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Skins Quotes 9/12: Shanahan/Fischer/RG3/Bradford

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Marine Corps Virginia


September 12, 2012
Redskins Park


Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On wide receiver Pierre Garçon:
“He did not practice today, neither did Brandon Meriweather. Everybody else participated. Chris Baker and Trent Williams were full-go.”

On the decision to put long snapper Nick Sundberg on the Reserve/Injured list:
“If you go through your full schedule, you can’t bring them back for eight full weeks. So if someone is injured in the next three or four weeks, you could say, 'Oh, I could have used it for that guy.’ There are a lot of possibilities. I went back and looked over the last two years and it was not one person that fit in that window. When you look at Nick, he probably would be full speed in six or eight weeks, so I think it’s a perfect situation for him. I think the rule was put in place for camp, so if you happened to lose somebody in camp, that guy could come back later on.”

On how impressed he was with quarterback Robert Griffin III’s performance:
“Well, he played a good game. I thought he handled himself well. The Superdome is a tough place to play and I think everybody knows what they did last year and how well they played. For our football team to go in and play at that level says a lot about our football team in general. But to handle the crowd noise like he did and to play the way he did showed a lot of poise.”

On if his relationship with Rams coach Jeff Fisher helped with the team’s trade for the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft:
“Well, I think I obviously have a good relationship with Jeff and [Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer] Kevin Demoff as well. Bruce Allen knows Kevin as well. We had one of those relationships where he had a chance to talk, but this is a business. They are going to go with the best offer, but we had a chance to communicate and make them the best offer.”

On Griffin III’s room for improvement:
“Let’s not get carried away with all this. This is the first game and it’s a growing experience and each game you are going to experience different things. It’s part of the maturation process that he is going to have some high and some lows. It’s just the nature of the game. I was really pleased with the way he handled himself in that type of atmosphere and I hope he keeps it going.”

On Rams quarterback Sam Bradford:
“There is a lot that goes into being a quarterback. There is a supporting cast, it’s the system, it’s continuity, so there are so many factors that go into being a quarterback. Sam Bradford is going to be a top quarterback in this league.”

On mix-ups between the quarterback and running back when running the zone read:
“With that transition right there, our running back was a little bit tight in his angles. There were a couple collisions and a couple bumps, but that should be expected with a young running back coming in. I was really pleased with the way he handled himself. But, with those two situations where we had some contact, the back should have taken a wider course.”

On Fisher’s progress with the Rams:
“Look at what he has done so far. He has a good draft. Obviously, he has a couple No. 1 draft picks in the future. He went out in free agency and really upgraded his secondary. You can already tell that football team is playing really hard. The secondary had three interceptions on Sunday, one went for a touchdown. They have a lot of new players and he has them going already.”

On the acquisition of long snapper Justin Snow:
“We thought he was the best out of the people we worked out.”

On Griffin III’s downfield block and the hits he took last Sunday:
“He’s a good player, but obviously he is going to take some shots because he is like all the other players. Obviously, we want our players to be smart and I think he is smart. He’s going to have to slide in the National Football League because you can’t take too many shots from these guys.”

On having less time to prepare for the Rams than he had to prepare for the Saints:
“It took us a while to find out what direction we were going to go [against the Saints]. I think with a young quarterback, when you bring him in, you have to get a feel of what he does best. We went through our normal installation through OTAs, and once we went through summer camp, we threw in a lot of our offense. You kind of break it down and get a guesstimate of what we think he can do best in that type of environment and he executed it perfectly. I don’t think it’s harder to prepare, but everything is new. He will see different defenses and different blitzes. People are going to try to keep him off-balance and there is nothing like that experience. Usually it takes a couple of years to feel comfortable in a system, I don’t care who you are.”

On watching film from Griffin III’s time with Baylor:
“We do a lot of those things in the offseason. We will take a look college films and look at passing patterns, or sometimes it may be some of the options that different teams do across colleges and we may adopt some of those things colleges are doing. We do that quite often.”

On Griffin III’s bootleg throw to tight end Fred Davis:
“I think he made the right decision. It was designed to throw the ball to Fred and he had a possible hot receiver. He could see that the linebackers were going to contain and he was smart enough to stop and he saw Fred wide open and throw on the back shoulder. When you are an excellent athlete, you have a chance to make plays off your ability.”

On Griffin III being able to extend plays:
“That is what Robert does a great job of. As he attacks the line of scrimmage, we want him looking downfield at all times because we don’t want him to take plenty of shots. Fortunately, he’s been in the type of system where he has a good feel of when to run and when not to run. But he is looking to be a passer first and runner second, but when he does cross the line of scrimmage, he does have to have the speed to make some plays as we’ve seen a couple of times this year.”

On the West Coast Offense:
“They say we’ve been running that offense for the past 15 years. I’m not even sure what the 'West Coast Offense’ is anymore. It used to be a stereotype system and it is so different because so many people have gone in different directions with the West Coast Offense. But we are doing it a little bit different. We are going to have some options in our attack. We are going to rollout and drop back, and Robert gives us the ability to do some things that other teams haven’t done. A lot of people want to keep it inside 15 yards; other people take chances and go deep. I think a lot depends on the supporting cast and what type of speed you have at the wide receiver and tight end positions. What is your quarterback’s strength and weaknesses? You have to look at your talent and make decisions on what you want to do.”

On the pass from Griffin III to Davis:
“Well, it took very little effort. That ball goes 40 yards in the air and it is a 10-yard square out route and not very many people have that kind of arm strength.”

On the play of the offensive line:
“As I shared with you guys, the offensive line is keeping a bunch of guys together. I think everybody can tell what type of athlete Trent Williams is. He is a little bit of a 'freak’ at 325 pounds. He can run a 4.7 40-yard dash and he does it all the time. To have the guys together, working as a group, the cohesiveness is something that takes time. We have everybody except for tackle Tyler Polumbus to be part of it. But he is extremely bright and has picked it up quick so hopefully he can keep that going.”

On not hesitating to start rookies like Alfred Morris at running back:
“Well, you’ve watched him consistently in our preseason games play at a high level. You can see his running ability. The things that you can’t see are some of the things that he did – maybe a little bit too tight of an angle in a game, linebacker and safety blitzes are things that he will get better with experience. But, you need to play. I thought he did an awesome job.”

On the younger players on the team not listening to hype:
“I think Robert [Griffin III] is smart enough to know that it takes everybody to be successful. For an offense to be successful, especially at the quarterback position, you have to have a great running game and great defense. When you have a young quarterback, you have to play well as a football team, because there will be growing pains along the way. We have a guy that everybody believes in. I believe in him. He is exciting and has a lot of talent and hopefully we can continue the improvement.”

On the evolution of the long snapper position as a specialist:
“I think it happened in college. When I was in college, you had so many players. We had 120 players when I was at Florida. You had specialists with holders and snapper and it didn’t take long to figure out if you don’t have a great snapper, it will cost you a football game. I think we saw that in the Raider game, but you see that all the time. That is why your second team guy has to practice in live situations because you never know when a guy like that will go down.”

On how often center Will Montgomery has practiced at long snapper:
“A number of times and we feel comfortable with him that he could go in and execute, but you don’t know until they do it.”

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

On his reaction to being named NFC Offensive Player of the Week:
“Well, it was more than just myself. All the guys who were out there performed at a high level and it paid off for us with a win and, I guess, with another win for Offensive Player of the Week.”

On if he appreciates the area’s excitement for his play:
“I don’t think it’s just about me and I said it when I got drafted. I’m very excited about this team and what this team has to offer. Our defense played well. The offense came together. Everybody knows if they take care of their assignments that we can win, and we’ve got the talent to do it. I feel good about the excitement about this team and I think the team feels good about itself just with the way we performed last week and we’ve got to continue to carry that on.”

On if his performance in the New Orleans Saints game puts pressure on him for upcoming games:
“No, Rex told me after the game that I set the bar high and I’ve got to continue to go up but it really doesn’t put any pressure on me. I’ve just applied what I’ve always thought that if I play in the NFL at a high level, this team can be successful with the coaches that we have and the players that we have. So everyone might not be high on everyone that we have but we feel good about what we have.”

On “Griffining”:
“Who would’ve thought getting knocked on your butt and throwing a touchdown would start a phenomenon like that? But it is what it is. Griffining, RG3, whatever you want to call it, I’m not opposed to it but it’s pretty funny to me.”

On if he has seen anyone “Griffining”:
“I haven’t seen anyone do it, but my teammates have made fun of me for it like I started it on purpose. But it is what it is. People are going to have fun with what they want to have fun with and I’m not going to stop them.”

On how much the Redskins offense feels like Baylor’s:
“Everything’s a little bit similar to something that you’ve done in the past, but I wouldn’t say it’s exactly like what I did at Baylor. That was a unique offense in itself and so is this one. The coaches are coming up with new concepts every day. I think their imaginations are running wild. It would be fun to see what we do and just go out there and execute.”

On the importance of constantly evolving:
“You have to. Every offense evolves and changes, moving guys around, doing different things, doing different concepts. That’s just how it is. Teams are going to try to adjust to what you’ve done so you try not to show anything twice. I think the coaches have been doing a good job at that.”

On if he and his team prepared more for the New Orleans Saints than the St. Louis Rams:
“I don’t think so. I think the coaches trust me and also themselves not to focus too much on New Orleans throughout the summer in OTAs. I think they did a good job. I’m sure they took a peek at it here and there, but for the most part we didn’t really game plan for them until the week before and I think it will be the same way this time. We’ve got to worry about ourselves, learn from the tape from the game, try to figure out what St. Louis will try to do to us. After that just make sure you go out and execute what you have to do.”

On the difference in decision making at the NFL level versus the college level:
“I don’t think it’s the same. Defensive guys are faster and smarter. Guys know their responsibilities. They know where they’re supposed to be. They know what gap that they’re supposed to have. That can make it a little more difficult. But I wouldn’t say it’s easier or harder. Sometimes there’ll be times you give it when you think you should’ve kept it. Sometimes you keep and you think, 'Nah I should’ve gave that.’”

On looking back at the number of times he kept or gave the ball against the Saints:
“You can never be 100 percent sure, but I don’t think there was more than one that I can think of that I should’ve kept or gave. For the most part, they were giving me the looks that I was supposed to make the right read.”

On the creativity of the offense:
“It’s just whatever to help us win. Amazingly we scored 10 points in every quarter in the game, so that was kind of weird to see that. But we stayed on the field, we moved the ball, and that’s what counts. If it’s me running for six yards or [running back] Alfred [Morris] for 15, I’ll take the 15. But whatever it is, we’re just trying to make sure we move the ball. It is fun but I know they’re not going to get too carried away with all the creativity. They’re doing a good job of mixing it in here and there.”

On his body adjusting to the professional level:
“In college, I used to take the whole night off after a game and just kind of let my body gain that soreness. But after the game, we flew back and I got in the cold tub right away to try and get on that recovery because it is a long season. I actually feel pretty good today – legs felt good, body doesn’t feel too sore. When you play football, you’re going to be a little bit sore here and there from the hits, but my body feels good.”

On if it he feels physically different after the game from how he felt in college:
“Not really. I mean everyone wants to compare everything to college. Getting hit is getting hit. It’s going to hurt whether it’s a 300-pound guy or a 290- pound guy. These guys are really good at tackling in the NFL and they’re really good at tackling in college. The NFL is the best of the best, so I’m not going to say college guys hit harder. Everybody hits.”

On Rams quarterback Sam Bradford:
“I watched what I could watch as a fan. I played against him at Oklahoma. He’s a good quarterback. He’s good at what he does, very accurate. He’s a good leader out there leading his team, leading his troops. For the most part, I haven’t paid too much attention. It’s not my job to try to analyze what he’s doing. Hopefully, he can continue to have a successful career.”

On the process of developing chemistry with running backs on zone reads:
“Basically, the running back has to get a feel for, not really how I read things, but when I’m giving it and when I’m taking it. I think we’ve done a good job of that, no fumbles, nothing like that, any mishaps in games. Alf [Alfred Morris], [Roy] Helu [Jr.] and [Evan] Royster have been doing a good job of that. Really, it’s just for them to get a feel. Alf didn’t do much of that in college. He was more of a traditional running back from under center, just hand it off to him. He’s good at that. But Helu and Royster are good at that zone read and knowing which well to hit and he’ll get better.”

On the wildest offer he and his agent have turned down:
“I don’t know. They try not to bring any wild offers to me. I really couldn’t tell you that.”

On the weirdest message he’s gotten on his phone:
“Some jeweler got my number. I don’t know how he got my number. He sends me pictures of jewelry all the time. I’m not a jewelry guy though.”

On if the jeweler wants to give him jewelry:
“No. If it was free, I’d take it. But it’s not free, so I’m not going to buy it.”

On if he was surprised by the trouble Saints linebackers had with the zone read:
“I don’t think they had too much trouble with that part of it. Once they saw it coming a few times, they kind of caught on to it. With the zone read, there are so many things you can do off of it. It’s kind of like you pick your poison. What do you want to stop? Do you want to stop for throws off of it? Do you want to stop the running game? Do you want to stop the quarterback or the running back? They chose what they wanted to stop and we had to make plays in other areas and we made those plays. It’s just about us knowing if they’re going to shut this down, we have to make this play in this area.”

On his glove and sleeve:
“I joke and said the glove was Michael Jackson but that actually was the reason I wore that. I’ve worn it since seventh grade, the first time I played football. The sleeve has kind of evolved. I used to not wear a sleeve. Then, I wore a half sleeve my sophomore year when I came back from injury. Then, it just turned into a full sleeve. It’s just something I’m comfortable with. I think it was Deion [Sanders] who said, 'If you look good, you feel good, you play good.’ That’s kind of what that is for me. Other than that, no real particular reason. I’m not trying to keep this arm warm just in case I have to throw with it, but I can throw with it, just in case you’re wondering.”

On the key lesson he learned from the first game:
“I felt really good about the game. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Like I told the guys, there are certain plays that I will be gifted to make, just with the talent God has blessed me with. But if I’m looking for those plays all the time, then it’ll never work. As long as everybody is on what they’re supposed to be doing in the right areas, plays like that can happen – kind of like the touchdown to Pierre [Garçon]. He was where he was supposed to be when he was supposed to be there. That’s why he scored.”

On if his outside life has changed since the first game:
“Not really. I try to stay away from everything, don’t read too much. I know a couple of y’all asked London [Fletcher] how you stay grounded after a game like that and you just don’t read anything. You don’t listen to it. I’ve kind of just stayed away from it, not that I’ve stayed away from the TV. I’ve heard a few things, but it’s not like I’m looking up articles trying to figure out what everyone is trying to say about how I performed and things like that. You just move on to the next week and I made sure I did that Monday morning.”

On if he felt fluid with his reads:
“You understand the importance of certain things that happen during the summer. When I brought those receivers down to Waco and I showed them some of the things I had done in my career as far as with the zone read. It’s not exactly the same, but I tried to show them some of those things so that they can know, 'Hey, if we really try to make sure this works, it can work and be big for us. It showed a big force in the game. Maybe we didn’t use it every single series or play, but when we did use it, it was big for us.”

On what his father said about his performance:
“I called him and he said that I’m ready and he told my Mom the same thing. He really didn’t have too much to say, just the little things – keeping the ball up when I’m scrambling or things like that. But for the most part, he said he thinks I’m ready.”

On which play he enjoyed the most:
“As a quarterback, you always want to do something that is non-quarterbackish. So I did throw a block down the field. I was pretty proud of that moment. And I didn’t get injured, so that’s a good thing. Somebody is going to be chewing me out for that. It’s little things like that, just trying to help the team win. I probably won’t be throwing blocks the whole time, but to show them that I’m willing to sacrifice everything for them to help us win just one game, I think that goes a long way with your teammates.”

On why he threw across the field to tight end Fred Davis instead of making a safe throw to fullback Darrel Young:
“Well, in football terms, technically I was hot so I was supposed to throw it to DY [Darrel Young]. But out of the corner of my eye I saw Fred, so I threw it to Fred. It’s not really 'creating.’ Fred was open. I hit him. Next time, I’ll probably throw to DY. He was kind of mad about that.”

On how far throw he can throw left-handed:
“I can throw left-handed. My Dad is actually left-handed, so he taught me how to throw left-handed. I can throw it 30-40 yards.”

St. Louis Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher

On his relationship with Mike Shanahan:
“Mike and I spent about six months, of course in separate rooms, at the Marriott with the [San Francisco] 49ers in 1992 and ’93. We both joined the 49ers staff under [Head] Coach [George] Seifert in ’92. Then, I was there two years, in ’93, and I left in ’94 to go to Houston. Obviously, in ’94, Mike stayed there and they won the Super Bowl, beat San Diego down in Miami. Then, Mike took the job in Denver. We go back that far.”

On if the relationship between he and Shanahan played a role in trading the No. 2 draft pick:
“It didn’t have any effect with it. There’s a personal side of the relationship and there’s a business side to this. This was a business deal that we thought was the best decision for both clubs.”

On the support he has received from the St. Louis Rams organization:
“It’s been great. I’m just very, very appreciative of everything [Rams’ owner] Stan [Kroenke] has allowed us to do – really working with [Executive Vice President/COO] Kevin [Demoff] and [General Manager] Les [Snead]. It’s a great organization and we’ve put together a fine coaching staff and we’re looking forward to improving this football team.”

On the changes he has seen in quarterback Sam Bradford over the last few months:
“Last year was difficult on Sam and the offense here for a lot of different reasons – the lockout and the injuries and an offensive change. It was difficult but as I met with Sam early in the offseason, you could tell how competitive he is and how hungry he was to be successful. It’s been a great experience for him. I think he and Coach [Brian] Schottenheimer and [Quarterbacks Coach Frank] Cignetti are doing great things right now together. They’re all on the same page. Sam’s got a good grasp on this offense. He won’t say this but he’s looking forward to the future as we continue to put better people around him.”

On what he saw in quarterback Robert Griffin III against New Orleans:
“I saw the same thing everybody else saw. What a terrific debut – very, very impressive. As people were saying, that’s historical. He did a great job. He threw with accuracy. He was poised, made some plays with his legs and has a good grasp of the offense. Obviously, there’s a lot of things offensively that have been worked on during the offseason and preseason that weren’t shown in the preseason games and it ended up being very productive and successful for him.”

On his defense knowing what Griffin III brings, yet still struggling to defend it:
“It makes it difficult because – first off, in Mike’s quest to acquire RGII, he felt all along that defenses can’t defend those dynamics. Basically, he’s right. If you’re lucky defensively, you create a one-on-one situation with the quarterback. With his athletic ability, he usually wins that.”

On what his week is like preparing for Griffin III:
“We’re going to have a long week. It’s not easy. We coach too and we’ve put together the start of a defensive plan that we think is going to allow us to be successful. You just have to hang your hat on that and you have to work at it the best you can knowing that you can simulate a lot of things they do on the practice field.”

On what he think is the best way to stop Griffin III:
“Do you want me to send you our game plan? I’d be happy to send you our defensive game plan. I’m just joking. I guess my point is that you’re just going to have to wait and see. We’re putting a plan in place and we think it’ll give us a chance.”

On if the way he handles quarterbacks has changed from 15-20 years ago:
“It has, but keep in mind that every situation is different and each staff has different philosophies. There are different strengths and weaknesses offensively. Sometimes there’s a veteran quarterback that the staff feels like could give us the best chance to win. Sometimes you feel like you need some time to develop. There’s no doubt from our standpoint that – with Mike’s effort to acquire him – he was going to play right away. Obviously, we studied him, but not to the extent that Mike did. Most people felt like with Andrew [Luck] that both these guys would be immediate starters.”

On if players coming out of college are more prepared now than in the past:
“I think they’re more prepared, although a lot of the quarterbacks are now playing different offenses, not conventional offenses. I think they’re more prepared with the longer offseason and more of an opportunity to develop them.”

On how much his experience with quarterbacks Steve McNair and with Vince Young helps him prepare for Griffin III:
“There are some things on tape we’ve seen that we actually asked our quarterbacks to do. Again, our challenge from a defensive standpoint is to defend the entire offense. This is a talented offense. They’ve done a great job at the running back position, the tight end position and the receiver position. There are playmakers all over the place and they’ve done a great job of adding speed to the offense. If we just focus purely on the quarterback, we’re not going to be successful. We have to focus on the offense in its entirety.”

St. Louis Rams Quarterback Sam Bradford

On Robert Griffin III’s performance in the first game:
“To be honest, I really haven’t watched the offensive side of the ball for them. I know he put up some big numbers, so obviously he’s handled everything very well. I played against him in college and I remember [Oklahoma Head] Coach [Bob] Stoops always talking about him and being worried about him with his ability to make plays with both his arms and his feet. He’s a very talented, young quarterback and really does both run and throw the football. Obviously, he played really well last week and I’m sure he will continue to play well.”

On why the Redskins’ pass rush has been so effective:
“I think it’s an overall effort from their defense. Their pass rush last week was really good. The guys they have up front are big, physical, athletic guys who are good pass rushers by themselves. But then, if you look at what they did in the back end last week, some of the man coverage they played really locked up the New Orleans receivers and forced [Saints quarterback] Drew [Brees] to hold on to the ball for a little longer than he probably would have liked to. Those guys got home. I think those pass rushers are great by themselves but when that back end is playing as well as they are, that makes them even better.”

On the differences in preparing for Week 1 versus Week 2:
“Obvious, it is a little different Week 1. You’ve got a couple extra days where you can get ahead. This week is a true game week. Fortunately for me, I’ve gone through two years and I know what it takes to get prepared. I know what I need to do film-wise, preparation-wise to get myself ready to go. You would love for all the weeks to be like the first week where you had a couple extra days, but they’re not. This is the regular season and this is how it’s going to be from here on out.”

On the ways Jeff Fisher boosts his confidence and calms him down:
“You just look at the way he handles himself, the way he carries himself on the practice field, in team meetings and on the sidelines during games. He’s just a very confident individual. He believes in himself and he believes in what he’s doing to get us prepared. I think everyone in our locker room really feeds off that and gains confidence knowing that he is so confident in us.”

On the pressure he has felt from being drafted by the Rams as the No. 1 pick in 2010:
“None, really – from them. I’ve said this all along: I don’t think anyone from the outside or anyone in our organization can put more pressure on myself than I already do. I expect myself to play at a high level. I expect myself to be very consistent week in and week out. I’m sure that people in our organization expect the same things, but I think I probably put more pressure on myself to play well than anyone else does.”

On losing two players to injury from his offensive line:
“Obviously, it’s unfortunate. You can look at it either fortunately or unfortunately. We’ve got in this situation before. Last year, we dealt with a lot of injuries and a lot of guys rotating in and out. All I know is we’re going to have five guys on Sunday. They’re going to be prepared. They’re going to be ready to play and they’re going to go out and play at a high level.”
 

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