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Skins Quotes 12/10: M. Shanahan/T. Williams


The Commissioner
Staff member
BGO Ownership Group
Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC
Military Branch
Marine Corps
Alma Mater
December 10, 2012
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

Opening statement:
“Robert [Griffin III] has a mild strain of the LCL. It’s Grade 1. He’s had some mild swelling. He had his right knee repaired – his ACL – in 2009. That looks great. No problem there. We’ll evaluate it day-by-day – see how he is on Wednesday. By talking to him today, he felt pretty good.”

On if quarterback Robert Griffin III has a right knee sprain or strain:
“Sprain – with a P.”

On if he has ruled Griffin III out for the Cleveland game Sunday:
“He’s definitely not ruled out for the Cleveland game.”

On the difference in preparation when the starting quarterback is uncertain:
“You try to adjust your offense to your personnel, regardless of who’s in the game. Both of them will have a game plan. Obviously, Robert can do some things in the running game that Kirk [Cousins] can’t. We’ll put the best game plan we can together.”

On if there was any structural damage to ligaments in Griffin III’s knee:
“No. In fact, anytime you have a sprain in the knee… The LCL is the outside ligament right here on this part of the knee... There are different grades – one, two and three. It’s a Grade 1, so that was a good sign. We did not know going into it if it was a Grade 1, 2 or 3. It’s a Grade 1 and he’s got some mild swelling. You’re hoping with rehab it gets better very quickly – but we don’t know for sure. We’ll have to go day-by-day and evaluate it day-by-day.”

On if this is as good of a report as he could have hoped for after seeing the replay:
“You never know. In fact, [safety] Brandon Meriweather in pregame warm-ups had a Grade 2 and a Grade 3. You just never know. He felt very good and felt like going back into the game. You don’t know until you have the MRI and it was positive news.”

On Griffin III returning to the game:
“We had Dr. [James] Andrews on the sideline with us. He’s the one that gives me the information. It’s way over my head. I’m just telling you what he said. We felt very good with the news.”

On he needs to see Griffin III practice to consider playing him this weekend:
“I think you do that with all positions. If we’re talking about [linebacker] London Fletcher, [tackle] Trent Williams or Robert Griffin, you have to do what’s in the best interest of the player, which is usually in the best interest of the team. We’ll just have to take a look at him during the week and make a decision if he’s able to go.”

On if he expects Griffin III to practice on Wednesday:
“I really don’t know. As we reported, he’s got a Grade 1 sprain. He’s getting treatment every day. We’ll see how he feels on Wednesday.”

On what other treatments are planned for Griffin III this week:
“We’ll have treatment a few times a day. Obviously, [he’ll] do what he can to hopefully get it well – like all our other players, whether it’s an ankle, thigh, get as much treatment as we can and evaluate it each day. Hopefully, he’ll be ready to go.”

On if he feels like he dodged a bullet with Griffin III’s injury only being a Grade 1:
“You never know, like I said. When I looked at it on film I thought it would be worse than it was.”

On what convinced him that Griffin III could return after coming out the first time:
“Dr. Andrews – our sideline [doctor]. Dr. Andrews is pretty good. Not too many people have him on their sidelines, so we felt pretty lucky that he was there.”

On how the offense changes with Cousins as the starting quarterback:
“You’ll have to go to the game. You’ll have to see. It’s a secret. Kirk can do a lot, obviously. We’re going to do what we think gives us the best chance to win.”

On the sequence of events that led to Griffin III being able to go back in the game:
“’Hey, Dr. Andrews, can Robert go back in?’ 'Yeah, he can go back in.’ 'Robert, go back in.’ That was it.”

On if Griffin III had to go through any testing before going back in the game:
“He’s on the sidelines with Dr. Andrews. He had a chance to look at him and he said he could go back in.”

On if there’s a competitive advantage associated with the uncertainty surrounding Griffin III’s return:
“I’ll be honest with you, we’re going to do what we think is in Robert’s best interest and usually when you do that, it’s in the team’s best interest as well. We’re not going to put him out there if we think he’s not completely healthy and he can’t do the things to help us win. That’s part of the evaluation during the week – same thing with London Fletcher, same thing with Trent Williams. You can’t put guys out there that you don’t think is in the best interest of themselves as well as the football team. So you’ve got to evaluate it and you don’t know until the game.”

On the specifics of Griffin III’s injury:
“What I’m telling you is that if you check with me what a Grade 1 means, that kind of gives you a good indication of where he’s at. If it was a Grade 2, I’d tell you it was a Grade 2 or a Grade 3. A Grade 1 is a lot of swelling. So we’ll evaluate him during the week and see where he’s at.”

On if it gives his team an advantage that the Browns have to prepare for two quarterbacks:
“Sure. Sure, it does.”

On Griffin III’s play when he went back in injured:
“Well, after he threw that deep-over over the middle, he had a great throw, over the pocket, you could tell there was something wrong. He started limping. Right at that time, I knew it was time to get him out.”

On the need for Griffin III to protect himself:
“To me, you’ve got the final drive in the fourth quarter. He’s trying to make a play and I’d say what Robert was trying to do is score a touchdown, what competitors would do. It’s like a playoff game to us because we knew we had to win and Robert was going to do anything he could to get the first down. I think in normal circumstances, he probably would’ve slid or took off to the outside, but in that situation he’s trying to make a play and do whatever he could to make a play. Most quarterbacks, at least quarterbacks we would want, would put themselves in that situation. Now we want him to protect himself. They go through that each week – how he could better protect himself – so he can stay healthy. You think of the mindset of the quarterback, 'I’ve got to get the ball in the endzone and do everything I can possibly do to help this football team win.’”

On if he develops different game plans for Griffin III and Cousins:
“We’re going to put a game plan together that we think gives us the best chance to win with both quarterbacks. Obviously Robert can do some things in the running game that most people can’t do. So that’s that.”

On how often Dr. Andrews is on the sidelines:
“All the time. At least most of the time.”

On tailoring a program around a rookie quarterback:
“One of the reasons why I’ve enjoyed having two rookie quarterbacks is they learn together. They’ve got a chance to study together. They get a chance to grow together and kind of bounce things off each other. I think it’s been a great relationship, with both Robert and Kirk just bouncing things off each other. They’re both extremely smart. You can see it on the sideline. They were really pulling for each other. You can see Robert was the first person to congratulate Kirk after he threw that touchdown pass. That’s what you’re hoping for – young guys growing together and guys supporting each other and when one guy goes down, you’re a play away from being the quarterback and obviously Kirk came in and did a great job and that’s what you’re hoping for.”

On what he’s learned about Griffin III during his knee injury:
“The main thing – I’ve got to make sure he’s OK and there’s a lot of guys that want to go back in and that’s why you have doctors look at him, or Larry Hess. We’re lucky enough to have Dr. Andrews right there… I don’t throw quarterbacks in as quick. Sometimes it could be the head with a blow. Other times it’s a knee because normally those quarterbacks want to go back in and play. So after you get the clearance to put him back in, you’re full speed ahead. But when the knee did lock and you could see he was limping, I had a good feeling that was it at that time.”

On if Cousins’ intelligence helped him adapt quickly:
“We’re very fortunate to have all three of our quarterbacks that are very bright, extremely smart and excellent workers. They’re doing what they need to do, both on and off the football field. If a guy goes down, they’re going to be ready to go. That’s what Kirk did. He’s prepared himself for each game. In any scenario, I’d have complete confidence in him to go in and compete like he did. Until somebody does it when the pressure is on, you don’t know for sure. I was really pleased with how he handled himself. He went through his reads and did what you expect.”

On if there is a noticeable difference in Cousins’ play in the Atlanta game relative to yesterday’s performance:
“When you watch a guy, how he handles himself in preseason, you know if you have yourself a quarterback. You can see through preseason that this guy earned the right to be the backup quarterback. Being a backup quarterback, you get a chance to dress. You’re one play away from being in the game. You have to prepare yourself that the quarterback could go down on the first play and you have to step in and get the job done. He’s done that each and every week.”

On if backup quarterbacks should prepare a certain way:
“You get put under pressure right away. You don’t get the reps during the week. You get very few reps with the first team. You’re running the scout team the majority of the time and you’re expected to go in there and perform. There’s a lot of pressure on people. Some people can handle it, other people can’t. When you prepare yourself like he has, it doesn’t surprise me that he was flawless in what he did. That’s what you expect and what you’re hoping for.”

On if Griffin III said he will play against the Browns:
“They all say that. They all say they’re playing. What we do is evaluate it during the week and see if that’s possible.”

On cornerback Richard Crawford taking advantage of his opportunity on special teams:
“When you give people opportunities, you never know if they’re going to take advantage of them. Richard did a great job taking advantage of his opportunity. He not only caught the ball, but he made great decisions and he took it up field when he had to. When you get 100 yards in returns, that’s pretty impressive. That’s the difference in winning and losing.”

On if he is concerned with running back Alfred Morris fumbling in consecutive weeks:
“To be honest with you, fumbles are going to occur. You have to practice everyday with the defense trying to strip the ball from you. We haven’t had much contact with the Monday night game and playing on Sunday…two short weeks. We’ll get back to trying to strip the ball, putting him in situations where he can get those good habits back. He’s a guy you really trust because it means a lot to him. If you do get the ball, it’s usually a pretty good hit or three or four guys standing a guy up and doing a great job pulling the ball out. I have a lot of confidence in him.”

On if it’s possible that all three quarterbacks will be active against the Browns:
“I’d say that there’s always a possibility of that happening.”

On any other injuries:
“Nothing we’ll talk about today. The only thing I will say is [tackle] Trent Williams is better than he was and [linebacker] London Fletcher is better than he was. That’s a good sign.”

On the punt return by Crawford in overtime:
“What Richard did was he took the ball, tried to get upfield and made some people miss. If you can get 10 yards on a punt return, you’re doing great. That’s what he was able to do. Catch the ball, turn upfield and get some positive yards. When he was doing that…a couple of punt returns for big yardage. The last one was the difference in the game.”

On field goal protection:
“Number one, you have to have great protection if you’re talking about field goals or talking about punts. That’s where it starts. When one guy messed up, as we proved last year, good things don’t happen. We worked on it. Our guys are pretty solid. It only takes one guy to mess up and send you back to drawing board. Hopefully we can keep it up.”

On the defense’s performance in the second half:
“What you’re trying to do is put a complete game together. That’s what we do each and every week. Sometimes when you have a poor first half or second half, you don’t play well enough to win. What we’re trying to do, like I just mentioned, is play that perfect game. There are always adjustments that go on at halftime on both sides of the football. Sometimes they work, other times they don’t. You have to find a way to win and that’s what I was most pleased about our football team. I thought everyone collectively - offense, defense and special teams - added to the win.”

On if kick returners are kept off the field during to remain fresh for special teams:
“You always like a fresh player on special teams. You like as many fresh players as you can. Everybody has a role on the team. You may two plays, 20 plays or five plays, when that guy is in there you expect that guy to do their job. A lot of the time when you do have a guy who is fresh, it does give you a little bit of an advantage in the second half.”

On tight end Chris Cooley:
“Chris played more plays in this last game. He helped us tremendously when he did play. We’ll see in time. I have a lot of confidence in Chris. Chris is playing his role extremely well. That’s what you have to have, everyone understanding their role and when they do get their opportunity, they take advantage of it. Chris is a solid veteran for us, knowing his role and giving everything he’s got.”
On if last week’s ankle injury to cornerback DeAngelo Hall affected his performance yesterday:
“I think he’s fine. I still think it’s a little sore, but he pushed through it.”

On if a Grade 1 LCL sprain means a player will return for the next week:
“I’ll be honest with you. I don’t know. I really don’t. They can say that to me. It doesn’t mean a whole lot to me. I have to see what they can do in practice. Everybody reacts a little bit differently. I’ll get a chance to evaluate him [Robert] during the week. We’ll have to wait and see.”

On what he will look for in order to determine if Griffin III can play:
“If he can help us. If he can play at full speed. If a guy can’t play at full speed and he’s playing on one leg or 70 percent, there’s a good chance he can further injure himself. We’re not going to put him in that situation.”

On defending tight ends:
“It all depends on what coverage you’re using, what type of tight end you’re going against. Some tight ends are great blockers, others are great receivers. If you’re playing one certain defense it gives a tight end some opportunities to have some mismatches. It could be man-coverage, two-deep zone, could be blitzes. Offenses are very creative now on how to use tight end, especially with mismatches. Some guys are pretty tall, other’s are fast. There are a lot of different things you can do.”

On wide receiver Leonard Hankerson’s performance against the Ravens:
“I thought he played excellent. He had 25 plays and really looked good on all of them. He didn’t get the ball all the time, but he was open almost every time. I was pretty impressed with how he handled himself.”

On cornerback DJ Johnson’s performance against the Ravens:
“It’s always nice to see a person get his opportunity. He’s been in the league for a while. Hasn’t had a lot of playing time, but he handled himself very well.”

Tackle Trent Williams

On quarterback Robert Griffin III possibly playing on Sunday:
“It just takes confidence. You can’t be scared to get reinjured. Most of all, it takes heart, which I think he has both. So I think he will be fine if he does decide to play hurt.”

On if an injury is hard to put out of your mind during a game:
“No, it’s not. During the game, you have so much adrenaline going and when you’re out there you not thinking about the injury; you want to win first and foremost. So I don’t think it will be hard.”

On if he has talked to Griffin III today:
“Yes, I talked to him. He is doing well. He is in high spirits. It was a pretty nasty, awkward hit, and for him not to be seriously injured is a blessing.”

On if he expects Griffin III to play this week against the Browns:
“That’s totally up to him. His health is far more important than any game we will play this season. His well-being is the only thing he should be worried about at this time. It really isn’t worth injuring more if he is at risk. It is all up to him and what the situation is. I know my situation was a little different.”

On how different the offense is with Griffin III or with Kirk Cousins:
“Cousins is a really good quarterback. Let’s get that out the way. He can run this offense just as well as anyone else can. Of course he doesn’t have the dynamic 4.3 speed at the quarterback position but he is a smart quarterback, and as you can see, he came in off the bench, not much game experience in the season at all, and he still led us to a touchdown and a two-point conversion and ultimately the game-winning field goal.”

On if they run the same plays for Cousins that they do for Griffin III:
“That is up to Kyle what type of plays he is going to call. He does the same plays. He comes in and prepares just like RGIII does.”

On if there were two game plans going into Week 6 when Griffin III was listed as questionable:
“No, I think the whole time we knew he was going to play. It was more of the media with the speculation. So, we went with one game plan.”

On how challenging it would be to prepare two game plans:
“I don’t think it would be too challenging because, all-in-all, it’s still the plays out of our playbook. We aren’t going to get a new playbook, so I don’t think it will be too challenging.”
Shanahan seemed irritated to me about the knee questions. I mean it was the same question over and over.

I feel like someone wrote Trent's answers for him and he just read them off the card. Maybe he really is getting his act together. Don't think he could answer those any better than that.
The local media did the same thing when Griffin suffered the concussion.

These guys were digging around trying to needle out when Shanahan knew Robert might have a concussion vs. When it was reported to the league, etc.

Half of that press conference was about league BS and trying to wedge a controversy rather than a straightforward discussion of Griffin's health.

To me anyway it was BS. He didn't put Griffin back out there and that was the right move.

The fact he didn't report it so the news could inform the opposition (as well as the Vegas bookies) is a non-issue I don't care about.
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I honestly hope we hold Rg3 out, when it comes to the knee of your franchise, you err on the side of caution, besides it will get him more stoked to play when he comes back healthy.

Part of me wants to agree with you and give him an entire week to heal up but the other part really wants to win and I don't think Cousins would get the job done IN Cleveland.

If RG3 is well enough, according to the doctors, coaches and RG3 himself, then he should play. If he's not, I'll watch and dread and drink myself silly.
Bulldog's Twin hit on what I was talking about when the concussion happened.
I bet vegas has more pull than 'player health' when it comes to this stuff :)

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