On Thursday, October 24, 2013, Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan addressed the media following an afternoon practice at Redskins Park in Ashburn, VA.
On playing in Denver:
"It's an exciting thing but it's always a little different. I played there once as a coach. It was my first game as a preseason coach when I was at Houston as a receiver coach, but it's my first time back there since then and I'm looking forward to it. I love Denver. I grew up there, spent most of my life there even though I moved a lot; pretty much moved there three different times. It was a big part of my life. It's where my wife is from and most of my close friends."
On if going to Denver means anything to his father, Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan:
"Every game means a lot. You always want to beat people that you used to work for. I feel that way when I play Tampa, when I play Houston. So I think everybody is like that, but it's not as big of a deal as I probably would have expected it to be four years ago. I think time has passed. It's not like it's the staff that replaced him so there's different coaches there, people he's close with and respects a lot. Denver is the team usually I am pulling for with them being in the AFC and him also, but obviously we're not this weekend."
On quarterback Robert Griffin III's play against Chicago:
"I thought he looked good. Just like you guys said, he got the most carries I think he's had. I think he got some vs. Dallas too. It's very similar defenses where the way they played the zone read and stuff, which definitely benefits [him] because they gave him more opportunities to pull it. They were giving him that and it was a decision that he's got to make based on what the D-end does and they were having him pull it. So he's got to read it right and he did it the majority of the time right and we got blockers out there and when we've got blockers out there, he's able to race everyone to the sidelines and make some plays, and when he does it really helps us."
On if he thinks the pre-game tribute and crowd reaction will have some meaning to his father:
"Yeah, I think it does. I can honestly say us, as coaches, we try our hardest to stay in our little holes and avoid all the noise that some of you guys give... That's just what you've got to do to concentrate on your job and not make things too big of a deal. There's enough pressure to win in this league and it's hard enough to win in this league every week, so I really don't think he does feel much right now. I mean, I don't really feel anything right now. It's obviously a bigger deal for him than me, but we're people too and I'm sure it'll be different on Sunday when we wake up and you're going into Mile High where he's got a lot of memories. I'm sure that will definitely be a little bit different, but I really can honestly say I don't think it's as big of a deal as I felt maybe four years ago, the year after he got let go."
On how many requests for tickets he has received:
"A lot of people have hit me up, but what people don't realize is if you want good seats, you better not go through us because we get the worst seats possible offered by us. So the best seats I can get are like $60 seats and the last time I checked $60 seats aren't that good at an NFL stadium. It's been a while since I've sat in them. I'll try to help out anybody who wants them but definitely, usually I'm their last option."
On if he felt like the Redskins had a chance at signing Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and if he ever thinks about what would have happened if Manning had signed in Washington:
"Yeah… Once we made the trade, it was kind of out of sight, out of mind, but back when one of arguably the best quarterbacks of all time becomes available, you're going to do everything you can to try to go after him and get him. The fact that he was willing to meet with us was an exciting thing. I felt we did have a chance since he did meet with us, but in the back of our minds we knew his brother played in our division and stuff so we didn't know if that would be the most ideal situation for him. But for him to sit down and talk with us and spend some time with us, we did feel like we had a chance, but once that trade went through, it was kind of all out the window."
On uses Manning as an example when teaching Griffin III:
"You try to do that with every quarterback you see. We watch a lot of tape. Offseason is more of a time where you study other players and stuff, but tape crosses over. We play other teams that Denver played when we are studying their defense and you try to see how other quarterbacks attack them and you can always show good things that they do, but every quarterback is themself. I don't think anybody has ever succeeded trying to be like somebody else. You have to be yourself and there's always things you can take from other people's game. Peyton obviously does it as good as anyone does, so you try to point those things out, but nothing in particular."
On tight end Jordan Reed:
"Jordan can separate. I mean, Jordan can separate as good as any tight end I've ever had. We've had some decent guys here at separating. [Texans tight end] Owen Daniels for me in Houston was as good as anyone I've been around too, but Jordan is wired to separate. His feet are always under him. He's fast enough to run away from people, but he can cut as good as anyone. He's got as good of hands as you can have, so even when he doesn't separate too much, he can attack that ball, run through the ball. Catching is effortless for him and you guys got to all see that on Sunday, but that is stuff that we expect out of him and if you get him in man coverage, he's going to do that a high percentage of the time."
On rushing and passing for more than 200 yards two weeks in a row:
"First of all, I think it has helped these last two weeks we've done better on third down. I think earlier in the season we were last or second to last in third downs and we've moved up to 13th, so we've done a much better job these last few weeks. When you do a good job on third down you get to stay on the field more. Our goal is always to be balanced so we're trying to be balanced and when you stay on the field a lot you get a lot of plays and you try to make it balanced where you're trying to throw it as much as you run it. Usually the yards kind of end up close. It is a good stat, but we only won one of those games, so it really only helped us last week, not the week prior."
On why tight end Fred Davis was inactive last week:
"It's mainly other guys have stepped up. We're not at all trying to write Fred off or saying that he's going to be done for us at the end of the year. I really expect there's going to come a time where Fred needs to help us, but it is a week-to-week decision. Going into that game, we always decide based off personnel coverages we are going against, packages we are going to use, what tight ends we want in certain situations. We felt better with [tight end] Logan [Paulsen] and Jordan in a lot of stuff we were doing. Niles [Paul] is a really big special teams player for us who can also help us on offense. I would love – if it was my choice, I'd dress four tight ends every single week, but it's not just about the offense. You've got special teams and you've got defense and it's the whole team, so it's tough sometimes to get four tight ends up. When we're told we can only get three, it's going to depend on what we're trying to do and who we feel better with."
On if he tries to help Griffin III ignore outside voices:
"You just always try to remind all players, especially a quarterback because the quarterback is going to get judged more than anybody, you have to be yourself, but you also have to continue to improve. You've got to look at yourself hard and try to get better in every facet of your game. Places that you struggle with, you've got to try to get better at and look at everything to get better throughout the week, throughout the offseason, but once it comes to Sunday you've got to play. You can't be sitting there on Sunday trying to do something that someone has told you to do. You've got to let it go. Playing the game, to me, is natural. You've got to shut your mind off once you play and you're going to usually play the way you've played your whole life. That doesn't mean you can't work at stuff and get better at stuff. It happens gradually, but the bottom line is you're going to end up being yourself and end up playing. With Robert, it's just, 'Keep working at everything, but when Sunday comes you just let it go, let it rip and try to win the game.'"
On if he thinks Griffin III is good at tuning those voices out once he is on the field:
"Yeah, I do. I mean, I think Robert's a real confident guy. I think he believes in himself. I think he believes in his skills. I think everybody struggles a little bit with a lot of the noise. That's why I say the more you can shrink your world in our position and not listen to anything the easier it gets. I think he's learning from it. I think he's getting better at it. I think he's just working to get better in everything."
On the effect the return of Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard will have on their defense:
"I don't see them changing scheme or anything, but he's a very good player so the more better players they have out there obviously the better they're going to be. They have given up yards, but that really doesn't mean much to me. When I turn on the tape and I watch them, I see a very good defense. I think they were second in the league last year. They have pretty much the same players. I know they lost [Ravens linebacker Elvis] Dumervil but they replaced him with [linebacker Shaun] Phillips, who has been playing really well. I don't see a team that is ranked as low as they are. I know they're ranked low because of yards, but I see a very good defense who is capable of playing like a top five defense just like they were last year."
On what he likes about running back Roy Helu Jr. in the red zone and if he expects Helu, Jr. to be the red zone running back moving forward:
"No, it just played out that way. The only time Roy is really designated to go in on is third down. We try to keep them both fresh. We've been trying to keep them fresh a lot more lately. Roy got in on a couple of plays. We went no-huddle a few times so he just stayed in there and it just worked out that way. It wasn't anything going into the game that Roy was going to be our red zone back. The only thing we designate is he's our third down back. We try to keep both guys fresh and Roy got in there and we quickly went into a no-huddle and he stayed in there and he got the touchdowns."
On if Helu Jr. was fresher than Alfred Morris:
"Yeah, I think so. I think when you go no-huddle, the defense obviously gets tired which is a big advantage for the offense, but the offensive guys get pretty tired too. When you can bring in a back fresh like Roy who is as fast as he is and is our most explosive guy, I think it is a big benefit. The guys are tired, they're not running as fast, and now you get your fastest back in there and I think it does help."
On if he thinks the NFL will phase out pocket passers like Manning eventually:
"That type of quarterback will always have a place. The NFL… You've got to get a good quarterback. You can be a good quarterback any type of way possible. I mean if you can do it doing the zone read, you're going to do that until they stop it and then you better know how to throw too. Then you're going to throw until they worry about throwing and then you're going to go back to the zone read. Some guys who can't do the zone read, they better be very good quarterbacks because that's all their going to have. Guys are always going to be trying to stop one thing and they don't really have anything to offset it to go to using their legs and stuff, so they have got to always be pure passers. You're getting more guys doing that scheme in college so you're getting more legitimate quarterbacks who can move and have practice at it so I think there's always going to be room for both. I don't think just because [of that] five years from now people like [New England Patriots quarterback] Tom Brady and Peyton Manning aren't going to play in the league. You can watch them for 10 years and they're still picking people apart without the threat of their legs. It's really you're just looking for good quarterbacks. You can win with anybody you just need to find a scheme that fits your personnel and make sure you have good players."
On what he saw from Broncos linebacker Von Miller in his first game back last week and how it compared to Miller last season:
"I don't see much difference. He probably wasn't out there quite as much but he's definitely someone who worries you and gives you nightmares as a coach. He's someone you have got to account for all the time. I know he didn't have all the splash plays last week that people were expecting him to but he was close. You've got to get rid of that ball because it's a matter of time before he gets there. It's extremely tough for anybody in this league to block him one-on-one and he's going to get to the quarterback. You just hope that you've got plays and people open where you get rid of it before he gets there."
On the benefit of going in and out of the turbo offense:*
"Basically, you want to be able to run what your players are good at. I truly believe that in the NFL, everyone has tape. Everybody runs pretty similar plays, and coaching and scheme is about executing. If you can execute plays at a high tempo, it definitely does give you an advantage, but you can't do your entire offense at an up-tempo unless that is your entire offense. I know that's Philly's offense and I think Buffalo has done some stuff like that, but that is your scheme and when you have a scheme like that that's what you work on year-round. That's what you do in the offseason. That's what you do in training camp. We do have a little package that gives us an option to go into it, but you can't just stay in it the whole time. You can't run your whole offense. You're limited with formations. You're limited with some of the stuff you can do. The O-line's got to make counts on who to block on every play and sometimes when the defense is confused and they're not lined up, even though they're confused, we're a little confused also because we need to know where people are and we've got to get 11 guys on 11 guys and make sure everyone is accounted for. Sometimes you go really fast and you make the wrong call, you don't know where people are, and there's a free hitter right in the backfield and it's second-and-12 before you know it. If you mix it in, if you can have successful plays and you get everyone targeted right, it's great. It has been great for us at times just like it was versus Oakland. A couple of series in Oakland, we had a couple quick three-and-outs because of it too. We did it in Dallas a little bit and had some mixed reviews there. I thought it was the best for us last week. I think it's something that definitely helps us, something that's always good to have, but the bottom line is you've got to execute. We'll always do it if we can execute and when we're limited on the stuff we can do, we can always quickly huddle up and make a call."