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Marine Corps Virginia


November 21, 2013
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan


On the injury report:

“[Tight end] Jordan Reed did not practice with his concussion. [Defensive end] Stephen Bowen, knee, did not practice. [Cornerback] Josh Wilson with his toe was limited. [Safety Jose] Gumbs, ankle, was limited as well. [Cornerback] E.J. Biggers, knee, was full practice. DY, [fullback Darrel Young] was limited – had a slight tweak in his hamstring. And [wide receiver Leonard] Hankerson had an ACL and LCL surgery today. Recovery time is in the seven to nine month area.”

On if Hankerson’s ACL injury was discovered during the surgery:

“Yes. They thought there was a possibility, but they weren’t sure. When they looked at it, it was about 90 percent.”

On wide receiver Joshua Morgan’s focus this week in practice:

“He’s had a good couple days of practice. He’s practiced well and he looked good today, and hopefully will tomorrow and the next day as well. But he’s practiced well.”

On if he changes his approach to practice and meetings during losing seasons or if he values consistency:

“I think it all depends on how you coach. I’m pretty consistent with the way I approach practice. If your practices aren’t done right, you repeat a lot of plays and hopefully you don’t repeat too many, so you kind of limit. You hope that you’re practicing at a very high level where you don’t have to repeat plays and sometimes you have to repeat plays if you’re not really on top of it. Players know very quickly if you do repeat plays what kind of practice you’re having. I’ve always been that way regardless. To answer your question, I’m pretty consistent.”

On if he had to learn over the course of his career to be more consistent during difficult seasons:

“I have to learn to answer these type of questions: Is your team divided? Do they like each other? Do they still go out for pizzas on Thursday night? Do they go out for pizzas anymore? Anytime you have a little adversity, people are going to look to see if there is a locker room that’s divided. That’s part of it. Sometimes it does happen, but I understand what goes with losing.”

On the timetable for Reed’s return:

“No idea. You don’t know about a concussion. If you’ve ever had a concussion, you really don’t know until the next day. You wake up and see how you feel and the doctors will go through their tests. He did not pass the tests today, though.”

On wide receiver Santana Moss’ comments that wide receiver Nick Williams should get another opportunity to return punts:

“No, I’m not going to tell you if Nick Williams is returning punts on Monday night, but good try.”

On how to determine is a player deserves a second chance if he does not seize his first opportunity:

“It’s your gut feeling, what you think he’ll do on game day. And when you watch a guy perform, you’ve got to always do what you feel is in the best interest of the team. Sometimes you’ll throw a guy right back in there, other times you may wait. You migt put him in there in special situations depending on how the game’s going, the score of the game. A lot of different ways you could go.”

On Wilson’s toe injury:

“Yeah, his toe was infected. It was inflamed. He wasn’t able to wear a shoe yesterday, so he did not practice. Today, it went down quite a bit, so his practice was limited, but it’s still sore.”

On the decision to sign wide receiver Lance Lewis from the practice squad to the active roster:

“We’ve liked the way he practiced. I thought he did a great job in preseason making a couple plays. You could see his consistency on the scout team warranted us to bring him up. Now, he gets the chance to compete and we’ll see how he does during the week and then make a decision on who’s going to be our top 46 for gameday.”

On if success containing Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy translates to stopping San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore:

“Everybody’s got a certain scheme. Minnesota’s scheme is a little different than Philly’s, and if you take a look at San Francisco with their scheme, it’s a little bit more of a power-oriented scheme, but they do run some zone blocking as well. They pull a lot of different people. All three teams you just talked about are very successful running the ball – some of the top teams in the National Football League. You’ve got to be ready for everything.”

On if stopping the run the past two weeks gives him confidence entering Monday night:

“I think we have some confidence that we’ve got the capabilities to stop the run, but you’ve got to go out there and get it done. And as I mentioned, a team that runs 35-40 times, they’re 6-0 when they run the ball consistently. They have an excellent offensive line, a lot of top draft choices, a great running back and a quarterback that has excellent speed that knows how to take advantage of defenses.”

On why second-year quarterbacks are struggling after successful rookie seasons:

“Colin is in his third year, is that correct? I think that’s a big difference. I think your first year, even if you’re sitting on the bench, when you’re learning NFL defenses you feel a lot more comfortable with the terminology. It’s a big difference playing your second year than it is your first year. Your first year you’ve got a new playbook, new terminology, new teammates and you’re getting a chance to see NFL defenses for the first time. But as we mentioned, or as we talked about, it’s a learning curve. I think no matter what situation you’re in or what type of offense you’re running, you’re going to learn a lot. Your experiences in college are going to be different than your experiences in the pros. The great ones have a lot of attention to detail every year and they keep on growing with every practice and they take it very seriously.”

On the expectations for Morgan if he plays:

“When you have Pro Bowl ability, that means you have the talent to make plays. What you have to do is practice at a certain level every day and try to get those talents to work so it becomes automatic and there is no mistakes with depth of routes, catching the football, running a post route, running a comeback route and blocking responsibilities. As he gets better at that, he’ll get more playing time. We’re expecting him to practice at that level where when he does play, he makes those plays consistently. There are a lot of people out there that have Pro Bowl ability that don’t play. We’re going to get a chance to see his jump here very soon because of the injury [to wide receiver Leonard Hankerson] and his potential, so hopefully he takes advantage of it.”

On if he has seen the approach he wants to see from Morgan recently:

“Yeah, I saw two excellent days of practice – one of the reasons why I had a talk with him. I talked to you guys [and said] that I was going to go with [wide receiver] Nick [Williams] and that part of it was special teams, but I talked to him not only about special teams, but about route running and the way you practice – those type things and what I expected of him.”

On how often guys are caught off-guard by what they are told in those conversations:

“I think my responsibility… I’ve never released somebody or cut somebody without talking to them. I’m the one that’s released people [over] the last 20 years. I would never let a guy go and just let him go. I at least tell him what I think if I’m going to release somebody – same thing if a person doesn’t dress for a game. I think it’s my responsibility if a guy has been dressing out on gameday and he’s been part of the 46 [to dress on gameday]. If he’s no,t I’m going to explain to him why. Not only do I talk to him, but I show it on film so they understand where I’m coming from and hopefully when they get that opportunity again, they take advantage of it.”



Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan

On the similarities and differences between the Redskins’ offense and the 49ers’ offense:

“I haven’t studied them this year, but I looked at them in the offseason and I would guess for the most part they base their stuff off of gap and power schemes. Our stuff is based more off of outside and inside zones. I think [for] both of us, the zone-read is the switch up, but our base running game is outside and inside zone.

On Philadelphia’s defense early in the game:

“I don’t really look at it like that. I’ve been in games where it seems like you can’t do anything – guys are just on you and they’re killing you and you just really have no answers – but I definitely didn’t feel like that versus Philly. [When] you have 160 yards rushing in a half, you are doing some pretty good things. I don’t know if that’s the most I’ve ever had, but it’s definitely up there with the most I’ve ever had, so we were happy with that. But we didn’t make plays, which didn’t get us in the end zone. I think we had a couple of passes where it was pretty obvious they wanted to take away our play-pass. You get two people out on a route on play-pass, and when a team plays soft quarters, receivers are doubled . When linebackers don’t step up, receivers are quadrupled, so it doesn’t help for your play-pass, but it helps your run game. I think that has to do with why we ran for 160 yards.
"

On quarterback Robert Griffin III’s comments on the end zone interception in Philadelphia:

“You guys make a big deal of it, and understandably so. I totally understand that, but I try not to pay too much attention to quotes and stuff because you never really know what someone meant and what they were trying to say – or whether they meant what they said. What helped me was that Robert did come in. I didn’t ask him to. He came in and talked to me on Monday about it and tried to clear it up with me and explain to me what he meant to say. Once I heard him and talked to him, I was fine with it. I didn’t take anything personally and it made sense to me what he told me. I had no problems with it.”

On the differences in how teams have defended the 49ers’ and Redskins’ zone-read:

“I haven’t studied them at all this week. I just watched their defense. I’m not too concerned about their offense. But when we study defenses, we know what coverages and what fronts take away a zone-read. There’s no secret. You’ve got to put certain people in certain spots and you’ve got to account for players or account for gaps. If you know football, you’ve got to see what people are going to do and what fronts they’re going to play and what coverages they’re going to play. When you see those coverages, you’ve got to go to other stuff, and you do go to other stuff as a coach. Sometimes, you succeed in the other stuff, and sometimes you don’t. You always try to be good at everything so that no matter what a defense does, you can counteract that and put your players in a position to succeed. Sometimes, it doesn’t work out. Sometimes, you’ve got to get better at stuff that you don’t do as much. You’ve got to plan for everything. This game is about adjusting, and that’s what you do week-to-week, play-to-play.”

On Griffin III’s accountability and leadership skills:

“I’ve got no problem with Robert. I think he’s been a great leader for us since we’ve been here. He really took us on a run last yea,r and I think he turned into a leader last year. He missed a lot of the offseason, so he wasn’t always out there in the huddle and everything, but he was always around and guys knew he was the leader. I think he’s done a good job. I know we’re going through some adversity and that tests everybody — it tests all the coaches, all the players, not just him but everybody else in the locker room. It’s a challenge and it’s something you get better or worse from. I think Robert is going through all that right now and I think it’s part of the process in making him great. I think it’s hard to be great at something if you’ve never been through this type of adversity. I don’t think there’s a quarterback in the NFL, especially the good ones, that don’t go through some tough times. It’s what you learn from it and make out of it that makes you who you are in the future.”

On the loss of wide receiver Leonard Hankerson:

“It’s a huge blow anytime you lose one of your better players. Hank is a guy we really rely on in certain situations and I felt strongly that he has been getting a lot better. I think he was good enough to help us a lot at the beginning of the year, but in these past three games he’s really gone to another level and I was expecting him to have a big game vs. Philly. I was expecting him to finish this year having a big year and it hurts. I was pretty disappointed for him, because you know he’s put in a lot of work. I know he wanted to get those numbers and to show everybody what he’s capable of. With getting hurt, he obviously doesn’t get a chance to do that. He’ll come back next year and he’ll be healthy, but it’s always tough when you lose a good player.”

On why quarterbacks around the league are struggling in their second year, and if that pays off in the third year:

“I think every situation is different, so I can’t totally compare those situations. I think Robert has done a lot of good things this year, too. We’re actually a lot better in a lot of categories this year than we were last year. We’re not winning the games, which is ultimately what we’re judged on. We’re turning the ball over a lot more, but he has definitely been asked to do a lot more – he’s had to do a lot more. He’s seen a lot more different looks than he saw last year, and I think that’s part of the process. Some rookie quarterbacks get thrown in early in the first game of their rookie year and a lot of people recommend not doing that because historically, a lot of rookie quarterbacks really struggled their first year. They go against a lot of stuff that they haven’t seen and they learn from those looks. Even though it’s tough, it makes them better in year two and better in year three. I think it’s been a little bit backwards with us in that situation. I think Robert came out and had the best rookie year maybe in NFL history, numbers-wise and with the success he had. This year, he’s gotten some tougher looks. He also missed a whole offseason and he’s been trying to get back into form, which I think he’s right there. The second year has been harder and it’s what you make out of it. You take a situation like this and you get better from it or worse, and I don’t think Robert has shied away from anything. I think he steps into each week and tries his hardest and whether he plays good or bad, I think in the long run he gets better from each week.”

On San Francisco’s defense and cornerback Carlos Rogers:

“It’s hard for me to tell you about our own players. I see them in training camp, but I don’t see much of our defense after that. Carlos is a good player. Your first question about the 49ers defense is almost everything. It’s a very good defense – the best one we’ve gone against this year. Their front seven is as good as any front seven in football. They’ve got safeties who fly around. Their corners are very good players. I think with them, it starts with their front seven. They can stop the run without safety support, even though their safeties are more than willing to support. They can sit back there and they can play pass-first and still make you not run the ball, so it’s a grind with them. It’s been a grind for every team that’s played them this year. We know we’re in for a challenge. You’ve got to be at your best when you play this team.”

On relying on wide receiver Joshua Morgan and tight end Fred Davis:

“I think it’s only awkward if you just avoid the situation. Josh and Fred are two of my favorite guys that I coach, just as people. I like the guys a lot. I like being around them. They are good dudes. They’re fun to be around. I know last week was tough for them. Any time a coach makes a decision not to use you, that’s hard. I understand that. Whether it’s the right decision or the wrong decision, I respect that. That would be hard if I got benched as a coach, and they just said 'No, Kyle, you’re not going this week.’ I’d be pretty down, too. I can understand being in their situation, but we all have a job to do. People have decisions to make. Whether it’s right or wrong, whether you agree with it or not, I think those guys are man enough to deal with it and it’s not like we hide from them and don’t talk to them. I deal with Josh every day. I deal with Fred every day. I think those guys, especially with some of the injuries we had and the situations we’ve had… I’ve been saying it all year with Fred, I think we’re going to really need those guys to help us this week. I don’t doubt it at all that they won’t do everything they can to help us.”

On if he has seen any anger from Morgan over not dressing:

“No, not at all. Josh is the same with me every day. I have a good relationship with Josh and enjoy being around him.”

On how Davis has responded to his situation:

“Fred just hasn’t quit. He’s known that this year definitely hasn’t gone for him how he wanted it to. We went with other guys in situations and he’s still come out. He’s done a lot more scout team reps than he ever has done in his career. Some guys can mope and stuff on scout team, but Fred has worked harder on scout team than I’ve seen him work. He’s tried to get better even though it’s not the situation he’s wanted. It doesn’t show on the field. He goes out there he tries hard. He runs hard. He’s tried to improve and get better in his game, not just for the team but also for himself. He hasn’t wasted the last six weeks because he hasn’t been playing. I think he’s used it to try to improve in certain areas and I had a strong feeling it was only a matter of time before his opportunity would come with u,s and it looks like he’s got a good chance for that this week.”

On if he envisioned using multiple tight ends at the beginning of the season:

“You always go into training camp and you think of every possibility. You would love to use guys and you’re going to always play the best players. We let guys compete starting in OTA’s and it goes through training camp and it goes every day on the practice field. Other guys did better in certain areas… Once you’re not the starter, you’re not the second guy. The special teams becomes a huge factor too, and how the coach decides the final roster on gameday. All of that goes into account. I wish we had four tight ends up every week. I’d love to put in a four tight end package just to see what that would do to a defense, but then you do that and you might not have that many receivers up in the game, not because you don’t want them up but because you can’t dress everybody that’s on your team. Everything goes into the decision. You’re always going to try to do what you think gives you the best chance to score and then our head coach can decide what gives our team the best chance to put a roster together."

On if the starting field position has caused him to change his approach:

“It’s been unusual. I haven’t been back there this much in my career. I didn’t know that stat, but that makes sense — a quarter of a century — but it’s not something that you really enjoy, but if everything still works out, you get a 99-yard drive and that’s always more fun than an 80-yard drive, but it makes it a lot harder.”

On the difficulty of the defense’s job because of the average starting field position:

“You’ve always got to look at field position. You take a look at it over a length of time. But same thing for offense. You’re backed up, you’ve got to go on an 80-yard drive or they’ve got to go on a 50-yard drive. It doesn’t matter what it is. You’ve got to step up and get the job done.”


Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett

On if he has seen anything change in 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick:

“I haven’t seen anything that’s changed based off what I’ve seen from last year to this year. I think one, he’s a great athlete. He’s got great speed. He’s got a big time arm. He does a great job with their zone read. I think he’s running the offense as well as he can. I think he’s doing a nice job.”

On if it is easier to prepare for Kaepernick now that there is more game tape on him:

“Well, that and they run a lot of similar things that our offense runs so a lot of it’s the same so our guys have an idea going into the game. There will be some things that will be different obviously, but the motions in the backfield, the shift boots and all that comes into play.”

On what has contributed to Kapernick’s struggles this season:

“He’s had a lot of injuries at that receiver position. I’m not really sure why the numbers aren’t the same but he didn’t start until halfway through last year. But I think you look at the receivers – he’s had a lot of injuries in that area, you know, [wide receiver Michael] Crabtree being down and they traded [wide receiver Kyle] Williams or cut Williams and I think that kind of plays into it.”

On pursuing and trying to tackle Eagles running back LeSean McCoy last week and how that compares to what the 49ers present in the run game this week:

“Getting him down wasn’t the easiest part but I thought we did a good job on McCoy. We’ve faced three of the best in the league back-to-back-to-back here, so I think [49ers running back] Frank [Gore] is different than [Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian] Peterson and obviously McCoy is a jump around guy and he jump-cuts you and all that. This is different. This is a violent runner who goes downhill. He hides behind people. He has great power and strength, great leg drive. So it’s a different type of guy, but we’ve seen three of the best the last three weeks so this is a great test for us because I think we’ve done a pretty good job on the other two.”

On the key to containing Kaepernick:

“You’ve got to be disciplined, No. 1. He’s got great speed. You’ve got to have somebody that can run him down. But he’ll run at the drop of the hat. If nothing is open, he turns it up and he’s got great speed. So it’s a good test for us up front to make sure we stay disciplined in our rush lanes.”

On if Kaepernick is running as much as he did last season:

“Yeah, I think so. I don’t see any difference.”

On outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan getting matched up in the passing game on LeSean McCoy and what causes that to happen:

“Well, it happened – we ran it 10 times during the game and he covered him like six other times. We did have a blown assignment on it. On that play that we would have had a guy if he ran the same play [linebacker] London [Fletcher] got the sack – same exact play they ran versus the play we ran he got a sack, so we had a missed assignment on it probably when it happened. It’s one of those situations we ran it 10 times during the game and we just had a missed assignment that got him open.”

On defending the screens:

“We weren’t very good on the screens. We made a change at halftime. We did a couple of things different to take it away. That was one of our bugaboos. We haven’t played that well – the tight end screen and the halfback screen. We made a little change later on. They ran a couple of other ones at us and we took it away so we’ll hopefully continue to do that. We’re going to keep working on that area but that was probably, out of the game, the stuff you can play 60-something plays, we had four really poor plays and two of those were screens.”

On if the 49ers offense is a favorable matchup for the Redskins defense:

“I don’t know. I just think the guy [Gore] is a heck of a running back. You know, we played them a couple of years ago and he got out on the edge on us one time – we missed the tackle and he ran for 27 yards I think it was – but the guy is a great running back. So even if you’re all in the right spot at the right time, you’ve got to tackle him and that’s probably the hardest thing about the whole thing.”

On if he does anything to keep practices engaging despite the team’s record:

“I’m going to be the same way I’ve always been. We’ll be upbeat. We’ll be on the field. We’ll get them to do the right things. We had a great practice yesterday on defense. I thought we were outstanding. So as long as you see that, that’s all you can ask from your players and I don’t see any difference. We’re not coaching them any different. This whole coaching staff on defense will get after them and we’re not going to let up. We had a nice talk on Monday with the team, the defense, and we’re not going to have trouble. We’re going to try to play better. We’re going to try to play more consistent. That’s what we’re going to try to do. If we get 60 plays, we’re going to try to play 60 perfect plays. Is there a chance that’s not going to happen? Probably doesn’t happen too often in the NFL, but we’re going to try.”

On if that was the message of the talk on Monday:

“The Monday talk? Yeah, basically. We’ve got to take care of business. It doesn’t make a difference how many games are left, how many days are left, what the season is, what the record is, you’ve got to go out and play every snap like it’s the last one and practice that way. Like I said yesterday our practice… we had a great practice yesterday.”

On why he has been consistent with where linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan line up:

“It’s really more based on who you’re playing, what they’re doing, and we just haven’t done that as much as we did maybe last year or the year before, but we’ll try to get those guys mismatched as much as we can. We haven’t had a lot of leads this year to do those types of things.”

On Orakpo’s improvement versus the run:

“I think 'Rak is – you know, missing last year, he’s come back – I think he’s starting to peak to where he was before. His sack total has jumped up. He’s rushing much better. He’s violent in the run game. A couple of weeks ago you guys were asking me [if] his sack total was down… I think he’s coming around and looked like the 'Rak of old… I think 'Rak is good on the run. You know the No. 1 criteria for outside linebacker is obviously pass rusher. No. 2 is you’ve got to be able to handle a tight end, beat up a tight end. I think him and Ryan are excellent in both of those.”

On the challenges of facing a physical runner like Gore:

“I said he’s a different type of runner than Adrian Peterson and McCoy. I think there’s three different types of running backs. You’ve got one big guy that kind of jump cuts, slips through holes and McCoy was a jump cutter and he runs all over the place – Barry Sanders-type guy. Frank’s the kind of guy who takes the ball downhill. He’s going to run you over. He’s not looking to miss, you know, juke you and all that stuff. He’s going to take it, put the foot in the ground. He’s got great leg strength and drive and I think that’s our challenge. When you get to him, you better be able to tackle him. He’s got a little stiff arm and all that, but he’s a heck of a running back.”

On if success containing Peterson and McCoy will translate to stopping Gore:

“I hope so.”

On how to take advantage of facing a quarterback with a low completion percentage:

“You can take that and you can say that. I think they’re smart in how they use Kaepernick. I think they’re a really good football team, a team that went to the Super Bowl last year. They got a great defense. I think they’re smart. They’re going to win because their defense is a heck of a team. They don’t want the quarterback to take a lot of risk. You know, you don’t have to. He doesn’t have to be a great risk taker. They run the ball as good as anybody in the National Football League and they use the quarterback extremely well. So I think what they envision how they’re going to win football games, I think they coach the quarterback up to do exactly what they need to do to win.”

On the similarities in the read options between San Francisco’s offense and Washington’s offense:

“I think there’s a lot of similarities when they run it. There’s just the exact – the reads, the shift plays they run with it, like I said. There’s a lot of similarities.”

On if those similarities will be helpful:

“I’ll let you know.”


San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh

On teams defending the read-option better and if that is causing Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick to struggle:

“We don’t feel Colin Kaepernick is struggling. I think he’s playing very good football. And watching RGIII on tape, I feel the same way about him. They’ve been a very productive offense. They put points on the board. They move the football and score points against everybody that they play. I guess I don’t agree with the premise of the question.”

On if teams are playing Kaepernick and Griffin III differently this season:

“Like I said, I think Washington’s offense has been very effective. They’re leading the league in rushing and are top ten in other categories. They’ve been an effective offense in many ways. We recognize them as a very challenging team to play offensively and defensively and on special teams.”

On tight end Vernon Davis’ success this season:

“Vernon’s had a very good season and it’s still being written. I think that’s a thing – the story of this season is still being written for individual players and for our team.”

On how the Redskins are able to run the ball so effectively:

“They also have good balance, but they are very good at executing various plays that they run. They have a very sophisticated, multiple scheme offense and they come off the ball. They’re effective in many areas – throwing and running the football. They have good balance.”


San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick

On if he keeps an eye on other young quarterbacks around the league:

“Not too much, I’m more worried about what we’re trying to get done.”

On what he studies to try to develop his game:

“When I study, I’m studying us and the opponent we’re getting ready to play.”

On if defenses play him differently now that he’s in his second year:

“A little bit, but it’s more the base defense that they always play. Teams aren’t going to completely change their defense for us.”

On the differences in the way defenses play him:

“It depends week to week. There are different looks that they give us.”

On the key to continue developing his game:

“The more experience you have, the better you’re going to be and the more comfortable you’re going to be with everything that’s going on.”

On injuries at the wide receiver position:

“It’s different when you don’t have [wide receiver Michael] Crabtree, [wide receiver] Mario [Manningham] and players like that on the field. At the same time, we’re running plays and we’re trying to make it work and the personnel we have… We have good players out there, so it really shouldn’t be any different.”

On how he deals with criticism:

“I don’t worry about that. I worry about coming in here, working and getting ready for the game.”

On how he adapted that mentality:

“That’s just how I’ve always treated things.”

On the Redskins defense:

“They play hard, they play fast. They do a lot of things well.”

On the Redskins run defense:

“They’re physical up front. They do a lot of things to stop the run and they’re good at it.”
 

Bulldog

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Evidently the Redskins have a team of 'practice' players. Each week Shanahan talks about their effort and execution in practice. Such a shame it doesn't translate to the field on Sundays for any of the three units.
 

Lanky Livingston

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Crapernick is really struggling this season. Nothing like facing the Redskins defense to get your mojo back though...if Christian Ponder can shred us, Colon Crapernick is gonna destroy them. Ugh. This is gonna be embarrassing.
 

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