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Skins Quotes 12/18

Boone

The Commissioner
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December 18, 2013
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the injury report:
“[Tight end] Jordan Reed did not practice – concussion. [Tackle] Trent Williams did not practice – knee. [Fullback] Darrel Young, hamstring, was limited. [Cornerback] E.J. Biggers was full practice, he had the knee contusion.”

On his reaction to linebacker London Fletcher’s likely retirement and what Fletcher’s legacy will be:
“Like I’ve said before, I’ve never been around a guy quite like London. The way he prepares for every game is like he’s preparing for a Super Bowl. His leadership is unquestioned. When I came in here, everybody had the utmost respect for him, both on and off the football field, and so to have a guy like that in your organization makes it so much easier for a coach because the young guys learn the right way to do things right from the start. So he’s been very, very special to this organization. He’s experienced a lot with different people, different players, different coaches. It’s going to be tough to lose a guy like that, but hopefully he can end it on the right note with a good win against Dallas.”

On if he expected the announcement from Fletcher:
“I really didn’t know. I really didn’t know if he was going to do that or not. I wasn’t expecting it, no, but he did come into me and say something to me.”

On what it means to have Fletcher endorse him the way he did:
“Well, I didn’t actually hear what he said, but [Senior Vice President of Communications] Tony [Wyllie] was saying he said some nice things. I think it’s the ultimate compliment you can have, you know, people that you respect, if they say something nice, you respect the person. So, in coaching, when you’re coaching with relationships with players, you want to make sure that they feel good about who they’re playing for, so coming from London that’s extra special.”

On what he thinks Fletcher’s legacy is:
“I know from my perspective, I’ve been around a lot of great players and when I say this, that I’ve never been around someone that prepares like he does, that’s saying a lot, because I’ve been around a lot of great players. And it’s the biggest compliment that I can give somebody that every time he comes to work that everybody knows that he’s going to prepare like it’s the Super Bowl. And that is hard to do, especially at the position that he plays because mentally and physically it’s draining, and for him to have that mindset for as long as he has and to not miss a game speaks volumes to who he is.”

On his perception of Fletcher before he came to the Redskins and if he was surprised by anything he learned about him as his coach:
“I think it’s so hard to even pretend to know somebody when you don’t coach them. People can give a lot of tributes to people, but until you see a guy work day-in, day-out through the good times, through the bad times, it’s really hard to put it into perspective, but being in the NFL as many years as I have been in it, I’ve been around a lot of great players, and to give him that type of compliment is not easy for me to do, but he’s earned it because that’s the way he handles himself.”

On what it would take to decide to shut down tight end Jordan Reed for the remainder of the season:
“I think we’ve talked about it a little bit in detail before, as we talked to the doctors, there’s the experts in this area that they’ve seen people in soccer go two, three, four months, then one day they get tested each day and they’re fine. Sometimes it’s three weeks. So we just go with their recommendation, 'Hey, what’s in the best interest of Jordan Reed?’ And they’ve seen a lot of specialists, they’ll see another guy tomorrow, another doctor. We’re going to do what we can to make sure that he’s looked at carefully, and when the doctors say that he’s ready to go, he’ll be ready to go.”

On if it is an outside doctor evaluating Reed tomorrow:
“Yes, it’ll be outside. We’ve had him see a few specialists already just to get differences of opinion from different people that are experts in that area just trying to get our cross-checks in.”

On how having Fletcher’s locker next to quarterback Robert Griffin III’s has helped Griffin III:
“Number one, just to be around him you get a great feel. To have your locker next to him, I think the reason you do that is you want to give him an idea of what it takes to be a pro and how he does prepare, how he does handle himself, not only on the field but off the field. And for any young player coming in, regardless of their status, it’s a great learning experience for them.”

On if Fletcher is a Hall of Fame caliber player:
“I don’t think there’s any question about him being a Hall of Fame caliber player. I think he’s definitely a Hall of Fame caliber player. His work speaks for itself, and to do what he’s done and not miss games along the way, be with different organizations and lead those organizations wherever he’s been, speaks volumes.”

On what impresses him the most about Fletcher as a football player outside of his leadership:
“He knows what’s going to happen. The great ones know what’s going to happen before it happens, and when you prepare yourself like he does, the reason why he’s able to make the plays he does is because of the mental preparation and his ability to go out there and play physical football. He likes to hit. To me it’s a unique –
I don’t want to say talent – but for the body to be able to take the hits that he’s taken over his career and not miss games is kind of unheard of. Even when I saw him hurt his ankle a couple of weeks ago, I said there’s no way that he’ll be able to play next week — that looked like it was a two, three week injury. He’s practicing on Wednesday. That’s quite unusual.”

On Griffin III’s performance on the scout team:
“I think we’ve gone into detail why he’s there – because we think it’s in the best interest of the organization and the best interest to him. Now, what he’s going to do is practice just like he’s a starter on offense – there’s no difference. Even if you’re on the scout team, you’re looking at defenses, you’re running plays very similar to what we do, and he’s taken advantage of every opportunity.”

On recent reports about Griffin III:
“If you want me to comment to every one of those – I mean, it’s crazy. It’s ludicrous. I told you something was going to come out every day. That’s just part of it to even write that kind of stuff. First of all, I understand, or at least somebody told me, that he [Quarterbacks Coach Matt LaFleur] was on the sideline. He’s in the press box – that’s one. So these things come out time after time and I’m not surprised about it.”

On how many times he has been surprised that Fletcher could play following an injury:
“Well, it’s really hard to say because normally you’re not up close to see an ankle like that. But it was so awkward , how he got hit that I said, 'There’s no way.’ I said, 'I just saw something happen that hasn’t happened in a lot of years. This is going to knock him out of the game.’ Then he comes Wednesday and he’s walking through. He’s walking through just like he’s going to play and I thought for sure if he did have a chance to play, he couldn’t practice through the week. He’s a veteran. He doesn’t have to play, he didn’t have to practice, but he wanted to set an example for the young guys that this is how you handle yourself as a pro, 'Not only am I going to get treatment get well, but I’m going to set the stage and this is why you practice from what’s in the best interest of your football team.’”

On how receptive Griffin III has been to coaching:
“I think part of the growth of any football player is to be a pro player. And like I said about London, what’s the best thing for a young guy to go through? And that’s to be coached, learn how to practice as a pro, because it’s so totally different than it is in college. I coached in college for 10 years. It was a great learning experience for me, but the difference between college and pro level with these players is night and day, so all of it is a learning experience. Some guys are more in tune than other guys, but it’s not a negative. It’s just, 'Hey, this is a learning experience guys go through.’ To be next to a guy like London Fletcher is the ultimate experience for a young football player.”

On the pressure on quarterback Kirk Cousins:
“I think pressure is good. There’s nothing wrong with pressure because sooner or later you’re going to get that pressure. Some people embrace it, other people run from it. I think Kirk is a guy that embraces it, and the only way you feel good about embracing pressure is you have to be prepared. I think Kirk does feel like he’s prepared, but you’ve still got to go out there and do it on game day. A lot of pressure is involved as you just talked about or we just talked about, but to me, that’s what defines quarterbacks – how they handle the pressure.”

On if Griffin III has grown in his ability to be coached:
“Yeah, that’s what I think learning is, is taking every situation and learning from it and knowing in the back of your mind that, 'Hey, I might have made a mistake here or there, it may be on the field or off, but this is the way that I can become a better pro. I’ve learned [from] my experiences.’ Some will be positive, some will be negative, but the great ones learn from their mistakes.”

On if Griffin III is the type to take a break after the season or begin his offseason program immediately:
“I think it’s always good for a week or two to get away from it, you know, with your family – different things that you don’t get a chance to do during the season. I think ultimately what you want to do, or what you want your players to do, is to be the best at what they do. If you want to be the best at what you do, you’ve got to do it year-round. You’ve got to come back in, you’ve got to look at film – the things you did well your first year, the things you did well your second year, the things you did poorly – and hit it hard. You’ve got to hit that film, you’ve got to hit the practice field, get the timing with your receivers. There’s only one way you get good in the National Football League is if you want to be the best at what you do and it takes a lot of time.”

On approaching “Dallas Week” amidst all of the noise surrounding the team:
“Well, it’s easy for me. I think it’s easy for the team because this is Dallas Week. We’ve got a chance to play a football team that’s playing for a playoff spot, and if people don’t think we’re playing for anything, then they get a chance to see what we’re made of and how we react when a team has got a chance to be in the playoffs and a team that doesn’t have a chance. It talks about our character and what our football team’s all about.”

On if he tells the players to ignore the noise:
“Well, you’d have to ask the players. I don’t think there’s as much noise as you think there is. I think our players are really concentrated on their job. They know that their jobs are determined if they play well. A lot of times we’ll look at, or I’ve looked at in the past, the last two or three games of different team sand see how people do play when they’re not in the playoff hunt. It’s easy to see when they’re playing for a playoff spot, you’re usually getting everybody’s best shot. But maybe when you’re not in the playoff hunt exactly, what’s the character of this kid all about? You’ll see it when people aren’t playing for playoff spots, exactly what they’re made of.”

On if he relishes the role of spoiler:
“No, I don’t relish being… I always relish being in the playoff hunt. You don’t look forward to not being in the hunt.”

On how he would describe the state of the Redskins to someone who has not been following the team all season:
“You can’t. If you want to really know, you’ve got to go back and research the whole year. You’ve got to go through games 1-16. There’s no point in explaining that, so that’s what I’d tell them – go work at it.”

Linebacker London Fletcher

On his announcement:
“I wanted to look at this opportunity to let the fans know that this will more than likely be my last season in the National Football League. With this being the final home game, I wanted to definitely get an opportunity to say goodbye to the burgundy and gold faithful. The fans at FedEx have been so graceful to me since my seven years here in Washington. Again, I’m about 99 percent certain that this will be my last season in the National Football League. I’ve got to leave at least one percent just in case I change my mind, but it’s really just about having another conversation with my wife. But I just thought with this being the final home game, this being Dallas Cowboy week, an opportunity to go out in a bang, get the fans riled up, say thank you to them and beat the Cowboys. What better way to end it?”

On when the 99 percent would turn into 100 percent:
“Well, you know I want to put on a nice suit when I go to that 100 percent [smiling]. But again, coming into the season, I was probably at about 90 percent, so I guess the nine percent has come since the season’s began. Really just looking at last year and our run, where I thought the state of the franchise was, I didn’t feel like my work was done here just yet. But as this season has gone, I really wanted to help [linebacker] Perry Riley develop a little bit more. I think he’s at that point where Perry doesn’t need me anymore. He’s that player that I know he can be. I wanted to still do some things as far as getting the franchise where I wanted it to be. Really, I think what every player wants to do is leave a legacy, and that’s really what I wanted to do as a player. Why I came back one more year was more about a legacy, nothing about anything more I could accomplish because I’ve played in two Super Bowls, had the fortune of winning one then losing one, I’ve been to the Pro Bowls and all that, but just wanted to continue to help with the legacy.”

On this season and if he thinks his work here is done:
“The way I look at it is totally different, and I’ve thought about this and contemplate this a lot. You know thinking about – obviously with the last couple of weeks with everything that’s happened with the whole speculations and everybody throwing their hat into what they may or may not think is going to happen with Coach Shanahan and the team after this season’s over with. The way I look at it, I think Coach Shanahan is a great coach. Any player who’s played for him, most guys – probably 95 percent of the guys who’ve played for him – would love playing for him. And as I look at the current situation I think Coach Shanahan is definitely the right guy, I think Mr. Snyder would be wise to let him see this thing through. Obviously there’s going to have to be some changes made because when you’re – right now, we’ve won three ball games and even if we win these next two we will have five games – so there is change that needs to take place, but I don’t think it needs to be with the head coach. I feel like he’s the right guy for it. I think Coach Shanahan will have to have a conversation with Mr. Snyder at the end of the year. Let them get some time, maybe a week or two, let the season get past them and let them two just get into a room and really say, 'Hey, what’s the situation? How do we move forward? How do we get this thing right?’ One of the things that hasn’t happened around here in Washington since Mr. Snyder’s owned this football team, there’s been no stability at the head coach position. You’re talking about I think now on the seventh head coach in what 14 years, I think, since he’s owned the team? Sometimes when I look at and study the winning franchises, the perennial winning franchises –talking about New England, Pittsburgh, teams like that, Green Bay, even Baltimore now – they have a sense of stability. They have a plan that they have, they stick with it. And I think with this being said, Coach Shanahan is the right guy. He’s going to have to – you can’t stay status quo in every area of your football team. They’ll have money to spend this offseason, which you’ll have some personnel changes. That’s just the National Football League. He’ll address every situation and go from there. I also think it’ll be hard to do with just one year left on his deal. You’re looking at a coach as a one-year deal, I mean most people would be like, 'Is he a lame duck?’ I think he should extend him, as crazy as that may sound, but I think you extend him to let him continue to build this thing the right way.”

On if he would be still be retiring if the team was winning:
“Yeah, it has nothing to do with me personally. Again, I feel like I’ve accomplished everything I can accomplish in the National Football League from a player’s standpoint. Obviously everybody wants to go out like Ray Lewis with the Super Bowl parade and winning the Super Bowl. That would be great to go out, but it wasn’t in the cards for me if this is it. But it’s more again about trying to leave a legacy and putting some seeds in place and hopefully they’ll grow and fester years down the road and I can be proud of this organization, this franchise that I’ve played for. That’s really how I look at it.”

On the one percent that would bring him back and at what point he hit 90 percent:
“It was, you know really and I’ve shared this with you all in the past, for probably about the last four or five years, I’ve always thought about retirement and what do I want to do. I wanted to do some other things in life, because I think in order for me at least, in order to do it at the level that I’ve been able to do it, it takes a lot of commitment and a lot of sacrifice. Whether it’s just time spent on training and meetings and watching extra film and all of the things that I’ve been able to do and I do it and I’ve enjoyed doing it but I’ve missed a lot of other parts of my life. I’ve got three young children, so they’re back in Charlotte so I’m missing parts of their life with them growing up. So that comes into play, where I’m talking to my wife and she’s telling me about different things that the kids are doing. Just talking to them and when I get a chance to see them, it was really – as they’ve gotten older and started to do a little bit more things – it’s like I think this will probably be it. I also look at it, this being my seventh year in Washington, biblically speaking the number seven marks completion so you know for me I feel like my work is done here in Washington. And if that one percent does come, I don’t know man, maybe I’ll do a [return from retirement like linebacker Junior] Seau or something.”

On what his life will be like without football:
“I think it’ll be great. Again, I have a beautiful wife, three beautiful, awesome children – six, five and three – they’re just starting to do their things. My son, he loves football. My daughter she’s involved in gymnastics and some of the other things. My youngest, she’s just a character. She has a great personality and just that part of it. I’ll probably look to get into some broadcasting and different things like that. I love the game of football. Even right now, for me the happiest times I have, the most enjoyment I have in a game week is when I’m alone by myself and I’m with my video and I’m looking at the iPad, I’m looking at the film, and I’m dissecting the opponent. Just really, that’s when I’m at my happiest because now I’m in my comfort. I’m in an area that I love being in. So football is always in my blood. You just never know what it’ll hold down the road for me, but I’ll always be around this game of football.”

On if he thinks he’s a Hall of Famer:
“[Laughs] I think that’s for somebody else to decide. I don’t have a vote on that type of stuff. David [Elfin], you’ve got a vote don’t you? You’ll have to ask David. When that time comes, I think as you look at all the middle linebackers who’ve been in the National Football League selected to the Hall of Fame or elected to the Hall of Fame, when you compare me and compare them I think it’ll definitely leave for more debate [laughs].”

On his process of making this decision:
“Again, I’ve still got one percent left [laughs]. You know, the reason why I’m doing it now is because this is more than likely going to be the last time I’m able to put on that burgundy and gold and run through that tunnel at FedEx and say thank you to the fans. And it’s against the Cowboys. It’s a lot. The last time we were in FedEx, I was embarrassed with the way we performed as a football team and I just – and there’s not many times on a football field where I’ve felt embarrassed as a team, as a player. What we put on display against Kansas City, that hurt me to my core. So with this, I want our fans to be riled up, I want it to be a special occasion, I want us to get that win. I want to leave with great memories.”

On if he thinks his streak of consecutive games is his legacy:
“Obviously, that’s a part of my legacy. That’s the thing that’s talked about most because when you look at it, it’s hard for me to really grasp it because I’m still in the midst of it. Really the way I’ve approached it is to go about my business, being accountable and not wanting to let my teammates down and the coaching staff. I’ve always wanted to be able to be there for them and know that they can count on me. And even prove doubters wrong when there’s a little knick or bump and they think, 'Hey, is this going to be the end of the streak?’ or whatever the case may be, to be able to say I’m tough enough to get through this. So I’m sure the consecutive games are definitely a part of my legacy. But I think as time goes past and people are really able to look at my career as a whole, you’ll see what type of player that I was as well.”

On memorable moments in Washington:
“There are several memories. You’re talking about seven seasons here. My first season here, obviously that was the year Sean Taylor passed, so the dynamics of that, dealing with that, the emotions of that – when we took the field with 10 guys on the field just as a tribute to Sean. Playing and losing that game, but then going on the run that we were able to go on in that ’07 season to make it into the playoffs… Last year was very special to me. When you look at where we were at – at one point 3-6, you know everybody had written us off and to be able to get on that run and I thought the way we rallied around each other as a team – just the attention to detail, the focus, how guys really just locked in, the way Coach Shanahan managed the team and stood in front of them and really mapped out the plan that we were going to go on to win those seven games. When it came into fruition, that feeling when we beat the Cowboys at that 16th game of the season, that last game of the season, and finally our goal was achieved, just the moment, the excitement, the euphoria we felt as a football team to know we had done something really special… So that stands out as well.”

On how much harder it was to play at his age this year:
“I think just with the way I train myself, that part the last four or five years really hasn’t been that much of a difference. I think I felt better this year because of the injuries, surgeries I’ve had. Last year, I was dealing with an ankle, elbow things like that in the last few years, different things. Really, Sundays is no problem – you get to the game, you have that adrenaline. Throughout the week they do a great job of managing me, trying to limit my reps in practice and stuff like that. I still know I can go out and make plays, that’s not the issue. So this year really wasn’t any harder, physically.”

On how hard it is to accept that age eventually wins out:
“Well, I’m not 28, I’m 38, and I understand that. When you play, age is going to take away some of the things from you – especially when you’re talking about a physical game or something that requires physical ability. But you do adjustments to combat that, whether it’s in my alignment, things like that you figure out ways to combat that, so that’s the part you adjust to. But from a competitive standpoint, things like that, I think you still have to go out and compete whether you’re a young guy and you can run a 4.3 or whatever, that doesn’t mean you’re going to go out and do the job better than I am.”

On his impression of quarterback Robert Griffin III and his advice for his future:
“Robert has – he’s come in with a tremendous amount of pressure when you talk about being a Heisman Trophy winner, so many draft picks they gave up to get him. This is an organization that hasn’t had a franchise quarterback for over 20 years so the amount of expectations that he had coming in and the way he performed last year, he exceeded the expectations leading us to the playoffs. And really, I don’t think he really changed his approach. There are a lot of people that pulls and tugs at him, but I think really this a time for him to just kind of exhale. If you look at it at the end of the year, he hurt himself, he didn’t have a chance to really exhale. This is a time for him to exhale, take a step back, reevaluate different things and say, 'Hey, what do I need to get to be the player that he knows he can, be the player that everybody knows he can be?’ That would be my advice for him. Really just take some time to clear his head and really decompress from everything that’s happened because he’s really been on a whirlwind if you think about it since his senior year at Baylor, or his last year at Baylor.”

Quarterback Kirk Cousins

On his assessment of his play last week:
“I would stick to the same tune I had after the game. I felt like there were two, three, four plays that you want to take back and the rest of the game I felt pretty good about. Unfortunately, I can’t take those two, three, four plays back, and those kind of defined the results of the game. That's why you work so hard is to avoid those little plays.”

On if the offense was changed for him:
“At the end of the day, I think the offense is very similar. We’re still able to run our concepts. The way we get to them may be presented a little bit differently, but I do not believe that if you talked to the rest of the offense they would say it’s changed. I think they feel like we’re still running our base training camp offense and we still carry that zone read possibility every week and that’s always something that could be called just depending on what the situation dictates. Clearly, against Atlanta, it wasn’t something that we used.”

On how knowing he is starting the next two games affects his preparation:
“Well, it’s very helpful to get reps. I find that I walk off the practice field today and last week and have a much greater confidence as to my preparedness for that coming game because of the reps I’m able to get during practice. As a backup, you still have to be ready. There’s no excuse if you don’t play well and have to go in. So you still have to be ready in that role too, you just don’t have the reps that you need. I do feel much more prepared because of reps.”

On if he feels the pressure of needing to perform to secure his future in the NFL:
“I’ve felt pressure from the day I was drafted just because you’re an NFL quarterback and because there are a lot of people who would kill to have your job, and there are people who are chasing you for your spot — current pros, college players. I’ve never felt like my job is something that I have locked up. I’ve always felt that pressure and, fortunately, I’m in a position right now where I’m not fighting to keep my job as much as my perspective is trying to fight to earn an even better opportunity. I think that’s a good spot to be in. You certainly do feel the pressure and it’s not so much whether or not you feel it, because I think we all feel it, but how are you going to perform under it?”

On if he feels this is his most important opportunity or if there will be others down the road:
“At the end of the day, you have to make the most of your opportunities in this league. You never know when you’re next chance is going to come. I also feel like you’re only as good as your last performance. That's the way I’ve always felt about my career. I want to put a good product out there every Sunday, but I do know that walking off the field against the Giants in a week and a half, whatever I’ve done over these last three weeks, specifically most recently, is going to be how people remember me going into the offseason. I want that to be a positive thing.”

On how to focus on “Dallas Week” and avoid distractions:
“For me, I really do believe that it’s about our fan base, and our fans want nothing more than for us to beat Dallas. That game means so much to them, especially here at home. Dallas has a lot on the line. It is a major rivalry game. I’ve played in a lot of rivalry games before and it’s a great opportunity to go into a rivalry game and get a win and give our fan base something to feel good about, so there is a lot to play for.”

On if it feels odd that the subject of playing the Cowboys hasn’t been discussed more:
“No, you can care about whatever you want to care about. We kind of put Atlanta away on Monday and we’re focused on Dallas now. I’ll answer whatever questions are asked, but this is a big game for us.”

On Dallas having last week’s film to watch his play:
“At the end of the day, I feel like they’re going to have film on you. They know their opponents. They have plenty of film on me from last year and really from this year, too. They know what we would want to do in this system with a guy like me. I don’t feel like we caught Atlanta off-guard, I don’t feel like we’re going to catch Dallas off-guard. I feel like it’s about executing. It's about not beating yourself and controlling what we can control and doing it at a high level, and that’s what we’re working to do on Sunday.”

On how people discussing how his play might increase his trade value:
“I’m living in the present. I’ve got enough to worry about here and now. We didn’t get the win on Sunday and so I’m hungry for a win. Whatever may come down the line – this offseason, two years from now, beyond that –
is just not something that I’m going to spend a lot of time being concerned about because I have enough to worry about here in the present, and that’s beating Dallas and putting on a good performance.”

On the motivation drawn from linebacker London Fletcher probably playing in his last home game:
“We would love to have him walk off that field for the last time, if it will be his last time, with a victory. We all respect and admire London, and he’s a great leader in our locker room and has shown all of us what it means to conduct ourselves like a professional on and off the field. I think it would mean a lot to London to get a win, but I think it would mean a lot to us as his teammates to send him off with a win.”

On if watching the Atlanta film changed his opinion of his play:
“I’m always going to be hard on myself, and when I go back and watch film, I’m going to be hard on myself and say,'What could I have done better to prevent the loss?' When you look at it – the two interceptions – certainly I could have thrown the ball to more advantageous locations to get the ball completed. Then, on the two-point conversion, I would have liked to have thought that on an off-schedule play, we still have a high likelihood of completing a pass from three yards away. When I’m in a situation like that again, I want to be prepared to be able to turn that into a completion rather than an incompletion.”

Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett

On Redskins linebacker London Fletcher announcing his likely retirement:
“[He’s] an unbelievable football player. I competed against him for a long, long time and he just is an outstanding player. He’s everything that the NFL wants in a player. He just has played the game the right way and been such a productive guy, a great team leader, and someone I just have the utmost respect for.”

On if he addresses their situation at the end of last season in comparison to where they are now:
“I don’t know that you address it directly. We certainly understand the situation that we’re in and you have to take advantage of the opportunity. We’re focused on the task at hand which is the Washington Redskins this week and our preparation for that game. That’s really where everybody’s eyes are, that’s where our attention is, and we had a good day of practice. We’ve got to learn from it today in our meetings and get back to work tomorrow.”

On what changes with Kirk Cousins at quarterback instead of Robert Griffin III:
“Well I think the biggest thing we try to do is evaluate how the offense is different from a scheme standpoint. Do they run more of this and less of that? So we’ve been in that process all week long trying to determine what we think they want to do offensively with Kirk playing as opposed to RGIII, and we have great respect for both those guys. Both those guys can move around, they can throw the football, and make a ton of plays — they’ve shown that in a real short period of time. We have to really try our best to prepare for what we think they’re going to do with him at quarterback and I have great respect for him as a player.”

On moving on from the loss to Green Bay last Sunday:
“That’s something we really address every week with our team and we address it after we win and we address it after we lose. You can have hangovers from both of those things like you suggested, and it’s just really important that you put the last one behind you. We have that a lot in our game — you’ve got to get rid of the last play, get rid of the last series, forget what happened in the first quarter, let’s get on to the second quarter — and you certainly have to do that from game to game over the course of the season. It’s about forgetting about the last play that was successful or the last game that was successful and similarly if it didn’t get well for you, and we have to do that each and every week as does everybody around the league and we certainly have to do it this week and get on to the focus, which is the Washington Redskins.”

On if addresses anything differently with quarterback Tony Romo after some his interceptions last week:
“I think we just go back and we evaluate the game and the decisions he made all throughout the game, and there was a lot of really good things he did in the game and certainly there were some things that you want to address and make sure we get cleaned up going forward. So you try to take an unemotional look at it and you evaluate decision-making within a play, but you also evaluate decision-making in a particular situation. Tony’s done an outstanding job for us all year long and is a great leader for our football team and done a lot of things for us to allow us to win ball games and be in the position that we’re in, and we’ll continue to build on the good and try to correct the bad like we would with any player on our team and try to get ready for the next challenge.”

On how he avoids talk about his future and focuses on the next game:
“I learned that a long time ago in this league. As a player and a coach, you focus on your job each and every day and try to do your job as well as you can do it. There’s always going to be a lot of discussion about what we do. The NFL is very popular and people are very interested in it, but when you’re involved in it, you just have to focus on doing your job to the best of your ability and I think everybody who’s involved in it understands that.”

On if they are accepting the magnitude of this game:
“Oh, yeah, we’ve got to do our best to win a ball game this week and I think everyone understands that. The way you do that is you prepare as well as you can. Again, we had a good start to our preparation today and we’ve got to keep doing that. It’ll be a great challenge for us up there on Sunday in Washington.”

Dallas Cowboys Defensive End DeMarcus Ware

On his reaction to linebacker London Fletcher announcing his likely retirement:
“When you think about a guy, the leadership he really brings to that team and how he’s been consistently one of the top tacklers in the league every single year, it just shows how hard his offseason work has been and how much dedication he’s had to the team. He’s been a great team player.”

On bouncing back after a tough loss to Green Bay:
“I think you’ve got to always keep the mentality of you’ve always got another game left and you’re just keeping your hopes up and sort of what’s at stake. I know it’s going to be a big game this week, so at the end of the day, you’ve got try and find some way to win, but it’s going to be a big challenge.”

On having to beat the Redskins to make the playoffs in two consecutive seasons:
“I think at the end of the day, it’s really not thinking about last year. It’s just thinking about, 'OK, this is the team that’s going to be a big challenge for us this week.’ I mean, it’s the Redskins game, it’s an NFC East game, and like you just said, we do have to win this game to keep going. It’s going to be a big challenge for us.”

On what makes a good pass rusher:
“I think the tenacity that you bring to the game. Week in and week out, every play, you’ve got to play like it’s your last play. But also, you’ve got to have good technique – good technique and being able to do the simple things well, and knowing how… You’ve got to be pretty smart, meaning you’ve got to know how the offense are going to – their blocking schemes, where the center’s going to go – and have a lot of awareness. Some guys don’t have that. You can be very athletic, but you’ve got to get in the books also.”

On how having an arsenal of moves helps in pass rushing:
“Let’s say you have two moves; every move has got to have a counter move. So let’s say you have four moves, and I think that’s all you need to be effective in this league, and then now, OK, you make it simple for yourself and figuring out how the tackles are going to attack you every single week and how your moves are going to work, because you don’t want to change up every single week because then you get inconsistent. So you’ve got to make it simple on yourself, be able to play aggressive each and every play and be able to read your keys.”

On how the game changes with Kirk Cousins at quarterback instead of Robert Griffin III:
“They’re still running that same scheme. They’ve still been putting up a lot of yards, actually – running the ball really well and he’s throwing the ball really well. So I think the scheme’s going to stay the same. I’m not going to have to worry about a quarterback that runs a 4.3 40, but at the end of the day, if you can be elusive like Cousins and get out of the pocket and throw the ball effectively, that’s all you need.”

On the challenges of playing a backup quarterback:
“I’ll tell you what, at the end of the day, that backup part as a quarterback doesn’t mean anything. We’ve lost to the last two and those guys that we played are pretty good and this guy that we’re playing this week is good also. So we have to really key on him. We have to be able to stop the run, because if we don’t, [running back Alfred] Morris is a good running back. And we’ve got to be able to get pressure on the quarterback.”

On if the transition to Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin’s defensive scheme has caused the team’s struggles:
“I think the scheme is very simple, but you have so many guys that are injured coming in and out. When you get so used to playing with your starting defense and all of a sudden now, he doesn’t have one starting backer in there – and I’m just talking about last game when you have certain guys out that you are used to playing – it’s a little bit different and you make mistakes. So that’s one thing we have to key on this week – eliminate those mistakes we made last week and keep it moving.”
 

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As we enjoy today's conversations, let's remember our dear friends 'Docsandy', Sandy Zier-Teitler, and 'Posse Lover', Michael Huffman, who would dearly love to be here with us today! We love and miss you guys ❤

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