*On Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, Redskins HC Mike Shanahan addressed the media following afternoon practice at Redskins Park in Ashburn, VA. *
On Thursday's injury report:
"D-Hall [cornerback DeAngelo Hall] was limited today, and [defensive end] Stephen Bowen was limited…What was the final verdict on D-Hall? I'm not sure exactly what it was, but Stephen Bowen tweaked his knee a little bit."
On if he is concerned about Hall:
"No, he's just a little bit sore so we kept him out – didn't take full reps."
On if the injury to Bowen is the same he has been playing with:
"Yeah, he was just – same thing. He didn't take full reps, so that's why we put him as limited. Neither guy should be any problem, or at least that's what we think."
On how he learned about the option in his year under Barry Switzer at the University of Oklahoma:
"You know, you go back to those years and you go back to high school and college – a lot of people ran the option back then. They had the Houston Veer, Dartmouth kind of came up with the counter-option. It was big in colleges with Texas and Oklahoma and the Wishbone, so back then a lot of people were running different types of options. The last number of years a lot of people have been running the option, but a lot more out of the shotgun."
On how much he draws upon his option experience at Oklahoma or if he has had to reteach himself:
"I think everything's a learning experience. Everything expands in football, or if people go back to some of the base principles. But it's been fun watching colleges over the last number of years implement some of those things, watch people kind of change some of their schemes to do some of the things that colleges have done."
On what gave him confidence that wide receiver Pierre Garçon could be so versatile:
"You really don't know for sure if someone's going to be able to do that, because he did line up on one side, just ran a few basic routes. But you could see that when he did run routes, he could make cuts at full speed. You could see his speed and his ability to go up for the ball and make plays once the ball was in his hands."
On how soon into Garçon's tenure in Washington he believed he had gotten the player he'd hoped to get:
"You don't know, but it didn't take long to figure out how competitive he was and how strong in his ability to run different routes and handle a variety of different formations, where at Indy he just kind of was on one side the majority of the time and just ran a few different routes. But I did call [Denver Broncos quarterback] Peyton [Manning] on him and asked him if he thought he'd be able to fit into a system like ours, and he said, 'Definitely.'"
On Hall's injury:
"He had a little soreness in his left foot."
On if there is enough character in the locker room to mount a comeback similar last season:
"If you're asking me about the character in that locker room, yeah, we've got a lot of character in that locker room. The new guys, you're getting a chance to see them, see what they can do, the guys that haven't been with us. But the guys that have been with us proved last year how they reacted to a little adversity. Some of the new guys, some of the younger guys that we just got or free agents, you'll get a chance to see how they react to a little adversity next week."
On what he communicates to the team about resilience and what it takes to make that comeback:
"What we did do is we went back through and looked at last year where we were at after nine games and went through the stats on both offense, defense and special teams. Kind of gave them an idea on what we needed to improve on, on both sides of the ball as well as special teams. So you talk about that collectively – what we have to do over the last seven games. But more importantly, after you talk about those type of things, you've got to concentrate on the Eagles and getting that job done."
On the offensive struggles in the second halves of recent road games:
"In Minnesota, there's only four drives. Really you had the first drive and the last drive were long drives, and I think we scored on our first five drives. So when you look at a game, you look at it collectively. Can you look at a dropped ball? Can you look at maybe a holding penalty, maybe a throwaway? They had the right coverage. So when you look at a game, you just don't look at the second drive or the sixth drive or the seventh drive, because there are a number of variables that's involved. What do you do consistently over nine games? What do we need to work on? What are the things we're doing poorly? That's what we try to do is focus on what we need to improve on. And if you do that, then you've got a chance to get better."
On his confidence that special teams is close to eliminating mistakes:
"I've got a lot more confidence, but we've got to go out there and do it. As you know, we made a couple mistakes against Minnesota, but our game plan with our coverage teams was to squib kick it or pooch it – that was our game plan. We know they averaged the 28-yard line. We averaged the 22-and-a-half, 23-yard line, so we lost a little yardage there. But we were willing to do that because they had a returner that we thought, like a couple of other teams, could go the distance and change the outcome of the game. That's not necessarily always that way. So when you take a look at a guy like [kicker] Kai [Forbath], sometimes it's with the wind or against the wind, but our speed in our coverage is much improved over the last three or four weeks with some of the additions that we've added."
On if punter Sav Rocca is in a slump:
"I think anytime you have a shank, you're always disappointed in that. He's been pretty consistent for us. A couple times he outkicked his coverage a little bit, but he still has the ability to kick it that far. We've got to do a better job in coverage. So I've got a lot of confidence in Sav. I think the last seven games of the season, I'll be surprised if he doesn't play exceptionally well."
On if he is opposed to adding a kickoff specialist who can force touchbacks on every attempt:*
"First of all, there's no guarantees that it's going to be every time, to start with. Some guys are very good at kicking off and they may have a 60 percent or 70 percent touchback. No, we're not against it. I think Kai has proven at times that he's much improved in that area. A lot of it has to do with the returner if you can't kick it out of the end zone. But yeah, that's part of your game plan, that's part of your evaluation process. You have to put the best 46 guys on the team. Which direction do you go? Do you need that speed guy? Do you need a returner? Do you need a kicker? That's all part of the process of getting the top 46 guys out there."