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Skins Quotes 9/19: M. Shanahan/K. Shanahan


The Commissioner
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Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC
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September 19, 2013
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the status of safety Brandon Meriweather:
“He did drill work just like yesterday. He wasn’t able to practice. We’ll see how he is tomorrow. If he’s okay, he’ll be able to practice.”

On if nose tackle Barry Cofield can now practice without a club cast on his hand:
“Yeah, he was able to move his fingers. You can see it’s helped him.”

On if Cofield can play in a game without the club:
“I believe so.”

On how he balances the desire to have an intense practice with having players rested for Sunday’s game:
“You’re allowed to have pads on once a week, and this is kind of our day when we do run the football. It’s kind of full-go without taking people to the ground. We had a good chance to get 20 reps of that, and then we had padded practice for the rest of the practice. It went well. You form tackle. You don’t take people to the ground, but hopefully you improve.”

On why tight end Jordan Reed played more than tight end Fred Davis at Green Bay:
“In different positions, you have a little bit more depth, and I think that’s one of our strongest positions right now is the tight end position. We’ve got a lot of guys that can play and a lot determines on how well you practice during the week and how well you play on game day. When guys practice better or guys step up on game day, they get a few more reps. That’s what happened with Fred.”

On Reed:
“He’s done a great job. He’s got a unique ability to be able to beat people one-on-one. If a linebacker covers him or if a safety covers him, he’s got the foot quickness and the ability to move where he’s going to get open the majority of the time, which is very hard for tight ends to do. He can move like a wide receiver, so that’s one of the reasons why he played a lot last week in the two-minute situation, where he got a chance to matchup on some people.”

On the status of kicker Kai Forbath:
“He’s getting a lot of treatment. He says it’s feeling better, but until he actually kicks, we won’t know for sure. Probably Friday or Saturday will be the first time we try to kick him and see how he does.”

On if he has spoken with players about the percentage of 0-3 teams that have made the playoffs:
“We didn’t go over the stats when we were 3-6 a year ago, so we won’t go over any stats relative to 0-2 or whatever it may be, if it’s 1-2, whatever. What you’ve got to do is concentrate on the next game. Your next game is the only game, and that’s what we’re doing right now. To win those types of games, you’ve got to have great practices during the week, you’ve got to have a sense of urgency, and I think we’ve had that for the last couple of days.”

On Davis saying he had less playing time because of missed assignments:
“If he told you he missed assignments, then obviously he missed some assignments. I wouldn’t share that with you, but if he did, it surely doesn’t help.”

On if he and Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan factor in quarterback Robert Griffin III’s recovery in their play calling decisions:
“I think when you take a look at the game, it was a different-type game. When you’re behind as many points as we were in both games, you get to a two-minute attack. The two-minute attack is different from what we ran last season. If we did get behind again in those types of situations, you want to get back in the game, so you can’t run your normal offensive scheme. We didn’t do that last year. When we did, we did a fairly good job of moving the ball in the two-minute situation, even though we weren’t confronted with it very many times. When you fall behind as many touchdowns as we did, I was fairly pleased with a number of things we did correctly. What we’ve got to do is correct that first half. We talked about the Philly game, a lot of turnovers in our last game, third downs. Hopefully, this next week we can say, 'Hey, we did some good things in the first half,’ then you could see how our offense should operate.”

On players on the Detroit Lions defense that concern him other than defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh:
“Anytime you’ve got that type of pass rush with as many first-rounders as there is in that defensive front, you know they can put some pressure on you. But as we understand with a defense, it’s the coordination of a defense, and they’ve been doing a very good job. I think they’re ranked 15th. They do an excellent job ranked number one in third-down conversions, an area we have struggled in, so we’ve got to bring our 'A’ game.”

On defensive end Kedric Golston:
“He was sore. Ribs are sore. Abdomen a little bit sore. He did practice, but he was limited.”

On when Golston suffered his injury:
“I just asked him today. I thought he did it yesterday because he was a little bit sore, and he said he got it during the game and it is a little bit more sore than he thought it would be at this time. So he was limited today. He was out there, did practice.”

On his reaction to the media’s constant debate on how Griffin III should play:
“I understand the debate. Any time you are on a running offense in college, people are always going to question how long is it going to take before you make this progression – your first year, your second year, your third year? People that just come from a dropback system, can they run quarterback keeps and do the play-action type game? No matter what, there is always question marks, the unknown, first year to second year to third year. I do know, regardless of who you are at quarterback, it does take repetition and it takes time. Nothing is automatic for anybody. I think any time you do have Robert’s ability, like we’ve seen last year, where you are able to run the play-action pass, zone-read, quarterback keeps, drop-back game, he has a great skillset and that skillset will improve practice-by-practice, game-by-game. It’s not going to happen overnight. Nothing is going to be perfect. Last year for a rookie it doesn’t get much better than that. Hopefully the games are fairly close where we can run our style of offense that everybody has gotten used to over the last year.”

Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan

On saying they didn’t get to 90 percent of the game plan in Week 1 and what percent of the game plan they got to in Week 2:
“Equally the same. It was almost the same situation. Different reasons why, but whenever you’re down that much in the second quarter, it kind of changes.”

On if the lack of read option is by design:
“Not at all. We’ve ran just as much read option as we have with other run plays. We haven’t run many run plays at all, but we haven’t gotten any quarterback pulls. I think most people notice it when the quarterback pulls it, but we’ve ran the read option, just haven’t gotten pulls... You only pull it when the defense allows you to pull. When guys are rushing the quarterback every play, you hand it off. I’d guess right now we probably ran about three versus Philly, about three versus Green Bay. That’s about normal percentage-wise, because we haven’t had many run calls because we’ve gotten out of our run game plan pretty early in the game.”

On the key to setting up quarterback pulls:
“The key is to stay on the field and actually run an offense. You’ve got to get first downs or you’ve got to not turn it over to stay on the field. We’ve got to set a lot of stuff up. If they tackle the back the very first play, we’ll pull it the first play, but if you understand the zone read, you don’t force anything you read a defensive end. [Green Bay linebacker Clay] Matthews was straight up the field, just like he was versus San Francisco the week before, and you hand it off. Usually there is a hole in the defense when they’re doing that because they don’t account for a certain spot. We got about five yards on our first one to Alf [running back Alfred Morris]. We got three yards on another. We weren’t too clean inside, but you keep getting that, you keep pounding guys going inside and eventually they go get the back and when they do, you hope the quarterback reads it right and pulls it and gets the big play outside.”

On if he has confidence in quarterback Robert Griffin III’s ability to run:
“Yes, I do.”

On tight end Fred Davis’ playing time in the second half:
“It wasn’t really the plan going in. It’s like I told you guys last week, we have got a bunch of tight ends. We have confidence in all of them, so there’s a lot of competition there. It’s something that will be week-to-week, game-to-game and as the game went on, we felt we had a better chance with [tight end] Jordan [Reed] there in the second half.”

On what has kept Griffin III in the pocket more than he was last season:
“I just think it’s been the situation in games. It’s definitely not the plan going into it. I don’t think in any game last year we were ever behind that much. In every game last year it was a pretty close game except for maybe the Pittsburgh game, but from what I remember it was still close late in the third quarter. It wasn’t three scores in the second quarter. When you get into a two-minute type offense at the start of a third quarter, you are not going to run him intentionally. If people aren’t open, then the quarterback scrambles, but people were open in these two games and I think that’s why he’s had pretty good statistics throwing the ball, but you scramble when no one is there and the defense allows you to and it hasn’t been that way.”

On if there were discussions in the preseason to make Griffin III more of a pocket passer:
“No, not at all. Our long term plan is to do what Robert does best and to try our best to make him and our team successful. Whatever we think that is we’re going to try to do. We obviously haven’t done a good job with that the last two weeks. We haven’t really been able to stick with our plan going into it as I think everyone has mentioned with the score getting out of hand early, but our plan is not going to change. Our plan is always going to be what he does best, what our team does best, and what gives our team the best chance to win.”

On where he saw improvement in Griffin III from Week 1 to Week 2:
“I thought he definitely improved. I thought he was better in the pocket. I thought he was better throwing the ball. He had an interception in that game, but the interception wasn’t his fault it was a dropped ball that got tipped up in the air. He didn’t throw in any real bad looks, so I thought he played better.”

On if he is concerned by Griffin III indicating he might need to run the ball more:
“No. What guys say to you guys doesn’t really concern me much. I think what Robert is saying to you guys is he wants to make some plays, and I hope he does. I hope all of our guys out there want to make plays, and however those plays are made, I hope we start making them because it helps everybody no matter who it is and no matter how you make it. You make a play in this league and it changes the game and I’m all for anybody making plays.”

On third down struggles:
“Last week, it was really everybody had their part. Every position had their part, which means every coach had their part. We just weren’t clean. Whether it was a penalty, whether it was a drop, whether it was a missed throw, whether it was bad protection, whether it was busted protection, whether it was a bad call, it just wasn’t clean. We had some opportunities and we didn’t execute them, and when you don’t execute them, you can’t stay on the field. We’re just trying to clean it up. You don’t ever feel out there like it’s anything they’re doing where we just can’t get anything going. It’s just one guy after another and you are only as strong as your weakest link, and it seems on third down especially we’ve had a weak link.”

On if Griffin III and the receivers not being in sync:
“I don’t really know what the reason is, but I think that’s pretty obvious. It’s been every position. The receivers have had their moments on third down, so has the quarterback, so has the O-line, and so have our running backs in some protection issues, so it’s been everybody, including myself.”

On challenge of keeping Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh out of the backfield:
“Well, he’s usually on the right side, so usually it’s on those guys, but he can move, you never know what will happen. It’s a challenge. He’s as good as anyone in this league. He comes off the ball. He’s quick and athletic, and he’ll get after you if you don’t account for him. We’ll have our hands full with him.”

On play of tackle Trent Williams versus Green Bay:
“I thought Trent had one of his better games here. He was pretty impressive. He had a few highlight plays that you guys probably know of that you don’t see very much from a tackle in this league or anywhere that were very impressive. I think he played consistently, too. I don’t think he had a penalty in the game. I thought he did a very good job.”

On if he has the desire to design plays toward Williams:
“Yeah, you obviously want to go to your best players, but I’m pretty OCD in tendencies and stuff like that so I try to balance everything out and keep people honest. But, yeah, he definitely is a guy who better things happen when you’re in his direction. But I think defenses can figure that out too and they know how to help to that side of the field also so you have to stay balanced.”

On his emphasis in practice:
“You just don’t want guys to lose their confidence. You have to look at the tape and be hard on yourself and you’ve got to really see what the issues are. When the issues you can see on there, it’s one guy here, one guy there, you just try to show the guys that you can still play. You’re still a good team. You’re still a good offense, but if you don’t get it done, if you don’t stay on the field, you’re going to punt. We’ve done that for two first halves now. We’ve finally gotten it going in the third quarter. We’ve got some offense going, but by that time it’s been too late. I’m happy with how the guys have played in the second half, but it really doesn’t mean anything because we have two losses. We really have to make sure that, no matter how the game is, whether it’s we need to win 6-3 or 50-48, that we’re ready for that, and we can get a W.”

On if these struggles are easier than in years past because of the talent level on the team:
“It’s always hard when you lose. I don’t think coaches ever feel great. You can win 14 games in a row and then if you lose a couple you are starting to press already. Every week is the same in this league. Every year has almost been the same for me. I feel confident in our guys that we can get out of this. I’m confident in our players. I’m confident in our coaching staff. Every week I want Sunday to come. It couldn’t come faster, because I want to get this feeling out of us.”

On if passes off the zone read can be effective without Griffin III setting them up with runs first:
“Whether it’s zone read or outside zone or power or man-blocking, whatever kind of play-pass you want to do are definitely better when the defense is honoring the run. The more you can make a team honor the run, the better those passes will be. We still have gotten a lot of yardage these last two games with play-passes, but the more we can pull the defense up and make them account for the run and 100 percent commit to the run, it makes the pass game much, much easier.”

On if any of the plays are designed to account for Griffin III recovering from an injury:
“No. When you are told someone is healthy, and he seems healthy to you, then he’s healthy. You call plays that put that guy in the best position to be successful and your best chance for your team to win. I’ve played with guys that are banged up and stuff and do things, and yeah, you don’t want to put them in positions that you know they can’t do. But when you know a guy is healthy it doesn’t change my mindset.”

Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett

On if rules against hitting in practice make it difficult to be prepared to tackle in games:
“I’m going to put that on us coaching because obviously we haven’t done a good job of stressing the issue. You get time to tackle. We have pads on today, so individually, you need to work on it. Obviously I was wrong, I thought we made great strides during the offseason after [safety] Bacarri [Rambo] had his, the one day the first game he had a bad [game], and then we actually tackled well the next games. Then the first two games of the season that’s been an issue with us, so, from a coaching standpoint I’ll wear that because I’ve got to put them through more situations where they are out there tackling an individual and make sure that they are better at it.”

On what he can do differently without tackling in practice:
“You can tackle without pads on. You can work on wrap tackling. There is dummies out there, you can do different things. Obviously the other teams aren’t having this issue, so whatever they are doing, it’s got to creep into what we’re trying to do, but we’ll fix that problem. We’ll work at it and continue to try to get better in it.”

On how to contain Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson:
“He’s a great football player. Anybody who is 6’5”, 240, runs a 4.4, he is going to be hard to contain. I hope we can slow him down, limit his plays and make sure we have bodies on him all the time and somebody around him to really just try to slow him down if we can.”

On if tackling has more to do with a mentality than anything else:
“Yeah I think it is. I think sometimes it’s just guys want to tackle. I think it’s an array of different things, but from a coaching perspective, obviously I have got to do a better job of getting these guys ready to tackle because we had way too many tackling issues the first two games.”

On if he has done anything different in terms of practicing tackling this season:
“If we have an issue on defense, and obviously that’s an issue, that’s something you address during practice. We’ve actually have been working on it. We thought we did a nice job in the offseason after that first preseason game because we had some issues that we worked on that we had pads on all the time, but it’s creeped back up and it’s just something we have to continue to try to get better at.”

On if it is odd to see players lose tackling skills:
“The first game, I think it could be a number of different things. You are talking about a great running back, trying to tackle him in space. We didn’t do a very good job of that. Then last week was just way too many missed tackles for different issues. I think we got a stiff-arm last week and we went low one time. Again I’ll put that on the coaches. We just have got to get work at it and try to get better at it.”

On if he is still confident in the defense:
“We went through this last year. We struggled, and then we put it all together. It took us a little while but we got it all together, but I thought we played great the last eight or nine games last year. And the same thing – I thought we were awesome in preseason. Again, I’m going to put that on myself. I’ll take full responsibility for these two games because obviously I run the defense, so, whether it’s getting your swagger back or working at practice – and we’re going to work at the things we need to work at and get better – the number one thing that bothers me is we haven’t done a very good job in the run game. If we can stop the run, and we’ve been pretty good at it over the first three years, last year we were awesome, if you can stop the run and make a team one-dimensional, that’s where you get your turnovers, that’s where you get big plays, and we haven’t done a very good job in the first two games stopping the run. The point of emphasis for our football team at practice yesterday and today is to make sure we do a great job in the run game.”

On how the Lions offense changed when running back Reggie Bush left the game with an injury last week:
“Obviously, we’ll adjust to it. We always prepare for a guy like that to play because he’s a great playmaker, fantastic athlete. If he doesn’t play, I’m really a fan of [Lions running back Joique] Bell and [Lions running back Mikel] LeShoure. I think those guys are awesome. I think they do a great job at running back. They have a number of different running backs, so I don’t think the game plan will change much from a run standpoint. I don’t think it will change much from a passing standpoint, but they probably won’t go to that guy as much as they would Reggie.”

On what he has seen after moving to the coaches booth for games:
“Some ugly football [laughter]. We’ll fix it. We’ll get better. I love these guys. I love being around these players because they work hard and they know this is an issue and we’re going to fix the thing. Practice was awesome yesterday. Like I said, I’ll take responsibility for those games. We have got to get better as coaches. Players have to get better. We went out yesterday, I thought practice was great. We’ll go out today, we’re going to have a great practice today, and we’ll continue to try to get better. I feel good about these guys. For what they did last year, the way we came back last year, and then what we did in the preseason, I know what this team can d. So we just have to put everything together and get our swagger back and get our confidence back in what we’re doing.”

On what has led to holes in the line against the run:
“You know what happens, when you get down and guys are trying to make plays and somebody wants to make a play so he jumps around a block, trying to make a play, obviously he wants to do something for the football team, but he gets out of his gap and then the linebacker fits wrong and they get a 10- or 15-yard run and that’s what happened last week, but we’ll correct that.”

On if issues with the defense would be corrected if it was a close game:
“No, I think we’ll correct it from practice. We’ll work at it in practice. We’re going to correct that and then take it to the game. We’re good – we know we can stop the run. We have the ability to stop the run, and we have done it. We just have to get back to what we do best.”

On if rookie mistakes in the secondary have been a factor for the defense’s performance:
“A lot of that is what it was last week. We missed a check last week. They got a big play. Everybody had it but one guy, young guys. Those things are correctable. Looking back too early for the ball, that stuff’s correctable. Missing tackles, that’s something you’ve got to work at. You’ve got to work those things, a blown coverage or something. If you give me one-on-one, those things happen in this league. You’re talking about a great quarterback who played last week who was throwing a lot of smokes and hitches and short game. We get three sacks in the opening drive. They ain’t dropping back anymore. They’re throwing the ball out quick, you’ve got to tackle. Get the ball out quick, you’ve got to tackle. Then the run game opened up, so we kind of played into their hands. If we could have gotten them in the situations where it was third-and-long, obviously you get three sacks on the opening drive. Our guys thought they were on pace for 10 or 12, but it doesn’t work that way because you’ve got to adjust to what they’re doing and you’ve got to be able to tackle. We didn’t do a very good job, and again, it’s my fault.”

On safety Brandon Meriweather’s performance:
“Pretty good snaps when he was in there. It cost him about 42 grand, but they were pretty good snaps. I thought he moved around well. I thought he was into the game. Obviously he throws his body around, he gives you a guy that’s a weapon back there. I was impressed with the short time he played. Hopefully we get him back sometime and we can keep him for a stretch.”

On if he thought Meriweather’s helmet-to-helmet hits were legal:
“I don’t evaluate that stuff. I let the league handle that. Obviously, I’m always for the player – being an ex-player – but that’s just how it is.”

On linebacker London Fletcher’s performance:
“Everybody on this team’s got to get better -- myself, London, the whole defense -- and we will. We’re going to work at it. London’s just like the rest of us. We’ve all got to get better.”

On strides linebacker Ryan Kerrigan has made:
“I think he’s playing excellent football, I thought him and 'Rak [linebacker Brian Orakpo] both played – even as bad as the game was last week, those two played about as well as you’re going to get from a pass rush standpoint and the run game. Those two guys have been outstanding. And again, there’s areas they can improve in like all of us, and they will, but I thought they did a nice job in those two areas.”

On benefits of coaching from the booth and if it’s challenging to communicate with the players:
“That part is not as easy, obviously if they come off the field we can talk to them. But I can see a little bit better; you can see what’s going on, you know you can diagnose what they’re doing. From that standpoint, it’s a lot better. The communication part is always going to be an issue when you’re that far away.”

On how to counteract a short drop in terms of the pass rush:
“First of all like I said, we need to do a better job in the run game so we can get them in those types of situations. Then if they throw those hitches or smokes or quick game, you have to do a great job tackling and get them in manageable situations on third down, where you have a chance to win.”

On if it’s key to put teams in third-and-long situations:
“No doubt, and we haven’t done a very good job of that the first two games.”

On if he’ll stay up in the booth or move back down:
“I’ll probably stay upstairs. You know, I think there’s advantages to both but I’ll probably stay up there for now.”
I feel like this is fluff and someone is either not being truthful about Griffin or are just trying to keep whatever is happening "in house"

Well, I can certainly tell that's something going in "in the house" with Fred Davis :)

On Davis saying he had less playing time because of missed assignments:
“If he told you he missed assignments, then obviously he missed some assignments. I wouldn’t share that with you, but if he did, it surely doesn’t help.”
I feel like this is fluff and someone is either not being truthful about Griffin or are just trying to keep whatever is happening "in house"

Could be, but I'll take him for his word at face value. After all, that is what we got to hang our hat on and hold him specifically to his word. That being said, what I take from it is that we have not changed anything relative to scheme, game plan or limiting Robert in any way. And that he is admitting that we just have got our arses handed to us and forced us to throw away the game plan in the first quarter and pray the rest of the way. Well then, that is nothing more than code for "we are toast". Our defense won't allow us to play with a lead in any game, and obviously, Kyle hasn't got a clue how to play from behind, both Morris and Griffin are playing with their balls cut off.

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