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Skins Quotes 9/5: M. Shanahan/K. Shanahan/Haslett

McKissic for the win

Boone

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Marine Corps Virginia


September 5, 2013
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the status of safety Brandon Meriweather:

“He was limited today. Hopefully he’s full speed tomorrow… It’s the groin. The knee is fine… It happened on Monday with the groin. It had nothing to do with the game.”

On if anyone else was limited in practice:

“No. Everybody else was full-go.”

On if the groin injury is a result of overcompensating for his knee:

“I really don’t know.”

On his level of concern about the effectiveness of tackle Trent Williams and nose tackle Barry Cofield:

“We’ll see during the week. We’ll see how they deal with their casts. Trent’s been feeling pretty good. Barry’s going to experiment, I’m sure, to give him the best opportunity to play well, but he’s had the club on it this week to protect it. I’m sure in the next couple days he’ll play with it a little bit."

On if Cofield’s fingers will free for the game on Monday night:

“I believe so. I think that’s what he wants to get done. You kind of leave it up to those guys. He’s been practicing all week. There’s been no setback. He’s doing a good job in practice, kind of doing what he feels comfortable with.”

On what a coach’s experience is like leading up to the first regular season game:

“I think everybody, once you get into your regular season games, everybody knows how important they are, especially within the division. We always stress with our football team that if you win your division, you’re guaranteed that home playoff game regardless of what your record is. I think that’s the goal everybody shoots for, including us. Hopefully we start off the season on the right note.”

On how long it takes to adjust to a 3-4 defense:

“I think it all depends on the personnel that you have. Everything’s a little bit different. I think each situation is a little different, so I can’t speak for Philly. But for us, just coming in, it was a little bit different. It was a 4-3 scheme and it took us probably close to three years. I don’t think it was totally just the football team. It was what we had done with free agency, draft choices, things along those lines.”

On if running back Chris Thompson will be the primary punt returner:

“Like I said, I’m going to evaluate this this week. We’ve got three guys catching them every day. Chris is getting probably double the opportunities because he hasn’t done it for a while. So we’ll see how he does this week and get a gut feel before the Monday night game and then make a decision.”

On how Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has evolved since entering the NFL:

“To me, Michael’s a very rare athlete. He’s got the ability – not only does he have great speed, but he’s got the elusiveness to make anybody miss. You can’t corral him one-on-one. There’s very few people that can cut on a dime like he can. And he’s got a very quick release and he can throw the ball as far as he wants. So very, very dangerous. He fits in perfectly with this offensive system and he was very impressive throughout the preseason. I’m sure he’s excited to run this new scheme.”

On the challenges of the season opener:

“I think that what’s a little bit unusual with your first game is that you have about four months to prepare for it, or pretty close to it. You’re taking a look at the football team, what they’ve done over the last year or two years. In this case, when a new head coach comes in, not only do you look at the preseason games, but you go back and study coordinators. You study what he’s done at the different places he’s been and try to get a game plan.”

Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan

On how quarterback Robert Griffin III has looked in practice this week:

“I think he’s looked good. He looks fresh, he looks ready to go. He’s had about three full weeks now and I’m excited to see him play Monday.”

On how much he discusses scenarios for if Griffin III gets hit and how he will react:

“None at all.”

On his level of confidence in tackle Trent Williams playing with his wrist taped:

“I’m very confident in Trent. I don’t think he’ll miss a beat. He can’t. He’s gone out there; he was taped up throughout training camp, but he’s played in a couple games without it and I think he’s been solid with it and I don’t think he’ll miss anything there on Monday.”

On what’s next for Williams as he continues to develop:

“Just to continue getting better. I say it to you guys all the time for all of us, you get better or worse, and Trent did get better last year and I hope he continues that way. He still has a lot of room to grow. He’s extremely talented. He’s working at it hard and he’s gotten better every year we’ve been here and I expect him to take a step forward this year.”

On what specific areas Williams can improve upon:

“Just all around. I mean, everybody can get better. I don’t know many people who have played a perfect game so I’ll say everybody can get better until I see a perfect game.”

On running back Chris Thompson’s confidence and how it’s grown throughout the preseason:

“I think it’s good. He got off to a rough start – he had a couple fumbles early – but had a little success versus Tampa Bay so I think it was good for him. We’ve seen him do it throughout college, we’ve seen stuff on the practice field, and for him to just get that reassurance to do it in an NFL game, I think it helped him a lot. So hopefully it’ll carry over.”

On how he can help Griffin III “knock off some of the rust” coming back from injury:

“I mean, you always hope you can call a perfect play and make it easy on guys. That’s what our job is to do and that’s what you’re always trying to do. So the more open you can help people get, the more open guys can get on their own, the easier a quarterback’s decisions are and the less perfect he’s got to be. But rarely is any game perfect and that’s why there’s a lot of responsibility on the quarterback, and when it’s not perfect he has got to progress and if no one’s there, he has to tuck it away and run.”

On if there are certain plays he might call to take some pressure off of Griffin III:

“Yeah, if you know that you can get easy completions and stuff and it not be a problem, you’re going to do that in almost every game because it’s a high reward with little risk. But I think that was just a coincidence in that first game [at New Orleans in 2012] that the defense was allowing us to do that. There was some pressures they had and stuff that made it really easy to throw some of those quick passes and it all depends what the defense is doing. If they’re going to give it to you, then you take it because there’s no risk in that stuff. But it’s not a good play when it’s not there. There’s nowhere else to go with the ball. It’s always a one-man show, so you call stuff like that and they’re in man coverage and they’re on the guy and then you have to spike the ball and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

On the challenges of meeting and exceeding his performance from last season:

“It’s always a challenge, not just for myself but for every coach in this league. Coaches are good. There’s a lot of tape out there and guys work extremely hard, so if you ever become complacent and you don’t change and you don’t evolve, guys are going to end up stopping you. The thing that excites me is I think we do have a good system. I think we can do a lot of different things. I think our players are capable of succeeding in a lot of different ways. You really don’t have to force much when you have a big system and you’ve got the players that are capable of doing it all. You really just have got to wait and see what they do on Sunday or in this case Monday. And when you see coverages and you kind of get a feel for what their game plan is, then it’s our job as coaches to go the direction that we always have been and just hope we can execute it.”

On how much of an advantage it is to have guys that fit into the scheme and do their jobs well:

“It’s extremely advantageous. When you have guys that know what you want and who are athletic enough to do it, it helps so much. It makes your job so much easier. Each year it’s gotten easier for myself. That’s why it was a real easy thing for me when I was in Houston just being a receiver coach there, then a quarterback coach, then a coordinator and always having the same group of guys – they knew what you wanted, they knew the techniques that you wanted. There’s not much difference in a lot teams in the NFL as far as talent, I mean some are a little more than others. And there’s not a lot of difference in the plays that people run but it comes down to technique and every play matters – I mean just three plays in the game can change a whole game by a few touchdowns. And when it comes down to those plays, it’s about the little details and the more you’ve got the same group of guys, the more consistent you are and that keeps you moving the chains.”

On what he expects from the new Eagles’ defense that he hasn’t seen in a regular season game yet:

“That’s always a hard thing you know because when you only have preseason film to go off, you’ve got to respect it – what they’re doing in the preseason, try to get a feel for their fronts and what they want to run. But half the clips you’re looking at, guys aren’t on the team, you don’t know what they’re trying to set you up for, what they’re actually trying to do, so you can really drive yourself crazy as a coach – kind of why it’s tough having a long week. It just gives us more time to over think every single situation. But with a game like this, you really have got to be ready to adjust to whatever they do because you really don’t know what they’re going to do, and you have to see out there and have the type of game plan that can go any type of direction. And it’s going to be really important to us to figure out what they’re doing and make sure we decide on the right direction to go.”

On one area he’d like to see Griffin III improve upon from a passing standpoint:

“Just all around. We’re always going to try to be a balanced attack and try to be 50-50 in the game. I think the biggest thing that we improved on last year was third downs. We started off at the beginning last in the league and in those final seven games, we were top five in those final seven games. I don’t know what we finished overall. But we went on our win streak and I thought we got a lot better at third down. That is everybody, but it starts with the quarterback, I think that’s what led us to the playoffs last year and hopefully we can continue off that.”

On if there’s something specific Griffin III can improve upon as a passer in his second season:

“I think it’s really every NFL quarterback. Your first year you see a lot of new coverages. You hope they continue to get better. They are going to learn on the run, especially when you throw them in there as a rookie the first week and he continued to progress. That’s kind of cliché. Like I always say, you’re going to get better or worse, and he did get better throughout the year and I expect him to continue to get better.”

On why he chose Josh LeRibeus, Adam Gettis and Tom Compton as his reserve offensive linemen:

“They played good. They were part of the best 53. I think that they all improved. We talked about LeRibeus having some setbacks this year, but those other guys improved a lot and they were part of our best 53.”

On if the knee brace has affected Griffin III:

“I think you’d have to ask Robert that, but I don’t see the brace affect him at all. I mean, he runs the same to me. He looks as good as he always has. He’s been cleared since the beginning of training camp, so it’s not like this has just happened. The doctors said he’s 100 percent for a long time now. So we’ve seen him about for a month fully 100 percent well and I think he looks good. I haven’t seen any setbacks and I’m excited to see him out there.”

On having four quarterbacks and why he elected to keep Pat White:

“My two years when I was Quality Control in Tampa, we had four quarterbacks, but in Houston I think we always had two and one year we had three – my last year there. We kept Pat because – it’s tough to keep four quarterbacks, but it’s really staying true to our philosophy. We did believe he’s one of our best 53. When you’re having a guy – most of the time those guys aren’t going to dress anyways, but you want to keep the better player. You’re usually deciding between guys who aren’t going to dress and we thought Pat played really well. He’s really only been playing quarterback since the end of January, February, taking those three years off. He’s gotten better each week that he’s been here. I think he’s made some huge strides and I think he can still get a lot better. You always would love a guy like that on practice squad; he didn’t have that eligibility. I also think we would have lost him if we did, if he could have had that. So when you think a guy does have a future and he’s part of your best 53, then I think it makes it easy.”

On if keeping four quarterbacks on the roster is sustainable:

“I don’t think it’s something you’re going to do year in and year out, but when the roster shakes up that way that your fourth guy is one of your best 53, then we will do it. We’ll see what that case is next year. We’ll see if that continues throughout the whole year, but it’s a week-by-week thing. We’ve always got to keep our best 53 and he’s definitely one of those right now.”

On if running back Alfred Morris can help in the passing game this year:

“Yeah, I think Alf’s improved his hands a lot. He’s gotten better in his route running. I think he’s improving as a runner too. He understands after going through a season some of the runs he missed. Even when he missed runs, he’s just so physical he would still always get positive yards because rarely does the first guy tackle him, but I think Alf’s understands by watching film, going through it for a year how he can set those blocks up a little bit better and continue to get better and I think he will.”

Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett

On preparing for the Eagles’ tempo:

“It hasn’t been a problem up to this point. Buffalo ran the high-tempo offense and I thought we dealt with that well. So we worked in training camp and I don’t believe it’ll be an issue.”

On if he thinks the speed of the Eagles’ offense is faster than other NFL teams:

“First of all, they do a nice job – from what I’ve seen of them – of getting in and out of the huddle, lining up. You know they come to the line off the field. From what I’ve seen from film, in past film, they speed it up when they have to. They speed up in certain situations and our guys understand that. And we understand that we have to get lined up and we have got the ability, we’ll get the calls in and they’ll be ready to play it.”

On if the speed of the Eagles’ offense plus their playmakers stresses him more than other offenses:

“They have got good football players. [Eagles quarterback] Michael Vick in space, running around. He had 53 yards rushing the last preseason game by halftime – you know, that’s a threat. Obviously the receivers are good football players. Their running back is a heck of a football player and they’ve got one of the better lines in the National Football League, so just from their standpoint of talent alone, they’ve got a lot of good football players.”

On if he expects safety Brandon Meriweather to play:

“Yeah, we’ll see. He worked a little bit yesterday; hopefully he’ll be ready to roll.”

On if Meriweather’s injury is related to his groin or his knee:

“I can’t answer that, I don’t know… I thought he did pretty well yesterday.”

On if the pace of the offense puts more pressure on linebacker London Fletcher calling the plays:

“London’s the best at it so we don’t have to worry about that. He’s prepared, he’s well prepared – he’ll know exactly what we want in every situation. If something happens and I can’t get the call in, he’ll know what calls we’re going to have based off what they have got in the game, so that is not a concern to me at least because I feel London’s like having a coach on the field.”

On why watching Oregon tape was important in preparation for this game:

“One, we can see the tempo. That was the first thing. We got some live tape that we could see really what the tempo was like. And then, you know, obviously that’s good studying. Now they can’t do everything because all of the different formations you run in college, you can’t run in this league, but they’ll just find different ways to do it. But our guys are prepared, they’re ready for what they’ve seen and everything and we’re good. We’ll just have to see when we get in the game. This will be a heck of a game.”

On if the no huddle offense changes his approach to substitutions and going away from the base defense:

“Not necessarily. I think we can play in our base and stay in it all day against everything so that’s not a problem. We’ve worked every personnel grouping. We’ve worked who we’re substituted, and we’ve worked when we couldn’t substitute, so I don’t think that’s going to be an issue, at least from our standpoint.”

On his level of confidence that secondary will improved this season:

“I think, first of all with the young kids, [safety] Bacarri [Rambo] has made great strides since he’s been here. I feel good about him playing. [Cornerback] David Amerson, he’s another guy that’s made great stride since he’s been here we feel good about him. You know we lost our young guy, but [linebacker] Brandon Jenkins has done a nice job, so we’ve got three young guys that are going to play on defense and we feel great about it. And I think that’s going to make us better in the back end just because of those two and then the rush.”

On how diversified Eagles coach Chip Kelly’s offense is and if it’ll keep him guessing during the game:

“You don’t know what anybody’s going to do exactly in a game until you get in the game. You have to have the ability to adjust to what they’re doing and be flexible in what you’re doing. So I can only go on what I’ve seen. I’ve watched 23, 24 Oregon films. I watched what they did in preseason. If they can do anything else, God bless 'em.”

On what excites him most about the defense:

“We played well in the preseason, which obviously that doesn’t mean much now. If you go off what you’ve seen, I thought we did a nice job in the preseason. We did a good job in the run, in the pass game. That’s something we’ve just got to keep growing on. If we can go from there and keep getting better and better, I think this group has a chance to be pretty good.”

On what he likes about safety Jose Gumbs:

“He’s a guy that doesn’t even fully understand the defense yet, but he’s a guy that we thought was flying around, would make tackles, had good cover ability, was fearless, had pretty good football instinct – things that you don’t have, and we think will get better and better once he gets within the scheme. He came in late and I was really impressed with what he did the last couple of games. We kept all those guys based off their production in the preseason games. That’s why those games are important.”

On the best way to balance discipline and pursuit:

“I think it’s a combination. I don’t think there is a balance. It’s both. You’ve got to be disciplined, they make you be disciplined in what they’re doing. You’ve got to be able to tackle well and then everybody’s got to be in the right spot and everybody’s got to run to the ball. So they make you do it. That’s the kind of offense. They spread you out, they use 11 guys – the quarterbacks, the running back. They use everybody, and we’ve got to use everybody.”

On linebacker Brian Orakpo saying that if he was playing last season and gotten to the quarterback, it would have helped the secondary:

“I agree with him. Obviously, if all of your pass rushers are great pass rushers and Pro Bowlers like him, it’s going to help you back end. I know he’s excited about playing this game, first game back from being injured. It gives you special appreciation. When you miss a year, I think players that get hurt and do that, it makes them appreciate the game a little bit more and understand when you come back how important it is to play every game like it’s your last game because it could be. I think that’s where Brian is.”

On how difficult it is to transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense:

“You don’t always have the right guys. I’m sure [Eagles Defensive Coordinator] Billy Davis is kind of going through the same thing. I know they’ve got good football players on defense, but I don’t know if all those pegs fit in all the holes, but they’ve got good players. It takes time. You’ve got to know what you want. Obviously he understands the scheme, but you’ve got to have an understanding of what kind of players you’re looking for to fit that. It doesn’t happen overnight.”

On some of the issues that come from making that transition:

“I just remember we were small. We didn’t have the right personnel up front. You’re looking for certain type of players up front. You’re looking for certain type of guys on the edge. You’re looking for safeties that can do certain things. It takes a little bit of time.”

On if he is excited about the “chess match” between himself and Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly:

“He does a nice job with the offense. I appreciate watching his film with what they do and what he did at Oregon. Obviously, one, he must have been a heck of a recruiter because he had about 35 wideouts running in and out of that. They’re all good players. The running backs are good players. When you watch the film, it is creative. It’s different than you haven’t seen. It’ll be a good matchup between us.”

On if his defense will have to dictate the game rather than allow the offense to dictate it:

“I don’t know if you can say that necessarily, if you can dictate. You’ve got to know what they’re doing. You have to have a pretty good understanding of what they’re trying to get done. I think they can do a number of different things. I think once we get into it, we’ll have to make adjustments, like always. We’ll make some adjustments on the field and on the sideline, but that’s kind of what you do all the time anyways, no matter who you’re playing.”

On if there is much of the defense he has not shown yet:

“We game plan based off trying to win the game. I think that’s what we did best the second half of the season last year. We’ll continue to do that and use our players, try to get them in a position where they can be successful and we can win games.”

On the ways rookie safety Bacarri Rambo has improved the most:

“Probably in his tackling ability, taking better angles and understanding how to get him down. Obviously there’s different types of tackles. There’s open-field tackles, there’s close-quarter tackles, there’s sideline tackles. I don’t know if coaches ever taught that before college, but he’s got to have an understanding of where he’s at in the field. Is he in the middle of the field and there’s nobody left? Is he close to the sideline – he can use the sideline? Where’s his pursuit? Where is he at – is he in the box, out of the box? All that plays into tacking from his perspective because he’s in the back end. If you’re a defensive lineman, you just tackle the guy in front of you. It’s not that hard. I think this is probably the biggest improvement he’s made. He is a ball hawk. He’s got great ball skills and all that. We’ll see because he’ll have to tackle this week. He’ll have to be a great tackler this week.”
 

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