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Skins Quotes 9/12: M. Shanahan/K. Shanahan/Haslett


The Commissioner
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Apr 11, 2009
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September 12, 2013
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On what having four tight ends does for the offense:

“It gives you a lot of flexibility. You can use tight ends as wide receivers. Obviously anytime you have four guys up or three guys up, it gives you the flexibility to do a number of different things on offense.”

On if he has ever had a similar situation with the tight end position:

“Yeah, I have, but not very often. Usually you don’t have four legitimate tight ends.”

On how cornerback David Amerson injured his back:

“Just woke up in the morning and was in the weight room and just told me he tweaked it a little bit, just a little sore.”

On if Amerson and defensive lineman Chris Baker were limited in practice:

“No. He was full-go… Baker was full-go, too.”

On began focusing on Green Bay after Monday’s game:

“When you have a short week, normally you get in early, you take a look at the game, both offensively, defensively and special teams. You move on right then. You don’t have a lot of time because you’re in preparation for the next week. You’re dealing with a short week anyhow. Normally, it’s getting a number of things done throughout the weekend. When it’s the second week of the season, you do have the luxury of looking at that team through preseason because you’ve got a little bit more time.”

On if he discusses the environment at Lambeau Field to young players:

“What we try to do is work on the crowd noise. You can’t hear when you have the football. Those are the things – even on third downs today we worked on it. Normally we work on it Thursday, but we do it in third-down situations. Tomorrow, you’ve got crowd noise the whole practice and that’s something that is a little bit different. But yeah, you try not to get too caught up in that.”

On players on the Green Bay defense other than linebacker Clay Matthews he is concerned about:

“Anytime you take a look at a defense that’s right at the top 10 from a year ago – 10th or 11th – that you know is going to play a very sound defense, very consistent with [Defensive Coordinator] Dom [Capers] over the years. They do a good job. Great game plans. They change their game plans up every now and then to keep you off-balance. They’ll always have a certain blitz that they normally bring in. You just know you’re going against a well-coached team with a lot of speed.”

On linebacker Brian Orakpo’s performance in his first game back from injury:

“He did a good job. It’s tough, that first game when you’ve been out a year, or close to it. I thought 'Rak did a good job coming in and making some plays. I think he’ll be much more comfortable this game. The more you play, the more you get in the swing of things, I think the better he’ll feel.”

On linebacker Nick Barnett’s role:

“The more comfortable he gets with our special teams, the more he’ll be put in to that situation. But when you have eight linebackers that dress, we have some safeties, we’ve got some corners, we’ve got some wide receivers, tight ends, we just don’t want to throw a guy in there to throw him in there just because he might get a few more reps… We brought him along slowly so that he wouldn’t have any setbacks with his injury, and I feel very good about where he’s at. But he is on a lot of units, mostly second-team, and we will work him in as time goes on.”

On the advantages of building a program by drafting and developing players like the Packers:

“Number one, I think it’s a great philosophy. It’s a philosophy we’re trying to adapt with our organization. That’s why we try to keep all our draft choices if possible. If you do have good drafts, usually you’re able to reward your players. You want to reward the players, because when they play at a certain level you want to be able to take care of them rather than going out somewhere else and taking them from another team. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep that philosophy here for years to come.”

On the advantages of building a team through free agency:

“When we went to free agency, the first thing we wanted to make sure is that we got leaders. Anytime you get a guy like [defensive end Stephen] Bowen and [nose tackle Barry] Cofield and you play against them a couple times a year and you communicate with players about what type of guys there are besides football players, you feel that you’ve added not only a young player, but guys that have got a chance to be captains of your football team. We were lucky enough to get a couple of guys like that that have helped us, but that doesn’t always happen. That was kind of an unusual year, so you’ve got to count on developing your players and hopefully make the right draft choices and add a guy here or there depending on injuries or the amount of money you do have.”

Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan

On getting back on track following the first few series against Philadelphia:

“It took a while. You’ve got to start getting a couple of first downs before you get a chance to. Starting off that way is probably the worst start to a game that I’ve been a part of, then finally when we did get something going, we finally get into a second-and-1, it seemed like we’d get a holding call to get us into a second-and-long, so it really took us until about the third quarter to actually get any momentum and get into the football game.”

On if the team game planned to not feature the read option heavily:

“No, we really never got to do our game plan, to tell you the truth. We had some stuff in there early, but it wasn’t just that that we didn’t get to do, we didn’t get to do about 90 percent of our game plan. It turned into a two-minute drill pretty fast. In the first half, we wanted to set some things up, which is kind of what we always do in our offense, but when you can’t get a first down, we really weren’t able to set anything up, and we didn’t want to just come out and just run it to run it.”

On his surprise by running back Alfred Morris’s early struggles and improvement as the game went on:

“I was shocked by everything. You never go into a game anticipating that. It was frustrating for me, frustrating for all of our players and something we had to deal with. I was proud of how they came back; at least they didn’t give up, kept fighting. It was definitely something that we’ve got to get corrected and can’t let happen.”

On play of wide receiver Leonard Hankerson:

“Hank has done a good job. I think he’s gotten better every year since he’s been here. He’s had some games that, to us, are real good games that you guys don’t always get to see, because really I think everyone only sees the receivers when they get the ball. Hank has done a pretty good job separating in a lot of games that he hasn’t gotten the ball in. This game, he did have a good game, and the balls came his way. The coverages got him the ball and he capitalized on them.”

On how much work they have done on fundamentals this week to prevent mistakes:

“It’s something we work on all the time, especially when you have a game like that where it just seems like we weren’t detailed in anything. It becomes a huge emphasis. Any time you have a loss, and especially one like that, you are hard on yourself, you look at everything and you work all week to correct it.”

On why they never got to use their game plan:

“It was because of the score. It’s hard to get into a game plan when you’re not getting first downs. I don’t know how many we had in the first half, it’s like two or three, and then we start the third quarter out with a turnover again, we really never got into the game plan, and by the time we started moving the ball, we were in the two-minute drill.”

On how much they look at what Green Bay’s defense did last week:

“That’s all we do. That’s all coaches do is study what defenses do versus each team, what their plan is, how teams adjust each week. You try to guess how they are going to adjust to you. No one really shows you the same stuff twice, so that’s really what our job is.”

On tight end Jordan Reed:

“I was happy with how Jordan played. I thought he did a real good job. Every ball we threw to him, he separated, caught the ball, got up the field fast. He showed us out on the field in practice, he showed us in college that he’s got a chance to be a hell of a player. It was good to see him come out on Monday Night Football and show us that the game wasn’t too big for him. You never know with a rookie in his first game, with the bright lights and everything, how they will react, and he seemed the same as he did on tape in college and how he has in practice and he was encouraging.”

On people saying quarterback Robert Griffin III was 'rusty’ to start the game:

“It’s obvious that people will say that. I think any time that you have three turnovers in the first six or seven plays they should say that about everybody. When Robert doesn’t play in the preseason and you know when anything goes bad we are going to get that, I don’t think that was it, but I think everybody looked rusty. Everybody struggled. No one did a good job and it took a while to get into any part of the game.”

On Griffin III’s footwork:

“It was up and down. He had some plays that were good and he had some plays that were bad. That was the same last year. It’s the same for any quarterback. I don’t think I’ve ever gone through a game where a quarterback has perfect footwork, so there’s plays we take and we try to get him better at and there are plays that he did good. I think overall he was all right and can always get better from it.”

On play of the offensive line:

“They didn’t do great just like all of us didn’t do great, but anytime you throw the ball that much it’s going to happen. That’s the NFL, that’s football. When you get into a one-dimensional game and you are dropping back 49 times or whatever we had and the D-line can tee off, I don’t care what your offensive line is, it’s going to be tough to protect and keep your quarterback upright.”

On when he turned the page to the Green Bay game:

“We don’t have much time. That’s the hard thing about a Monday night game in this league. You would like to do some stuff before it, but you don’t want that to mess you up for the game at hand. We get home late Monday night, we come in real early Tuesday morning, we knock out all those corrections, we meet as a coaching staff and we watch it. Usually about eight in the morning we are done with it and then you have to get going on Green Bay because you only have a day to prepare for them where usually you have two days, so it has been a bit of a grind this week… My body still felt the pain, it’s still tough after any loss, but you don’t have a choice, you have got to move on; the time is ticking.”

On tight end Fred Davis:

“I thought Fred played solid. I can’t say anyone on offense played great when we have a game like that, but we have got a good group of tight ends. We rotated all four of them; three of them getting the majority of it. I don’t think [tight end] Niles [Paul] had as much as the other three, but all three played. We are trying to get a rotation because we feel we have four good players and we think they can all help us. They all can help us in different areas too and with what we asked him to do, he did a good job.”

On difficulty of working in four guys at tight end:

“It’s tough to get a perfect equal rotation. What we try to do is do what is best for the team. Each guy has his plusses and minuses. When you have got four guys that can play, you want to get them all involved. So you try to get the guys in in what they do best, but you can’t just put guys in in specific situations because then there becomes a tendency issue, so you try to get everybody involved. Our tight end coach does a good job rotating them. It’s not something I can totally pay attention to during the game, but it’s something we go through throughout the week, and we try to set it up, and each game that it goes I think it plays out a little bit more as the year goes.”

On his impressions of Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly’s offensive system:

“It looked good. It looked like it has in college that I’ve watched for a few years. It looked like kind of what we expected. It’s always scary watching [quarterback] Michael Vick and [running back LeSean] McCoy out there because they’re as good as it gets.”

On how to limit the impact of Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews:

“You’ve got to account for him. He’s a huge challenge, just like a lot of outside backers and defensive ends are in this league. He’s as good as anyone. I haven’t played him for a while, but he looked great last week, had a good year last year. He’s relentless. He brings it every play. He’s never going to stop. If you ease up for one moment on him, he will make you pay. You just got to always account for him and never take a play off, because he won’t.”

On where he anticipates Matthews lining up on defense:

“I don’t really know. I don’t know what their plan is. He’s usually on our left, but you never know. Some games he’ll move around to the right, sometimes he’s back and forth. Percentage-wise, he’s usually on the left, but he’s in a 3-4. You never know, especially with their coordinator. He moves guys over all the time, so we have no idea going into the game and we’ve got to be ready for whatever.”

On how much more complete the team is at tight end:

“It gives us some depth. Last year, we had three and then Fred [Davis] got hurt, and bringing back [Chris] Cooley. We used two tight ends and we’d get Cooley in there sporadically. When you have four guys, you’ve got a lot more depth. It keeps guys fresh. It allows Niles [Paul] to really go off on special teams, which he is a real good special teams player. You’re not so pigeonholed if you do have an injury, because you have four guys capable of doing everything. It just makes you a little safer going into games.”

On the positives and negatives of running a hurry-up offense:

“My philosophy on offense is just execution, and it depends on what your scheme is. Their scheme, their whole thing is built on tempo. They’re not running the two-minute drill. They’re running what their scheme is at a hurry-up pace. When we’ve gone no-huddle, it’s not our offense. It’s a two-minute drill. I do think up-tempo does affect a lot of things defensively. It’s fun to watch. I think there’s an advantage to it, but it’s not something you just do to do. You’ve got to work at it year-round, and you’ve got to execute your offense. Their offense, the plays they run, is a no-huddle package. They do a good job executing those plays. It’s something that if you can fit what your scheme is into it, it’ll always give you a bonus, but it is sometimes hard to fit a scheme into just a hurry-up tempo.”

Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett

On playing cornerback E.J. Biggers at safety against Philadelphia after a week of practice:

“First of all, you don’t know if he only practiced there for a week – he was there a lot longer than that. So he actually worked, and he actually did a nice job.”

On his assessment of how the defense played vs. Philadelphia:

“Obviously we didn’t play very well in the first half, for a number of different reasons. And we played much better in the second half, so that’s probably how I judge it. It doesn’t make a difference whether you were Okie, nickel or whatever, it’s just bottom line we didn’t play very well in the first half and then we did much better in the second half.”

On if he’ll assess the defense differently in the game against Green Bay because it’s the first time using the defensive scheme he envisioned:

“No, you’re not going to second guess us, we played the same defense in the second half that we played in the first half but we played it much better.”

On if linebacker Brandon Jenkins will continue to play only one snap moving forward:

“I hope not, but it’s one of those situations that we knew going into the game it was going to be that way.”

On if players were out of position or if they didn’t make plays in the game against Philadelphia:

“Well, we had a little bit of both. We had guys in position to make plays. We missed a bunch of tackles. And we had guys that were out of position, and not because we didn’t rep it and not because we didn’t work it, it’s because of the speed, guys had communication issues and some other stuff. Which we can take care of that, like we did in the second half. We did much better in the second half doing it.”

On if he expects to have safety Brandon Meriweather against Green Bay:

“I’d love to have him back. I haven’t seen him play for so long. I’m not sure. But hopefully – I said the same thing last week and he didn’t play last week, so we’ll see.”

On the adjustments he made to the defense at halftime:

“We cleared some things up for them that made it easier. We did some things on defense, probably scheme-wise, that helped them out. We actually did it about the middle of the second quarter.”

On Biggers’ play:

“He actually played well. E.J. had nothing to do with what happened in the first quarter.”

On if it was unusual that Biggers would play safety:

“For you, maybe. If you’re a football player, probably not.”

On what he saw from Biggers that made him a natural choice to fill in at safety:

“He runs a 4.31 [40-yard dash]. That’s why. We wanted to get some more speed on the field.”

On what challenges Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers presents:

“He’s probably one of the top two quarterbacks in the league. You don’t see too many people stopping him. That’s a great challenge for our defense because what he’s going to do, they do a lot of similar things. He checks off, he runs the show. You’ve got to do a great job of giving him different looks. He figures it out fast. This guy can do everything. He can throw, they can run it, he’s athletic, he runs, so this is a great challenge for us. We played them a couple of years ago, but since then, he keeps improving.”

On how difficult it is to maintain eye discipline and assignments against a mobile quarterback like Rodgers:

“That’s the challenge because he takes off and runs and balls are going deep, they’re going to the sideline. His athleticism keeps him alive in the pocket so you have kind of the same challenges you had last week.”

On what Packers running back Eddie Lacy adds to their offense:

“He’s a tough guy, a steady back. He can catch the ball, a pretty good blocker. Obviously he’s an upgrade from what they’ve had in the past. Looks like a good football player from what I’ve seen. Even [running back Johnathan] Franklin and the kid from University of Buffalo [running back James Starks], I think they’re all pretty good players.”

On if the Packers’ improved running attack makes it more difficult to defend Rodgers:

“It obviously does because now they can run the ball and you can’t line up in eight-man fronts to stop the run. You’ve got to kind of be careful with what you are doing, but you’ve got to pick and choose with this team.”

On if he has to remind players to stop the run when playing a team that is known for passing:

“We always emphasize trying to stop the run. Obviously we didn’t do a very good job last week, but it’s one of those situations that, you don’t want to give every team the situation where they can do both. You have to take something away.”

On if working with Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy in the past helps him to game plan for their offense:

“I used to sit in his meetings all the time. As the head coach, I would sit in the offense’s meetings on third down and the red zone, so I know how he thinks. I don’t know what the hell he’s going to do, but I know how he thinks.”

On performance of nose tackle Barry Cofield and if his cast will change for the Green Bay game:

“I think any time you have a club you are going to be limited. Sometimes he had a hard time getting off blocks and he missed a couple of tackles because of the hand, but for the most part he did all right. I think he’ll be in that for a while. I’m not sure how long, but it will be a while.”

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