*On Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, Redskins HC Mike Shanahan addressed the media following afternoon practice at Redskins Park in Ashburn, VA. *
On the injury report:
"[Tight end] Jordan Reed did not practice – concussion. [Tackle] Trent Williams did not practice – knee. [Fullback] Darrel Young, hamstring, was limited. [Cornerback] E.J. Biggers was full practice, he had the knee contusion."
On his reaction to linebacker London Fletcher's likely retirement and what Fletcher's legacy will be:
"Like I've said before, I've never been around a guy quite like London. The way he prepares for every game is like he's preparing for a Super Bowl. His leadership is unquestioned. When I came in here, everybody had the utmost respect for him, both on and off the football field, and so to have a guy like that in your organization makes it so much easier for a coach because the young guys learn the right way to do things right from the start. So he's been very, very special to this organization. He's experienced a lot with different people, different players, different coaches. It's going to be tough to lose a guy like that, but hopefully he can end it on the right note with a good win against Dallas."
On if he expected the announcement from Fletcher:
"I really didn't know. I really didn't know if he was going to do that or not. I wasn't expecting it, no, but he did come into me and say something to me."
On what it means to have Fletcher endorse him the way he did:
"Well, I didn't actually hear what he said, but [Senior Vice President of Communications] Tony [Wyllie] was saying he said some nice things. I think it's the ultimate compliment you can have, you know, people that you respect, if they say something nice, you respect the person. So, in coaching, when you're coaching with relationships with players, you want to make sure that they feel good about who they're playing for, so coming from London that's extra special."
On what he thinks Fletcher's legacy is:
"I know from my perspective, I've been around a lot of great players and when I say this, that I've never been around someone that prepares like he does, that's saying a lot, because I've been around a lot of great players. And it's the biggest compliment that I can give somebody that every time he comes to work that everybody knows that he's going to prepare like it's the Super Bowl. And that is hard to do, especially at the position that he plays because mentally and physically it's draining, and for him to have that mindset for as long as he has and to not miss a game speaks volumes to who he is."
On his perception of Fletcher before he came to the Redskins and if he was surprised by anything he learned about him as his coach:
"I think it's so hard to even pretend to know somebody when you don't coach them. People can give a lot of tributes to people, but until you see a guy work day-in, day-out through the good times, through the bad times, it's really hard to put it into perspective, but being in the NFL as many years as I have been in it, I've been around a lot of great players, and to give him that type of compliment is not easy for me to do, but he's earned it because that's the way he handles himself."
On what it would take to decide to shut down tight end Jordan Reed for the remainder of the season:
"I think we've talked about it a little bit in detail before, as we talked to the doctors, there's the experts in this area that they've seen people in soccer go two, three, four months, then one day they get tested each day and they're fine. Sometimes it's three weeks. So we just go with their recommendation, 'Hey, what's in the best interest of Jordan Reed?' And they've seen a lot of specialists, they'll see another guy tomorrow, another doctor. We're going to do what we can to make sure that he's looked at carefully, and when the doctors say that he's ready to go, he'll be ready to go."
On if it is an outside doctor evaluating Reed tomorrow:
"Yes, it'll be outside. We've had him see a few specialists already just to get differences of opinion from different people that are experts in that area just trying to get our cross-checks in."
On how having Fletcher's locker next to quarterback Robert Griffin III's has helped Griffin III:
"Number one, just to be around him you get a great feel. To have your locker next to him, I think the reason you do that is you want to give him an idea of what it takes to be a pro and how he does prepare, how he does handle himself, not only on the field but off the field. And for any young player coming in, regardless of their status, it's a great learning experience for them."
On if Fletcher is a Hall of Fame caliber player:
"I don't think there's any question about him being a Hall of Fame caliber player. I think he's definitely a Hall of Fame caliber player. His work speaks for itself, and to do what he's done and not miss games along the way, be with different organizations and lead those organizations wherever he's been, speaks volumes."
On what impresses him the most about Fletcher as a football player outside of his leadership:
"He knows what's going to happen. The great ones know what's going to happen before it happens, and when you prepare yourself like he does, the reason why he's able to make the plays he does is because of the mental preparation and his ability to go out there and play physical football. He likes to hit. To me it's a unique –
I don't want to say talent – but for the body to be able to take the hits that he's taken over his career and not miss games is kind of unheard of. Even when I saw him hurt his ankle a couple of weeks ago, I said there's no way that he'll be able to play next week — that looked like it was a two, three week injury. He's practicing on Wednesday. That's quite unusual."
On Griffin III's performance on the scout team:
"I think we've gone into detail why he's there – because we think it's in the best interest of the organization and the best interest to him. Now, what he's going to do is practice just like he's a starter on offense – there's no difference. Even if you're on the scout team, you're looking at defenses, you're running plays very similar to what we do, and he's taken advantage of every opportunity."
On recent reports about Griffin III:
"If you want me to comment to every one of those – I mean, it's crazy. It's ludicrous. I told you something was going to come out every day. That's just part of it to even write that kind of stuff. First of all, I understand, or at least somebody told me, that he [Quarterbacks Coach Matt LaFleur] was on the sideline. He's in the press box – that's one. So these things come out time after time and I'm not surprised about it."
On how many times he has been surprised that Fletcher could play following an injury:
"Well, it's really hard to say because normally you're not up close to see an ankle like that. But it was so awkward , how he got hit that I said, 'There's no way.' I said, 'I just saw something happen that hasn't happened in a lot of years. This is going to knock him out of the game.' Then he comes Wednesday and he's walking through. He's walking through just like he's going to play and I thought for sure if he did have a chance to play, he couldn't practice through the week. He's a veteran. He doesn't have to play, he didn't have to practice, but he wanted to set an example for the young guys that this is how you handle yourself as a pro, 'Not only am I going to get treatment get well, but I'm going to set the stage and this is why you practice from what's in the best interest of your football team.'"
On how receptive Griffin III has been to coaching:
"I think part of the growth of any football player is to be a pro player. And like I said about London, what's the best thing for a young guy to go through? And that's to be coached, learn how to practice as a pro, because it's so totally different than it is in college. I coached in college for 10 years. It was a great learning experience for me, but the difference between college and pro level with these players is night and day, so all of it is a learning experience. Some guys are more in tune than other guys, but it's not a negative. It's just, 'Hey, this is a learning experience guys go through.' To be next to a guy like London Fletcher is the ultimate experience for a young football player."
On the pressure on quarterback Kirk Cousins:
"I think pressure is good. There's nothing wrong with pressure because sooner or later you're going to get that pressure. Some people embrace it, other people run from it. I think Kirk is a guy that embraces it, and the only way you feel good about embracing pressure is you have to be prepared. I think Kirk does feel like he's prepared, but you've still got to go out there and do it on game day. A lot of pressure is involved as you just talked about or we just talked about, but to me, that's what defines quarterbacks – how they handle the pressure."
On if Griffin III has grown in his ability to be coached:
"Yeah, that's what I think learning is, is taking every situation and learning from it and knowing in the back of your mind that, 'Hey, I might have made a mistake here or there, it may be on the field or off, but this is the way that I can become a better pro. I've learned [from] my experiences.' Some will be positive, some will be negative, but the great ones learn from their mistakes."
On if Griffin III is the type to take a break after the season or begin his offseason program immediately:
"I think it's always good for a week or two to get away from it, you know, with your family – different things that you don't get a chance to do during the season. I think ultimately what you want to do, or what you want your players to do, is to be the best at what they do. If you want to be the best at what you do, you've got to do it year-round. You've got to come back in, you've got to look at film – the things you did well your first year, the things you did well your second year, the things you did poorly – and hit it hard. You've got to hit that film, you've got to hit the practice field, get the timing with your receivers. There's only one way you get good in the National Football League is if you want to be the best at what you do and it takes a lot of time."
On approaching "Dallas Week" amidst all of the noise surrounding the team:
"Well, it's easy for me. I think it's easy for the team because this is Dallas Week. We've got a chance to play a football team that's playing for a playoff spot, and if people don't think we're playing for anything, then they get a chance to see what we're made of and how we react when a team has got a chance to be in the playoffs and a team that doesn't have a chance. It talks about our character and what our football team's all about."
On if he tells the players to ignore the noise:
"Well, you'd have to ask the players. I don't think there's as much noise as you think there is. I think our players are really concentrated on their job. They know that their jobs are determined if they play well. A lot of times we'll look at, or I've looked at in the past, the last two or three games of different team sand see how people do play when they're not in the playoff hunt. It's easy to see when they're playing for a playoff spot, you're usually getting everybody's best shot. But maybe when you're not in the playoff hunt exactly, what's the character of this kid all about? You'll see it when people aren't playing for playoff spots, exactly what they're made of."
On if he relishes the role of spoiler:
"No, I don't relish being… I always relish being in the playoff hunt. You don't look forward to not being in the hunt."
On how he would describe the state of the Redskins to someone who has not been following the team all season:*
"You can't. If you want to really know, you've got to go back and research the whole year. You've got to go through games 1-16. There's no point in explaining that, so that's what I'd tell them – go work at it."