On Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, Redskins HC Mike Shanahan addressed the media following afternoon practice at Redskins Park in Ashburn, VA.
On if the win can be a turning point for the season:
"I think it's great when you can win a game that way where a team has first-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 21 seconds left and a couple of timeouts and you find a way, not only to stop them, but lucky enough to win the toss and get on about an 80-yard drive and find a way to win the game in the end zone. So yeah, that was a big win for us, no question about it."
On quarterback Robert Griffin III's success on third down:
"As you mentioned, the great quarterbacks are the guys that are consistent on third down and I thought Robert had his best game of the year. Anytime you're over 70 percent in third down conversions, your quarterback is normally playing extremely well. And that's what you've got to do. You've got to do that consistently. If you take a look at third down conversions year in, year out, the top quarterbacks are always up there."
On what changed to allow the running game to be successful:
"I think I said this kind of at the beginning of the year, if it's the second or third game, kind of watch a team – see how they play over maybe half a season or three-quarters of a season – you'll get a better feel for how a team functions. We've always believed in the running game and we always will. It will be a big emphasis of ours. Some games we'll have a little bit more success than others, but if you believe in something, you've got to practice it every day – everybody has got to buy in – and that gives you a chance to have success."
On if Griffin III did anything different on third downs:
"Yeah, I think every time you're out there you're hoping to get better. Sometimes it may be looking at a matchup on one-on-one and it may be the structure of a defense, may be your footwork, it may be a combination of all those things. But you've got to decipher things very quickly as a quarterback and you've got to go to the right receiver, you've got to make the right throw, and so often it's a combination of all those things."
On what problems the triple option poses for defenses:
"Well, a lot of defenses it doesn't propose a lot of problems, some defenses it does. It all depends what their adjustments are – if we stay with something or not. Some teams can quickly adjust to it, other teams don't and if they don't, then we keep on running it and try to keep a team off-balance where maybe they might play the run and they don't play the play-action pass and the dropback pass and that's part of having a game plan."
On how much it helps to be able to run those things and have success:
"I think the key is to have it in your offense. You don't have to run it a lot, but if you do have it in there and you feel like it's going well, you can keep on running it. If not, it may open something else. I think the more you can do as an offense to keep people off-balance the better off you are."
On Griffin III taking a big hit to get a first down:
"To be honest with you, Robert will take a look at that play and say, 'OK, if I had to do it over again, what would I have done not to put myself in that situation?' And that's how you learn. He'll go back and say, 'Oh, if I would have done this and that, I would never have put myself in that situation, and that's how you get better. And that's how quarterbacks have to be tough on each other, but they've got to be tough on themselves as they take a look and you're very critical because you don't want to put yourself in those situations too often. But I mentioned that after the game because it can show you the mindset that he had to make a play."
On his level of concern over the blocked field goals and what he saw on those plays:
"First of all, the guy that blocked the first field goal didn't penetrate the line. He did it at the line of scrimmage, so the kick was too low. The second one we had to drive it a little bit – a 59-yarder – and that hit the guy in the armpit, so both kicks were too low."
On if he saw a specific reason why the 25-yard attempt was low:
"No. He just kicked it low."
On the challenges of adding to the game plan in a short week:
"You better not add too much because if you do, you don't have time to prepare for it. I think that goes for both teams. You can always put in a little wrinkle here or there, but mainly on a very short week teams do what they do best."
On taking a timeout after a delay of game penalty:
"Sometimes it's communication. Sometimes a person will take off on the wrong side; he'll hear the formation differently. There are a lot of things that occur but it's embarrassing when that does happen."
On if there is one moment from yesterday he considers the most encouraging:
"I think there was a lot of encouraging things. No. 1, we found a way to win a very tight football game against a team that was playing extremely well. I thought San Diego had done a good job of not giving up touchdowns. You had to earn everything you got because they were playing extremely well in the red zone. At the end of the day, as I told our football team after the game, there are not too many teams that get three out of four games 200 yards rushing. They should feel proud, and that's got to be our mindset – to take pride in something like that – and keep on taking pride in those type of things and you've got a chance for good things to happen down the road."
On what it is like to watch a goal line stand from the sideline:
"Your mindset is totally on what they're doing, what type of formation they're coming out in, but you could feel the crowd and the energy. They really helped us in that situation because of the snap count, the crowd noise, fans are into it, and it's one of the big advantages you have at home when the crowd does get into it like they did."
On how he looks at playing Thursday games:
"I'm not really too concerned about it because Minnesota's got the same situation as we do. On the positive side, after you do prepare for a game and you play in short week, it's kind of like a bye week because you have three out of four days off. They get a chance to recover, rest a little bit, kind of watch some games on the weekend, but it's very hectic getting ready for this game and, like I said, both teams have got to do it and we're used to it."
On wide receiver Leonard Hankerson stepping up yesterday:
"Well, more than just stepping up – and you see the catches – what we see is every play that he's in the game, both in the running game and the passing game. If the quarterback did go to him, is he open? And he played a very good game. He stepped up and did a lot of good things that if the quarterback would have looked his way, would he have been open or not? The majority of the time he would have. He played an excellent game."
On the challenges of his players preparing for Minnesota given their changes at quarterback this season:
"They'll take a look at the game against the Cowboys and they'll be impressed because they had 400 yards – right around 400 yards. They had the game won and gave it away in the last second. A team that played awful tough the whole game. Ran the ball extremely well. Stopped their running game cold. So they were impressive. It won't take long for that football team to get our attention."
On development of cornerback David Amerson:
"David's got a big upside. I think everybody saw the interception – it was exceptional. His effort on that goal line play, not many people could make that tackle, or corners want to make that tackle. Very impressive. And then there's a few plays in there that you can see he's a rookie against a receiver that really ran some great routes, so the key to David will be that consistency – 60 minutes – but you did see some fantastic plays out of him and [we're] very encouraged about his future."
On the seriousness of Hankerson's listed hamstring injury:
"Well, to be honest with you, when you don't practice, it's really hard to put an injury report out. Nobody practiced, so I could have put the whole team on here. I saw Minnesota almost did put their whole team on here so Hankerson's going to be fine."
On linebacker London Fletcher's listed injury:
"He just got his knee drained. He's fine. Anybody that's getting treatment we have to put down as limited today."
On if he has ever had to reduce the workload for his coaches or himself in response to health concerns as a result of the demands of the job:
"There's no question about it. I've had a lot of coaches go down through the years, you know, the stress of the job. Some person might not be feeling good, might be sick. With that comes stress as well. So yeah, you've got to be careful, because there's a lot of hours, there's a lot of pressure, and you have got to keep an eye on your coaches, because when they do get sick, a lot of times they can hurt themselves."
On the situation in the Miami Dolphins' locker room:
"To be honest with you, I really haven't listened to a lot of it because we've been pretty busy – just a couple of comments made by [Senior Vice President] Tony [Wyllie] and a couple other guys. I have never experienced that since I've been in coaching. I've never experienced that type of locker room or that type of atmosphere that was explained to me, anyhow. You do get at times guys that are a little bit more nervous, or younger guys, rookies, than other guys and you've kind of got to watch over them because sometimes one person might be a little bit shy, one person's a little different type of personality, and at least over the years we try to keep an eye on those type of young guys – I'm talking about rookies coming out. Some people have hazing, other people don't. I've never been much into hazing – just the opposite. You want these guys to feel comfortable even though they do have to carry shoulder pads and things along those lines. But everybody treats them a little bit different."
On if he and his staff have discussed contingency plans for if he had to leave the position temporarily for health or personal reasons:
"Well, when I went to the funeral [during training camp] this year, Bobby [Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs Coach Bobby Turner] did take over and did a heck of a job. He didn't let anybody get away with anything. Bobby's pretty tough. But yeah, it's a stressful job and [Houston Texans Head Coach] Gary [Kubiak] is such a good friend of mine. Hopefully he's doing well and [Denver Broncos Head Coach] John Fox is a good friend and at least I texted their wives this morning to see how they're doing and hopefully there's no setback with either guy."
On if it is difficult to differentiate between when a player lacks toughness and when there is a serious issue at hand:
"I don't think it's hard at all. If you think it's a problem, it's a problem. That's your job. If you can see it and you believe it is, then you address the problem. I think that once you address it, usually the problem's over because you don't tolerate it. But sometimes someone might not be aware that's going on. I'm sure that's the case in Miami."
On the team's struggles on kick returns and if getting back to the 20-yard line has been a challenge:
"Yeah, it has. It just takes one block here or there. You go at the end of the game, you're averaging the 20-, 21-, 22-yard-line and it's something that you're not used to. You want to get more yards. The team's that's leading the NFL is four or five yards in front of you. This year it's 26 yards. That's what you're working for, those extra four or five yards. All of a sudden you've just got to break one and all of a sudden it changes, so hopefully we can do that."
On the performance of safety Brandon Meriweather:*
"I thought he had one of his better games that I've seen him play – very physical, was really on-point in the passing game as well. A lot of times when a guy comes back after being fined, he's a little tentative when he hits. He brought it. He brought it both in the running game and the passing game and made some great open field tackles and he was ready to play. Really proud of him, the way he handled himself."