On Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, Redskins HC Mike Shanahan addressed the media following afternoon practice at Redskins Park in Ashburn, VA.
On his reaction to the statement put out by the NFL on the confusion on the Redskins' final drive:
"I talked to [NFL Vice President of Officiating] Dean [Blandino] today, he gave me a call and just went over the scenario. Obviously they made a mistake and you live with it."
On the health of tight end Jordan Reed, safety Reed Doughty, linebacker London Fletcher, cornerback DeAngelo Hall:
"Yeah, Jordan will go through the protocol with a concussion day-by-day, same thing with Reed, no change there – with Jordan Reed and Reed Doughty. With London's ankle, he had a sprain. I'll let you know more on Wednesday exactly how serious that is... [DeAngelo], his hip is sore. I really don't know right now, he's getting treatment on it. Again, I'll update you more on Wednesday."
On if they treat Doughty's injury differently because it is his second concussion of the season:
"No, no different. The same as your first concussion."
On if he would be in favor of using laser technology to improve the accuracy of spotting the ball:
"Yeah, I think you talk about at the owners meeting, you kind of go through the variables, exactly how accurate it is and how it would be implemented. I think there's a lot of technology that you could possibly use, but before you do that you'll go through all the situations to find out if it's effective and how effective."
On how his approach changes after officially being eliminated from playoff contention:
"No difference. Obviously you're disappointed because your goal is to get to the playoffs and we all know if you get to the playoffs you've got an opportunity to win and win a Super Bowl, so that's your first goal. But if you are eliminated you still want to go out and play some good football. You'd sure like to win games. Everybody is very competitive, very motivated, and people that aren't motivated even though they're out of it usually don't last."
On missing opportunities on the final drive:
"We had a few opportunities there on the final drive, even the one with [wide receiver] Pierre [Garçon]. Pierre is the strongest guy on our team and nobody really rips the ball out of his hands, so that was quite unusual, and if you take a look at the end zone copy one of the defensive backs has his hands on his facemask bringing it down. That was probably the only reason why the DB did get it away from Pierre because I haven't seen anybody do that to him thus far."
On running back Alfred Morris' lack of carries in the second half:
"When you take a look at the first three plays I think he had 11 yards, four yards and six yards, and that six-yard play was called back because of a penalty. Then on the second series we had an option where Alfred either takes it or [quarterback] Robert [Griffin III] keeps it depending on what the option is, or he pitches it, and in that game their game plan was to take Alfred away. So those option plays Robert got the majority of those and sometimes the wide receiver would get a pitch. Then I think on the third series we had a pitch out to [running back Roy] Helu [Jr.] to use his speed, use his quickness. A couple of reasons is I thought that field was a little bit slick for us. Alfred's footing wasn't that good. He went down on a number of plays. So that was a couple of reasons that we probably didn't go as much to him as we normally would, and then I think the rest is history. Any time you have three penalties on offense and you have five sacks, you get put in some down and distance situations which aren't real favorable to run the football."
On if there is a time when he calls a play for a specific player to get him involved:
"Sure you do. That's why we had three carries in the first series. We had, I think, 10 plays and we had a couple of penalties in that series, we had 30 yards and like I said the second one we got the ball on the 10-yard line and we had a chance to get the ball in the end zone. Then on the third series we decided to go with Helu [Jr.] because we wanted to get the ball outside. I could go through all the series but really it doesn't matter. When you get behind the 8-ball, when you do have five sacks, you do have three offensive penalties, you get put in situations – especially against a front that's playing an eight-man front to take away the run – that you throw the football. And once you look at those defenses, you don't even think about trying to attempt a running play when you've got that type of down and distance if you want a chance to win."
On his message to the players about finishing the season:
"Just what we talked about a second ago, that you're very disappointed when you're out of the playoffs – you play to get into the playoffs like we've been talking about from day one. But after it's over and you go out there and play and the way you prepare, you play just as though you are in the playoffs. You want to spoil somebody else's year. You want to play at a high level. You're always being evaluated for the future. That never changes."
On his confidence level that they will keep fighting:
"Oh, big, big. I've got a lot of confidence in this football team that they'll keep fighting. If not then they won't be with us in a year."
On the field factoring into Morris' number of carries:
"No, it really had to do with his effectiveness. I said that there was a number of situations where Alfred was tackled one-on-one in the field that you don't normally see, and he did slip a number of times in that first half, one of the reasons why we tried to go outside and put a Helu in there in the second half. But other than that with the option, they played on the same field and they went through the same scenario. I'm just saying sometimes you evaluate that in certain scenarios and you go to more of a passing game then you do a running game besides their eight-man front."
On Morris not getting more carries on the option:
"Well, you explain to me what an option means. When you run an option, what does it mean to you? [Reporter: "Give it to one person or give it to another person."] One, two or three, right? It all depends who they take away. They decided to take away Alfred Morris, and normally they don't always do that. Sometime they'll change it up. In this game they took Alfred Morris away every time, so that's why he didn't get the carries he normally has on the option. Then I explained in the second half what some of our penalties that we had, some of our sacks, we got put behind the 8-ball in some long-yardage situations which leads you to throw the ball a little bit more… You have to take a look at the front too, what type of front you're going against. You've got to look at the front. I know that doesn't mean anything to you, but it does to people that try to run the football. We believe in the running game, I think you realize that, so for us not to run it, there's a reason why."
On if he feels he has a good idea of what younger players are capable of if called upon:
"Yeah, you get a feel through preseason and sometimes they've got to earn the right during the season to get out there. So you're evaluating these guys all the time on the practice squad. That's part of the evaluation process."
On if their usage in practice will change:
"No. They're being evaluated every day like we talked about two weeks ago. Just because a guy is on the practice squad or because you're out of the playoff race doesn't mean somebody is going to be elevated just to see what he can do in a game. The best players are going to play and they've got to earn the right regardless if they're draft choices or veteran players."
On if he has addressed or will address some of the unsportsmanlike penalties with the team:
"Yeah. I do address it. The one with D-Hall, I was pretty upset with D-Hall during the game because he's a competitor and he's done a great job recently of trying to stay away from it. Then after I took a look at what the offensive lineman did to him, I could understand why he retaliated even though you never want a guy to retaliate. [Wide receiver] Santana Moss is another great competitor and he's a guy that always keeps his cool. And when they called that holding penalty on him on that sideline, I could see why he was upset because I agree with Santana, it should not have been called a holding penalty, but it was. And Santana, he knows that you've really got to keep your cool in those situations or else you'll draw a flag. Pierre kicking that ball, even though it didn't cost us – No. 1 it was one of the best kicks I've ever seen, I've never seen a ball go that far – but on the serious side he's one of the most fierce competitors I've been around. If I get everybody playing like him, you won't need coaches."
On if the absences of Jordan Reed and fullback Darrel Young affected the running game:
"That's a great question. Yeah, when you lose both of your fullbacks it's a little bit different. We went into the game with thinking Jordan was going to play, We weren't sure about [tight end] Niles [Paul] until the day before, and DY we were hoping there was a chance, so when you lose your fullbacks it does put you in a different type of one-dimensional game."
On the track around the field and his concern when he saw Griffin III fall on it:
"Well, I didn't see it until today. That was a fall. That was probably the best hit of the whole day. We've got to do something because somebody can seriously get hurt right there."
On what he liked about Griffin III's performance:
"I think what you do is you look at it collectively. We don't go into a lot of detail, but the bottom line is we were hoping to be more effective than we were. We needed to score more points. We had a chance to put a lot more yards up there, so at the end of the day we were disappointed that we weren't more effective than we were. And that's collectively as a group. So we don't talk about anybody individually. Obviously you start out the game 12-for-12 or whatever those numbers were, did a lot of good things, but at the end of the day we've got to put some more points on the scoreboard. Anytime you're 1-for-8 in the third down category in the second half, you have five sacks, regardless if it's lineman, quarterback, receivers, whoever it may be, it's a collection of guys working together and being more effective."
On if his level of concern changes with Reed Doughty's second concussion:
"Yeah, I think you're always more concerned after the first concussion. When the guy has a second one there is more concern. But I think the question was asked, 'Is there any difference in the protocol?' and it's the same."
On if there is scenario in which he would play a young player even though he may not be the best option to win that day:
"I think each situation is a little bit different. If two guys were very, very close, you may go in that direction. It all depends on the competition. Players know when you're playing for the future. Players know that your job is to play the best players that give you the best chance to win. If you want to see a team turn on you, just go start playing younger players and start playing for the future."
On the most disappointing and encouraging things about the team at this point:
"It's always tough when you don't find ways to win. When you lose games in the last, maybe quarter, half, you've got to find ways to finish games. If you're able to do that, you can stay in the hunt, so in December these games are meaningful. I think the positive is we've got some good guys. We've got some guys working extremely hard and that gives you a chance to do good things."
On the long-term sustainability of his offense:
"First of all I think you have to go over the last 20 years and take a look at what we've done offensively for 20 years… The nuts and bolts are the same system – maybe the 50-series is a little bit different – but yeah it is the same system probably over the last 20 years with the exception of a few different wrinkles every year."
On the system in the last two seasons and not getting big plays:
"Last year, we were the most effective in yards per play in the National Football League so you can't get a whole lot better than No. 1 when it comes to the run and the pass, so we were there. This year we're not there. We're still moving the ball fairly well on the ground. We're not where we want to be in the passing game. We're working to improve that and we've fallen short the last two or three games."
On adjusting to how defenses have adjusted to the offensive system:
"I think what you have to do like I said already is you have to go back and take a look at what's been done over the last 20 years. Take a look at the offenses, take a look at the quarterbacks, take a look at the running game, take a look at the passing game, and if you take a look at every quarterback for over a three or four year timeframe, it doesn't take you long to take a look at a philosophy that someone has both in the running game and the passing game and see how effective it is. But you'd have to take about 10 minutes time to go back through that and then come up with a solution."
On if there are any young players who are close to earning playing time:
"Yeah, I think there's a number of guys that are very close. But like I said at the beginning, they're close. Are they there yet? If you're going to put a guy in that's close, you're not playing your best player, then what you've told your football team is you are evaluating these young guys and you really don't care about the game – what you do is care about the future. If you want to lose a football team, that's the first thing to do. Now, if that person warrants a chance to play because it's very, very close in competition, that's a different story."
On if he has an idea of which players are close:
"Yeah, even if I did, I wouldn't share it with the media. It would happen during the week and they'd have to prove themselves during the week and they get a chance on game day."
On tight end Logan Paulsen's comments that in-game adjustments are being made but not executed:
"It's really putting a good offense or good defense together. If you want to be a top five team in the National Football League – offensively, defensively and special teams – that's what you have to do to win a Super Bowl. You've got to be in that top five category and then you usually have a good chance. Now, sometimes you may be in the top 10, but if you want to have a legitimate chance to not only be in the playoffs but do something once you get there, that's your goal. If it's the running game, passing game, if it's run defense, pass defense – if you look at all the Super Bowl teams over the last 30 years, you combine that and turnovers, then you'll see very quickly which teams are the top teams in the National Football League. "
On if the offense is having difficulty executing against defensive adjustments:
"No, that's what offense is. It's making adjustments. That's what you do. You can only do so many things. The thing the Giants did that I was a little disappointed in is they played pretty much a pretty base defense and what you've got to do is just out execute people and you know, we couldn't get it done like we'd like to. I'm disappointed that we didn't put the points on the scoreboard like we should."
On when a decision will be made on the status of offensive lineman Maurice Hurt:
On to what extent mental mistakes are a result of the disappointing season:
"You can make excuses for anything, but the bottom line is you've got to concentrate on your job on each play and if one guy has a bad day, you all pay for it – or if two guys do. So our job is to all hopefully execute and if you do that than you've got a chance to do something. If you want to be one of the top teams in whatever category, you've got to do it as a team."
On if he has concerns about Reed's durability:
"I can't answer that question in his first year. He's got a concussion right now. He's working through it. There's a protocol that he goes through and hopefully he will be healthy, because he's a very talented player, a very tough player. But I can't tell you about somebody's injuries in the future – don't know yet."
On the status of Paul's illness:
"He was in work this morning. He's feeling a little bit better. He's not totally out of it."
On his frustration level with special teams:
"Well, to be honest with you, I was really pleased with the special teams yesterday. I thought it was the best game we've had and all of a sudden we have that snap that happens and all of a sudden it really ruins the day for the special teams, but a lot of good things going on. We've made drastic improvements in that area. I think you could see it, except for that botched snap."
On if he can have an accurate feel for quarterback Kirk Cousins' abilities and value without seeing him in game action:
"No, I get a good feel of value because I get to see people practice every day. Now, if you're talking about outside people evaluating, obviously they don't know, but I do know."
On if outside talent evaluators can assess Cousins without sufficient regular season game film:
"No, you're right. Like I said, that goes for all positions on the team."
On how he balances letting Cousins prove his value through more playing time while still needing to play Griffin III:*
"You don't balance unless somebody gets hurt, somebody goes down. When they do, you have to take advantage of your opportunity and that's why when someone does go down, it's always the next-man-up type mentality. That's when you've got to take advantage of it. That's when you've got to be so prepared. I think the hardest thing is for a second-year quarterback, or a second-team quarterback, [is] to prepare and be ready for every game like he's a starter, because it takes a lot of hours, a lot of mental preparation and you don't get a chance to get in. But when you do get in, you've got to take advantage of that opportunity. When Kirk does, or when he has like last year – if it was Cleveland or Baltimore – he took advantage of it and he proved to people that you can count on him."