On Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, Redskins HC Mike Shanahan addressed the media following afternoon practice at Redskins Park in Ashburn, VA.
On the injury report:
"[Cornerback David] Amerson with a concussion, he was limited today. [He] had no side effects so hopefully he'll be OK tomorrow. [Nose tackle] Chris Neild was limited with his calf. Full practice was [linebacker] Brandon Jenkins, [tight end] Fred Davis, [center] Will Montgomery, [cornerback Jerome] Murphy and [tight end Logan] Paulsen. [Long snapper Nick] Sundberg had surgery today on his meniscus – about a five-month recovery time – and surgery went well."
On quarterback Robert Griffin III's completion percentage:
"I don't really worry as much about completion percentage, even though it's an important stat, as I do points – points that you score. We're not doing as well in the red zone. That has hurt us. When you don't score points, when you don't score touchdowns in the red zone, it comes back to haunt you. We've been moving the ball well, so that's a good sign, but we've got to get better in that area."
On what Griffin III meant by his comments that he'll "go back to what got him here":
"I don't know, you'll have to ask Robert… He's got to be himself. Robert is Robert. We don't ask quarterbacks to do anything in particular. We have a game plan going in. Whatever that game plan may be, we are hoping they execute the game plan."
On tight end Niles Paul's comments that the team is still building trust with Special Teams Coordinator Keith Burns:
"That happens on every football team. I don't care if you're putting in an offense, defense or special teams, you earn the right to be trusted. You've got to prove yourself, both as a player and as a coach. That's just typical. Same thing with [former Redskins Special Teams Coordinator] Danny [Smith]. He's got to go to Pittsburgh and he's got to earn that trust, and if things aren't going good, you just keep on working harder. A lot of people overreact to things like that because you have something that's negative and all of a sudden people don't really understand what happened. It could be one small little thing and all of a sudden that snowball starts rolling and people jump on the bandwagon and all of a sudden the sky is falling. But we've got to pick up our kickoff coverage. Anytime you have a kicker that doesn't really hang the ball very high, you have to have extra special coverage. We've got to be at our best, especially going against a team like Chicago who is ranked number one in the National Football League on kickoff returns. We'll keep on working on the little things and gain experience, but we will get better."
On if the hang time on kickoffs is an issue:
"Sure it's an issue. I'm saying if you take one kicker that kicks touchbacks, kicks it out of the end zone every time, you really don't have to worry about your kickoff coverage. That makes your kickoff coverage pretty good if nobody can ever return it. If you do return like we did, we were trying to make a play, [wide receiver] Josh [Morgan] was, and I thought he did a good job. They actually had eight guys inside the 15 yard-line. When you have eight guys inside the 15 yard-line when you hit the goal line, even though you don't kick it out of the end zone, you've got some really good hang time. So we've got to make the correct decisions not to take it out when they hang it that high even though it may be five yards deep in the end zone. That's part of the process of making good decisions on special teams."
On if linebacker Josh Hull and safety Trenton Robinson were signed with special teams in mind:
"First of all, when you lose a couple of players, you have to go out there and get the best people possible and they've got to play both positions. Not only do they have to play special teams but they've got to play the linebacker position, they've got to play the secondary. We got two guys that have been very good on special teams in Hull and Robinson and now we'll see how they practice this week and see if they can help us on game day depending on how they practice during the week."
On if the team is playing to compete or playing to win:
"Normally for me, guys that are very competitive are trying to win. If you're a competitive guy, the first thing you are thinking about is winning the game. If you get competitive people by nature, usually you're in good shape."
On the play of cornerback DeAngelo Hall this season and how he will matchup against the Bears:
"DeAngelo, as we've talked about in the past, you could tell how excited he was to play in that game [against Dallas]. You play a Sunday night game. You've got a great test against a guy that's playing extremely well, and as you mentioned, DeAngelo played a great game. But DeAngelo is also smart enough to know that game is over. What you did last week really doesn't matter and you've got to concentrate on this week. You've got a quarterback that's playing very well and you've got a receiver like Brandon [Marshall] who is extremely strong, has great hands and it's another challenge for him and our defense in general. You've got to play well as a group because not one guy is going to shut Brandon Marshall down. One guy is not going to shut down Cutler. As a group we have to play like we did against Dallas or maybe even a little bit better."
On if he expects Bears quarterback Jay Cutler to have Hall's four-interception game in his mind:
"No. Jay is one that can wipe things out just like that. He doesn't have a long memory. He's very competitive. He's going to give it everything he's got, but after something's over, he can concentrate very quickly on the next game. He always wants to play well. I know there's a couple of words here and there said, that's football –competitors after a game."
On if Griffin III ran more instinctively last week:
"Yes, I thought so. I thought you could see some of that burst that he had a year ago. Yeah, I thought you could see that on a couple of runs."
On how they work on getting him to react instinctively:
"Same thing in practice, what you do every day. He practices that. If you're going against our defense or going against the scout team, not everything's perfect. Not everything is drawn up the right way. When you put quarterbacks or whoever in those situations, you can see a guy step and scramble or try to make a play or before they hit the line of scrimmage they throw the football down the field. But that's something you do every day. We've been doing it since camp."
On if he feels the need to approach players about stepping up on special teams:
"Well, if they are one of those guys [that needs to be approached], they won't be on the team very long. First of all, they realize that everybody is accountable every time they go out there. [Safety] Reed [Doughty] is one of those guys. Reed would be embarrassed about the comment I made yesterday about Lorenzo [Alexander] being one of those guys because Reed is one of those guys. He takes a lot of pride in everything that he does and he tries to rally the troops for everybody to play at the level that he plays. We have a number of new faces in different positions. When you take a look at that game, if you look at it a little differently, if we would have got the ball down on the 23 yard-line like we should have, you know the mistake by the official kept us from getting the ball at the 23, all of a sudden our special teams did a pretty good job. If they get the block on Niles, or you take a look at [linebacker Bryan] Kehl when he loses his ACL, he's right there to make the play. You can't overreact. You want to make sure our guys are accountable. We get better every day. There is a sense of urgency knowing what type of team Chicago is and you try to do that on a day-to-day basis."
On if there are players that he has to remind that they are primarily special teams players:
"No, not really, because we talk about those things all the time. We talk about people that aren't starters that once you get your opportunity and you let up on special teams, the chances are you won't be in the National Football League very long. You've got a guy like [linebacker] Perry Riley who plays every snap, yet he plays on punt protection, he plays on special teams like his life depends on it regardless of if he's playing 75 plays or 90 plays because he knows it gives us the best chance to win. You want to put your people that have the ability to make plays on special teams and hopefully they've got the mindset to help you win."
On the miscommunication between Griffin III and wide receiver Pierre Garçon:
"What happened on the goal line – There is a two-minute drill and we have a signal that tells the quarterback to the receiver to run a different route. And you saw Robert on the film doing that and Garçon, Robert wasn't looking at Garçon at that time, and he thought since he did it for a little bit, he thought Garcon [saw it]. But that's part of signals. You give signals all the time. There's a lot of times that Robert could have went to the other side and nobody would have known that it was a missed signal, but he did go to that side and we missed an opportunity there to score a touchdown."
On general miscommunications on offense this season, such as a running back being on the wrong side on a draw play:
"We missed a handoff on a draw. That's what happened. Sometimes those things do occur. You don't like them to occur. Robert went a little bit further back than he should have. Those things, sometimes we fake a little bit of a pass and sometimes the timing is not perfect, but we have been doing a pretty good job on that. That was one of the times that we didn't do a good job."
On if he will spend more time with special teams this week:
"Anytime we do a little bit poorer in one area than the other – whether it's the secondary, the linebackers, defense, the offensive line, receivers, if it's special teams – that's where I spend my time that week. I'm going to work on the things that we do poorly and try to emphasize what the coaches are emphasizing and make sure there's a sense of urgency there and hopefully we can improve."
On if he feels like there are communication issues between Griffin III and skill position players:
"I'm saying when you have one missed signal during the game, that's not too bad."
On safety Reed Doughty addressing the special teams unit:
"Well, Reed is that type of guy. It doesn't surprise me at all. When we voted for the first captain of the year, it wasn't even close with Reed. That's his mindset. The way he handles himself on a day-to-day basis, both with the secondary and regardless of what core group he's on on special teams, he always gets the job done. He is one of the guys that sets the parameters on what we should do on special teams. And we have to have a number of other guys who step up – guys like [linebacker] Rob Jackson who is back, and a lot of these young guys who are just getting a feel like Reed did and Rob did when they first came in. They'll be excellent special teams players. There will be some mistakes made along the way, but if those mistakes are full-speed, then we'll have a chance to get better."