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Skins Quotes 11/28/11: Mike Shanahan

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The Commissioner
Staff member
BGO Ownership Group
Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC

Marine Corps Virginia

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On running back Roy Helu’s performance against the Seahawks:
“Well, I think everybody saw that one pitch out to him that he jumped over a defender and broke a tackle – probably the difference in the game. But you have to have those type of plays in the NFL to win. I was really impressed with Helu and how he handled himself throughout the game, not just on that play. But overall, running game [and] pass protection, I thought he had a very solid game.”

On if Helu is the every-down back:
“He’s our starter for sure.”

On how much a win will help the young players:
“It’s always nice to win. That’s what you work for and [you] can get a lot of confidence, especially when you’re able to come back in the fourth quarter when down 17-7 with 12 minutes left. Guys keep their poise, [it was] a hostile environment and you can’t hear the snap count. You do all the things that you need to do to find a way to win.”

On Helu’s progression:
“If you watch the game, you can see he got some tough yards during the game. He broke some tackles, made some people miss. You could see some elusiveness, some power. You saw some speed. That’s what you look for in a running back and you could see he played with a lot of confidence yesterday. He knew he was going to be the guy. We told him he was going to have the workload. He really took advantage of his opportunity.”

On when Helu turned the corner in his development:
“I think it was just some playing time. You put a guy in different situations where it’s pass protection on first-and-10, nickel situations with different types of blitzes, it’s screens, it’s different types of routes you have to run. If you’re looking at a young player, especially with no OTAs, it putx a lot of pressure on him, especially in our scheme. And we felt he was ready. He handled it during the week with very few mistakes. Again, he played well.”

On how much running the ball helps the offense:
“You always have the commitment to run. When the games close and you have the ability to do it for four quarters and you set up the play-action pass. We’ve talked about this for a while. We talked about it through preseason through the first four regular season games. In any offense if you want to have balance and the chance for a big play you’ve got to have a good solid running game and that sets up the play-action pass. I thought that’s what we were able to do yesterday. Our running game was solid against a very good defensive team. It kind of gave us some opportunities with some play-action passes to come up with the big plays. But with the big play at the end of the game, you had a block. It was third-down-and-long and Rex [Grossman] made a great throw and a great catch by Anthony [Armstrong]. So a lot of scenarios exist during the course of a game.”

On the offense being able to move the ball better in the last three games:
“A little more experience by people who haven’t played. It was just maybe one missed assignment. It just takes one guy to make the difference in winning and losing. For example, you have 240 yards in the first half and you’ve got seven points. That’s disappointing and you should have 17-21 [points]. We’re down and not only do we miss a touchdown but we miss a field goal. A lot of time that will come back to haunt you – you’ve got a field goal blocked, you’ve got an extra point blocked, all of a sudden you have 35 points and you have to settle for 23 [points], but you still find a way to get it done. At the end of the day, you’ve got to find a way to win, but you want to eliminate a lot of those mistakes that we made.”

On the blocked field goal and extra point:
“A missed technique both times.”

On the different personnel blocking for kicks:
“You miss a guy like [Kedric] Golston who has been in there and all of a sudden you miss a guy like Trent Williams – all that has to happen is you have to be off in your technique a little bit. [Seattle defensive end Red] Bryant is a very powerful guy. Basically, we were letting him in there scott-free and we didn’t use the type of technique we normally use. Not to take anything away from him because he got the job done, but we have to be a lot more solid in our technique and we’ll work on that and hopefully improve quite quickly.”

On if Helu’s performance limited running back Evan Royster’s opportunities against the Seahawks:
“It all depends on the drive. It depends on how tired a guy might look. Heat. A lot of factors go into how you substitute somebody, but we felt that Helu was playing at a very high level. A couple of times we took him out just to get a little break then we put him back in. But we’re going to go with the guy with the hot hand. We thought Helu was feeling good and running the ball extremely well like I talked about. He made some guys miss, ran with power, came up with the big play. That’s why he stayed in.”

On Royster’s performance:
“He did a good job. He didn’t get many chances, but, when he did play, he did a good job.”

On the offensive line during the final field goal:
“We already had moved somebody over and… there are not a whole lot of options, but we got a little bit better in technique. But as we talked after the game, it’s something that you’re trying to decide – should you kick again? Should you go for it? Should you run the ball? Should you throw the ball? A lot of thoughts in my mind at that time, especially after you get two blocked. We did a good job and made it a six point game. Obviously, [we] ended up okay.”

On how much kicker Graham Gano was responsible for the blocked kicks:
“It was nothing to do with the kicker. Nothing.”

On the team being 4-0 when winning the time of possession battle:
“It’s something people talk about – time of possession. Normally, if you win games, you control the ball in the fourth quarter – you’re running the football. If you’re behind, you’re throwing the football. For example, in Carolina, we had 18 runs and 12 passes in the first half and, all of a sudden, it might be 23-24 at the end of the third quarter. When you’re behind, you’re throwing the ball every down and, all of a sudden, time of possession can go in the other direction if you’re not making first downs. It depends on game situations, but that’s one of the reasons why I believe in the running game. Through the years, that usually dictates wins by being able to run the football and come up with the big plays in play-action. Third downs aren’t as long. You can control the time of possession, keep the opposition off of the field. Different things that lead to winning.”

On the injury status of fullback Darrel Young:
“He got the concussion. He’ll go through the test over the next couple of days. On Wednesday, we’ll get a better feel for where he’s at.”

On if the running game excelled because of the cohesion on the offensive line:
“Hopefully, we’ll have a lot of games like this in the future, moving the football. You have over 400 yards of offense and you feel good about what you have done. Like we talked about, disappointed early in the game that we didn’t have more points out of that type of production. But at the end of the day, you have to find a way to win. When you do move the ball like we did, you feel a little bit better about everything – your running game, your protection, your play-action game, your drop-back game. Everybody is a lot more positive and, to move the ball like we did, gives a big boost to our offensive players because they know we have those capabilities. We just have to do it on a consistent basis.”

On having wide receiver Santana Moss back against the Seahawks:
“I think it’s always great to have Santana back. He’s a captain of our football team. He’ll get better and better. You just don’t come back after four weeks and play your top game. There’s always some growing pains coming back. But Santana does things full-speed and he’ll keep on improving each week. He gives us a big boost on the offensive side of the ball.”

On quarterback Rex Grossman’s performance against the Seahawks:
“Regardless, if you’re up or down, Rex is pretty consistent. He’s got a good attitude. He’s got a lot of belief in not only himself, but the supporting cast. He’s a leader out there. I thought he did a good job handling himself with 12 minutes left. He had a lot of composure and we knew we had to get a touchdown and obviously get the ball back, but you could see there was no panic. He went through his reads and handled himself well.”

On the injury status of defensive end Stephen Bowen:
“It’s a third-degree PCL tear, which is not good, but some people play without a PCL. It’s not anything like surgery. We’ll see how sore he is this week and hopefully he’ll be able to play this weekend.”

On if he regrets not staying with Rex earlier in the year when he benched him:
“Any time that you make decisions, you always make decisions that you feel is based on the best interest of your football team. When John [Beck] did those things, obviously we did it for a reason. We made a decision to go to the other direction for a reason. That’s why Rex is in there now and he did a heck of a job. That’s part of figuring out who your football team is, especially when you have some missing pieces. You have some guys that are playing, some guys who are hurt. You’re always trying to come up with that chemistry and what gives you the best chance to win. That’s an ongoing process not only at the quarterback position, but at any position.”

On if there will be kickers in for workouts this week:
“We’re going with Graham. It had nothing to do with Graham with the missed field goals and the missed extra point. That was totally on our protection scheme.”

On what he was thinking when the kicks were missed:
“Well, I’ll be honest with you, it has never happened to me. You go through the season and you have that many blocked. Any time you have a lot of people at different positions, mistakes are made. But to have that many mistakes is inexcusable.”

On his decision to stick with Gano:
“We talked about this last year and it’s tough on first-year kickers. It’s tough. You take a look at a lot of kickers in the NFL, most have been cut once or twice. I had to make a tough decision with a guy named Matt Prater who is at Denver right now and a great kicker in Jason Elam as he got a little bit older – what type of direction to go? Those are tough decisions sometimes. Sometimes, it’s a tough decision – do you go with a young guy like Graham? Is he going to keep on getting better or is he not going to take advantage of opportunities? I don’t know. Obviously, he’s had a couple of tough games. This game had nothing to do with Graham Gano. The other two games did have something to do with Graham Gano. Hopefully, he takes advantage of the opportunities that are presented to him in the future and, if not, obviously, he won’t be with us. I’m hoping he does take advantage of those opportunities because he does it consistently in practice and hopefully that mindset is there in the game and he can come through for us. And if it is he’ll be with us for a long time and, if not, it’s like all of the positions where we have a lot of competition. [We’re] always trying to find the top guy.”

On the pass interference penalty called on cornerback Josh Wilson:
“The back judge called the penalty and the side judge, who had a pretty good look at it, did not. There was a discrepancy there. At the end of the day, you’re going to get some that you believe is not an interference and other ones, you’re going to say, 'hey, maybe it was a little ticky-tack.’ At the end of the day, you have to live with those calls.”

On the importance of snapping the losing streak:
“At the end of the day, you always want to win. It’s a little bit easier to look at the film and critique somebody when you win compared to when you lose. That’s usually when you put the pressure on when you’re winning. You’re a little bit more objective in your evaluation of how they did when you do win. Our players feel good going into the environment and being down in the fourth quarter. They should feel good about themselves, but we know it’s 24-48 hours and then you go against the Jets. We’ll look at the things we did proper and the things we did poorly and hopefully get better.”

On how taxing the six-game losing streak was:
“It’s tough. That’s what you’re in this game to do is win. At the same time, as I mentioned to you before, when you’re on a football team that’s giving you everything they’ve got, you feel good. I’ve been on some teams [and] we’ve been in losing streaks and you don’t feel like you’ve got the type of effort you’re hoping for. I feel good about the character of this football team. It was nice to find a way to win. They deserve to win. Our players have been working extremely hard. Hopefully, we can keep it going.”

On the skirmishes:
“Well, our players, believe me, they’re not going to take any crap as you just mentioned. But you’ve got to be able to keep your poise too. There’s a fine line. You’ve got to be competitive, but you have to be mentally tough to understand that Most people see the second shot and you can not cause your team to have a15-yard pentalty. And that’s what happens when guys lose their poise and make a silly penalty. You’ve got to play within the whistles, but it’s a very emotional game, but you have to be able to keep your cool.”

On if the penalties were addressed today:
“No, not really. You take the one penalty and you can see 60 yards there or whatever it was, 50 yards on the pass interference. I was kind of surprised we didn’t have more false starts with that type of environment. We did have a couple of delay of games sometimes with the noise and communication. But overall, the penalties, they sometimes come in bunches as they did in that game. Our team is pretty disciplined. I think we’ll be at the low end every year. That game was not normal at least how we played this year.”


The Team Captain
Joe Gibbs Club Member
Aug 3, 2009
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Falls Church, VA

Michigan State

Mike Shanahan said:
“Regardless, if you’re up or down, Rex is pretty consistent."

Rex is consistent? Maybe consistently inconsistent.

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