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Kyle Shanahan news conference 12.19.13

Kyle Shanahan news conference 12.19.13

Kyle Shanahan news conference 12.19.13 (transcript from Redskins PR)

On if he expects to return next season:

“That won’t be up to me. That’ll be up to our owner to decide if he wants us here, but to say reports that I want to distance myself from my father is totally untrue. I came here with a goal to win here, and I’ll keep trying to do that until they don’t want us here. That’s not a decision that’s up to me, but I’m going to coach here until I’m told that I can’t anymore and I’ll finish that through.”

On if he wants to see what he is capable of away from his father:

“Well, I do know what I can do on my own. I was on my own before I came here. I was a coordinator for two years before I came here and I do know what I can do on my own.”

On if he thinks about being a head coach:

“Yeah, I always set goals. I’d like someday hopefully to get a chance to be a head coach, whatever path that takes. I’m not trying to force that issue. I think of things year-to-year. I try to do the best thing for me, for myself and for my family. We had some success last year. You get mentioned for head coach jobs when you have some success. When you lose, you don’t. No matter who you’re coaching for or what you’re doing, it’s about winning games, doing a good job at your position – which is me as a coordinator – and I really just focus about what I put on tape.”

On how coachable quarterback Robert Griffin III is:

“I think Robert is very coachable. He came out of a system that wasn’t really similar to ones in the NFL. He’s been awesome to work with since we’ve gotten him. He’s tried everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s gotten better in a lot of areas. We’ve asked him to do things that he hadn’t done before until he got here. I think he did a hell of a job with that stuff last year. He’s continued to grow this year.”

On why he thinks there is a perception that Griffin III is not coachable:

“I don’t know. It sounds like really there’s a report really about everything right now. I think it’s pretty boring to talk about our three wins, not much else going on, so there’s a lot of stuff out there. There’s a report out on everything. Some things there’s partial truths to, but when it comes to working with Robert, nobody works with Robert except for myself, the quarterback coach, and we love working with Robert and he’s great to coach.”

On if there is one thing that has meant the most for the development of quarterback Kirk Cousins:

“Just the overall maturation of him. Kirk is very analytical. He’s very A-type personality. He wants to know the whys to everything, where everybody is. He’s on top of his stuff, and just the more time he’s been here, all the reps that he got in OTAs and training camp, being able to go with the first group and stuff… He didn’t get as much in the preseason because he got hurt also, but he did in practice and everything. He’s been a lot sharper this year with just knowing where everybody is. He always works at that stuff, but it’s not about just knowing it on paper. It’s about knowing it out there without thinking. You can’t really think in this game. Once the play starts you’ve got to react and you’ve just got to feel things and let it rip. I think with Kirk it’s become natural for after a lot of hard work that he knows where all the eligibles are on the field and he progresses pretty fast.”

On how he keeps the players from “checking out”:

“First of all, you’ve got to have the right type of guys and you’ve got to have guys that enjoy football, that football is important to, that are intrinsically motivated in that way. I think we do. We’ve got a real good group of guys, as good of a group of guys as I’ve been around. It means a lot to them. They’ve got a lot of pride. I thought they played real hard last week. I felt no let-up by them at all, I felt no let-up by our coaches at all, and I’d be really surprised if anyone did.”

On how the offense changes when operated from under center instead of the Pistol:

“Really the only thing that changes is that we didn’t run the zone read, and it doesn’t mean you can’t, it’s just not as high on my list until maybe [quarterback] Rex [Grossman] got into the game then maybe I’d probably run it a little bit more [laughter]. But you could run it versus some good looks. You see [Eagles quarterback Nick] Foles run it for some good stuff in Philly, but it’s not something they’re trying to dial up versus a lot of looks because you do have to have a certain type of speed tojust  run that versus a lot of looks. We don’t do that as much, so you get a little different play-actions off of it. When you’re not running the zone read, you don’t do as much play-pass off of it either, but you still do the same concepts down the field. Your play-passes are built off the runs that you do in the game so everything looks the same, so just the actions of what we play-fake with and one run that we don’t do, that’s the only thing that changes.”

On how the selection of plays changed last week and will change moving forward:

“The first 13 games with Robert there wasn’t just a certain type of plays — I think it was different every week. There’s some games where you saw us drop back and throw it more with Robert, there was some games where you saw us run it a lot more. There was some games that involved bootlegs or some games that involved play-action, so we really try to base it off what the defense is doing first of all — find the weakness in what they’re doing. We like to feel that we can do anything that the defense presents itself with, so we try to attack the defense, and at the same time you want to put players in a position that they can be successful. So you always want to attack the X’s and O’s of what a defense is showing you, but you also want to do stuff that players are capable of doing. You don’t want to just attack something because it makes sense if your player can’t do it, so there’s a fine line between both and that’s really what we work at trying to figure out throughout the week and throughout practice reps.”

On trying to be unpredictable with play calling in certain situations like being on your own goal line:

“Yeah, it’s hard. You’ve got to mix it up. I think that’s some of the stuff that we did a lot earlier in the year and then we went to runs for a while, so it’s a 50/50 chance of what you’re going to do. It’s a scary situation for an offense to be in, in general, whether you’re on the one [yard-line]… There’s a lot of different philosophies people have. Some people just do quarterback sneaks or fullback dives or just try to hand it up to the back, some people take shots out of there. Really, whatever play you do makes the coaches a little bit nervous. You can run an inside zone play and all one guard has to do is take the wrong step and you’re going to have a big three-technique right in the backfield and get a safety on your back. You like to pass it just to get it out of there quick. You’ve got to have one guy miss and you get either a sack or a holding call and it’s a safety. So it’s a fine line. You definitely don’t want to be predictable. I do think we do throw it more than some people so that’s why you notice it, but it’s definitely a 50/50 type deal. Some people, no matter what they do they’re just going to quarterback sneak it and get it out of there and try to punt. I always feel if you punt when you’re backed up, I look at that as we as an offense just gave the other team three points. All they need to do is go about 10 yards after they catch that punt and they already have a field goal, so I feel it’s very important when you’re backed up to get a first down. We’re not just going to play conservatively to not get a safety. We’re going to do whatever we can to get a first down.”

On the play of wide receiver Aldrick Robinson since the injury to wide receiver Leonard Hankerson:

“Al’s done a good job. Al had a real good camp for us, good OTAs. He fell a little bit behind with Hank stepping up, and we never go into a game trying to force the ball to anybody. We just call plays, we attack coverages, quarterback goes through the progression and tries to distribute it to the guys who the coverages aren’t taking away, and it’s worked out good for Aldrick the last couple of games. When it’s came to him, he’s made the plays and we’ve been happy for him to get some results.”

On if Robinson has played at X or Z receiver:

“The majority of Aldrick’s reps have been at Z just because [wide receiver] Pierre [Garçon] is the guy we consider our number one receiver, so we rotate all those other guys at Z. When Pierre is getting a break, we put Aldrick in at X also, but Aldrick is very smart and knows all the positions. He’s capable of doing all three of them. I think the majority of his reps come at Z because Pierre owns the X spot a little bit more, but he is all over the place.”

On if Robinson did something to earn more looks or if it was related to injuries:

“I think we’ve always believed in Aldrick but it’s always about the other players in the rotation. I think it’s made it a lot easier for him to get out there since Hankerson got hurt. When Hankerson wasn’t hurt, it was more Hankerson and [wide receiver] Josh [Morgan] rotating at Z. We like to keep our guys fresh, and it was more Pierre and Aldrick rotating at X. Since Hank got hurt, there’s a little bit more of a three-man rotation because Aldrick can play both positions, so he just gets out there more because we lost a player.”

On if having Robinson and Garçon on the field at the same time keeps defenses guessing when a deep ball is coming:

“Yeah, I think so. I mean, Aldrick, everybody knows he’s our fastest player and you usually like to send your fastest player deep over your slower players, but there’s not really a play in our offense that just says we’re throwing it deep. I kind of want them to cover Aldrick deep. Please cover him so we can throw it to open people underneath, as long as we’re sucking up the linebackers on a play-fake. But if they don’t cover him, if they don’t honor that, that means nobody else is going to be open, you have to let it go in time deep, so that’s the goal of it. It’s usually a three-level throw. You want your fastest guy on the top level so it makes it an easier read. You don’t have to sit there and hold onto the ball to see what’s happening. Usually that is Aldrick. There’s been times he’s gone deep and everyone goes with him and that’s good because then it opens up someone right underneath for a big play, so I always would much rather have the deeper throw because it’s easier to score when you only have to throw it once instead of 10 times, but having a threat to where Aldrick is not always in those same positions, I do agree with you – it helps.”

On if it is difficult to evaluate Cousins because he is going against lower-ranked pass defenses:

“I don’t really think so. I think it’s the NFL. I think everybody’s tough. I thought Atlanta was 20th, but it really doesn’t matter, I mean, I heard about how they’re all rookies back there, and there were three rookies, but two of those rookies were starters –[cornerback Robert] Alford and [cornerback Desmond] Trufant are pretty good players and I think you guys will hear a lot about them over the years. I know they were starting a rookie safety who was a backup player, but people faced us last year with a rookie quarterback and a rookie running back and I think that wasn’t considered a weakness. I thought that they had some pretty good players and it’s just one game, you can’t go all off that, but I’m not going to fault him for the competition he was going to. I thought he did a solid job.”

On if something changed after the first series to get the ball out of Cousins’ hand quicker:

“No, we didn’t change anything. They brought a cross-dog on a play-pass. We missed it. Our back was trying to get to him, the guy got blown off the ball a little bit, the back got picked so they had a free hitter. He did a good job still getting rid of it, not taking the sack. On the second one they had an all-out blitz that we did pick up but it was tough to really step up in there with the all-out blitz internally. And then [defensive end ] Osi [Umenyiora] did a good job going around the edge and got a hand on the ball. I think we just did it cleaner the rest of the game. We didn’t change anything protection-wise or play-wise, it was just two plays that we didn’t do our best on and I thought we did better at later times in the game.”

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Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 22, four days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five safe picks for the Redskins

Sometimes teams try to hit home runs with their draft picks. They may hit a few but they also will strike out a lot. Teams often are better off trying to hit solid singles and doubles. Here are five picks who would are unlikely to make many Pro Bowls but the Redskins would not regret the pick if they turned in the cards with their names on it. 

RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn—I’m starting off here with a player who would be a safe pick in the third round. Of course, the Redskins don’t have a third right now but if they do swing a trade and get one, Johnson would be a good pick. He doesn’t have breakaway speed, which is one reason why he might be available in the third. He is a grinder who will be an upgrade over Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley. 

DL Vita Vea, Washington—There is plenty of hand wringing over whether Vea is a three-down player or just a base defense nose tackle. But even if he can’t rush the passer very well his floor is a player who can go a long way towards helping the Redskins stop the run, a chronic weakness. This is why a lot of fans and media are urging the Redskins to not overthink this and take a player that will, at a minimum, bolster one of their weakest areas. 

OL Billy Price, Ohio State—He started 55 games for the Buckeyes, the most of any player in the storied history of the program. He did suffer the partial tear of a chest muscle in the combine but that will be fully healed by training camp. When he’s ready, he’s an explosive, smart, and powerful player. Just plug him in at left guard and the Redskins’ O-line is set with all home-grown talent. 

LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State—He doesn’t have the ceiling that the more heralded Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds have. However, he may have a higher floor. Smith is undersized, and Edmunds will be highly drafted based more on potential than on production. At 6-4, 256, Vander Esch has plenty of size, and he racked up 141 tackles last year on his way to defensive player of the year honors in the Mountain West. 

 CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado—The All-Pac-12 selection has the size and athleticism that add up to a safe pick in the second round. He needs some work on technique, but he has enough natural athletic ability—he competed in the decathlon—to be a productive cornerback right out of the gate. One other plus that fans will appreciate is that his strength is press coverage, not off man. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 30
—Training camp starts (7/26) 95
—Redskins @ Cardinals (9/9) 140

In case you missed it

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

In case you missed it