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Marine Corps Virginia


November 27, 2013
Redskins Park


Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the injury report:

“[Tight end] Niles Paul did not practice today. He was ill. [Tight end] Jordan Reed was limited. [Fullback] Darrel Young did not practice, and [safety] Jose Gumbs was a full practice with his ankle.”

On what else Reed has to do to be cleared to play:

“We just more had a short practice today. He’ll get evaluated every day, and if there are no setbacks, he should be OK.”

On how the absence of Young impacts their normal game plan, especially in short yardage situations:

“Well, not just short yardage, but he’s in our base package. Any time you lose your fullback, it does limit you. We have tight ends that can play the same position, which was evident against San Francisco.”

On if they have filled the open roster spot:

“No, we have not.”

On if they did not fill the roster spot yet because they are evaluating players:

“We have an idea. We’ve got a couple of people in mind – possibilities. Sometimes, there’s injuries where if you don’t have to replace somebody right away, you can wait till the end of the week or possibly after the game, but right now we haven’t done anything.”

On if it is worth it to try to return kickoffs when you can take the ball at the 20-yard line:

“That’s a good point. That’s a very good question. What’s leading the NFL that’s usually between the lowest and the highest is five yards, so that’s why you’ve got to do the best thing for your football team. You’ve got to put that in the equation depending on who your top 53 are or who your top 46 is for game day, but that’s part of the thought process that you have when you’re getting people ready for a game—offense, defense, special teams, that’s part of the mindset of what direction you could go.”

On how much blame falls on quarterback Robert Griffin III and if he has seen a resulting loss in Griffin III’s confidence:

“First of all, everybody is going to look at the quarterback. It’s just the nature of the business with the won-loss record. We all understand you win as a team [and] you lose as a team. That’s the way we think. That’s the way we operate. Not one person loses a game. Everybody loses a game, starting with me.”

On the Giants defense:

“They are just playing very good as a whole. You can tell they’re very well coordinated. They’re playing the same defense that they have been. You can see they’re a little bit more comfortable with each other. I think [linebacker Jon] Beason coming in has helped them. It looks like they’re playing with a lot more confidence with him in the starting alignment – just a confident football team.”

On the difference in Griffin III’s public perception from his rookie year to this season:

“I think any time you set the record for having the best year in the history of the game, it’s always going to be hard to make that jump or make that comparison, which he did the year before. Any time you’re second, or first really, in yards per play, that doesn’t happen very often, let alone a rookie, and making the Pro Bowl, so we understand the type of year he had. We also understand that he’s coming off of an ACL [injury]. That’s not easy. You don’t get many reps in the offseason because you’re going through rehab. That’s part of the growing experience for a quarterback missing an offseason, and as I’ve mentioned before, between winning and losing, it’s everybody doing their job.”

On how to approach Griffin III psychologically:

“It’s not just the quarterback, everybody struggles. When you lose, you lose together. We understand all of the scrutiny a quarterback goes through and it’s part of the job and there’s a lot of responsibility with it. You’ve got to be tough. You’ve got to believe in yourself and when the tough times start, you’ve got to be tough enough to fight through it. He is tough enough to fight through it.”

On his relationship with Giants head coach Tom Coughlin:

“You know, I know Tom fairly well. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. We’ve had some knock-down, drag-outs through the years, going back to Jacksonville and obviously with the Giants. But I’ve got a lot of respect for him as a person and as a coach. We’ve never coached together, it’s just us competing throughout the years. In fact, it was kind of interesting – when I was at Florida, I was going to go to Philly as a wide receiver coach and Tom wound up going. That’s when I first heard of Tom – coming out of the collegiate ranks. That goes back to ’84, so I’ve known him for a while. I wound up going to Denver and he wound up going to Philly, but I had interviewed over there with Marion Campbell, who was the head coach, so you’re talking about almost thirty years ago.”

On wide receiver Santana Moss returning punts:

“I talked to Santana and wanted to know if he wanted to go back there and he said, 'Coach anything to help the team out.’ Sometimes, I don’t always want to put a veteran back there for obvious reasons, but he said, 'Hey, whatever I can do to help the football team I want to do,’ and I thought he was our best choice to get a little spark going.”

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

On the team’s offensive struggles against San Francisco:

“We’ve just got to make a conscious effort to decide over these next five weeks that we’re going to get better and it starts by going to work. It started today. We had a nice practice, good practice, guys were locked in and that’s all you can ask for at this point right now. We’ve got to win. We’ve got to win right now and let everything else take care of itself. We’ve just got to control what we can control.”

On a possible rift between himself and the offensive line:

“First of all, me and my offensive linemen are fine. Let’s just cut that right there. There are no problems there.”

On how he tunes out the gossip about the team:

“When it comes to not looking at that outside stuff, it can be hard because some way or another, somehow, things just find their way to being right in front of your eyes. It’s in moments like these we always say, 'Keep your head up,’ but right now we have to make sure that we keep our eyes on the prize, keep our head down away from everything else, and really focus in on that tunnel vision that you want to have all the time. It’s paramount right now.”

On his goal for the last five weeks of the season:

“Win.”

On if he has a response to comments by San Francisco linebacker Ahmad Brooks that he is not healthy enough to be playing:

“I do not. I appreciate his compassion and they’re a really good defense. They played extremely well. I know their coach was excited about that. We didn’t play well and we will play better.”

On how outside distractions get back to him:

“Just one way or another. I didn’t say that [I have trouble with distractions] by the way, just to clarify that. I said somehow, some way, sometimes, things find their ways to right in front of your eyes. I’ll just leave it at that. I’m not going to go through that and tell you guys how that stuff happens, just that sometimes it happens.”

On if missing the offseason has contributed to his play this season:

“I think an offseason definitely helps, but I don’t use those excuses and I won’t use that excuse – that’s for me personally. As far as the coaches are concerned, if that’s how they feel then I can’t combat that. But me, personally, I won’t use that as an excuse.”

On if he sees the rest of the season as a chance to improve his game:

“Yeah, [over] these next five weeks our goal is to win. Period. That’s all that matters right now.”

On his father being in the locker room after the game:

“I don’t know what all has been said, I just know it hasn’t all been positive. My dad came to check on me. He came to check on me to make sure I wasn’t injured. Mom was upset. He wanted to do his fatherly duties and step in there and see if I was OK. That’s all I can say.”

On if he was surprised to see his dad in the locker room:

“Yeah, I mean family members sometimes come in the locker room, so I’m not going to say whose family members are in the locker room. It’s just he showed up, I was shocked that he was there, but he meant no harm and anybody out there that’s going after my dad needs to back up. That is my father. I will protect my family and he served 21 years in the military. I know that’s not an excuse for anything that he does, but he’s not overstepping any bounds, so I hope that people will respect that and back off.”

On what they talked about:

“He asked me if I was OK and I said, 'Yeah, I’m alright,’ and me and him just talked and then that’s it.”

On what made his dad think he had been injured:

“Just taking a couple of shots. Obviously, I got kicked in the gonads. He wanted to see if I was I was OK there. That’s politically correct, right? So he was just checking on that and it’s more so that my mom was… No mom wants to see their kid out there getting hit at al. So like I said, it was just him being a father, my mom being a mother, and there’s no problem in that.”

On if he pays attention to reports that his offensive lineman are not picking him up after sacks:

“I don’t. Like I said earlier, there’s no fracture between me and my offensive lineman. I love those guys.”

On if his “gonads” are healthy enough to produce a “Griffin IV”:

“There will be a Griffin IV.”

On if it is frustrating that the conversation surrounding him is not primarily about football:

“Yeah, it’s unfortunate we’re not up here talking football a lot of the time. Like I said, it’s unfortunate and some will say it comes with the spotlight. I don’t know. I don’t know what it is. All I know is [over] these next five weeks, we’re concentrated on winning. That’s what I’m focused on and I know the guys in that locker room are focused on that, too.”

On if he already has a plan for his offseason program:

“No, I don’t, because I’m not thinking about the offseason right now. I think once you start doing that, you’ve officially given up and you probably shouldn’t step on that field. My focus right now is [on the] Giants and that’s all I got.”

On if there are specific aspects of his game he plans to work on in the offseason:

“There’s always things you can work on, but that will be between me, my coaches and whoever else I work with.”

On if scrutiny has hardened him:

“I don’t know if it’s hardened me. You have to know what people’s intentions are, and that’s it. Like I said, we’re focused on winning.”

On the psychological difficulty of struggling in his second year after an excellent rookie season:

“Anytime you lose in the National Football League, there’s going to be criticism and we understand that. The hardest part of all of this is probably the fact that we know that we’re not what our record says we are.”

On the psychological challenges for him personally:

“I mean, this is a team game. I’m not going to sit up here and talk about myself. So like I was going to say, talking to those guys in the locker room, we know we’re not what our record says we are and that’s what makes it tough. It wouldn’t be this hard and no one would be criticizing if we didn’t think we were a good team, if people didn’t think we were a good team. Right now, we haven’t played like a good team and we have to get back to that. That’s our focus in the next five weeks.”

On whether the loss to San Francisco is more attributable to their strong defense or the Redskins’ poor offense:

“It’s a combination of both. We just weren’t able to stay on the field on offense, and we’ve got to move the ball. You’ve got to be able to run. You’ve got to be able to throw. You’ve got to be able to do everything. Like I said, they are a good defense, but we hurt ourselves a lot, too.”

On what he is thankful for and his favorite Thanksgiving meal:

“I’m thankful for a lot of things. I’m thankful for family. I’m thankful for friends. I’m thankful to God. He puts you through a lot of trials and tribulations in life, [but] none that you can’t handle. [I’m] just thankful that He wakes us up every day [and] that there’s nothing wrong with me and my family. My favorite meal – a little gumbo, sweet potato pie, a little cornbread, a little bit of that. There’s always a reason to smile and that’s why I’m thankful. Because through all of this, through all of the scrutiny and the way the season’s gone for us, there’s always a reason to smile. There’s always a reason to wake up the next morning if you’re so blessed to have one.”

On the Giants’ defense:

“Still a dangerous defense. They’re a good team, and like I said, we’ve got to be on top of our game. For us, our focus is… You have to obviously watch the film and be able to handle whatever they throw at you, but also we’ve got to make sure that we handle down what we’re doing and really just take it to them as opposed to allowing them to take it to us.”

New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin

On how he kept the team together early in the season:

“I just think that you start out with a good group of people, you know the character of the people. We’ve obviously been through a lot together here with the leaders of this team. I believe in those guys, they believe in us, and the idea was that we stay together and fight our way through adversity and no one points a finger. We’re in it together as a team. We haven’t really played anywhere near good enough to get to the winner’s circle and that’s been the issue, so we have to do that. We have to raise the level of our performance, raise the level of our execution, stop the foolishness in terms of turnovers and giving the ball away. But the No. 1 thing was the fact that we were still practicing well and the effort was good. And so when those things are the case and you know your coaches are working hard and your players are working hard, it’s a matter of time before you snap out of it.”

On how he maintained confidence in himself before winning his first Super Bowl:

“Well, you just keep firing away. I have a tendency to put the blinders on when I go to work and the idea is to help your team. I always say it’s not about me. It’s not about me, it’s about our team. We want to put our players in the best possible position to win and so what I did was try to keep from allowing any distraction to bother me so that I knew that I was providing the kind of leadership that our coaches and our players needed in order for us to win.”

New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning

On the biggest turnarounds for the team in the past month:

“I think we’ve played smarter football and not having the turnovers, not having penalties and just negative plays, as many negative plays as we were having those first weeks. So we’re starting to play better football – more sound and running the ball better. So I think those have been some big differences in these past weeks.”

On ups and downs early in his career and if he is able to relate to quarterback Robert Griffin III’s sophomore struggles:

“This is football and it’s tough. Each season, each game and each play brings new challenges and so it’s something I deal with myself. And you have ups and downs and you’ve got to fight through the tough times and just make sure I keep doing the right things and my preparation is good and I try and make the right decisions. But you’re trying to compete and always trying to win, so I think it’s just the game of football. You’re always trying to improve.”

On if he and Griffin III’s struggles are amplified by the media markets in which they play:

“I think obviously, nowadays – people I think expect immediate success and expect things to happen quickly, and especially if you kind of can get off to a great start, it’s automatically assumed things will be just as good if not better and better and better. And sometimes it’s not that easy. It’s not always exactly what you’re doing, but the things around you and circumstances change and sometimes you catch great breaks and sometimes you don’t catch many. That’s just football. It’s never easy. Every victory is earned and there’s always going to be some tough times.”

On how he’s been able to cut down on turnovers:

“I think obviously being closer in some games, not being down several scores in the fourth quarter where you kind of get to the point where – hey, you’ve got to press, you’ve got to try to make some throws, you’ve got to try to make something happen – and that can obviously lead to some bad plays. And I think not as many… [We] had some new guys early on and some miscommunications and things done a little differently. You got some bad bounces and breaks, and so I think we’ve been just more sound in the way we’re doing things running our offense. And we’re not having as many plays that are going backwards and penalties and runs losing yards where you’re getting second-and-15s and third-and-15s and stuff where it just can be hard to execute the offense. But you kind of feel sometimes you’ve got to try to make a play. So I think we’ve just been in better circumstances and making better decisions.”
 

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