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Skins Quotes 12/17: M. Shanahan/Fletcher


The Commissioner
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Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC
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December 17, 2012
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the game plan:
“You always have a game plan going in and there are always adjustments made throughout the game but we thought Cleveland would come out with what they did. They have been pretty consistent all year with what they’ve done defensively, especially after the last four or five games, they have had a lot of success and played extremely well and they continue to play well. They are not very complicated but what they do, they do very, very well. [Their] players play hard.”

On the injuries sustained by tackle Tyler Polumbus and center Will Montgomery:
“Tyler had a concussion. We will go through the protocol with concussions like we normally have. Will is an MCL. We will talk more about that in detail on Wednesday.”

On his expectations for quarterback Robert Griffin III this week:
“I talked about it briefly at the end of the game. Robert will be evaluated day-by-day. He is getting a lot of treatment. He looks good as I think a lot of people saw before the game. He got treatment today so hopefully it is not too long when the doctors OK him and he is ready to practice full speed.”

On what quarterback Kirk Cousins did well in the play-action pass game:
“We have been doing this since Kirk has come in through OTA’s, through summer camp, putting our offensive system in and he really has handled everything well. The dropback, the play-action, the keep game, the play-pass and I thought he really stepped up and played extremely well with a lot of poise during the game. We ran the keeps well. I think we ran 11 keeps in the game. We ran a number of play-passes and I thought he did a good job of executing the offense.”

On if Montgomery’s MCL is torn:
“We will talk more about Will on Wednesday.”

On guard/center Kory Lichtensteiger playing center:
“We know Kory can play the center position. Chris Chester can play the center position. [Josh] LeRibeus and [Adam] Gettis can both play the center position. So when you play the guard position, you switch off at center. Some play better than others, but when you do have depth, you try to have guys know their responsibility because when you dress seven lineman for a game, usually that guy who plays guard has to play center if somebody goes down or if somebody has to move over to that position. Same thing at the tackle position…You want that tackle to not only be able to play tackle, right and left, but hopefully play the guard position as well. So you’re trying to change guys up all the time, so if there’s a problem you can adjust to it.”

On the continuity of the offensive line:
“We have a little more depth. We have a few guys that are draft choices that have been working extremely hard. They understand our offense. If put in, if they need to play, I think they will do an excellent job. Just getting used to the system, the terminology, practicing every day, going through the OTA’s and summer camps, obviously we’d like to keep that continuity intact if we can. We will just have to wait and see.”

On the possibility Griffin III will participate fully:
“Like I said, it’s day-by-day. They are going to look at him every day, see his improvement, and when they feel like that LCL is ready to go and he could play, they’ll let me know and then I’ll announce it to you guys.”

On why the blocking scheme makes the run game successful:
“What you normally do with the zone blocking scheme, you get people running from maybe the hash mark all the way to the sideline and then if you see a crease inside, the running back hits it - downhill running - and sometimes it could go all the way to the outside, sometimes it starts outside and goes back quickly. We feel if one person is a little bit slow or doesn’t stay in their gap, we have a chance to hit a crease. You try to never really lose yardage. You try to always get three, four or five yards but if somebody gets tired, especially as the game goes on, they are able to get some big plays. So the defense has to have their gap integrity all the time or you will be able to hit some creases on them.”

On the versatility of the wide receivers corps:
“I think that is what we are more interested in is guys that can step up and play at a high level. The guys you just mentioned [Joshua Morgan and Pierre Garçon] are all playing at a very high level. They come out and make yards after the catch. They all take a lot of pride in blocking; they all are into the game. They are playing at a very high level, so every time they catch the ball, they expect to go the distance and that is what you’re looking for. You’re looking for playmakers, guys that believe in themselves. Once they have the ball in their hands, they have the ability to break tackles and get the ball in the end zone. You have that consistent running game we talked about in day one, is take as much pride in blocking for a guy like Alfred [Morris] or whoever it may be for the big plays.”

On building depth on the offensive line:
“I think that is what everybody is trying to do at every position but it doesn’t always work out that way. At some positions, you’ll have a lot of injuries as we went through at the safety position or it could be the outside linebacker position, it could be the offensive line position. Whatever it is, guys have got to step up and play at a high level and we expect them to do that.”

On if he was disappointed in some of the non-calls with defensive pass interferences or wide receiver Pierre Garçon’s taunting penalty for spinning the ball:
“First of all, the ball-spin thing is legal. He’s done it every time he’s caught a pass this year. But you’ve got to be careful when you spin it and there’s some other player there that you turn away from him because you don’t want it to be misinterpreted as you’re trying to taunt somebody else. So if you do do it, make sure you get away from any player. That’s rule No. 1. It’s just like when [wide receiver] Josh [Morgan] got hit on the five-yard line and was trying to take it in the end zone, got a nice shot by the safety and he got knocked back. The one thing you’ve got to be careful of is if somebody comes to taunt you and then you get up that you keep your poise. You’ve got to put it in the officials’ hands to call it. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. But Josh got a little mad at that point because a guy came over to him. As I tell our players, it doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong. You have to walk away from those situations because nobody can get a 15-yard penalty and put our team in a bad position regardless of what the officials do.”

On Lichtensteiger’s season coming off a knee injury:
“It’s pretty tough when a guy comes off a knee injury on the offensive line and is asked to do the things he’s been asked to do because it started in training camp. He didn’t get a lot of reps. We wanted to make sure he was healthy for the regular season. He’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do. He’s played at a very high level. He’s very competitive. He does everything we ask him to do both in the running game and in the passing game. He’s a perfectionist even though perfection doesn’t always occur in the National Football League, especially in the offensive line. He’s given all his effort that he can possibly do to make sure that he plays at a very high level. That’s what you have to have on the offensive line – five guys like that, all on the same page.”

On if he would consider resting Griffin III another week after Cousins’ success against the Browns:
“If the doctors give the OK, he [Griffin III] is going to play. That’s what we get paid for. That’s what these guys do. When you’ve got guys like [linebacker] London Fletcher and [offensive tackle] Trent Williams and a lot of guys who are hobbled right now, we expect everybody to play if the doctors OK it. We’re going to play Robert when he’s 100 percent and that ligament’s fine. If the doctors feel that there’s no chance for injury that he can go out there and perform at that level in a game situation without injury, we’re going to go with our starter.”

On what stood out about Lichtensteiger when he first saw him in Denver:
“Just what I see right now – a guy that’s a fierce competitor and no matter if he’d play center or the guard position, he’d dominate everybody he’d play. He had that mindset that every game he played looked like a playoff game, and even though he’s a little undersized, we thought at that time he would be a perfect fit for the zone scheme and he has been.”
On the level of extrapolation the coaches have to do with Lichtensteiger coming from a smaller school:
“That’s what you have to evaluate is the competition that he’s playing at. That’s why you sit down, you talk to him. You see his strength, his work ethic, how important football is to him and then you make a decision – and this was [the same with] a lot of players at smaller schools.”

On running back Evan Royster’s performance against the Browns:
“I thought Evan did a good job. When he came in, he was ready to play. We’re asking Evan to do a lot of things with the nickel and our base scheme. I thought when Alfred [Morris] got tired and Evan went in, he did a heck of a job.”

On linebacker Rob Jackson’s progress:
“You’re looking for guys that can make plays and that’s what Rob’s been able to do – make plays and put some pressure on the quarterback, get some sacks, cause some fumbles. He seems to get better and better every game.”

On Jackson’s comfort level learning on the fly:
“I think he’s playing with a lot more confidence. I think he understands the system more and more every day. He’s getting a better feel, I think, relative to nickel defenses, dime defenses, what his role is, what his responsibilities with different packages [are] – just a lot more comfortable with everything.”

On his personal experience during this five-game winning streak after his first two seasons in Washington:
“Like I told you the first couple of years, I understood we were going to struggle the first couple of years. We didn’t have a football team. It was getting the right guys on the football team where we felt like we could make a run. [That is] one of the reasons why I told our football team at the beginning of the year that, 'You guys don’t know it, but you guys are a lot better than you think you are.’ They’ve obviously been proving that now. We’ve lost a number of games that we should’ve won early that I can see specifically and all of a sudden we start playing our best football in the second half of the season. We’ve got a lot of character. We’ve got a lot of guys going in the right direction, guys competing every play. When you do have that, you start to turn and that’s what I think our football team has done. They believe in each other. Every game that we go into now, we believe that we’ll win and that’s got to be our mindset. Once you start winning those close games, you expect it.”

On stressing the need to win the turnover battle:
“The one thing you want to do is if you can win the turnover battle, just the turnover battle, you’re going to be a good football team. People asked me, 'Was I a little surprised,’ I think yesterday at my press conference. 'When you’re 3-6, why do you think that you could get better?’ Well, the first thing is turnovers. If you can win that turnover battle, good things are going to happen. We’re first in the NFL, or tied for first in the NFL on offense, with the least amount of turnovers and I think defensively, we’re ninth. So, when you put those two together and you’re in the top five, good things usually happen. But you’ve got to do that consistently throughout the season and you’ve got to do it in the postseason as well. The people who are in the postseason – the people that usually win the Super Bowl or get a chance to advance – are always the top in turnover ratio at the end of the year. You’ve got to do those consistently to have a great year to end up where you want to end up and hopefully, we can keep on doing that.”

On if the team is involved in any way with linebacker London Fletcher’s family situation in Cleveland:
“I talked to London about that for a little while this morning and I’ll let London share that with you rather than me talk about it.”

Linebacker London Fletcher

On his family’s arrests:
“Nothing has changed since I addressed the situation earlier today. They haven’t charged my relatives, last I talked with them. I think they’ll charge them later today or tomorrow or whenever, I guess. I’m not sure what the charges will be. It was an unfortunate situation – put a damper on an otherwise great homecoming being able to get a win and things like that. It was definitely not a good finish to the game – I mean to yesterday’s events.”

On if his family is still in custody:

On how many people he had at the game yesterday:
“I had close to 50 – about 48 people. I purchased 42 tickets for the game and the Browns accommodated giving us all pretty good seats for the game, too. I guess the stadium security was questioning how they got those seats and stuff like that. It was a big deal for the entire game – just kind of harassed them one way or another.”

On when he found out about the arrests:
“I didn’t find out about it until after the game.”

On how disappointing it was to hear of what happened:
“I’m very disappointed. I think as NFL fans, you want to go experience the game. Obviously, we were the road team, so my family and friends were wearing Washington Redskins memorabilia. They were wearing my jersey, hats, whatever the case may be. [When] you go to different stadiums, fans say stuff and things like that. You kind of deal with that and understand that. When they start throwing stuff on you… My little cousin who was hit in the face going into the game with an object, things like that, it gets to a point where you take it too far. It definitely went too far.”

On linebacker Rob Jackson’s growth:
“I think with Rob, he’s grown a lot with reps. The more experience he’s gotten, he’s gotten better – more comfortable with what he’s doing. He’s able to kind of play with defensive linemen, play games with the quarterback. As far as whether he’s blitzing or whether he’s in coverage, things like that, he’s going to take advantage of the opportunity that he’s been given. Even with Rob, he’s been a major contributor for us winning these five ball games.”

On the change in momentum after his interception:
“I’ll go back to Rob’s interception. I think that was really the spark, the momentum that we needed. We went into halftime down. I think it was the second play after the half and Rob got the interception and we were able to get a touchdown out of that. That really was something we needed to get the momentum back in our favor – spark us a little bit. As far as with my interception, they had started driving the ball a little bit and I was just dropping back. We had a pressure on and I was able to free up and really from there, just kind of read the quarterback, whether he saw me or whether he was trying to get the ball over me. From there, the hardest part was just making sure I caught the ball.”

On if there is a common thread in the defense’s play in the second half of the last few weeks:
“I think there probably is. You kind of get an idea of how a team wants to attack you in the first half and you make our corrections – whether it’s things you want to do from stopping the run or from a pass-game standpoint, maybe changing up our coverages or even possibly changing the way we’re playing our coverages. That happens at halftime. You go in and make your adjustments. We’ve been able to do a really good job with that and it’s something you have to continue to do if you’re going to win ball games.”

On controlling emotions after fighting back into first place:
“Really, we have to continue to have that type of approach because we’re not in a situation or position to not have a good ball game. I know we’re 8-6 now, but there’s really no difference in our mentality as opposed to being 3-6 because we have to win this next ball game – same as the case back when we were 3-6. We needed to win that ball game to get to 4-6. We have to get to 9-6, we have to go in and win this ball game come Sunday. With the Eagles, it’s going to be a tough game. It’s going to be an NFC East battle. It’s going to be in their place. We have to maintain the same approach that we’ve taken.”

On if there were other people detained:
“I’m not sure. I’m not totally sure on that case.”

On if the stadium security staff escalated the incident with his family:
“The fans were doing a little harassing and stuff like that and some of them were throwing things down from the second level down to – my family was in the lower level – throwing alcohol, bottles, or not necessarily bottles, but chicken bones and things like that. Just throwing different things down and saying different things. You understand that part of it. Really, what led to the whole ruckus was something that happened with stadium security. As opposed to diffusing the situation, they were more instigators. They didn’t diffuse the situation. It wasn’t even with the fans at that point in time. I think one of the stadium workers, he went overboard with what his job responsibilities were.”
I would have been sitting right in the cell next to them if I was there to see this. Cleveland fans proved their worth yesterday. They are right along the same lines as Seattle fans. Just pure classlessness.

I'm the first one to jump down Philly fans throats and what not, but the truth of the matter is, every fan base has its bad eggs. Remember a few years ago when some Redskins fans put a Giants fan in a coma over nothing? It happens. I know some Cleveland fans (as well as some Philly fans) and they would not ever throw things at Fletcher's family.

Strangely, all the Giants fans I know are assholes though. LOL.

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