Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Mike Shanahan Monday Press Conference

On if he saw what he wanted to see with the pace from his offense in Sunday's 33-30 loss to the Dallas Cowboys:"Yeah, I thought we did some good things yesterday. Rex is very familiar with the terminology which gives him the ability to throw things out there a little bit quicker than more quarterbacks would. I was pleased with the pace of the game."

On Rex Grossman's screens and rhythm opening up more in the second half of the game:"Screens have a lot to do with what people are doing defensively. Sometimes it'll be quick screens to wide receivers. Sometimes it'll be screens to the backs. It all depends on what coverages are dictated."

On if he sees Grossman as someone who is able to revive is career in Washington or elsewhere:"Like I said, this is an evaluation period [over] the next two games. We'll get a chance to see what he can do. As I mentioned a few days ago I said, 'Hey, we'll get a chance to see what he can do in game situations playing three good teams. When it's live bullets, we'll see how he performs.'"

On what he thought of Grossman's performance after watching film:"I thought he played well. I think he'd like to have that interception back. We missed a block and he threw it out in the flat and should've thrown it a little bit further away. He was stepping up and sliding on the one fumble he had at the start of the second half. I know he'd like to have that back. I thought the play at the end of the game were plays you have to make. You have to try to make a play there at the end regardless of the situation. I liked the rhythm there in the second half. We had three long drives for touchdowns and gave Santana [Moss] a heck of an opportunity there on the one to really have a chance to put the game away. So, overall he did some good things, especially for not playing for a while."

On if he surprised at Grossman's performance with having played very little the last few years:"Part of the evaluation process is practice. You see how people run the scout team and run your offense. Even though it may be limited, you get a chance to consistently evaluate people with how they practice. It's just not the quarterback position, but it's all different positions. We look at that pretty consistently of how they practice your offense or your defense. Rex has been playing fairly consistent since he got here. For him to play like that really doesn't surprise me."

On if he will make it a point to get John Beck in the game regardless of Grossman's performance:"I want to get a chance to evaluate John just running our offense in practice. He'll get a couple of reps there and still get a chance to run the scout team. He's one play away from being the starting quarterback. As I mentioned before, we play these games to win. Rex is going to be our quarterback unless something happens, he won't get an opportunity. If something does happen to Rex, he'll go in."

On how comfortable he is with Beck's terminology of the offense:"I think he's picked it up fairly quickly, even though it's a lot different than what he's used to. I feel very comfortable with him going in and running the offense."

On what made him want to sign Beck to a two-year contract extension so quickly:"I really liked what I saw in college and I liked what I saw in preseason games—his motion, his speed, his quickness, mechanics. It's just the way I evaluate quarterbacks."

On what the offseaon will bring for Grossman if he plays well in the next two games:"I don't want to deal with all of the hypothetical situations for obvious reasons. The bottom line is, I get to evaluate him over the next couple of games. As we've talked about from day one—the good, the bad the ugly. You never know for sure what you're going to see. We are playing a team in Jacksonville that's fighting for a playoff spot and we know where the Giants are. So, it's a great chance for Rex to show everyone what he can do."

On if he would have began the season with a younger team having known what he does now:"No, I haven't been able to evaluate the younger guys. That's why a lot of the younger guys are playing right now, to give them a chance to see what they can do. Through our OTA, through our preseason, we're much younger right now than we were at the start of the season. Collectively, you look at our wide receivers yesterday—pretty young group. Running backs—pretty young group. You take a look at our offensive line—pretty young group. Our punters are a little bit older. On defense—probably not quite as young especially up front. So, I think we have gotten younger. You just never know when you first come in exactly where you're headed."

On if he cares about not finishing last now that the Redskins are out of the playoff race:"You want to win every game. I've always been that way and that will never change. If somebody loses that perspective then they're not in the right business. You work awfully hard to not win. I was very disappointed yesterday when we had a chance to put it away once we tied it, to not finish it the right way. Yeah, you always want to win."

On how Grossman did with managing the huddle, plays and how he did as a leader of the offense:"Very natural for him. That's one of his strengths in the game. [He was] 100 percent with formations and calls. We threw a lot at him. He did a good job."

On the Redskins could improve on managing huddles and play calling moving forward:"Yeah, I think Donovan improved drastically from the start of the season to the end of the season in the 13th game. It's like learning a new language. You get better the more you speak it."

On when he starts evaluating college draft picks and what his ideal timing is with starting a young quarterback:"To answer your first question, the first thing you do is you talk about looking at college players. That takes a little time. The first thing you do is look at all of the free agents out there and evaluate them and evaluate our own squad. Then you go to the college players. Obviously with the draft being what it is, you have some time. We try to get a plan of what players on our team obviously have contracts and what needs we have. There will be 400 players out there this year. That will take a while for evaluations. We've obviously eliminated a lot of those players, but there is a lot we need to talk about as a coaching staff and then we hit, in detail, the college [players]. You never know. People talk about [Jay] Cutler. Cutler came in and we were 4-7. I believe we were 7-4. When I say we, I mean Denver at that time. We did make a quarterback change and I'm not sure if it was the right thing but it was something we had done at that time. There is a growing process with quarterbacks as we all know."

On Kevin Barnes' performance at safety:"First of all, he was the only one left. He's a corner and we moved him over to safety. Thank God he stayed healthy. Kevin didn't get a lot of reps during the week, but he's had enough just in case we had an emergency where we'd lose a guy like we did with Reed [Doughty]. He was ready. I thought he did a fantastic job with having very few reps throughout the week to go in there and play at the level he did. [He is] a very smart football player.

On Brian Orakpo's injury status:"Yeah, he's still pretty dinged up. I think we'll have a better indication on Wednesday of exactly where he's at. Kedric's [Golston] getting a little bit better, but there's a question mark for him as well. Phillip Daniels is going to go on IR. I just talked to him and obviously, he got beat up in the game. He went out early and tried to play. He'll be out more than two weeks, so he'll go on IR."

On Phillip Daniels' injury:"It was his stomach, a little bit of his groin, a little bit of his hamstring. He's out for the season."

On if Daniels is going to need surgery:"I'm not sure at this time. [Head Athletic Trainer] Larry [Hess] told me he was out right before I got to this meeting."

On if Grossman was able to run different plays because of his familiarity with the offense:"I'm not going to go through all of those details. That's part of our evaluation process. I thought he did a good job during the game handling our offense and going to the right receivers. Nobody's 100 percent, but he did a good job. He also did a good job stepping up and dumping the football. We talked about those two plays he'd like to have back, but that's part of being a quarterback in the National Football League."

On Rocky McIntosh's injury status:"Rocky tweaked his hamstring. You never know with hamstrings for sure, but right now Larry [Hess] feels like he'll be back and there will not be a setback. But I won't know until Wednesday with that one as well. He said it was a teak, so hopefully it's nothing too serious. Like you mentioned, it gave an opportunity for a couple of young guys to step up and do a good job. I know [Perry] Riley had a couple of tackles in there and I was impressed with the way he played."

On being second guessed with his decision to replace Donovan McNabb with Grossman:"To be honest with you, that's part of coaching. People are going to question you all the time. You know it's part of the process, but you've got to do what you believe is right. What I do is I get a chance to evaluate these guys every day. I'm out there with them. I know a lot of people have a passion for football. I think one of the reasons why it's so popular is because everyone believes they've got the answer to what's right and I think that's what's great about our sport. On the other side, you've got to evaluate these players all the time. You're looking at film 10-12 hours a day. You have a gut feeling when guys are going to play [well]."

On if McNabb will run the scout team:"To be honest with you, I would never let a guy like Donovan run the scout team unless he wanted to run the scout team. I don't think John Beck would ask him to run the scout team. You just don't do that in professional football. But knowing Donovan, he'd probably like to get some snaps. He was number two and wanted to take some scout team snaps last week. It just shows you what type of guy Donovan is."

On McNabb taking scout team reps:"That's why people like to get reps to stay sharp. That's why that third team quarterback always wants to get reps if he can. A lot of times that second team quarterback wants to take all the reps with the scout team so he can feel a lot more comfortable if someone goes down."

On Reed Doughty's injury status:"He's got a concussion. I think we'll get a better feel towards the end of the week exactly what his status is."

On Daniels' stomach injury:"Same thing he had last week. To be honest with you, I'm not exactly sure. I think there are a couple of things. When Larry [Hess] told me he was out, I didn't get a chance to go into detail on him being out for the season."

On the differences between the AFC West and the NFC East:"I think every division is a little bit different. Some are a little bit bigger and stress more of a running game and others are passing attacks. One franchise may be off for a year or two. You never really know. They change so quickly. When I was there for a while, San Diego couldn't get things going for nine or ten years and then all of a sudden they hit that one draft and all of a sudden, here they come. The Raiders right now are playing extremely well. You never really know for sure."

On what his feel is of the NFC East:"I think everybody through the years has said that the NFC East is the elite division. You take a look at Dallas, Philly, the Giants, Washington—each team is committed to win. They're going to have some highs and lows, but it's going to be a very competitive game."

On if it has been harder than he thought in terms of building this program with only two games left:"No, you know it's not easy. It does take some time. It doesn't happen overnight. I'm excited about where I'm at right now because we're putting a football team together and an organization together and are trying to do it the right way. I've been given at least the chance to do it the right way. I think that's very important. You make decisions that you think are in the best interest of the organization. It may not be very popular, but you've got to do something that you think is right in the long run. Our players know one thing—the best players are going to play. Once players know that the best players are going to play, it doesn't matter where you're drafted or what type of signing bonus you've gotten, the best players will play. If you get that type of mindset, usually there's great competition that comes with it."

On improving the Redskins Park practice fields:"I can say for the future that our first plan will be getting a heated field out here so that when we do have bad weather, we can practice outside. It's great to practice outside, but you've got to have a heated field so you can get traction. You can't get traction on a frozen field. The next thing we're going to get is a bubble so not only that we practice inside, but if we do have the type of snow where you can't practice outside, we can at least get a good practice in. That'll be done."

On if he felt not being able to practice last week affected the team's performance in a negative way:"Sure. I think everybody knows that if you don't have a place to practice that it does affect you. I though out players handled it as well as you could possibly handle it."

On if he expects to have both a heated field and a indoor facility by next season:"The one thing I want to make sure we've got is a heated field because when I was in Denver, that's really all we used was a heated field. Even when it was snowing, we didn't even care. We just stayed on the heated field. It worked out pretty good because the snow would melt and we'd have good traction and we could get used to the conditions. The only time it's bad is when it's really raining or when it's snowing so hard that you've got to go inside. I think that probably happened to me in my 21 years in Denver, maybe a half of a dozen times. So, it doesn't happen very often."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.