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Skins Quotes 9/1: M. Shanahan


The Commissioner
Staff member
BGO Ownership Group
Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC
Military Branch
Marine Corps
Alma Mater
September 1, 2012
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the suspension of safety Tanard Jackson:
“To be honest with you, usually the organization is the last to know. You’ve got to go through the league office. They’re very secretive. They don’t give you a whole lot of details, but he is suspended for the year… I was disappointed because I really like the guy. I like who he is. I like the way he worked. The guy’s never been arrested in his life. I’m just really disappointed for him. He’s out for a year. Obviously he’s made some mistakes, but I’m just disappointed for the guy. I really do like him and I’m disappointed he’s going to be out… He’s a good football player, a great guy. He’s made a couple of mistakes, but, you know, I just like what he stood for.”

On when the team found out about Jackson’s suspension:
“We just found out yesterday. One guy is going to make your football team and obviously he’s not and he’s off the roster and you’ve got another spot, so you adjust.”

On how Jackson’s suspension impacts what the team did at safety:
“We like our safeties. We like the five guys that we have now. The big question is would it have been six guys or five guys — it’s always the ongoing question. You’ve got to make some tough decisions with the top 53. It’s never easy, but at the end of the day, you get 53 and a great practice squad and you feel good about where you’re at.”

On if he would consider bringing Jackson back after the suspension:
“I don’t know anything that’s happened thus far, so it’s hard for me to speak on something that I really don’t know anything about except that he’s suspended.”

On the decision to release running back Tim Hightower:
“Again, it’s always tough to make those final decisions on your top 53. A guy like Tim, who I think the world of, he might be back sometime this year. But you’ve got to cut down. You’ve got to make the decision that you think is best for your football team and we went with three running backs and a fullback. But it was a tough decision.”

On if he thinks Hightower could possibly return to the team at some point:
“He could come back here. I thought when he did play he played well.”

On if Hightower had a setback with his knee against the Colts:
“I think he was a little sore, like we talked about. That one run he had off the left side, twenty-something yards. That was pretty impressive.”

On if, in hindsight, he would have put Hightower on the Physically Unable to Perform list before camp:
“You could have kept him on the PUP list, but you’ve got to do football-related drills. And the only thing he could keep on doing on the PUP list was doing what he’d been doing for the last two months. In order for him to make progress – which he did, a tremendous amount of progress when he got a chance to play… You’ve got to make tough decisions based on what’s best for your organization and your football team when you cut down to 53.”

On running backs Evan Royster, Roy Helu, Jr. and Alfred Morris:
“They’re proven players, and what I mean by proven is that I like what I’ve seen in practice. I like what I’ve seen in the game. Each guy’s got a little bit different quality. It will be interesting to see these guys compete.”

On if Hightower’s recovery from his knee injury took longer than expected:
“Any time you come off of an ACL [injury], what’s long? A year? That’s what it was. The fifth, sixth game against Carolina? He’s done everything he possibly could to get himself in shape, so hopefully he just keeps on feeling better and better.”

On if Hightower’s release has more to do with his knee or the other three backs on the roster:
“The only thing I can say is that it’s based on what’s best for our football team. You’ve got to take the top 53 guys. And when you put all the factors together, you’ve got to say, 'Hey, what’s best for us this year?’ And that’s what we thought was best for us.”

On the progression of the running backs in pass protection:
“Alfred [Morris], you’re not really sure thus far because he hasn’t done it in game situations. But with [Roy] Helu and [Evan] Royster, there’s a tremendous amount of progression as the season went on from pass protection and how to pick up blitzes. When they first came in, they were very raw and at the end of the season, they had a lot of confidence in what they were doing. I expect them to play very well this year.”

On if he’d prefer to lean on one running back or if his starters could change every week:
“You never know. Sometimes guys will get injured. I’ve had some backs stay healthy and go through the whole year. You rest up when you get tired. You’d like one guy to carry the load if he’s got that ability, but nowadays it’s very hard to find that guy. But we’ve got three guys that I believe in with a lot of ability. And DY [Darrel Young], he’s in the 4.5 range as a fullback and he’s pretty impressive. Even though [Brandon] Banks is a buck-fifty [150 pounds], he did a pretty good job on that reverse. Not a very good job on that draw – he was a little afraid of those inside linebackers. I think we’ll be fine.”

On Brandon Banks’ development as a wide receiver:
“He’s done a good job throughout training camp. He proved that he can play at the wide receiver position. And the one thing about Brandon, he can make plays. Like we ran him around on a reverse and not many people can make a corner miss like that and get a forty-something yard gain. And if you have to put him in the backfield, you can run him as a tailback because he has such great quickness. He’s a guy that’s a playmaker, and he’s proved that since he’s been here. And we’re going to find ways to get him the football.”

On the decision to keep wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe and release wide receiver Anthony Armstrong:
“It’s always a tough decision because you’ve got two excellent football players where you’re much deeper at the wide receiver position. Then you also look at who you’re going to dress on which game. How many receivers can be up? Who’s going to be on special teams? Who’s going to be backup X, backup Z? At the end of the day, we decided to go in that direction. You know, Briscoe is a little bit bigger guy. 6-2, 220 range. A very physical receiver, whereas Anthony’s more of that X guy where he’s got that great speed, very similar to [Pierre] Garçon and [Aldrick] Robinson and even [Brandon] Banks. So we thought we were a little deeper at that X position than we were that Z position, so that’s why we went that direction.”

On Briscoe’s ability to play special teams:
“First of all, if you’re going to play special teams, you’ve got to be part of the top five receivers. If you’re not, you don’t play special teams. When you do start getting some depth at the wide receiver position, who’s able to play special teams? Who’s that fifth receiver? Who’s that fourth receiver? Armstrong probably was not going to dress when you take a look at a guy like Aldrick Robinson and Pierre Garçon. And if you do take a guy like Banks, there’s a lot of different scenarios you can have. But I loved Anthony because I loved the guy. He’s a great guy. Very smart – knew all three positions. And it really was a tough decision to pick one of those guys. But we’re going to make decisions which we think is best for our football team, and I think you guys will like Briscoe in the future.”

On how close the team came to trading Armstrong:
“There’s a lot of hypotheticals. We can go through all of that all day. We try to trade every player that we’ve got. Everybody does. But it doesn’t happen that often… Guys that we were going to release obviously.”

On if Briscoe finding out he made the team late Friday evening speaks to how difficult the decision was to keep him:
“I don’t think anybody knows for sure. They’re hoping not to get that phone call. But there’s a lot of players that get called in. I did talk to Dezmon a few hours before that and just shared some of my thoughts on our football team and the direction that we were going. I felt very good about my conversation with him.”

On if it is risky to move forward with only four cornerbacks on the roster:
“Yeah, but be a little patient. It might not be the final list right now. Chances are we won't stay with four corners. Is that a little risky? Yeah, that's a little risky -- four corners.”

On if the cornerback position is why he went with a 52-man roster:
“No, not really. A lot of times we'll go to a 52 because we know we're going to get somebody, and we don't want to show our hand at the last second. What I mean by that is, if all of a sudden if you go and you get a guy that you want and you let a guy go late, you show people what you think of that guy. So sometimes you go to a 52 just so you don't show our poker hand and let a guy go on a Thursday or Friday just to get on our 53.”

On cornerback Crezdon Butler, who was waived by Arizona on Friday:
“We just think he's a football player. We liked him in Pittsburgh. [We like his] speed and the way he plays the game. He had an injury and we think he's recovered from it. And if he has, I think we've got a good football player.”

On consecutive offseasons of competition between Chris Wilson and Markus White:
“That's why you bring people in. That's why you have competition. If you ask Chris Wilson what it's like to be out of football for a year, he'd say it doesn't feel very good. So guys come back and they're out for a little bit. He signed with Philly; obviously was released. When he had his opportunity to come back here, you saw him work a little bit harder, he played better and he earned himself a position on this football team.

On the great story behind Wilson being able to make the team after being released and out of football a season ago:
“That's what I think we're all about when we put our football team together. We try to tell our football players that we really don't care what you've done in the past, because what you've done in the past is in the past. It's what you're doing now, what you're doing for this football team. And there's a lot of guys who have made Pro Bowls that all of a sudden, that next year, they're gone. They don't work the same in the offseason, they're not committed, they might have different priorities. And in order to do something special with your football team, you've got to have everybody moving in the same direction. Our football team knows that and they understand it, and there's lots to feel good about the guys that we've got.

On how much better he feels about his roster now compared to his first season in Washington:
“I feel really good about our football team. It's a change, obviously, completely. And you've got guys who fit your system. You've got guys that you're hoping will all step up and play extremely well. I like the attitude going in; I like the competition, and hopefully we play accordingly.”

On how much he targeted the wide receiver position for roster turnover:
“I think if you look at the whole football team -- on offense or defensively -- offensively, we've got two guys back that I had two years ago. Defensively, maybe three or four? Three starters and two back-ups? Yeah, so, we got a lot more competitive, I think we got a lot younger and hopefully a lot better. Time will tell.”

On being able to retain so many of the team’s draft picks:
“You know, you feel pretty lucky, because that doesn't happen very often. I feel very good about the draft. Now, time will tell exactly what level they play at. But it is kind of unusual to have as many draft picks as we've had in the last couple years now make the team and play as well and get some contribution to what we're trying to do. And you just hope that they get to that next level [and] they're Pro Bowl players and not just good football players.”

On if Banks earned his way on to the roster as a returner or as an all-around playmaker:
“Now remember, as a punt returner or a kickoff returner, you don't have to punt to a returner. With these kicks from the 35-yard line, they don't get a whole lot of reps. So if a guy's going to make your football team, he's going to make your football team because he's a playmaker. And like I said, if he's a wide receiver [and] if he's catching a bubble [screen] or a reverse, he's got a chance to make plays. So he made our football team because he's a football player, and I think he can add to winning games for us in the future.”

On inside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander:
“Lorenzo is very smart and he's really dedicated. He does everything that you'd hope a football player would do, a lot like London Fletcher. But he's going to be prepared -- special teams, defense. You say he's not fast enough, you say he's not quick enough and he always seems to get the job done, both on defense and on special teams. You want those type of guys on your football team, and, you know, again, he's earned that spot.

On rookie offensive lineman Josh LeRibeus:
“You're always hoping that a guy, as an offensive lineman, can come in and play right away. It's very hard as an offensive lineman to come in and play your first year, but Josh has done a great job playing both the center and guard position. Chris Chester also could play the center and guard position; Kory Lichtensteiger can play the guard and center position. What direction we would go if something would happen to
Will [Montgomery], I can't tell you for sure, but we do have some flexibility at that position. Really, when you look at the offensive line, the perfect scenario is to go with seven guys. You have to have guys that can obviously play the tackle position, both backup the center and guard position and have the flexibility to move people around. I think we have that, and hopefully we stay healthy.”

On the depth along the offensive line:
“It is much better. I think you could see that in our preseason games. We had a group of guys playing together and staying intact, so now you bring back a practice player or two and you are hoping that those guys get better as well.”

On offensive linemen Jordan Black:
“Well, when you looked at film you could see his speed and quickness and he could fit our scheme extremely well. It did surprise me that he gained so much weight so quickly – from 275 to 285 in three or four days. That’s a little bit surprising to me, but he looked quick and he earned himself the position.”

On if guard Kory Lichtensteiger will practice this week:
“Well, he has practiced the last two or three practices. It is not really practices; it is more of a jog-through. I will find out more this week on Monday to see how he is. He is going to give it a shot.”

On kicker Billy Cundiff’s missed kick from 46-yard field goal attempt last Wednesday:
“He just missed. That is life in the NFL.”

On the trend of young quarterbacks around the league this season:
“I can’t speak for everybody in the league, but to me, when you do play a quarterback that is young, you tend to look at what he does and what he does best, if you feel like he is your best option to win in the short term, but also in the long term. They might not have the experience, but you want him to get the experience and you know what the top level of play is and you are hoping that they get there very quickly.”

On if quarterbacks are more prepared earlier in their careers now:
“I think a lot depends on the supporting cast. I don’t think that people understand that regardless of what quarterback you have, you have to have a supporting cast and you have to have a good system. I have seen guys that I think are excellent quarterbacks and have a pretty good supporting cast and I think the system doesn’t really fit the quarterback and they look pretty average to me. For a guy to really shine in the National Football League, he has got to have everything.”

On his strategy for kickoff coverage:
“Anytime a guy can kick touchbacks, you let him kick touchbacks. The 20-yard line to start isn’t great field position, so if you can get that done that would be a good goal.”

On if his kickoff coverage philosophy changes based on personnel:
“What you always do is look at your personnel. You always look at your personnel. So, when you say philosophy, it all depends – offense, defense or special teams – what your guys can do best. Obviously, we are not going to go through our game plan, but we are going to do that at every phase.”​
No. That's the problem. He was NEVER a Redskin. He wanted to be a Redskin, but couldn't cut the mustard.

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