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Skins Quotes 9/4: Shanahan/RG3/Kelly/Vick


The Commissioner
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Apr 11, 2009
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September 4, 2013
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On safety Brandon Meriweather:

“We’re going to go into our injuries starting tomorrow, for obvious reasons. Tomorrow is like a normal Wednesday with a Monday night game, so we’ll talk about those injuries tomorrow… But our quarterbacks are both doing well [laughter].”

On how the offense can improve with the continuity from last season:

“You are always hoping that you are going to get better as an offensive unit. I think any time you have six new starters, it really says a lot about our players, what they were able to accomplish last year, and we’re looking forward to improving on that and hopefully we can… Any time you have six new guys, they get a feel for the system, they get a feel for some of our opponents, especially within the division, a lot more repetition, a lot more comfortable with the terminology, defenses, and when you put all that together, you are hoping you do improve. We’ve had a good camp, hopefully a great week of preparation this week and we can take it to the field.”

On if restructuring several contracts was one of the last effects of the salary cap penalty:

“Any time you have seven people that would have been part of your 46 on game day, you’ve got two suspensions and you’ve five guys either on the PUP or IR, that’s one of the reasons why we had to restructure a couple of contracts or at least one contract. I feel good where we’re at. We have a lot more depth. We will be able to get three of those players back for sure, so hopefully we take advantage of it.”

On if the team had to release players because of the salary cap penalty:

“No, we did not.”

On how he is preparing the defense for the Philadelphia Eagles’ up-tempo offense:

“We’ve been doing it all through camp. We’ve got different periods where we run the up-tempo type offense to get our players familiar with the game-type speed that we are going to see on Monday night, and we’ve done that since the first day of camp.”

On his confidence in the secondary:

“You always look forward to them taking advantage of the Monday night game and you’re always hoping they play at a very high level, but they are there for a reason. They have earned that position. I like what I’ve seen with our young guys. They have got a lot of potential, but they still have to carry it over to the field. Hopefully we can play the way we’ve been practicing, and that’s at a very high level.”

On preparing for the Green Bay Packers next week on a short week:

“You are used to dealing with those situations. Any time you have a short week, you have looked at Green Bay throughout the offseason. You haven’t really studied them throughout the four preseason games, but you get a chance to look at them on Sunday and Monday, so you get a little jump on those teams that you do play after a Monday night game on a short week. So that’s typical.”

On his success in season openers and what is different about preparing for Week 1:

“I think you’ve got a little bit more time to prepare. You’re preparing throughout the offseason, so hopefully you take advantage of that preparation.”

On areas in which quarterbacks improve going into their second year:

“I think when a quarterback comes in, he’s learning a new language. It’s a completely different system than he’s used to in college. It may be the terminology, the formations, usually it’s all of the above. Then you’ve got a little bit different defenses, different schemes, protections. So all of the sudden, you are learning all of these new things and you aren’t really thinking about the defenses you are facing. So, the first year is usually pretty tough. The second year, you are a lot more comfortable with the terminology. It starts to be second nature. You don’t have to think, you can react. And you are used to seeing defenses on a regular basis going through the previous year. You have got 16 game plans and if you’re fortunate enough to be in the playoffs, you have that, so it’s a combination of all of those things.”

On if he has a set number of carries in mind for quarterback Robert Griffin III for this season:

“No, we don’t have a number.”

On how having an elite pass rush helps the secondary:

“I don’t care how good your secondary is, if you don’t have a pass rush, you are going to be in for a long day. You could have a great secondary and if you have a poor or average pass rush, your secondary is going to look pretty average. So I think any NFL football team that has success with the defense is predicated not only on having a great secondary but a great pass rush. And if for some reason you do lose a number of players, you’ve got to be able to improvise and create some type of pressure.”

On when a quarterback understands when and how to protect themselves:

“Usually a couple of pretty good hits and they will slide a little bit quicker. The quarterbacks that I have been with, they come out and most of them are great athletes and they find a way to make plays. They are very competitive. If you talk about the Steve Youngs and the John Elways, you can go through a number of these quarterbacks, but that’s what they did have. They had a great feel when to scramble. Most of them don’t have a great feeling of when to get down, but they learn that in time.”

On how concerned he is with “rust” for Griffin III:

“It’s not a concern. He has been practicing for the last few weeks at a game-type speed. He’s had more reps in this 2013 Training Camp than he did from the year before. He’s had about 50 more passes, so he’s ready to go.”

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

On how it felt to be cleared to play:

“It was good. All offseason, I’ve been working real hard. My teammates have seen that and it was real gratifying to get cleared to play. I think everybody’s ready to go. We had a great preseason and the team is just ready to make it count now. So I think that’s what we’re looking forward to – going out there and playing a game that matters and that counts. We’ll be ready.”

On what the doctors advised him to do to stay healthy:

“Me, Doc [Dr. James Andrews] and Coach [Mike Shanahan] talked, and we’ll keep that between us. Bottom line is I’m ready to go. They’re confident in what I can do, and we’ll go out there and play.”

On if he has a number of carries in mind for rushing attempts this season:

“I try to stay away from the numbers. You guys tend to take care of that pretty good. It is what it is, whatever that number ends up being. I just want to make sure I go out there and play tough, play hard, play fearless, and at the same time, play smart.”

On if continuity on the offense will help in shaking off the rust:

“I think it will, just having the same guys out there. The system that we run this year is a little bit tweaked than the one we ran last year. Everybody knows that. Everybody’s just on the same page so that’s been a great thing all offseason. Being out there, being able to practice with these guys for a while now – I know practice is different than the games – but it still feels good to have the same guys around me, same offensive line, [running back] Alfred [Morris] in the backfield and the same OC [Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan].

On any concerns the doctors had about his return:

“I can’t shed light on any of that. We talked about it. Coach [Shanahan] said that when we had that conference. Everything came out good.”

On how much he worries about being hit for the first time and what it will feel like:

“It will feel good. Football is football. You’re going to get hit when you play the game. I don’t really worry about it. Just go out there and play. That’s what we get up every morning to do. We enjoy it. I’m not afraid of it. I’m not really anxious about it, just go out there and play.”

On how soon he will learn to slide and get out of bounds when he scrambles:

“Monday night [laughter]. I mean, you guys have been talking to me about it for eight months. I think it’s ingrained in my head now. I’ll be getting down on Monday night.”

On his thoughts when he first returned from his knee injury at Baylor:

“There was no real thought. I got hit early in the game on a scramble at Baylor. It’s a different mentality in college. You’re trying to get to the pros. There’s a lot more different things you can do at that level that are frowned upon at this level. I just know I’ve got to be safe, slide. I’ll still play fearless. I’m not going to go out there and play scared. That’s just not the way to play.”

On if he has any concerns about his return:

“No, I don’t. I just want to get out there with the guys and have fun. We’ve got a big game at home. We want to protect our house, go from there. Play like you were never gone. That’s what every guy that comes back from injury has got to do – just play like you were never gone.”

On if he is anxious to know what the first big hit will feel like and how his knee will respond:

“Not really. I’d rather not have that happen, but like I said, it’s football. It’s going to happen. I’m not really anxious about it. Like I said, it’s just football. You get up from it. Your adrenaline is running so you usually I don’t feel the hits until the next day anyway, so we’ll see how I feel the day after.”

On how much his last rehab experience and return influenced his confidence level during this offseason:

“I think the first time, I was working to get back and I was working hard, but I didn’t have anything to base it off of. A lot more scary at that time. You come back and you don’t know how you’re really going to be. You still believe you’re going to be great and play well, and I was able to come back and do that. So the second time around, it’s more of I know what it takes to where I was and get better. That’s what I did, so that’s why I have the confidence to know that I’ll be ready to go and it will be smooth sailing.”

On how he approached learning and developing without any physical reps:

“The mental reps, it’s a funny joke 'leading the league in mental reps,’ but it’s the truth. There’s more ways to do it than just standing out there on the field and watching. It involves watching film, knowing your offense inside and out, and being out this offseason is what helped me do that – learn the offense inside and out. Like Coach said, it’s like speaking a new language. Now I’m fluent. I’m fluent in Redskins offense. That’s just how it has to go. The mental reps did help. I would have much rather been out there, but you can learn things from watching from the side and getting into film a lot more because that’s all you have to do. That’s all I could do, I could rehab and watch film, and that’s what I did.”

On if he feels like he hasn’t been 100 percent since injuring his knee against Baltimore last season:

“Football is football, man. You step on that field, you’ve got to play. Our whole team has been hurting from that Seattle game. We lost the game. It left a bad taste in our mouth. We want to come out as a hungry football team ready to get the W and start the season off right, so that’s all that really matters.”

On specific areas in which he needs to improve from his rookie season:

“I don’t know. You get those questions all the time. How do you improve? I just say everything. You do everything better. You can get through your reads faster, you can get to your checkdowns, and certain times you don’t need to get to your checkdowns. Sometimes the plays are just there. So I don’t know if there’s anything specifically that I have to do to really take the next step. Just do everything better than you did the year before.”

On his emotions running onto the field on Monday night as compared to his emotions during the last eight months:

“It’s going to be tough. I don’t think there will be any tears. If there are, they will be tears of joy, but it’s just been a long journey. it’s been an adventure, it’s been fun. You don’t necessarily want to go on the journey that I had to go on this offseason, but you try to enjoy it along the way and hit those milestones, so, to come out of that tunnel with the team Monday night is going to be a great moment, not only for me, for the fans, my teammates who have seen me work as hard as I have this whole offseason to get back out there. They’ll be there to help me manage my emotions, and I’ve told them I’m going to need them for that because it’s going to be tough to just know how to feel in that moment, but we’ll work on it all together and we’ll be all right.”

On if his nerves going into this game are comparable to his first game against New Orleans last season:

“I think there is a possibility it could be more emotional. New Orleans is where my family is all from. I can kind of claim it, so that was a lot of fun to start the career there, but coming from what’s happened all this offseason, it could be more emotional, but I won’t be able to judge that today. We’ll have to figure that out Monday night.”

On his memories leading up to his first career game and what advice he would give to a player like Jets quarterback Geno Smith entering his first NFL start:

“You guys are asking me questions like I’m a five-year, seven-year vet. For the rookies, you know, I talked to the guys on our team like Chris Thompson playing running back, you are here for a reason and you’ve got to believe it. Your coaches believe in you. That’s why they drafted you. That’s why you made the team. So if you step on that field and don’t feel like you don’t belong, then it will come out and you’ll play like you don’t belong. But if you go out on that field and play like you belong and trust in yourself and trust your preparation, then you have nothing to worry about. That’s what we did, and you’ve got to lean on your coaches, you’ve got to lean on your teammates to help you get to where you want to be. You can’t do it all yourself, but that’s a long way of saying 'just believe.’ If you don’t believe, nobody will.”

On how much better he is at making pre-snap reads and going through progressions:

“I feel better at it. That just comes with playing; the more you play the better you get. Just to get off one read to the next, progress through all your progressions and do all that stuff, it’s a lot more smooth. It’s not that I didn’t do it last year. We got through it, and we had a great season. But you can always get better. The day you get satisfied and feel like you are getting complacent and saying that you are the best ever and you don’t have to work at anything, that’s when you fail. So, you just make sure the coaches stay hard on you, you stay hard on yourself and you continue to get better. So yeah, it’s gotten better.”

On how he avoids putting too much pressure on himself:

“Like I said, I’ve just got to lean on my teammates. We’ve got a lot of playmakers on this team, one that is directly behind me in Alfred Morris, so those guys will be ready to play. They know it will be my first game back. I think everyone is anticipating that I’ll be rusty, but that’s not the way I think, and that’s just not how I’m built to think. So those guys know I’ll lean on them and I think they are ready to make plays. I think everybody is ready to go out and be explosive and be dynamic.”

Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly

On if he feels he has a competitive advantage since no one has seen his offense in the regular season:

“No, I mean this game was invented a long time before we came around. Coach [Jim] Haslett does a great job. I’ve watched his games defending different people. I don’t feel that this being our first game is an advantage.”

On trying to recruit Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III to Oregon:

“We talked to him in the spring time and then he committed early. He never visited or anything so it’s not a big recruiting story. He never came on a visit, never came up to our campus so we never really did anything more – I think we talked to him on the phone and that was it.”

On tight end Fred Davis:

“Very talented. Because he was out, it’s tough just kind of figuring out exactly how they’re going to use him but he’s been an extremely productive player in this league. He’s a weapon in the passing game. He runs really, really well. It’ll be interesting to see how they incorporate him back in.”

On what he saw in Griffin III in high school:

“He’s really fast.”

On what makes Eagles quarterback Michael Vick a fit for his offense and why he won the starting job:

“I think Mike won the quarterback battle because he had a great grasp of what we were doing and understanding our system. He’s obviously got a real good physical skillset. His arm is as good as there is in the league. He can flick the ball in a lot of different arm angles, gets the ball off extremely quick. He’s got a great release, strong arm and you add that to his ability to keep plays alive and to use his feet as a weapon, so he’s got a real good skillset for what we’re trying to get accomplished.”

On ensuring his defense gets enough reps during practice against a traditional offense:

“We can run any – we run power, we run inside zone, we run outside zone, we run sweep. Do you do it with the quarterback under center or do you do it from the shotgun? There’s really not much difference, it’s just how you’re handing the ball off. So we can simulate all those looks and we do simulate all those looks because we get underneath the center at times.”

On if there’s anything he needs to do to prepare his defense for playing with a fast-paced offense:

“No, it’s always about plays run, depending on how many plays the other team can run and our defense I don’t think we’ve run into those issues. I don’t know the exact count in the last game, but in our other three preseason games we ran more plays than the other teams we’ve played, so our defense was on the field less than our offense.”

On biggest adjustment he’s had to make from college football to the NFL:

“It’s been all football. You don’t have the other auxiliary duties that you have as a college head coach, and that’s the biggest thing. You get to spend more time on the football aspect of things and watch more film and spend more time in tape and spend more time with your coaching staff.”

On how he combats the pressure a quick offense puts on a defense:

“Again, I think it’s all about how many plays does your offense run versus how many plays their offense run, so in most games our offense is on the field more than our defense is on the field.”

On how much he’s been able to replicate his offense from Oregon and how much of it he has had to adapt for the NFL:

“Well, I think the first premise is there was never a design that we were going to bring exactly what we did at Oregon to the NFL – that wasn’t my plan at all. I think when I put our staff together, there’s no one on offense that coached with me at Oregon. I’m the only one that came from Oregon from an offensive standpoint. So blending the ideas of Pat Shurmur, our offensive coordinator who’s been in this league for a long time, or Bobby Bicknell, our wide receiver coach who came down from Buffalo, or Ted Williams and Duce Staley who have already been here, it’s a combination of all of us getting together and putting an offense together.”

On if he saw Griffin III as a quarterback when he was recruiting him:

“Again, it wasn’t much back then. It was during spring recruiting that we talked to him and then that was it. He was one of the top quarterbacks in the country; he was also one of the top track guys in the country, but that was the extent of it… Yeah, we saw him as a quarterback, and again I never saw him in person or talked to him – I think we talked to him on the phone and that was about the extent of it. I never scouted him in person, never had official visits or any of that stuff, never went to his high school.”

On changing the defense and the biggest adjustment defensively:

“There’s some difficulty from a personnel standpoint because this team has been built as a Wide 9, 4-3 team, so to make the transition to outside linebackers and three down linemen obviously was difficult.”

On the difficulty of defending the Pistol zone read:

“I think it’s a tough offense to defend just because of the element of the running quarterback. It gives you another guy to worry about.”

On how the spotlight has been different between college football and the NFL:

“I don’t think it’s much different. We had media every day after practice or before practice and same obligations and production crews and our team was on television every week, so I don’t see it as much different, to be honest with you.”

Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick

On getting acclimated to Head Coach Chip Kelly and if he feels “rejuvenated” under Kelly:

“Yeah, I feel rejuvenated. I feel like I have the opportunity to do some great things and show my talents I still possess, so that’s a bit of excitement, and throughout the course of the summer I’ve been able to expand on what I’ve learned and I really feel good about where we’re going.”

On what about the offense suits him well:

“I think everything – the fact that I’m able to use my running abilities when asked upon, a lot of designed quarterback runs. So I’m able to put myself in a position to spread the field and keep the defense off-balance.”

On if he thinks about what it would have been like to run this style of offense for his whole career:

“Yeah, I think about it and what I could have been able to accomplish in that type of offense, but I also respect the fact that I came in 2001 and I had a different set of coaches who build things differently. And I learned so much from them that having that dimension now to my game, adding that only makes me a better quarterback.”

On if he feels like he was a “trailblazer” for this particular type of offense:

“Yeah, I feel like I was kind of the ambassador of this offense in the NFL, like I was the originator. In 2006, I ran for 1,000 yards running the same type of read option offense, you know it’s in the record books and I couldn’t have done it without running the read option. I don’t think you can be a dropback passer and run for 1,000 yards in one season, so it was a big accomplishment for me. It was something that I was shooting for. I probably had some other goals set, but it was one of them.”

On how big of a challenge it is for mobile quarterbacks to change their ways:

“Well, it’s one of Robert’s [Griffin III] strengths. It’s something that he does well and it’s made him the type of quarterback that he is today – and a successful one and a good one. But what I’ve learned is that you have to be cautious because these guys in this league they hit so hard and we only weigh about 210 pounds, 215 pounds and these guys taking all types of angles on us and we don’t even see them sometimes. So it’s important for us to protect ourselves and be conscious of where we are on the field and most importantly understand how much we mean to our football team.”

On how he mentally balances aggression and running with a sense of caution:

“It happens in time. It happens over time, and I can honestly tell you right now I didn’t learn it until this year. This preseason was the most I’ve gotten down and slid and ran with a sense of getting down and not trying to score all the time. I think once you tell yourself that’s what you’re going to do, then you kind of ingrain it in your mind.”

On the biggest improvement he made in reading defenses in his first two seasons:

“I think from year one to year two, the game slowed down for me. I didn’t play as a rookie. I only started in three games because I played behind Chris Chandler, who was a great, great pocket passer, so I was able to learn from him. Once I started my second year, I was able to see all the things that he had seen and had a better understanding of the game thanks to Coach Dan Reeves. So the transition was easy and it was smooth and I felt like the game had slowed down for me.”

On how many plays an offense can run over the course of a game:

“I think you can run as many as your offense is required or is allowed to, as long as you keep the chains moving. I think we averaged about 80 plays in the preseason, so we get them called pretty fast and we get going pretty fast.”

On if he has noticed a big difference in the tempo of their offense:

“I don’t know. We’ll have to see. This is a game week, so we have to see what the difference is going to be.”

On if mobile quarterbacks take pride in their ability to throw the ball:

“I think as kids when we’re in the backyard, we idolize certain guys and we want to be like those guys who we look up to. You don’t want to just be viewed as a running quarterback, like all you can do is run or he’s just athletic. We put a lot of hard work into our craft and what we do, to be able to go out and execute and run an NFL offense, which is hard, because if anybody could do it, we probably wouldn’t be here. Sometimes you don’t get credit for what you do, but I think at the end of the day, you’ve got to be the best football player that you can be.”

On developing a relationship with Kelly:

“It’s been easy developing a relationship with Chip. It’s been fun. We’ve really gotten to know each other well over the last four or five months and it’s just been great. Now that relationship will continue to grow as we play games and continue to be around each other more.”

On how long it’ll take Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III to “shake off rust” following an injury:

“I think that’s solely on him and how his approach is. That’s going to be all in his mind. Nobody can deal with it but him, but if he has the right type of resolve, he’ll be able to bounce back whenever he’s mentally and physically confident in his abilities. It shouldn’t take long.”

On if there was a specific amount of time it took him coming back from injury:

“I didn’t play all preseason last year – I mean, everybody’s different – but by Week 2, I was back in full form, but I’ve been in the league for 11 years so I know what it’s like. That’s why I said it might be different for Robert. But it shouldn’t take long, but he is coming back off of injury so like I said it’s up to him and what he’s dealing with on the inside and his mental aspect and how he gets ready for this game and for the season.”

On what he sees in the Redskins’ defense:

“I see a good defense. They’re flying around. They’re looking good. They’re probably one of the best defenses I’ve seen on film all preseason. We just have to come to play, man. It’s not going to be an easy game. It’s not going to be easy to just go out there and just say we’re going to dominate. This is going to be a tough game, on both ends, and everybody has to come to play.”

On how hard it is to go against instincts to fight for extra yardage:

“It’s not tough. You just have got to ingrain it in your mind and once you ingrain it in your mind, it becomes easy. Finally, I’m at that point.”

On if he has talked to DeAngelo Hall, Joshua Morgan and Darryl Tapp about the Virginia Tech products playing against one another on Monday:

“We haven’t talked about. I’d seen DeAngelo over the summer and, you know, 'It’s going to be a big game,’ but we’re used to playing against one another. I’m used to having [linebacker] Darryl on my side, but going and having DeAngelo on the other side, we’ve been playing against each other for the last three or four years and it’s been fun. It’s great because we’re from the same hometown. We both had the same goals, dreams and aspirations growing up as kids. We’re good friends and now we get to play against each other – it doesn’t get any better than that.”

On if the Eagles have a competitive advantage because of their new, unseen offense:

“Yeah, I mean it does give us an advantage. It’s our first time showing anything other than what we showed in the preseason, so it gives us an advantage.”

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