Media Smells Blood In The Water: Redskins Mike Shanahan
Washington Redskins Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan faced a tough crowd of media Monday afternoon. He faced several questions about his job status, starting QB and his relationship with ownership.
On if quarterback Robert Griffin III will remain the starter:
Well the reason why I kind of left it up in the air, talking about that after the game, anytime you have 24 sacks in the last five games and you go against a team thats had two sacks in five games and you give up six, you always are taking a look at what is in the best interest of your organization. So the reason why I was hesitant, I always take a look at youve got your franchise quarterback, you want to make sure going into the offseason that hes healthy and that he goes through a full offseason program, and thats why I didnt say he was the starter. Thats just something in the back of my mind Im thinking about right now, and Ill let you know in the next couple of days exactly what I think.
On what made him change his mind that Griffin IIIs health is more important than taking snaps the remainder of the year:
Well, just what I said. We had 24 sacks in the last five games, thats a lot. You go against a team thats had two sacks in the last five games and you get six in a game, Im talking about his health. I want to make sure hes healthy. I think thats the most important thing going into the offseason, that he has his first full season being healthy. And if he did play and something did happen to him, I think it would set our franchise back. That doesnt say Im not going that way, so thats the reason why I answered it the way I did. Ill think about it here over the next 48 hours and well make a decision on Wednesday.
On if he wanted to comment further on reports from Sunday:
No, no more comments. Same thing I talked about. Theres always a lot of noise when youre 3-10. I understand that. Every organization has it. Theres going to be a lot more noise over the next few weeks, I understand that, but Ive got one mindset right now and thats focusing on Atlanta. Were going against a football team that was 13-3 last year. Theyre 3-10 as well. As I shared with my football team, they know theyre going to get my best shot over the next three games and Im hoping I get their best shot over the next three games. Our goal is to win the next three, starting with Atlanta, then get a chance to get two NFC East foes here with Dallas and on the road against the Giants and hopefully we can end the season on a positive note.
On if he considered quitting at the end of the 2012 season:
Im not going to speculate through all those different things, as we talked about before, but if youd like to talk about Atlanta, Id be more than happy to talk about Atlanta.
On what he has discussed with owner Daniel M. Snyder regarding his status with the franchise:
I can say that Ive talked to Dan, if thats what youre asking. Obviously our conversation will stay between us.
On if he is confident he will remain with the team the rest of the season:
Im going to stay with the same thing. If youd like to talk about our football game coming up, Id be more than happy to focus on that.
On if he wants to come back next season:
Anybody have anything to do with football?
On if he would like to coach this football team next year:
Well, like I said, were going to talk about [Atlanta].
On how he is handling the distractions with his players:
What I did today is I talked about Atlanta and talked about them being in a very similar situation as us. Theyre 3-10, were 3-10. They were 13-3 last year, we were 10-6. Theyre going through a tough time too. The team that can actually focus on the job at hand has got a chance to do something special, and hopefully thats us, and as I told them, I said, Hey, I apologize for these distractions. They come and I understand it comes with the territory Its part of the process.
On when he spoke to Snyder:
I talked to him today, yeah.
On how he would characterize his relationship with Snyder:
Ive got a good relationship with Dan.
On if anything has changed at any point since he was hired:
Like I said, Im not going to get into relationships. We talked about Robert. You asked me my relationship with Robert and I said I was his coach, his head football coach, and not necessarily his best friend. I dont need to be his best friend. I want to make him the best quarterback possible and we can get through relationships and all those type of things, but at the end of the day my job is to get this football team ready to play Atlanta. I know we played very poorly against Kansas City. I did a poor job of getting them ready. Hopefully [Ill do] a much better job this week.
On if the situation with the franchise is out of control and beyond repair:
No, I dont believe so. I dont believe so. Anytime youre 3-10 and you come off a 10-6 season with high expectations, there is going to be a lot of questions. That comes with the territory. Youve got to focus on the job at hand and thats not always easy, especially with as many people as we have in this room. We understand that. My job is to keep the focus very simple, and thats on winning this game.
On not addressing rumors:
Well, if I answer that question, which I did a couple the previous week, then what happens is you do it every day for the next three weeks, so thats why we focus on the job at hand. Theres always going to be rumors, theres going to be partial truths in everything that comes out there. In fact, when I read it they talked about me cleaning out my office, itd take me two minutes to clean out my office. Ive got two notebooks and Ive got an iPad that would get me out of my office. When I hear different things like that I just shake my head. So thats as far as Im going to go with that.
On if this team is capable of a turnaround next season like the one Kansas City has experienced this season:
I think you answered your question. Anytime a team is 2-14 and all of a sudden they turn it around, every team has that ability. I think it was a little unusual that they were 2-14 with six Pro Bowl players. That doesnt happen very often.
On why there seems to be information leaking every week:
Because we were 3-9 last week and were very good last year. That happens when you lose. Hopefully that wont happen too often.
On if he is surprised by that:
On how he responds to the idea that he orchestrated reports that he wants out of Washington:
I cant even speak on somebody elses comments. Sometimes, like I said before, they may take something out of it. They hear something from a friend, another person, sometimes its embellished, sometimes some of its true, but at the end of the day youve got one job and one job only, and thats to prepare this football team to win. One of the reasons why I didnt comment on that is once I start commenting Im going to have to keep on commenting all the way through. I think I used the moving out of the office as an example of how things get a little carried away.
On what he considers to be the biggest misconception about the Redskins organization right now:
That were not focused on football. I believe our football team will be focused on football. They get another day of recovery time, day and a half of recovery time, and Wednesday we get ready to work.
On if he has clarity on his status after speaking with Snyder:
Again, I will not share my conversation I had with Dan.
On if he will check with the doctors before making a decision on Griffin III or if it is just a matter of the pounding he has taken in recent weeks:
It would just be the pounding that hes taken. Youve got 24 sacks in five games and we played the Giants already and Dallas already and we had eight sacks in those games. We play two games on turf, and at the end of the day I dont want to come back and, when I do share these different thoughts with some of our people in the organization, do you take the risk of having a guy possibly miss the offseason your franchise quarterback? Or do you play him and all of a sudden the second game or the first game you lose him for the offseason, was it worth the risk? So those are the type of things you talk about and thats why I was hesitant yesterday when you asked me, Was Robert going to start? Those are the type of things that I think through, if I would have said definitely yes and came in here and mentioned it, you guys would have said, Whats up? So thats why I was a little hesitant.
On if it is fair to say he may have a similar thought process with other positions:
The one thing about the quarterback position, or at least our quarterback position, hes never had an offseason. Hes coming off an ACL/LCL surgery. Weve got three games left and weve had 24 sacks in five games. Thats a little bit unusual. Thats a lot of wear and tear on the body. So that was just some of my thoughts, especially going against a team thats had two sacks in five games and we have six sacks. I want to make sure that he is healthy, and it doesnt mean that hes not going to go that direction, but if he did get injured I think I might be very disappointed going into the offseason that hes not there for whole offseason. Its very important for him to be there.
On if he still feels things are going in the right direction:
I think you have to look at every segment. You take a look at the quarterback position, youre talking about some growing pains. Theres going to be growing pains when you do things a little differently. I was hoping to be a lot better on special teams than we have been. We dont have quite the depth that we did have a year ago. I think our kickers are struggling, relative to our punter and our place kicker, with distance. That doesnt help your special teams as well. Were going to have to make some improvement in a couple of areas and hopefully we can get there.
On relationships within the organization:
First of all, Im not going to go into detail about my conversation with Dan. Im not going to go into detail about our relationship. All Im saying to you is I get along with Dan quite well. Hes been a very supportive owner and hopefully I can win for him.
On if he is saying anything being reported on issues with relationships in the organization is incorrect:
No, you heard what I said.
On if he is surprised by tight end/returner Niles Paul questioning effort on special teams:
Im surprised Niles Paul would say that, to start with. Once you start playing a perfect game you can start critiquing other players. So, yeah, that does disappoint me that he would say something like that.
On if he considered kicking away from the Chiefs returners:
Well, that was our game plan going in, to kick the ball out of bounds or hang it high enough where he had to fair catch it. Obviously it didnt work out that way but our game plan was never to kick it to him, either to kick it high enough where he had to fair catch it or kick it out of bounds. Then when you do take a look at kickoffs, you take a look at the hang time on kickoffs and that last one that he did score a touchdown on, that was a squib kick, and it never did hit the ground. Its a little tough on your coverage when those things happen, and collectively we didnt get the job done. And Im not blaming it on our kickers because were all in this thing together, but when you give a guy like [Kansas City Chiefs punt returner Dexter] McCluster, in those kind of conditions, a chance to return a ball or not kick it high enough, youre going to be in for a long day just like we were.
On Griffin IIIs decision making and how it contributes to the number of sacks:
When you take a look at offense and you have sacks, its always somebody. Is it the decision making by the quarterback? Is it the offensive line? Is it a receiver? Is it a hot receiver? Did a receiver run the wrong route? And we dont go through who is responsible for what.
On if he is considering moves along the offensive line:
If we think we can get better in that area, yes, we would.
On if the decision to rest Griffin III going forward would have anything to do with wanting to see what quarterback Kirk Cousins could do:
It has to do with making sure he [Griffin III] is 100 percent ready for not only the offseason, but the OTAs as well.
On if Griffin IIIs health has become more important than getting him reps:
No. I didnt say that. What I said is that anytime you have six sacks against a team thats had two sacks in five games and youve had 24 sacks over a five-game timeframe, and youre playing three football teams two on turf all I said is going into the equation you talk about different things that, Hey is it in the best interest of the Washington Redskins to have Robert play those games? Or do you rest him and make sure hes ready for the offseason? Those are the conversations we have.
On if he believes the players are continuing to give effort:
Yes, they are.
On players endorsing him and if he wants to return to coach them next season:
You always want to come back. You always want to come back. I love these guys and what will happen at the end of the season, well get a chance, Dan and I, to sit down and decide or hell make the final decision on whats in the best interest of the Washington Redskins. Ill give my opinion on what I think. Obviously hell make the final decision. Anytime youre with these guys weve got some great character and weve got guys working extremely hard, so I would like nothing more than to be with them.
On the status of running back Evan Royster:
Evan Royster will be out for the season. Unfortunately his injury will be more than three weeks, so he will go on IR. We havent made a decision yet who were going to bring up.
On if Griffin III will sit the rest of the season if he does not start Sunday:
On if something has changed in the last 48 hours regarding his status with the organization:
No. If I said that, I didnt mean to. I didnt mean that at all.
On if he has been given any indication that Griffin III is less than 100 percent healthy:
No, I think hes 100 percent. I think hes feeling very good where hes at right now. That wasnt really part of the decision. Part of the decision, or at least the conversation what were talking about is, Make sure that hes ready for our offseason program. We talked about the hits that hes had. We talked about going against a team like Kansas City whos had two sacks in five games and they had six against us. Do we put him in a position of getting injured, and is it worth the risk for the Washington Redskins and the future of our organization? Thats what were talking about.
On how much he dreads facing these questions and circumstances:
Its hard, its hard. Fortunately, I havent been in too many of these situations and if you have, youre not around very often, or very long, I should say. But I understand what goes on when you win the NFC East and all of a sudden youve got three wins. I understand what goes with the territory. I understand theres going to be a different story every day. Its not going to change over the next three weeks. There will be a different story that comes out that we will talk about. I understand what happens. The best thing for us to do is win versus Atlanta.
On his relationship with Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith and their similar situations right now:
We probably should talk to each other, but you dont get a chance with your preparation. I know Mike, hes a great guy. Ill get a chance to talk to him before and after the game. But I think youve got empathy for everybody, because theres only one person thats happy and thats the person that wins. At the end of the season, theres only one true winner. Ive been to the Super Bowl three times and lost and it doesnt matter if youre at the Super Bowl and you lose or you win five or six games, theres only one champion at the end of the year, only one person thats happy.
On from where the reports are coming:
Find out and then you can tell me, because Im pretty busy with football, but Ive got to answer these questions.
On if he is confused or curious as to who is talking to the media about him and the team:
Were 3-10. Thats what happens when youre 3-10. We cant talk about the playoffs. We cant talk about our draft choice we dont have a first-round draft choice. Weve got to talk about something and normally, that occurs after a winning season. Im sure something like this is happening in different markets across the country when you have those type of expectations.
On if he will consult with Griffin III about his status for the rest of the season:
Well, like I said beforehand, the decision hasnt been made. Well sit back, talk to a number of people and well figure out whats in the best interest of the Washington Redskins. Whatever we do, well sit down and talk to our quarterbacks [about] what direction were going to go.
On if there is anything specific he would like to see from Cousins if he plays the final three games:
We always want people playing their best if they get an opportunity to play.
On what the players support means to him both personally and professionally:
Well, it always feels great. You feel great about your football team, like I said. Weve got guys that are working pretty hard, very disappointed in how we played this game. As I told you, I took full responsibility for that. Im hoping, together, we get them focused on the job ahead in Atlanta, we can leave that behind us and play one of our better football games and I believe our football team will respond.
On if has spoken to Griffin III since Sunday about his status:
I never even talked about that. I knew it would be brought up because Ive been getting ready for this game. The way I answered the question yesterday, I kind of left it limbo, and thats the reason why I did. When we do make a decision, whatever decision that is, then Ill get the chance to talk to Robert. Its part of the process when you win three games youve got to do what you think is best for the organization.
On the possible repercussions of not starting Griffin III:
Like I said, Ive got to do whats best for the organization. If we feel the best thing for the organization is doing that for Robert, then hopefully Robert will understand why were doing it. Were doing it because hes a franchise quarterback and we want him to be able to go into the offseason and get full preparation and be ready for next year rather than playing one of the next three games and all of a sudden he sets himself back with a possible injury, whatever that may be.
On if he will speak with Snyder about possibly sitting Griffin III:
Oh, believe me, I would definitely talk to the owner before I did something like that.
On his message to season ticket holders:
Were going to give it our best shot to win the next three games and get on a positive roll for next year.
Source: Washington Redskins Media