On Thursday, July 25, 2013, Redskins HC Mike Shanahan addressed the media following the first practice of training camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
On the plan for quarterback Robert Griffin III during camp:
"Initially, what we're going to do is what we did today. We had thirty minutes of individual work and we had different types of individual work, as you could see today, different things Robert was doing. During the special teams period, what he was able to do was get his footwork, for us to put him through all the situations that we had in team without being involved in any type of team drills. And then we had a seven-on-seven, which he took eight of the 10 plays, and did a very good job coming into that situation for the first time in a while. But that's our plan initially, make him feel comfortable with what we're doing, feeling comfortable with going back to doing some football drills, some football moves, and see how he does."
On plan for Griffin III during the preseason:
"What we plan on doing is progressing everyday like we did today. We'll get a chance to see when he's ready for a possible team drill, more reps, all those type of things that come with time. But we're going to take it slow. Relative to preseason, my plan is not playing him any preseason games. The first two weeks, with a Thursday night and a Monday night game, then a relative short week the following week, with a Monday night and a Saturday game and then a Thursday game, it just doesn't make any sense to play him in any preseason games. So we're going to try to get him in football shape. What I'd like to be able to do when he's ready is be able to play or be able to practice at game-type tempo. When that'll occur, I can't tell you. When I think he's ready for it, it's going to take some time. It surely won't happen for two to three weeks. It does take some time to get back in football shape."
On if there was a plan for Griffin III to test his knee without a brace practice:
"No, there's no plan, and you just got him fined for not having a knee brace on, so I'm hoping you're very happy with yourself [Laughter]. That was somewhat of a joke. No, he's supposed to do everything with a knee brace on. I'm not sure why he didn't have his knee brace on."
On how much progress the team has made since he took over in 2010:
"You always feel good when you go into camp and you do have competition at every position. That's what you're looking for, when you're not sure who's going to make your football team and you have some depth at a number of positions that you haven't had in a few years. So yeah, that does make you feel good. Not only do you have depth, you have guys that have the character you're looking for as well. So, very happy where we're at this year. You're always keeping your fingers crossed that you can stay as healthy as you can possibly be, and hopefully we'll be a little bit lucky – luckier this year than we have been in the past."
On wide receiver Pierre Garçon's comment that he thought "the Redskins' offense could be the best ever in the NFL":
"Well, if you're in this business, you want to be the best at what you do, and I thought for last year having six new starters and being able to accomplish some of the things we did last year, it was pretty impressive with basically a very young football team. So our expectations are high. We're going to concentrate everyday on getting better, and if we do that I think we have a chance to get better."
On having a relationship with the team:
"I think it's part of any football team is relationships. And people have to trust each other. As I've asked Robert to do, is just be as honest with me as he possibly can. And I think Robert sees this year how important being honest with each other is and that's what we have to do. I told him I'll be as straight forward as I possibly can be with him and I'm hoping that he gives me the same. And if you have that within your organization then you have got a chance to do something special. If you don't, especially with the quarterback or really any position that demands perfection, if you don't have that type of relationship, the chances of being really good or winning the Super Bowl aren't very good."
On the performance of the secondary:
"As you could see today, we had a lot more depth in the secondary. We have some young people as you mentioned, with the addition of [safety Phillip] Thomas as well, I'm not sure if you mentioned him, but I like what I see. We had good OTA days. We had anywhere from six to seven weeks of great repetition. For those guys to come back after being away for a month and still retaining a good proportion of what we put in, it makes you feel good about what type of guys we've got. We know we have some playmakers, what they've done throughout their college career and hopefully they can continue that in the NFL."
On if he was surprised by Griffin III's timetable for returning:
"Well, the first thing that you have to realize, you've got to get in football shape. Even though he's cleared, I've got to see it on the football field and I've got to see it with drill work. It just doesn't happen like that. If you're dealing with trainers, you're dealing with doctors. They've got him in shape. They can tell you when that knee is ready to go, but they can't tell you when he's ready to play. Because you've got to see that happen over time, and you've got to get him in shape. In my opinion, you can't take a chance of going back too quick. And so, as he does get in shape, as he does improve, you can see his body movements improve, the confidence in that knee, then you give him a little bit more rope. And you don't want to go back too quick. You want to make sure that you keep him healthy and that's what we're going to do."
On the effectiveness of the current training camp system and limitations:
"Well, through the years we've gone through a lot of different adjustments with the systems and what you can do and what you can't do, how long training camp is. I like the direction we've gone with the offseason program. I like the directions we've gone with the OTAs. I think it's positive to have a couple days without pads on. It doesn't make sense to me to be away from each other for five weeks and come in the first day, have two-a-days and just knock the heck out of each other. There are so many times that injuries occur and the reason why, I believe, is because the players aren't ready for that type of contact right away. So, we had a good conditioning drill the first day, see what players were in shape; which ones weren't. I think we had a great feel for which guys made that commitment, being gone for four or five weeks. I though the rehab went well. The people that were going through different types of surgery or rehab, they came back in excellent shape. The majority of them stayed in our facilities throughout those four or five weeks. Now, it's time to go. And the thing we try to concentrate on is not really the big picture, it's just concentrate day by day, getting a little bit better. These guys get healthier and they get some more playing time."
On quarterback behind Griffin III:
"Well, when Robert is just taking the seven-on-seven reps, our other three quarterbacks have a great chance of getting repetition. We're working with three quarterbacks, besides Robert, in the individual drills, and what we're doing… The first team had four reps, the second team had three and the third team had two. So all the quarterbacks got some experience out there, and we'll continue to do that for a while to get all three ready to play in the preseason games."
On development of center Will Montgomery:
"I've liked Will from the first day I was here. He was a guy that took a lot of pride in everything he did, how he worked, how he handled himself, very conscientious, very smart. He's accountable. He's an accountable guy. He'll give you everything he's got on every play, and the great part about what we have right now is we have some competition at all the different positions. So we can shuffle guys around, and if guys don't play at a certain level, they have a chance to be beat out and that's what you want on the offensive line."
On Garçon's progress and what it will mean to have him healthy:
"I think you saw what a healthy Pierre Garçon can do because he was healthy after the bye week and was one of the reasons why we had the success we did have after the bye week. You're always looking for your great players to play, and when you don't have those guys, it is a difference. But some guys came in and got some valuable experience, did some good things, but when Pierre came back, you could see he's a difference maker. He's extremely strong, fast, very conscientious, very competitive, and he's the type of guy that gives you the chance to do something special."
On plans for linebacker Brian Orakpo and tight end Fred Davis:
"They're full-go. You take a look at 'Rak – after the Rams game last year, he's had a lot of time to rehab and he's doing everything he possibly can to get in the best football shape he can. He looked great in OTAs. You're always hoping that they stay healthy but you never know for sure. But they're completely recovered. I feel looking at 'Rak through all the OTAs he's as good as I've seen him. He's – kind of like I said before – he's possessed, the way he's practicing, the way he's playing. There's always some hesitation with the Achilles, but when Fred did come back we didn't push him back too quick. I think we could have played him the last couple of weeks. He's continued to stay in shape and I'm hoping there is no setback with him."
On challenge of not playing a starting quarterback in the preseason:
"I think so many times that the repetition in preseason is so over-exaggerated. I coached college for 10 years. We never had a preseason game. You go in the game ready to play. And a lot of times when you practice and you practice at game speed, you can go into a game without exhibition games. One of the reason you have exhibition games is to evaluate your talent. When a player does have some experience and you're able to put that person through a good practice or practices or you get them ready to play, I think they're more than ready to play. Part of it's the evaluation, part of it's to get the little rust off the old tires, you'd like to play them some but you have to judge if it's worth it. In my opinion, if you're going to put them in you have to put them in earlier than later. You don't play your whole team in the fourth preseason game and you're not going to put your starting quarterback in there. And from a Monday night game from a Saturday game it doesn't make sense to me, so that's my thought as to why we won't play him in the preseason."
On cornerback Josh Wilson's brief stint on the PUP list:
"When Josh first came in, we were going to put him on the PUP and actually we did, but what we wanted to do is test his strength. We know he's in great football shape, you can see it with his legs in the conditioning drill, but I wasn't positive because some of the tests that he did, I wasn't positive about his strength, going back to Pensacola and checking some of the things that he did. After he got in the weight room and he lifted, we decided to at least let him do individual work and hopefully over the next few days we'll feel good enough about his strength with some of these tests that he'll be ready to go. But he's not far away."
On players escorting kids after practice:
"What I'm kind of used to – in an environment like this where we get four or five players, we'll get a coach and kind of sign autographs. Over the years, we did it and a lot of people were happy, but I wasn't really sure if that was the best way to do it. And then [General Manager] Bruce Allen suggested to me, 'You know what Green Bay does I thought was kind of interesting because they have a little distance between their facility and the kids they would ride bikes and they have the chance to spend time with the player.' But we start talking with Bruce's suggestion and I thought it was a heck of an idea. I said, 'Why don't we instead of signing autographs right away', because a lot of these players are going to sign autographs and normally the only person's autograph they want is RG's and London's. Everyone is kind of pushed to the side. We thought it would be fun to just take a guy after practice, some young kid and spend some time and get to know him, talk to him, so he can walk from, maybe it's a 200-yard walk where like [quarterback] Rex Grossman was throwing passes to a kid. You have one player giving him his wristbands or gloves, and you just get the chance to know them. And at least for the first day, I think it worked out really good so we're going to continue to do that. I think it's a chance for us to thank Richmond for all they have done for us, the fans and how much we appreciate having them here, and just getting a chance to know our players."
On the status of linebacker Keenan Robinson:
"You know, I really don't know. He's having an MRI. We'll see how it is. It was not his shoulder he had surgery on. It was the other shoulder. So we'll just have to wait and see."
On the prognosis for defensive end Adam Carriker:
"They say it's anywhere from four to five months recovery time. They said the surgery went well. He was very optimistic. And now we will just keep our fingers crossed that hope his rehab goes well and he'll be ready to play… You know there is always a chance for it to happen before, I just don't know. But according to the doctors, the surgery was something that he needed and went as well as they could have possibly hoped for, so that's always a good sign."
On tight end Jordan Reed and running back Chris Thompson:
"We saw in the conditioning that both guys were in great shape. I wasn't really sure about either of them before we went through our conditioning drills. Both guys were one of the best. We went through the strength coaches, working them out with all different types of strength tests and at the end of the day, I am really happy with how hard they both worked because gave themselves an opportunity to come in and compete right away."
On how far behind Reed and Thompson are:
"What they were able to do is get a lot of mental reps, so they learned a lot just by going through drill work even though they were going through rehab. So they weren't able to practice, but they got all the mental reps that you need. They were able to do some things with the trainers and, over a five week time frame, you've got to study and both of them have studied. Both of them have picked up the offense very quickly and hopefully there is no setback but both of them look very good. We would not have passed them unless we felt good about both of them."
On the likelihood of running back Alfred Morris duplicating his production from last season:
"Alfred was a young guy coming in. Usually when you come in as a rookie, it's really hard to separate yourself because there's a lot of things going on in your mind. When Alfred came in, the first time we really saw what he could do was when we got him in a preseason game. Very impressive in the preseason and you're hoping that was going to carry over into the season. Obviously, it did. There's no question in my mind that he's going to be one of the best backs because of how hard he works, what type of shape he's in. You can tell he's confident just in running during the OTA days and even today. He's going to be a guy that just keeps on getting better. Now can he surpass what he did last year? I can't answer that, but I would be surprised if he doesn't have an excellent year, barring injuries."
On impressions of the new facility and the reception in Richmond:
"Well, I don't think it could have been better. First of all, you take a look at this facility. It's a great facility. Everything that we need to do we have right here. We've got a great training room, a great weight room. If you take a look at the fields, we've got two and a half fields. They're in excellent shape. I think you can see with the support the players really enjoyed the fans. I think it was indicative of the way they reacted at the end of the practice how much time the players did spend with the young kids. At the hotel it's worked out well. The hotel has been fantastic. There's plenty of meeting room. We get extra rest than we've had in the past being in our facility when players separate. Great beds to sleep in, great meetings rooms. It gives you a chance to come in here and have an excellent camp."
On the decision to waive safety Jordan Bernstine:
"It's hard for me, when I sit with a guy like Jordan Bernstine, it's the hardest thing you have to do to in the profession as a head coach. Because there's a guy that comes in that is a former quarterback who makes the transition to safety in the middle of his senior year, and he's just got excellent potential. But with the injury that happened, it was just too hard for us to keep him right now. I'm hoping that he keeps on rehabbing and he does come back in good shape. But talking to him was very tough. Anytime a guy works as hard as he does, it's really hard to tell him, 'Hey, we've got to go in a different direction, but we're not counting you out. You can come back next year.' And hopefully he comes back in the type of shape where he can play."
On why Carriker needed additional surgery:
"There's a few different stories from a couple surgeries. I'm not exactly sure what happened, but any time you do have a surgery and you take a look at the progression of the knee or the quad, it just was not producing where he could get the movement in his legs that would give him a chance to play. So he could work with the weights but just didn't have the circulation, didn't have the movement and that's basically why he's had three surgeries. Hopefully this surgery will give him the ability to have that type of movement he needs as a defensive lineman to in that stance and have that explosion."