Redskins Shanahan On Alfred Morris' 2nd Season
Washington Redskins executive vice president/head coach Mike Shanahan spoke to the media about Alfred Morris' second season, cutting players and a update on Robert Griffin III knee.
On running back Alfred Morris returning from great rookie season:
I think you have to stay in great football shape. Anytime you have the success like Alfred had as a rookie, youre invited to speak and have a lot of banquets to go to. Sometimes guys lose perspective for what got them there. You dont have to worry about that with Alfred. He is great. He does the little things the right way. He is on his way to doing as many charitable things as you can do. Thats the way he is made. He takes care of business first and thats a great part of his character. A lot of guys when they have the success, especially early, they lose perspective for what it is all about. He has it all. He looks even better in this camp than he did a year ago. He is a lot more comfortable in the system and his responsibilities. You can see that he is practicing at a very high level.
On Morris improving his production:
First of all, when you put an offense together with Alfred or whoever your running back is, there is a lot of things to complement the running game with quarterback keeps, play-action passes, zone-read option. You are going to gain a lot of yards with the offense we run. We will adjust accordingly depending on what defenses are doing. He is a unique talent. He can make people miss and very few people can make people miss consistently. He can make the first person miss before he gets tackled. He has the type of power, leg drive you like in a running back and, knock on wood, he has been able to stay away from injury, taking those kind of shots. I think its the low center of gravity and how he runs. Hopefully he can keep on doing that.
On how many carries Morris will have this season:
I really dont know. What we try to do is get as much depth as we can because its really hard to tell during the season what type of games youre playing or what kind of depth we have. The more good players you have, the more ability you have to rest guys or when someone goes down, someone emerges just like last year when Alfred did. People talked about, at least for a few years, having a running back by committee and how bad is that. Wouldnt you rather have one guy? Oh my God, you should have more running backs. Thats just the nature of the beast. What you would like to do is have guys that have the ability to be a third-down back or a first, second and third-down back. We will evaluate that as time goes on.
On wide receivers Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson:
One thing about Hankerson, this is his first offseason, OTAs, or whatever you want to call it where he is healthy so he has the chance to develop. Thats the good thing about Hank. Hes in shape. Hes learning the right way and getting the right reps. Aldrick Robinson has made strides since he has been here. Hes having one heck of a camp because he has speed and consistency catching the football. Hes been as good as there has been and hopefully he can keep that up.
On the absences of Jordan Pugh and Maurice Hurt:
Pugh had an ear infection and couldnt make the flight out of Dallas, and Hurt is having a scope done on his knee today. They should be all-right for camp. The doctor made a decision to clean that knee out a little bit. It has been inflamed. Hopefully there will be no setback and he will be ready to go for camp.
On the status of defensive end Adam Carriker:
Its the same thing that he had before. He has got inflammation in that tendon that goes into the knee from the quad. He is not ready to go at this time.
On if there is a time frame for Carrikers return:
No, there isnt. He is not going to be able to go for sure until camp, I do know that.
On the team saying there is a different feeling this summer:
That is what you hope for. We have got some competition at the different positions. We had a good draft and we got some free agents that we needed. We were able to keep this football team together despite, obviously, the penalty. I think there are players who feel good about each other, especially the way we finished the last seven games. They are disappointed obviously in playoff game, but you have to be a special group to win seven in a row in the National Football League and I think our team feels that and they see the commitment of everybody throughout the offseason, so hopefully we can build on that.
On linebacker London Fletcher motivating younger players:
He sets the tempo. First of all, he has never had surgery in his career and that is unbelievable to think about with as many games as he has played and never had surgery until this year. He has come back so quickly and he looked good today. He is our natural leader. He leads by example and as I have said before, I have never been around anyone quite like him, and hopefully he can keep on doing what he has done.
On getting all the players enough reps:
That is what you want. You want the depth at the defensive line position, the outside linebacker positions and nickel. You have to be able to put pressure on the quarterback in this league. If you cant put pressure on the quarterback, the chances of you being a top five defense arent very good. That is where it starts is on the pass rush. You have to be able to defend the run which we all know, but we have to add some depth in our secondary as well. I am feeling good with the addition of [Brandon] Jenkins, and obviously three draft choices of two safeties and a corner, plus you add [E.J.] Biggers in there and the depth that we already had so guys have to compete to make our football team. That is what you hope for.
On cutting players:
When you cut people you know that they can play in the National Football League. You always want to be in that position. When you release a guy, you want to be able to say, Hey, this guy is a football player. I think we will be in position, and hopefully there are not too many injuries, similar to last year or the year before. When you stay relatively healthy, you know you have to release some players that can play.
On the safety position:
I feel good. I think we have great competition right there and we have depth. I cant tell you what is going to happen, but we are going to have some healthy competition and that is what you are looking for.
On the status of suspended safety Tanard Jackson:
I really dont know because we arent allowed to talk to him, but in time we will find out if he will be eligible to come back, but right now we dont know.
On cornerback Richard Crawfords improvement:
Richard is a guy that is a very smart football player. He stays in excellent shape. He is a person like London [Fletcher] as a young guy that will be in the film room studying all the time. Hes watching film. Hes studying offenses. Hes looking at our film cut-ups and he is always going to be in the right position. When you go into your second year, all of a sudden you start to feel more comfortable. The game slows down. He knows what to expect. He isnt just thinking about the defenses, he is also thinking about the different types of patterns that are being run within a defense. He is a lot more able to intercept a ball and make plays, which he has done here throughout camp.
On Crawfords anticipation:
In order to anticipate better you have to understand the defenses and the scheme. You have to understand what people are doing, but basically yes, he can anticipate a lot better know going into his second year.
On defensive end Jarvis Jenkins improving:
He has made tremendous strides. You can see he is more comfortable with his knee, which makes him more comfortable with the system as well. It is a big difference from this year to a year ago.
On being cautious letting injured players return:
Well, you take a guy like Brian Orakpo and you take a look at what he went through with his rehab, before we could say he was ready to practice, the trainers and doctors had to feel like he was 100 percent. In the back of your mind, are you always cautious or are you worried sometimes? I think you are always worried, but you are always hoping that it healed back the right way with Orakpo, at least so far, he looks very good because his strength is there. Keenan Robinson is not too far behind but we dont want to take a chance with him. Hes not going to come back until we go to camp. Anytime anyone comes off a surgery, if its Pierre [Garcon], Orakpo or Robert [Griffin III], you want to make sure they are healthy before you put them back out there.
On quarterback Pat White:
Hes come in, but I didnt know Pat but I liked the way he played in college. I really didnt study him. Ive been very impressed with him as a person, him as a football player. You can see that hes a great athlete. He picks things up extremely quick. Hes never been in our system and yet he doesnt make any mistakes. You can tell hes a student of the game and that this is very important to him. Hes done everything necessary to put himself in the best position to succeed. Now we get a chance to evaluate him in games. Ive been very impressed.
On having multiple important players return from injury at same time:
At outside linebacker position, Brian Orakpo is back and practicing with us. Not very often do you have your No. 1 wide receiver and No. 1 quarterback out. You have a guy like Fred Davis, your No. 1 tight end, out. Your third-round draft choice is a little bit sore and he is working with them. Same goes with Chris Thompson. Yes, that doesnt happen too often, but the key is to make sure that they are getting mental reps to study what we are doing on both sides of the ball and that they are ready for camp. You dont want to put them in there too quickly because you dont want to set them back. You just want to make sure we go to Richmond and have a chance to have all these guys ready to compete for these positions.
On making defensive upgrades despite cap issues:
As we talked briefly before, I think it says a lot about our guys wanting to stay together. Some guys had to take some reductions but they still want to be with the football team. They felt good about their teammates. They feel good about everyone collectively. Thats why Im pleased about the type of guys we have on our football team and hopefully it pays dividends.
On Griffin III improving on dissecting defenses:
When you come in your first year, youre just trying to learn the terminology of the system and everythings coming at you at 1,000 miles per hour. Your second year, your are more comfortable with the system and you have been through the process of blitzes. Youve gone through the running game and youve gone through the passing game, the dropback, the third downs. You have been through it all. So, your second year does slow down a little bit where people can now study defenses. They feel comfortable with the terminology. They feel comfortable with the running game, the passing game, different check-offs, or hots, so it does slow down for them. If they keep on studying the game, they get better and better.
On Special Teams Coordinator Keith Burns:
When I interviewed Keith as the special teams coach, I brought in a number of people and he blew me away in the interview with how organized he was and his teaching progression to all of the coaches as a teacher. Hes very organized with his thoughts. He has a very solid scheme. Hes got a lot of passion for what he does. And thats why we hired him.
On role of advance scout Larry Coyer:
Larry Coyer is a great football mind. He is a guy that loves looking at film. Hell be there at 7:00 in the morning and stay until midnight. Ive watched him work for years. Hes going to be an advance scout, so hes going to be giving us an update on who were playing each week. I cant think of a better guy to give the offensive coaches and the defensive coaches an update on what he thinks that the opposing team will do. Their strengths and weaknesses, he will be able to break down in all different areas. Its just good to have him as a part of our staff. Some people dont have the background to get a guy like Larry who has a background as a coordinator and coached all positions. Hes run the 3-4, hes run the 4-3. Hes experienced on the offensive side of the ball. He can go through all of our tendencies and all of the sudden hell tell Kyle [Shanahan], Hey, on third-and-3 this is what youve been doing. A lot of times during the season you get so caught up in things you dont really dissect yourself. And Larry will be able to do that for our offense and our defense. Hes got a good feel for offensive and defensive schemes. So, its a guy I was very happy we were able to get.
On impressions of quarterback Kirk Cousins progression:
Kirk has done an excellent job. I think anytime a quarterback gets reps, hes going to improve himself. Hes a student of the game. He leaves no stone unturned in his preparation. Hes got that type of mindset. Hes extremely bright. But youve got to go out there and do it. Thats what Kirk has the ability to do right now; to get a lot more reps going into his second year. I think it will be invaluable to him for years to come.
Source: Washington Redskins Media