On Tuesday, September 10, 2013, Redskins HC Mike Shanahan addressed the media following afternoon practice from Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va.
On addressing early mistakes:
"When you start out the game and you have a fumble, you don't want to turn the football over, especially the first play of the game. Then your second series you have an interception and your third you have a safety. You put a lot of pressure on your defense right away. They got a lot of momentum going. They did a good job controlling the tempo of the game, especially in that first quarter, but they didn't score any touchdowns until that seventh and eighth drive and I think they had like 40 plays before they actually put the ball in the end zone for a sustained drive. We did some poor things there in that first half. I thought we rallied back in the second half, made a few adjustments defensively, but I think we adjusted to their unbalanced set a lot better in the second half than we did in the first half. We had some missed alignments and missed tackles, but I was pleased coming into the second half after that first turnover that we were able to put [together] some drives and get some touchdowns."
On some players saying they were surprised by what they saw from the Eagles' offense:
"There was only one play that we saw that we hadn't practiced against, so, from that standpoint, I felt pretty good about that. Only one play they ran offensively that was a surprise to me that I hadn't seen before on tape. We had a couple of misalignments with their unbalanced set so I always put the responsibility for that on coaches, not on players. We had a few missed tackles, that has a lot to do with [Eagles running back LeSean] McCoy and [Eagles quarterback Mike] Vick and a couple of their great athletes they do have. We did adjust, we did make some adjustments and I was pleased with the way we came back in the second half even though we fell short."
On what individual's performance surprised him the most:
"Like I just said, any time you go into halftime and you are down by a number of points you want to see what your football team is made of, and we put ourselves in position to win the game. I was disappointed that one fourth-and-10, we were getting the ball off and we jumped offsides, but that would have been a touchdown if we got that ball off in time, so you look at those type of opportunities and when you fall a little bit short and you've got a chance to still find a way to win the game and you don't, you are disappointed... I don't want to just point any one person out, but any time you are able to go three touchdowns in four series, you feel pretty good about the offense because it takes everybody to get the ball in the endzone. One or two people make a mistake and all of the sudden it's like that first half, a lot of three plays and out or a turnover."
On the play of quarterback Robert Griffin III:
"I think offensively as a group, we were pretty average in the first half. It's not one person, it's everybody, as I shared with you yesterday. I don't critique players through the media, but it takes a unit to do things that we had done a year ago and things that we did in the second half. We played one of our poorer first halves with turnovers and mistakes and we'll get better."
On if he noticed a point when Griffin III started to settle in:
"Like I said, I don't critique players through the media. I critique a unit and offensively we didn't do the things we normally do as a group."
On the difficulty of preparing for the Eagles defense:
"I'll be honest with you, like I said before, you kind of go back and take a look at what people have done in the past and we went back to Arizona, and we went back to different places [Eagles Defensive Coordinator] Bill [Davis] has been and they just play a sound defense. They are not very complicated – different things that we have gone against all preseason. The only thing they did is probably had little corner fires with a tight split, and we had practiced that throughout the preseason. I did think they executed well, especially in that first half."
On why some of the Eagles blitzes were successful:
"Different things that we practiced throughout the week. Any team can overload people in the middle and you've got to throw hot and sometimes you get a perfect protection if you've got the right play call, but I was pleased with how we practiced during the week, and what we practiced during the week, at least from a blitz standpoint, is exactly what we saw. It's very similar to what they've done in the past."
On decision to start cornerback E.J. Biggers at safety:
"Anytime you play a nickelback, you could be in nickel, you can be a inime, they are interchangeable. We thought with what they did offensively we could take advantage of his speed out there, especially with the injuries that we had seen during the preseason."
On if he is frustrated by the injury status of safety Brandon Meriweather:
"I think you are always disappointed when you've got a football player that you think is going to be ready and then all of the sudden he's not. I was really pleased with Brandon going into the last preseason game. He lasted half and then all of the sudden, on that Monday, he strains his groin, so that's always disappointing. I am hoping this week he'll be ready to go. I know he's ready to go. He's been working extremely hard to put himself in position to play well. I'm just hoping this week he will be ready."
On if the team suffered any injuries in the game:
"I don't think there are any injuries that will keep anybody out. A couple of guys are banged up but that's about it."
On the improvement of wide receiver Leonard Hankerson:
"I think he needs some playing time. Like we talked about before, he's got to have some consistency like he did last night to make those plays. I thought he did a great job in that red zone. He ran an excellent route. What a lot of people don't see is the route's he is running and when he doesn't get the ball and he's open. That's what you are impressed with, so, it's just not the ones he catches, it's what he does when he's not hit that if the quarterback had to look that way he would have been open, so that's what's positive about Hank."
On if outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan will have to miss any practice:
"He was cleared to go today."
On if early mistakes were relation to lack of preseason playing time:
"You've just got to go through those mistakes. If you take a look at the first play and you take a look at the fumble, [running back] Alfred Morris gets hit all the time in practice. He wraps up, we work on turnovers and it is very unusual for him to have that type of mistake. Interceptions are going to occur every once in a while. You are hoping to eliminate those mistakes. That's why you try to put that quarterback through as many repetitions as you can versus different coverages where things become automatic for him. You take the toss on the goal line and all of the sudden it winds up being a safety. Those are things you have to play through, and that's why I was kind of pleased with our football team. I thought we were playing through. We made a lot of mistakes in that first half and we still had a chance to come back and at least make it a game so those are the things we are going to be working on this week."
On the play of tight end Jordan Reed:
"I thought Jordan, for the first game, really took advantage of his opportunities when he was in there, both in the running game and the passing game."
On his take on the running game:
"What running game? First of all, you fall behind. Any time you have 21 plays in the first half, that's not a lot of plays. If we play like we did in the second half, then you have got a chance to put up some pretty good numbers. At the end of the day you have to find a way to win, and I think we had 75 yards and three first downs in the first half and that's not going to do it, and we all know that, and we just talked about why we did that. I was pleased with the way we came back, with the way we came out, we did some good things, except for that first turnover, and we fell a little bit short."
On Chris Thompson's freedom and decision making on returns:
"That's what you work on, all the time., where you catch it, hangtime, how many yards deep are you, are you going forward. Same thing on punt returns. We don't work very often on catching the ball at the 3-yard line. A young guy sometimes, you line up on the 10 and you don't realize you drift back there. I was pleased though. He had the guts to go back there and at least catch it with a lot of people around him. Even though that's a negative, it's a positive that his concentration level is there and we're just going to have to put him through more reps so he doesn't catch the ball inside the 10-yard-line. .That one when he caught the ball on the five-yard line, especially with the fair catch, that's a mistake. That's a rookie mistake. The more experienced he gets, the better he's going to be. They had some great coverage and there were not a lot of holes there. I was pleased with his effort, but those decisions are going to have to improve."
On how Griffin III is feeling:
"I haven't had a chance to talk to Robert today. We graded the film and looked at it as a coaching staff. When you're a day short, you're on to Green Bay and they've got an extra day on us, so that's what we've been doing."
On kicker Kai Forbath's improvement on kickoffs: "He explained to me exactly what he did and I was really impressed because Kai is a very bright young man. He worked extremely hard in the offseason to increase his distance on kickoffs and you can see what the difference is. Yeah, he's been working at it and obviously it's helped him, and it's going to help our coverage team out. He can explain that to you. I'm not smart enough to figure that one out."