Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Mike Shanahan Training Camp Press Conference

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On his readiness for training camp and for the season:
"Well, I'm looking forward to getting started, that's for sure. After being here for over six months and putting a football team together, you've got the draft, you've got free agency, evaluating your own football team, you're always waiting for the season. And now it's time to go."

On if this training camp feels different than any of the other camps in his career:
"I think training camp is training camp. There's a lot of hard work involved. It's a process. It's not like it used to be. It used to be anywhere from six to eight weeks. You'd bring 145 guys into camp. I think we brought 150 in one time. Now you have 80 guys. You've had OTAs and your players are used to your system. They're used to what you expect. Most of them should be in shape or you're aware of what type of shape they're in and now you're getting ready for the season. That's our case right now. We've been able to get good work with a lot of our players, and they're probably looking forward to getting started. We'll see what they do in preseason games."

On if he has talked to defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth:
"I did. Albert stopped by this morning. I had a little conversation with him, very similar to what I shared with you in the past. Albert came in, he says he's in good shape. Hopefully he is in good shape since he had not been part of our offseason program. There's a conditioning test he'll go through and if he passes that conditioning test then he'll work out with our team right away. If he doesn't, we'll make sure he's in shape before he works out with the team."

On Albert Haynesworth's mindset:"I was very pleased with his mindset and where he was coming from and what I expected from him as a football player both on and off the football field. The conversation went well and now we'll get a chance to see exactly where we're at in the near future."

On if Albert Haynesworth appeared to be in good shape:
"Yeah, he did. He looked like he was in good shape."

On the status of unsigned first round pick Trent Williams:
"I don't think it's unusual for guys not to be signed yet. Our organization is very fair. We've been very fair to draft choices. There is always that market value that people are trying to figure out at this time, and I would be surprised if he misses any length of time. The quicker he gets in, the better off it's going to be for all of us."

On how Albert Haynesworth will be utilized:
"All I can do is tell you that we're going to give him every opportunity to show us what he can do. Hopefully he'll like the position that we play him in, he'll give us everything that he's got."

On if there are any offers for Albert Haynesworth:"I think we've been down that road before relative to giving him that opportunity to seek employment with another football team. But if he did accept that check, he was going to be a Washington Redskin. We expect him to play at that level and play at a very high level at whatever position we play him in."

On if Albert Haynesworth had a change of heart:"I'll tell you as time goes on. It's easy to talk the game, but we'll see what he does in practice and see what type of shape he's in and how committed he is - all the things that we've talked about the last couple of months. But he's here. He's ready to go. He looks in good shape. So we'll get a chance to find out here very quickly."

On the players' feelings about Albert Haynesworth:"I haven't talked to our players. I think all the players are very consistent with their feelings. They're hoping Albert is in great shape and they buy into his responsibility, he plays like heck and he helps the football team win. Our players would accept that. But he's going to have to buy in and play it the way we want it to be played, and if he does that, he can help us win."

On what offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan brings to the offense:
"Houston was No. 1 last year in passing and I think they were No. 3 the year before, and so he brings a lot of ideas of things he's done very successfully the last couple of years as the offensive coordinator. We've always had a great running game. I think Kyle brings a lot from both aspects, but especially in the passing game."

On potentially signing quarterback Donovan McNabb to an extension:"Obviously it's a process right there, and Bruce (Allen) is in charge of doing that. As Bruce has stated before, we expect him to be here for a long time, so hopefully we can get that done in the near future."

On Larry Johnson:"I feel like we have a number of backs that are capable of playing extremely well. Larry Johnson is one of those backs. I think everybody knows how Larry has played in the past and what he is capable of doing. I like what I saw in film last year and is one of the reasons of why he is here. If you take a look at Larry, you take a look at Clinton (Portis), you take a look at Willie (Parker), you take a look at Ryan Torain, you take a look at Keiland Williams, all these players have a chance to be excellent running backs in the National Football League. I'm very happy to have them. We have talented backs that can help us win games in the National Football League that's for sure."

On if Donovan McNabb's contract will be taken care of during training camp or during the season:"We won't talk about those things, we don't talk about contracts. You talk about people playing well. And I can't tell you when it's going to get done or if it's going to get done, but those are our intentions."

On if he has talked with Albert Haynesworth regarding Haynesworth's off-the-field issues:
"No I have not addressed those issues with him. He is a grown man and I'm not going to get into issues that I am not very aware of all the scenarios. I think the main issue with me is 'Is he going to come in here and run our system?' Is he going to run it to the best of his ability? Is he in shape? Not being with our offseason program I'm expecting him to be in great shape. If he is not in great shape we are going to do what we need to do to get him in shape and once he gets to that point hopefully he will fit into our system and do the things what we want him to do because if he does he can be an excellent football player for us, if not we are going to be very good anyhow."

On the evaluation process coming into a new team:"Every time I've gone through a different job it's been that way. It's part of the process evaluating the people on your football team, trying to make decisions through free agency, the draft, people you believe can play at a high level, bringing free agents in, bringing draft choices in. I think now more than ever with the way free agency is you got 30 or 40 new guys on your team almost every year. I think it's part of the process unless maybe you're a Super Bowl team or a playoff team consistently and you don't have to make that many changes."

On if the door has closed on acquiring Brian Westbrook:"No I don't believe the door has closed on Westbrook. We have talked about that third down back, a very talented back, but no the door has not closed."

On his goals for the upcoming season:
"Well, every team is a little different relative to players' goals and personal goals. We were 4-12 last year. We were 0-6 in the NFC East. Talk is cheap. You've got to do it on the football field. It started with the offseason conditioning program. We want a lot of people committed to give us a chance to do the best we can once we get to training camp which is where we are at right now. I have been pleased with the effort we have had. Well over 90 percent have been through the offseason conditioning program, which gives us the ability to achieve some of our goals."

On if he has heard anything from the league office about receiver Santana Moss:
"First of all, when you take a look at the person you are referring to [doctor Anthony Galea], he is probably associated with 150 people in the league. Just mentioning Santana with this guy's name and not the other people and some popular players I don't think is right. No, the league has not said anything relative to Santana about the issue you are talking about."

On offensive lineman Mike Williams' health:
"Mike will be out for the year. Mike had a blood clot in his calf. They took x-rays and then it was in his lung. So they put him on some blood-thinners and Mike cannot obviously play with blood-thinners and it was really a setback for us and a setback for Mike, but when something like that happens you are just glad that you caught it before it was serious. It's something the doctors look at right away and it's not football related, but it's something that they are very happy they caught early. He will definitely be out this year. Maybe in six months he will be reevaluated after he takes the proper amount of time to be away and he could possibly play in the future."

On what the offense needs to improve:"I think we need to improve in all areas. Our running game I thought was very average last year; our passing game was pretty inconsistent, turnovers. We have a lot of new people playing a lot of different positions. So I'm looking forward to getting a chance to evaluate these guys and see what we can do."

On the importance of having the four preseason games to prepare for the season:
"First of all, we have four games and coming in as a new coach you are happy to have those four games. For me, coming in as a new head football coach and evaluating not only personnel, but getting a chance to run your new system. I was in college for 10 years and you never had a preseason game. You just went right into the season. So for the first game in the NFL, it was unusual to have preseason games. I was used to dealing with the first game of the season being a regular season game. So if you are asking me if I could work with two preseason games, yes I could. Could you work with four? Yes I could. There are a lot of different intangibles that are involved and unfortunately Roger Goodell has never asked for my feelings on that matter, but maybe he will."

On how he will conduct training camp:"What I've done in the past is a little different here but we all will be in the hotel together. We will be in here early, stay late. There will be a lot of work involved. You got 80 players and you have to be very careful. We will have a good morning practice. We will go for about two hours, maybe two hours and 10 minutes on the field. The afternoon practices are what we call a jog thru. We get a chance to get a lot of repetitions on certain plays, but it's not really a knock-down, drag-out. With 80 players you can only do so much. I was at a number of camps last year and some people go an hour and half in the morning, an hour and half in the afternoon. Some people go full speed, some people go half speed. Our morning practices are going to be pretty intense. Our afternoon practices will be more responsibility and scheme related, rather than pushing it and going 100 miles an hour."

On if he will change the practice format from what he did with the Denver Broncos:"No, very similar, almost identical."

On if he will do anything different during training camp from what he has done in the past:"First of all I don't think someone comes in and does things much differently from what they've done in the past. If you got a philosophy and you got a belief, I think you stay with that philosophy and belief."

On what he will do differently than last year's Redskins training camp:
"I really don't know what they did. And I can't really speak about that because I really don't know. I won't even try to. But what I can tell you is that we will do things that I've done in the past that I think gives us the best chance to win, best chance to be successful. And some of the things that you've done, some of the mistakes you made early in your career you try to correct those mistakes. Sometimes you practice too much or too hard. Sometimes you know when to lay off, especially with the number of years I've been in the National Football League. From that standpoint, I think you learn as a head football coach. But I think our players will enjoy it. It will be very demanding. Hopefully at the end of camp we will get a chance to find out who our best players are and they will feel very comfortable in our system."

On if Albert Haynesworth will start with the first-team defense once camp starts:"He will not start out with the first-team defense. The big question is if he does come in and pass our conditioning test, exactly how quickly he fits in and what type of football shape he is in."

On what the conditioning test is:"It will tell him and tell us if he is in shape."

On how he will improve the offensive line and get it to work in his scheme:"First of all I think you are talking about Chris Samuels being hurt. You lost (Randy) Thomas last year. And a number of injuries last year from a lot of different positions, (Chad) Rinehart got hurt. What we did is we added Trent Williams. Obviously (Derrick) Dockery has been here, (Casey) Rabach has been here. We lost a guy in Mike Williams who we thought could've been a potential starter. But a guy like Artis Hicks we feel very good about. We moved him from the right tackle to the right guard position. Jammal Brown, obviously a Pro Bowl player and we think he brings a lot of toughness to our football team. He will be at right tackle. And we have a number of players from last year. That's what you try to do in the offseason, take a look at where your weaknesses are possibly, where there have been injuries, whether it has been retirement and try to booster that position. Now it's our job to try to get them coordinated and hopefully we can put a good product on the field."

On what the reaction of the players was when they found out about staying at the hotel:
"I really don't know how they reacted. I really don't know if they know. I haven't got a chance to talk to them yet. When they get here they will find out very quickly. I really haven't even thought about that to be honest with you. But it's a commitment we have. Training camps aren't really long anymore. They're only about three weeks. We have a lot to do in a short amount of time and a lot of players don't live very close. With the hours that they spend here I don't want them driving very far, going or coming. I want them to get as much rest as possible. I think it is in the best interest of our organization and their best interest to keep everybody close and isolated because they are spending so much time at this facility."

On what he expects of Donovan McNabb at this point in his career:
"I think we will talk more in detail about players when I get the chance to be with them. I think what Donovan (McNabb) has done in our OTAs is come in here and he has worked extremely hard. I think everyone can see he is a natural leader. He has been a class act his whole career and now he gets a chance to adjust to our system and see how he fits in. I'm excited about him and I think we all know what he has done, how he has handled himself and I'm just looking forward to kicking off this camp."

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.