that doesn’t happen the next opportunity you get.”

On if he believes that Hall is not making the type of plays he’s capable of:
“Well like I said, after a game there is emotion within 24 hours. DeAngelo [Hall] is going to come back and look [at the film] and we’ll talk about the technique and what things we can do to get better. I believe he had 11 tackles in that game. He played extremely hard. I don’t like people to get down on themselves, but at the same time, I like people to be tough on themselves. I’ve got a lot of belief in DeAngelo that he’ll come back and play extremely hard and take advantage of his opportunities the next time he’s on the field.”

On the ineffectiveness of the running game:
“First of all, you’ve gotta have that big run somewhere in the game and we haven’t been able to do that. Unless you get a couple of those big runs you look pretty average and that’s what happened during that game. They do a good job up front, we miss a few holes, obviously the blocking wasn’t perfect…but we did what we needed to do to win the football game and that’s what counts. That’s what I was pleased with even though we didn’t get it done.”

On if he evaluates the impact of specific plays on the game’s outcome:
“You better do it every game. That’s the only way you get better. You take a look at a play and you say 'Hey, was it the right call, was it the right defense, did we work on it enough, did we blitz, were we at the right depth, did we have the right matchups with the right players?’ Yeah, you go through all of those types of things.”

On why running back Roy Helu isn’t receiving more carries:
“Take a look, how many plays did Roy have in the game? No, no you just look at carries, but it all depends on how a game is going. We’ll separate it. I think Roy had like 38 plays and you take a look at Ryan [Torain] and how many plays he had and you take a look at [Tashard] Choice. Then, when you start to get afeel on who steps up, then you give somebody a little bit more reps. That’s what we’ve done with Helu. He’s gotten more reps than the rest of the backs. He keeps on proving that he’s the guy then he’s going to get more and more.”

On what facets of the game Helu needs to improve:
“The big run. Consistency. He had a couple of nice runs in that two-minute – it was perfect runs, perfect opportunities. They were in a two-minute type defense – they were rushing the pass and we had a couple of trap plays. We had a chance late in the game on the last drive. He almost broke that run – the handoff to the left. It should have went probably 20-25 [yards] and we missed a block and had to turn it to the inside, but he hit that hole nice. I like Helu. He’s doing some great things. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him too early. He’s not ready for that, but he’s gaining experience. I like what I see.”

On running back Ryan Torain:
“Sometimes guys will have that great game – when we played against the Rams, he was off the charts. And you’re looking for that to come back and sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. That’s part of the evaluation process, especially when we’re struggling in our running game – to find that spark. Who’s going to be that guy who possesses that spark to help us a little bit? You have to be able to make plays when the lights are on. You know when you see it and you know if you don’t. That’s why we’re rotating a lot of different guys.”

On the lack of turnovers by the starting cornerbacks:
“You’d always like those turnovers. We’d like those interceptions. We understand that. We got better with pressure, [but] we just haven’t had those picks with our corners. We keep on working on it and hope it comes in bunches just like it did against Chicago a year ago.”

On Hall having fewer interceptions:
“Well, in Chicago, he had four in one [game] and he had six through the season. They talk about what a great year DeAngelo had with interceptions. Well, if he gets four next week, all of a sudden he’s doing pretty good. So hopefully he does come up with those turnovers.”

On the game-winning field goal and tight end Fred Davis’ fumble:
“Well, the field goal, the guy underneath the goal post has got the best view in the house and so you can’t argue with his view. He’s going to make the call he thinks is right. I just had made a comment when it’s that close sometimes it’s really hard to tell [if the ball goes inside the uprights] and that’s why we had talked about the extension or a beam going up there, all those type of things. Everybody plays under the same rules. Relative to Fred Davis, [Referee Ed] Hochuli came over to me and he said, 'Mike, if they would have ruled it down, I wouldn’t have overturned it.’ He said, 'It was that close. I couldn’t tell either way, so I stayed with the call.’”

On running back Tashard Choice’s play against the Cowboys:
“That just kind of gives you an idea of our running game – it was not very good and sometimes it’s a combination of both. You’ve got to have that running game. I thought we ran the ball enough to keep them honest. That was one of the reasons the play-action was there and I thought we were able to move the ball. But I wanted to keep on emphasizing the running game. [That’s] something I believe in, I’ve always done, but we’re not very consistent right now and hopefully we’ll get better.”

On his expectations of Choice heading into the game:
“We didn't have any expectations. I thought he’d carry the ball somewhere in that four, five, six, seven [range] just like he did – just get a chance to evaluate him and see what he could do.”

On the injury status of guard Maurice Hurt:
“We’ll get a chance to evaluate him this week. He’s still sore. Right after Wednesday’s practice, I’ll give you an update.”

On safety DeJon Gomes starting in place of safety LaRon Landry instead of safety Reed Doughty:
“Well, [DeJon] is a young player that has great speed. You could see that speed on special teams. You could see it in practice. We wanted to give him an opportunity to see what he could do and he really played well. He got hurt early – there was movement in his knee – he played through it, had a lot of pain. He played on special teams as well. So, to come in and make the plays that he made, especially being hurt playing special teams really impressed us first. Not to take anything away from Reed because he’s done a heck of a job when he’s been in there, but, with his speed, we wanted to get a chance to see what he could do. He took advantage of the opportunity.”

On the decision to not play Landry:
“When you can’t practice then you’re not going to play. He wasn’t able to practice and hopefully this week he’s feeling better and some of the pain subsides that he’s able to practice and play.”

On the injury status of linebacker London Fletcher’s ankle:
“It’s still sore, but he’s a warrior. He plays at a very high level. He’ll probably be ready for next week just like he was ready for this week. He does a great job of taking care of himself, doing the things necessary to get himself ready to play.”

On if he has a rule that if players don’t practice on Friday that they won’t play in the game:
“Normally, if guys can’t practice Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, the chance of them playing well on game day, at least in my experience, is slim and none. A lot of times you’ll have guys missing Wednesday and Thursday, not a lot of times, but sometimes and, all of a sudden on Friday, they feel pretty good. Then, you have to evaluate them depending on what player it is. What you think his chances are if you do bring him up to play to well, at least play better than the backup is after two days of practice. A lot depends on what type of experience, what type of player he is, what your gut is on how he handles situations like that. So there’s all different types of scenarios. Usually the players that play the best have at least practice. Now, a guy like London Fletcher, you can hardly keep him out. I’ve got to fight to keep him out of practice because he wants those reps. He can see how important it is. And I’ve got to limit him so he’s not in there all the time so I don’t set him back for game day. Everybody’s a little bit different. You need reps to really play at a high level to perform. It’s fine line. [Oshiomogho] Atogwe, he wanted to play and I said, 'I can see that you’re not going full speed.’ I had to force the guy to actually stay out, but he knew it was in his best interest. A lot of these players are not going to always tell you that 'Hey, I’ve got to sit out. I have too much pride.’ You can see that they’re limping. You can see that they’re not going full speed. Sometimes, you have to make a decision you think is best for the team.”

On if wide receiver Santana Moss will be back this week:
“He’s going to try and catch today and tomorrow. I think we’ll get a better feel for how his hand feels on Wednesday. We’re going to put him through some drill work to see how his hand can react to the football. He’s feeling okay. I think he’s in good enough shape to be ready to go. It all depends if that hand is healed or not. I think we’ll try that tomorrow.”

On wide receiver Anthony Armstrong’s performance:
“On the interception, obviously, Rex got hit a little bit before. He was trying to throw a go route and it went to the inside. I thought Anthony did a good job making a tackle – the hidden yards that we talk about all the time. I thought [Donté Stallworth] came in and really took advantage of some opportunities to play. He had a couple nice catches against bump coverage. We got some competition at that position, so we’ll evaluate these guys during the week and go with the best player. If Santana’s back, obviously we’ve got more guys to bring back and more depth which is great.”

On Armstrong’s production in the game:
“Anthony didn’t have any catches, but I thought he played hard and played well.”

On the injury status of wide receiver Niles Paul:
“Toe is still pretty inflamed. I would say he’s probably out this week with a chance next week, but I wouldn’t say it’s 100 percent, but probably close to it.”

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