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Mike Shanahan news conference transcript 12.26.13

Mike Shanahan news conference transcript 12.26.13

On linebacker Brian Orakpo:

“Rak did not practice today. It [groin] was sore and we’ll see how he does tomorrow.”

On if Orakpo will sit out Sunday in order to prevent further injury:

“Well, if we feel he can’t go, he won’t go. But ‘Rak, like the rest of our players, if he can play, he wants to play. But we’re not going to jeopardize his leg to play for obvious reasons. It’s a little sore right now, but there’s still a chance.”

On running back Alfred Morris and his first two years:

“He’s done a great job. Here a guy comes in with very few expectations, and he just kind of keeps his nose to the grindstone and just works. That’s what you love to see – a guy have the type of success that he’s had. He’s got all the things that you look for in a person. He’s a hard worker, he sets some good standards for himself and hopefully he has a great future here.”

On the message he’ll give the team before the game on Sunday:

“You know, what I do is I talk to the team sometimes when you’re not playing for a playoff spot, at least from my perspective being a head coach and looking at different games as you evaluate them at the end of the season, you always like to see how guys play when they have nothing to play for. Guys that are out of the playoff hunt, you go back as a head coach or as a GM and you take a look at a lot of the games that players are playing when they’re not playing for a playoff spot to see which guys play at a certain standard. I know when I came here I took a look not only at the last games – the three last games of the season – I looked at how they practice, the practice squad players over the last three weeks. I think you can tell a lot about somebody when they’re not necessarily playing for a playoff spot.”

On his family dealing with speculation about his job security in the media:

“I mean that’s part of the job. We understand what goes with our job. Our job is to win and if you don’t win, good things don’t happen. We understand that. We’ve been in it for a while. I think when you’re a little bit younger and it’s your first experience, you see how it affects everybody – not that it doesn’t affect you when you’re older, but you’ve been through it before. You understand the highs and lows of the profession and you deal with it. If you deal with it too much then you’re not in the profession very long. But it comes with the territory.”

On what type of shape he would leave the team in if this is his last season:

“I could answer that question, but this is not the time to answer it. The time to answer that is at the end of the season if things don’t work out. But I’ll get into that detail and that would be easy for me to do. If you talked about offense, talked about defense, special teams, talked about what our goals were, the people we had here, the people that are gone, talked about the first two years – we’ll talk about it in detail if you want to and over the third year when you do kind of adjust your squad. I’d be more than happy to talk about it but now is not the time.”

On what he’s learned about offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan after working with him over the past four years:

“I think anytime you have somebody run an offense, defense or special teams, you get a chance to see them do it in game situations. And you see them run the meetings in front of everybody, not just the wide receivers or the quarterbacks but it’s the offensive line, it’s the tight ends. Very quickly players let you know what coaches do during the season. You can tell the way the players respond to them if they’re getting the job done or not. And I think since I’ve been in the National Football League players tell you very quickly if somebody’s helping them get better and stay in the game.”

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 17, 25 days before NFL free agency starts.

The Redskin week that was

My weekly look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics on RealRedskins.com and NBCSportsWashington.com.

An offseason blueprint for the Redskins—Should the Redskins focus their free agency money on keeping their own? In addition to unrestricted free agents Zach Brown and Trent Murphy, they need to consider extensions for Brandon Scherff, Preston Smith, and Jamison Crowder. That could chew up a bunch of the approximately $31 million of cap space that they have. They may get some help on the market but most of their improvement should come from the draft and from within.

Redskins offseason will hit warp speed soon—With the exception of the Alex Smith trade, which actually hasn’t happened yet, there hasn’t been much going on with the Redskins. That is going to change soon, check out the post for the calendar and how the events matter for the Redskins.

No mixed messages from Alex Smith—In a radio interview, Alex Smith said that he was “jacked” to be a part of the Redskins. Now, the phrase often repeated here is that you shouldn’t listen to what they say, you should watch what they do. And the moment that he signs the reported four-year extension that he has negotiated with the team, a deal that likely would put him in Washington for the rest of his career, we will see his actions backing up his words. Then we will know.

What we know, and what we think, of the Su'a Cravens situation—This will be a true test of the acumen of the front office. It’s a very tricky situation. The Redskins have to decide if they want to keep Cravens. Should they decide to keep him, there will be a lot of smoothing over of ruffled feelings that would need to be done over and trust in Cravens would have to be restored. If they don’t want him around, they have to make it look like they are willing to go into the season with him in order to be able to trade him. Otherwise, teams may just wait for them to cut him and sign him as a free agent. Again, don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.

Tweet of the week

Quarterback is not the only NFL position with rising salaries. The players teams hire to try to stop opposing QBs, cornerbacks, are getting expensive, too. Bashaud Breeland is a good cornerback, not a great one. His coverage skills are solid, he’s a good team player (if a bit of a hothead at times) and his work ethic is not questioned. For a fourth-round pick who everybody thought left Clemson a year too early, he has done well for himself But he hasn’t made a Pro Bowl and he hasn’t even come close enough to be considered a snub. Breeland has eight interceptions in four years in the league with a high of three in 2016.

The price tag for good at cornerback is likely to be in the vicinity of $10 million per season. And good for him if he gets it. But with the Redskins employing Josh Norman, who has cap hits in the range of $14.5 million-$16.9 million over the next three years, it would be difficult to fit him in. Truth be told, Breeland has probably been destined to leave as a free agent ever since Norman signed his contract in April of 2016.

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:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 12
—NFL Draft (4/26) 68
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 204

In case you missed it

  

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Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

The Redskins might try to franchise tag quarterback Kirk Cousins to try to get some compensation for him as he leaves. But Cousins’ camp might not let that happen without a fight.

According to Albert Breer of the MMQB, Cousins might file a grievance if he is tagged, saying that the Redskins would be violating the spirit of the rules regarding the use of the franchise tag. He would be seeking to have the tag voided because the team clearly isn ’t interested in reaching a long-term deal with him given the acquisition of Alex Smith. The tag is supposed to be used to buy time to get an agreement done, not to squat on a player’s rights in order to trade him.

There is precedent for the tag being used in order to facilitate a trade. In 2009, the Patriots tagged quarterback Matt Cassel. They clearly had no intention of keeping him as they had Tom Brady on the roster. But New England pulled it off, shipping Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs for a second-round pick.

But it is up to the player to object to being tagged and for whatever reason Cassel and his agent went along with the tag and trade rather than fighting for free agency.

It looks like Cousins ’camp won’t go as quietly.

It’s up to the Redskins to make the first move. The window to be able to tag a player opens on Tuesday with the deadline coming on March 6. We will see how things play out after that.

MORE REDSKINS: THE EXPECTATIONS GAME

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