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Skins Quotes 12/6: M. Shanahan/K. Shanahan/Haslett


The Commissioner
Staff member
BGO Ownership Group
Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC

Marine Corps Virginia

December 6, 2012
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On if linebacker London Fletcher is still affected by balance issues:
“I don’t think so, I forgot about it anyhow. There are no balance issues right now so that’s good. The ankle is sore. His balance is fine.”

On cornerback D.J. Johnson:
“We are kind of getting a feel for him as we go through these practices. But anytime you get a guy in that 6’1” range, he’s got some length; it’s always nice to evaluate. He has done a good job at our practices.”

On Johnson playing the slot:
“Anytime you’ve got a guy with length, a guy that is taller and with longer arms, it is a little bit tougher to throw that ball over the middle of the field. You have a little bit more room or a little bit more extension which is obvious. It is also nice on the outside. A lot of time the bigger guys don’t have the foot quickness or sometimes the speed or the agility but he has done a good job so we will get a chance to evaluate him in a live situation.”

On cornerback Richard Crawford:
“I think he knows the defense quite well. Anytime you go through a season and practice and sit down and go through game plans each week, you become more comfortable with the terminology in the system. You are looking at all that film and evaluating it week-by-week and he gets to practice against the offense and we put him in a lot of different situations. So I think his confidence gets better and better because he sees it on film and he is able to evaluate other players week in and week out. But, there is nothing like going out there doing it firsthand and he will get an opportunity this week.”

On the possibility of cornerback DeAngelo Hall, tackle Trent Williams and linebacker London Fletcher playing this week:
“Like I said before, I don’t know for sure but I am hoping.”

Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan

On how wide receiver Pierre Garçon has adjusted to playing through pain:
“I think time helped. Pierre takes care of his body. He does everything he can. He works with our trainers hard. He never misses a rehab session. He sees specialists as much as he can. I think it was an annoying injury for him because it was something that lingered and wouldn’t go away. I think it got better and then fighting through it, it definitely is always going to get better or worse. I think he got through those first two games when he saw it was getting better he got really encouraged. I think it’s been good for him.”

On how visible it is that Garçon is not playing at 100 percent:
“I think it’s gotten less visible each game. I think in Dallas he took a huge step from the Philly game. I think on Monday night he took an even bigger step from the Dallas game. I think you see it more throughout the week in practice, but I think playing on Thanksgiving and playing on Monday night he was pretty pumped up. You could see in pregame that he was running a little differently – running a lot better. It definitely had us excited before the game just watching how he was moving.”

On the physical aspect of Garçon’s improvement:
“Pierre is very physical – doesn’t mind contact. He plays out there with a chip on his shoulder. That’s one of the reasons we loved him – not just how talented he is, but the mentality he plays with. He brings a lot to the game.”

On what he sees that suggests Garçon is getting healthier:
“Just coming off the ball – being able to push off. He really hasn’t been able to push off since really the first quarter of the first game. When he’s more confident he can come off the ball, he uses his speed. He’s more confident to break down at full speed. All year he hasn’t really been able to come off the ball. He’s had to tempo himself to break down. When you’re a receiver and you can’t make every route look like a go route, it’s tough. It’s tough to separate like he’s used to.”

On if Garçon has cleared a hurdle mentally:
“I think you’d have to ask him that, but I would assume so. I think anytime you’re hurt all year, you’re nervous about it. I think he felt it in games. I think it really helped him in the Dallas game to make some plays and I think it really helped him to get away from those guys on that one route he took to the house – to really open it up. That’s something he hasn’t had since his injury. I would assume that helped him because he showed he could do it and he did it in a game.”

On what a healthy Garçon opens up in terms of calling plays:
“There’s no new plays or anything we’re calling – really the same plays we’ve done, but Pierre does make a difference. He can make a 15-yard gain a 40-yard gain. Just the mentality he has when he catches the ball that he’s really trying to score every time he touches just makes a huge difference. When you make those plays after the catch that he does, it definitely opens up a lot of things.”

On if Garçon has shown anything in the last three games to suggest his ability goes beyond what they originally thought:
“Not really, because we saw it in training camp every day. He was as competitive as any receiver I’ve been around throughout training camp. He came to practice every day like it was game. We really liked him on tape, but having him in camp and stuff, just being able to see everything that he could do, we were really excited about him. That’s why I think it was frustrating for all of us that he wasn’t able to do that. He had a legit injury and it took a while, but it was something we were waiting for. We weren’t sure if we were going to get it this year. We’ve been really excited that he has been able to step up these two games and get healthy enough to where he’s showing everybody what he’s always been capable of.”

On the keys to running the Pistol well:
“I think what’s so good about the Pistol is just that you can do everything out of it. I think one thing about the NFL, if they know a play is coming – no matter what the play is, no matter who the players are – if they know it’s coming, defenses are going to stop it. The thing that the Pistol gives you, it allows you to do all the zone read and everything, but it allows you to run the rest of your offense. There’s nothing you can’t do out of the Pistol.”

On if they studied former Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick when they were interested in the Pistol formation:
“We mainly we watched NFL teams. We studied Robert and stuff at Baylor and everything and what they did. We didn’t really go into many other colleges. I’ve been looking at it here and there since I’ve been in the NFL. We spend our time from January to April just studying college players coming out of the draft. I never really got into it until I knew we had a chance to get Robert. When we did that, we watched some college stuff, but the main stuff we studied was what the NFL had been doing. Once you understand what the scheme is and how to do it, I think the bigger part is how defenses play it. We wanted to see how NFL defenses were playing and what we thought we would have to do to adjust through the year. I think that’s what helped the most.”

On if you have to have the right player to be successful with the Pistol:
“I think everybody can sprinkle it in, but you definitely have to have the right guy to run it very much. Teams can stop that, but it’s a good thing just to keep people off-balance. When you have the right personnel for it, you can do it a little more. You don’t mind doing it into a bad look. You do it into a bad look with the wrong type of people and it’s going to be a really bad play. When you have the right people for it and it’s a bad look, you can still get a positive yard, which helps you keep calling plays and helps you move the chains. It definitely helps with the guys that we have. That’s what makes it. I think there’s a time and spot for everybody.”

On Ravens safety Ed Reed:
“I think this is my ninth year coaching, so I can’t say he’s the best of all-time because I haven’t seen everybody, but he’s definitely the best I’ve ever seen. I haven’t played against him – not counting the preseason – since 2008. Ed is unbelievable. He’s back there and he makes more plays than anyone you’ve been around. He changes the game. There’s a reason people say he’s the best of all-time – because he plays like it. It will definitely be a huge challenge.”

On what adjustments the Giants made defensively between games one and two:
“That’s what we’re kind of waiting on to see every game – whether it’s our first time or second time playing – is how they are going to play it, because it is different. Defenses are going to have somewhat of an adjustment, and they did. They did a few things differently in the first game that I think helped them in some areas and then opened up some stuff in other areas. That’s stuff we’re getting used to, too – just trying to see how teams defend it. Anytime you do something on offense that helps against something, it opens up a hole somewhere else, and the defense adjusted. It’s the same for us. If they do something to stop a play, you have other plays to go to and how quickly can you recognize it and execute it.”

On if his approach changes with tackle Trent Williams not being 100 percent:
“A little. There are certain things in the run game and stuff that we only would do with a tackle as talented as Trent. There are some things that he can run so well that there are some plays we only do with him running because of how talented he is. When he’s not like that, it takes a couple plays out of the game plan. It doesn’t change me that much. We have to do whatever we can to win the game and if he’s playing – whether he’s 100 percent or 70 percent – if he’s out there, we all assume he’s 100 percent. If he’s not, next guy up. We really don’t change.”

Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett

On stopping the run in the second half against the New York Giants:
“Well, we did a good job on the run game. The first half, I didn’t think we did a very good job on the run game and it put us in a lot of third downs and bad situations, meaning we had 10 third down attempts in the first half, and six of the 10 were less than third-and-three, and they converted on all the third-and-shorts. So the second half, we came out there and did a better job on the run game and we got manageable situations where they were third-and-six, seven, eight, 11, 15. We got off the field. I didn’t think we did a very good job in the run game early.”

On if players like defensive end Stephen Bowen focused on winning one-on-one battles:
“No, it was a combination; it was a number of different things. One, they came out and they were going to run the ball, and [running back Ahmad] Bradshaw came out, and we thought we could handle the run game and we played a lot of two deep and seven-man box and then we realized it wasn’t holding up really well so we just changed it – just changed some of the calls. That’s why they were eight for 10 in the third down situations. They got a direct snap on third-and-three which was a bad call because I had a Double-A [blitz]; we had a blitz-look call. So we got caught in that, but for the most part, it was just we put ourselves in bad situations, and then the Giants did a good job converting on third-and-shorts. So we did a much better job in the second half.”

On linebacker Rob Jackson:
“Rob was on fire. He did a nice job rushing and we put him back in; actually, we just put him in there and let him rush in the end and he did a good job. He had a couple pressures, got a couple holding calls, got a sack. I think if Rob can rush that well with time, or will, then we’ll just get better.”

On if Jackson had the option to follow the running back when he made the sack:
“No. He thought he was going to get chipped so he stopped. He stopped the seat but they actually messed up the blocking combination, but we were in a blitz and he was coming off the edge.”

On if Jackson showed something different in practice:
“No, I thought he was rushing well in the game. That’s why we decided to put him in in the third and fourth quarters and just let him go. But he got the Player of the Week on the defensive side for that. He did a good job.”

On cornerback Richard Crawford and defensive back D.J. Johnson stepping up:
“Well I like D.J. because he’s long, he’s athletic. He hasn’t played a lot of football. He’s kind of bounced around but I like his skills just from what I’ve seen. I haven’t really seen him live. We’ll get an indication of what they can do but he is long and he’s athletic and he likes football. Richard’s a guy that has great ball skills. He’s extremely quick. He doesn’t understand the game fully yet but he’s getting better on the outside than the inside. We just try to utilize what we think they do best, kind of like we do with the safeties.”

On if Johnson’s long arms make him a natural replacement for cornerback Cedric Griffin:
“Not so much. He’s more like Cedric than Richard from that standpoint.”

On what he misses with Griffin:
“He’s tough. He’s physical and he brings a presence to the back end.”

On how difficult it is for a rookie to play the slot:
“It’s hard. That’s probably one of the hardest positions to play because you have to do so many things. You’re blitzing. You’re covering. You’ve got to handle the middle of the field. You’ve got to know where everybody is. You’ve got to know where your help is if you have help. It’s just a lot of different things. That’s why you usually have the better football players play in there. The Charles Woodsons play in there and they can get a lot of action. If you’ve got a good football player, you can get a lot of production out of him with interceptions, sacks, different things.”

On the secret to linebacker London Fletcher’s longevity:
“I don’t know. From what I’ve seen of the guy, he takes great care of his body and he prepares well, as good as anybody I’ve ever been around. It’s like having a coach on the field. I think that’s two things – he takes care of himself and he’s extremely, unbelievably smart.”

On if he sees similarities between Fletcher and Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis:
“Anytime I ever coached Ray, I coached him in the Pro Bowl one year... I think there’s probably some similarities, but I had Ray when he was younger, like a rookie, second year or so. I haven’t been around the guy, and the way London is, he has all these qualities. He’s probably one of the best football players I’ve been around.”

On if there’s a change in the red zone defense:
“No, we’re just playing it better. We’re playing much better and I think the guys have a better understanding of what’s going on. We’ll have our hands full this week. This team’s really good in the red zone. They do a great job running the ball so we’ll have our work cut out for us this week.”

On how the defense has continually kept opponents’ scores low:
“I think that’s a number of different things. We played good against Philly. The Dallas game, we got a lead so we hadn’t had a lead. We don’t play with a lead much around here lately. It’s kind of nice to do those things so you can give up a few points. I think it’s something I hope we can continue going on but we did a good job last week [against the Giants]. We kept them out of the red zone. I thought we should’ve held them to three field goals, but again, we didn’t do as well as we wanted in the first half – much better in the second half.”

On rotating his safeties:
“I don’t like it, to be honest with you. I can’t figure out who’s in and out half the time. So I just kind of let those guys handle it. That’s kind of the deal. Jacob [Burney] brings them in and out. I’ll ask Jake who we’ve got out there sometimes based on calls. I want to know who’s out there and same thing with the back end. We kind of talk about it during the week, how guys are going to play and what the situations they’ll play in. [Safety] Reed [Doughty] will play in certain situations. DJ [DeJon Gomes] will play in certain situations, and then Jordan [Pugh]. So just trying to use their best qualities or best traits.”

On nose tackle Barry Cofield:
“I think he’s doing alright. Stephen and Barry, those guys have done a good job collapsing the pocket, especially last week. I thought they did a nice job. We were trying to get where [Giants quarterback] Eli [Manning], where we could get [him] out of the pocket. On that one scramble, we should’ve got the sack. [Linebacker] Lorenzo [Alexander] was in a bind. But for the most part, we kept him in the pocket, kind of things we wanted to do. We wanted to make him throw off our bodies and make it harder for him to not just have a free lane to throw in.”

On what makes running back Ray Rice tough:
“First of all, he’s a great football player, not just in the run, just in the pass game, his route running, his pass receiving, his screens. In running the ball, you’ve got to be ready for spin moves, stiff arms. He’s got it all. He’s violent when he runs the ball. I love watching him run. I don’t really want to particularly have anyone have to tackle the guy. But we’ve got our work cut out for us because that’s the No. 1 goal. You’ve got to handle Ray. He’s a heck of a football player in all areas. He’s one of the best in the league.”

On the key to stopping Rice:
“Everybody’s got to be on board, know where he is at all times. You’ve got to gang-tackle him One guy’s not getting it done. It’s not going to happen. You’ve got to have three to four guys getting to him and we’ve got to do a great job in that area.”

On wide receiver Torrey Smith:
“We played him last year in the preseason and I thought he’s really took off. He’s one of the top receivers. Obviously, he’s got great speed. He’s a go-to guy. He’s a big guy. He’s going down field. You’ve got to handle him. I think he’s made great, unbelievable strides from the last time we saw him 'til now.”

On if quarterback Joe Flacco struggles more on the road:
“You guys come up with that stuff. I don’t know. I think the guy’s a great football player. He’s long. He’s athletic. He can throw. He can run. He’s got a great release. He’s got a great deep ball. I don’t know about the home-away stuff. I know the guy’s a good football player. We’re going to have to deal with him in all aspects because he’s not just throwing. He’s athletic enough to stay alive. He makes that group go.”

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