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Mike Shanahan Full Transcript: 09/16

On Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, Redskins HC Mike Shanahan addressed the media following afternoon practice at Redskins Park in Ashburn, VA.


Opening statement:

"First of all, my thoughts and our thoughts are with the families of the victims at the Naval Yard. I'm sure everybody feels the same way at this time."

On if wide receiver Joshua Morgan had heard directly from his mother:

"My understanding, not at this time."

On penalties and fundamental mistakes:

"One thing about penalties, we had four on special teams, and you always want to be disciplined. A lot of times your team plays extremely hard and you have some unnecessary penalties – it's more because of aggression and you want to keep your poise. I think Baltimore led the league last year with penalties, I know we were close, but they won the Super Bowl, but they were a very aggressive football team. We are going to work on that to try to eliminate those silly mistakes. You can't beat yourselves which we talked about after the game."

On if he saw improvements in quarterback Robert Griffin III and his opinion on the offense's struggles:

"I think it's been a little different in the first two games. In the first game in the first half, we turned the ball over a few times, and any time you turn the football over, it's hard to get clicking. We didn't get anything clicking in the first game, and the second game, we were 0-for-6 on third downs. In both situations we put ourselves in a two-minute situation, which we hadn't done a lot of, and to get back into the game we had to go to that attack. So each game is a little bit different, but like I said after the game, we have got to be tough on ourselves, look at ourselves very hard. There has got to be a big sense of urgency to do the little things the right way in the first half so we don't make those mistakes and give yourself a chance to win."

On if Griffin III is healthy:

"If we didn't feel that way, he wouldn't be in there."

On how to improve tackling:

"What we are going to do is go back; you always work on assignments. You have gap responsibilities in the running game and sometimes when you do miss a tackle or two, you have got to get help from the secondary. So you can't really practice it a lot. You are only allowed to have pads on one day a week, and normally you don't take people to the ground, but what you do is you do have a sense of urgency to have your gap responsibility, practice at full speed, and that gives you a chance to get better. I've been with a lot of football teams that didn't tackle at all, a lot of very good defensive football teams, and just practicing at full speed to get guys the ball gives you a chance to be pretty good."

On tackle Trent Williams saying he can't pinpoint why the team has started slowly:

"Everybody, if you read differences of opinion, everybody is going to have a reason why you're not moving the football. I thought Trent played one of his better games, so I was happy with the way Trent approached that game. It might have been his best game since he's been here, so I was pretty impressed with how he handled himself. You just go back to the basics, kind of what was said. You look at everybody's responsibility. You try to get a team collectively to play together because it's only one play, one missed assignment here or there and all of a sudden the sky is falling, so that's why you can't overreact."

On if he believes it is time to consider playing quarterback Kirk Cousins:

"No… We've got a lot of confidence in Robert, and as I mentioned, anytime you start out a little bit slow and we're down as many points as we've been down and we get to a two-minute attack a little bit earlier than we would like to, you probably put people in the toughest situation you can. You want to win the game, you've got to get touchdowns quickly. I thought in the two games we did play, we did some good things. Not perfect by no means, but we're getting better. We are getting better as a football team even though it didn't look like it very much in the first half of either game."

On Griffin III saying he might need to be a more stern leader:

"What people have to do, you can't worry about other people, you have got to worry about yourself. Once you play the perfect game, then you can start worrying about other people. That's what I always tell everybody. If it's an offensive lineman, if it's a quarterback, a tight end, it doesn't matter who you are. You have got to concentrate on your job, and if everybody concentrates on their job and they do it perfectly, then we've got a chance for good things to happen."

On safety Brandon Meriweather and kicker Kai Forbath:

"On Brandon, we'll know more on Wednesday. He's going through all these tests. Wednesday we'll get a good feel where he's at. Kai Forbath, we probably won't know anything for sure until Friday. We're not going to push him very quickly to kick. His first day of kicking will probably be on Friday, then we'll get a good feel then."

On struggling despite continuity on the roster and coaching staff:

"That's why you keep on working. You look at what you do poorly, what you do well. It goes back to the preseason, through training camp, and, yeah, we've stubbed our toes in that first half against the Eagles and obviously didn't play very good against Green Bay, but it's a temporary setback. We know what we've got to get done, so hopefully we get it together and get it done."

On getting the team to apply its second-half performances to the first half:

"That's what you practice. That's what, hopefully, you are practicing to do, is work hard during the week so you start the game out well. When you don't make those third downs like we talked about against Green Bay, when you are 0-6 and you only have 24 plays in the first half, it's hard to get things going. People say, 'Well, why didn't you get more yards rushing?' Well, we didn't have the ball enough to get the yards rushing. We ran the ball fairly effectively, but when you get in the fourth quarter and you don't really run the football because you are in a two-minute attack, it's hard to have those type of stats and the balanced attack you would usually like to have."

On if he considers two hits by Meriweather legal:

"To be honest with you, on the first one, it looked like the running back was kind of going downhill and when Brandon, when he went for the tackle, it looked to me that it was perfect. Then all of a sudden when he ducked his head, I couldn't really tell in slow motion – because I didn't see the TV copy, I just saw the video – exactly where that contact was. The second one on the sideline, yeah, that's what you are supposed to do. That's a legal hit."

On how the number of zone read and playaction bootleg plays affects the offense:

"I'll keep on saying the same thing – when you turn the football over as many as times as we did against Philly, and they control the football, and you're 0-for-6 on third-downs, we'll see in time. We've got a long season left, so we'll let this season play out and see where the stats are at the end of the year. Hopefully we step up and do the things we're capable of doing."

On how last season's slow start could help this year's team remain calm despite starting 0-2:

"We've got a lot of confidence in our guys, as I've shared with you. Our guys are pretty strong mentally. What we've got to really worry about is Detroit and Wednesday's practice. I've got confidence in our guys that they'll be able to handle that type of pressure. They understand what type of guys we have, what type of football team we do have. Even though we've started out a little bit slow, I've got a lot of confidence in them."

On if the team will keep kicker John Potter until Forbath's status is official:

"It all depends. I'm not really sure at this time. I can't tell you one way or the other exactly what we're going to do."

On how to improve execution on defense:

"Better practices… In general, the only way you get the little things fixed is by practicing full-speed and making sure you don't make mistakes. If you get better in that area, then you've got a chance to get better on game day."

On the performance and development of cornerback David Amerson and safety Bacarri Rambo:

"Young guys are going to make mistakes, we all know that. You want those mistakes to be full-speed. Sometimes it'll be communication. Sometimes we didn't give them the proper reps during the week. You want them to feel good about themselves and go in there with a lot of confidence. These two young guys do have a lot of confidence."

On if the reduction in designed runs for Griffin III are dictated by his recovery or by game situations:

"Like I've said, we've got the ability to do everything we've done a year ago. Both of the situations in the second half of our first two games, we got in the two-minute mode very quickly. The score was very obvious, why we did. We'll let the season go on, and hopefully you guys will see some of the execution that you saw last season."

On if he has noticed differences in how the offense has been defended:

"I think we have a feel on how people are going to defend. Different options, we've got different types of reads, different types of formations and different types of check-offs. It'll evolve as the season goes on, I'm sure."

On if the team has plans to re-sign recently waived quarterback Pat White:

"I don't go into that detail for obvious reasons, but I do think a lot of Pat White. He's a great person, great guy."




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