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Mike Shanahan Training Camp Media Session


On the odd start to training camp:
"It is quite unusual. Any time you have a lockout like we did and you come back and are trying to put a football team together – 90 players, you have free agents out there, you have trades going on, you have draft choices with new rules – it has been quite hectic but it is the same for everybody in the league."

On linebacker Ryan Kerrigan's health:
"He had a bone bruise today and the MRI was negative, but he is still a little bit sore. He hyperextended it a little bit but he should be alright."

On if it was Kerrigan's knee that was injured:
"Yes it is his knee, a little hyperextension and bone bruise."

On Kerrigan's time frame for returning:
"You really do not know with a bone bruise. It should not be too bad. The MRI was negative so hopefully it is just a couple of days."

On defensive lineman Stephen Bowen:
"Playing Dallas, we got a look at him as being a very dominating defensive tackle or defensive end. He has a lot of talent. He has quickness, he has speed, he is a young guy. He has a lot of character. I thought he played as hard as any player on their football team and he was a guy we had targeted and a guy that we are pleased about."

On the decision to trade quarterback Donovan McNabb:
"We gave Donovan the option with his agent to talk to any football team he wanted to make sure he went to a football team that best suited him. We knew we were going to go in that direction after being with him throughout the year. We are hoping that it will turn out well for Donovan and we made that decision and we will go forward."

On when he knew it was time to trade McNabb:
"I cannot tell you exactly when it was. When we did make the decision, I talked to [McNabb's agent] Fletcher [Smith] and told him that we were going to go in a different direction and gave him the opportunity to talk to any football team he wanted to, and hopefully we could strike up a deal that was good for both of us."

On the decision to acquire McNabb last offseason:
"I'm not going to go through all the details. There was a lot that went into that decision. We did have Jason Campbell and we traded him away for a fourth round draft choice, and we looked at Donovan and even though we gave up a second- and a fourth-round draft choice, I thought that if he did fit within our system and did the right things, that he could be a top-notch player for us. At the end of the day it did not work out quite the way we wanted it to and we would have had to make a commitment for three or four years and I was not wanting to do that. But that does not mean that Donovan cannot compete at a really high level. I think the world of him. He really handled himself in a class manner, but in the best interest of this organization and from spending a year with him, I thought it was better to go on."

On the actions of McNabb and his agent:
"I thought Donovan handled himself in a class manner. I talked to the agent about [his statements] and that will stay between us.  Hopefully it turns out well for [Donovan]."

On if he regrets trading for McNabb last offseason:
"You can regret a lot of things in football, but we were hoping that he would fit into our system. I told Donovan when he came in here, 'These are the reasons I think [Philadelphia] did not sign you. They were going to go with [Kevin] Kolb. These are the things you need to do to stay on our football team for a number of years and maybe go to a Pro Bowl with the things you have been doing throughout your career. It did not work out."

On if the quarterback position is wide open:
"Yes, it is always open. Every position is open on our football team. Some positions are closer than others. We are going to open up the quarterback position and hopefully Rex [Grossman] will sign John [Beck] did a good job on the first day of practice. We have some competition. That is a great thing about going into your second year - you get to evaluate everybody - Offense, defense and special teams. You put your football team together, the type of personalities that you think fit into your mindset of your football team, the type of offense, defense and special teams that you are going to run. We are getting closer."

On not having the distraction of Albert Haynesworth:
"Either way, Albert was not going to be here. If we released him or traded him – he was not going to come to our camp. I knew that we were going to go on after this year. Thankfully we were able to get a trade and hopefully it will work out well for Albert and New England, and obviously it worked out well for us."

On pursuing quarterbacks other than Rex Grossman:
"I am not going to go into our game plan. We have 90 guys we can bring in and have 63 signed, so there are a number of options. We brought [Kellen] Clemens in I am very happy about that addition. The rest I cannot get into much detail, but there are a number of guys we are looking at, including guys we have had here in the past, but we will have to wait and see over the next five or six days."

On if Haynesworth's situation was a distraction to players:
"You have to talk to the players. To me, in our first year, I am trying to get a feel for our football team. I get a feel for who wants to play, who does not want to play and which players I want to put my future on, so there are a lot of things that go into that sort of situation. You are looking at guys every day, how they handle a little adversity, how they handle a little success and how they work out. Then you have got to make decisions on what you think gives you the best chance to eventually win a Super Bowl. That is how you make those decisions."

On expectations for the offense with quarterback John Beck:
"You may talk about a guy who is not experienced but I believe in [Beck]. I have been doing this for a long time, and I put my reputation on these guys that they can play, and what we have to do is get better in all areas: our schemes, our coaches. What I mean by that is that the difference between your first year and your second year is usually a big jump because your coaches have worked together for a year with the players. Everybody knows what to expect. Hopefully a lot of people are going in the same direction. We will get better."

On defensive lineman Barry Cofield switching to a 3-4 defense:
"I thought he was the bell cow of their defensive line. He was a guy that was in the game the majority of the time and you could tell he was a team leader. He played harder than any player on the [Giants]. You could tell that he took so much pride in everything he did, very similar to [Stephen] Bowen. I said if we could get [Cofield and Bowen] I think we could really help our football team. You get two guys who are 27 years old, two guys who are natural leaders, and that is how you build your football team. You build it up front on the offensive and defensive lines. We have a couple of guys that I believe are future team captains and can lead."

On Cofield and Bowen playing defensive tackle:
"You really use more tackles in our nickel and those players can obviously play nickel, and Cofield has the ability to play both defensive end and nose tackle. He has played both positions so you have the flexibility to do a few things."

On bringing NFC East players and taking them from rivals:
"You take everything into consideration. You get a chance to watch them a couple of times during the year to see how they play. You watch the games within the division and then check out their character and how people feel about them in the organization. You go back to college to all of the accolades these guys have and I feel very good to have them on our football team."

On any personality conflicts with Donovan McNabb:
"First of all, let me say that there was never a personality conflict with Donovan McNabb. Donovan McNabb was a class guy. I never saw one confrontation with any coach in our building. There was never anybody raising a voice or yelling at each other or anything like that. You hear all these rumors and speculation and I cannot say anything about that. All I am saying is that at the end of the day we made a decision on not keeping Donovan and now we go on. I still think that Donovan has a great future ahead of him and if he decides to do the little things that he needs to do to get to the next level, then he will be there. But I am not going to get into what those things are and I do not think Andy Reid would either."

On how quickly he wants to resolve the right tackle position:
"We have a game plan there and hopefully that gets resolved. You always have to have one game plan, a second game plan, sometimes a third game plan, but we feel pretty good about where we are and hopefully it gets executed."

On the wide receivers:
"When you talk about a guy like Santana [Moss], he can play the 'X' to the 'Z' position, he is a natural leader. He is a guy who every time he goes out onto the football field he is going to give you everything he has got. He is one of the guys that you put your livelihood on because every day regardless of if he is hurt or hurting, he is going to be out there giving you 110 percent. With a guy like Jabar Gaffney on the other side gives you the same type of situation: a professional. So, we have two guys with experience and then we have a lot of guys behind them with a lot of talent. So I feel very good about our receiver position even though only two guys have experience, and with the addition of Dante Stallworth, who has got speed, who has been out for a year and is very hungry, I believe we are four or five deep on each side and I am looking forward to seeing who takes advantage of the opportunity."

On the possibility of signing more than 20 players within the next few days:
"It's a little bit unusual. You have all these free agents, you've got 500 guys that are out there and obviously not everybody can be signed in the first four or five days. You're not really sure of the expectation level of these guys and the money they're looking for."

On players adjusting to training camp without OTAs:
"It's hard to get in football shape, and that's the reason you have OTAs. This week in practice you won't see me practice the team in pads. I think it takes a while to get back in football shape even if you're running and doing all those type of things. It takes your body a while."

On if he was proud of his players for the informal workouts this summer:
"It didn't really surprise me. When you have a guy like London Fletcher, who is a great leader as I've mentioned numerous times, probably the best leader I've seen since I've been in the National Football League. To see him work during the lockout did not surprise me."

On if those workouts helped get the players into football shape:
"I think it helped. But when you get four or five workouts, you're just a long way away. You've got to be very careful. And I talked to a couple veterans right away. They said it's not the same."

On if there is a way to get the rookies up to speed faster:
"We have walkthroughs like you saw this afternoon. We have a lot of meeting time to go over a lot of the things they have to learn mentally. You just can't overwork them on the field. You want to work them on the field so they get in shape and they are ready to go by your first regular season game, but you don't want to lose players for two or three weeks."

On expectations for the center position:
"We moved Will [Montgomery] to the center position, and just watching film, I thought Will would be a natural center for us. I think [former center] Casey Rabach is one class individual and I thought it was fair to him that I told him, 'I could keep you around for a few weeks and then release you, but I don't think that's fair to you.' I said, 'This is the direction I think we're going. In fairness to you before free agency starts, I want to give you an opportunity to see what teams are still out there that need a center because you can still play.' He earned the right from me to release him a little quicker than normal. That was the same thing with [former defensive end] Phillip Daniels, who has been with us for years. He's another class guy. I told him with the addition of some of our players I wasn't going to keep him on our football team just to release him at the end. I wanted to give him the possibility to go and look at another football team. Hopefully he can make another team but I told him at the end of his career you're the type of guy I'd like to have back in the organization as a coach or somewhere in the organization. He handles himself so well."

On the status of defensive back Byron Westbrook:
"He's an exclusive free agent. After your second year, you're exclusive, and since he would have to sign a contract, he's just like a normal free agent even though he's only been in the league for two years. The guideline for signing a new contract is that you can't go until next Thursday."

On free agent wide receiver Brandon Stokley not joining the team:
"I'm very tight with [Brandon] Stokley and I told him when we talked, 'We've got some depth at this wide receiver position. I know you can come in and play anywhere in the National Football League. I think it's probably in your best interest.' He agreed to take a look at what happens in the first two or three weeks and if somebody goes down, Stokley can go into any program and help them as that third wide receiver. He's that good. He's that smart. He can run routes, he can do all things you want a wide receiver to do and he's a team guy. He's going to do his best for the team. For us, if we lose somebody, I have the confidence in that he can come in and we wouldn't skip a beat. We both agreed that this was the right thing to do after we signed Jabar [Gaffney] and we'll see what happens down the road."

On signing offensive lineman Chris Chester:
"I think he fits in well for our scheme and what we ask. He's good-sized, he's got quickness, he's got speed and he's a guy whose very well-thought-of with the team relative to his leadership skills and how he handles himself. He's going to come in here and hopefully help our offensive line get better as a group."

On cornerback Josh Wilson:
"I watched Josh and he was one of those guys I kept watching on film. Here's a guy at 5-9 and a half. He played all different coverages; two-deep, man, quarters, inside, outside and bump coverage against guys like Andre Johnson and had no fear. I said if we have an opportunity to land this guy, I'd like to land him because he's a fierce competitor. He's gone against some excellent wide receivers and never backed down a bit. Those are the type of guys you're looking for as a teammate and he's a guy Baltimore said was great in the locker room. That's the way we like to build our football team."

On if Wilson's arrival signals the departure of Carlos Rogers:
"If I go through the Carlos talk, I have to go through a lot of scenarios that I can't go over for obvious reasons until next Thursday. We can talk about all those scenarios when the period is over with."

On if the number of new players will have a negative impact:
"First of all, when you take a look at guys like John [Beck] and Rex [Grossman], they have been with the organization. It's easy to bring a guy like that in. Even though you might not have been with them, they're studying all year round. They're pros. They understand what it takes. They have got to be on top of it when they come in. Both guys will be at their best, so that doesn't worry me. What's really hard is when you bring in a new guy and you have no OTA's. You don't have those 17 days. You don't have any of those practices and you can't watch film. Then you have to come in and play in four weeks. That's hard."

On LaRon Landry's recovery from an Achilles injury:
"We've got him on the PUP as a preventative measure more than anything. He's not at 100 percent, but he looked pretty good today, so hopefully he won't be too long before he's ready to go. We haven't been with his rehab throughout the offseason so it's more preventative than anything. He's out there watching practice getting all the mental reps. I want to get him ready for the Giants. I'm not really worried about getting him ready for Pittsburgh."

On if there are any other players on the PUP:
"Yeah, we have [Robert] Henson on the PUP and Kareem [Moore]."

On if former defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth had a spot with the Redskins:
"I just think that after a year of being with somebody and figuring out where they fit in, you know. We would have released him if we didn't trade him. I think it worked out good for Albert and good for us, so we'll wait and see."

On how frenzied the past four days have been:
"I think all of us had different scenarios that we had to deal with. They were not always planned, but you've got to be flexible. This is a situation that everybody had to deal with in the National Football League. No one knew when it was going to occur, but it's the same for everybody. Now it's about who's organized, who's not, who's got a chance to jump on it and take advantage of these opportunities. Some of the more established teams, they don't have to go and sign more than two or three people. We felt like we had to go out and improve our football team in a lot of different areas and that's what we've done."

On the addition of youth to the roster and how it balances with the veterans:
"You've got to make sure your experienced guys are playing at a high level. They have to love playing and have a passion for the game. They have to play like they're young. I've been around a lot of older players, Jerry Rice for one. He was 41 years old and I couldn't get him off the football field. He'd outwork any football player on the field. I've had players like that, London Fletcher for example. There's a lot of age in some players but you can never tell they're older players. Some people decide when they get a little bit older, they've made enough money and they're somewhat retired. I see it in coaches, too. So we're going to try to put the best football team we can together and have a little mixture of both. Mainly, the people that want to go in the same direction and do the things that give you the chance to win are the people we want here."

On his hours this week:
"Let me just say that we stayed here last night. I think a lot of people stayed overnight, it's pretty busy this week."

On if he was able to go home earlier in the week:
"Yeah I was, I went home every night. It takes everybody. There's a lot of effort that goes into an organization and everybody's got to be the best at what they do. We've got a lot of people that are very good at what they do and we're very happy to have a great supporting cast."

On how rookies are acclimating:
"I think we have a great feel for our players. The rookies, it feels like we drafted these guys three years ago. We didn't get a chance to see them right away. It's nice to finally get a chance to spend some time with them and at least see them for a day on the football field."

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