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Marine Corps Virginia


December 5, 2013
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the injury report:
“The people that were limited today were [safety] Reed Doughty, [safety Brandon] Meriweather, [tight end] Jordan Reed and [fullback] Darrel Young. Full practice was [tackle] Trent Williams, [linebacker] London Fletcher, D-Hall [cornerback DeAngelo Hall] and [tight end] Niles Paul.”

On if the track around the field has been changed:
“I really don’t know. I’ve been getting ready for Kansas City.”

On if he has spoken to anyone about the track:
“Yeah, I did.”

On deciding when to use the no-huddle offense:
“It’s hard to say, you know. If you go maybe two or three times with three-and-outs, sometimes you’ll change it, because you get a little bit different part of the game plan. Sometimes you may stay with it the whole game. Other times you may have a game plan using it the first series. It all depends on the defense, what type of defenses you’re facing… All depends what your game plan is.”

Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan

On how he decides when to use the no-huddle offense:
“It really depends on how a defense is playing us, what type of runs we want, what type of runs we can get going, the fronts we’re getting in it, how it’s working. Usually when it works we stay with it and when it stops working we get out of it.”

On how the no-huddle can work quickly but also fail quickly:
“Yeah, that’s kind of what happened to us. We had some success with it in the first half. Some people have asked me why we didn’t run it in the second half, but we had six drives in the second half and we ran it on four of them and not many people noticed because when you go no-huddle and you go three-and-out, it’s pretty quick. We ran it on the first three drives and then on the last drive in the second half, but we didn’t get first downs. So you go no-huddle for two plays and then you huddle up for a third down play and you’re out of there pretty fast and you put your defense in a vulnerable situation.”

On how the run calls have been affected by the injuries to tight end Jordan Reed, tight end Niles Paul and fullback Darrel Young:
“Not having our starting fullback, our backup fullback, is a huge deal. It limits you on a lot of runs. [Running back Evan] Royster did a great job on short notice stepping in and giving all he could for the few plays we asked him to, but he is a halfback. He’s not a fullback, but he did his best. It limits you on the stuff you run and some of the stuff you’re going against, and it hurt vs. San Francisco, especially when you go against more of a 3-4 team where the fullback is a little bit needed more. Jordan definitely hurts in the run game, but it hurts you on third down the most with Jordan. But I don’t really look at it this last game as Alf’s [running back Alfred Morris’] struggles. If we would have gotten more runs going there in the second half and had more drives, I think he would have ended up getting some, but the bottom line is they kind of tried to take Alf away. When you run the zone read eight times and all eight of those times they don’t account for your quarterback, then your quarterback gets 80 yards rushing or whatever he had. So despite Alf not getting the numbers, we had a pretty good day rushing the ball and it’s because they didn’t account for our quarterback. There’s been games where people ask why we didn’t run [quarterback] Robert [Griffin III]. We haven’t called a designed quarterback run since about Week 5 of last year. It’s an option. When the defense accounts for Alf, Robert runs, when they account for the quarterback, Alf runs, and I really don’t care which one does it because usually for the guy they don’t account for, you get yards.”

On Griffin III getting rid of the ball quicker:
“I thought our O-line held up longer. I thought we had more time. I know we ended up giving up five sacks there, I think it was five in the second half, but we had more time to throw. I think he had more time to go through a progression and get to his check down earlier. Versus San Francisco, it was a little bit harder. It was tough to go through everything [because] the pass rush was a little bit better. I thought our guys, except for a couple of busted protections held up pretty well, and when you hold up longer it allows a guy to go through a progression and get it to his check down.”

On what he is looking for from Griffin III to finish the season:
“Robert and the whole offense as a whole, I just want to see them get better. We’ve done a decent job moving the ball, but we haven’t scored enough points. There’s lots of reasons for that, whether it’s turnovers, whether it’s slowing down on third down, a penalty, a sack, a drop, it’s been a lot of things. I don’t think we’ve been very clean all year. When it comes to moving the ball, I think we have more yards at this point then we did last year, but really what means stuff is points and we’ve got to find a way to score more points and that takes everybody.”

On how he goes about fixing more than one problem:
“You just go back to the basics. When you have a drop, it’s tough to just fire everybody who has a drop. It’s not really an option. You’ve got to work it, you’ve got to try to get them better opportunities, get them better situations, go back to the fundamentals of catching more balls so those guys get the confidence, try not to take sacks, try not to get penalties, just trying to execute all the way down the field. I feel like when we can move the chains, when we can get some first downs, we do a pretty good job of going on drives and moving the ball pretty well. But we’ve hit some points, it’s usually been in one half or the other, where things don’t work and we haven’t really been able to get out of that, it’s either good or bad depending on the half and we’ve just got to play a lot more consistently.”

On what has led to the amount of sacks in the last few games:
“No, there’s no pattern. Sacks are everybody. I wish I could say it was one thing, that’d make it a lot easier to fix it. Sacks, sometimes nobody is open, sometimes you’ve got to take one, sometimes you’ve got to get rid of the ball faster, sometimes the O-lineman just got beat. We’ve had a couple of busted protections. Sometimes they got a blitz on that we didn’t see and you’ve got to get a hot throw out, but there’s lots of different things and if you look at all five of ours, I’m not going to go into exactly why with each one but I can tell you each one a different position was at fault for it and you just have got to clean it up. When somebody makes a mistake you hope another position can overcompensate for that, but I think we had 13 going into the Minnesota game and now we’re in the thirties, so obviously we’ve taken way too many sacks these last few weeks and it’s tough to win when you do that.”

On his relationship with Griffin III:
“Mine and Robert’s relationship is the same as it’s always been. Just like you said, outside perception thinks that and I understand kind of how this business works. I understand when you’re not doing well – when you only have three wins – that people are going to pick at stuff, and I get that, but what I’ve learned since I’ve been here is to make sure I don’t make perception become my reality. I go to work every day just like I always have and I work with Robert every day just like I did every day last year. Everyone is having a hard time because we’re not winning games and we need to figure out a way to win games. But when you don’t win games, people are going to say this is why and that’s why, and I’ve learned that comes with the territory and the only thing I can really worry about or do about it is – just because it’s somebody else’s perception – not make that my reality. I know what happens in here. I know what my relationship is with Robert. We go to work every day, we’re competitive people, but we work together. When he does good, I feel I did good. When he does bad, I feel I have a responsibility in that and I think we’ve both got to continue doing better for each other this year.”

On if he feels Griffin III has trust in him:
“Yeah, I would hope so. I think we’ve done some pretty good things together.”

On how he would compare his relationship with Griffin III to his relationship with other quarterbacks he has coached:
“Yeah, I really never talk to any media too much about my relationship with players. I’m a coach. I do my best to prepare them to be successful. I try my hardest. My philosophy is I like being people’s friends — it makes you feel better, it makes it more fun — but I know how I’d want to be if I was a player. The coaches I liked the most and the coaches I respected the most were the coaches I felt helped me and the coaches I felt kept it real with me and helped me be better and that’s what I try to do for everybody I coach. I don’t just try to be their friend and their buddy. I try to help them, I try to keep it real with them, tell them what they’re doing right, tell them what they’re doing wrong and hope that they can use me as an asset — someone who can help them and help their career. And usually when people are like that they respect you for it.”

On how long he thinks it takes to build trust in a relationship:
“That’s such a broad question. I’m kind of having a hard time answering that because it’s a lot more simple than that. How long does it take you to develop a relationship with somebody you talk to? Do you like the guy or not? You have a relationship there. How do you feel about people? Everyone has people they work with. You decide if you like them. Somebody you want to go out and have a beer with or somebody you just work with. I feel the main thing is respect. You want somebody to respect you and the way people respect you is they think you know what you’re doing, they think you work hard, they think you’re a good coach and that’s all I want from players is their respect and I think I’ve earned that over my career.”

On if he feels he made the right play calls to help Griffin III at the end of last season:
“Yeah, I felt we did good. When you run the read option, especially in the Dallas game, and he doesn’t get hit on them, you pull it when no one is accounted for and you go to the sidelines for a 10-yard gain and don’t get hit on it, I felt pretty good about it. Now if he was getting killed on it and we were running quarterback runs where there was no one accounted for and people are there hitting him, I’d feel pretty bad about it because we’re just asking him to run to the sideline when nobody is accounting for him. When somebody tells me they’re healthy and also when doctors tell me somebody is good enough to go, then I don’t sit there and go against what somebody is telling me. I believe what I see and that’s why the times he got hurt were actually on pass plays, never on the zone read. I would hope that’s common knowledge by now, but people seem to forget.”

On if he felt he ever put Griffin III in a bad situation with play calling:
“No, I didn’t feel that at all. We try to put Robert in the best situation to be successful. We don’t just do stuff that you don’t think someone can do. You try to do stuff that gives them the best chance to be successful and I felt like that’s what we’ve done since the day he’s got here. I would really not enjoy coaching if I had to start trying to do stuff that I thought he would be bad at. I try to do what I think helps him and helps him look good, helps him play good, which ultimately helps the team.”

On if he would ever change something that is working because of a player being injured but healthy enough to remain on the field:
“Oh, there’s no doubt about it. First of all, I’ve never – in the history of me coaching – never heard a player say he’s fine and the doctor say he’s fine and then the coach say he’s not fine unless the coach doesn’t want to play the guy. Then the coach might [say], 'Hey, you know, you’re not that good,’ because he really has another agenda. But when you really have trust in a player and they say they’re fine — a lot of guys will say it so you’ve got to go to the doctor — they say he’s fine, hey, you go with it. But if a player ever told me, 'Hey, I can’t do this,’ I would never do it. When players ask about plays, and I know what people are talking about with the play outside, that called one keeper that got him out of the pocket and it’s definitely a play I asked about before I called it. I drew it up on the sidelines and said do you think we are capable of doing this and I was told yes, so I ran that play.”

On if he assumes if someone is playing they are able of doing whatever is asked of them:
“Yeah, there’s no doubt, and to me if someone tells me, 'Yeah, I can play but I can’t run,’ playing quarterback is pretty hard if you can’t run. It’s not just the plays that you guys see him running. If you can’t jog to the sidelines when no one is accounting for you, it’s tough to jog away from [Cowboys defensive end] DeMarcus Ware when he’s trying to kill you, so if you can’t run when nobody is after you, I think it’s tough to protect yourself when you’re throwing the ball too. So if you’re healthy enough to play, you’re healthy enough to play until somebody tells me differently.”

On if he wonders what quarterback Kirk Cousins could do as starter:
“No. I know what Kirk can do for us. I work with him all the time. I know what he can do for us. I know what Robert can do for us. I think we have two quarterbacks who are very good quarterbacks, but there’s no question in my mind that Robert is our quarterback, so when it comes to what could we be doing with Kirk, that doesn’t enter my mind. Robert is a franchise quarterback. He’s a great quarterback and he’s going to have a hell of a career here and I love coaching him. It’s been fun. You do different stuff. You always try to put a guy in the best situation to be successful and they’re not the same type of players so you do subtly different things with the two, but you’ve got two guys you can win with, but that’s why if Robert ever got hurt I’d be confident if Kirk had to step in and play for us.”

Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett

On how much linebacker London Fletcher’s ankle injury will affect him:
“I don’t think it will affect him that much. He does a good job of managing his body. He’ll be ready to play in the game.”

On if ever wonders if Fletcher’s injuries will affect his status:
“No, I kind of gave up the first year on that one because he doesn’t miss anything. So he’ll be fine.”

On how the Chiefs compare to past teams led by Andy Reid:
“Yeah, they’re similar, very similar. They’ve got great weapons on offense, really good offensive line, receivers that can run – they’re really fast. They’ve got two really good running backs. I think they’re exceptional. They’ve got great skill people on offense.”

On the development and potential of rookie cornerback David Amerson and rookie safety Bacarri Rambo:
“I’m not really sure how to answer the whole question, but I think they’ve made great strides during the season. Again, David Amerson’s a young guy. He’s 20-years-old and he’ll be 21. Bacarri’s got great ball skills – a guy that can cover and run. Those two guys, I think both of them have made a lot of strides from game one to where they are now.”

On specific areas in which Amerson and Rambo have improved:
“No, I think they’ve improved in all areas. To me, it’s more of an understanding of what the league’s about and the formations and the shifts and who you’re getting and the matchups and all those combinations. They’re just young guys and I think they’re going to be good players down the road. That’s what I believe.”

On how close Rambo is to being a guy he can trust:
“Well, we put him in there the last four weeks playing Nickel and Dime mostly more than just the base stuff. That’s just something that’ll come with time. He’s done a good job in those areas.”

On linebacker Brian Orakpo’s increased sack totals in recent weeks:
“Probably you guys badgering him the first couple games saying he’s not getting any, now you can turn it and flip it on Ryan [Kerrigan]. But the real reason is when you miss a year of football and you come back, it doesn’t click in right away. It takes a little bit of time. He’s done a good job in both areas. Beginning of the year, he got chipped, hit and all that. He’s still getting it, but he has an understanding of how to beat all those things. Ryan obviously started off hot. Those things come in bunches. Those guys, both of them, will end up with over 10 sacks.”

On the impact of mental obstacles in recovering from a torn pectoral muscle:
“I think that, again, that comes with time when you miss a whole year and then you come back. It’s all about timing and how to beat guys and all those situations, but I think he’s turned the corner. He’s not just doing a great job on the rush. Both of those guys, him and Ryan, are awesome against tight ends. That’s why other teams are having a hard time running on us. Those two are really handling the edges where you kind of limit where you can run the ball.”
 

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