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Marine Corps Virginia


December 12, 2012
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the status of quarterback Robert Griffin III:
“He was limited but I was impressed with how he worked and what he did.”

On if he would have believed on Sunday that Griffin III would look impressive in practice today:
“You never know. That is why you go day-by-day and we will see at the end of the week if he is full speed, ready to go. If he is, he will play.”

On the balance between what’s best for Griffin III and what’s best for the Redskins’ playoff push:
“You get a chance to watch him every day in practice. I get a good gut feel if a guy can play or not. You watch him every day and you see what he does on the practice field and how it will carry over in the game. If he can’t do it on the practice field, chances are he’s not going to be able to do it during the game. So, we will evaluate that through the week and then make a decision on what’s the best for him and what’s best for our football team.”

On if Griffin III is risking further injury by playing on Sunday:
“I think you take all that in consideration when you make a decision. You’re looking at him every day and how he is practicing in comparison to what he could do before when he was completely healthy. You try to evaluate him on the field, not what he is telling you, [but] exactly what you see. Then you make a decision on what’s the best thing for him as well as your football team.”

On who will make the final decision on if Griffin III will play on Sunday:
“When you make a decision like that, you’re talking about a number of people. Like I said, usually I can see… I’ve had players tell me they can go and you can see they are ready to go. You go by your experience just being out there evaluating people. A lot of players will tell you a lot of different things, but you can see if someone is ready to practice or ready to play and you kind of go through your experience and that position or other positions and try to do what’s right.”

On if playing through injuries is different for a quarterback than for other positions:
“Yeah, it’s different for each position. Obviously if you can’t go full speed at the quarterback position, you have to be to protect yourself. You have to be able to react a little bit different than that of other positions.”

On how much quarterback Kirk Cousins has grown since Week 5:
“We talked about Richard Crawford and how much he grew. You always grow anytime you practice. When you’re doing the scout team, watching game film, just going through a week of preparation there is a growing curve for a young guy and obviously with Kirk there is no difference. To be able to go through those game plans and be prepared and be ready to play…there is a lot of work involved, especially at the quarterback position. Kirk has done a great job and that is why he played the way he played during the game.”

On if Cousins had an extra hop in his step during practice today:
“He handles himself the right way. He is one play from being the starter so he prepares as if he was the starter everyday because he know he could be very quickly. The backup quarterback is one of the toughest positions in the game because you have to be ready to play and you have to prepare yourself and if you don’t, you are going to get embarrassed pretty quickly.”

On if he has had a backup quarterback prepare like Cousins does:
“There are a lot of backups that aren’t prepared when they go in and they usually don’t last very long. You only get so many opportunities.”

On what players were limited in practice today:
“London [Fletcher] did not practice. Trent [Williams] was limited. We have a few guys getting treatment. Pierre [Garçon] was getting treatment, but everybody else was full go.”

On if he was surprised by what Griffin III was able to do in practice today:
“I was impressed that he could be able to go out there that quickly. When I looked at the blow on TV, I didn’t think he was going to be able to do the things he did today.”

On the maturity level of Griffin III and Cousins:
“I think it has been great for both quarterbacks to come in because they feed off one another. They both are students of the game; both are extremely bright, great work ethic, all the intangibles that you look for in a quarterback. To have that type of work ethic and work together, I think it has been great for both of them where they could grow together. So it has been plus and obviously they both have taken advantage of the opportunities they’ve had.”

On cornerback D.J. Johnson and safety Jordan Pugh:
“They did great. Pugh had a nice sack on that third-and-6. Johnson did a great job when he was matched up on different wide receivers. [He was] not afraid to play bump, not afraid to play off. Again, you’re hoping guys come in and take advantage of the opportunity. I thought [Jerome] Murphy did a great job on special teams. He really stepped up and made a couple big plays and that is what you’re hoping guys will do.”

On drafting Cousins:
“You get guys that are very competitive and very sharp. You knew exactly how he felt about Robert when we named him the starting quarterback and gave up what we gave up. You have the opportunity to get a guy like Kirk; we thought that was the best thing for the organization and I think that’s proven out already.”

On the field last Sunday:
“I’m not really worried about the field. Sometimes they paint it; sometimes it is not in great shape. My main thing is the footing. I thought the footing was pretty good. As long as the footing is good, I really don’t care what it looks like. I mean, you’d like it perfect. Sometimes they’ll re-sod it if it’s not perfect. I’ve had problems with re-sodding the field; it’s been worse after it was re-sodded a couple times in different places that I have been, so as long as the footing is good, that is number one.”

Quarterback Kirk Cousins

On if today is not a normal Wednesday for him:
“It has a little different feeling. I haven’t stood at this podium before, so I guess in that sense it is.”

On if what he’s doing in practice is helping him feel more prepared:
“Definitely. Anytime you can get reps, you’re going to get better. That was true of OTAs. That was true of minicamp. That was true of training camp. Anytime I go out there and get a chance to get better, I’m going to get better. That’s why I stay after it every day – to do that.”

On quarterback Robert Griffin III running a 4.3-second 40-yard dash:
“I told Robert, I said, 'Your 40 would have to drop a lot for you to be losing something to me. I ran a 4.9 at the combine, so if you’re not 4.9, I guess I could be faster than you.’ But I said, 'Even if you slow down two or three tenths of a second, you still got me by two or three tenths of a second.’”

On wide receiver Joshua Morgan comparing him to former NBA star Larry Bird:
“Josh is a basketball guy, so I’ll take that as a compliment. I’ve been told he played basketball at AAU with guys like Ty Lawson and Carmelo Anthony. If he’s making that comparison, I’ll take that as a compliment.”

On how different he is as a quarterback this year:
“I’ve grown exponentially since I got here. It’s been a lot of learning. Rookie year I was expecting to be constantly learning and having to adapt to new things. I’ve become a much better quarterback from the day I showed up to where I am now. If I do end up playing on Sunday, that would be another opportunity to learn or grow.”

On the areas of his game he feels he has experienced the most growth:
“I think quarterbacking is so many things, and we’re going to focus on all of them – whether it’s making reads quicker, having better footwork, better fundamentals. I don’t go to class anymore. I do football all day long. That in and of itself is going to make me a lot better than when I had to divide my time in college between a whole bunch of different things. Having football as a job has made a big difference.”

On the difference in playing as a relief quarterback and potentially starting in place of Griffin III:
“You have to go the distance when you start a game. That’s a lot of time to screw up – if you will – a lot of time to get exposed. I walked off the field and I really learned firsthand the comment that I’ve heard many times before that quarterbacks get too much of the praise when things go well and too much of the blame when things go poorly. I was on the praise side of that this past Sunday. I walked away from the game and I said to my brother, 'Kyle, I went two-for-two. Let’s not get carried away.’ People want to praise you. If I got out there and made the mistake to lose the game, people would be giving me too much blame. When you go the distance, you have a little bit more of a chance to really show your true colors. I don’t feel like going two-for-two is a very convincing argument to say that I know what I’m doing or that I’ve proved that I know what I’m doing. I think I still have a lot of football and I need to show that.”

On the advantages of going through the same rookie program with Griffin III:
“We’ve been going through this rookie experience since day one when we showed up together. Obviously, his has had a few differences than mine, but regardless we’ve both been rookies. We’ve both had to learn a lot when it comes to living the NFL life. We have done that together. They’ve had to install plays with both of us there, rather than being by myself if I was on another team with a veteran quarterback. It is unique. You don’t see it a lot – two rookie quarterbacks and one and two on the depth chart. I think we’ve done a good job with it and hopefully we can finish the year and still be saying that.”

On the improvement in his performance since the Atlanta game:
“I said at the Atlanta game that as much as I hate the result, I would learn from it. I think results this past Sunday prove that. I think part of the reason I left the pocket on the touchdown pass was the mistake I made against the Falcons in the second interception. Whether it’s a rep in practice or a rep in a game – it doesn’t really matter the setting – you’re going to learn from it. If you’re out there doing it and making a mistake, you’re going to try to prevent it in the future. To answer your question, my time in against the Falcons was invaluable. I said it was at that point, and I think looking back now it still remains true.”

On if the touchdown pass to wide receiver Pierre Garçon was a play that’s engrained in a quarterback’s mind:
“We talk about playing on instincts, but instincts are developed over time. I wasn’t born to play quarterback. I worked at it and worked at it and worked at it to the point where you can then play on instincts and you’re making the right decisions instinctively. That has taken time. That’s when I say I’ve grown a lot since May. It would be developing myself to a point where I can play without having to think, which I think even back in the Atlanta game – more so than the Ravens game – I’m obviously having to think more than a 10- or 12-year veteran, but even from Atlanta to the Ravens game. I’m having to think a lot less and I’m able to just react and play.”

On how his preparation will change this week:
“It really doesn’t. I’m getting here the same time every day. I’m leaving at the same time. I view it as though I’m one play away with the style of Robert’s play. That may mean a little bit more than if you’re backing up Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, who have been so stable for so long. I treat it as I have to be ready. I don’t want a result like what happened against the Falcons to happen again. I prepare the same regardless of the likelihood that I would play.”

On playing with feel:
“I’ve gone through this experience going from high school to college. You’re a freshman in college on the scout team and you’re saying, 'Man, I wish football was easy and fun again like it was a senior in high school.’ Then finally I get to be a senior in college and you’re just playing and having fun and everything is slowing down for you, so you hope that’s going to happen as well here. Again, each time you go out there you can see a little bit of improvement. From the preseason to the Atlanta game to the Baltimore game, there’s no doubt I’m getting
better. I’m not there yet, but I’m getting better and as time passes I expect to have it come more natural.”

On how much time he spends with Griffin III:
“I think it’s also taken time for us to get to know each other and learn how we each work best. We’re learning on the run. We’re sort of learning how to best prepare. First time around, we’re just figuring things out. We do spend a lot of time together. I see him more than I see anybody in my life because of how many hours we’re here, because we’re both rookies. We do spend a lot of time together and try to help one another. I think the more time we spend together, the more we’ve been able to help each other, the more we get to know each other and the better our relationship is.”

On what he can incorporate into his game from Griffin III’s style of play:
“I think if you look at the touchdown pass against Baltimore that I was apart of, that’s a play where you watch Robert earlier in the game roll to his right and throw a touchdown pass to [wide receiver] Joshua Morgan. Who knows, but maybe…after seeing that happen many times and watching Robert create whether it’s a practice or a game, you start to see that on film quite a bit and in your own way you try to emulate that maybe a little bit more than when you’re backing up a guy who doesn’t do that often. I think just seeing how Robert plays, watching a quarterback in front of you play at a high level, benefits me because I’m learning from a guy who is doing it the right way.”

On playing in colder weather:
“Talk to me after Sunday if I play and we’ll see. I’ve played in 15 [degrees] and snow. I’ve played in 35 [degrees] and rain. I’ve played in 75 [degrees] and sunny. I’ve played in all kinds of weather. Being from Michigan, playing in the Big Ten, playing at Michigan State I’ve experienced bad weather, so I guess I do have a little bit of experience there. Talk to me after Sunday if I do play and we’ll see.”

On people reaching out to him after the win against Baltimore:
“I added up the text messages after the game come Monday morning and I had 140 people who had texted me and I think I responded to two. I called my dad, talked to my parents, talked to my siblings, my brother and sister, talked to my grandparents and that was about it. I want to apologize to the other 137 people I haven’t responded to. You’re probably not going to get a response. I’ll see you in the offseason. It has been a little unique. I hadn’t been getting 137 text messages after the previous few games [laughter].”

On if he has overanalyzed his snaps:
“It’s a tough position because, like you said, you go two-for-two and everybody loves you. If you go 0-for-two, everybody hates you. You say, 'It’s only two passes. It’s not really a body of work to make a decision either way.’ The position that I’m in, being where I was drafted and the role I have, I’m not going to get a full season or two seasons to show the NFL what I can do. I’m going to get a half of a game and a preseason game. I’m going to get two throws at the end of a Ravens game. I have to be willing to accept that. It’s not ideal. I would have loved to have been the 10th overall pick and have two or three seasons to see what I can and can’t do, but that’s not the luxury I have. There is a heightened sense of urgency to say that when I do get my opportunities, I need to make the most of them. I’ve been saying that since I got here in May.”

On if these games are more important to him because they could possibly be full games:
“There’s no doubt that it’s an opportunity. I view it as an opportunity just as I viewed preseason games as opportunities. Every practice is an opportunity to show what I can do every day. I’m trying to perform at a high level and show, whether it’s these coaches or the rest of the NFL, what I’m capable of. My dad said to me for a long time, when I was struggling to see if I was going to play at Michigan State, he said, 'Kirk, the cream always rises to the top. If you’re good enough, in time, you’ll get your shot. If you’re not, you won’t.’ The cream rose to the top at Michigan State when I got my opportunity there. I’m not worried about it in the sense that if I’m good enough I’ll be able to show people over time what I can do and if I’m not, I won’t. I have to be able to accept that. At the end of the day, I said this when I got here, God brought me here. He has his hand on my life and I’m going to trust him and his plan for my life. I believe whether it’s as a backup, starter, five-year career, 15-year career, one-year career, he has a plan for me and I’m going to trust it and roll with it.”

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

On how he feels:
“I feel good. I feel really blessed to almost sustain the grade of an injury that I did – the Grade 1 LCL sprain – after watching the hit. I didn’t get to watch the replay until after I had the MRI so I think that was a good idea as well. Like I told everybody, I was the happiest guy in the world on Monday to be blessed with the injury I did have after looking at it. So I feel good.”

On how much better his knee feels:
“A lot better. It’s gotten better every day, which is a positive sign for me. Sunday night, I thought there probably was no chance that I could play the next week. Then Monday morning, I felt better about it. Yesterday, I felt better about it and today, I feel really good about it. It just depends on if I continue to progress the way I am.”

On how much he was able to do in practice:
“I’ve got to leave that to Coach [Mike Shanahan] to say, but I did enough. I did enough to give myself the confidence to push it tomorrow and then on Friday.”

On if he feels like himself despite his knee injury:
“I feel like myself every day. It’s just about getting confidence back in it. I plan on getting confidence back in it relatively quickly so I’ve just got to go out there and continue to progress every day.”

On what he said to quarterback Kirk Cousins about the way he played against the Baltimore Ravens:
“I congratulated him on the sideline after the game and even after that play. It was great to see him go out there and do what he did. I know a lot of people were shocked. I don’t think anyone on this team was shocked. He prepares himself. We’ve got a great quarterback room so I’m really proud of him and Rex [Grossman] and Coach for helping him out out there and we won the game. That’s all that matters.”

On what the doctors said to him about the risk of sustaining another injury if he plays against the Cleveland Browns:
“They haven’t talked to me much about that. I know in 2009 when I tore my ACL and I wanted to come back and play two weeks after that, then you have a chance of messing up the other ligaments. But with a Grade 1 LCL sprain, I don’t know if you are in danger of hurting any other ligament, but I’ll wear a brace and go on from there.”

On if he feels any pain walking around:
“No. It’s just on Sunday night and Monday, you definitely notice it. But the more the leg loosens up the more the swelling goes down, the more you progress, the more you can do normal things – getting out of bed, walking up steps, all those things. I use that as a little gauge to see how I can come out and perform and it’s gotten a lot easier for me. I can walk up and down steps normally. I can walk around normally. I can run in place. I can run. I can do all those things. Like I said, I’m the happiest guy in the world right now.”

On if he can plant and throw the way he wants to:
“Yeah, planting and throwing is not a problem. I went and did some planting and throwing out here all day. So I don’t know if you guys saw, but I waved to you guys, just letting you guys know I’m OK.”

On how he balances his competitive nature with his injury:
“It’s all balanced. I don’t know how I can put it but what the doctors say means a lot to me. How I feel means a lot to me. I’ve been able to push myself the past couple days based on the way I feel and being honest with Larry [Hess] and the doctors. It’s just about being smart. During the game, I threw the pass to [wide receiver] Pierre [Garçon] down the field and limped down the field. I knew I needed to get out of the game. It’s just about that. It’s not about me and about me playing and being out there. It’s about the team. If I feel like I can get the team the best chance to win, then I’ll play. If I can make sure I ensure my safety out there and my health and my career, then I’ll go out there and play. And if not, then I won’t.”

On if he’s talked to any teammates about playing through injury:
“I think it’s different for everybody. I feel like I can push through any kind of injury. Does that mean I’ll play on Sunday? Who knows. But we’ll see what happens. I want to be out there for those guys like I told them I would be.”

On if his injury distorts his ability to play off his instincts:
“No. I’ve told many people, 'I’m more than just a runner. I’m more than just an athletic quarterback.’ So I don’t have to go out there and prove that to anybody. But I think one gauge is will I be able to make instinctive moves without thinking about it? I couldn’t do that in 2009 off an ACL. I could control my movements but whenever I make a quick decision, I couldn’t really plant and go. I try to do a little bit of that whenever you can’t see your leg or plan that you’re going to make a certain movement. Can you make that explosive step? I was able to do that today. Hopefully I’ll be able to do it more and more throughout the week.”

On if he can make instinctive moves in practice as he would in a game:
“Not necessarily the way it would happen in a game, but I can make an instinctive move based on the coverage or what an offensive lineman is doing. Those are the things that you have to be able to do without thinking about them and not letting your knee go out.”

On if he would rest and not play against the Browns if the team’s record was worse:
“No. I’d play. Me saying it is a different tone than you’re saying it. Record doesn’t matter. It doesn’t gauge whether you play or not, whether you save yourself for the next season or play. I think the day you start taking that mentality in football is the day you should stop playing. We’re 7-6 here. We’re trying to make the playoffs, trying to go further than that and I need to be out there for my team.”

On if he played with a brace in 2009:
“Yeah, I wore one the year after my ACL for the whole year so I’m used to it. I’ve got to get back to being used to a brace but I’ve played with one before. I think it will help me if I decide to brace up and play.”

On if he would do everything the same looking back on the play he got injured:
“I was frustrated. First of all, like I’ve told you guys, the hit hurt. I was frustrated when I got up because I was getting down. That play could happen to anybody. It wasn’t like I was waiting until the last second and got hit in the head like I did against Atlanta or anything like that. I was getting down and my leg came up and he [Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata] hit my leg… That was an unfortunate part of it. I think one thing people have to realize is football is a physical sport and there’s a lot of quarterbacks out there that aren’t necessarily the runners that aren’t playing right now because of injuries. It’s not just because I’m a little bit athletic and I can move around that I’m more prone to injuries. There’s a lot of quarterbacks out there that are getting hurt that don’t move around a lot. I don’t look at it that way. I tried to get down. As soon as I turned in, I knew there was a lot of Ravens coming after me. It was just unfortunate so I’ll continue to make sure I play safe, play the way I have and still be aggressive.”
On if expects to play on Sunday:
“I can’t tell you all that. First, I don’t want to give the Cleveland Browns a competitive advantage. I don’t want to let anybody down so I don’t want to say that I’ll be playing and end up not playing.”

On if he’s seen a replay of his injury on television:
“Yeah, I’ve watched it. I watched it a couple times, maybe five. But since then, every time they play it, since there’s an RGIII update every other hour, I try not to watch it anymore.”

On learning the playbook with Cousins, another rookie quarterback:
“It worked out like Coach wanted it to. You’ve got two guys coming in so we’re both having to learn the system. Both of us are learning it in different ways. It’s just been a great relationship with me and Kirk and then Rex – the two young guys and then the 10-year vet. So it’s been a great quarterback room and I think we all get along.”

On what his teammates have said to him about his injury:
“Don’t play if I can’t play. I think coming out here and doing what I did in practice is kind of a showcase for you guys to see me move around – that I’m not on crutches or limping or anything like that. But it’s also for them to see that I’m OK and if I do step out there in between those lines, they don’t have to worry about me. Now, they are naturally [worried] just because they’re my teammates, but I don’t want them to think I’m going to put myself in harm’s way if I can’t go out and perform.”

Cleveland Browns Head Coach Pat Shurmur

On if it complicates his game plan not knowing if Robert Griffin III or Kirk Cousins will start at quarterback:
“When it’s something like this where you’re not sure who’s going to play quarterback, what we do is prepare for the Washington Redskins offense – which as you know, has elements of the West Coast dropback throwing game. They have, of course, the off-tackle zone running game and then with RGIII as your quarterback, you have kind of the option, triple-option structured quarterback plays – structured running quarterback plays. We have to prepare for really all those elements as we move forward.”

On how different the Redskins offense would look without Griffin III:
“I don’t know. It’s hard to tell and that’s why you prepare for the full offense. I’m sure there’s things that RGIII has done that are really not traditional NFL-type plays that Kirk can still run. It would be hard for us to guess. We just have to move forward and prepare like either one will play.”

On if the zone read and play-action will change with Cousins:
“I don’t know. I don’t think so. Most of them – when you get beyond the fact that they’re in the Pistol – if you just put the quarterback under center, you see a lot of traditional-type NFL play-actions. Obviously, being in the shotgun adds a little different dimension, and then the keeps and the nakeds and the play-action, deep slant, pop-type concepts. We see them. Anything that RGIII could do in terms of executing their offense, I’m sure Kirk can do. Heck, he came into the game – and I’m sure he doesn’t get many reps with the ones during the week – and helped lead the Redskins to victory. We’re not underestimating anything that Cousins can do as it really applies to what we see from RGIII.”

On his impressions of Cousins after watching film:
“I know him extremely well…We went to the same school. I know a lot about him and I think he’s everything you want in a quarterback in terms of his ability to lead. He won a lot of football games in college and he just won another one here in the NFL, which is not easy to do. That’s the starting point. There’s not as much out there as far as his mastery of your offense, but they had no problem putting him in the ball game, so I’m sure he’s ready to go.”

On if this will be a historic season for rookie quarterbacks league-wide:
“Time will tell on that, I think. I think what you’re seeing, though, is you’re seeing more quarterbacks come in the league with more background on how to play quarterback. That’s a long way of saying that they’re better prepared for our game. You’re seeing guys coming out of college basically working with dropback schemes. You’re seeing guys with great skill and ability as far as running that are involved in option-type schemes. Then, you’re seeing a little bit of a merge there. Things are trickling up. You’re seeing more college-type concepts from a running game standpoint as it applies to quarterbacks like RGIII, Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick and those type of guys who have the ability to run the football extremely well.”

On if he expects to see more teams running the Pistol formation in the future:
“I think coaches tend to copy things. I know my roots are West Coast, as are Mike Shanahan’s. Our offenses look a little bit different each year depending on who we have playing for us. That’s just the way it goes. Things evolve some. At one point, everything was two-back, now most everything is one-back. Things change. Behind-the-scenes, what you tell the quarterback, the progressions that you’re putting out there for the quarterback to read through, a lot of what you’re telling the quarterback remains the same. It’s just the players are lined up differently, the actions are a little bit different, but for the most part, behind-the-scenes, is a little more familiar for us as coaches.”

On how much more comfortable quarterback Brandon Weeden is getting as the season progresses:
“I think he gets more comfortable every week. I think we’ve got a bunch of young guys out there and everything they’re doing is running parallel. They’re all getting used to playing in the league. They’re all getting used to playing together and they’re all trying to find a way to help their team win games. I think the same could be said for Brandon. He’s done some outstanding things this year. Of course, each game, there’s a play or two he’d love to have back. Along the way, even though you’re a very accomplished quarterback – and I’m sure you maybe see this from RGIII – even though you’re a very accomplished quarterback at the college level, there are certain things you need to learn about when you play the game at this level. I think you can only learn it by doing it and that’s why you see some games where guys from this rookie class have an outstanding performance and you see other games where maybe it’s just so-so.”

On what have been the biggest adjustments for Weeden:
“I think with the quarterbacks, just what they see. In college, they drop back and pass and everybody is open. In this league, there are times you drop back to pass and there’s nobody open. That’s got to get right in your mind. That’s just one example. It sounds a little trite maybe, but that’s what you have to get used to – and just all the other stuff. Everything here is challenged from when you take the snap to when you drop back to how you throw it. The rush is on you quicker – just everything. Everything is more pressured in this league. I think that’s something they have to get used to.”

On how advantageous it has been for Weeden to learn from Colt McCoy:
“I think it’s been good. I would say it’s my coaches and myself that teach them. Then, of course, Colt in their quiet time or when they’re by themselves, they can talk about some of the stuff. Colt has done an outstanding job of doing his role this year. I appreciate him for that. There’s a lot of people here that are helping Brandon do his thing.”

On how wide receiver Pierre Garçon changes the Redskins offense:
“We all know you picked up two all-star receivers in the free agent market with Pierre Garçon and of course Josh Morgan. I did a great deal of work on them. I’ve played against those guys numerous times. When you add two good skill players, it changes things inside because you have to decide how you want to defend the edges. Then, it puts a little more heat on the run game as far as defending it if you commit too much of your resources to defending the receivers.”

On if he sees similarities between tackles Trent Williams and Joe Thomas:
“The accolades…I think Joe is in a little different situation. I think Trent is playing good football. I think when you keep the balance and maintain the balance that you have there now with your team being able to run the football, the play-action game, I think it helps you as a guy blocking [the] dropback pass. It’s all coordinated. You’ve got a good little rhythm going there and I’m sure that helps him.”

On what he likes about Williams’ game:
“I think he’s an excellent athlete, No. 1. I think that helps him because it’s really hard to play in this league if you can’t pass protect. It’s nearly impossible because at some point, you’re going to drop back and throw the ball. Then, of course, his athletic ability allows him to be a good run blocker. Again, I think it all runs parallel. Then, there’s getting comfortable with the scheme and the guys you’re playing with and then it all kind of starts to go. I think that’s what you’ve got going on there in Washington.”

Cleveland Browns Quarterback Brandon Weeden

On how the Browns’ offense is progressing:
“I think we’re growing up. We were a young football team, I think probably the youngest in the league. Guys were just getting their feet wet. Guys are starting to play with confidence and aren’t having to think quite as much. We’ve got receivers. Josh Gordon is coming up and playing huge for us. I’m getting a little bit more comfortable. [Running back] Trent [Richardson] is getting more comfortable. This is a tough league and when you’re a young football team like that, it’s going to take time. We weren’t playing very well early on, but we’re finding a way to win close games, finding a way to win games and just playing with more confidence.”

On the benefits and challenges of having two young quarterbacks:
“The thing about Colt [McCoy] – he’s got experience. He’s played for a couple years. He’s able to help me out throughout the game and throughout the week of practice. I can’t really answer that because I’ve never really been a veteran guy, so I don’t really know the pros and cons. I can say Colt has been helpful. Like I said, he’s helped prepare me week in and week out. I guess that would be the pro.”

On working with Head Coach Mike Shanahan and Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan at the Senior Bowl:
“They were awesome. Both Coach Shanahans were awesome – two great football minds. You have about 12 hours to learn a huge chunk of the offense and soak it all in. They were great all week. They were helpful. Obviously, [they are] two guys that have been around quarterbacks and have developed good quarterbacks. It was a fun week for me getting to know those guys and being around those guys as much as possible. [Those are] two guys that I have a lot of respect for.”

On his offensive line:
“First of all, we have a lot of confidence in those guys. They’re well-coached – extremely well-coached.
Alex Mack makes all the mike calls and does all the line adjustments at the line of scrimmage initially. He gets it started and has done a great job there. Those guys are continuing to get better and get a feel for each other. Their confidence continues to grow. They’ve played well. They’ve kept me off the ground. The ball gets out quick. They’re able to soak in these blocks and do a great job. That’s a huge testament to them and that’s why I take them out to dinner and take care of those guys.”

On playing with left tackle Joe Thomas:
“That makes you sleep better at night. He’s a Pro Bowler – a guy that can play in this league as long as he wants. He’s a great player – extremely smart, good leader. He’s kind of the anchor. He’s a pro. When I got drafted here, that’s one thing I knew right away. I did know that my left tackle situation was great. That’s been the case so far.”

On how much attention he paid to the Redskins’ draft trades:
“I’ll be honest, after the first couple trades, I’m not smart enough to keep up with all that. I knew where it all fell. I knew where Cleveland picked – as far as at 22 and then they also went up to three. Other than that, I had a house full of people, but also didn’t think about the ins and outs of what’s going on. I knew who picked where and that was about the extent of it.”

On rookie running back with Trent Richardson:
“He’s doing a great job. The thing about Trent is everybody sees how hard he runs and how well he runs the football. He’s done a great job in pass pro. He’s done a great job as far as picking up blitzes – doing all those things. He’s really done his part. Like I said, he keeps continuing to get better.”​
 

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