*On Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, Redskins HC Mike Shanahan addressed the media following afternoon practice at Redskins Park in Ashburn, VA. *
On if quarterback Kirk Cousins was more conservative this week after committing three turnovers last week:
"No, I don't think so. I thought we had a pretty good ratio, a ratio that is probably pretty consistent with what we've done with run/pass. When you take a look at the number of opportunities that we had in the second half and the first half, you want to make sure you do have some balance and I think we were able to do that… It all depends on what they're doing with the coverage. The coverage dictates if you're going to go downfield or not."
On how much of the decrease in sacks allowed can be attributed to Cousins:
"Kirk has had a lot of practice getting rid of the ball quickly, and like we've talked about, [quarterback] Robert [Griffin III] will do that as well, and that's one of the reasons why I didn't want him to take as many shots as he was taking in the first three games. Sometimes it is the quarterback, sometimes it's the offensive line, but I thought he was taking too many shots and that's one of the reasons why he's not out there. Kirk has had more repetition getting rid of the ball quickly and that's some of the reasons."
On what happened on the offense's final play:
"Well, he [wide receiver Santana Moss] should have been on the other side. Santana heard a different formation and he [Cousins] was trying to bring him across and we didn't get it communicated."
On the field conditions at FedExField:
"Both teams were playing in the same conditions. I thought it was better than the previous two games even though it was quite wet. So, it was better than the two previous games."
On why he said Cousins has had more time getting rid of the ball quickly and when he got that experience:
"It's like anything – it's something that comes with practice. We've said this from day one — we're going to run an offense that people are comfortable with. Robert's got certain things that he does well. Kirk's got certain things that he does well. We didn't run any 50 series with Kirk; we have with Robert. We run different type of, sometimes, dropback plays with Robert than we'll do with Kirk. So everybody's got a few things that we feel that they're better at or a little bit more comfortable with and we'll always try to go in that direction. Now Robert will be great at that. Kirk will be better at rolling out the more we do it. It's just a combination of guys getting as much practice and trying to put them in game situations and realistic situations for them."
On not blitzing the Cowboys on their game-winning drive:
"What I think really hurt us on that last drive, they had a couple of big plays when they scrambled and we didn't have containment. You can't let [Cowboys quarterback] Tony [Romo] out of the pocket. You get him out of the pocket and he's going to burn you, which he did to us a couple of times. You've got to keep your rush lanes, and if you don't keep your rush lanes, you get beat against a quarterback like Tony. He's going to make some plays."
On the health of linebacker Nick Barnett:
"Barnett, he'll be out for about six weeks — MCL. Right now they don't believe it requires surgery, but [linebacker Will] Compton will come up in his spot, and we have not put somebody in Jordan's [tight end Jordan Reed] spot yet. We will do that on Wednesday."
On Barnett's injury:
On the injury to linebacker Brian Orakpo:
"Rak, his groin, day-to-day. We'll get a better feel on Wednesday."
On the toll losing takes on the individuals involved:
"Well, it's always tough to lose. We felt like we had the game under control ahead by nine points, and they find a way to get a field goal and a touchdown and we've got a chance with five minutes left to get a first down. We couldn't keep our drive going. It's always disappointing when you don't close out a game, especially against a division rival. We had our opportunities in the game and it was really disappointing we didn't take advantage of them. Tough loss by everybody."
On how Cousins' trade value has been swayed by his performance to close out this season:
"I think anytime a person plays in a game every general manager, every decision maker gets to see him against starters and playing against people that they have a lot of respect for, and they can evaluate his performance against the better players in the National Football League. I think that not only helps us as an organization, to see how Kirk plays, but as people evaluate Kirk, it gives them a more honest opinion of what he can do in some tough situations."
On if he prefers natural grass:
"To be honest with you, yeah, I always have. I like grass, but I wouldn't make that decision. Mr. Snyder would make that decision — the person that owns the football team."
On if he would request a change to turf going into next season:
"To be honest with you, with some of the new turf they have, you'd always entertain the possibility. Two or three years in a row, you see how bad that field is, it's something you would definitely look at."
On linebacker London Fletcher's emotions yesterday:
"We've got a football team that takes a lot of pride in everything they do, so it being London's last game in his career at home, everybody wanted to send him out on a positive note. You could see going into that last drive, you could see… I could feel it on the sideline. The players were really into it. Very disappointed we couldn't close it out."
On how they coach against making unforced mistakes:
"At the end of the day, if you have penalties it comes back to us [the coaches]. You haven't repped them enough or you haven't put them through the situations. One time we had the wrong personnel in on the goal line when it was on the one-yard-line going in. We had base personnel, they went with the goal line personnel and that's why we did take a timeout on the field because we had the wrong personnel – defensive personnel. On the other situation, one guy was off the ball, one guy shifted on when a guy was going in motion. [Tight end] Logan [Paulsen] looked, and then all of a sudden he shifted again, so Logan didn't see it. You're always hoping to pick those things up. If you don't, it always goes back to us and our preparation for it, so I'll take full responsibility for that."
On if he was trying to call a timeout on that play:
"God, I run down the sideline so many times I can't remember what I was saying. A lot of times I try to get their attention because I'm communicating in the headset and it might be a defense that we're seeing, how many timeouts we have in the game. I can't remember exactly what the situation was there."
On the timeout at the 1:55 mark:
"Yeah, we had our base defense in and they went to goal line and we had a number wrong and they were in goal line personnel, so I'm glad we called the timeout because we kept them out of the end zone and then we get it back. It was fourth-and-10 and it should have been fourth-and-12-and-a-half, but that's another story."
On if he talked to the refs about that spot:
"No, it's just a mistake."
On if his job situation will be resolved quickly after the season concludes:
"I'm sure it will, but you'll have to ask Dan to make sure. I can't answer that."
On if safety Trenton Robinson was clipped on the long punt return by Dallas:
"Most of you guys told me it was. I saw it very quickly up on the scoreboard. There's no question it was, but hey, we've still got to – somebody else has to – make the play. Yeah, they missed one there, but they'll miss some on our side as well."
On if he will continue to play the best players instead of evaluating younger players in the final game:
"Yes. Still the same – you've got to earn the right to play. If it's really close or somebody has played a little bit better, regardless of who that person is, he'll get a chance to play."
On if the Christmas holiday will affect preparation:
"No, it's the same thing. Today is like a normal game preparation day, like a Tuesday for us. Tomorrow will be like a Wednesday and then what we'll do is Wednesday, Christmas Day, will be their day off, so get a chance to spend some time with the kids and their family. More importantly, you guys won't have to come in."
On if coaches will work on Christmas Day:
"No, nobody will be here. The building will be closed on Christmas Day."
On kicker Kai Forbath's improved consistency on kickoffs:
"He did a great job. He had great hang time when he did kick it. A lot of times when you kick it to the goal line or two or three yards deep, everybody looks at the distance. It's not always the distance, it's the hang time. So I was pleased with the way he kicked and I was really pleased with the coverage teams. Obviously, [I was] disappointed in the first punt return."
On if his passion for wanting to coach the Redskins has been diminished by this season:*
"No, I've told you from day one, I love these guys. We've been working extremely hard to put this thing together. We've had a couple of bumps, which we all know, with the salary cap, but I'm looking forward to building this football team. But like I said, it's a situation that I'll get the chance to sit down with Dan at the end of the season and we'll go from there."