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Skins/Rams Quotes: Shanahan, Grossman, Spagnuolo, Bradford


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

Marine Corps Virginia

September 28, 2011

Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On the injury status of wide receiver Anthony Armstrong:

“He was limited today… He got some work in today. He didn’t go full speed, but hopefully he just keeps on improving.”

On the injury status of linebacker Brian Orakpo:

“Orakpo was full go. He had cramps and an IV at halftime.”

On how well safety LaRon Landry held up against the Cowboys:

“I was hoping he was going to be able to play, but I didn’t think he could play at that speed and that many plays. I kept on talking to him and you could see he got a little tired during the second half and we took him out a series. I was surprised that he played as well and as hard as he did.”

On if Landry played like he usually does:

“He’s a perfectionist, but I was happy with his play.”

On his reaction to cornerback DeAngelo Hall’s comments after the game against Dallas:

“To be honest with you, I didn’t hear about it and I didn’t read about it. I’ve been pretty busy getting ready and wasn’t informed exactly what did happen. There’s always frustration and there’s frustration at the end of the game and any time you feel like have the game won and it slips away, it’s tough. I think he addressed you guys and that’s it.”

On if he thought it was right to call the blitz on 3rd-and-21 against Dallas:

“There are so many scenarios. I could go back and tell you every play in the Houston game a year ago. I could go back on offense and go back on defense and special teams – was every call right? I would like a number of those calls back. I would like a number of calls back any time we lose a football game. People do forget though that there was an interception and a fumble recovery. There were a lot of good things in those calls in the game, especially with that blitz. If something doesn’t work, you always second guess yourself as a coach. That’s part of it, but you go on and understand that’s the nature of the game.”

On his philosophy on bringing pressure or dropping back on third and long plays:

“We have a game plan for all situations. You can talk about first down, second down and third down and it is what it is. You win or you lose by your calls and by the way players play. I kind of laugh at those illustrations because there are so many of those things that I go through every game. [There are] different things that you don’t see. That’s the obvious one to everybody because it’s a little unconventional, but, hey, you have a game plan and you go with it and you live by it.”

On if Hall blamed defensive coordinator Jim Haslett:

“First of all, any conversation I have with a player is between us if I do talk to somebody or I don’t talk to somebody. I understand what you are saying and I understand that there are frustrations. I said some things after the game that I would like to have back. Usually, when you’re in the business for a while, you learn to keep the emotions inside of you at least for 24 hours and then you can come back and say some different things. That’s the nature of our job and you live with it, but [Hall’s] a competitor and lot of people speak very freely and sometimes it’s the right thing and sometimes they come up to you and say 'hey, I apologize for what I said and that I didn’t mean it. I’m a member of this team no matter what is called. I’m going to go out there and perform to the best of my ability.’ Brent Jones said it best, we’re in the Super Bowl getting ready for San Diego and I sat down there with Steve Young and we’re going through all of the scenarios that exist – going through first down situations, second down situations and third downs. Brent Jones came over to me and says 'it really doesn’t matter what you call. You couldn’t screw up this game. We’re ready to win.’ We went on to score 49 points. I think Brent was right. No matter what, I could not screw up calls in that game. That’s the nature of this business. You go out there and play as best as you can and hopefully some of those calls are good and some are going to be.”

On if Hall’s status as a captain impacts the way he views the comments:

“I think everybody is accountable for what they say. I think he shared that with you about how he felt. I think he shared with you what he said after the game. I think he shared with you today what he meant. He’s going to say it and I can’t speak for him.”

On Hall’s facemask penalty on the third down play:

“Looking at the film, he did touch the face mask, but I didn’t think he grabbed the face mask. The back judge had a quick look at it and he could see he had his hand on the facemask and there wasn’t a tug, but sometimes when you don’t see it this close up, it’s hard to see.”

On Cowboys center Phil Costa saying that the defensive line was mimicking the snap count:

“The one thing about accusing somebody for doing something like that, especially this year, is that the center is miked. When the center is miked, you’ll go back on the audio and find out if players did say the snap count and they did not.”

On if his philosophy is to blitz more:

“It all depends on the situations and it all depends on protections. There are a lot of different variables.”

On quarterback Rex Grossman’s interception:

“I think he told you what he did. He says it’s something that he can’t do. I only share the positive with you guys. I don’t go through a critique with any of our players or anything from the negative side. That’s just my nature. Anything that I do with players on the negative side, I do that in-house. You don’t rag on them, but there are different things that we talk about. From the negative side, I will address them personally, but it will be one-on-one.”

On how the team will respond after the loss:

“That’s always tough. Any time that you lose a tough game and you feel like you have it won, it’s really tough. Guys can’t sleep for 24-48 hours. I know I can’t and it’s tough. After that 24 or 48 hours, you have to go on. I know how important this game is and what we have to do to win on the road. They have a very talented group with the Rams. They’ve played three good games against tough opponents and they’re hungry. This is the NFL and everybody’s talented. They have some great skill and so we have to take care of business and they’re thinking the same thing.”

On if the Rams are an easy opponent:

“It’s never that way in the NFL, especially when [they] have an excellent quarterback and a Pro Bowl running back. [They have] guys that can make plays just like that. They have a defense playing really hard and playing together and they’ve taken a little abuse and we know we’re going to get their best shot.”

On safety Oshiomogho Atogwe:

“He’s a student of the game. He’s very smart. He likes to play and he’s very accountable. He’s a team leader both on and off the football field. You like people that prepare themselves every week and he’s one of those guys. He’s feeling better and he’s more familiar with our system and our terminology. The better he feels, the better he gets.”

On tight end Chris Cooley’s play at the fullback position against the Rams:

“He gives you the flexibility to play the fullback and the Tiger position. He’s done it before. A lot of times you ask that position to do the same thing – it’s basically a fullback. We have a lot of flexibility with Chris.”

On the advantages of Cooley’s flexibility:

“I think the advantages will be in the future, because any time you throw somebody in when somebody is hurt, it’s a little bit tougher to throw somebody in there right away for the two-back and one-back sets. I think just having Chris practice there will help our football team.”

On playing Cooley at fullback instead of Mike Sellers:

“We have different personnel groups and we knew when Mike went in there that they would know that it wouldn’t be a two tight end set and, when Chris is in there, it would give us a little more flexibility. We had the ability that we thought would throw them off a little bit, at least for the first game.”

On the practice status of Darrel Young:

“He was limited.”

On if players can play different positions like Cooley:

“Very few can do that. [Chris] knows all of the routes. He’s a student of the game and could probably tell you all of the different positions on the team, including the quarterback position going through his reads. He’s a student of the game, but it’s a lot different than being a student of the game and having the flexibility to be able to work at the fullback, the tight end and the Tiger position and not many people can do that, but he’s a good enough athlete to be able to able to do that.”

On the team slipping on the field against the Cowboys:

“I wasn’t sure what it was, but we lost our footing a number of times on the turf, especially early in the game. I thought when we did make a change at the tailback position, because I thought [Tim] Hightower was slipping a little bit more, that we got the same thing with our backs. Sometimes our linebackers went down, so we’re going to address the footing issue a little bit later with the [roof] open or with it closed. That’s something that we felt good about before the game and then during the game we slipped more than we thought we would.”

On Rams quarterback Sam Bradford:

“You can see the talent level. He’s going to be one of the top quarterbacks in the league for a long time. He’s that talented and hopefully that doesn’t come out this weekend… He has all the intangibles that you look for. He has speed, athletic ability and he can make plays off schedule. He has a quick release and he can make all of the throws.”

On how different the Rams offense is with Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels:

“It’s quite different and they are getting used to the system. It doesn’t happen overnight, but you can see that it is quite different than it was a year ago. They are kind of just getting a feel on all of the different variations that he uses.”

On Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware’s play against the Redskins:

“Any time you block Ware and you don’t get a lot of help, it’s a full-time job. I thought that Trent [Williams] did a good job overall.”

On the botched field goal:

“Basically, the snap was good and we just didn’t get it down and we just didn’t get it done. Those things do happen and you can take a look at film and it’s very easy to see. You just keep on practicing and get some more reps and hopefully it won’t happen again.”

On how concerning it is to have problems with field goal attempts in three straight games:

“You don’t understand why because you work on it all of the time. You know why we got it blocked because we just didn’t get the job done with our protection. When you do drop one… Our holder is probably as good a holder as I have seen since I’ve been in the NFL. I’ve never seen a guy that consistent, so for him not to put it down perfectly is probably something that he hasn’t done in a long time.”

Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe

On if he knew he would be playing against the Rams in 2011 when he signed with the Redskins:

"I did. My wife keeps me pretty clued in to what our schedule is. She's more on point with that than I am. I knew that we had them on there."

On if he circled the Rams game several months ago:

"I wouldn't say I circled it. I mean, I left St. Louis in a good place, personally. I'm here in Washington because I believe that's where God wanted me to be. So there's no bad blood between myself and the St. Louis Rams."

On his thoughts about DeAngelo Hall's postgame comments:

"First, I want to say DeAngelo Hall is one of the — and it's not even a word — goodest guys that I know. He plays this game with a passion and he plays this game from his heart, and a lot of times, that allows him to be as great as he is. When you catch an individual like that after he just suffered a tough loss, sometimes things come out that you wouldn't necessarily want to come out. In no way, shape or form does he put himself above the team, above the coaches. And he carries himself as a man of integrity. We all have moments of weakness. That's not to be used to judge him on it. We were all in that game together. He didn't lose the game. Not any one play, not any one call wins or loses a game. We win and lose as a team. We're going to continue to be like that throughout the remainder of the season."

On the return of safety LaRon Landry:

"He's a monster. I know that's what you guys saw. That's what we're expecting, coming back for [the Dallas] game. We know the type of player he is, the physicality he brings, the intensity he brings, and he showed that in his first-game debut after, how many months was that? Eight-month layoff? Ten-month layoff? I know he wasn't particularly as pleased with it, because, like I said, he's another competitor and he's working every day to improve. So he's going to come back and work harder this week and continue to build on his beginning stage of this season."

On how good he thinks the secondary can be:

"We'll be as good as we believe ourselves to be and even more than that. Sometimes we put limitations on ourselves without fully knowing our capabilities. And when we have all of us finally jelling together, you saw it in pieces on Monday night, when you finally have us all working together and jelling together, it's just going to continue to be a dominant force out there. That's what we envisioned at the beginning of the season back in training camp, and that's what we are going to work to put out there on the field."

On what the upcoming game means for momentum and morale for both the Redskins and Rams:

"It's a big game for both sides. They're coming off an 0-3 start and they're really looking to turn their season around by at least getting a win early on. We're coming off a tough loss where we believe we could have been the victors in that game but just didn't make enough plays. So going into this game, both teams are going to play with a lot of passion. There's going to be a lot of emotion and from a standpoint of morale, we know the type of team we are. So not any one game makes or breaks us. But we want to continue to build the momentum of putting wins together and putting quality football together, week upon week upon week so that the confidence is solidified as we go on throughout the season."

On quarterback Sam Bradford's intangibles:

"He's a young talent. I was able to have the pleasure of playing with him for a year and saw, just from the moment he stepped in the building, the type of caliber quarterback he's working to be. He's in the category of the [Tom] Bradys and the [Peyton] Mannings, when you just talk about his work ethic and his skillset. I know he's going to be preparing hard for this game. He does every single game. And he truly believes that he's one of those great quarterbacks and he wants to go down in that category. So he's going to come into this game knowing our defense, knowing how we like to disguise, knowing how certain corners like to play on certain coverages. He's going to study everything, and that's what really makes him great because he doesn’t leave a stone unturned."

On if struggling Rams teams being able to beat the Redskins in the past gave him any pause before coming to Washington:

"Not at all. This is the National Football League. Any team that you play is going to have talent on any given Sunday, any given Monday. You can use that talent to muster up a win. Even in the years in the past, the Redskins may have been a better team than us, but we just played better on that day. And that's what matters on any given Sunday is who plays the best on that day. There's going to be a lot of teams in this league who are not as good and not as talented that will find ways to win. And that's what we're about in the Washington Redskins — being about winning and doing the things necessary to do so."

On how he assesses his performance through the first three games:

"Steadily progressing. I wouldn't say I've played out of this world. That's the type of standard I set for myself, really playing above what other people expect of me. I feel like I'm getting comfortable in the system, getting comfortable with the players around me, and as we continue to grow as a defense, I know my play will excel and continue to be what I envision it to be."

Quarterback Rex Grossman

On his interception:

“It was just a mistake. There’s no excuse for that. Obviously, I didn’t see the mike linebacker. have to know he’s there. It was a bad play. There’s no explanation that can make it sound any better.”

On how the team will respond after the loss:

“I think [the team will respond] very well. We have a lot of character in the locker room and everybody is focused and ready to go to help us get over that Dallas loss. [We’ll] have a very intense week of practice, very concentrated week and [we’re] very determined to get that bad taste out of our mouth.”

On if the team has moved past the Dallas loss:

“You never forget it and you try to use that as fuel to take it out on the Rams.”

On cutting down on turnovers:

“You have to go in every game with the mindset to take care of the ball without it hurting your performance of making plays. It’s a delicate balance there.”

On if he feels more pressure against the Rams:

“The only pressure I feel is the pressure I put on myself to be a great quarterback and lead our team to victory. That’s all I really worry about and that’s what allows me to work hard and get better. I put a lot of pressure on myself to play at a Pro Bowl level every week. When I don’t, it’s frustrating and I go back and watch the tape and be hard on myself and fix the things that didn’t allow me to play as well as I can.”

On if he’s worried about being replaced if he doesn’t play well against the Rams:

“That’s life in the NFL. I don’t worry about that. I know I am going to play well and I am going to prepare myself to go out there and do that. Worrying about other things is a distraction. It kind of goes hand-in-hand that the pressure I feel is the pressure that I put on myself to play well and lead this team to a victory.”

On if it’s difficult to have a game plan that varies a lot from week-to-week:

“No. Again, that’s how you go about winning every week. You prepare and get ready for each game. We have plenty of time to get ready and adjust and get ready that week through great practice and then it’s about carrying it over to the field and executing.”

On if losing wide receiver Anthony Armstrong in the Cowboys game had a big impact:

“There are a few plays in our game plan that are specific for Anthony and there are a few plays that we might have called differently, but you’re going to lose guys and you have to adjust on the fly and play the best you can.”

On the red zone offense:

“It’s about capitalizing on opportunities. I think we have moved the ball well all season and we have to capitalize when we get down there. Three points aren’t good enough in this league so our percentage in the red zone has to get better and we have to execute when we get down there. We have to be really good on first and second downs [because] third-and-long situations in the red zone are pretty tough. First and second down are crucial down there. When we do have third downs, we have to execute and make them play.”

On if the compressed field makes it harder in the red zone:

“When you are in third-and-long, there are very few plays. They drop eight into coverage and they have their whole team in the end zone and that makes it difficult. Third and four or less opens up the play book a little bit more so those first and second downs are crucial down there. When it is third-and-long, we have to execute and maybe make it fourth and short and maybe we’ll go for it.”

On if the playbook is smaller in the red zone:

“We have a red zone package of plays that some of our normal game plan translates, but we usually add eight-to-10 plays for red zone specific areas. It kind of is a different game plan for the red zone.”

On how valuable it is to have safety Oshiomogho Atogwe playing against his former team:

“I’m sure there are a few things that we’ll pick up, but most of it is going to come from tape. It definitely helps with personnel – knowing what guys’ strengths and weaknesses are, but most of our preparation is going to come off the Rams’ previous three games and we’ll go from there.”

On if he helps prepare the game plan or if it’s only coaches:

“We’ll see. In the past, we have done it both ways.”

St. Louis Rams Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo

On the most surprising part about opening the season with an 0-3 record:

"Actually being 0-3 is the most surprising part. We're here working our butts off just like everybody else expecting to win, and the expectations are high and I think that's the way every team out there operates. And yet it really hasn't gone the way we had hoped, but we know there's a lot of football to play here and our focus right now is just winning a game. We just need to get a win. You can't do anything until you get the first one, so we're trying to find that one."

On how the lockout affected quarterback Sam Bradford's adjustment to a new offense:

"Well, that's hard to gauge. What you're doing is you're assuming that if he'd had the 25- or 30-whatever practices, it would make a big difference and we don't know that. You assume that and conventional wisdom says that he'd be a little bit further ahead, but we all started out the same. I'm talking about all 32 teams. So we all were presented with the same obstacles and options, etcetera, etcetera. We just thought we were on course, doing pretty well. We came out of the preseason games and out of training camp and felt good about ourselves, but you know, again, the teams we have played have done a better job of it than we have. And we need to try to get it right quick."

On letting safety Oshiomogho "O.J." Atogwe go in free agency:

"I never term it as a decision to let him go. We all know this league operates a certain way and players and teams have options and this is what worked out. O.J. knows I can't wait to see him. He is one of my all-time favorite guys. He's everything that you would want in a player playing for your football team, both as a player, as a competitor and as a person. We miss certainly his character here and his football abilities. That's the way it worked out. I wished him well. I think he's one of the greatest people I know and I know he's a good football player and I know he's doing a good job out there for the Redskins."

On Atogwe's off-the-field leadership:

"I think anytime you lose a player with that kind of influence throughout the locker room, it's tough to replace. But, we're all replaceable, myself included. All of us. So we've found ways to [replace Atogwe's leadership], but there is only one O.J. He's a special guy, and I'm sure he's special to you all there. He was very special to us here and he still is."

On concerns about Bradford’s pass protection:

"Anytime your quarterback is getting hit, it's a deep concern. It's talked about often. We've got some guys that have a lot of pride, in the [offensive line] and running back and tight end positions, usually the guys that are responsible for protecting Sam. I know there's little things there we can all do, quarterback included. Sam and I have talked about that too. If you don't find a way to protect the quarterback in this league, it's going to be hard to win."

On differences in defensive end Adam Carriker since he left the Rams:

"I don't know about that, differences between here and there and whatnot. What I see when I watch Adam on tape is I see a quality player. He's a very strong football player and he certainly has fit in well in that particular defense."

On weighing risk vs. reward when choosing to blitz:

"On the moment it happens, you do it based on a lot of things — film study, the situation, what kind of success you're having. You've got to pick and choose. I don't think in this league you can do the same thing over and over. By that I mean I don't think you can sit back and just rush three all game. Offensive coaches are too smart. You know, the flip side of the coin doesn't work. If we get too pressure-happy, people figure out ways to beat it. And that happened to us on a number of times. But a good mixture is what it takes, and whatever is called, if you can get guys to execute it, usually it works out pretty good."

On this thoughts about the Redskins' blitzing on 3rd-and-21 against Dallas:

"[There's] nothing wrong with doing that. You know, the quarterback and the receiver made a play. Sometimes that happens."

On how important it is for the Rams to avoid opening the season 0-4:

"I'm not one of those guys that gets caught up in predictions, stats, standings and whatnot. We do the old cliché that we take it one game at a time. That's what we're focused on right now. There's nothing we can do about what's happened in the prior three weeks and we can't worry about game five, six and seven. All we can do is focus on one, and again, the message for the team is 'all we need to do is focus on winning a game.' So all we're trying to do is find a way to win."

On the difference in the Redskins' offense since facing Washington last season:

"Not so much in the scheme because Coach Shanahan is very good at what he does, but I'll tell you what, I think the [offensive line] is distinctly different. I think what they’re doing with who they have — the quarterback's been very productive, the two runners I think are excellent. Of course, when you have a big play receiver and a couple of big play tight ends, it makes it quite a challenge to defend it."

St. Louis Rams Quarterback Sam Bradford

On if Sunday's game is important to get the Rams on track after opening the season with an 0-3 record:

"Yeah. Obviously, we thought after going 0-1, we thought the second game was a big game. Then we thought last week was a big game, so there's no doubt that with each game we lose, the next one becomes more and more important."

On the Rams' biggest issue offensively:

"Well, in the first two games, it seemed like we really struggled once we got into the red zone or the fringe area. We got drives going and then just weren't able to finish them with touchdowns. We settled for a lot of field goals in those games. And last game, we just really struggled to get going in the first half. And by the time that we put a drive together, I think it was halfway through the third quarter and we were already down 30 points. So we've got to do a better job of starting fast, and then when we do have the opportunity to score touchdowns, we've got to make sure that we do that and not settle for field goals."

On the Redskins' pressure:

"The Redskins do pressure quite a bit and they do a great job. They throw a lot of different looks at you behind their pressures. It's not like they play the same coverage behind their pressures every time. We're going to have to put a lot of time in this week making sure that we're prepared for all the looks that we could possibly see on Sunday."

On if the Redskins are using safety Oshiomogho Atogwe differently than the Rams did:

"Obviously, our defensive scheme is a little bit different than the one in Washington, so I think he is being used in a different way there than he is there. You know, I'm not a defensive guy, so last year I couldn't tell you everything he was doing here, but just from the general things that I see, he is playing a little bit of a different role there."

On what kind of challenges Atogwe presents:

"He's a great player. He's got great ball skills. Any time he's around the ball it seems like he makes a play on it, whether he gets a deflection or whether he picks it off, he's always got his hands around the ball. And I think he's got great instincts as a player, too. He always seems to be in the middle of the action."

On what he can improve in his second NFL season:

"Obviously, going into this year, I kind of had a feel for things that I needed to do or the things that I had to do in order to get prepared to play on Sundays, whereas last year at the beginning of the season, I was still trying to feel my way through some of those things. So I think it's kind of nice knowing what's ahead of me each week and knowing the different things that I'm going to see. Obviously we're running a different offense, so the preparation is a little different as far as when we see different coverages and different things and the way we're attacking those. But it's definitely a lot easier in a second year to get ready and get prepared."

On the system installed by Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels:

"I've really enjoyed playing in his system so far. I think if you look at his track record and what he's been able to do in the past with the offenses that he'd been a part of, they've been very explosive and they've put quite a few points on the board. Obviously we're not to that stage yet, but I think we all realize that if we continue to get better and continue to push and continue to expect ourselves to play at a much higher level than we are now, then we can join that group of offenses."

On missing running back Steven Jackson for several games because of an injury:

"There's no doubt that losing [Jackson] or missing him in a game hurts our offense. He's a great player. He's been a great player in the league for a long time. So if we can get Jack back, there's no doubt that it's going to help."

(Courtesy of the Washington Redskins)

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The Commissioner
Aug 1, 2009
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Florida State

and I think Helu slipped as much and I couldnt figure out why WE were and THEY werent.
It is believed there was moisture on the field from the roof being opened. This is something Dallas would have been prepared for and we would not. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Jerruh did it on purpose knowing what would have happened if he'd left the roof open all day.

Home Field Advantage.

Reminds me of the story about George Allen turning the hot water off in the visitor's locker room when Dallas came to town.

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