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Skins Quotes 12/27

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Marine Corps Virginia


December 27, 2012
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the Dallas Cowboys’ offense:
“They’re playing well. Any time you take a look at Tony [Romo] with 10 touchdown passes and one interception over a four-game time frame, it sums up how well they’ve been playing.”

On differences in the Cowboys’ offense since week 12:
“I think they’re a little bit healthier. It looks like they have everyone back on offense. They’re playing extremely well.”

On Lorenzo Alexander and two others being selected to the Pro Bowl:
“I was really happy to see that. He [linebacker Lorenzo Alexander] has been playing at that level for a number of years, or at least the two-and-a-half, three years that I’ve been with him. This year, he has taken his game to a different level. I was very happy that he was rewarded for that. It’s nice to see players and coaches see that. To me, it’s one of the biggest honors you can have. Trent Williams, we’ve talked about Trent, he’s made some tremendous strides since he’s been here. We always knew the type of athlete that he was, but for him to go back to the basics, be accountable and do the little things the right way… it’s always nice to see him get rewarded for the way he’s played and the way he has handled himself. Robert [Griffin III], his play speaks for itself. We’ve been talking about him all year. He has played at a very high level. That doesn’t surprise me at all that he was selected.”

On the status of tackle Tyler Polumbus:
“He was limited today. If he does pass the concussion test, then they’ll let him practice tomorrow.”

On if Polumbus’ will participate fully tomorrow if he passes the concussion test:
“Yes. When I say limited with a concussion, that means he can only go through walkthroughs.”

On how much of the success of Griffin III is tied to Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan and his schemes:
“I think every offense is designed to fit the quarterback’s skillset. Robert has earned that by his play. I don’t think anybody in the history of the league has played at his level, at least over the last 40 years when I look at the numbers and what he has done. I don’t think anybody’s played at that level. If we talk about before, he has a unique skillset. He has the ability to throw, drop back, play-action, put up a front on the defense with his running ability and he will get better and better. He’s just scratching the surface. And the reason I say that is because he works at it.”

On running back Alfred Morris perhaps not getting the recognition he deserves:
“He’s done such a great job. I think numbers think for themselves. He’s got time for that. He’s going to be successful for a long time. I think people appreciate what he has done and how he has helped our offense. You have to have a back like him to separate yourself from the rest of the pack. He’s played at a very high level.”

On having multiple Pro Bowl selections:
“I was talking about this a little bit yesterday. When you start to win and you have more success, then you get more recognition as far as individual honors. Hopefully, we can keep that going. To win six games in a row like we have, there are a lot of guys playing at a Pro Bowl level right now. That’s how you win. You may not get on the Pro Bowl, but to consistently win, especially in the second half of the season, you have to have a lot of people playing at that level consistently. That’s what I’m most proud of.”

On taking pride in seeing individuals break records:
“What you take pride in is trying to win a Super Bowl. That’s what you’re trying to do. To see guys have individual success, you’re always happy to see a guy like Alfred come in as a rookie, to stay healthy…he’s so humble and he works so hard. It’s gratifying to see a guy have that kind of success, especially coming out of the sixth round when nobody expected him to play at that level.”

On the most challenging aspect of using this offensive scheme against NFL defenses:
“To be honest with you, it’s easier because the quarterback puts a big threat on the defense. Anytime they have to account for the quarterback in the running game, it puts a lot of pressure on the defense. It takes away a lot of the things that you do. I think the misconception of Robert and his ability to run is the option…There are a lot of running plays that are designed for a quarterback to just run and take off. That’s how you get the quarterback hurt. I don’t care if you’re dropping back and scrambling or if you have a quarterback draw, you have to be careful with how many quarterback draws you run. If the option is run the right way, the quarterback is the free guy, the guy they can’t account for. He’s either handing the ball off or pitching it. He has to protect himself on the pitch or he has to learn how to slide. That’s the type of things he’ll learn over time. And I think he’s done a great job over the last four or five games.”

On who would start at tackle if Polumbus is healthy:
“We’ll take a look at him, see how he practices. It’s all based on who we think gives us the best chance to win. It’s all based on how he practices. We’ll make the decision at game time.”

On how linebacker Rob Jackson has affected the play of linebacker Ryan Kerrigan:
“I think our whole defense has played at a higher level since the beginning of the year, at least the first half of the season because of what you just mentioned. Rob Jackson, I think he’s much more comfortable in his position. I take a look at [defensive end] Jarvis Jenkins, how he’s played. Our safeties have stepped up and played at a higher level. That’s what you’re hoping. Any time lose a guy like [nose tackle] Chris Neild and you have a guy like Chris Baker come in and he gains experience, Doug Worthington is playing at a high level, that’s what you have to do. You have to play your best football in the second half. Not even talking about the offense, but that’s what you’re looking for.”

On having an indoor practice facility:
“You want to give your team the best chance to be prepared and having that facility gives you the best chance of being prepared. We couldn’t have gone out there yesterday and been productive at all. Today, it was so windy, I don’t think we could have filmed practice. We didn’t want to have those guys up there in the film towers. I think it was close to 40 mph at times, so we wouldn’t be able to film practice as well. It’s a big plus to have an indoor facility.”

On safety Reed Doughty:
“No. 1, he’s here for a reason. He’s a warrior. He does everything you ask him to do. When people go down, he plays at a very high level at the strong safety position. He’s a difference maker on special teams. He’s they type of guy that you need on your football team to win. He can do everything you possibly can to make sure football team successful. He’ll be prepared, he’ll do the little things the right way and he’s a guy who can come in and play the strong safety, free safety position and make plays.”

On what had to happen at tight end when Fred Davis was injured:
“It’s hard to make up for a guy like Fred. He’s so talented. Not too many guys can run in that 4.5, 4.6 range and have the athletic ability of a guy like him. He can go out there one-on-one and probably beat any linebacker or any safety, or at least have a chance with his athleticism. He’s a little bit of a freak there. That’s what you want. He’s takes great pride in blocking as well. When you lose a guy like that, you’re really worried. Logan [Paulsen] has come in and is obviously not as fast as Fred, but is a football player. He does a great job catching the ball. He does a great job blocking, doesn’t miss assignments. He just has come up big for us. He’s been a big plus.”

On picking kicker Kai Forbath over veteran kickers in a tryout:
“We entered that into a normal competition. We had three guys, and I’m not sure how many kicks we had, it was somewhere in the area of 15, and he missed the fewest of the field goals. Anywhere from a 30-yarder to a 55-yarder, and he was more consistent than the rest. He’s a little bit younger. We felt like we’d give him an opportunity since he has not kicked in the NFL. Sometimes it works out. If he would have been 0-4, I think we would have been second guessed a couple of times along the way. You take chances on guys you think have an opportunity to do what he has done.”

On the three Pro Bowl selections being captains:
“You’re hoping that happens. You’re always hoping that happens. It doesn’t happen very often. The other two guys who I think have played at that level, are [nose tackle] Barry Cofield and [defensive end] Stephen Bowen. They’ve played at that level too throughout the season. Not everybody is recognized. I feel very good of our captains, how they played and a number of people on the outside see it as well.”

On mental toughness for a kicker:
“I think it’s what separates kickers. There are a lot of talented kickers out there. I’ve seen guys make them consistently in practice, then all of a sudden the lights are on and it’s not the same guy. You have to do it when the lights are on. That’s why I’ve been very proud of Kai.”

Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan

On protecting quarterback Robert Griffin III from further injury while also getting the most out of his abilities:
“We held him back some [against Philadelphia], but it was more the game plan from a schematic standpoint. We ran him here and there, not as much. There weren’t as many pull reads and stuff, but he got a couple opportunities. I think he gets healthier each week. It’s only natural to get better. We’ll see what happens this week.”

On if teams play Griffin III schematically differently the second time:
“I think there’s an advantage to both teams. I think there are always some subtle differences. You get an idea from the first game how they want to play some stuff, so you know a little bit more what to practice and everything. Then, you also have to be ready because they’re definitely going to have a better idea of what they want to do. They’re going to have some adjustments. I think it all evens out. I think it’s a little bit overrated whether it’s your first time or second time. Once the game starts, it can be totally new and you have to see what’s going on and be ready to adjust.”

On if Dallas’ new defensive players give them an advantage:
“You don’t know until after the game. You really have no idea. They have a bunch of good players out there. I know they have some new guys in. We had a new guy last week playing for us. You really never know. You can answer that question a little bit better after the game.”

On if Griffin III could have been a more dynamic runner if he needed to be last week:
“I think so. I think I know the play you’re talking about and I think we missed a block on the outside. Robert wasn’t going to be able to get much more, so I think he just strided it out of bounds where usually he’s digging out a little bit harder. We missed a block on the outside and he wasn’t going to be able to get any more, so he took what he could. We ran a bunch of keepers in the game and he still scrambled a few times that I thought he looked good on, so I thought he was running alright.”

On the redemption of Trent Williams this season:
“Trent has been great. He’s been extremely talented since we got him here – just the day-to-day process. I think his hunger level…He loves playing and stuff. He always shows up on gameday. From OTAs on this year, he’s really showed up really trying to detail his technique and stuff – not just depending on being such a good talent. He’s really tried to get good at his craft. He’s come in every day. It’s really helped him a lot. He fought through a bunch of injuries for about a month. He’s a lot healthier now. He’s just done a hell of a job as a leader, as a player. He’s helped our team, he’s helped himself individually. I’m glad he got what he deserved, because he definitely deserved to be in the Pro Bowl.”

On the evolution of how he and Griffin III meshed their talents to create a successful offense so quickly:
“I think the reason we were able to do it in such a short period of time is because it’s not much different. You throw a few zone reads in there, but from a blocking standpoint and the philosophy of what you’re trying to do, it’s very similar to the outside zone run game. You’re just adding another player into it with the quarterback. It’s a little tighter. It’s a little more downhill. You’re reading that defensive end whether the quarterback pulls it or not. The running game that we’ve ran here for three years – the one we did in Houston the whole time I was there, the one I know that Denver has done for the last 15 years when my Dad was there – when you do the outside zone, you’re stretching them one way and when the defensive end is closing too hard, you run keepers and boots going the other way. All the zone read is is you run downhill right at that defensive end right now when he’s closing hard, then the quarterback just pulls it and goes. It’s very similar to something we’ve always believed in, so we didn’t have to change a lot – put in a couple new runs which brings in a couple new protections. Then, you have play passes off of them. Conceptually, it’s the same routes and stuff you’re doing down the field. It’s just a little bit different of a wrinkle in how you protect and defend the guys rushing and the looks you give him in the run game.”

On how much input Griffin III has with play calling and how similar his favorite plays are to plays called at Baylor:
“I don’t think they’re similar at all to his plays at Baylor. We run the zone read like Baylor does, like 90 percent of colleges do also and some NFL teams do. The plays, I think, are pretty different. I think Robert has just as much input as any quarterback that we coach does. You don’t want to do stuff that the players don’t like, so you try to give them a plan. That’s what our job is to do. We sit and work at it all Monday and Tuesday and they come in Wednesday and we present them the plan and what we think will make them successful. You work them through it throughout the entire week. You get feedback on the field, after meetings talking through stuff. Then, really once Saturday comes, you really want to know what he likes, what he’s not comfortable with. Whenever you have something the quarterback isn’t comfortable with, you usually take it out and you don’t go with it. If it’s earlier in the week and it’s not comfortable, but you really believe in it, you try to show them why you like it. You try to give them a few more reps of it and see if he starts to like it and if he doesn’t, you let it go.”

On what the offense did well against Dallas on Thanksgiving:
“I think our guys just made some great individual plays. I thought that was as good of a game that group of receivers played all year. We threw some good balls where guys got it at 15 yards and they turned it into house calls. When you play a good defense like this – that’s a good scheme with a bunch of good players – it’s tough to just go up and down the field. I think we were only in the redzone for two plays, both on the same drive, but we scored that many points. That shows guys are making plays with the ball in their hand. We had one deep throw, which we caught in-stride in the endzone, but after that guys were aggressive. They were going to get that ball in the air and they were turning up the field when they got it. Guys ran hard and made some plays.”

On if Dallas was able to generate pressure on Griffin III that game:
“They were at times. Dallas generates pressure on everybody. They hit the quarterback as much as anyone. If you get in a one-dimensional game with them, they’ll get after you. You try to keep them off-balance as much as you can so those pass rushers can’t tee off. You know if you don’t and they can tee off, they’re going to get you.”

On wide receiver Joshua Morgan’s performance in the second half of the season:
“He’s gotten healthier, I think, as the year has gone [on]. I think he had a serious injury coming here with his ankle – still has screws in there and stuff. He’s not as sharp with his cuts and everything. As the year has gone on, I think he’s got a lot more healthy. I think he’s understanding the routes that we want – his role in the offense. I think coverages has just helped him, too. Just because a player doesn’t get touchdowns doesn’t necessarily mean he’s doing bad. I think he had an unbelievable play vs. the Giants where caught it about 15 yards, ran another 25 and scored but it got called back for an illegal motion. We’ve been happy with Josh all year. There’s no doubt about that. I think he’s definitely gotten healthier and more confident here in the last few weeks. I think his game has taken a step to another level.”

On if Morgan’s initial injury limited how he was able to use him:
“I don’t think it’s ever limited me exactly. You never avoid getting the ball to those guys. You call plays. You distribute the field. You see what coverages they are playing and the quarterback goes through a progression. I’ve been real happy with our receivers this year. There’s not a guy out there that the coaches or the quarterback doesn’t believe in. All of them can do something. All of them can make a play. I think they all feed off each other. You never know whose week it’s going to be. Each guy had has their moments. [It’s] the whole group that’s won games for us.”

On when Griffin III understood the NFL enough to fully participate in conversations about schemes, play calling, etc.:
“I think once he started playing. When you’re repping stuff against your defense everyday who sees the plays every day…It’s something totally new for Robert, so he doesn’t know. You have a lot of script readers on the defense who are trying to compete, too, and they’re taking stuff away. Guys are competitive, so they want to do stuff in practice. You just have to keep preaching, 'Hey, stay the course. We’re not trying to get you ready to look good out here. We’re trying to get you ready to look good once the season starts. The stuff that we’re working on every day, even though it can be frustrating sometimes doing it every day vs. the same people vs. the same looks, it will help you in the season.’ I think after the games started going, I think it helped him kind of grasp the bigger picture of the stuff we had been working on and how things come into play. Not always at the beginning of the year, but over a 16-week season, you see the stuff you work on come out at one time or another.”

On what he sees in Dallas linebacker DeMarcus Ware:
“I see the same guy I always have. I know he’s banged up some, which I’d say has limited his reps. He’s not out there quite as much, but when he’s out there, he’s a factor. He’s the same guy he’s always been. If you’re not careful, he can take over a game.”

On if he saw a drastic change in the way the Giants’ and Eagles’ defenses played his offense the second time around:
“No, neither of them were very drastic. There are a couple subtle things they do with fronts and some of the techniques they play with their D-linemen, but neither of them was a drastic change. You never know going into it because it’s always different how guys are going to play someone like Robert than other quarterbacks I’ve had in my past. You’re always ready for something to be totally different than what you’ve seen on tape. So far this year, people have just tried to play pretty sound defense and make the tackles and not give up big plays.”

On defenses seeming confused trying to stop the looks that his offense gives them:
“I don’t necessarily think it’s understanding it. I think when you have good players and you have a system that’s tied together where the outside run game matches the tight zone run game, all your runs match your play actions, they match your bootlegs, your formations match everything, it’s more 'What are they going to take away?’ When they do take away something and you have a system that can go right to something else and you have the players in those positions that you can get them one-on-one vs. the right looks and you’ve got guys that win the majority of the time one-on-one, that’s when I think it becomes tough because you want a sound offense that has then answers. I don’t care who you play. Defenses, defensive coaches and players and all the tape guys watch, they can take away anything that you do and anything that you’re good at. You try to build something that gives the players an opportunity depending on what they’re going against in a game to go any direction that the defense dictates and what they’re taking away. That’s something we’ve always tried to do. I think we just have some players right now in some key spots that when we can attack schemes the right way, it’s hard to stop because our players win.”

Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett

On the growth of defensive end Jarvis Jenkins:
“Well, I’ve thought he’s gotten progressively better every game. I thought he played one of his better games last week. The last two weeks, he’s played extremely well. He did a good job rushing the passer last week. He was excellent on the run and you can see he’s finally settled in after the injury. He’s going to be a heck of a player. He’s kind of taken off these last three or four weeks.”

On nose tackle Barry Cofield getting outside on the double screen against the Eagles to make a tackle:
“It was an excellent play on the screen. He chased it down. We had a blitz coming from the right. He was slanting from his right to left. He just made a great play. A great effort first of all, and he shows speed and athleticism for a nose tackle. I think Barry’s one of those guys. I was kind of surprised, of all the guys in the Pro Bowl, I thought he would’ve had an opportunity just because of the way’s he played. Like you said, he’s got a lot of pressure, a lot of quarterback hits, knocked down balls. He’s done a great job for us.”

On Cofield saying he was disappointed in his performance last year:
“I thought he overanalyzed. Barry is a really smart football player that kind of overanalyzes things once in a while. I think he’s trying to get a feel for the position. It was new for him, obviously coming from a four-man line his whole life. Moving into that nose position is just something that he had to get right in his mind. He watched a lot of tape in the offseason. He watched Casey Hampton, a lot of guys that ran the 3-4. I can’t remember exactly what game it was, I think the fourth or fifth game of the year, he said, 'Now I know what you want.’ I’ve been saying it for a year but Barry had figured it out and I think he’s finally got it figured out the way, what we were looking for.”

On what has contributed to the decreased pressure on linebacker Ryan Kerrigan:
“A number of things. I think he’s really playing at a high level, especially these last three weeks – I’m talking about Ryan – and he has done a good job. We flipped him. He’s done some things, and obviously [linebacker] Rob [Jackson], [linebacker] Lorenzo [Alexander] and Jarvis [Jenkins] has taken a little bit of pressure off him. I think he’s played outstanding these last three weeks.”

On designing a plan for Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo:
“Well, I don’t want him running around, first of all. If we can kind of eliminate that, that would be No. 1. It’s hard to contain the guy first of all because I think he’s a heck of a football player. I’ve always felt that way about him. He’s got a great feel for getting out of the pocket and moving around. He’s got a great arm. He’s got tremendous weapons around him and he utilizes them very well. His favorite guy, obviously, is [tight end Jason] Witten. He knows when he needs something, he goes there and you see [wide receiver] Dez [Bryant] taking off. They’ve got a lot of weapons. I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for us to see where we’re at.”

On Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray:
“Well, obviously, you’ve got the big-time threat of him running. He’s a heck of a running back. You’ve got to make sure you handle the running game because you can’t let them both get going. You have to at least try to eliminate one part of their game and put them in a one-dimensional game if you can.”

On his plans if safety DeJon Gomes can’t play against the Cowboys due to injury:
“Well, we would just put the next guy in. We just kind of roll with that. We feel good about [safeties] Reed [Doughty] and Jordan [Pugh] and Madieu [Williams]. I think, hopefully, DJ will be ready to go, but we’ll see.”

On how the rotation of safeties benefits the defense:
“We’re just trying to utilize their strengths to do what they do best. DJ does a good job. He’s really good in the box. That’s what he did in college. He was a dime linebacker. We’re just trying to take care of and put those guys in a position where they can help us win.”

On if he’s seen improvement in Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant since the Thanksgiving game:
“I saw an 85-yarder, so I saw it live. He’s a heck of a football player. Obviously, he’s got all the physical tools to be a great football player. He just had to put it all together. It looks like he has. He’s got great hands, great speed, big body. So it’ll be a great challenge for our corners.”

On if Bryant has improved because he’s in more one-on-one situations:
“No, I think he’s just stepped up his game and he’s playing really well.”

On the Cowboys’ attempt to come back in the second half on Thanksgiving:
“Well, they scored on an 85-yarder. That’s one play. Then they had a long drive, right? Then they got the ball on the turnover at the 16 and then the game was over. We were just trying to get out of there so I wouldn’t say it was something that dramatically changed. They got a big play on us. They had the one drive and then they got the turnover and got the ball in a pretty good position.”

Special Teams Coordinator Danny Smith

On Lorenzo Alexander being selected to the Pro Bowl:
“I’m so excited for him, for Lorenzo. I mean, there’s no guy more deserving. All people have to do is watch the film. It’s really a credit to the fans. It’s a credit to the coaches who he plays against. It’s a credit to his peers who have a vote. When those three groups of people vote and vote a guy like that in there, it’s such an honor. When you look at him, he makes plays every week. He gets double- and triple-teamed at times. He has more big, solid hits than anybody. It’s really quite deserving and it’s something that he’s worked his butt off to achieve. It’s something that he takes very personal, very prideful. And he plays with a passion. You root for guys like that. You support people like that. They’re easy to coach. They’re fun to coach. They’re fun to be around. They excite a football team and I think he has excited this football team with his play and the way it has carried on to other people in other phases. It’s just great for this organization and for him as a person to achieve that goal of having that label which no one can ever take away of being the best at his position and being a Pro Bowler.”

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

On being voted to the Pro Bowl:
“When it comes to commenting on being voted to the Pro Bowl, I may not understand the significance or the importance of it today. But in the future, when I look back upon this day and upon this year, I’ll realize just how phenomenal it was for me to be voted to the Pro Bowl as a rookie and how big it was for this organization, the Washington Redskins and just in my whole life.”
 

Bulldog

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I have been a critic of Morgan's this season but he has sacrificed himself to help in the short passing game with the injury to Fred Davis. Morgan doesn't get the chance to go down the field because he is essentially running plays for the TE as a 6'3 and 215 wide receiver, hence his 10 yard per catch average which is way under the potential he showed in SF to go deep.

Shanahan credits Paulsen and you really can't ask more of an undrafted free agent.

Morgan it seems has picked up for Niles Paul who has become almost invisible in this offense as the season has gone on.
 

Jugband McGillicuddy

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Army Marshall

Ain't that the truth. For several days now. I haven't been nervous about a game days in advance since I can remember.
I actually took a couple more benadryl than a horse should last night, and still couldn't sleep for crap.

Dear God, can it please be 8:20 already?!?!
 

servumtuum

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Indiana

Interspersed in those quotes from Shanahan I sense a coach who is tickled pink at how his team is doing. :)

Right, there with ya , coach.


Interestingly enough, I am unusually calm facing tonight's game. Partly it's due to my personality which paradoxically causes me to become more calm as the situation becomes more intense-I rarely am in what would be called a "panic mode."

More importantly, however, my confidence in the Redskins and what the future of this team holds is at a level it hasn't been in years. I see a team that will be a playoff/SB contender and an opponent to be feared for the next decade given what we have and will gain with IR returnees, the draft, FA, and the philosophy/style/scheme that has been and is continuing to be put into place and fine-tuned.

The Redskins are back-and the rest of the NFL knows it.

And they are afraid of what that now means and will mean in the future.

The Redskins are confident.

And that is what I've been waiting to see.

No matter what happens tonight, I am confident in the Redskins future.

I've been waiting a while to be able to say that. It feels good.

Now, let's claim the NFCE for the team who truly deserves it.

Hail.
 

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