*On Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, Redskins HC Mike Shanahan addressed the media following afternoon practice at Redskins Park in Ashburn, VA. *
On how vital running back Alfred Morris is to the running game this week:
"We believe in the running game and we always want to have a great game plan. Usually teams that can run the football have a lot of success. We will always have that philosophy. Hopefully this week we can kind of get back to where we've been running the football and the play-action game and those types of things."
On how Morris looked in practice today:
"He had full practice today, so that's a good sign. So there was no setback, no limits on his carries in practice, so he should be ready to go."
On owner Daniel M. Snyder letter to season ticket holders about the team name and if he discusses it with players:
"No, we concentrate on the game. I'm not sure how many players saw the letter. But personally, I was glad he expressed exactly how he feels from an ownership standpoint. I think I addressed that many times in the offseason. I said once the football season has started, I'd concentrate on football, and I'd like to do that."
On what Morris' unselfishness while receiving limited carries says about him:
"He's a great, great person. He's not selfish. He wants to carry the ball as many times as you'll give it to him. He wants to help the football team win. And so he's got the intangibles that you look for in a football player, and I think everybody saw that last year. Hopefully we can get him some more carries and have the success that he's had."
On if he says anything to Morris to keep him encouraged despite his number of carries:
"What you do is when you do carry the ball, you want to be successful just like he was last year. He can't dictate how many times he gets ball – the flow of the game, if you're ahead or behind, all the things that we've talked about already. So he's a pretty smart guy. He understands those carries will come, and when they do come, he wants to take advantage of the opportunities."
On if playing the Cowboys has extra meaning considering the division is wide open:
"Well, it's always wide open this early in the season. It never changes, regardless of if you're 4-0 or 0-4. But everybody understands within the division how important the division is. You're guaranteed a home playoff game if you win your division. That's enough incentive right there. Regardless of if you're in the AFC or the NFC, it's very important for a football team to win the division. We know that right now it's up for grabs, but I still think it's up for grabs in all divisions regardless of how you start."
On if the division is more wide open with all four teams below .500:
"I think everybody sees that regardless of what you're record is, they do have a chance."
On the rivalry with the Cowboys:
"I think everybody looks forward to the week. It's a big rivalry. It's been a big rivalry for we know how many years and it's something we look forward to. Players know how important it is. Since I've been here, it's gotten bigger for me every year. I think as you grow as part of any division rivalry, the more games you play, the more intensity that goes with it. So it's something that I look forward to."
On if he has seen enough from kicker Kai Forbath to determine his status for Sunday:
"Right now, he looked good today. He kicked today. I would say I don't, but you never know if something pops up. I think a couple of weeks ago it happened on a Thursday. We weren't anticipating anything wrong with him. Hopefully there is no setback, but today he looked good and I anticipate him being ready for the game."
On the performance of the offensive line, which has allowed the fewest sacks in the NFC:
"I don't get too much into those stats right now. It's still too early. What you want to do is make sure you don't turn the football over. We still have to score more points. We have got to get better on third downs. There are a lot of different areas that we're working to improve on every day. I think sacks is one of the things that we've done poor in the past that we're getting better at, and that's just a line coming together. The receivers, quarterback -- that goes with getting rid of the ball and being on the same page with everybody. But [we're] trying to do the little things the right way, and hopefully we can get that done here this week."
On what has made nose tackle Barry Cofield so successful this season:
"Barry is a very talented player. Nose tackle is I shouldn't say easy to evaluate, but you can see how a guy performs. Sometimes it's a one-gap defense, other times it's a two-gap defense. But he's a guy that does have quickness, he's got power, he's got the ability to rush the quarterback and at the same time, plays the run extremely well. Not too many guys can do that."
On what makes passing out of two tight end sets difficult:
"It all depends on what type of tight ends you have. There aren't very many tight ends like New England has that have the ability to run routes and run like wide receivers and have the size and the quickness to make plays. If you have some wide receivers to go with it, those tight ends are going against linebackers and safeties, so those mismatches – just like you saw last week with Denver – the tight end got a lot of catches and took advantage of it."
On how he addressed the Redskins' slow offensive starts:
"Our players know that every play is 11 guys working on execution. So you don't hit one thing. You go over everything. One thing we've been able to do through the years is different ways to move the football. But in order to move the ball effectively, you've got to eliminate mistakes, so hopefully we'll do that over the next 12 games."
On how confident he is that linebacker Rob Jackson and defensive end Jarvis Jenkins will be able to contribute in the first game after their suspensions:
"We'll evaluate that today and Thursday and Friday and kind of get a feel of where they're at and then make a decision before the game what direction we're going to go."
On how quarterback Robert Griffin III has progressed this year:
"What you do is you get to go back, take a look at every pass play – you know, play-action, dropback. You see him feeling more comfortable with himself. You can see him taking advantage of those reps in game situations. So I see him continually getting better and better as he feels he gets the reps that he needs."
On if Griffin III is where he expected to be coming out of the bye:
"You never know, you never know. But talking to Robert, he feels good and that's the main thing. If he's feeling good, we're going to give him the opportunity to do a bunch of different things. Hopefully he plays at the level that he's played at."
On the status of tight ends Jordan Reed and Logan Paulsen:
"[Reed] was full practice today. Logan was limited."*
On his assessment of the team thus far:
"At the end of the day, you're 1-3. You take a look at what you did well and what you did poorly. We worked at least the last couple of days on things that we did poorly so we can win a few more games. This is the stretch. You've got to start playing your best football now. Whatever stats you do have, they don't mean anything right now. But you want to start playing good football and hopefully we can do that."
On how to make Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo uncomfortable:
"If Tony knows exactly what you're doing, he's going to have a great day. He's very accurate. He reads defenses extremely well. If you don't make him a little bit uncomfortable, he's going to have a big day on you. He's got a lot of talent. It's always a matchup that I think you enjoy because he's got a lot of talent. He believes in what he does, but we've got a lot of belief in our players as well."
On the injury report:
"[Nose tackle] Chris Neild, he did not practice today. Everybody else looked like they were full go. [Linebacker Brandon] Jenkins is a little sore with his ankle; we'll probably have him listed as limited as well."
On what makes cornerback DeAngelo Hall effective against receivers like Dez Bryant:
"DeAngelo is a competitor. You put him on a receiver and he's going to go out there and fight. He believes in himself and he likes to go against the best players. He's got that type of mindset. It's always nice when you have got a person that believes he has the ability to shut down anybody. Dez has got the mindset that he can beat anybody. So it's always a great matchup to see two great athletes compete against each other."
On if he looks at the success other quarterbacks have had against Dallas to prepare his offense:
"Well, you take a look at [San Diego Chargers quarterback] Philip Rivers. He did a great job. You take a look at [Denver Broncos quarterback] Peyton Manning. You've got two experienced guys. You take a look at Kansas City and you take a look at St. Louis, and you take a look at the defense that played very well. If you count both those games up, they probably gave about 270 yards up. And even against [New York Giants quarterback] Eli [Manning], they had six turnovers. I believe three interceptions and four fumbles – maybe it was three and three, six turnovers. They've done a good job. A couple of quarterbacks got hot. They still had a chance to win a couple more games. They lose to Kansas City, 17-16. They had a chance to beat Denver. So we understand what type of football team this is and they've done some great things on both sides of the ball. We just have got to make sure we play one of our better games."
On the Cowboys switching to a 4-3 scheme under Monte Kiffin:
"It's always different. It's a different philosophy. I've got a lot of respect for Monte; been going against him for a lot of years, both at the collegiate level and the professional level. He's a heck of a football coach. It's a heck of a scheme."
On he looks at film of last year's games against Dallas less because of the Cowboys' change in scheme:
"Sometimes when you go back and you look at games last year with a different scheme, it's about personnel, studying someone from last year – might be a defensive end, linebacker, secondary – not as much scheme. [You] see if somebody has changed within the last year or how they're playing, but not from a strategy standpoint."
On third downs:*
"The one thing you do is you take a look at third downs, across the National Football League, the teams that have success on third downs usually have great days. If it's Dallas, 4-for-6, or Denver, whatever they were – 9-for-12-or-13 – both offenses did very well. You put a lot of pressure on that quarterback in those situations and I thought they handled it well. But you're always working, just like we did last year after the bye week, to get better in those third down areas and that's what we're hoping we're doing now. We're paying a lot of attention to it and hopefully it will show dividends this Sunday night."