Shanahan On The Cowboys Redskins Showdown

Executive vice president/head coach Mike Shanahan spoke with the media Thursday about the Dallas Cowboys and the biggest game of his Redskin’s coaching career.

On the Dallas Cowboys’ offense:
“They’re playing well. Any time you take a look at Tony [Romo] with 10 touchdown passes and one interception over a four-game time frame, it sums up how well they’ve been playing.”

On differences in the Cowboys’ offense since week 12:

“I think they’re a little bit healthier. It looks like they have everyone back on offense. They’re playing extremely well.”

On Lorenzo Alexander and two others being selected to the Pro Bowl:
“I was really happy to see that. He [linebacker Lorenzo Alexander] has been playing at that level for a number of years, or at least the two-and-a-half, three years that I’ve been with him. This year, he has taken his game to a different level. I was very happy that he was rewarded for that. It’s nice to see players and coaches see that. To me, it’s one of the biggest honors you can have. Trent Williams, we’ve talked about Trent, he’s made some tremendous strides since he’s been here. We always knew the type of athlete that he was, but for him to go back to the basics, be accountable and do the little things the right way… it’s always nice to see him get rewarded for the way he’s played and the way he has handled himself. Robert [Griffin III], his play speaks for itself. We’ve been talking about him all year. He has played at a very high level. That doesn’t surprise me at all that he was selected.”

On the status of tackle Tyler Polumbus:
“He was limited today. If he does pass the concussion test, then they’ll let him practice tomorrow.”

On if Polumbus’ will participate fully tomorrow if he passes the concussion test:
“Yes. When I say limited with a concussion, that means he can only go through walkthroughs.”

On how much of the success of Griffin III is tied to Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan and his schemes:

“I think every offense is designed to fit the quarterback’s skillset. Robert has earned that by his play. I don’t think anybody in the history of the league has played at his level, at least over the last 40 years when I look at the numbers and what he has done. I don’t think anybody’s played at that level. If we talk about before, he has a unique skillset. He has the ability to throw, drop back, play-action, put up a front on the defense with his running ability and he will get better and better. He’s just scratching the surface. And the reason I say that is because he works at it.”

On running back Alfred Morris perhaps not getting the recognition he deserves:
“He’s done such a great job. I think numbers think for themselves. He’s got time for that. He’s going to be successful for a long time. I think people appreciate what he has done and how he has helped our offense. You have to have a back like him to separate yourself from the rest of the pack. He’s played at a very high level.”

On having multiple Pro Bowl selections:
“I was talking about this a little bit yesterday. When you start to win and you have more success, then you get more recognition as far as individual honors. Hopefully, we can keep that going. To win six games in a row like we have, there are a lot of guys playing at a Pro Bowl level right now. That’s how you win. You may not get on the Pro Bowl, but to consistently win, especially in the second half of the season, you have to have a lot of people playing at that level consistently. That’s what I’m most proud of.”

On taking pride in seeing individuals break records:

“What you take pride in is trying to win a Super Bowl. That’s what you’re trying to do. To see guys have individual success, you’re always happy to see a guy like Alfred come in as a rookie, to stay healthy…he’s so humble and he works so hard. It’s gratifying to see a guy have that kind of success, especially coming out of the sixth round when nobody expected him to play at that level.”

On the most challenging aspect of using this offensive scheme against NFL defenses:

“To be honest with you, it’s easier because the quarterback puts a big threat on the defense. Anytime they have to account for the quarterback in the running game, it puts a lot of pressure on the defense. It takes away a lot of the things that you do. I think the misconception of Robert and his ability to run is the option…There are a lot of running plays that are designed for a quarterback to just run and take off. That’s how you get the quarterback hurt. I don’t care if you’re dropping back and scrambling or if you have a quarterback draw, you have to be careful with how many quarterback draws you run. If the option is run the right way, the quarterback is the free guy, the guy they can’t account for. He’s either handing the ball off or pitching it. He has to protect himself on the pitch or he has to learn how to slide. That’s the type of things he’ll learn over time. And I think he’s done a great job over the last four or five games.”

On who would start at tackle if Polumbus is healthy:
“We’ll take a look at him, see how he practices. It’s all based on who we think gives us the best chance to win. It’s all based on how he practices. We’ll make the decision at game time.”

On how linebacker Rob Jackson has affected the play of linebacker Ryan Kerrigan:
“I think our whole defense has played at a higher level since the beginning of the year, at least the first half of the season because of what you just mentioned. Rob Jackson, I think he’s much more comfortable in his position. I take a look at [defensive end] Jarvis Jenkins, how he’s played. Our safeties have stepped up and played at a higher level. That’s what you’re hoping. Any time lose a guy like [nose tackle] Chris Neild and you have a guy like Chris Baker come in and he gains experience, Doug Worthington is playing at a high level, that’s what you have to do. You have to play your best football in the second half. Not even talking about the offense, but that’s what you’re looking for.”

On having an indoor practice facility:

“You want to give your team the best chance to be prepared and having that facility gives you the best chance of being prepared. We couldn’t have gone out there yesterday and been productive at all. Today, it was so windy, I don’t think we could have filmed practice. We didn’t want to have those guys up there in the film towers. I think it was close to 40 mph at times, so we wouldn’t be able to film practice as well. It’s a big plus to have an indoor facility.”

On safety Reed Doughty:
“No. 1, he’s here for a reason. He’s a warrior. He does everything you ask him to do. When people go down, he plays at a very high level at the strong safety position. He’s a difference maker on special teams. He’s they type of guy that you need on your football team to win. He can do everything you possibly can to make sure football team successful. He’ll be prepared, he’ll do the little things the right way and he’s a guy who can come in and play the strong safety, free safety position and make plays.”

On what had to happen at tight end when Fred Davis was injured:
“It’s hard to make up for a guy like Fred. He’s so talented. Not too many guys can run in that 4.5, 4.6 range and have the athletic ability of a guy like him. He can go out there one-on-one and probably beat any linebacker or any safety, or at least have a chance with his athleticism. He’s a little bit of a freak there. That’s what you want. He’s takes great pride in blocking as well. When you lose a guy like that, you’re really worried. Logan [Paulsen] has come in and is obviously not as fast as Fred, but is a football player. He does a great job catching the ball. He does a great job blocking, doesn’t miss assignments. He just has come up big for us. He’s been a big plus.”

On picking kicker Kai Forbath over veteran kickers in a tryout:
“We entered that into a normal competition. We had three guys, and I’m not sure how many kicks we had, it was somewhere in the area of 15, and he missed the fewest of the field goals. Anywhere from a 30-yarder to a 55-yarder, and he was more consistent than the rest. He’s a little bit younger. We felt like we’d give him an opportunity since he has not kicked in the NFL. Sometimes it works out. If he would have been 0-4, I think we would have been second guessed a couple of times along the way. You take chances on guys you think have an opportunity to do what he has done.”

On the three Pro Bowl selections being captains:
“You’re hoping that happens. You’re always hoping that happens. It doesn’t happen very often. The other two guys who I think have played at that level, are [nose tackle] Barry Cofield and [defensive end] Stephen Bowen. They’ve played at that level too throughout the season. Not everybody is recognized. I feel very good of our captains, how they played and a number of people on the outside see it as well.”

On mental toughness for a kicker:
“I think it’s what separates kickers. There are a lot of talented kickers out there. I’ve seen guys make them consistently in practice, then all of a sudden the lights are on and it’s not the same guy. You have to do it when the lights are on. That’s why I’ve been very proud of Kai.”

Source: Washington Redskins Media