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Mike Shanahan Full Transcript: 12/9

On Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, Redskins HC Mike Shanahan addressed the media following afternoon practice at Redskins Park in Ashburn, VA.


On if quarterback Robert Griffin III will remain the starter:
"Well the reason why I kind of left it up in the air, talking about that after the game, anytime you have 24 sacks in the last five games and you go against a team that's had two sacks in five games and you give up six, you always are taking a look at what is in the best interest of your organization. So the reason why I was hesitant, I always take a look at you've got your franchise quarterback, you want to make sure going into the offseason that he's healthy and that he goes through a full offseason program, and that's why I didn't say he was the starter. That's just something in the back of my mind I'm thinking about right now, and I'll let you know in the next couple of days exactly what I think."
On what made him change his mind that Griffin III's health is more important than taking snaps the remainder of the year:
"Well, just what I said. We had 24 sacks in the last five games, that's a lot. You go against a team that's had two sacks in the last five games and you get six in a game, I'm talking about his health. I want to make sure he's healthy. I think that's the most important thing going into the offseason, that he has his first full season being healthy. And if he did play and something did happen to him, I think it would set our franchise back. That doesn't say I'm not going that way, so … that's the reason why I answered it the way I did. I'll think about it here over the next 48 hours and we'll make a decision on Wednesday."
On if he wanted to comment further on reports from Sunday:
"No, no more comments. Same thing I talked about. There's always a lot of noise when you're 3-10. I understand that. Every organization has it. There's going to be a lot more noise over the next few weeks, I understand that, but I've got one mindset right now and that's focusing on Atlanta. We're going against a football team that was 13-3 last year. They're 3-10 as well. As I shared with my football team, they know they're going to get my best shot over the next three games and I'm hoping I get their best shot over the next three games. Our goal is to win the next three, starting with Atlanta, then get a chance to get two NFC East foes here with Dallas and on the road against the Giants and hopefully we can end the season on a positive note."
On if he considered quitting at the end of the 2012 season:
"I'm not going to speculate through all those different things, as we talked about before, but if you'd like to talk about Atlanta, I'd be more than happy to talk about Atlanta."
On what he has discussed with owner Daniel M. Snyder regarding his status with the franchise:
"I can say that I've talked to Dan, if that's what you're asking. Obviously our conversation will stay between us."
On if he is confident he will remain with the team the rest of the season:
"I'm going to stay with the same thing. If you'd like to talk about our football game coming up, I'd be more than happy to focus on that."
On if he wants to come back next season:
"Anybody have anything to do with football?"
On if he would like to coach this football team next year:
"Well, like I said, we're going to talk about [Atlanta]."
On how he is handling the distractions with his players:
"What I did today is I talked about Atlanta and talked about them being in a very similar situation as us. They're 3-10, we're 3-10. They were 13-3 last year, we were 10-6. They're going through a tough time too. The team that can actually focus on the job at hand has got a chance to do something special, and hopefully that's us, and as I told them, I said, 'Hey, I apologize for these distractions. They come and I understand it comes with the territory It's part of the process.'"
On when he spoke to Snyder:
"I talked to him today, yeah."
On how he would characterize his relationship with Snyder:
"I've got a good relationship with Dan."
On if anything has changed at any point since he was hired:
"Like I said, I'm not going to get into relationships. We talked about Robert. You asked me my relationship with Robert and I said I was his coach, his head football coach, and not necessarily his best friend. I don't need to be his best friend. I want to make him the best quarterback possible and we can get through relationships and all those type of things, but at the end of the day my job is to get this football team ready to play Atlanta. I know we played very poorly against Kansas City. I did a poor job of getting them ready. Hopefully [I'll do] a much better job this week."
On if the situation with the franchise is out of control and beyond repair:
"No, I don't believe so. I don't believe so. Anytime you're 3-10 and you come off a 10-6 season with high expectations, there is going to be a lot of questions. That comes with the territory. You've got to focus on the job at hand and that's not always easy, especially with as many people as we have in this room. We understand that. My job is to keep the focus very simple, and that's on winning this game."
On not addressing rumors:
"Well, if I answer that question, which I did a couple the previous week, then what happens is you do it every day for the next three weeks, so that's why we focus on the job at hand. There's always going to be rumors, there's going to be partial truths in everything that comes out there. In fact, when I read it they talked about me cleaning out my office, it'd take me two minutes to clean out my office. I've got two notebooks and I've got an iPad — that would get me out of my office. When I hear different things like that I just shake my head. So that's as far as I'm going to go with that."
On if this team is capable of a turnaround next season like the one Kansas City has experienced this season:
"I think you answered your question. Anytime a team is 2-14 and all of a sudden they turn it around, every team has that ability. I think it was a little unusual that they were 2-14 with six Pro Bowl players. That doesn't happen very often."
On why there seems to be information leaking every week:
"Because we were 3-9 last week and were very good last year. That happens when you lose. Hopefully that won't happen too often."
On if he is surprised by that:
"Yeah, disappointed."
On how he responds to the idea that he orchestrated reports that he wants out of Washington:
"I can't even speak on somebody else's comments. Sometimes, like I said before, they may take something out of it. They hear something from a friend, another person, sometimes it's embellished, sometimes some of it's true, but at the end of the day you've got one job and one job only, and that's to prepare this football team to win. One of the reasons why I didn't comment on that is once I start commenting I'm going to have to keep on commenting all the way through. I think I used the 'moving out of the office' as an example of how things get a little carried away."
On what he considers to be the biggest misconception about the Redskins organization right now:
"That we're not focused on football. I believe our football team will be focused on football. They get another day of recovery time, day and a half of recovery time, and Wednesday we get ready to work."
On if he has clarity on his status after speaking with Snyder:
"Again, I will not share my conversation I had with Dan."
On if he will check with the doctors before making a decision on Griffin III or if it is just a matter of the 'pounding' he has taken in recent weeks:
"It would just be the pounding that he's taken. You've got 24 sacks in five games and we played the Giants already and Dallas already and we had eight sacks in those games. We play two games on turf, and at the end of the day I don't want to come back and, when I do share these different thoughts with some of our people in the organization, do you take the risk of having a guy possibly miss the offseason — your franchise quarterback? Or do you play him and all of a sudden the second game or the first game you lose him for the offseason, was it worth the risk? So those are the type of things you talk about and that's why I was hesitant yesterday when you asked me, 'Was Robert going to start?' Those are the type of things that I think through, if I would have said definitely yes and came in here and mentioned it, you guys would have said, 'Whats up?' So that's why I was a little hesitant."
On if it is fair to say he may have a similar thought process with other positions:
"The one thing about the quarterback position, or at least our quarterback position, he's never had an offseason. He's coming off an ACL/LCL surgery. We've got three games left and we've had 24 sacks in five games. That's a little bit unusual. That's a lot of wear and tear on the body. So that was just some of my thoughts, especially going against a team that's had two sacks in five games and we have six sacks. I want to make sure that he is healthy, and it doesn't mean that he's not going to go that direction, but if he did get injured I think I might be very disappointed going into the offseason that he's not there for whole offseason. It's very important for him to be there."
On if he still feels things are going in the right direction:
"I think you have to look at every segment. You take a look at the quarterback position, you're talking about some growing pains. There's going to be growing pains when you do things a little differently. I was hoping to be a lot better on special teams than we have been. We don't have quite the depth that we did have a year ago. I think our kickers are struggling, relative to our punter and our place kicker, with distance. That doesn't help your special teams as well. We're going to have to make some improvement in a couple of areas and hopefully we can get there."
On relationships within the organization:
"First of all, I'm not going to go into detail about my conversation with Dan. I'm not going to go into detail about our relationship. All I'm saying to you is I get along with Dan quite well. He's been a very supportive owner and hopefully I can win for him."
On if he is saying anything being reported on issues with relationships in the organization is incorrect:
"No, you heard what I said."
On if he is surprised by tight end/returner Niles Paul questioning effort on special teams:
"I'm surprised Niles Paul would say that, to start with. Once you start playing a perfect game you can start critiquing other players. So, yeah, that does disappoint me that he would say something like that."
On if he considered kicking away from the Chiefs' returners:
"Well, that was our game plan going in, to kick the ball out of bounds or hang it high enough where he had to fair catch it. Obviously it didn't work out that way but our game plan was never to kick it to him, either to kick it high enough where he had to fair catch it or kick it out of bounds. Then when you do take a look at kickoffs, you take a look at the hang time on kickoffs and that last one that he did score a touchdown on, that was a squib kick, and it never did hit the ground. It's a little tough on your coverage when those things happen, and collectively we didn't get the job done. And I'm not blaming it on our kickers because we're all in this thing together, but when you give a guy like [Kansas City Chiefs punt returner Dexter] McCluster, in those kind of conditions, a chance to return a ball or not kick it high enough, you're going to be in for a long day just like we were."
On Griffin III's decision making and how it contributes to the number of sacks:
"When you take a look at offense and you have sacks, it's always somebody. Is it the decision making by the quarterback? Is it the offensive line? Is it a receiver? Is it a hot receiver? Did a receiver run the wrong route? And we don't go through who is responsible for what."
On if he is considering moves along the offensive line:
"If we think we can get better in that area, yes, we would."
On if the decision to rest Griffin III going forward would have anything to do with wanting to see what quarterback Kirk Cousins could do:
"It has to do with making sure he [Griffin III] is 100 percent ready for not only the offseason, but the OTAs as well."
On if Griffin III's health has become more important than getting him reps:
"No. I didn't say that. What I said is that anytime you have six sacks against a team that's had two sacks in five games and you've had 24 sacks over a five-game timeframe, and you're playing three football teams – two on turf – all I said is going into the equation you talk about different things that, 'Hey is it in the best interest of the Washington Redskins to have Robert play those games?' Or do you rest him and make sure he's ready for the offseason? Those are the conversations we have."
On if he believes the players are continuing to give effort:
"Yes, they are."
On players endorsing him and if he wants to return to coach them next season:
"You always want to come back. You always want to come back. I love these guys and what will happen at the end of the season, we'll get a chance, Dan and I, to sit down and decide – or he'll make the final decision – on what's in the best interest of the Washington Redskins. I'll give my opinion on what I think. Obviously he'll make the final decision. Anytime you're with these guys — we've got some great character and we've got guys working extremely hard, so I would like nothing more than to be with them."
On the status of running back Evan Royster:
"Evan Royster will be out for the season. Unfortunately his injury will be more than three weeks, so he will go on IR. We haven't made a decision yet who we're going to bring up."
On if Griffin III will sit the rest of the season if he does not start Sunday:
On if something has changed in the last 48 hours regarding his status with the organization:
"No. If I said that, I didn't mean to. I didn't mean that at all."
On if he has been given any indication that Griffin III is less than 100 percent healthy:
"No, I think he's 100 percent. I think he's feeling very good where he's at right now. That wasn't really part of the decision. Part of the decision, or at least the conversation what we're talking about is, 'Make sure that he's ready for our offseason program.' We talked about the hits that he's had. We talked about going against a team like Kansas City who's had two sacks in five games and they had six against us. Do we put him in a position of getting injured, and is it worth the risk for the Washington Redskins and the future of our organization? That's what we're talking about."
On how much he dreads facing these questions and circumstances:
"It's hard, it's hard. Fortunately, I haven't been in too many of these situations and if you have, you're not around very often, or very long, I should say. But I understand what goes on when you win the NFC East and all of a sudden you've got three wins. I understand what goes with the territory. I understand there's going to be a different story every day. It's not going to change over the next three weeks. There will be a different story that comes out that we will talk about. I understand what happens. The best thing for us to do is win versus Atlanta."
On his relationship with Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith and their similar situations right now:
"We probably should talk to each other, but you don't get a chance with your preparation. I know Mike, he's a great guy. I'll get a chance to talk to him before and after the game. But I think you've got empathy for everybody, because there's only one person that's happy and that's the person that wins. At the end of the season, there's only one true winner. I've been to the Super Bowl three times and lost and it doesn't matter – if you're at the Super Bowl and you lose or you win five or six games, there's only one champion at the end of the year, only one person that's happy."
On from where the reports are coming:
"Find out and then you can tell me, because I'm pretty busy with football, but I've got to answer these questions."
On if he is confused or curious as to who is talking to the media about him and the team:
"We're 3-10. That's what happens when you're 3-10. We can't talk about the playoffs. We can't talk about our draft choice – we don't have a first-round draft choice. We've got to talk about something and normally, that occurs after a winning season. I'm sure something like this is happening in different markets across the country when you have those type of expectations."
On if he will consult with Griffin III about his status for the rest of the season:
"Well, like I said beforehand, the decision hasn't been made. We'll sit back, talk to a number of people and we'll figure out what's in the best interest of the Washington Redskins. Whatever we do, we'll sit down and talk to our quarterbacks [about] what direction we're going to go."
On if there is anything specific he would like to see from Cousins if he plays the final three games:
"We always want people playing their best if they get an opportunity to play."
On what the players' support means to him both personally and professionally:
"Well, it always feels great. You feel great about your football team, like I said. We've got guys that are working pretty hard, very disappointed in how we played this game. As I told you, I took full responsibility for that. I'm hoping, together, we get them focused on the job ahead in Atlanta, we can leave that behind us and play one of our better football games and I believe our football team will respond."
On if has spoken to Griffin III since Sunday about his status:
"I never even talked about that. I knew it would be brought up because I've been getting ready for this game. The way I answered the question yesterday, I kind of left it limbo, and that's the reason why I did. When we do make a decision, whatever decision that is, then I'll get the chance to talk to Robert. It's part of the process when you win three games – you've got to do what you think is best for the organization."
On the possible repercussions of not starting Griffin III:
"Like I said, I've got to do what's best for the organization. If we feel the best thing for the organization is doing that for Robert, then hopefully Robert will understand why we're doing it. We're doing it because he's a franchise quarterback and we want him to be able to go into the offseason and get full preparation and be ready for next year rather than playing one of the next three games and all of a sudden he sets himself back with a possible injury, whatever that may be."
On if he will speak with Snyder about possibly sitting Griffin III:
"Oh, believe me, I would definitely talk to the owner before I did something like that."
On his message to season ticket holders:
"We're going to give it our best shot to win the next three games and get on a positive roll for next year."

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