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Skins Quotes 12/12

McKissic for the win

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Marine Corps Virginia


December 12, 2013
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the injury report:
“[Tight end] Jordan Reed did not practice, same thing with the concussion. Full practice was [guard Kory] Lichtensteiger, [safety Brandon] Meriweather, [fullback] Darrel Young and [safety] Trenton Robinson.”

On if there is any thought to shutting Reed down for the remainder of the season:
“We’re testing him day-by-day. That would be a doctor’s decision. Right now that has not been talked about – just evaluating him.”

On if he’s concerned about the amount of time Reed has taken to recover from his concussion:
“Well, that’s why he’s seeing the doctors every day and seeing different doctors to see why he does have some headaches and why he hasn’t passed the tests. So it’ll be an ongoing process. I think that’s why they have this process to make sure somebody doesn’t come back too early, no matter what type of headache they do have. But if they don’t pass the test, there’s reason for concern.”

On how quarterback Kirk Cousins has progressed from last year to this year:
“He has got to get a lot more repetition. When you’re the second team quarterback, normally the second-team quarterback is getting very, very few reps during the season. And all his reps are basically working the scout team. So to get the opportunity to get some reps with the first unit is something that he hasn’t had for a while. He’s jumping in full speed and getting as many reps as he can.”

On if there’s a natural adjustment period that should be expected for Cousins:
“I think what you do as a second- or third-team quarterback is you’re getting reps as a scout teamer and you’re trying to relate plays that are being run against our defense and trying to look at it in our terms. So you can et better as a quarterback going through the natural reads. Even though the depth may be a little bit off, some of the plays are a little bit off, just getting those reps does help.”

On if Cousins playing against Atlanta last season will help or if it’s irrelevant:
“Probably mostly irrelevant at this point, but he did get valuable time in that game and had a couple good experiences and a couple tough experiences.”

On if it’s more difficult that the Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan is his son:
“One of the reasons why we talk about this in the beginning is I’ve been through this, I’ve watched it happen with different families and that’s why somebody has to have somewhat of a resume before they do come in here, because if not, then it’s a total disaster because of the last name. I think everybody wants to be judged by their work. I think that’s natural regardless of who you are, but it’s part of the process.”

On if what he sees on TV has impacted practice or if practices have felt normal:
“Oh, it’s definitely normal. I don’t get a chance to watch TV during the season. You get home at 10, 10:30 and you get here at 5, 5:30 in the morning, there’s not a lot of TV watching. I understand what goes with the process and its part of the National Football League especially when you’re having a rough year. You know what’s happening even though you don’t see it and some of the questions that are being asked. But the only thing you do to change it is win, and that’s why your focus is on Atlanta. And that’s why you put all your time and energy with your football team and your coaches on one goal because if you get caught up in the other stuff then you don’t do your job.”

On how he’s seen Kyle Shanahan grow over the past four years as a man, as a son and as a football coach:
“I think if you look at any coach coming in, I’ll talk about myself – every year is a growing experience from your first year until whatever this is for me now in the National Football League – 30. Every year has been a growth because you gain valuable experiences, it could be on the field or off, as a head coach, as a coordinator, and you value that learning experience. It could be in a draft room, it could be free agency. There a lot of mistakes, there’s a lot of good things that happen throughout your career, but you try to soak everything in so when you are presented with decisions, you’ve been there before. You feel like you’re making the right one because of your experience.”

On if he thinks Kyle Shanahan is better off having had this experience with the organization:
“Every time that you go into a situation, I look at it as a positive – no matter what happens. I thought one of my best learning years was the year and four games I lasted with the Raiders in 1988. I actually knew what I wanted as a head football coach if I did get the opportunity again, what I was looking for. I think that really extended from my opportunity I had at San Francisco as an offensive coordinator. So you learn. You’re with different organizations, different programs, a lot of people do things a lot of different ways. At the end, I think every job you do have, you look at the positives and you look at the negatives, and at the end, you grow from it, especially as a young coach.”

On if he was aware how much of a project this would be when he was hired:
“I think I knew exactly what it was going to take to turn this thing around. Yeah, that’s from your experience. And then all of the sudden sometimes things happen where you adjust during the way. I think I shared that with you – going into our third year we didn’t expect that big of a hit, we didn’t expect any hit. When you do make a trade or you do all the things that you do, it’s usually based on the information you have at hand. A lot of times you have to adjust and that’s the nature of the business.”

On if he fears Cousins will take a lot of hits in the remaining three games:
“First of all, you make a decision that you feel is based in the best interest of your organization. You do take a look at Robert, you do take a look at Kirk and you do take a look at all those things you’ve talked about. Is it the offensive line, the receivers? Maybe somebody experienced something a little bit different in his high school career, in his college career, in his pro career. There are so many different factors into making the decision, but at the end of the day you have to make a decision based on what you think is in the best interest of your organization long term. We don’t get into details why, but I really believe this is in the best interest of the organization. As I spoke about before, time will tell. But if we would have gone into the last three games and something did happen to Robert, I think it would really affect him going into next offseason.”

On John Madden’s comments that benching quarterback Robert Griffin III affects the integrity of the game:
“First of all, I respect the heck out of John. I’ve known John for a long time and he does an unbelievable job. But unless you’re really in the situation – you’re in our situation – it’s really hard to jump into somebody’s shoes. And everybody has opinions on everything, especially when you get paid to give your opinions. But when you’re here and you’re the coach, you’re going to do the best thing that you believe – with all the facts involved – that is the best thing for the organization. And sometimes you don’t know all the things that we’re evaluating.”

On Griffin III’s role on game day:
“He’s in a position just like [quarterback] Rex Grossman was. He’s getting ready for the game. If Rex gets sick or Kirk gets sick, he has to be up; he has to be ready to go. That’s the nature of the business. The third-team quarterback is inactive, if the other two quarterbacks are healthy. That’s the nature of if you go with two quarterbacks. If somebody would get injured in the next two games, we would probably bring somebody back on our football team where we wouldn’t have to put Robert in that situation. But if somebody got hurt or somebody got sick the night before the game, Robert’s got to be ready to be a player in the game. So he’s got to prepare himself both mentally and physically.”

On what will happen moving into the offseason if Cousins plays well in the next three games:
“Well that’s the problem that you want to have. You want to have everybody playing good. We made a decision a long time ago that Robert is our quarterback. He’s our quarterback of the future. We made this decision based on what we think is best for him and it could be the best for our organization. If he lights it up, we’ve got a lot of options with Kirk. I hope that’s what happens.”

On if defensive end Adam Carriker is done for the season:
“Yeah, he would be done.”

Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan

On how involved he was in the decision to sit quarterback Robert Griffin III:
“I got zero involvement on that. I actually game planned for both all Tuesday. It’s a little frustrating game planning for both, but I was told the final decision on Wednesday morning and been rolling with it.”

On if it is common for a coordinator to not be involved in the decision:
“I don’t think it’s a very common situation. I think if it was about football and about really football, I think you’d talk to the offensive coordinator, but when the decision doesn’t have to do with football, it has to do with the future of an organization, I think that’s out of my realm. That has to do with the GM and the owner.”

On quarterback Kirk Cousins’ “pocket patience”:
“There’s plusses and minuses. I don’t know if you call it 'pocket patience,’ or whatever it is. I think Robert has an option to make plays with his legs. Kirk does a decent job with his legs, but he’s not at all on the level of Robert. Anytime you’ve got an extremely mobile quarterback like Robert, they’re always in between. Do they want to stay a passer or a runner? When you have an option to change the game as a runner, that happens. When you don’t have an option, just like a lot of quarterbacks in this league do, they don’t really have an option to make plays with their legs. They don’t have a choice. They have to be more patient in the pocket. They have to stay there because there’s no other option.”

On if he still has never seen a player sit in a game when he is completely healthy:
“Yeah, I definitely still feel the same way. I’ve never been in a game where you think a player’s hurt and the player says he’s fine. See, when you go through a game, the process of when a player goes down or comes out for a play, you don’t know whether he’s OK or not. The doctors come up to you and tell you whether you have him or not. You don’t ask questions, you just keep calling plays. When they come up to you and they say, 'Hey, he’s good to go,’ and you look to the player and you go, 'Can you play?’ and they say, 'Yeah, I can play,’ and you go about the rest of the game. That’s the process in the game, that’s how it always is.”

On if Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan has an agenda behind this decision:
“I know you want to make that the same situation, but listen to what I’m saying. We’re talking about a game and you’re talking about this situation. I’ve never seen a coach take a player out of a game when the doctors say he’s healthy and he says he’s healthy, unless they want to play the backup.”

On if Cousins is a better quarterback than Griffin III:
“I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s about better. I think every guy’s different. Guys excel in different areas. You try to put guys in the best situation to play to their strengths and we’ll try to do that for Kirk. We’ve tried to do that for Robert and hopefully he’ll have some success.”

On what he has like about Cousins’ development:
“We’ll see. He’ll get more playing time this week, but I think Kirk’s continued to grow, continued to understand the offense better. He takes every rep he gets seriously – hasn’t had many of them. He’s got the most he’s had this week. He got a lot obviously in training camp and OTAs. He took advantageous of those reps and when you get those reps, I think it’s helped him out a lot.”

On who is the best quarterback on the team:
“Obviously, our starting quarterback. You play your starting quarterback, that’s been Robert. I’m pretty disappointed we don’t get to play with him, but it is what it is. I’m going to deal with the cards I’ve been dealt.”

On the difference between the game plans for each quarterback:
“Not very different. It’s pretty similar, but there’s just a couple of things here and there that you try to do for one guy that you don’t always do for the other. You want to do things that guys are best at. I’ve never had two quarterbacks, no matter how similar or different they are, that are the exact same. Guys always like certain things more than the other one and you try to incorporate both of them, because you always have got to have a plan in case one goes down. So it’s not like you ever just go into a game plan 100 percent for Robert, even though when he is playing, you always have plays in there for Kirk anyways in case something happens in the game. But you’d like to set it up and not have too much on the players, because you don’t have to have just watering down with plays that you’re not going to call. Once you kind of get a better idea of the direction you’re going, you can lean more towards numbering those plays down.”

On if he can quantify the extra work that went into preparing two game plans:
“It’s hard to. It’s just more brain power.”

On if this situation is different because his father is the head coach:
“Yeah, I’d be lying to you if I said it’s the same as any other situation. If I had to deal with – if we were going through turmoil in Houston or anything like that, or Tampa Bay, I definitely didn’t feel it as much as I do here. I think that’s pretty obvious to anybody. I’ve learned how to deal with it better. It’s something I do have to separate myself from no matter how much people want to involve me. I do get when people talk about the Redskins they always put an 'S’ on the last name – the Shanahans. I can’t help that. I get that’s part of it. I understood that it would be like that when I came here. I made a tough decision four years ago to leave Houston to come here – a situation I liked a lot in Houston. I did want to make sure after my dad got let go from Denver, I felt pretty strongly that before it was all said and done that I wanted to coach someday with my dad. That was a decision that if I never would’ve done, I think I would regret someday whenever my life or his life’s over. I don’t look back on that. I’m happy that I’ve been able to do that and I’m trying to make the best out of it.”

On if he is bothered that people don’t credit his individual accomplishments in the league more:
“Everybody would like to get compliments and everyone to see what you have done. It’s not like I can just sit up here and pump myself up and try and tell you guys my stats, or whatever that is. You guys can read those for yourselves if you guys want. Yeah, it would make it easier if everybody loved me, but that’s not the real world and I get that. Especially working for my dad, I understand what’s going to happen. But the thing that I do feel good about is people who know football, and people who know football are the people I work with – they’re the people I coach, they’re the people that hire me. I don’t think people who will dictate my future and give me job offers and stuff like that are going to go off what talk shows say or what articles say. I think they’re going to go off what I put on tape and what I’ve done in my career – how I’ve [dealt] with players, how I’ve coached, and I feel pretty confident in that. I’ve been a coordinator for six years. I think I’ve played with about seven different quarterbacks. I think I’ve done some pretty good things statistically and I know statistics aren’t everything, but they do say a lot and I think you can put my statistics with anybody’s and I feel pretty good about that. Yeah, I would love it if all you guys focused on that instead of my last name, but I understand that it’s not your guys’ job either. But the main thing is that coaches and GM’s who hire people, they want to win football games. They’re not trying to win a PR battle. I think I’ve put that out there that I’m a pretty good offensive coordinator.”

On his assessment of Griffin III’s season and if there is any regret about playing him in Week 1:
“In hindsight, you can always look it. We didn’t have a successful season. I do think it was an important season for Robert. I do think he went through a lot of stuff this year he didn’t go through in his rookie year. I think he will be better from that. You’ve got to get reps and he got that for 13 games and he got a lot of stuff thrown at him. I think he’ll be better from it. He saw a lot of stuff he didn’t see last year. He fought through adversity. He didn’t back away from it. I think that builds character. I think it hardens him. It allows him to go through a tough job, which being a quarterback in the NFL – I’ve got more respect for him than anybody, the stuff he’s got to deal with and still go out there and work. I think he’s done a great job with that. Him not having as good of a year as he wanted – I feel as bad about that as him. That’s just not all on him. I’m his coach and when Robert’s not successful, I’m not successful. This has definitely been a group effort. I wish I could have done a better job for him also to help him have the success this year that he did last year, but I also don’t think it’s been all bad for him. I know we haven’t done what we did the first year, which he had the best year probably in NFL history as a rookie. I get that we didn’t do that this year, but it wasn’t just all bad. Robert did do some good things. He did and I think he’ll be better from it next year.”

On how responsible Griffin III is for the number of hits he has taken:
“Everybody’s responsible when a guy gets hit. You can’t, I say this every week, but you can’t ever put a sack on just one guy. It’s not all on Robert. It’s not all on the O-line. It’s on everybody. When I hear him say that, I don’t think he’s saying it’s strictly because of the number of sacks. I think he’s trying to give you guys an example you guys can relate to. I think the bottom line is I think they made a decision that what’s the best for the future of the organization and they don’t want to happen to him next year what happened to him this year. It really, really is tough when a guy, especially in his situation, misses an entire offseason and that’s the way they feel about that. I’m a coordinator. I don’t look at things the same way that an owner does, or a GM, or a head coach [does]. I don’t look at the future of the franchise. I look at, 'How the hell am I going to win on Sunday?’ I would love to have our starting quarterback out there the rest of the year. It’s a little disappointing to me that we can’t finish this. I do understand their decision. I do respect their decision. I do think that would be the worst thing possible for Robert to get hurt and miss another offseason. But whether it’s right or wrong – I don’t worry about injuries too much. I look at it like God’s will. It’s just something that’s out of my control and as a coordinator I don’t think that’s my job to. I understand why they do – to protect the future of their organization. I’ve got to go along with it.”

On his reaction to the story that Mike Shanahan was prepared to quit after last season:
“I don’t know. I think we’ve heard a lot of stories since we’ve been here. I think I just add it to the rest of the stories that I’ve heard. I don’t think too much of it. I didn’t hear about it really until after the game. People were telling me about it before the game and when somebody comes into and starts throwing stuff at me like that when I’m in my room and trying to study situations and play calls, it’s just a little overwhelming. I’m like, 'I don’t want to deal with any of that. Get that out of here.’ I’ve got to focus on a game and I kind of move on from that. There’s a lot of noise out here. This job’s hard enough to do as it is. I’m not saying that the noise is something that you can’t address, but when you’re going through a football season, it’s extremely important dealing with these players. What I owe these players is to not get caught up in that stuff and each day come into work and try to be the best coach I can for them.”

On if he feels he has been unfairly attacked in all of these stories:
“Yeah, I mean, when you’re not involved in something, to say that you’re in the center of it is a little bothersome. I’ve learned I can’t control that. I try my hardest – I don’t even want to give an opinion on this stuff. It’s not something I want to be involved in, personally, because I’m a coordinator. It’s 100 percent about football to me. It always has been about football. I’m not out there trying to battle with whatever. I get you guys have got to paint a certain picture of what you guys think’s happening. I understand that. No one truly knows the ins and outs. Everybody knows a little bit and you guys have got to gather information and try your best to figure things out. I understand that, but I can’t go out there and just totally get caught up in that. I have to be focused on football and make it for football for myself. Once I start hearing something that’s wrong and I get out there, 'No, that’s not what happened. This is what happened.’ That’s not my job. Now I’m just trying to win a PR perception battle. If I’m focused on doing that, whether that helps me with perception or not, I personally wouldn’t want to coach if I had to deal with that. That’s not what I got in this business to do. I’m dealing with this stuff a little more than I expected to, but what I do love is coaching. That’s why the only way I can enjoy coaches is to not get involved in that stuff.”

On reports of a rift between himself and Daniel M. Snyder:
“I haven’t heard that report. I don’t talk to talk to Dan too much. Dan doesn’t talk too much to the assistant coaches. He deals with the head coach. And I think that’s pretty ridiculous.”

On if he tried to argue to have Griffin III finish the season:
“After I was told what was going to happen, I definitely made it clear I was disappointed in that. Like I said at the beginning, I’d like to finish this out. Anytime you’re a coordinator I take it personal too that I can’t finish the year with our starting quarterback. I think it would be good for Robert to get the reps. That’s my opinion of it, just like I said from a 100 percent football standpoint. Obviously it’d be better to get the reps. They’ll help him in the future. But I do understand that they have concerns that I don’t think about as much — the future of the organization. I do agree with what they’re saying that if he did get hurt, that would be devastating for him next year. I mean, that’s a fact. It’s tough for a quarterback to miss an offseason. I think it was really tough on him last year and it’s a fact that it would be extremely tough on him this year if it happened again. That definitely isn’t worth it, but I don’t think in terms of that way, I think of what’s the best thing from a football standpoint and that’s why I do wish he was playing.”

On if any of this has made him lose his love of coaching:
“I think it’s hardened me. When you grow up the son of a coach who – I think my dad had a pretty good track record growing up. I mean, I think some of the worst days that I ever had going to school having to face friends and stuff, being embarrassed, was usually because my dad was in a game where they lost in the AFC Championship Game and didn’t go to the Super Bowl. I can remember those days and how devastating it was. I don’t remember growing up him being a part of a 3-13 season, so I had a little bit of a make-believe childhood growing up with a coach. 'Oh this is awesome. If you get into coaching you win every year. You go to Super Bowls. You have about maybe one losing season, which is 7-9, in 15 years, and if that’s as hard as it gets, this stuff is going to be easy.’ I definitely – I don’t know if I’m wiser now or understand the reality that coaching is tough. I can handle it. I enjoy what I do. Obviously I make a good living. It’s nice to support my family like this, and I do think it’s something I’m naturally good at. In order for me to work hard at something, I need to be into it, and I think my teachers will tell you growing up that football was really one of the only things I’ve ever been into. I want to be successful, and in order for me to be successful at something I better do something I’m passionate about, and no matter how hard it has been here, I don’t think that will ever change.”

On if other players on offense will need to pick up their play with a new quarterback:
“Yeah, you have to. Whether it’s your starting quarterback, your backup quarterback, the head coach and the quarterback get the most crap from everybody, and then usually the coordinator’s next, and I understand that. But football is a team sport. It’s 11 guys, and I don’t care what happens, you can’t succeed unless 11 guys are on the same page, unless the coaching staff is helping. That’s why I think coaching football is the best sport for a coach. I do believe football coaches have a much bigger effect on a game. When there’s 22 people out there, you’ve got to coordinate that stuff. There’s a lot of things that can go on, as opposed to some of the other sports to me – I don’t know what I’m talking about, that just my opinion of basketball and baseball and stuff like that. So I do think it’s a team effort. That’s why I enjoy it because I think we can help these guys succeed. I think it’s important for us to do that. Whoever we play with out there, it’s not, 'Hey, you guys have got to do this to make a quarterback successful.’ No matter who it is, it takes every player in that room. It takes – and not just on offense – it takes the defense, it takes the special teams, and it takes every coach in order to win as a team.”

On what to expect with Cousins as the starting quarterback:
“The same stuff you guys have been seeing. People think we ran a totally different offense last year. Yeah, we added in the zone read, but after that, every single play-pass that we’ve done were the same ones you guys saw with Rex [Grossman], the same ones you guys saw with Donovan [McNabb], if you guys look back at my history, you guys will see it’s the same plays we did with [Houston Texans quarterback Matt] Schaub. Sometimes you change protections because the things you do with play-passes off, you want it to look like the runs you’re doing. You don’t do too many zone reads with those type of quarterbacks, but as far everything else we’ve been doing with the keepers or the bootlegs you guys would call them, it’s been the exact same. We’ve added one play since we’ve been here that we feel really helped us last year, helped Robert, and that was the zone read series, and after that it’s been a way to… all we did is add the zone-read into an already pretty successful offense.”

On if there will be other changes or if they will keep the surrounding cast the same to evaluate Cousins:
“If I was in charge of that I could answer that question, but if you want my opinion on that, I don’t want to change anything. I don’t like losing. I don’t like being embarrassed. I want the best players out there possible so we can beat Atlanta. And when Atlanta is over I’ll probably go home that night and try to relax a little bit with my family and then the next morning I will come in and do whatever I can to beat whoever we have next week, I think it’s Dallas. So pretty day-to-day in my world.”

On what he wants to see Griffin III work on in the offseason:
“I think quarterback play, and I hate to pin it down to one or two things, I think it’s everything. It’s just getting reps. It’s being more comfortable. Robert is capable of doing everything. There’s nothing that he just does bad, there’s nothing that he just is automatic at. It’s just about being comfortable, being consistent, getting him more feel and just keep working through it. I think it’s really hard when your first feel is Monday night vs. the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night to start the season. I think he’s gotten a better feel throughout the year. I think he’s gone through a lot and I think he has had some ups and downs through it, which is normal. You would like to get those ups and downs through OTAs and training camp. He unfortunately has had to do it through the season, and I respect the hell out of him for trying to do that. A lot of guys who aren’t feeling comfortable would check themselves out and say, 'I don’t want to look bad and I don’t want to do anything wrong,’ and Robert’s not like that. Robert’s as competitive as anyone I’ve been around. He’s going to do whatever he can to get out there and compete, and although it hasn’t been a successful year for any of us, he will be better from it. I think it’s really good that he will have this offseason, and I think it will really help him for next year.”

On what happens if Cousins plays well the final three games:
“I think that’d be awesome for the Washington Redskins. When you have a franchise quarterback like Robert, there would be nothing better for us than for Kirk to come in and light it up. Then, worse-case scenario, you have a very good backup quarterback or you have got a guy that you can get a lot for. I think if Kirk plays to his capabilities I think people will see that he’s capable of being a starting quarterback in this league, and I know me personally, I don’t ever want a backup quarterback. I want our backup quarterback to be a starter so if the first guy gets hurt, the backup can come in and play like a starter. And if he plays good enough and he can help this team with draft picks, which we don’t seem to always have too many of those, the more draft picks you can get the more it definitely would help us.”

On if he is still confident that Griffin III is the franchise quarterback moving forward:
“Oh, yeah. I think it’s ridiculous to act like this is a quarterback competition. Robert just had the best year as a rookie in NFL history. He didn’t do that again this year. We didn’t do that again this year. To give up on him like that and say that you’re going to play someone else, that’s, to me, that’s fun for people to talk about but that hasn’t entered my brain one least bit and it’s not even a possibility or an option to me.”

Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett

On dealing with things outside of football in his career:
“I’m not dealing with anything. I’m just dealing with the players I have, but my belief — I’ll give you a take and then I’m going to let it go — my belief in all of this stuff is that as a head coach you should do whatever you think is best for the organization long term, period. Whatever the situation is, whether you’re 10-6, 10-3, 3-10, whatever the situation is — going through [Hurricane] Katrina like I did the one year — you try to make the right decisions based on what you think is best for the organization long term. I think that’s what [Executive Vice President/Head Coach] Mike [Shanahan] did.”

On the challenges posed by Atlanta’s offense:
“Well, obviously the quarterback [Matt Ryan] is outstanding. He’s good. He can make all the throws. He’s got great weapons around him. Not having [wide receiver] Julio [Jones] and their line is beat up a little bit, obviously that’s affected him, but they’ve still got receivers that are really scary. They do a great job blocking. They’ve got probably four of the best running backs as a whole, as a group, as anybody in the league. They’re still good. They’re ranked high on offense. They’re good and they’ve got a lot of weapons.”

On linebacker London Fletcher’s play this year:
“I don’t think anybody is having the kind of year that everybody would like to have, but he’s effective. He’s not doing as much as he’s done before in the past, coverage-wise, on third down but I think he’s playing pretty well.”

On if Fletcher is at the tail end of his career:
“Let me say this – how many linebackers do you know that are 38-years-old that playing in the game? There’s not many… Age catches up with everybody, and he’s played a long, long time. He’s had a great career and whether he plays another year or not, obviously that’s up to him, but I think as you get older you can’t do the things that you did when you were 28, 29, 25, 26. That’s just life. That’s how it works.”

On how he evaluates the defense despite other teams; field position:
“First of all, points are not just a product of the defense. Points are a product of — offense can give up points, special teams gives up points, defense gives up points. So when you throw the points out, 'You gave up so many points,’ I think that’s kind of misleading. We break that down as we go during the season. And at the end of the season we’ll figure out exactly how many points the defense gave up. But I will say this, if you’re put in a bad situation where you’re starting off at the 20 or the 15, I do expect the defense to hold them to at least a field goal and we didn’t do that last week. We had opportunities. We had a team third-and-7 and we let a slant go with a missed tackle and the guy scores a touchdown. We had another opportunity to hold a team to a field goal instead of a touchdown and we didn’t do a very good job in those two situations.”

On what he says to his players on defense regarding the uncertainty of Shanahan’s future:
“Things like that are always a distraction when you have our record and it’s disappointing, the record obviously. But I think once you get in the meeting rooms you can see the players change. They start focusing on what we’re trying to do. Once you get on the field they start focusing in on what we’re trying to do. When it counted, I don’t think it really is a distraction. Obviously when they’re at home tonight, when they think about things, they hear things, that affects everybody, but once they were in this building, in the meeting rooms and on the field, I thought they did a nice job, at least these last two days.”

On if he thinks the players have checked out:
“I don’t think that’s right, I just think the situation kind of put us in a… at least on the defensive side, we just didn’t get it done. I don’t think they checked out. We missed a lot of tackles on the back end. The weather conditions had something to do with it – I’m not going to make an excuse – but we didn’t do a good job. We played a great running back. We knew that. We thought we’d do a better job in the run game. We did a nice job against four guys earlier and we just didn’t do a very good job. I don’t think we checked out, we just didn’t play very well.”

On what signs he looks for to see if players have checked out:
“Guys not hustling to the ball, guys not flying around, not doing what you’re supposed to do. I’ll promise you that, John, if that happens they’re not going to be playing the next week. So you’ll know the guys that have 'tapped out’ or whatever you want to call it and I don’t think that’s going to happen. At least from a coaching standpoint we’re going to try and not let that happen.”

On safety Bacarri Rambo struggling to tackle against Kansas City:
“Yeah, I agree with you. He didn’t tackle very well. I didn’t think the secondary tackled very well as a whole. We missed more tackles last week than we’ve missed all year in the back end. The disappointing thing is we let the running back get to the back end, so it’s a little combination of both.”

On helping Rambo improve his tackling in the offseason:
“That’s something he’s going to have to make a conscious effort on trying to get better, because if you can’t tackle in this league then it’s hard to be a player in this league. Whether you’re a defensive lineman, linebacker, corner, the good teams make the DBs tackle — corners, safeties — they make them tackle, because you get mismatches. DeAngelo Hall is a perfect example. I think he’s one of the better tackling corners in the league. If you don’t have guys that can tackle, it’s hard to play the run"
 

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