*On Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, Redskins HC Mike Shanahan addressed the media following afternoon practice at Redskins Park in Ashburn, VA. *
On if quarterback Robert Griffin III should have gotten some preseason snaps:
"I don't know if anybody remembers, but Dr. Andrews said that there was no way he could play during the preseason. Does anybody remember that? We have to go back to this? Dr. Andrews said he could not play during the preseason. There was no chance for him to play."
On if he thinks limited preseason action has caused slow starts for running back Alfred Morris:
"I'll be honest with you, I thought Alfred was as good as I've seen a running back throughout all of camp, even in the preseason games. Anytime you do have a fumble on the first play, then you have a pitch on the goal line and there's a safety, guys lose a little bit of confidence. And even starting out the game last week in the first half, you could see he wasn't normal. And I tried to tell him, 'Hey, don't worry about it, you're too good of a runner,' and then he started running a little bit better. And you know that happens, especially with young guys – we have some conscientious people, they want to play extremely hard. And when they do make a mistake, sometimes they're so conscientious they lose a little bit of that edge. I think you'll see Alfred will do a lot of great things this season."
On safety Brandon Meriweather:
"He was able to do drill work today, which was a good sign – that means he passed where he could do some drill work. He'll get evaluated every day and we'll see what the doctors think each day."
On Meriweather's fine for his hit on Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy:
"I'm going to go back in detail, I'm going to get all the TV copies and once I do, then I can give you a better opinion because right now I haven't seen all the angles. I just saw the fine – we've been getting ready for a game."
On what he could do to make Griffin III more comfortable in his knee brace:
"I could wear it myself [laughter]. That would help him because he wouldn't have the brace on, I'm not sure it's in the best interest of him though."
On what extent the knee brace is hindering him:
"Well, you'd have to talk to Robert about that, I can give you no idea, but he says it's feeling pretty good. He's had it on for a while, so right now doctors recommend he has it on, so he'll continue to have it on."
On how he addresses tackling in practice:
"I think what you try to do is get more people to the ball. You can't tackle and you're allowed pads one day a week. That's tomorrow, so we'll get some form tackling in and hopefully get a lot more people to the ball and get better than what we've been doing the last couple of games."
On if Griffin III running less:
"If you take a look at the games, you take a look at the first game and you take a look at three turnovers – the first series of the third quarter we turned it over again and you're behind as many points [as we were], you're in a two-minute attack. And so that was our game plan to try to get back in the football game, so you can't run a normal game plan. When you take a look at the Green Bay game, you're 0-for-7 in your third downs – and again we didn't do a lot after the first series, we went into a two-minute attack. So basically our game plan has been two-minutes in the first game and the second game. And I think Robert's done some good things in those two-minute attacks considering he hasn't had a lot of that since he's been here or hadn't had a lot of it in college. And so I was kind of optimistic about some of the things he did do in that two-minute attack."
On if Griffin III has asked to be held back in running the ball:
"Wouldn't you say right now our running game is pretty average? Well, you take a look at Alfred, he's still averaging six yards a carry. We need to be in the game so we can run the football more, but when you're getting beat by 25, 30 points, you try to win the football game. So hopefully this will take care of itself in time where we can play a lot better football both offensively and defensively and be in some of these games so we can run a balanced attack. And then in midseason we can have another conversation like that and see if we've gone one direction or another."
On getting people more involved in tackling at practice and getting people to the ball:
"Yeah, always emphasizing people getting to the ball all the time on defense."
On kicker Kai Forbath:
"We'll evaluate him later in the week. We're not going to try anything until Friday or Saturday – hopefully we can get that thing healed up."
On if Meriweather was cleared to do anything other than drill work:
"He's going to be evaluated every day, so Brandon will come in tomorrow, get evaluated again by the doctors, if there is no setback, he can do drill work tomorrow. They did not commit. They don't think he's ready yet for on-field work, and then if it goes okay tomorrow then we'll evaluate it the next day on Friday."
On if he has had another player with Meriweather's bad luck with injuries:
"To be honest with you, he's never missed any time until he's come here and it's been some freak injuries. If this had been a pattern of his over time, then yeah, I would be scared, but it hasn't been. So I'm hoping he can get back this weekend and hopefully play a full game."
On if he is pleased with the team's preparation leading into games:
"I guarantee you there is a greater sense of urgency for us to eliminate mistakes. That is very obvious. We've gone a couple styles of offense that we didn't feel very well with, and we plan on getting much better. We're going against a top 10 offense this week. They're doing a great job scoring points, great job throwing the ball, preventing sacks. We're going to have to play one of our better games. I told our guys we can't do anything about the last two weeks, but we can have a much better practice today, which we did. So that's the first step, hopefully going in the right direction."
On how to improve on third down:
"We're going against the best third-down team in the National Football League, so we better find out awful quick. You just work on the little things. You just keep on working on protections and try to get a good game plan together. You can't get behind the 8-ball like we have been, though, with as many points during the second half. Hopefully we can correct that this week."
On the possibility of Forbath kicking only field goals and kicker John Potter specializing in kickoffs:
"That's a possibility."
On rookie tight end Jordan Reed playing more snaps than tight end Fred Davis:
"Most of the decisions we make are based on how people practice and what gives us the best opportunity to win. So if a guy goes into those situations, it means that he's done a great job during the week and we feel like he deserved that opportunity. Or it could be a guy drops a ball during a game, the other's guy is hot, and you go in that direction. There are a lot of factors that are involved. You're trying to do what you think gives you the best chance to win."
On how to explain the team's tackling in the first two games:
"Sometimes it could be a missed tackle. Sometimes it could be a gap responsibility, one guy out here, one guy out here. A lot of different things that are involved, but I guarantee you, we'll work on that this week."
On the challenges in defending Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson:
"Anytime you get a guy that's six-foot-five that can leap and can catch a football, you hope you can tackle him, because he's going to make some great plays. You've got to change things up on him on him, try to keep him a little bit off-balance. Not a lot of teams have been able to do that, so it's going to be a great challenge for us."
On the pressure Johnson puts on a young secondary:
"Anytime you've got great players, it's always tough, but this is the National Football League. There's great players on every team, so it's a great challenge for them."
On how Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett moving to the coaches' booth has impacted communication:
"It really makes it easier to communicate, because he can see quicker on what is going on, missed assignments. He can communicate very quickly. That gives him a little bit better chance to see what offenses are doing."
On Griffin III's improvement from the first game to the second:
"I think I just kind of shared with you a little bit, from the first game to the second game. I talked about the mistakes in the first half. I talked about us running the two-minute attack. I do think he played better in the second game. You could see his footwork, just his base and stepping up into the throws, he felt a lot more comfortable. This is a long process. It's not going to happen overnight. We've talked about it before. This is something that he's going to get better at and better at as time goes on."
On if Griffin III's confidence has been shaken:
"You have to ask Robert with that, but he's a very confident young man, a very talented young man. There's only one way you get better in this game, and that's through repetition, and the more repetition you get, the better off you do. When you don't have an offseason, like he didn't, it's really hard to get great in one specific area right away. But you figure, just in a couple games, what did he have, like five TD's and three interceptions in that two-minute attack? That goes for the season, that'll be 40 TDs and 18 interceptions. Pretty good for a guy not having an offseason program. That's not where we want to be, that's not where he wants to be, but hopefully we can get back and run our normal offense, but we're going to have to play much better collectively to do that."
On if a quarterback can practice the instinct of scrambling out of the pocket:
"You do that all the time. That's why you practice. You practice with those scrambles, with dropback, play-action, quarterback rolls, option. You practice all those things."
On if Griffin III's movement and quickness when he scrambles is different than last year:
"Only Robert knows that for sure. When you don't see people do things, it's hard, like for yourself, unless you see it in a game situation, I've seen in practice that he's got some pretty good speed. Is it the same speed that it was before? I can't tell you that, but I do know that it's a much different game when you get behind by 20, 30 points in a game than when it's a very close game, different things you can do offensively. We're not going to abandon our offense. I know it's been two games, I know we haven't been very impressive, but we still have a lot of confidence in what we're doing."