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Skins Quotes 6/13/13: M. Shanahan/K. Shanahan/Haslett

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June 12, 2013
Redskins Park


Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the best thing that happened during the spring:
“Well, that’s a good question. The thing that you’re looking for –the first couple weeks, guys come in, they’re getting back in football shape. Then the next three weeks you kind of isolate your positions to drill work, kind of going back through the fundamentals. Then the four weeks after that, you kind of have a little competition where you learn the offense, you learn the defense, you learn the special teams. You have the first couple weeks where you’re kind of learning the offense and the defense. Then the next two weeks you’re putting them in situations where you’re moving the ball, you have two minutes, you’re putting them in second-and-long situations, red zone, four-minute – just different situations that you see during the season. And at the end of camp you feel, at least collectively, you could almost go out and play a game, that’s what you’re looking for. But, it’s very important to get a lot of these young guys who aren’t used to the terminology, aren’t used to the system, it gives them a chance to compete once we go to Richmond. Hopefully over the next five weeks they can study their playbook, they can do the things that, you’re hoping that they do when they have some time off so that when they do come in, they don’t have to think, they can react and have a chance to make our football team.”

On the status of tryout wide receiver Donté Stallworth:
“We haven’t signed him yet but we’ll likely have him signed before he leaves the building, so hopefully we can do that.”

On if he is anxious for quarterback Robert Griffin III to make the final step in his recovery to return:
“I think the one thing you have to understand – with all the number of guys we have got out there that are hurt – you don’t know when they will be back, you really don’t. And what you do is you have to focus on the guys that are playing. I think if you do that, then you’ve got a chance when somebody is well to fit them back in and go full speed. You’re trying to really concentrate on the guys that are able to practice or able to play. I want all those guys back hopefully healthy. I think, like we talked about yesterday, the majority of them will be back, maybe a couple won’t. But, you keep your fingers crossed and you’re hoping guys get well, but if not, the game goes on.”

On if there are any plays that will be taken out of the game plan because they make Griffin III vulnerable:
“I think that is what you do as a coach. You take a look at what people do well, what people don’t do well and if they don’t improve on it, you definitely take it out. I mean, that is what you’d like to do. Being around Joe Montana, having a chance to coach Joe, there’s not too many things that he couldn’t do. He’d get upset if the ball didn’t hit somebody in the right number. If it was in the wrong number, he would apologize for it. I don’t think I’ve ever been around a guy quite that accurate, but he would actually apologize if he [hit] on the back side number instead of the strong side number. I had not experienced that before. A lot of these quarterbacks are perfectionists. They’re going to do whatever they can to put themselves in the right situation, but as a coach, if you feel somebody … that is not their favorite play, then you do eliminate it.”

On if he eliminates plays for Griffin III:
“We do it for everybody.”

On what plays would be taken out of the game plan:
“He didn’t do a whole lot of plays that he wasn’t good at. Most of the plays he did he was very successful at. That’s what you do. I mean, when you get ready for a game plan or you’re putting in the offense, you see what somebody does right in practice and you try to emphasize that area.”

On Griffin III going out for a pass against Pittsburgh:
“You know, it’s funny – we ran that with [John] Elway a number of times and usually it doesn’t happen quite like it did. The guy that’s throwing the ball takes a little longer than possible and Robert’s speed, usually that ball is thrown away. It just shows you what type of athlete you do have there. But that play is definitely out of the game plan. [Laughter] You can put that one on down, that one is definitely out. And if it is run, another coach will be coaching. [Laughter]”

On the schedule for the coaching staff over the next six weeks:
“I try to get the coaching staff, get 'em out of here. They’ve been hitting it hard for a while. And when you go, at the end of the season it really kind of starts your organization with free agency, the draft and all the film that is involved, going through these minicamps. I want them [to] recharge themselves and once we come back on that Monday on the 22nd [July 22], they’ll be ready to go. We’ll go to Richmond and get started.”

On the players’ schedule and staying in shape before training camp:
“Well, players have got to keep in shape. We’ve been working for the last nine weeks and the reason why we’ve been working the last nine weeks is to get yourself back to football shape. For the players, they have to be very disciplined over the next five weeks to stay in shape. And if they cut out at all what they’ve been doing then the chances of you doing something special once the season starts are very slim. So the emphasis here for the players over the next five, six weeks is to stay in shape. The people that do have injuries will be getting treatment. Hopefully our players come back to Richmond and are in better shape when they come back than they are right now.”

On what defensive end Adam Carriker can do at the moment:
“Yeah, Adam, I can’t tell you for sure. It has been slow with his thigh tendon injury. He has had some repercussions on it. I can’t tell you for sure until the doctors tell me that he’ll be ready to go. They haven’t been able to do that, he hasn’t been on the field. So it has been a slow process and he is here all the time working out but there was a setback with it and we’ll find out in time. I can’t tell you right now.”

On guard Josh LeRibeus:
“Anytime you have a hamstring – sometimes the hamstring, then it kind of comes into the groin area – he’s just got to get back into football shape. I just don’t want to put him out there and send him back for another three weeks and then all of a sudden he has got maybe three more weeks to get in shape, get ready for camp. So once he had that hamstring injury, I felt in his best interest is just to run, do the things that he needs to do. He has been getting a lot of film work, all the things that he needs to do. He is a very smart kid and I’m just hoping that he is full speed ahead once we get to Richmond and that gives him a chance to compete for that starting job.”

On defensive end Doug Worthington and tackle Xavier Nixon:
“Nixon had a family issue. Worthington got hurt yesterday with a bicep tendon and we’re evaluating that right now. Hopefully it’s not real serious but first indication, it could require surgery.”

On safety Jordan Bernstine’s recovery:
“He is like the rest of the guys. He’s working out extremely hard. He’s made tremendous strides in his rehab. I can’t say it’s a lock for him to be ready to go once we start our camp but he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do to be ready. His injuries were more serious than most injuries.”

Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan

On if it has been tough to coordinate without Robert Griffin III this offseason:
“No, it’s not tough to coordinate. I mean you do the same stuff. You work everybody no matter who’s in there, doesn’t matter what quarterback is in there – we’re really working the same plays and everything. You do some plays more with one guy than the others, but you’re still working with all of them. The thing that’s frustrating is you know your eventually you are going to play with them and you’d like to work with them and practice with them, but you can’t do that. So it’s part of the injury and you’ve just got to wait and be patient and get ready when he comes back.”

On if tight end Jordan Reed will be set back by not being able to participate:
“I don’t know. You don’t know how much of a setback it’ll be. I mean, we haven’t seen him out there yet, but I think any rookie who comes in, there’s always a time where they’ve got to get worse before they get better. You know you throw a lot at them, they try and take it all in and they usually struggle and then by the time they come back to camp you hope that they’ve been through it and can start getting better. When you miss all of OTAs as a rookie, you hope that he’s really learning mentally and getting those reps, but putting his body through it for the first time will be in training camp. So you hope that learning curve will be fast, that the mistakes he makes will be… You know he will make some and you just hope that he can learn from them. If you’ve got a guy who’s got the right mind and they’re working at it. you know you can overcome that, but it’s definitely a challenge for him.”

On different the offense will be this year:
“I really can’t answer that until I see the defenses that we face. There’s nothing that we’re going to do that says, 'Hey, we’re going to do this or we’re going to do that.’ The thing that’s awesome about having a guy like Robert [Griffin III] is Robert’s capable of being great at anything. It doesn’t matter whether it’s dropping back, play pass, bootlegs, zone read, options, it really doesn’t matter. He’s capable at being great at all of it. That’s what’s fun when you coach a guy like that, that you really don’t have to force anything. We’re going to do whatever the defense gives us. If they give us that, we’ll take it. If they take it away, I enjoy throwing the ball and doing other stuff too.”

On tweaking the offense to stay ahead of defenses:
“Oh yeah, you do that every year, you do it week to week, you do it quarter to quarter. That’s something you’ve always got to stay ahead of. You like to anticipate those things so you’re prepared going into a game, but every once in a while a defensive scheme will surprise you in the game. You’ve got to recognize it and hopefully have a plan in there to adjust, and to counteract and call a play that does what they’re doing, and if not you got to discuss some stuff on the sidelines or get a better game plan the next week. That’s really the basis of my job is trying to always anticipate that stuff and practice the players through all situations, so whatever the defense presents, we’ve got something we can come at them with.”

On if he was pleased with the number of called quarterback runs last year:
“Yeah, I was real pleased with it. I think it really helped us. I mean, it’s about a third of our running game at the most. The majority of our running game is outside zone like it’s been since I’ve been coaching and I know it has been that before that in the Denver scheme with the zone blocking. As far as the zone read and everything, it’s opened up a lot. Those aren’t really designed quarterback runs. They’re designed to give the ball to Alf [Alfred Morris] and when the whole defense is not accounting for the quarterback and taking everyone else, that’s when he goes the other way. So, I kind of enjoy the zone read because really, your quarterback’s not taking it unless there’s no one to hit him. If there is someone to hit him, you’re usually handing it off, so the zone read is something I feel in the long run helps the quarterback.”

On limiting Griffin III’s exposure to injury:
“When you think about last year, we’ve got to get better at coaching certain things, as I think we did throughout last year, situations on how you can account for the free hitters when you don’t have a man for that player and when the only guy who’s not accounted for is the middle third safety about 30 yards away. I think we got better at that as the year went. The last game we struggled with that would about Cincinnati, which I think was about Week 4. But as far as that stuff, I think some of the zone read stuff is the least he got hit. It’s the scrambles and stuff like that where, when guys aren’t blocked and stuff, there’s seven guys in coverage who are coming at him from all directions going airborne to hit somebody. Those are the times when I really get worried.”

On if he thinks Griffin III’s decision making on the zone read exposed him:
“No, I’m not saying that. I mean, you just look at all the zone read clips. Not many big hits happened on that because usually everyone’s blocked for you. You know who isn’t blocked and look at the big hits, look at what plays they were. The three injuries were pass plays. They weren’t the zone read. The zone read is something I learned throughout going through the year that I think really helped us. It’s the least pass rush I’ve ever seen as a coordinator. Guys just sitting there just scared to death just watching everyone else not moving. And I really enjoyed sometimes being able to drop back and not have four guys just teeing off on the quarterback all trying to hit him in the pocket.”

On the execution of the zone read and keeping Griffin III healthy:
“He stayed healthy last year running the zone read, so I feel pretty good about that. The thing is, you really hope no one gets hurt. It’s hard to control injuries and that’s why you don’t ever want call quarterback power and stuff like that. I see a lot of teams do it, but I’ve done it once and I’ll never do it again. Well, tell defensive coordinators I might do it. I don’t think that’s that good of a play anyways. But when you do the zone read, everyone’s accounted for and there’s not many free hitters in it.”

On his maturation as a play caller:
“I think just obviously experience helps – I mean, the more years you have as a coordinator, the more situations you’ve been through, the more players… The job of the coordinator isn’t to reinvent the wheel. It’s to try to figure out the best way to put these talented players in a situation that they can be successful. You have different players each year. You have a different group of guys and you go against different coverages each year. You know, stuff that was good for me in Houston isn’t always good for me here. Sometimes it was, but it changed the next year. Sometimes it changes each week. Each year that I get, the more different things that I’ve learned trying with different players doing stuff, the more it’s made me more confident that if you’ve got the right guys and you can teach them really every facet of how you can attack a defense, I think that a system is overrated. What is your system? We’re going to attack the defense… Everybody in the league runs pretty close to the same plays. It’s just when you call those plays, how you call those plays, versus what coverages. I don’t plan on having an exact system the rest of my career. I plan on understanding football, understanding defenses, teaching our players all that, and let’s see what they’re going to do. Let’s attack that hole in the defense, whatever it is.”

On his role in Robert Griffin III’s progression with decision making:
“I’m Robert’s coach so it’s my job to help him with everything. It’s not just Robert. I think it’s every quarterback who has ever played the game. I mean, guys have got to get used to sliding, knowing when to fight for yards and when not to fight for yards. I think it’s harder for guys their rookie years because the speed of the game is a lot different, where you used to have a little more time to slide. Now people get up on you a little quick. And when someone gets up on you quick and you slide at the last second, that’s when you get hit under the chin and stuff. You’ve got to slide early and anticipate things. It’s not just Robert, it’s all quarterbacks. I think a lot of rookie quarterbacks, it takes time to get that feel. They learn through experience and I think Robert had a lot of experience last year and I think he’ll definitely be better from that. We’ll keep harping on it and I think it’ll come natural for him.”

On if Griffin III has issues throwing the ball away:
“With Robert, he’s so confident that he doesn’t have to. I don’t think he had to in college very much. Whoever that guy was there, he would just outrun him or just make him miss. Some guys, most of the other quarterbacks on our roster, have been throwing the ball away since high school. They weren’t going to outrun that guy. But Robert has outrun that guy his whole life and now all of the sudden, 'Oh, that guy got me. He had a better angle on me.’ Now you’ve got to learn, 'What do I do on this?’ Well, some guys have been doing it since eighth grade. Robert’s just starting to do it and I think it’ll get easier for him with reps.”

On the versatility of the pistol formation:
“That’s the whole key to the pistol. I laugh when people talk about the 'Pistol Offense’ because you can run the zone read out of the pistol, so it gives you the threat to run the zone read. The good thing about the pistol is that it’s the exact same as your entire offense. The quarterback is taking about three steps back behind the center, so instead of reaching his hands under the center, he’s just reaching out to catch the ball. But the back is still behind the quarterback so you can run your entire offense. Nothing changes. I think that’s the key to everything. The zone read is a good play, but if defenses know its coming then I don’t care how good it is; people will stop it. The whole key to the zone read is just the threat of the zone read. We want to run our offense. We want to do what we’ve been doing, but you better honor the zone read because it is a good play. If you aren’t honoring it, you’re usually going to get 15 yards before contact.”

On the importance of continuity on the offensive line:
“I think that’s everything. Obviously, you want real talented guys and the more talented the better, but when you can have five guys work together, especially at that group, they’re all moving together. They’re adjusting to stunts, they’re blocking combinations together. When people move, then five people have got to adjust together. When we have our guys in there, we have been our best. Even two years ago. I think we started out the year, I don’t remember what we were – I think were top five in rushing and then we lost a couple of lineman and had to move some guys around. We went about five games there where we were the worst. This year, we kept them all healthy the whole year. I feel like we did exactly what we did two years ago in the first month of the season, but the guys stayed healthy. Our back did a hell of a job and you guys saw the results.”

On his expectations with Fred Davis and Pierre Garçon being healthy:
“I expect a lot. Those are two of our better players. I was real proud of the guys, our tight ends who stepped in in place of Fred and really stepped it up. They were always good role players for us and we threw them into starting roles and I don’t think we missed a beat. There’s things that one guy does better than the other, but when it’s all said and done, at the end of the game, those tight ends really helped us win a lot of those games. They are one of the main reasons I think we did as well as we did in the run game, and when we called their number in the pass game they didn’t disappoint us.”

On what a healthy Garçon can bring to the offense:
“Oh, Pierre was huge. I mean you guys saw how different it was when Pierre got out there in the second half of the year. Whether Pierre was getting the ball or not, just the threat of having him out there opens up a lot of stuff. When you have a guy like that, a true No. 1 wide receiver, it makes all of your other wide receivers better. And when you have a true No. 1 wide receiver, with other receivers that can hurt you, it’s again tough to worry about a tight end. When you’ve got a bunch of guys out there that are really players, it opens up everything. Whether they are getting the ball or not, it helps in every way possible.”

On how much of Alfred Morris’ success was tied to the threat of Griffin III:
“I think a lot of it was huge. The threat of Robert running was, to me, the thing I enjoyed the most throughout the year. I go crazy thinking about blitzes every week, how we’re going to pick all this stuff up. About halfway through the year I’m starting to realize that we’re not getting any of these blitzes that I used to see. It takes a lot of stuff you used to worry about, you don’t get. The threat of a quarterback running makes defense play sound and makes them play 11-on-11, as opposed to 11-on-10 like they’ve been doing my whole career that I’ve seen. Just the threat of a quarterback who can run, especially in the running game with the zone read and everything, it, whether that’s working or not, just the threat of it, opens up everything else.”

On people who say Morris’ success is only a credit to Griffin III and the zone read:
“People who say that just don’t watch tape. They just read stats, I guess. I mean, just watch Alfred. Alfred’s a beast. I think one guy or about three guys all year tackled him on the first tackle. That guy runs as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen. Most of his yards came on outside zone, not the zone read, so Alfred is as good of a back as I’ve ever had. He’s the real deal.”

On if it is important to differentiate the backfield with different types of runners:
“My main thing is there’s no absolutes in anything. There are some ideal situations you would like. My main thing is if Alf [Morris] is not in there, I want the best running back who’s not Alf in there. I don’t care – he doesn’t have to be his exact opposite. Just 'cause Alf’s a guy who runs hard and stuff, doesn’t mean that we have got to go get a guy who’s just fast and different than him. I want the best back, the second best back in who is not Alf if we’re running the ball. You can get some guys who can isolate maybe in the pass game a little different and use them a little differently, but when you’re spelling a guy, you want a guy who comes in and moves the chains and does the exact same things he does and we can keep those same yards per carry and stay on the field.”

On wide receivers Leonard Hankerson and Joshua Morgan:
“I’ve been real impressed with both of those guys. I think Josh battled through injuries all last year. He got hurt the year before we got him at San Francisco, had some screws in his ankle. He got those screws taken out in January. I think he had the surgery on his wrist. I want to say he had like three surgeries, but he played all year hurt for us. He’s a tough guy so he’s able to battle through it. I think it’s showing out in OTAs. He’s feeling healthier. He’s cutting better. He doesn’t have to think as much. I think he’s got a better feel for the offense and I think we’ll see a lot better from Josh this year. And Hank, Hank’s just working every day too. He’s trying to step it up. Hank’s been as good as anyone at times, and sometimes he has his little bad moments. He’s been very consistent through OTAs and I think Hank can be as good as he wants to be.”

On if anyone has separated themselves along the offensive line:
“No one in particular. Right now. OTAs, you know a lot of our backup guys we’ve had – [Josh] LeRibeus and Mo [Maurice] Hurt who haven’t been practicing – you know they’ve had some injuries out there, so they haven’t been out there throughout OTAs. And then the younger guys coming in, OTAs, to me, more for those guys is learning for our 10 OTAs practices so they have a chance to compete in training camp. I don’t try to judge new guys too much right now. They’re at a disadvantage. They’re moving slower because their mind is thinking a lot more than the veterans, but you hope you can put them through it in OTAs and everything to where they learn it enough. They go through those reps so when training camp comes and we’ve got some more pads on, we can hit a little bit more, we’re going into some preseason games, these guys have a chance to compete and aren’t just thinking all the time.”

On tryout wide receiver Donté Stallworth:
“He looked like the same guy I remember. He’s a very good football player. I love Donté.”

On if Stallworth can help the team:
“Yeah, definitely. Donté helped us a lot two years ago. I would have loved to bring him back last year too, to come compete for a roster spot. He ended up signing with New England. We saw he was available and I don’t know if we signed him yet, I hope we do.”

On quarterback Pat White:
“We needed to get another quarterback. You know we studied the guys in the draft and stuff. We needed to add another quarterback for the roster and the one thing about Pat was just me reading that he was trying to come back in the league. I really liked Pat coming out of college and I really liked him as a quarterback. When I was at Houston, I evaluated him. I had a high grade on him and he was a guy I was always interested in. I know it didn’t work out for him in Miami. I went back and watched the tape and stuff and the few plays that he had and I didn’t see any reason why – you know a lot of people had him rated high coming out of college, and I didn’t see enough in his first year that would make you think that the guy was done. He got thrown in some situations where he almost was treated more like a Wildcat quarterback, but Pat’s definitely a quarterback. He’s not a Wildcat quarterback and I think Pat could play and I was just excited. He’s somebody I would have hoped to have about five years ago. Just to see him now, he’s come in and he’s the same guy that I thought he was going to be coming out of college. Pat’s got a lot of upside and it’s always hard when you’ve been away from the game for a while, but he’s working as hard as anyone and I think he’s gotten better each practice.”

On quarterback Kirk Cousins commanding the huddle:
“Kirk’s a very good leader. It comes pretty natural for him. He’s very A-type personality. I mean when he’s in there, he’s about his business and he can push that tempo fast. He calls the plays well. He gets along with everybody, but also he jokes around a lot too. Guys laugh at him. He’s always himself. He’s not going to change for anybody and I think guys really enjoy being around him.”

Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett

On his impressions of the three rookie defensive backs selected in the 2013 NFL Draft:
“I like what I see. Obviously, there’s a lot of teaching that’s involved and a lot of learning, but I think things are starting to click in for all three of them. I think all three of them are going to be good football players… We’ve kind of worked them in. We worked David [Amerson] in with the ones and Bacarri [Rambo] more than Phillip [Thomas] because Phillip missed a week. I think all three of them are coming along very well.”

On what he liked about each rookie defensive back:
“First of all, I’ll start with David. He’s a guy that has great ball skills, great length, good speed and has the ability to play man or zone. I think that’s probably the biggest thing about him, that he’s a playmaker that had 13 interceptions as a sophomore and six as a junior. He really kind of struggled his junior year, but we just think that his playmaking skills were off the chart. Phillip would be the second one. Same thing. He’s got great ball skills. [He] has the ability to come up with key plays, big interceptions. Both of them led the NCAA in interceptions. Phillip’s got good size, good enough speed. The guy likes football, understands football, studies football. And then Bacarri [Rambo] is a guy – he’s a really good athlete. [He] was a high school quarterback. Also has good ball skills, has the chance to make a lot of plays for you. And that’s what wins in the league. So we figure last year we had 31 turnovers, which is really good for a defense, but we have a chance to pick up three guys that can add to those totals through the interception market.”

On if anything about Amerson has surprised him:
“I don’t think anything has surprised us. He is very knowledgeable and he understands the game. He is a guy that spends a lot of time in the office, so David hasn’t really surprised us with anything. I like what I see with him. I think he’s going to be a good player.”

On Amerson’s struggles in his junior year:
“Well, you know what he really struggled [with]? He got surprised the first game of the year. Tennessee comes out with these two wideouts, one was a junior college transfer and he didn’t know who he was. He got beat on a double move a couple of times, had some bad body language and he struggled the first half of the season. I think after that he settled in he played like he did his sophomore year. So, to me that’s just a maturity thing. You know a young guy, you’ve got to understand he’s still young. But when you watch him move, when you watch him close on things, everything is smooth and it’s effortless, and the ball skills and everything that come with it.”

On how much the rookie defensive backs can improve the overall defense:
“Well, first of all, can you play with three rookies at one time? I don’t know if that’s going to happen. We’ll see. But we’ll play the best players and I think that over time all three of guys are going to be on the field at some point. I don’t know when that’s going to be.”

How long will it take to select starters at safety:
“Well, Brandon [Meriweather] hasn’t come back yet. Brandon will be back for training camp and I’m sure Brandon’s going to be in the mix. So far, between him, you know Reed [Doughty] does a good job in situations. Jordan [Bernstine] did a good job for us last year in certain situations. So we’ll put the best guys on the field or a combination of safeties until they are all ready to play.”

On if it will take through preseason before he knows his starters at safety:
“It all depends on what happens with Brandon and we’ll see how that plays out.”

On things that are hard for a rookie safety to adapt to from college to the pro level:
“Number one, the complexity of the defense. The number of defenses we have in, including zones and blitzes; it’s not the easiest defense to learn from that standpoint. And they’ve got to play two positions. They have got to learn strong and free. They can’t just play one position. It’s just going to take reps. They’re going to need time on the grass, but I think as they get the more time in training camp and we get more reps on there that they’ll start to shine.”

On if it is realistic for one of the rookie safeties to earn a starting job:
“I think one of them. Yeah, I really do think one of them will be on the grass. I’m not sure which one, but one of them I think is going to have to... I think they’ll all help us. I think all three of them are going to help us. I just don’t know to what extent yet.”

On if he views Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo as free or strong safeties:
“We’re saying Rambo is a free safety and Phillip is a strong safety, but it doesn’t really make a difference because they change the strength, the motions, the shifts, the adjustment. We don’t run them across the field so they’re always strong or free, so they’re going to have to know both positions.”

On if the free safety position is key because of Brandon Meriweather’s past success:
“Well, Brandon’s another one. He can play both. He can play free or strong so that’s a good thing to have. And like I said, they’ve got to know it anyways.”

On safety Reed Doughty:
“Well, every year Reed starts for us, so you can’t discount Reed. I think Reed brings something to a football team. One, he’s a really good special teams player. He’s really intelligent. He understands the game. He studies the game. He’s really good around the box. He makes a lot of tackles. He’s good in the run game. I think everybody has some form of deficiency in the NFL. What Reed brings to your football team is invaluable.”

On how Doughty masks his deficiencies:
“With smarts. With great tackling, great competitiveness and he has a good feel for the game.”

On defensive end Adam Carriker:
“I don’t know where Adam stands. You’ll have to get with Mike [Shanahan], the Head Coach, on that one. Just being around, knowing how competitive Adam is, he’ll be back at some point. At what point that is, I don’t know. I know he’s had a couple surgeries on his leg, but I see him in there every day working. He’s probably one of the hardest working guys we have on the team. If you don’t discount anyone, the one you don’t want to say, 'This guy won’t make it back’ don’t say that about Adam. Adam will try to find a way to get back. When that will be I don’t know.”

On his impressions of defensive end Jarvis Jenkins:
“I think Jarvis has looked better than he did his first year. He understands the defense now. He has got his feet under him. He’s got the brace off. He’s running around. You can just tell he feels a lot more comfortable, kind of like Barry [Cofield] and Bo [Stephen Bowen] did their first time. I think he’ll make a lot more plays this year than he did last year.”

On if he can get linebackers Rob Jackson, Ryan Kerrigan, and Brian Orakpo on the field at the same time:
“I don’t think that’s a problem. The question is can you get four of those guys on the field at the same time, because you’ve got to add the young guy [linebacker Brandon Jenkins] too. So we’ll see. Yeah, I mean, if there’s a way to get everybody on the field, we’ll find a way.”

On if the team’s comfort with the defense comes from having several years in the system or certain players returning:
“I think it’s both. I think it’s [comfort] with the front seven that you can do some different things. Obviously it takes time to learn it and then you can add on to what you’re doing if you’ve been together. To me, the good defenses in the league, in the NFL, usually have been together for a while and they’ve played together like the Baltimores, the Steelers, those type of teams. That group’s been together for a long time. So, I do think that gives them a little more freedom and leeway to do things within the scheme.”

On Orakpo:
“I think from what I see right now, I think he looks great. He’s probably moving as well as he’s ever moved. He looks in great shape, strength all of that, that’s all there. I think the guy looks awesome, just watching him.”

On Brandon Jenkins:
“I like that he has good rush ability. He’s another guy if you go back and look at stats, I think you’ve got to look at production in the league. He had 13-and-a-half sacks as a junior, 10-and-a-half as a sophomore, projected as a first-round pick at one point and obviously he broke his foot and had one sack in one game. So, he’s a guy you can bring in the mix. I don’t think you can have enough pass rushers. You know, just like last year, we lose Orakpo you never know what’s going to happen… So far, what I see from him, I think he’s another guy that’s going to be a good player down the road.”

On Jenkins’ transition to linebacker:
“Obviously that’s the learning point. You know, that’s not easy to do. I mean, you’ve got your hand in the dirt your whole life and then you stand up and it’s a new world. You’ve got receivers out there, you’ve got to know the coverages, you’ve got to learn to drop, you’ve got to learn the run fronts, you’ve got to know when the run forces – you know, all that stuff and that takes time. That’s going to be the learning part of it. In the meantime, we’ll try and find ways that he can help us on the field, whether it be nickel, short yardage, goal line, we’ll try and get these guys involved somehow.”

On getting four pass rushers on the field:
“I think Brandon down the road, I don’t know when that will be, but I think he has… Anytime you have a good rusher – and I think he has a good chance to be a pretty good rusher – you try and get them all on the field.”

On getting more pressure from the defensive line:
“We’ll try to put these guys in better position a little bit to get sacks. If we get some obvious passing situations, we get a little freedom to go get the quarterback. So yeah, we would like to get Jarvis in. He didn’t get any sacks. He needs to get four or five, six sacks. Obviously that will help with getting some more out of the D-line.”

On the slot cornerback:
“We’ve played [E.J.] Biggers there in the offseason. We’ve played [Richard] Crawford there. You know Josh [Wilson] obviously is not practicing. We kind of limited D-Hall [DeAngelo Hall] a little bit to the outside. We’ve got some guys that can do it this year and last year we were kind of limited to one or two guys.”

On tough roster decisions:
“The good thing is I don’t have to make those decisions. The head coach makes those decisions. But hopefully we do because I think then you’re a better football team. If you’re cutting some players that other people are picking up, we must be doing something right.”

On inside linebacker depth behind London Fletcher:
“Well, [Roddrick] Muckelroy’s playing there right now. When we get Keenan [Robinson] back, Keenan will be in there with Perry [Riley] on the other side. I like Bryan Kehl. Obviously he’s a guy that can run, he’s athletic. I think between that group we’ve got a couple young guys that have a chance, a couple guys we signed. I think it’s a pretty good group.”

On what part of Richard Crawford’s game has shown the most improvement:
“I think his understanding of the scheme. Like I said everyone’s got limitations and he kind of knows them. You know he’s not the biggest guy in the world but he’s got great ball skills and the guy can go out and make plays. We’ve just got to make sure that we put him in the right positions to make plays.”

On if he envisioned E.J. Biggers as his slot corner:
“I don’t know. He’s been working in there, Josh is working there. D-Hall is working there. We’ve got some options that we didn’t have in the past.”

On Biggers:
“I think he’s a good football player. He understands the game, studies the game. He’s got good quickness. He’s a guy that’s got a good feel for it. He knows when to blitz, how to hide behind lineman. So far, when I’ve seen without the pads on, I’m impressed with him. “

On suspended safety Tanard Jackson:
“To be honest with you, until you brought it up, I haven’t thought about it. Obviously if we got Tanard back, you know that’s another bonus because he’s a heck of a football player. I don’t know where that stands with the NFL, but we’d welcome back with open arms.”

On if DeAngelo Hall is a possibility as a nickel cornerback:
“Yeah, we’re just working other guys because he’s played there.”

On if the defense was better in the last seven games:
“Obviously, if you look at the stats the last seven games, we were. We still ended fifth in the league in rushing and third in turnovers, which is the most important thing. If you look at the points, obviously the points and the passing yards were way down. We did a lot more, we did a lot of different things in the last seven games which helped. You guys worry about those stats, I worry about wins. I know we got seven in a row and that was the most important thing… I always felt good about the unit. We struggled to get all the pieces when we had the injuries and we struggled to get the guys on the field that we wanted on the field. Obviously we didn’t do enough things to help those guys. After we got settled in, we got Rob and all those guys settled in and everything fell into place.”

On cornerback Chase Minnifield:
“I think Chase has been practicing – he’ll probably be off today – but I think once he gets to training camp… You can tell he’s not 100 percent yet, but once he gets there, you can tell he’s another one he’s been around football his whole life obviously with his father and everything. He’s got great football instincts and you can see that right now even when he’s not moving at 100 percent, he’s still got good football instincts.”

On if the return of Orakpo and Meriweather feels like having a free agent class:
“You know what, 'Rak came in the first day, he stepped right in back in the starting job, never missed a beat, never made a mistake just lined up like he’s never been gone. But obviously you can feel the presence out there. It’s totally different.”
 

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