*On Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, Redskins HC Mike Shanahan addressed the media following afternoon practice at Redskins Park in Ashburn, VA. *
On the injury report:
"Kind of going over the injuries to start out. [Tight end] Jordan Reed, concussion, did not participate. [Tackle] Trent Williams, foot contusion, did not practice. [Safety] Brandon Meriweather, sternum contusion, did not practice. [Safety] Reed Doughty, concussion, he did not participate even though he was cleared today, so he could have done drills but we kept him out. [Fullback] Darrel Young, hamstring, was limited. [Linebacker] London Fletcher, ankle, was limited. [Tight end] Niles Paul, of course the illness from last week, full participation. [Cornerback] DeAngelo Hall, hip and back, was limited. [Defensive end] Stephen Bowen, right knee microfracture [surgery] last night, about a six-month recovery time."
On the statuses of Darrel Young and Jordan Reed vs. Kansas City:
"It's hard to tell. We're just going to take that day by day. You don't know. We'll just evaluate it day by day but he could not play today."
On how he decides when to use the no-huddle offense and if its usage hasn't been consistent:
"Well it hasn't been [consistent]. We use it at times and sometimes it's successful, other times it's not, but we have a game plan for it. It all depends on each game. We don't try to give away what our game plan is but we'll use it at times with different personnel groups and if we can keep people off-balance with it and hopefully be a little successful with it we'll keep it up during the game."
On the status of offensive lineman Maurice Hurt:
"He will be on IR at 4:00 today… He's looking better, but you've got to make a decision what direction you're going to go and missing all that time we decided to go in that direction."
On Hurt's injury:
"I don't think he really has one in particular but you've got activate somebody or deactivate somebody and we decided to go in that direction."
On the disparity in the average starting field position between the Redskins and Chiefs:
"That has nothing to do with special teams. It has everything to do with defense. They lead the league in turnovers. They are tied for first offensively. They are No. 1 with the fewest turnovers given up. So when you lead the league in turnovers and you don't turn the football over, that's field position, not necessarily special teams. But they're still doing pretty good. I think on their kickoff return they're 24.6 or 20.6 so it's four yards there."
On how important that extra yardage in the average is:
"Well, if you deal with percentages, you know you can always take a look at percentages from the 20, 30, 40, 50, 40, 30, 20, and you go through the stats and it's a difference. So the closer you are obviously the better chance you have of scoring."
On if there are concerns about Bowen coming back from his surgery:
"Normally if you need a microfracture there's a reason for it, so hopefully this microfracture will help him, and when he does come back he'll come back full speed. You just keep your fingers crossed. It's always tough going through rehab. Our guys do it all the time. Stephen is a worker and it's always unfortunate to have a surgery like that, but he's young, he's a worker, so I'm sure he'll bounce back very quickly."
On where he wants to see quarterback Robert Griffin III improve the rest of the season:
"You want to improve as an offense. You always compare yourself to the year before or a good year and what you want to do collectively in the running game, passing game, and you do that as a group not necessarily at one position because it takes everybody to improve. It's just not one person improving, it's Robert improving with the 10 guys around him."
On what has caused the drop in pass rankings:
"That's what I was saying last year – we talked about a passing offense and I was getting a lot of questions, 'Why are you guys ranked 20th?' I said 'Well, you know, we are actually ranked No. 1 in yards per attempt and the mindset at that time, we were ranked 20th, and now you're ranked 20th and then of course with passing yards you're 11th…" But [where] I agree with your question is you want to be as effective as you can in the passing game. We're not there this year like we were a year ago, and we need to get better in that area. That's what we're working on. We've gotten better in the third down area in comparison to a year ago, so that's what we're working on."
On if he thinks the passing game has been less effective because of defensive adjustments or internally:
"I think collectively if you're talking about a passing game and you're not able to coordinate your offense in the offseason, sure you're going to miss something from it. The good part about it is our running game has been pretty consistent all the way through. Our passing game is a little off. We've improved in some areas, and in some areas we haven't improved as much. There's only one way you get better and that's when you work in the offseason — those 10 weeks are very important — and you're just hoping that you get better each game. I think some games we have and other games we've went the other direction, so hopefully over the last four games we'll get better."
On the development of tackle Tom Compton and Compton seeing game action as an eligible tackle:
"Any time you take an offensive lineman than can come in and play the tight end position that means you've got a lot of confidence in his type of athletic ability. He can catch passes, he can block, he's got great size, he's got the quickness that we're looking for, so I've seen a big development with him over the last year."
On Compton's biggest improvement from last year to this year:
"Just practicing in the National Football League. You come in and not only do you learn the playbook, but you're in the weight room, you get stronger, you get a feel of different stunts that happen in pass rush situations where you're getting more repetition not only during the season but during the offseason, and he's a very smart guy on top of it so he picks things up very quickly. But it's a combination of just learning in the National Football League and, like I said, he's a really bright kid so the future is good for him."
On the importance of continuity at the quarterback position and with coaches:
"I think in a perfect world you'd always like to be running an offense you feel comfortable with , there's no question about that. You'd always like to be with the same system so you don't have to learn terminology, but that's not always a perfect world so a lot of quarterbacks adjust different ways, there's a lot of different philosophies on what offense is the best – is it a good running game, is it a good passing game, what's first – so it's really the direction of ownership, what direction they want to go, what type of offense they want to run, what type of defense they want to run, those type of things."
On if it is necessary to have a quarterback in place for a while to have success:
"Oh, you'd sure like one. If you take a look at all the teams that are consistent year-in, year-out, one thing that's usually in common is that quarterback position."
On if they made a decision on defensive end Adam Carriker:
"If we did, he will not be activated. I'm not aware of that."
On what he has seen from Kansas City this season:
"Number one, they've played some good competition. Denver is pretty good. They were first in the National Football League at that time with the fewest points given up and they were there I think in the top three with total defense and you play a team like Denver and San Diego and they did get a few yards, but they were good football games right until the end. Kansas City is a very talented team on both sides of the football. Like I said, one of the things they've done a great job of is their turnover ratio — tied for first on defense, No. 1 on offense. When you do that you get some great field position and they've taken advantage of it. A lot of talent on both sides of the ball."
On if he has looked at what has led to the number of sacks the last few games:
"I think that's what you do as a coach. You know if it's the offensive line, you know if it's the quarterback, you know if it's the running back, that's what you do. So in an area if you do have five sacks or you do have four sacks you're saying, 'Hey, where did those sacks occur? Do we have to get rid of the ball quicker? Is the offensive lineman? Is it the left tackle, the guard, the center, did they miss an assignment?' So that's part of your evaluation process ongoing, so you always want to eliminate those sacks, but it doesn't always occur."
On how he would describe the development in his relationship with Griffin III:
"Which area? Are you talking about football? Are you talking about when we go to the local pub and have a beer together? [Laughter] On the serious side, one thing about being a head coach is you've got relationships with everybody. It's not like when you're an assistant coach because you're in charge of the football team, but you always try to have a relationship with your quarterback. And I think you take a look at what we were able to do last year as an offense, I think we did some special things. I think this year coming back, going through a rehab program with his ACL, his LCL, coming back and fighting through it there's always going to be some tough times in that transition. But I think Robert's got the mindset where he's tough enough to fight through it and he understands how important an offseason is and just working hard to get better and better. So I think we've got a good relationship… I think it's always been good. I know some of the things I read it's not always that good, but I've always felt it's been good."
On what he would like to say to fans about the team not giving up on the season:
"You understand anytime there's adversity there's going to be a lot of different opinions why. The one thing that you do is you've got a routine, you've got a game plan getting ready for a game, and as we talked about last week your concentration level has to be about getting ready for the game, not the noise that's outside. If you're concentrating on the noise that's outside, the chances are you won't be successful, and that's adversity in any profession – yours as well as mine."
On his reaction to the league's penalties imposed on Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin:
"I think it's one of those decisions where they've got to make a decision what's in the best interest of the game. I always take a look at a $100,000 fine, $100,000, that's a lot of money, especially when Mike said that there was no intent for him to make that mistake. But they review it, they make a decision and you live with their decision."
On if he has anyone that watches replays and tells him when to challenge a play:
"Yes. I've got a few up there. Not their only job but people that are used to watching film and making those decisions."
On if those people also did not get the replay quick enough to tell him not to challenge the spot after a two-yard completion on third-and-1 on the Giants' final offensive drive:
"Yeah, that's why I threw the flag."
On how common it is to have a person in the booth responsible for replay decisions on each team:
"If you've got to have a guy that just does that then you better get some new coaches. I want somebody's opinion, and if they've got a definitive opinion, great, if they don't then you don't have to give it, that's why I've got three people looking at it. And sometimes you've got to make the decision a little bit quicker. It was embarrassing when I did finally see it on the replay. You go, 'Oh my God, that's not even close.' But anyway, you live with those decisions."
On comments by wide receiver Santana Moss' comments about officiating, specifically with what is or isn't a catch:
"There's always going to be the questions with what's pass interference and what's not when you talk to a wide receiver. Part of the frustration I think Santana had that I was trying to stick up for him for during the game was when he got called for the holding penalty. A lot of players were giving him a hard time on the sideline and of course Santana is talking to the players, doesn't even see the official, and the official thinks he's talking to him. There was about five or six guys that reacted, and, hey, that's part of football. That's what I said to Santana, 'Hey, you can't do anything about it.' Or D-Hall's [cornerback DeAngelo Hall] situation when he gets body-slammed and he did know it was going to be a six-inch penalty at that time, so I felt good that he knew it was only going to be a six-inch penalty, so if would have been a 15-yarder than it might have been quite different. Those are the type of things that… there's no excuse for penalties, especially when it comes to discipline, and it's something that we emphasize all the time. But there's certain situations in different games that you talk to the players and you feel at least good about what happened."
On if he spoke with wide receiver Pierre Garçon about his delay of game penalty:
"I can guarantee you that will never happen again with Pierre. I don't think I need to go much further than that."
On the balance a player needs to have between being fiery and smart:
"You answered the question. You can't, regardless of how competitive you are, you can't put your team at disadvantage and do something like that. Thankfully it was a five-yard penalty with the field goal and it didn't matter, but so many times they are the difference between winning and losing."
On how he handles public scrutiny of the team:*
"To be honest with you, we do have a pretty busy schedule. I understand. I get some vibes of what's going on, I understand. I've been in this profession for a long time, so I know what comes with losing. Nobody is very happy, including us, but I'm just like the players. If you focus on that, you're not focused on the job, the chances of you being successful or staying in this business is not very good."