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Skins Quotes 6/12/12: M. Shanahan/R. Griffin


The Commissioner
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Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC
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June 12, 2012
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On what Robert Griffin III is allowed to do after minicamp:
“He’s allowed to come back here and work out. And these contracts will get done. It’s just some will take a little bit longer than others, especially the first-round second [overall] pick. Usually when the first guy gets signed, usually everything will fall into order. But they will get done. I don’t think our players are worried about that. I think they are more concentrated on the system, but they have to learn what they have to do. And they are working extremely hard at it and doing a good job.”

On Robert Griffin III and the wide receivers getting together over the next month:
“It’s always nice when people are working out and you know they’re going to work out. And they are going to be away from us until about July 16 before they come back from a working standpoint. And they’ll do some workouts then, about seven or eight days before we officially start our camp. So they will get here a little quicker than the veterans and they will get a chance to do the things we need to do. But about a month preceding that, obviously they will be working out and feeling comfortable with our system, I hope, and ready for our camp.”

On whether or not Robert Griffin III has met his expectations:
“Yeah, he’s done a great job. You know we talk about intangibles, talk about people working extremely hard, people working at their craft, and that’s what he has done. He’s come in here from the first day, and he has been attentive. He hasn’t missed anything. He’s here early, staying late, and he’s done everything you need to do to master the position.”

On Robert Griffin III grasping the offense and his execution:
“He picks it up extremely quick and he really works at it. There is so much to learn in the National Football League. Just going against the type of defense that he’s going to go up against, 3-man fronts, 4-man fronts, having different personnel groups, blocking schemes. He’s working everyday to get to know the insides and outs. That’s what you’re hoping the guy is going to do, but you can tell he enjoys it. When he’s having fun and enjoys going to work, it makes it fun for everybody.”

On areas in which Robert Griffin III can improve:
“When you’re a quarterback in the National Football League, there is a lot of improvement, a lot of areas you’re going to work on, and that’s what he’s done. Reading coverages, work on his steps, three, five, seven drops, rollouts, play action passes, keeps, and different defenses, different techniques. You know it’s the constant growing experience. But he embraces it. You can tell he enjoys a challenge, and that’s why he’s getting better and better.”

On Robert Griffin III protecting himself:
“If you look at what he did in college, he carried the ball close to 700 times. When you carry the ball close to 700 times, you get a feel for when to slide and when to run out of bounds. And I think he’s got a natural feel for that, even in the open field. You know he’s 225 pounds and he’s strong, very athletic. A lot of times he’ll outrun people. But when he doesn’t have that angle, he’s very smart when to make the decision to slide. And in this league you’re going to have to learn to do that.”

On his responsibility to protect Robert Griffin III:
“Well, it’s a two-edged sword. I’ve had some running quarterbacks before. Steve Young was a 4.45 quarterback and one of the fastest guys I’ve been around. He knew when to run, and we designed plays to run. Same thing with John Elway. John Elway doesn’t have the speed of Steve Young, but he knew when to run, knew when the defenses were set up. Robert is very sharp. He’ll have the same type feel. But there’s not a lot of guys with 4.35 speed or 4.3 speed, whatever his speed is at this time, but he’s extremely quick. He’ll make some plays that are off-schedule, and that’s obviously a big advantage for us.”

On running back Tim Hightower’s status:
“I think he’s doing good. I think he’s really wanting to practice right now, but he does have five or six weeks, like a lot of our players. A lot of our players I think could practice right now, but I think an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Just throw him in there right now, he tweaks it, and you’re asking yourself, 'Why did I do that?’ You know he has an extra five weeks of rehab. They’re looking good right now. I think they could practice. But I’m afraid if we push them too hard, we might send them back. And we’re trying to get them ready for the first game, not for this minicamp.”

On the competition between the running backs:
“Obviously you’re concerned about every position on the team. We’ve got competition at that position like every other position. But time will tell. We’ll get a chance to see what they can do in practice, during the games. It’s a competitive position, like all the positions. And I kind of look forward to what these guys can do and let the preseason come.”

On whether or not the competition between Graham Gano and Neil Rackers will carry to the preason:
“The chances are they will. We brought Rackers in for a reason—to add competition. Rackers has done a good job throughout his career. He’s been in a lot of competitive situations. He’s won the battle in a lot of situations. And Graham needs that competition. I think they both embrace it. I like the way they have been competing thus far, and it will continue through the preseason.”

On Graham Gano’s previous season:
“We have to get better on our protection, first off. You know we had four blocks or five blocks, and I think the most I’ve ever been with is one. And so we’re having everybody working out there on the protection scheme—offensive linemen, defensive linemen. It starts with emphasizing that area, an area that we were weak at last year. We lost a number of players, but we’re going to get some defensive players playing on that side early. So if we do lose some offensive linemen, like we did last year, we’re going to have our best players protecting the field goals and the extra points so we get better in that area.”

On what he will tell the players to do during their break:
“Well, it’s a long time. I think relative to veterans, you’ve got four and a half to five weeks and with the rookies you’ve got until July 16 and you’re asking everybody to be accountable. We’ve got a team that’s pretty accountable. We’ve got guys that are really working hard. I think we’ve got three or four guys on a football team that you even have to question about weight and you give them a weight to come in at the right weight. But more importantly, we had almost every one of our guys come in excellent shape in our preseason this year. We hardly had anybody that was out of shape, and that’s really a good sign. People know that we’ve got a lot of competition. You better come in shape, because if you don’t, you aren’t going to make the football team.”

On the safety position and Madieu Williams:
“Well, we have some great competition there. You know, you mention a guy like Madieu [Williams], he’s extremely, extremely bright. You can tell he’s a student of the game. He’s a competitor. You know, he’s like having a coach on the field. You can see he can anticipate routes before most veterans can see them. So, he’s an experienced vet, you can tell he’s been a student of the game since he came from Cincy. He’ll make our football team better. You know, it’s a type of guy that you want on your football team.”

On which position has the most competition:
“Well, what you’re trying to do is have a lot of competition at every position. I think we have that right now. There’s always a couple of positions that may not be as deep as others, but overall I think we have as much competition here as we’ve had in a long time. We’ve got some youth, we’ve got some veterans, we’ve got a good mixture of both. Now, we get a chance to see these guys compete and find out who’s going to be the top- 53, or the top-61, after their last preseason game.”

On what is the hardest position for a rookie to have an impact on:
“I don’t think anything’s easy in the National Football League. I mean, you have to have it all. You have to have athletic ability. You have to have intelligence. You have to have that competitive attitude, the nature, you’ve got to be a student of the game. You got to know what’s going to happen before it happens. If you don’t, the chances of being successful no matter what position you’re at, it’s not going to be very good. So you have to be a student of the game besides having the athletic ability to compete and do the things that need to be done at this level.”

On running back Roy Helu’s durability:
“Well, anytime someone gets hurt there’s always the same question. You know, I can’t tell you that. It’s his first year. Evan Royster, he’s got a little bit of a pull. How durable is he? I’m hoping for the next 10 years both of those guys are fine. But I don’t know. You know, there’s always hope that, when someone has an injury, whether it’s a hamstring or a groin, that is it something that is very temporary and hopefully they can come back and not have that again. Some guys keep on getting injured and other guys don’t have an injury for 10 years. So, you know, you just keep your fingers crossed and if the guy is injury prone, it is way too early to tell.”

On if Robert Griffin III can get better the next five weeks without him there coaching:
“Very much so. You know, he’s got a good feel of our system. The terminology becomes more second nature when you repeat it every single day. If you think about it, in terms of what he’s been doing over the last five-six weeks, it’s like learning a new language. You keep on studying and thinking in those terms, all of a sudden, you get used to the language. When I first started as an offensive coordinator, I think of my first four or five jobs. I always took over their terminology, so I learned it instead of the players. I thought it was easier for me to come in and learn the system than it was for the players to come in. And it’s a challenge. It’s like learning a new language every time you do something like that. And it’s a challenge for these players to come in and learn a different language. But when they want to do it and they work at it, it doesn’t take that long.”

On if Griffin III’s reaction time has improved over the last three weeks:
“Without a question, especially when people work at it. And that’s what they have to do over the next four or five weeks as you mentioned. He’s got to be thinking in new terms and relating to our installation schedule and what he’s been doing. It’s not just the quarterback position, it’s every position on our football team. You’ve got new guys coming in, whether you’re a rookie or a free agent, it does take time. But if you do have the passion, you have the want to, and it’s really important to you, you’re going to learn.”

On Bronco’s quarterback Peyton Manning staying in his house in Denver:
“I knew that would be the last question. I’ll be honest with you, you know, I didn’t really even want it to come out. I can’t believe you guys were so slow in finding this story out. It’s been going on for two and a half months. You guys are usually much quicker in this area. The bottom line is I had a chance to talk to him over at the house, when he did made his decision. You know, we all have the same offseason schedule, with the OTA’s. I knew his last day was June 15th. I knew my last day was June 15th. So I said, 'Hey if you’d like to.’ You know, obviously, he’s got a wife, the twins. I think one of the hardest things for people, whether it’s players of coaches coming in to a new town, it’s that two months or three months transition of bringing a family in and trying to relate. So I just said, 'Hey, if you’d like to stay at my place, we are more than happy for you to stay and get a little privacy,’ and that’s what he’s doing. I think he’s going to be out in a couple of days. I think he got a new home in the area, but at least it’s been more comfortable for him the last two, two-and-a-half months and he’s got a great family, so I think it made it a little bit easier for him to make that transition”

On why Peyton couldn’t find a bigger place:
“I’m not even going that direction.”

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

On the progress from minicamp:
“I’m Just more comfortable with everything. I think the 'move the ball’ period we had at the beginning of practice was a good show of how well we can jell as an offense, you know, just moving the ball down the field. Just playing, that’s what it’s all about. I felt like I knew where I was going with everything, stopped certain things in the defense and exploited it, and that’s what you want as a quarterback, trying to pick apart a defense.”

On making good reads:
“On certain plays where the playside might be to the left, but you’ve got a key and you see that to the right, so you go to the right with whatever route it is on that side. It’s just little things, as simple as where I can put it, just knowing what you’re supposed to do. Coach calls a play, you know everything you’ve got to do, and you go out and execute.”

On things to address before training camp:
“Like I said, you can always continue to work on things. Whether it’s footwork, getting more familiar with offense, you can never know it too well. I’m not one that’s just going to pick out one thing and say, 'Hey, you know, I’m bad at this, so I don’t know.’ If that’s the answer you’re looking for you’re not going to get it. I just continue to work on everything, call coach up, you know, once a day, a couple times a week and see what’s happening.”

On if he is developing chemistry with the receivers:
“Yeah, I feel like I am, you kind of know what guys are good at what routes. Of course, they’re all good at all of them and they’re all always open. But as a quarterback, you can kind of pick out and see what guys can really do great things. Pierre [Garcon] had a great catch today, kind of showing the skill that he has.”

On how he will spend his time during the break:
“Just got to continue to focus on football. That’s what it’s all about. This is the longest year of your life supposedly for rookies coming straight out of college, going right into combine training, pro days, mini-camps, OTA’s, it just keeps going. I’m not going to be sad about it or be mad about it. I live a blessed life and I’m going to go out and make sure I continue to live that blessed life.”

On getting together with the players over break:
“We’re all going to get together. We haven’t planned that yet. I know the Jets have Jets West Camp but we haven’t figured something out quite like that yet but we are going to get together and throw. It’s important for us to be successful and that’s what you have to do.”

On what he is allowed to do during the break, since he hasn’t signed:
“I have no idea but whatever they tell me I can do, I will do. I’m not sure if we will be able to come to Redskins Park but we’ll see what happens. Especially with the new CBA, a lot of the guys don’t know what the rules are so we’ve just got to figure that out through the coaches.”

On how many guys he plans to meet with over the break:
“I mean it’s not a massive scale of guys working out but right now I’ve talked to a couple of the receivers to try to see if we can hook up to throw together and do those types of things, just so we can stay in tune, but it’s nothing official yet.”

On starting to know the receiver tendencies and where they like the ball:
“It’s the little things and this offense; you know every guy has to do his job to help the other guy be open. So if you’re running around and you know I’m not going to be open, you just can’t shut it down for that play. You’ve got to continue to run that route so the guy that’s supposed to be open will be open. When it comes to that, sometimes it’s hard to pick out those little tendencies, but I definitely know who’s my best option, route runner, you know how I can throw a fade to this guy, to that guy. Those are the things you just pick up on throughout practice.”

On being concerned with the business side:
“I don’t worry about it. I don’t think it’s something that will be an issue. I did talk to my agent last week and he said 'don’t worry about it’ and that’s all I have to do. I’m here to play football and we’re going to make sure that happens.”

On the offseason going well:
“I feel like it has. The only thing that hasn’t gone well is the defense knowing all our plays and jumping everything but other than that it’s been great. It’s one of those things, these NFL defenses, it seems like in practice it’s hard to get things done. As long as you go to game day with the right mindset and you can stay confident in what you’re doing you can go out and be successful. I’m not worrying about it; I think we’re doing a good job.”

On the help he has received from veteran offensive teammates:
“It’s been great. Little tips, let guys get set on motion or 'This is what you look for versus this defense,’ is what [quarterback] Rex [Grossman] is a big help with. That’s what you need. You need guys that are on your side. They’re not looking to stab you in the back but looking to build the whole franchise up. [Wide receiver] Santana [Moss]’ definitely one of those guys. It’s a dream to play with guys like him and [tight end Chris] Cooley so I’m going to make the most of it.”

On how a strong rushing attack helps the passing game:
“That’s up to Coach [Mike Shanahan], but I think a quarterback’s best friend is a running game, not necessarily the quarterback running. If you can have a bunch of backs and roll one guy that can really take the rock for you, it can help you out a lot in the passing game, loading the box. With teams loading up the box, it’s going to be difficult to stop us down the field. If they spread it out and say, 'Hey, beat us a little bit at a time,’ I think Coach is willing to do that as well. You just have to take what the defense is giving you.”

On whether any of the running backs stands out in the competition for a starting role:
“You have to ask Coach about that one. I’m not going to throw any of those guys out there. I like all of them. Whoever’s number is called, I’m sure they’ll be ready to go.”

On the difference in risk for a quarterback running the ball in the NFL versus in college:
“I’ll get a feel for it. One thing I won’t do is play with fear. You have to continue to play fearless. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to go try to run over linebackers and safeties. Especially in college, guys try to take you out, so it’s no different in the pros. It’s just that these guys are a lot better at doing what they’re trying to do, so I’ll be smart. If I need to slide, I’ll slide. If I need to run out of bounds, I’ll run out of bounds. But by no means will I play with fear.”

On the positive remarks by [Chris] Cooley about him taking charge of the huddle:
“You have to come in there and command the huddle. Cooley’s been a great help as well. He’s been here for a while, maybe not in this offense, but he’s been in the pros for a long time and done a great job. I listen to anything he says, and he’s pretty right-on. I try to make sure I come in there, look guys in the eye and tell them to play because I know they need to believe in me. I need to make sure they get the play, so we can go out there and be successful. I’m glad that he’s been saying that stuff about me and glad he’s on this team.”

On cornerback DeAngelo Hall saying that he is further along in his progression than Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was at the same stage of his own career:
“It doesn’t bother me. People are going to make a big deal out all of the stories that are coming out about me – [wide receiver Leonard] Hankerson’s gloves and stuff like that, but to me it doesn’t matter. If he feels that way, then he expresses his opinion. I just hope that I don’t express bad opinions if I throw an incomplete pass or something like that. I’m glad the team is on my side. They’re really excited about what I’m able to do and then translate that to helping this team win.”

On what guidance he has received about when to slide:
“Like I said, you just can’t play with fear. Like I said, I’m not going to go out there and try to run people over. If it happens, it happens. But if it’s third-and-three and it’s a crucial point in the game, don’t expect me to be sliding. There’s a fine line between preserving yourself and playing smart. If it’s first-and-10, all right, I’ll slide, whatever. You probably won’t even call what I do a slide because I don’t know how to slide. It is what it is. It’s all situational. If it’s at the end of the game, I won’t slide. Don’t expect that. But if it’s early in the game, I don’t have a problem with it. It’s not a shot at my manhood. I’ve slid before. I’ve run out of bounds before too. I’ve been laid into out of bounds before too. That’s 15 yards. Keep it coming.”

On trusting the coaches to protect him through the playcalling:
“Yeah, you have to be smart yourself. The coach might call a run play for you as a quarterback and you have to be able to know if it’s early in the game or early in the season, I don’t need to go out there and try to be a pinball. It’s your responsibility as well to try to protect yourself. You have to realize Coach is trying to win and I’m trying to win as well, so whatever we need to do, I’m willing to do.”

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