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Skins Quotes 9/21/11: Mike Shanahan/Jason Garrett


The Commissioner
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BGO Ownership Group
Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC

Marine Corps Virginia

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the injury status of safety LaRon Landry:
“We’re not going to get into a lot of detail today, but he was limited today with a few other players. We’ll kind of judge him during the week and see how he is… It’s day-by-day. Each day, you can evaluate where he is and hope he keeps on improving and hopefully he’ll be ready. I thought that maybe last week and it didn’t work out that way.”

On the injury status of cornerback Josh Wilson:
“Same thing [as Landry] today. He was limited, which means he did practice, but he was limited. Hopefully, he keeps on improving… He didn’t have a concussion.”

On what he expects to see from Landry if he’s able to play:
“I think that’s the big key – you have to find out if somebody is in football shape. You have to get him in football shape and that’s what we’ll try to judge during the week. I don’t want to bring him back too quickly… It will take some time [for Landry and Oshiomogho Atogwe to get on the same page]. The question is how quickly does he recover and what kind of football shape is he in? That’s what we’ll get a chance to do this week. We have an extra day-and-a-half so that’s a plus.”

On defensive end Stephen Bowen balancing his son’s health issues and playing football:
“You’re talking about somebody who is mentally tough. He’s so tight with his family and cares so much about his family. For him to be able to do what he’s doing about it is just amazing in itself. I take my hat off to him and it sounds like the baby is doing well and should be back maybe Friday. I know that means a lot to him like it does the rest of the team.”

On if Bowen is meeting expectations:
“He’s done a great job for us. He’s a pro. He’s a student of the game and he works every day. He’s accountable and he’s what we were hoping for.”

On if he’s spoken to the rookies about what the rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys means:
“I think they find out from the players as the week goes on. We talk about the importance of what a division win means, especially on the road. We talked about a week ago that if you do win all of your division games, then you’re guaranteed a home playoff game. That’s big in itself, but what we talk about is taking care of business today and having a good practice. And we had a good practice today.”

On if any other players were limited:
“[DeJon] Gomes did not practice today and we’ll take a look at him. [Kevin] Barnes is fine and he’s full go. [Brandon] Banks is fine. [Chris] Cooley is fine.”

On if the Dallas defense is different this year:
“Everybody is a little bit different in their defensive scheme. The defense is a little different with the structure that they do – more fronts, more different types of coverages. They are very sound in what they do and it’s very similar to what they have done in previous years. They have some great personnel on both sides of the ball, so it’s a great challenge.”
On the team’s improvement on the offensive line against the Cardinals:
“Like we talked about, you’re a hair away from getting that big run and you’re a hair away from not having any sacks. You just have to keep on working and that’s what we did. Our running game improved and [we were] a little bit better on the back side. [It was] a combination of a lot of people working together and the same thing in the pass protection. We’re young, it’s our first time together and we just have to keep on working to improve every day. There’s nothing like playing games.”

On if he enjoys rivalry games:
“If you can’t get up for games like this, then you shouldn’t be in this profession. From a coaching standpoint or a player’s perspective, Monday night, especially in Dallas, it’s just a great venue. This, to me, is why you’re in this game.”

On linebacker London Fletcher’s performance against the Cardinals:
“He was the player of the game on defense. He’s just one heck of a football player. When you’re one of those great football players, they are not just great athletes, he’ll be great in everything that he does [even] when football is done. Whatever he decades to do, he’ll be the best at it because that’s the way he works. He has a mindset to be ready both mentally and physically. He’s been doing that through his career. He’s not only mentally tough, but he’s also physically tough to take the pounding that he’s had and still play as many games and he has. He’s quite impressive.”

On the NFL sending out a memo today about players faking injuries:
“It happens. When something happens and a couple of guys go down, it happens all the time and warnings will come out. It’ll happen again. It really is hard to police… I can’t say I have [instructed a defense to fake an injury] and I can’t say I haven’t either. The thing that’s interesting and you’ll see it through the years is that not only that teams will be behind by seven, eight or nine points and five minutes left and guys will start going down then. People will forget the 40-second clock or the 25-second clock. Through the years, you’ve seen it all, but the competition committee will look at it and things should be adjusted very quickly.”

On facing teams that have running backs with different styles:
“Everybody likes to have backs that can do it all. One team may have a third-down back who is a great pass protector and can run routes. Another back might be a stronger guy and a first or second-down back and another guy might be a speed guy. It all depends how lucky you are to have depth at that position… I think any time you have three different types of backs, it puts a lot more pressure on the defense. You also want three great backs. The more depth you have at a position, not only are you better at that position, but if someone goes down, you have chance to not skip a beat and that’s what you’re looking for.”

On what makes Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware so effective rushing the passer:
“God-given ability. He’s big, he’s fast and he’s strong. One-on-one with tackles and tight ends, he has that presence. We have a load of them in the NFC East – every team that we go against has some great pass rushers. We’ll be tested and it’ll be fun to be tested on Monday night.”

On the challenges of playing a primetime game on the road:
“I don’t even think of it that way. You just take a look at it as another game. You’re just kind of looking forward to it, especially a Monday night game in the division. Sometimes, you’re a day short [next week], but you go through it during the years and you don’t think anything about it. The players know it and, especially being on the road the following week, you don’t have the recovery time. What we try to do is game plan for the Rams on Saturday, Sunday and Monday while we’re getting ready for the Cowboys as well. It does stretch you a little bit.”

Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett

On the health of quarterback Tony Romo:
“I think he’s doing fine. He got knocked around a little bit on Sunday but he’s getting his rehab and hopefully he’ll be ready to play for this ball game. We’ll take it day-to-day for the next few days.”

On Romo re-entering the game on Sunday after sustaining injuries:
“It was certainly a very gutty effort by him. Anytime you fracture a rib and you puncture a lung—to come back and play in the football game is certainly very impressive. He’s a very competitive guy, he loves to play and I knew just being around him for the last four-and-a-half years that if he could play, he’d be out there. Sure enough, in the middle of the second half, he came up and tapped me on the shoulder and said 'I’m ready to go.’ We were certainly excited to see him back out there and he played awfully well down the stretch.”

On the status of wide receiver Dez Bryant:
“We’ll see. He missed last week’s game and didn’t practice at all last week. We were hoping he might be able to warm up by the end of the week and be ready to go and he wasn’t able to do that. We haven’t been on the practice field yet this week; we’ll be back out there tomorrow, so we’ll see how he does. Again, we’ll take him day-to-day.”

On the difficulty of sustaining momentum and creating continuity while dealing with injuries:
“We’d like to have our starting players out there, certainly, but the nature of the NFL is that that is not going to be the case. The biggest thing that we preach is for everybody to be ready to play. The backup players—we have to have confidence in them, as coaches, and they have to be ready to play and perform when their number is called. They all have a role going into the game and sometimes that role can change based on the circumstances of the game and they have to be ready for it. The last couple ball games, guys have stepped up and done a really nice job of responding to some of those adversities.”

On the status of wide receiver Miles Austin:
“He’s a day-to-day guy. He played an awfully good game on Sunday against San Francisco but he’s been battling this hamstring injury for three or four weeks. We’ll see how he responds again tomorrow. He’s been in for treatment trying to get [his hamstring] right and we’ll just see how it goes as the week progresses.”

On if he was disappointed the Cowboys did not keep defensive end Stephen Bowen:
“We understand the nature of the NFL, and unfortunately, when you have players that people around the league like, it’s hard to keep them all and Stephen Bowen is certainly one of those guys. He played very well for us in that role for the last half of the year, but certainly was a strong contributor prior to that, too. He’s a very good run defender, he’s a very good pass rusher—he’s the kind of guy you want on your team. We certainly were trying to keep him but the business of the NFL sometimes gets involved and it’s hard to keep everybody. We wished him well going there. He was a big contributor to our team the last few years he was in Dallas.

On if he was especially disappointed when Bowen joined a division rival:
“He certainly makes Washington better. They’ve had a lot of good players there and I know just the kind of person he is and the kind of player he is that he makes them better. It will be fun to compete against him. He was a great teammate and a great guy for us to coach down here and I know he’s helping them get better.”

On if he sees any change in quarterback Rex Grossman’s play since the last Redskins/Cowboys game:
“I see a guy who’s a very talented passer—the way he was coming out of school and the way he’s been throughout his career. In the right environment, he can be an awfully good quarterback. He certainly was that in Chicago and he’s been that for Washington with the opportunities he’s gotten. He can throw the ball all over the field, he’s got a very good feel for the passing game and that offense is playing very well. He certainly has a great part in that and it will be a great challenge for us on Monday night.”

On what he likes about the way Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan calls the defense:
“I think he’s done a nice job allowing our defense to play fundamentally sound defense and also be multiple in certain situations in the game. Our guys are playing hard and I think they’re playing well. We’ve had to face two really good run offenses in the first couple of weeks, teams that are really committed to running the football, and I think our guys did a really nice job stepping up and defending the run. Obviously there are many things to clean up on defense, offense and on all parts of our football team, but we believe that they’re understanding the defense better and better and playing well. Rob’s done a great job of implementing the system and certainly of calling it on Sundays.”

On Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s playcalling and the challenges it presents:
“I think he does a great job. He clearly has been around football his whole life. I’ve gotten to know Kyle in his coaching career. We’ve become friends. We were around each other a little bit when we were in Tampa—he’s just a really, really bright guy. He understands football, he understands the game, he understands the people—he understands how to motivate people—and clearly the stuff they’re doing on offense there has been really good stuff, both in the run game and the passing game. He believes in balance and they just do a really good job. It’s going to be a great challenge for us and he’s certainly doing a great job for them.”

On the Redskins’ attempt to balance the pass rush with outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan:
“They certainly have a lot of pass rushers on that defense and Kerrigan is certainly one of them. We really liked him coming out of school, and we felt like his ability to transition to the NFL was going to be a quick one and I feel like that’s the case. He’s definitely showing up, and certainly when he’s playing opposite No. 98 [linebacker Brian Orakpo] on the other side, he’s an outstanding player. They have pass rushers inside, they have play-making linebackers…the front seven of their defense is awfully good and Kerrigan is certainly a big part of it.”

On if he believes faking an injury to slow down offenses is becoming more prevalent in the NFL:
“I can’t answer that quite accurately. I don’t know if it’s more prevalent or not. It seems to be a story this week. I know for a long time teams have tried to do stuff like this and I think the refs in the league have always tried to monitor it as best they can. To answer your question, I don’t know if it’s more prevalent. The NFL is certainly taking a strong stance in trying to address it so it doesn’t happen that much, but I think it’s been around a little while.”

On if the Redskins/Cowboys rivalry is different now than when Garrett was a player:
“I don’t think the rivalry is any different. Those teams were awfully good in the 90s on both sides—with Washington coming off the Super Bowls and the Cowboys going into a stretch where they won three Super Bowls in four years—so they were outstanding football teams competing against each other. To me, that has not a whole lot to do with the rivalry. The rivalry exists, and has existed, throughout the history of these franchises. It’s been one of the great rivalries in the National Football League, and it’s been fun to be a part of it both as a player and now as a coach.”

On offensive lineman Derrick Dockery’s play this past Sunday against San Francisco:
“It looked like he did a good job. He’s only been with us for a few weeks and he stepped in there and he played sound both in the run game and the pass game. There are certainly some things that he can get better at. When you’re talking about your offensive lineman, a lot of it is communication and everyone getting on the same page up there. There are some things that we have to clean up but you can tell he’s a veteran player. He’s played in a lot of games, wasn’t in awe of the situation at all and played a pretty good football game. He came back in on Monday knowing he had to improve but we expected that from him. He’s been a good addition for us.”

On if the Cowboys’ difficulty in starting the running game is slowing down the offense:
“We have to get our running game going. There are a lot of areas on our football team that we have to improve and we’ll keep working to do that. We have been able to move the ball and score some points on offense, which has been a positive over the first couple of weeks, but we’d like to have more balance and run the ball more effectively. As the season wears on we’ll just keep working on that and hopefully we can steadily improve.”

On the effect of having multiple running backs with different skills on the Cowboys’ roster:
“You want to be able to attack the defense different ways. At our running back position, we just like what they can do. We like to put them out there and let them play. I think each of them has the ability to run inside and outside, they can catch the ball and they can block. We feel good about what they can do and we just want to get them some opportunities where they can get in space and start running the football. Again, that’s a work in progress like a lot of things with this football team.”

On how the players’ different skillsets help him as a playcaller:
“I think, in general, it helps you. I think what teams do around the league is they understand what kind of talent they have and often times there’s a very conscious effort to say 'I want a big back, I want a little back, I want these backs to complement each other.’ Other teams have backs that have similar skillsets but they have versatility. I think we probably fall into that latter category. What coaches are trying to do around the league is put their players in the best position they can for them to be successful individually so the team can be successful. If you have those kinds of backs that are different, you certainly want to play to their strengths. If you have the guys who are more versatile, you just let them play. You can do a lot of different things with all of them.”

On the benefit of being interim head coach for the latter part of the 2010 season:
“I think experience in anything certainly helps you. It was good to get out there and be the interim head coach of the football team for the last 8 games and get ourselves going down a path about how we want to do things, both on a daily basis and in a big picture manner. That’s the path we’ve been on. The offseason was disappointing for everybody in the league that we didn’t have our players, but that’s the nature of that situation in the NFL. Our guys came back for the first part of training camp and were excited to get going. We had a good camp but we have so many different areas to improve upon. I think we’re working the right way and hopefully we’ll get better as the season goes on.”

On injuries to the secondary:
“[Cornerback] Terence Newman is the one who’s been hurt the longest. He’s been out since about the second week of training camp so we’re excited to get him back here at some point. He hasn’t practiced much football here in the past six weeks but hopefully he can get himself acclimated and get playing somewhat soon. [Cornerback] Orlando Scandrick went out in the Jets game last week so he’ll be out for a little bit. We’re hopeful that he can get back soon. It’s such an important position in the NFL to have guys who can cover, and those guys who have been good players for us, we’d like to get them back as soon as possible like everybody in the league does with their injured players.”

(Courtesy of the Washington Redskins)

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