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Skins Quotes 12/5: Shanahan/RG3/Harbaugh/Reed

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Marine Corps Virginia


December 5, 2012
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On wide receiver Pierre Garçon:
“Pierre has been a big part of our system going in to the preseason. He gave us a lot of confidence and unfortunately we lost him after that first quarter but I think he has demonstrated the last couple of games exactly what type of wide receiver he is both in the running game and the passing game. We are glad to have him.”

On how Garçon stretches the field:
“He can run. He can run after the catch and that is what you are looking for, guys who can make some yards after the catch and he has been able to do that. He is strong, very quick and he has the God-given ability to run through tackles.”

On the suspension of cornerback Cedric Griffin:
“It is always tough as we talked about before. It is tough to lose a football player, a guy who has been doing a good job for us. Always look at it like a guy that sprains his ankle, he is going to be out for the remainder of the regular season and guys are going to have to step up and fill the void.”

On if he remains a member of the team:
“He is suspended for four games. We can’t have any contact with the player, he can’t come over to the facility, so if he is gone for four games, you make a decision afterwards if he will be a part of your football team.”

On if he wants to “hit a guy with a hammer” after he gets suspended:
“Not a big hammer, a smaller hammer (laughter). Every situation is a little bit different. It is something you are very disappointed in. Obviously, they made a bad decision for whatever reason. They don’t think before they do something. This situation was one that I think he wish he had over again to make that decision. But he is a great kid. I love the kid and how he handles himself. He just made a bad decision.

On if Griffin has to regain the trust of his teammates like tackle Trent Williams and tight end Fred Davis did last year:
“I think that situation is a little bit different. I can’t talk about it at this time but it was a little bit different. But you always have to regain somebody’s trust when you are suspended.”

On if players being suspended for drug use is a trend:
“I think you have to look at each situation a little bit differently. Like I said, if I could talk about this situation I would go into detail. But, we have a lot of good people on our football team. We talked about Fred’s situation in detail. We talked about Trent’s situation in detail. I feel very good about both of those guys. Guys have made poor decisions before but I like our football team and I like where we are at. A couple of situations guys have made poor decisions and hopefully we will learn from it.”

On limiting interviews to help the focus level of quarterback Robert Griffin III:
“The reason we try to limit the interviews is so he could focus on his job. It is hard with the amount of people that want to talk to him to do those interviews and to keep focusing on your job. He has been doing a great job of that. He is a guy who likes to prepare and likes to practice. He knows what it takes to win. He was a natural leader, we talked about all the intangibles and that is what we expect out of our quarterback and you can’t ask for anything more.”

On Ravens safety Ed Reed:
“Some guys, I think, are born to be football players. I think Ed is that type of guy. I don’t know Ed; I met Ed, met him last year for the first time and had a chance to talk to him for a little bit. But he is a guy who I think is in the film room every day. He knows what is going to happen before it happens. Usually the great players are not only great athletes but great students of the game and he is a guy that I think is very well prepared and he knows what is going to happen before it happens, which is why he has so many picks.”

On the amount of interceptions Griffin III has thrown:
“Well number one, he is pretty smart. He is a good decision maker. He prepares which gives him a chance to not throw into coverage. But you never know until somebody actually gets into the system and you see how they react in game situations. I think he has the arm strength and when he does see a hole, he can get that ball in there very quickly. It doesn’t have to be a big hole because that ball is going to get there usually quicker than most. I think we just learned through games that he is going to keep getting better and better. So hopefully he doesn’t go through that learning curve that a lot of guys go through.”

On the offensive line:
“Usually when you get a good offensive football team, it is a combination of a lot of people going in the same direction. You can’t just have six or seven; you have to have 11 guys. It is coordination of our offensive line. It is a group of five guys working together, including the tight end the majority of the time, to dictate that running game or that play-action game. When everybody is hitting on all cylinders then you have a chance to move the football. But if you have one or two missing pieces, it is really hard to be in the elite status week in and week out.”

On the replacing Griffin:
“Somebody is going to step in. Obviously, we are not going to go through our game plan, but we have guys who will step in and play extremely well. I feel good about our football team and we had a good practice today. With about a day and a half less recovery time, guys are usually a little more banged up. But, DeAngelo Hall is a little banged up but I expect him to be there. London [Fletcher] and Trent were able to play last week. I’m not sure how many days they will get in practice but I will expect both guys to be there again.”

On cornerback Richard Crawford:
“I think a lot of Richard Crawford. I think if he does play, he will play well. I think he has a lot of intangibles that you look for. He has been growing ever since…I shouldn’t say benched because he wasn’t benched but – just practicing, learning the system, feeling more comfortable with the terminology and just football in general going against our offense, going against different teams. So if he does play, I expect him to play well.”

On Crawford playing in the slot:
“You kind of learn for a guy who hasn’t been inside, he’s been outside. And a lot of guys in college aren’t inside because they put the best players outside, so it has been a growing experience. He has grown throughout this season. Now, he is much better than he was obviously at the beginning of the season both inside and outside. So, if he does get in there, he will have the clutch ability to play well.”

On what he has learned about Griffin III:
“You don’t know anybody until you have spent some time with them. Until you go through some very tough situations, you dont feel like you know if somebody is accountable or not and he is accountable. That is for sure. The more you get to know him, the more you are amazed at how he handles himself and how he prepares. You don’t know that until you spend some time with him and he kind of surprises me in almost every situation on how well he handles himself and how well he communicates. I wish I could communicate like that. I’m going to have him talk to the team. In fact, I have the last couple of weeks.”

On moving tackle Tom Compton to the active roster:
“I just liked the way he has handled himself. After losing Cedric, we felt like he has earned the right to be on our football team and a part of our group. I think he has a big-time future for us.”

On the success of this year’s rookie quarterback class:
“Every situation is a little bit different. It is a football team. Sometimes, one year, someone will have a better supporting cast than the other one. One guy is not the difference on a football team. You have to have the supporting cast or you are not going to be successful. I don’t care how good he is. We have seen that through the years. A lot of times when guys go early, first or second pick, they don’t have the supporting cast. I think we are a little bit better than most and I think Indy as well.”

On if quarterbacks are more prepared coming into the NFL:
“I think they are a lot more prepared with the college system coming in. In the shotgun, people throwing the ball as much as they do, I think they have a better sense of the NFL game than quarterbacks in the past. Use a guy like John [Elway] – he threw a hell of a ball at Stanford so, he was ready early.”

On how much pride Griffin III takes in running the football:
“The more you can do, the better you are. He takes pride in everything he does. When he throws the football, he wants to be the best quarterback throwing the football. He wants to be the best quarterback running the football, handling the game, game management, making the right decisions at the right time. He understands that turnovers are usually the difference in winning and losing so he definitely doesn’t want to give it up off fumble situations or interceptions and he has done a tremendous job of protecting the football and it is hard to find with young guys.”

On if the coaching staff understands when it is appropriate for Griffin III to run:
“I think it is getting a lot easier for him to understand when to slide, when to pitch, when to run out of bounds, when to stay inbounds, all those type of things. I see a tremendous improvement there. One of the things that I think gives him the ability to stay healthy is the threat of the run. He won’t get hit as many times. When you drop back there 25 or 30 times a game and you’re going against a great defensive front and you don’t have the threat of the play action or the running game, some of these defensive lines are pretty good. So I think in the long run, the threat of him having the speed that he has and the option attack will keep him healthier.”

On Ravens kick/punt returner Jacoby Jones:
“It is a big challenge because he has the ability to make people miss and come up with the big play. Anytime you have a guy who has that type of ability, you just never know when he outruns somebody or makes a cut that most people aren’t prepared for. One of the reasons why they are one of the top units in special teams or almost every area in the top 10 is because of a guy like that.”

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

On the Baltimore Ravens’ defense:
“As a fan of the game when you watch the NFL, you can see the intensity they play with and certainly on film, you can see it as well. They bring it physically every game. They’ve always had great personnel and then, [safety] Ed Reed, he’s the top of that defense. With Ray Lewis being out, he is the leader of that defense. He does a good job with everything. He covers good ground. He tackles well. He’s got good ball skills. It’s nothing to fear but you definitely have to be aware of where he’s at.”

On what wide receiver Pierre Garçon has contributed to the team:
“Just a different attitude out there. He’s a guy, as we all like to say, he walks to the beat of his own drum and it’s a different drum. It’s not a normal drum. It’s good to have him out there with the tenacity that he plays with. He’s fearless and he’s our guy, so that’s why we like him out there.”

On his awareness of Reed:
“Tana’s [wide receiver Santana Moss] telling the truth and the coaches said it: He’s the best safety to ever play, or one of the best to ever play. You respect that. I respect him as a player. I’m going to be aware of where he’s at. Like I said, it’s nothing to fear. But he covers a lot of ground. He does a lot of unconventional things. You’ve just got to be aware of where he’s at just like he’s got to be aware of where I am and [running back] Alfred [Morris] and everyone else.”

On how proud he is of the offensive line which was doubted by the media before the season:
“I think they took that as a challenge to show that they have the ability as an offensive line to be great. A lot of them have played through injuries. Some of them came back from injuries. It’s just good to see them do that. I’m proud of them. I’m glad they stepped up big this year when we needed them to, not only in the running game but also in pass protections. It’s been great.”

On how he takes such good care of the ball:
“I just don’t force things. Trust the system that you’re within so that you can go out and work through the system and then if something does happen to where you can use your God-given abilities then you can rather than going into it thinking, 'Alright, I’m just going to run every single play.’ God’s blessed me with a decision-making ability to know when to put things into those tight windows and when not to.”

On if there’s a sacrifice for being conservative on plays:
“No. I mean I try to make sure I’m conservative when I have to. But for the most part, I stay really aggressive and try to play fearless all the time without being dumb at the same time. So I know when I can try to make a play and when I can throw a ball up and Santana’s going to 'Moss’ two guys and come down with it. That’s just fun playing the game.”

On his first impressions of Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan:
“He grilled me for a while just to get me to learn the offense. Now everything’s good just because we know the system. He knows how I learn things and how to get me in the right situations, but at first it was a grind. I appreciate everything that he did and the coaches have done to help me get to this point and help our team get to this point as well.”

On if he’s learning Kyle’s offense or if Kyle is learning his:
“I’m learning his offense. By no means is what we do what I did in college. I know there’s a lot of similarities and everyone wants to go back to the Baylor film but it’s certainly their offense with a little twist on it.”

On how Kyle has earned his trust:
“I told him he’s never told me something that wasn’t true in the game. He said he’d bring up all these examples of Steve Young and guys that his dad, Coach Mike, would say, 'the guy’s not going to be there,’ and they throw a pick and they’re looking at the sideline mad at the coach. He just told me it won’t always be that way, but for the most part, they study hard enough to know where guys are going to be and how they’re going to react in certain situations so that’s why I trust him.”

On Jon Gruden saying he has changed the professional game:
“I don’t think it’s me by myself necessarily. It’s just when you have coaches that buy into things that you can do. They try to use my talents and the talents of the guys around me so that we can go out and exploit defenses and that was what we’re supposed to do. God blessed me with the ability of speed and good decision-making so they allow me to go out there and trust me that even in crucial situations to throw the ball or run the ball or whatever it is. It’s just when a coach buys in and the whole team buys in, you can have things like we’re doing.”

On what has changed on offense over the last few weeks:
“I think practice has been a lot better. I think everyone is learning. It’s not a new system, but learning the system that we’re running with all of the Pistol options and everything. All of the guys are just catching on to it a lot better and the coaches are getting better at coaching it. We’re seeing what defenses are doing to us and we’re able to exploit those holes when we can. Kyle [Shanahan] has just been, not aggressive, but a lot more confident with the play calls because the guys in practice are doing it the right way. Practice definitely translates to the game.”

On if attention like he received at the Washington Wizards game becomes overwhelming:
“It’s humbling. You never go somewhere expecting someone to chant your name. At least I never have, I don’t know about you guys [laughter]. You walk into those events and that’s those guys’ time to shine. I was extremely proud of the way they played. You’ve got the defending NBA champs in your house and you beat them. That was fun to watch and, to me, it’s humbling to have the fans, whether it’s football fans, basketball fans chanting or cheering for you, it means you must be doing something for the city.”

On how he reacts to people stating that he helped the Wizards win last night:
“I just say, 'Thank you.’ What can you say? Those guys are the ones who played. I didn’t play the game. Even Coach said, 'You can’t go over there rubbing off your magic on those guys when we need it for us.’ [laughter] It is what it is. It was fun to be there and I’m glad they won.”

On why it is important for him to be known as not just a running quarterback:
“I want to be the best quarterback to play the game. Not the best running quarterback. Not the best African-American quarterback. That’s just the approach I took towards it. It’s not something I can fight, so you never really hear me push it that much. I just go out there and show it on the field. To me, I want to be known as a quarterback. If Coach Gruden wants to say I changed the game, then that’s fine by me.”

On if the rookie quarterback rushing record means anything to him:
“Any positive record that you break holds meaning to you, so it held some meaning. I noticed it. They put it on the board and the fans cheered. I was happier when Alfred [Morris] broke the 1,000-yard rushing mark and they cheered again. I was cheering for him too.”

On if this year’s rookie quarterback class is special or if the game is changing:
“I can’t say that we’re all so special. If you want to go the rhetoric side of it, there’s more seven-on-seven, training techniques are getting better and coaches are getting better at the college game at knowing how to put points on the board. Or is it that coaches in the NFL are buying in to college quarterbacks that can move a little bit? Guys like myself, [Andrew] Luck and Russell [Wilson], you could say that Andrew is a more traditional guy, but he can move around a little bit too. All of us are doing a good job, [Ryan] Tannehill and those guys as well. So I think it is coaches buying in and helping their guys be successful. Everybody has a different recipe. We run the ball, the Seahawks run the ball and Colts throw the ball a lot, so it’s just coaches trusting their guys.”

On Heisman Trophy finalists Johnny Manziel, Manti Te’o and Collin Klein:
“I watched him [Manziel] beat Alabama. All of those guys have done a good job, Te’o, Klein and Johnny. I don’t know who is going to win. I haven’t asked any other Heisman voters what their vote was or who it was for. I don’t plan on disclosing my vote. Any one of those guys that wins definitely deserves it. Johnny is an Aggie, I don’t ever discriminate as far as school goes. A&M was our biggest rival at Baylor, but he has definitely played really well and done a good job helping his team win. I couldn’t be any more proud of him.”

On his jersey and cleats being placed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for breaking the rookie quarterback rushing record:
“It’s awesome. Everyone wants to be in the Hall of Fame, so we’re in there. I’ve got a long career, preferably. This is only the first step. It’s an honor to have my jersey and cleats over there all dirty in the Hall of Fame.”

Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh

On the challenges of defending quarterback Robert Griffin III:
“Obviously, it’s a big challenge. It’s different. It’s unique. I think that their coaching staff, starting from [Head] Coach [Mike] Shanahan, deserves all the credit for the way they’ve implemented his skillset. It’s obviously been very effective.”

On if Griffin III has made smart decisions and protected the ball to prevent interceptions:
“Certainly, absolutely. That’s what he’s done such a great job of. That’s why he’s such a highly-ranked quarterback. He’s the third-highest passer rating guy. He’s up there in every statistical category. He knows how to play the position. He’s very smart, understands the game and has had a lot of success.”

On if Griffin III’s low interception rate means he is being conservative or just smart:
“I’d say the latter. His yards per completion are up. His completion percentage is up. It’s not like he’s sacrificing anything to keep the interceptions down.”

On how rare it is for a rookie to have such few interceptions:
“You’d have to look at the numbers. I don’t really know the history of it to say how rare it is, but it’s probably pretty rare. It’s a very special accomplishment.”

On the advantages of facing Griffin III later in the season and having more film to watch:
“It’s a two-way street. The advantage is there’s more tape and you get a chance to study it and all that. The disadvantage is that they’re better at what they do and they continue to build on what they do. It’s not that what you see is all they have. You’re always kind of growing what you do on offense.”

On what the Pistol formation does to a defense:
“I think it just gets the quarterback away from the center. It’s not dramatically different than being under the center. It creates a unique scheme as far as them being able to run some of the option and dive option stuff they use and passes off of that. Then they build the regular offense around it – the offense they’ve been running for years that really Coach Shanahan made famous and really started making famous in Denver. It’s very varied in what they do.”

On if he is encouraging linebacker Terrell Suggs to play:
“It stands that we’re just going to have to see. He has a torn biceps in there – which is something that you can function with. There are players around the league doing it. Whether he can go or not, a lot of these decisions become the player’s choice. You have to respect the player and his choice and that’s what we try to do.”

On if Suggs’ injury could worsen if he plays on Sunday:
“I don’t think I want to comment on any of that – in too much detail on it. I think I’ll just leave it at that.”

On what was in place in his first year with Baltimore that allowed them to make the playoffs:
“I’m not really probably great at making those analogies or definitely not making a comparison because I don’t know all the ins and outs of all the situations. We had a good year. We got off to a good start. We won some games down the stretch that we needed to win and that’s kind of the way it went.”

On offensive lineman Chris Chester and cornerback Josh Wilson, both of whom played in Baltimore:
“[Those are] two guys that we really think highly of. I thought those were great signings for the Redskins. It was disappointing for us. We would have hoped and liked to have kept those guys. First of all, good people – guys who really like football, who work really hard, good family men. They’ve shown up in the way they’ve played there and it’s an indication, obviously, of the way they’re building the program in Washington – to have two high-quality guys like that. We’re always proud of those guys.”

On what he likes about Chester and Wilson on the field:
“Just without going into the whole scouting report, Chris is very athletic and tough and he can do it all. He’s a run blocker, a pass blocker. He’s one of the best athletes you’re ever going to see at guard. Josh is just a complete corner. He’s got feet, he’s got hands. He’s very detail-oriented in his technique, which is very important at that position.”

On what parts of the run defense will challenge running back Ray Rice:
“Everything. They’re fourth in the league defending the run. They have a very stout front. They’ve got a great nose guard. They’ve got a great inside linebacker. They set the edge well with their two outside backers. They play really hard, so it’s a tough crew.”

Ravens Safety Ed Reed

On his impressions of quarterback Robert Griffin III:
“He’s a playmaker – an athlete. He has all the attributes of a quarterback to get the ball to his receivers and also to scramble – that running ability that he has.”

On what Griffin III does to take care of the ball so well:
“He’s pretty precise on when he’s getting rid of the ball. He seems to have guys open. That’s the key to it, really. You see him throwing the ball to guys that don’t have guys on them – tight coverage, should I say. He’s throwing to open guys and when he does throw to guys that are covered, you can see that he’s putting the ball that accurate. He’s an accurate quarterback and a good decision maker. To be running the option and making plays the way he’s made plays, you have to be a good decision maker.”

On if rookie quarterbacks usually give things away that let him know where the ball is going:
“Not all quarterbacks tend to let you know where they’re going with the ball. It’s all predicated to what the defense is giving them also. He’s making great decisions. He still has a lot to learn, obviously. The offensive scheme that they’re running helps him out a lot.”

On stopping Griffin III in the run game:
“We have to contain him. We have to get him on the ground and not allow him to run. That’s like telling Superman not to fly. He’s a pocket passer as well as a scrambling quarterback. You just have to maintain coverage as DBs [defensive backs]. You have to contain and hold him in the pocket as best you can, but make sure you get to him and tackle him.”

On running back Alfred Morris:
“The guys are working great together. That’s how the league works. You get guys that are not drafted or not drafted as high and have that fight in them – a lot of great football players. They just get their opportunity and take advantage of it. I feel like Morris has definitely taken advantage of his opportunity and fits perfectly in that scheme they’re running.”

On what problems the Pistol formation poses to a defense:
“Nothing, really. It kind of simplifies things from a formation standpoint because you know where the guys are for the most part. It helps the offense because of what they want to do. It’s a matter of us figuring out what they want to do – how they're trying to attack us – and hopefully we can contain it.”

On if he and former Baltimore cornerback Josh Wilson keep in touch:
“Not really. I probably text him every so often, but not really anything lately.”

On the impact of linebacker Terrell Suggs returning:
“Huge impact. The game definitely changed when he came back and definitely changes when he leaves because that’s our pass rusher. He’s been Defensive Player of theYear for a reason. Definitely hurts if he can’t play.”

On if he would be surprised if Suggs played on Sunday:
“Yes and no. At this point in the year, surgery definitely takes you out over the season. It wouldn’t surprise me if he does, but if he does with the injury, he would surprise me. I don’t think he would make that decision if he couldn’t be effective.”

On the pressure on the secondary if Suggs cannot play:
“It doesn’t make our job any less or any harder. We just have to cover, cover some more and keep covering. With a quarterback like Robert, you have to plaster [him] and make sure you’re still on your receivers anyway.”

On the potential for linebacker Ray Lewis to return as early as this Sunday:
“Ray is the heart of this organization. If he can come back after we lose Suggs and are just rotating guys in, it would be awesome.”
 

tshile

Guest
I scanned for questions about Harbough and stealing redskins fans and how they're reacting to Griffin, since it was such a big deal last time. Didn't see anything. Common media, I'm disappointed!
 

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