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Skins Quotes 11/28: Shanahan/RG3/Coughlin/Tuck

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Marine Corps Virginia


November 28, 2012
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On tackle Jammal Brown remaining on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list:
“He was unable to play. His hip was sore, both his right and left hip. He tried to give it everything he had; he just didn’t have the ability to work through it.”

On the status of tackle Trent Williams and linebacker London Fletcher:
“They didn’t practice today. Trent - thigh bruise, London - ankle. We will just evaluate it day-by-day and see how much they improve.”

On if it is too soon to think about what the future holds for Brown:
“I will let some time go by first. It is hard to say right now but obviously it is not a good sign when he is working pretty hard and all of a sudden it acts up. So we will give it some time and probably won’t let you know for a while.”

On what he will ask of Brown in the coming weeks:
“Just kind of get away a little bit, just kind of relax and hopefully let that hip get better.”

On if the Redskins match up better with the Giants than other teams:
“Well, [they are the] Super Bowl Champs, very talented football team. At the end of the day, we lost the football game. We had four turnovers and we have to find a way to win, especially when you play well. So hopefully we can step up and do what we are capable doing on Monday night and find a way to finish the game.”

On beating the Giants twice last year:
“We played well. I thought guys stepped on both offense and defense and we made a number of big plays. To beat a good football team, you have to have everybody playing well and I thought that is what we had.”

On if there is any additional challenge preparing for a team he has faced already:
“I don’t know. They know us, we know them. They get a chance to look at all the film during the offseason. Obviously they have a lot of film this year, different things that we have done and different things we have seen them do. We just have to play our best game.”

On if the offense has evolved since when they faced the Giants in Week 7:
“You have different game plans. Every offense or defense changes up a little bit week-by-weeks. It won’t be any different. The Giants do the same thing both offensively and defensively. I think you have to play at a level where, regardless of the X’s and O’s, you find a way to win.”

On the way it feels to see the team come together after struggling in the beginning of the season:
“I think after we were 3-6 and we talked about after that Carolina game that we had a chance to see some guys that haven’t been part of our football team, see how they play the second half of the season, see if they play their best football. You take five receivers last week who separated themselves. They played at a higher level than they have played all year. That is what you have to have. You find out what direction your team is going. Guys who haven’t been with us in the past had a chance to step up and play at the level that they are capable of playing. That is what you’re hoping for, that you start playing better. I think what I think has happened in the last couple weeks; we played better collectively as a team. That is what you have to do to win football games. You have to be able to close them even though you see bits and pieces of a team playing well. You have to find a way to win in the fourth quarter. I think I used the example of 26 players on our football team…Twenty-six out of the 46 I have been with for the last year or two years. There are 20 guys I haven’t been with - rookies, veterans, different players - and you want to see them step up and they have stepped up and that is why we have won these two games. So you’re hoping you can keep on playing at that level. If we do, then we win.”

On if he feels differently than he did two weeks ago after the Carolina game:
“I’ve always felt good about the guys we have. But, feeling good and actually playing your best football in the second half of the season, you’re hoping that they mature. When you have five receivers that I just mentioned that weren’t a part of our football team a year ago, or if they were they were on the inactive roster or they were rookies and you want to see these guys step up and play like they are capable of playing, and I think that is what we saw against Dallas. We saw a wide receiver corps that has played well go to a new level. That is what you’re hoping at all the positions, especially some of the young positions.”

On making the playoffs:
“That is your goal. There is only one team that is happy at the end of the season even if you are in the playoffs. There is only one team that is happy and that is what is different between pro football and college football. At the end of the day, you have to step up and play at a certain level. Our focus right now is to play our best football. We understand where our record is and what we have to do, but that is what our goal is. Our goal is to win the NFC East and to do that, we have to play well.”

On the trust factor between Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Robert Griffin III:
“It has been pretty consistent all year if you take a look at the stats. You have to find a way to close those games. You have to find a way to win those games and that is what we have been able to do the last couple of weeks. We weren’t able to do that in a few very close games before and bottom line is we have to find a way to win.”

On Williams playing injured:
“You have to have your captains, the guys that you count on, play when they’re hurt; not injured. But, he has been hurting but he has played at a very high level and you expect that out of your leaders.”

On the team’s plus-12 turnover differential:
“We are doing a good job on defense getting turnovers and we are doing a great job on offense. I think we are third or fourth overall and that is how you win games. [If] you get to the playoffs, and you turn the football over you won’t stay in the playoffs very long. Usually the teams that win the Super Bowl are the teams that are the best in turnover ratio so hopefully we can continue to do that. When we lost to the Giants the last time, we had four turnovers and they had two. [It is] the difference in winning and losing a game.”

On how running back Alfred Morris has adapted to being a pro:
“He has that type of body. He is 220 pounds. He is strong. HE is very physical and he is in excellent shape. They don’t make all bodies like that with that type of power. But if you would have asked me in the beginning of the season if we were going to be 'running back by committee’, is he a first, second, or third down back, you don’t know any of those things until a guy plays. You can see very early that he was a guy that had the ability to be a first, second, and third down back. And that is what he is getting a chance to do; he is going to be out there until he needs a break. And he can play first, second, or third down. You don’t run across guys like that very often. He is a special kid.”

On if it is common for rookies to take care of their bodies like Morris has:
“You don’t know for sure if a guy can carry the load. It is hard. You take a lot of punishment as a running back. [When] you are carrying that ball anywhere from 15-30 times a game, it is pretty tough on the body, but he can do it. You can see it from the first preseason game, through the preseason that he is a special back and he keeps getting better.”

On the continuity of the offensive line:
“To be one of the top running teams in the NFL, you have to have everybody playing. It is not just the offensive line. It’s your tight ends, your wide receivers, your quarterbacks with his fake. If you are going to be the best at what you do, you have to separate yourself with everybody making a commitment to the running game and that is what I think our guys have done. Everybody knows they have a role. If we are going to get big plays, our wide receivers have to block, the quarterback has to continue his fake, the fullback has to be like an offensive lineman or a tight end when he blocks and our guys have taken a huge amount of pride to try to be the best at the running game.”

On if Brandon Banks fielding a punt in the end zone was a bad decision:
“He obviously made a bad decision. He goes back and catches the ball two yards deep and he gets tackled at the seven-yard line. My wife told me that wasn’t a good decision (laughter). Brandon by all means knows that was a poor decision so you just can’t make those mistakes. You have to eliminate those mistakes and if you make too many of them then you are not returning punts or kicks anymore.”

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

On facing the New York Giants for a second time:
“It’s always different the second time. They kind of got a feel for the way we play. We got a feel for the way they play. It’s just a matter of who’s going to show up on Monday night.”

On if the Giants’ defense will make an adjustment:
“I just know they’ll come with something different. I mean, every team does. No team will necessarily play you the same way they played you the first time. A team’s base defense is their base defense. Usually that won’t change. But they’ll have a wrinkle in there somewhere. Once we see it, then it’s about just adjusting on the fly.”

On playing the Giants in Week 7:
“It’s a game we felt we should’ve won and we didn’t win it. So they got the win in their column. We got the loss. All you can do is prepare for the next time because we’re not waiting around. We’re prepared for the next time we face them and that way we have that chance.”

On how comfortable he feels after winning the past two games:
“I feel like we’re hitting things that we weren’t hitting earlier in the year. We’re able to do things that we weren’t able to. Our receivers are playing at a high level. Our offensive line and [running back] Alfred [Morris] are doing a good job running the ball as well, so things that we face, or they face facing us last time, with the running game is still there. But we’ve added elements to the passing game that make us more dangerous so they’ll prepare for that and we’ll see what happens.”

On having wide receiver Pierre Garçon back:
“I think he just brings a different attitude to the receiving corps. He’s our guy. Having him out there is definitely a plus. He plays with attitude. If y’all could’ve seen when he spun that ball on Thanksgiving, he was staring at it and no one knew what world he was in. But he was in his own world. That’s how he is when he’s out there. He plays in the zone and I think it helps the other receivers to have him out there with that rotation.”

On how much impact running the option can have on a game:
“I think teams have to prepare for it. They spend however amount of time preparing for it and how to stop it and that’s what helps us open up the rest of our playbook outside of it. They don’t want to see those big plays by myself or by Alfred running the ball in the zone read. I think coaches take a certain pride in shutting down what they call 'college stuff.’ They take pride in that. I mean, it doesn’t bother me. We can run it two times a game. We can run it 15 times a game. It’s just based on how it’s going and if it’s working. To have them prepare for it is an advantage for us.”

On offensive tackle Trent Williams playing despite a thigh bruise:
“I already told him that if he needs me in the training room with him, I’ll be there. I’ll rub on his leg, whatever he needs me to do [laughter]. It’s paramount. He’s one of our leaders. He brings a certain attitude to the game as well and it completes that offensive line that’s played pretty well all year.”

On knowing Williams is back on his blind side:
“I don’t ever act as if he’s not there. On the field, during the game, he’ll get up, he’ll start grabbing something and I’ll look at him and I’ll go back to the huddle because I know he better get his butt back in the huddle because you’ve got to go the next play. I don’t ever ask him if he’s OK because he better be alright.”

On Williams bouncing back after his injuries:
“He’s played tough. He knows we need him and the thing, from what I’ve heard, since he’s gotten to the pros, he’s matured a lot and that shows his maturity to be able to play through those injuries and do things for other guys, not just for himself.”

On the challenges the Giants present against the zone read:
“They played it pretty well there in the second half with [defensive ends] Osi [Umenyiora] and [Jason] Pierre-Paul. They’re athletic guys. They’re big, tall, explosive. It’s just a matter of making the right read and sometimes you will make the wrong read. But you can’t have turnovers off of it.”

On if the Giants can turn a good read into the wrong read:
“I don’t think so. They can adjust and they can turn direction pretty well but as long as you’re decisive in the read, it doesn’t really matter. A couple times they caught me in between and that hurt us. But other than that, it’s just about making a decisive read one way or the other.”

On winning the last two games:
“I think it’s increased the team morale. It kind of showed us that what we do have as far as team-wise, going out winning games, playing well when our backs are against the wall, when it’s on the line, everybody showed up ready to play. We played physical. We played tough. I think that’s a benefit for us because your season can go one of two ways when you’re sitting there at 3-6. It can get really, really bad or you can have shining moments like we’ve had the past two weeks. We want to keep that going.”

On if he considers Monday’s game against the Giants to be a playoff game:
“I don’t think we’re anxious to prove anything to anyone. We just know that we have to go out and win this game. It’s the bottom line. Call it what you want – playoff game, elimination game. It doesn’t matter to us. We just know we have to go out and win.”

On if his achievements as a rookie are mind-boggling:
“It will be mind-boggling after the season but I can’t sit back and rest on those things right now. I’ve got to keep moving forward onto the next week and you’ve just got to clear it. It’s what I’ve always gone by. You’ve got to clear it, whether it’s good or bad, and move on to the next week. But we’ll definitely carry that momentum.”

On Jimmy Johnson calling him the league MVP:
“To be mentioned with the words MVP next to you, it’s definitely an honor. But it’s not something that you strive for. You don’t play for awards. At least I don’t play for awards. I play for the guys in that locker room.”

On his comfort level knowing what his teammates can do:
“It’s been good just getting to work with them out here going full speed, knowing what everybody has and then working on everyone’s weaknesses, along with my own. We just know what everyone can do. I know what kind of balls I have to get to each receiver and I’m just trusting them more. After the bye, I just told myself, I have to trust these guys out there. They’re the best in the world. That’s why they’re here.”

On getting on the same page as his teammates:
“Sometimes it takes years to get on the same pages with guys. But we put a lot of work in the offseason and I think it’s starting to pay off late in the season now that we’ve had those game-like reps. Guys are getting healthy and just playing with a different attitude.”

On Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan being more creative when calling plays:
“I think the creativity comes when you have players out there making plays. It gives Kyle confidence to call the play. If it’s not hitting in practice, he’s probably not calling it during the games. I think guys figured that out and they know if we can show him we can run this route combination in practice, then he’ll have more confidence to call it in the game. Then it all comes down to protection and just getting the ball out of your hands but we’ve been able to do that massively in the past couple weeks.”

On his relationship with the tight ends:
“I think the tight ends have kind of rallied and done the job by committing with Fred [Davis] being out. It’s a tough loss for us but they each bring their own set of skills because you can’t replace a guy like Fred. You just have to try to move on from it and find guys to fill that role. Now they’ve done a good job filling the role, making plays down the field. Logan [Paulsen], the caveman, the barbarian, whatever you want to call him, he’s done a good job just helping us in the run game and then making plays as a receiver.”

On the changes he sees in Morris:
“Well, he hasn’t changed. Whether it’s walk through or full practice, he’s gone full speed every time. It’s good to see he’s not slowing down after all the carries throughout the year, especially what they talk about the rookie wall, he hasn’t hit that and he’s soon to be a 1,000-yard rusher. So we’re extremely proud of him for doing that and going out there and balling out every week.”

On if he can sense how the veterans feel about having a meaningful home game in December:
“You can definitely sense it. Late in the game against the Cowboys, [linebacker] London [Fletcher] came up and talked to me during the game, which he usually never talks to me during the game. I think he’s in his own world as well. You can feel the excitement they have about what we have brewing here. You want to do it for them. When I was in college, I wanted to do it for the seniors when I was a freshman and now that I’m a rookie, you want to do it for those vets.”

On what Fletcher said to him:
“After the drive that Kai [Forbath] kicked the field goal, he said that it was a big drive and just telling me that’s what we have to do no matter what. We came off the previous drive with an interception and it’s gut check time and we definitely checked our gut.”

On if he’s told the coaches anything was too much for him:
“I try not to hit that point. I’m not one that says I can’t do something. If Coach asks me to try something, I’m going to try it. They threw the whole playbook at me in OTAs and training camp, like I’ve said a number of times. It’s tough to learn a new play every day and learn a new concept and master it. But they did that for a reason so that we could come out during the season and run whatever was in our playbook for that week against that defense. It’s paid off so I try not to say I can’t do anything. If they say I can’t do anything, I definitely try to prove them wrong.”

On his first Monday night game:
“It’s fun. Everyone’s watching. It’s similar to the Thanksgiving game. It’s at night and it’ll be really cold. We’re men so we’ve got to play in the cold. We’ve got to play in primetime television. I look forward to it. You try not to make it too big. Don’t make any moment too big so you can’t seize it.”

On how often he suggests plays he likes:
“They ask me. We talk about it on Saturdays. They tell me, 'Do I want this play? Do I not want this play?’And if I don’t want a play, then they don’t put it in. Usually I try not to say I don’t want a play just because every play has its own place within a game. But if it’s something I’m really not comfortable with, they do not run the play.”

On how often he anticipates what play Kyle Shanahan will call next:
“We talk about it. I know based on where we’re at on the field what play calls are bound to happen or what the down to distance is. It’s getting that way where I take the words out of his mouth but I also try to listen carefully because sometimes if I get a call wrong, he gets really upset. I won’t get into that one. It didn’t happen at all this past game so that was a good thing.”

On not playing a game for 11 days:
“You’ve just got to stay mentally sharp. I think it helps guys’ bodies get right. It helps you have a little more juice on game day on Monday, but you have to make sure you stay in rhythm and guys just have to make sure they stay on top of their study time.”

On being the center of attention in a politically-driven area:
“I’m a political science major. I graduated with that from Baylor so I definitely pay attention to politics. I don’t get involved in politics because there are a few things you don’t talk about – race, religion and politics – and I stick to that. But it’s cool to have all that happening and be someone who can unite anybody. But I try to stay away from the political side of things.”

On if it’s another challenge to be in a politically-focused town:
“Everyone’s looking at what you’re doing. They’re looking at what you’re saying and when it comes to a town like D.C. that is so political, you’ve just got to try to make sure that you’re politically correct every chance you get. So my politically correct answer is 'no comment’ a lot of times.”

On becoming the face of more commercials despite having a unique look:
“It could be a changing of the tide. You never know. Of course, I’m not clean cut, shaved, bald head. I’ve got hair. That’s just what it is. It shows people that maybe there is a changing of the guard. It’s not always what you look like. It’s what you represent.”

New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin

On if preparing for the Redskins offense is easier the second time around:
“The experience factor is there. We have played them one time and they played very, very well, so I don’t know that that’s any solace for us. We definitely have to do a much better job. I would discount the idea that there’s anything easy about preparing.”

On the hardest thing about defending quarterback Robert Griffin III:
“Everything – the play-action passes, the running game. The straight runs that had nothing to do with anything else were just as effective as the option or the dive option or whatever you want to call it. There’s a lot of things for us to improve on and defend. The Washington defense shut the run down pretty much and that wasn’t what we intended going in. We have a lot of things that have to be improved on.”

On if Griffin III has raised his game since his first meeting with the Giants:
“I think it’s safe to say a rookie quarterback with a 104 quarterback rating is playing very well.”

On the keys to a team surviving with no margin for error:
“It’s just the same situation that we’re all in, and that is at this time of year, you’re desperately trying to play your best football and you’re doing it consistently and you have to be able to finish. You have to be able to get the games into the fourth quarter and find a way to win them.”

On if the way the Redskins and Giants match up makes the games so close:
“Yes – no question. But there’s the advent of the new theory and the new concepts that they employ on offense. Defensively, it’s never been easy. I wouldn’t expect it to be. These are age-old rivals and there’s an awful lot at stake. The divisional pride that goes along with these games is a very important concept as well.”

On what it took his Jacksonville team to make the playoffs after starting 3-6 in 1996:
“Again, we started to play well. We started to feed off the idea that the confidence was getting better and all the hard work that we had put into it was starting to pay off. The players started to believe. As they started to believe and gain confidence, by the same kind of effort and the same kind of preparation, the players began to feed off this and the quality of our game improved.”

On running back Alfred Morris:
“He’s powerful. [We’re] talking about a rookie with almost 1,000 yards rushing. He was very impressive when we played him here.”

On what he sees from tackle Trent Williams this year that he hasn’t in years past:
“He’s settled in to the experience factor. As I said before, many times they have a new concept of things and they would prefer to stay in the play-action mode, which most offensive linemen would tell you they’d rather run the ball than throw the play-action pass. He’s doing very well with that, but he’s athletic enough to be able to handle anything they’ve thrown at him.”

New York Giants Defensive End Justin Tuck

On if the challenges of facing quarterback Robert Griffin III once helps him prepare for their second meeting:
“I don’t know. I think they’ve changed some things up since we played them the first time. They are playing better. I think we’re playing better. I’m looking forward to a great football game. Everyone knows how confident RGIII is and the people that he has around him makes him even that more dangerous. They played us up the first time and we’re going to have to play our best game to be successful against you guys.”

On if it was tougher facing Griffin III the first time than he originally thought:
“Yeah. I guess you see other people do things against him and you’re like, 'Why did he do that?’ With a guy that athletic, he kind of puts you in a predicament that you kind of have to do some things against him that you may not have had to do against other people. Yeah, I think he was a little bit tougher than we expected.”

On if facing Griffin III once before makes it any easier to do in the second meeting:
“Honestly, I think after watching film on him today and a little yesterday, it honestly looks like y’all have gotten better at running the offenses y’all were running against us the first time. It might be a little tougher, to be honest with you. I think obviously he’s gotten more experience under his belt and all the players around him have more experience under their belt as a far as what defenses will try to do to stop that offense. I know Coach [Mike] Shanahan has those guys coached up on how to combat that. If anything, it might be a little tougher.”

On if he senses the landscape in the NFC East changing with Philadelphia having a down year and the Redskins having Griffin III at quarterback:
“It’s changing I guess – a little bit. We’re not anybody to talk about the Redskins. They beat us twice last year. It’s always a difficult game when we play Washington. Regardless of RGIII, Rex Grossman or not, we’ve had our hands full with you guys just about every game we’ve played in. With Philly being in a down year…Over the past couple years, Washington has kind of been out of it, but now they’re in the mix. They have just as good of an opportunity as all of us to make the playoffs. There you go.”

On why the Redskins have given the Giants so much trouble compared to other teams:
“I don’t know. I think the easy answer could be that we took it for granted. Having success against them and them not having success against other teams…You come into a game like that and you might not have gotten up for it like you should have. Just flat out, they beat us last year twice – both games being meaningful games – the opening game and the game that we needed in our house to secure a playoff spot. Even though that would be the easy answer, I don’t think that would be the right answer. I just feel as though you guys match up well with us. Y’all played good against us.”

On of which player running back Alfred Morris reminds him of:
“I don’t know if he reminds me of anybody. The Bus [Jerome Bettis] would come to mind, but it’s obviously a different offense. That’s generally – as far as their strength and just being a load to bring down – I think he has great vision. Obviously, he’s a strong back that’s going to put a lot of pressure on you. He falls forward and gets three yards just from his head of steam. You have to play him pretty perfectly in the running game to be successful.”

On if winning this game would be a chance for the Giants to put the division away:
“Yeah, but we’ve seen strange things happen. We know if we are blessed to win this football game, we still have four games and all those four games are very, very tough football games. Yes, it would give us a calmer stranglehold on this division, but our jobs wouldn’t be done. We’re going into this game saying it’s a huge opportunity, but knowing that we have to take this thing one week at a time just like any other opportunities that we’ve had.”

On if he thinks the NFC East isn’t as good this year as in years past:
“We still won the Super Bowl last year. I think that’s what you’re judged on. If you look at the SEC, most of the teams that lose games in the SEC are from the SEC because they kind of beat up on each other. I think we beat each other up. I’m biased because I’ve played in this division for eight years and I know the talent in it. If you broke us up in four different divisions, I’m confident we’d be successful in any of division we went to – these four teams.”

On the keys to successfully defending the zone read:
“You have to have 11 guys on the same page. It only is designed to find that one breakdown. A lot of times you have so many rules and books to that zone read that you just take that one time or that one person that thinks he has the guys and he was supposed to have the quarterback and it ends up being a big play. That’s why you see it. It’s hard to stop it completely. You want to eliminate the three-yard gains and four-yard gains, but the thing about it is it’s going to be that one play where somebody was off the page, offline, and it goes for 70.”

On what he sees in tackle Trent Williams:
“I don’t go against Trent that much, so I don’t watch it as much as someone like [defensive end] Osi [Umenyiora] would. I think he’s coming into his own as far as being one of the premier left tackles in the league. He’s very athletic. He’s a strong, athletic guy. A lot of the teams give their lineman a lot of help and I haven’t seen the Redskins give him much help. That lets me know how con
 

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