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Skins Quotes 8/27: M. Shanahan/K. Shanahan/Haslett

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Marine Corps Virginia


August 27, 2013
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On what he wants to see out of safety Brandon Meriweather vs. Tampa Bay:

“We’ve been watching him practice for a number of weeks, and he’s ready to go. He’s looking forward to playing in a game situation, and it will be fun to get him out there in the last preseason game. He’ll get used to our calls, just play in the game, get a chance to tackle, and be put in a game situation. So I’d like to do that before our first game, before the Monday Night game, and hopefully there are no setbacks and he plays the way he’s been practicing.”

On how he decides how many offensive lineman to keep:

“First of all, there is always numbers. There’s offensive linemen, you talk about eight, nine or 10. Receivers – five, six or seven. Backs – four, five or six. Defensive lineman, sometimes seven or eight. Every position has that number. What we’re trying to do is put the top 53 players together, and every year it changes, and your practice squad changes. So you’ve got to put in a plan that you think gives you the best chance to be successful, and that’s why you go into the fourth preseason game, to evaluate a lot of these players, not only for backup positions but on special teams as well.”

On his plan for the quarterback rotation against Tampa Bay:

“Pat White will play the entire game unless he goes down, and if he goes down then Rex [Grossman] will go in. If he goes down, I’m going in. I’m the only guy left [laughing].”

On who would be the emergency quarterback:

“Right now, I’m not sure what direction we could go. DY [fullback Darrel Young], we practice him over there, and you’ve got guys like [wide receiver] Josh [Morgan] and [tight end] Jordan [Reed] who have been quarterbacks before. A lot of our players, [wide receiver] Santana [Moss] has been a quarterback at one time, but right now, with four on the roster, that hasn’t been one of my top concerns.”

On if he thought they brought Meriweather back too soon in training camp:

“You never know. That’s why I don’t get into those situations. The doctors approve him and they say if he’s ready to go or not. That’s why we don’t make those decisions.”

On if he would want a veteran backup on the offensive line or is satisfied with young backups:

“A lot goes into it, but it goes back to the same thing I said before. What do you think gives you the best chance to win? You are going to put your top 53 guys together. So it could be eight, it could be nine, it could be 10, but you never know until you go through the last preseason game.”

On how the evaluation of quarterback Robert Griffin III will work on Thursday in Tampa Bay:

“I don’t know yet. I know Dr. [James] Andrews will sit down and evaluate Robert and probably just give us his recommendation. I’m sure very similar to what he did last game… Sometime Thursday, I don’t know when it’s going to be. I haven’t talked to him yet. Either before or after the game, but I’m sure it will be sometime Thursday because he’ll be at the game.”

On who he is expecting to return punts against Tampa Bay:

“Hopefully we make them punt so we have somebody back there, but, you know, we’re talking about it right now. I don’t want to say at this time because we have got a couple of different directions we could go, but it’s not an audition. We’ve got some people that have been back there, they’ve been practicing every day here for the last month. We don’t have to put somebody back there and still start them on Monday night, but we’ll put in a couple of guys that don’t have a lot of playing time back there. Guys like [running back] Chris [Thompson], might even put in a guy like Josh Morgan back there, guys that have caught punts before and have natural running ability, a couple of young names.”

On running backs Evan Royster and Keiland Willams:

“I don’t want to get into different attributes, but they are two very talented guys. Evan, great cutting ability, very smart player, catches the ball extremely well. He’s very similar with [Keiland], just a little bit different style runner. [Keiland] is probably a bit faster. Both contribute on special teams. Both good football players.”

On if he noticed subtle difference in Griffin III during his pregame warmup vs. Buffalo:

“Well, I didn’t watch him warmup so I can’t talk about that, but he had a good practice yesterday and he had a good practice today. I can see a big improvement from the start when he came out here the first day to where he is now. You can see he is in football shape and there hasn’t been a setback so everything has been very positive.”

On what constitutes a good practice for Griffin III:

“I think just feeling more relaxed, being put in more team situations. You can tell when somebody has had enough reps where it starts to be automatic, you don’t have to push it.”

On if he feels like Griffin III is 100 percent:

“You are hoping he is 100 percent. Like I said, the reason why I am a little iffy on that is because I want to judge him every day, but I have not seen a setback. He looks good. Like I said, I’ve seen much improvement from the first day to where he’s at now from when he first came out – just in his ability to move, his ability to scramble, just the ease in which he practices.”

On his message to defensive end Jarvis Jenkins and linebacker Rob Jackson going into their last game before they serve their suspensions:

“I’ve already talked to them about the message. I think the message is very obvious. After Saturday evening, we cannot talk to them until they come back. We want them to stay in great shape, and when they do come back, hopefully they help our football team win. And the only way they are going to do that is if they do the little things over the next four weeks.”

Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan

On how much running back Chris Thompson has developed and if he can be trusted in game situations:

“I think we’re still trying to decide that. Last week was really the first realistic work I think he’s gotten. Two weeks ago, he got in a little bit, but he just started practicing that week. I feel last week was the first fair chance to evaluate him. I’m really looking forward to having another game of it. I’ll feel a lot better after this game.”

On Thompson’s fumbles this preseason:

“It’s definitely something you don’t want to see happen. It’s definitely a red flag when you do see guys fumble, especially twice in as few carries as he had. He hasn’t been out there much. He hasn’t gotten a lot of reps in training camp since he had setbacks with his injury. We’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt. We’ll look at him one more time. It’s definitely something he’s got to correct, but he didn’t do it in college a ton, so we believe he can correct it.”

On the running back competition:

“I think the only thing that’s been settled is Alf [running back Alfred Morris] and [running back Roy] Helu [Jr.]. Everything else is up for grabs. We’ve got a good problem to have because I think there’s a bunch of guys there that can play in this league and that can help us. They’re going to make us have to make a tough decision next week, and really every play’s going to count for them.”

On the difference between running backs Keiland Williams and Evan Royster:

“They’re very similar. They’re both good runners. They are very similar guys. Evan’s as natural a runner as there is. Evan always gets to the right hole. Keiland has a little bit more size. Trying to come up with the difference, I’d say Evan might be a little bit better in space. He can maybe make guys miss a little bit better, but not a ton. Keiland’s got a little more size to him, a little more bulk, where he can handle the load a little bit more.”

On his level of concern about Royster’s ankle:

“It’s not too big of a concern as far as I pretty much know Evan real well. I’ve had him the last couple of years. Even though he’s been hurt this last week or so, I still had him in camp this year. I’ve got a pretty good feel for Evan. Today was the first day that he came back out to practice and he looked good, so I think he should be able to go in the game.”

On the possibility of keeping fewer than six wide receivers:

“I’ve been on teams where we’ve had five; I’ve been here when we’ve had six. It’s really about the top 53. We have a bunch of good players. I think we do have more than the five guys who can play in the NFL, so that always makes it tough. You hate to get rid of guys who you know are capable of playing in the NFL. It really doesn’t come down to myself making that decision or the offensive staff. It really has to do with the top 53. If you have got six receivers who are in the top 53, then six make it. If you don’t, then you go with five.”

On quarterback Robert Griffin III:

“I think he’s looked good. He looks as healthy as he has. There’s been no difference there. He’s been getting a lot more reps. He got a lot more yesterday. Yesterday was a big practice, just doing a lot of team drills and going against each other non-carded, non-Tampa Bay stuff. It’s just been good to get him out there, get him repping stuff and going full speed.”

On if quarterback Kirk Cousins will be ready for Week 1:
“I would think so, but you know he hasn’t practiced yet. He did a little bit of individual yesterday so I really don’t know if he’ll be ready for Week 1. I would hope so, I would expect so, but I’m really not sure.”

On having only one fullback, Darrel Young, on the roster:
“[Tight end] Niles [Paul] helps us out at fullback, similar to the role that [tight end Chris] Cooley did for us last year. Niles did that in Week 1 for the preseason versus Tennessee. Niles is very capable of being a good fullback and he helps us out a lot there with depth.”

On how hard it is for wide receiver Santana Moss to continue to be an effective receiver at his age:
“You’d have to asked him that totally because I don’t really know how hard it is, but I know a lot of people can’t do it. I think last year 'Tana was better for us than he was the prior two years even though the stats weren’t the same. I think he was in the best shape last year. His legs were with him. He had a lot of juice, and we limited his roles, which I think helped. It helped to maintain it and he came back this year the same way. He came to training camp last year and this year the best I’ve seen him, and I expect it to continue for him as long as he keeps working.”

On if Moss’ success comes from accepting his new role:
“I think so. I think it clicked in 'Tana that as he gets older he really needs to hit the offseason hard, not just come when we do offseason. I think it’s tough because I think as you get older when you finish at the beginning of January and then to take three months off and then to start up again… I think 'Tana’s really done a good job in the offseason. Before he’s gotten here, he has taken care of his body so when he’s come here to the offseason he hasn’t had to waste a couple of months getting back into shape. He came here ready to go, and he gets better as soon as he walks in the door.”

On the greatest improvement in quarterback Pat White and areas in which he still needs to improve:
“Just all around. Pat took a few years off going to play baseball and I think he just started working at quarterback again at the end of January or early February, so Pat hasn’t been totally consistent in all his drops in the rhythm of the passing game and everything, but he’s gotten better each week. I think he can still get a lot better. He’s only been working at it for the past six months and as everyone can see Pat’s a hell of a football player. He was in college. He shows you guys that during the games and just the more football he’s around, the more he works at it, the better he’ll get. And with the attitude that he does have, he will get better because he’s as hard on himself as anyone I’ve been around. Everything’s his fault, that’s the way he looks at it. No matter what happens, it’s his fault, he wants to do something better on every play and I think it’s just a matter of time that he can be as good as he wants.”

On if he thinks tackle Tom Compton can play both right and left tackle:
“Yeah, I do. Left tackles usually go against better defensive ends, but besides that I think it’s pretty much the same. He’s been pretty much at the left tackle spot, but you usually can’t be just strictly a left tackle. You’ve got to be able to do both.”

On running back Alfred Morris:
“I think Alfred just looks better, and that’s tough to say because Alfred did as good last year as I’ve ever had someone do for me. But, Alf, as you guys know, Alf’s as humble as there is. He always has that. He never feels like he’s arrived, and even after his rookie year he still has that same mentality. I think he did a lot of yoga this year. He’s looser, he’s more flexible, he’s in as good of shape as he’s been, he knows what’s going on, and he’s just better. You get better or worse and you worry about rookies especially after they have the success that he did, that they think things will come easy for them the next year and they never do. Alf’s been the opposite. He’s attacked this offseason like he’s still trying to make the team and you can just see it in how his body moves.”

On differences and similarities between wide receivers Dezmon Briscoe and Lance Lewis:
“Yeah, they’re similar. Lance doesn’t have as much football under him as Briscoe has, so Lance has a little more rust to him. Lance has got to work on his route, and being a little more consistent and just knowing where to line up and stuff like that. But you’ve got two guys who are both talented and have a lot of size and do have good hands, so they are similar.”

On how close quarterback Robert Griffin III is to 100 percent:
“I don’t think anybody knows if you’re 100 percent except the person who’s saying that. I mean, you only can know your own body. He’s such a good athlete, he could fool me; he looks 100 percent to me. He can fly around. He can make the throws. There’s no gimp at all – obviously he wouldn’t be out there if there was. But he looks good to me. And I think everything from a coaching standpoint is about getting the rust off. Not being there through all of training camp, the OTAs, you have some rust. He showed up more three weeks ago and he’s gotten better each practice and I’m excited to get him out there Week 1.”

Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett

On the type of difference safety Brandon Meriweather can make when healthy:

“Well, based on the 45 plays he played last year and he had six tackles, an interception, a forced fumble, I’d say that I’m excited about him just getting back on the field and hopefully he can stay healthy and he can help our team.”

On his confidence level that Meriweather can stay healthy:
“I just have to wait and see how he does. I think he’ll do fine. He’s going to be a little rusty, obviously. He hasn’t played in a while. I thought he’s had good practices here the last week and a half. He looks like he’s running full speed and everything looks smooth so we’ll see when the tackling comes and all the other stuff, the hard stuff.”

On if Meriweather’s experience changes how he calls the defense:
“Not necessarily. The guys we have got out there understand the defense, so we call anything we want. But Brandon hasn’t played in a while so I would say I would probably call less right now to make him feel comfortable.”

On how creative nose tackle Barry Cofield will need to be shedding blocks with a cast on his hand:
“From what I understand and from what I’ve seen of the cast, he’s going to have full function of all his fingers and it’s going to cover the area that’s broken. I’m sure he’ll be effective and it’ll be good to have him out there. Obviously he’s a heck of a football player. [Nose tackle] Chris Neild has done a great job in his place, so has [nose tackle] Ron Brace.”

On if there are different cover schemes that can be used with safety Brandon Meriweather on the field:
“He was a corner in college so obviously his cover skills are a little different than some of the other guys. You know you feel good about him going out and covering wideouts and those type of things.”

On the play of safety Bacarri Rambo:
“I thought he did a great job. He worked hard all week in tackling and his angles. I thought he did a great job; he came in and tackled the quarterback on the read option in the open space. He closed a couple times, made some open field tackles.”

On the package featuring six linebackers:

“Well, we just ran it last week. just something to try to get a little more speed on the field and we are just trying some things out right now. Obviously, when we get into the regular season, who we’re playing, when we’re playing, how we’re playing them, the teams we’re playing will dictate what we can do. We ran it last week, wanted to see what it looked like and I thought those guys did a nice job with it.”

On play of cornerback David Amerson:

“So that’d be the one this week you guys are after? Because he had a penalty? [Smiling] I’m just asking. You know what, David had six tackles. He’s easy covering – he can cover most of the guys I have seen so far up to this day with ease. He does a nice job. He’ll pick up a little more sense of urgency in some areas. You know, the penalty at the end, the 35-yard penalty, he just panicked. He was in great shape, he caught up to the guy and then, you can’t swing your arms, but it’s a learning experience also for him. We did some drills with him the other day with him and I think he’s got such good speed and length that even if someone does get behind him and he doesn’t panic, he’ll catch up and when the guy puts his arms up he’ll put his hands in between them and he’ll be fine. But he just – you can’t swing your arms. That’s something they do in this league.”

On if Amerson is a better run defender than he expected:

“I think he’s an excellent run defender. I mean, he cracked some plays, had some great tackles. He had the one missed tackle there in the open field more that was on us coaches because we were trying to keep the disguise and keep disguising and they came in a crack alignment and our safety didn’t get down and he was late on the crack replace, but that’s on us because we were trying to hold the disguise longer. I’ll take that one.”

On if there is a particular player he is excited to watch in the fourth preseason game:

“Yeah, I mean there’s a few guys. I think there’s a bunch of guys on this team are going to play, that if we don’t keep them are going to play somewhere else. There is four or five guys, I think, on defense that we’re going to get a lot of good work, evaluate and see where they fit in.”

On if he considered saving the six-linebacker package for the regular season:

“No, we just, again, I don’t know what we are going to do from week to week. This is something we wanted to have and have the ability to work on, and we can change that up every week depending on who we are playing.”

On safety Jose Gumbs:

“I think he’s done a nice job. He’s got pure football intelligence. The kid has a good feel for the ball, a nose for it. He’ll throw his body around. Pretty good understanding of the scheme for being here a minimal time, and he’s one of those guys that we’re going to get good evaluation of this week.”

On if he feels “snakebit” with injuries to cornerback Richard Crawford and safety Phillip Thomas:

“We’re used to it. On the back end, we’re used to it. It’s part of the game. I feel bad for Thomas because he’s a guy we were excited about, obviously drafting him and having the opportunity to play. I thought he was coming along after missing some OTAs. I thought he was starting to come climb, but then he got hurt.”

On suspended safety Tanard Jackson:

“I don’t know where he’s at, what he’s doing. I really don’t.”

On how much he enjoys creatively assigning different roles to players:

“We enjoy it more when it’s third-and-long, so you can do more of that. Obviously, when you have better players you can do a lot more. You try and get them on the field. If you have players, you don’t want good football players just sitting around either. You like to have an opportunity for everybody to play some spot, somewhere. It’ll help you win games. I think we’ve just got better players up there right now.”

On cornerback Jerome Murphy:

“He’s tough. He’s physical. He’s got a little mean streak. He’s got great speed. He understands what we’re doing now. Last year, we picked him up in the middle of the season. It wasn’t fair. I think he’s another one that’s climbed into that race.”

On how much Meriweather has been asking to play:

“I don’t listen to him. I don’t listen to Brandon. [Laughter] He chirps all the time. I really don’t. I know he has wanted to play. He has wanted to play for the past three weeks, but we just felt he wasn’t ready, just watching him. We thought that conditioning-wise he was ready, but he was still dragging the leg a little bit a couple of weeks ago and he’s kind of worked his way out of that.”

On losing Crawford for the season and what that means for the cornerbacks:

“We’ve got enough guys. I told you before, I feel good about Chase [Minnifield] – I call him Frank all the time – I feel good about Chase and I feel good about Jerome. The guys we’ve got out there really competed. So it’s a shame because he [Crawford] is our punt returner, he did a good job his second year in the scheme, but I think we’ve got enough guys that we’ll be fine.”

On linebacker Nick Barnett:

“Nick is full of football. He’s got great football instincts. He knows where to go, he flies around. He [doesn’t] know what he’s doing yet, but he knows where the ball is. I thought this week he made good strides with what we’re going to do with this week with him in the scheme and good understanding. He just needs reps on the field and once he gets those he’s going to be fine. He’s a football player. He’s a good football player.”
 

Fear The Spear

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Seems like Shanahan has really loosed up over the last few years, and injected a lot of humor into these conferences.
He used to be much more of a stone-face.
Or maybe just because it's preseason, and when the regular season is here, he'll go back to the face of stone.
 

Bulldog

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It's easier to be more relaxed with the media when you are talking about having good competition at a number of spots instead of talking about hoping SOMEBODY steps up to fill a number of gaping holes as in 2009 or 2010.

I wonder if Murphy really stands a chance of making the team. Hall, Wilson, Biggers, Amerson and Minnifield seem to be locks. That's five. Is there room for six?
 

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