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Redskins Shanahan on RG3's Injury Update and the Draft

Washington Redskins executive vice president/head coach spoke with the media Wednesday about the 2013 NFL Draft and gave an update on Robert Griffin III's injury.

On if his draft philosophy changes after winning the NFC East:

I think you always try to look at your board and take each position, try to get a priority on which guys you feel are a certain skill level: first-round draft choice and second. You get a game plan and if a certain player is there at that time, you are going to take him. If not, you try to trade back, sometimes you try to go forward. A lot depends on how it all falls in place. You never know. So you have to be ready for different types of scenarios. We have done it both ways. But at the end of the day, you may have a guy, you may have a position need and if it is close between two guys, you go with the position need. For example, last year, you ask me, Why would I take a quarterback [Kirk Cousins] in the fourth round? We had him ranked as a first-round guy, inside the top 32, and you are picking him in the fourth round. The value is there and you have to do what you think is best for your football team and the draft. He makes your football team, steps in and plays like the guy we thought hed play like. At least youre hoping. It doesnt always work out that way. A lot of different philosophies. [You] always have to be ready for everything.

On the teams needs in the draft:

Well, I think when you have a lot of needs, sometimes what you will do if you have a lot of guys ranked in the same area, sometime you will go back and get an extra two or three draft picks, like we did with [Ryan] Kerrigan. You go from 10 to 16 and wind up getting three extra picks, those three guys we needed on our football team. So a lot depends on where your football team is and what direction you think you need to go.

On if he thinks this is a good year not to have a first-round pick with a deep draft class:

I think so, I do. I think you are getting offensive linemen and defensive linemen if you are the top 10 picks, it is a pretty good year; a few receivers in there as well. I think everyone sees the obvious ones. Each year is a little bit different. There is always value. It all depends what your team needs are and you get the guy that you want to help your football team.

On social media background checks:

We have always done that. We try to get as much information as we can. We have different other kinds of evaluations we do besides Twitter and Facebook. A lot goes into the profile of the person. The scout does a lot of extra work, sometimes goes back to his high school coach and trainers, equipment people, as much information as you can get on the character of a person.

On if he has taken a player off the draft board because of something found on social media:

Well, I wouldnt say Twitter or Facebook because there are rumors that get circulated, but there are a lot of times we take players off the board because of character.

On what he has taken away from picking No. 51 overall in previous drafts:

Like I said before in the playoffs, there are situations that can come up. Sometimes when 51 comes up, you have your guy. One of those guys was Clinton Portis and I was hoping he would be there. He actually got mad at us because we picked him at 51. He wanted to go in the first round. I said, Clinton, dont get mad at us. We picked you. He said, You shouldve picked me in the first round. It was that kind of confidence he had that he was going to be a football player and he said, Im going to make you very, very happy. That is the kind of mindset when you do pick a guy in the second round, that he feels like he is a first round guy and he is going to prove to everybody that he can play. Hopefully you get that kind of guy.

On what he can take from the experience of drafting players that did not pan out:

I think anytime you go back in your history and try to reflect through all the scenarios that you do, is you dont ever reach for a player. You try not to reach. You might have a position need and you push the envelope a round or two and you are looking for that one piece to what you consider a championship team. So what I have learned through the years is that you have to be true to your board, you have to look at every player. And it is a killer to a position coach. As a head coach, a lot of hours go into looking at all these guys. You are ready on draft day. No matter what situation arises, youre hoping you can take advantage of the opportunity.

On evaluating good times to trade back:

I think that is what you have to evaluate. You think youve got a guy you dont want to lose, then you dont trade back. You may trade back because there are three or four guys you like and you think you may be able to get one of those guys and you look at those guys the same. So you trade back knowing you will get one of those guys and you get an extra pick or two. A lot of scenarios you try to go through in your mind.

On if one draft plays into another:

You never know how many juniors are going to come out. That is a big question mark. I think everyone has a feel for the seniors, but you are not really sure how many juniors will come out. We know where the strength of the draft is and sometimes you are really lucky when it does play into your hands.

On if he will make any decisions in this draft based on next years draft:

No, because of what I said. You dont know the juniors that will come out. They influence the draft drastically.

On if he can get a first-round player in the second round because of a deep draft class:

There is always an area, there are guys that make it in the second, third, fourth round that you say, Why arent fourth-round players a first-round player? Why wasnt Alfred Morris a first-round player? He should have been with his production. So you go back through your mind and look at all the scenarios and you try to figure out why a guy does last until the sixth round and you try to find those guys out there. Sometimes you are lucky enough to find guys like that, other times you miss out. Thats what we are looking for and that is why we look at a lot of film.

On what positions are the strongest in this draft and if rounds two through four are deeper than recent years:

I think it is always pretty deep round two through four every year. There are quality guys you can get. I think this year, the obvious people talk about this draft - the offensive linemen, you can take a look at receivers, as I mentioned before, defensive linemen everything you guys write about every day. You guys talk, you communicate and you are pretty close to being right on. There are a lot of those guys that will picked in the third, fourth, fifth round that are football players and you are hoping that you get the right guys targeted if they are there.

On any realistic scenario of trading into the first round:

Id say it would be a long shot looking at what we have, but there is always a possibility. Like one in a million, there is a chance.

On if he places an emphasis on trying to find players that drop into later rounds:

You get ready for each round and sometimes a guy will fall a little bit further than you think he will, and if you are lucky enough to get in that situation, you gobble him up. You just hit that draft board from the first day and try to get a pecking order and you have a few guys you are hoping that are there. Sometimes a position need or just the way a guy plays, and sometimes you just take a guy because it is just the best available. Sometimes it will be in the seventh round. You see a guy that has some quality that you like and you try to gobble him up.

On assistant coaches working with players in the offseason more than previous years:

We havent changed at all. We have the same schedule weve had, or at least Ive had for the past 10 years or close to it. Our coaches are very heavily involved with working with the film and workouts. There is time to meet with the players as well. I like what we have in the offseason, programs now with the new CBA. I like the time that we are allowed to spend with the players. First couple weeks is conditioning [were] allowed to meet two hours a day to look at film, which we do. Next three weeks we are able to work on separate fields, offensively and defensively, trying to get our drills, our agility, a feel of our offense and defense, get guys back in the swing of things after working out for a couple weeks. Then you really have a month of OTA days. I like where we are at right now. I think its sensible and logical and we dont overwork guys, but we get them in shape and they get a good feel of what we are doing offensively and defensively. With that we are still able to get ready for the draft and our mini-camps that we have for the rookies coming in. You arent able to do everything but at least the roles are defined and I think it works out well for the NFL.

On what he will do without any picks in the first-round:

Youve got your board, so you are hoping some guys go off. Obviously, the guys you want with the 51st pick dont go and a lot of scenarios happen. The interesting thing will be the next day waiting for our pick, seeing which guys are picked that day.

On assessing need in the secondary:

We have some corners with some experience. We have [E.J.] Biggers, who has some experience, I like the way he plays. Anybody that comes in will have to compete and that is what you want, you want some competition. At the safety position, we lost [Brandon] Meriweather and Tanard Jackson last year and you are hoping that both guys will be back, will be back healthy. You dont know that for sure, so youve got guys like Reed Doughty, [Jordan] Pugh, [DeJon] Gomes, guys that have to step up and play but will have more competition depending how the draft works out.

On cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson and E.J. Biggers being in the final years of their contracts:

Well, number one, we are in a tough situation with the salary cap. Anytime you lose $36 million, $18 million a year, if you told me we would be able to keep almost every player, I wouldve told you youre joking. But it kind of gives you an idea of what type of players we are dealing with. They want to be here. I think both Bruce [Allen] and Eric [Schaffer] did a fantastic job of working with the cap to get these guys back on our football team. Our coaches, I think they want to be here. It gives us a chance to do something this year with basically the same team we had a year ago. We did some good things. Hopefully we get better in a lot of different things as well. I like the nucleus we have. We hate to lose a guy like Lorenzo [Alexander] but I was happy for him. He played hard and got paid well, and you always want your players to get paid at the highest level. If you take care of them, they will take care of you. It goes into next year. You are asking about the corners, I am hoping those corners get a lot of money next year. We will be in more of a position to pay people next year than we have the past two years. It is always nice to keep those players on your team.

On if right tackle is a need:

There are always areas on your football team that you can improve. I thought we did some good things last year on offense. You lose a guy like [wide receiver] Pierre Garon for half the season and Josh Morgan who has played on an injured ankle, our receivers except for Santana [Moss], everybody experienced, were going to get better in that area. Our tight ends, losing Fred [Davis] for the year, we have to get better in that area. Youve got a guy like Niles Paul coming back into his second year, never playing the tight end position, he is going to start feeling comfortable in the position. Logan Paulsen steps up and plays at a very high level. I think the thing I was most impressed with our team last year offensively with a young football team is we didnt turn the football over. We only turned the ball over 14 times. I think it has been done eight times since 1970, so you are proud of your guys not turning the football over and then you couple that with yards per play, both the run game and passing game, we have done some great things but we can get better. We can improve in every area, not just the offensive line, but the wide receivers, running backs, quarterbacks and that is what we are working on. I thought we did some good things last year that gives us a chance to do something special this year.

On how he weighs talent against character:

It all depends on how big a risk. If its a big risk, were not going there. Were not going there. Weve worked too hard to build this football team to take big risks. Now, will you take a risk? It all depends on how much research you do and you decide if its worth the risk, and sometimes well look at a guy and someone will think it is a big risk but weve done our homework so, if it was that big a risk, he wouldnt be on our football team. So, you go ahead and do your homework, your due diligence. Theres always mistakes made, but thats something that we put a lot of time in.

On how he determines if a guy is a big risk or not:

Well, going back and, like I said, go back to high school. Go back to the college. Go back to the equipment man, the trainer. Not just the coaches that usually give you the standard line, Yeah, this guys great. Teachers in college. Theres a lot of different people that you can find out about the true character of a guy and usually its the people that arent your coach or arent the people that are talking to the scouts. We try to do that and if you do it enough and youve got scouts that work hard enough, you start eliminating mistakes and thats what were hoping to do.

On how much you take current locker room influences into account with a guy with character issues:

Well, again, you go back and [see] how much of a problem it is and if you think its a problem, then you stay away from it. You dont want to bring a problem into your team if you dont have to. Now if you said a guy is a great player and you think that, youve got a feeling that this guy can overcome this problem, for whatever the problem may be, you might take a chance, and the stronger a locker room you have the more of a chance that guy has to turn, but some guys just dont want to turn.

On if the team will have to make a move to get all seven draft picks under contract:

Weve got a game plan. I feel very good about where were at. I feel very good about going this season. Any time you lose $36 million, as weve talked about, its not the perfect scenario. But I like where were at and I cant go specifically into it, but I think youll see at the end its a pretty good plan.

On if he has any indication on when hell hear something about safety Tanard Jackson:

No, I dont. I really dont.

On how surprised he is with what hes seeing from quarterback Robert Griffin III:

The one thing I dont want to do is I dont want to see anything too quick. I mean were dealing with an ACL. That takes time. Mother Nature is going to take its course. The thing that you love about Robert is hes working the muscles around it. He loves to work. He does everything we ask him to do and then some to get himself ready. Theres a time frame and theres Mother Nature thats involved and that ligament takes time to heal, so weve got to make sure that he doesnt go too quick, because we dont want him to do anything too quickly because he could set it back. When you work as hard as he does and your muscles are strong around the ligament, sometimes guys have the tendency to go too quick and were going to try to make sure that he doesnt.

On if hes surprised by what Griffin III is able to do:

I try not to get too excited because what you dont want to do is something too quick. So if I was excited about him doing some type of exercise, I think were putting him in harms way. Theres time its going to take and just do it the right way and just make sure we can get him healthy as can be without going too quick. If you go too quick, you set a guy back. Thats what were trying to do. Thats what the doctors are trying to do.

On if he feels good about where the team is:

Its a big difference going into the draft right now than it was a few years ago. I like what I see out there with these guys working out. Theyre out in the bubble and youve got guys spending as much time as they can to be in great shape. Youve got a unit that you dont have to push; theyre pushing each other. Theyve got the work ethic that youre hoping that you would have going into year four and youve got a bunch of leaders out there. Thats what youre hoping for. They set the standard on how to work out. You dont have to set it anymore because they know it. Theyre pushing the young guys. Our leaders step up, and thats what I like.

On if there are players who are not with the team at this point for offseason workouts:

Yeah, theres always somebody whos got extenuating circumstances and weve talked to those people, but thats good because theres always accountability. If theyre not here, theyre telling you whats the emergency. Beyond that, everybodys here and thats what you want.

On if there are any injuries that have popped up in the past couple of weeks:

No, weve got a lot of guys with treatment right now, a number of guys that will be question marks with OTAs because theyre going through rehab, which you typically go through this time of year. But Im hoping everybody should be ready for summer camp. There are still a couple guys that are question marks but I think collectively were pretty close to being full go.

On if having Griffin III on the roster changes the level of tension or pressure entering the draft:

Any time you have your quarterback position solved, you feel much more comfortable as a coach, I can tell you that for sure [laughter]. Any time you have depth at that position-guys that have gone out and youve seen what theyve done, and theyre natural leaders, theyre your hardest workers, guys that set the bar for your football team and thats what we have for our football team right now; guys that set the bar at the quarterback position and if you have that, thats a great start.

On if he consistently talks to Griffin III about not rushing through rehab:

Well, I think what players do, and anybody does, trainers, they tell you to look at the muscles and you see his quads and his hamstrings. You see him working out with weights, his flexibility, how hard hes working. Everybodys very optimistic and they say hes ahead of schedule. Human nature is you have to let a ligament heal. You cannot force that. Its a time frame that youve got to make sure that you dont push it too hard, and thats all were saying. We want him to work as hard as he can. Do what you can with the muscles around the knee but dont do anything too quick because we dont want to set it back. We want it to heal first.

On defensive end Adam Carriker and tight end Fred Davis and their recoveries:

Fred has made some strides. I think well find out in OTAs exactly where hes at but hes feeling good. Adam, with the quad tendonI cant give you a percentage. I cant say if its 70 or 80, but hes making strides. Its much better than it was a month ago so were going to let the due process take care of itself and Ill update you the more I know.

On linebacker Rob Jackson and his suspension:

Thats something I cant go into detail on, but Rob was suspended for the first four games and well deal with that. Rob will be able to practice and do the things that hes going to have to do to help our football team win, but hopefully that wont happen again.

On if rookie defensive backs can get on the field quickly based on his past experiences:

Well, it has to do with how talented you are. Ive seen a lot of young players, especially defensive backs, come in and start in the National Football League. A lot has to do with their awareness, how sharp they are, relative to their football-related intelligence. Some guys are all football. Other guys are, maybe, a man-to-man coverage guy and its easier if a guy is more well-rounded and he understands zone concept, man concept. Some teams just ask a guy to lock down a receiver. Well, its a little bit easier to do that than play the whole gamut of what you can do as a defensive back with two-deep, three-deep, quarters, and so it all depends on what youre doing defensively. Depending on the play and the system youre using depends on how quickly he can get on the field.

On if the NFL was involved in upgrading the FedEx Field playing surface:

I dont think so. I dont think they said anything to us, but anytime you have a field like we had, were going to take care of it ourselves. Weve got a game plan with the drainage of our field, drainage system, thats going to make it better. Depending how our field looks at midseason, Im sure will determine what we do, but weve got a plan in place and if its not great, well re-sod everything. Maybe between the numbers, goal line to goal line, and may not need it depending on, you know, what the weathers like so well just wait and see. Were ready to go when we have a quality field.

On how linebacker London Fletchers rehab is going:

The elbow surgery went well. The ankle surgery went well. I just cant believe hes never had any surgeries in his career. Its hard to imagine a guy playing all those years and not having a surgery. With the elbow, its relieved a lot of tension. I understand that with [Head Athletic Trainer] Larry [Hess]. The ankle, hes already gotten in the weight room working out so, hes doing well.

On Griffin IIIs injury and what collectively he and the staff would have done differently:

I think its been talked about enough. What were going to do is make sure Roberts 100 percent. I get a feel with people the more Im around them. I think players get more of a feeling for me, but the one thing you want to make sure of is how somebody practices gives them an opportunity to play in the game. If somebody does, what you think, someone might get injured, its your gut to take somebody out. Sometimes it changes from year to year. I know mine does with different players. Every situation is different and sometimes you make the right call. There are times you dont, but at the end of the day youre always hoping that youll learn from your mistakes, whatever they are. At the end of this year, when we go into next year, one thing we want to make sure of is Robert never plays if hes not 100 percent, so if he does tell me something, Im not going to believe him this year compared to last yearThat was a joke. That was a joke, I think [laughter]. But anyway, well have fun with that.

On his initial thoughts when the schedule was released:

Well, you know who youre going to play and where youre going to play and who youre going to play and where, so youve got to, no matter how it lines up, I dont really think about that very much, but I do like the way our schedule did turn out. Looking at the games, home and away, especially with the West Coast game and having a week off and then a Thursday night game about five games later and finishing up with that, I think its worked out well. You always like playing nationally televised games. Its great for your organization. Its great for the players, and you just have to make sure you play at a high level.

On what he meant when he said Griffin III will set a record for coming back:

I didnt say that. Youve got to quote me the whole saying. I said, If hard work had anything to do with itThats what Im talking about with Robert. I said Robert works so hard that if hard work had anything to do with the recovery, hed set a record. Thats the way he is. But were dealing with ligaments, were dealing with tendons. You cant rush that. But around his knee will be the strongest support group youll have, and if you have a guy that does that, works that hard, then hes got a chance to do something special.

On linebacker Keenan Robinsons rehab:

Hes doing pretty good. Hes doing pretty good. Just like Rak [Brian Orakpo], it takes a little time. Raks 100 percent, and Id say Keenan, at least the doctors think hell be ready to go in about a month so were hoping to have him ready for OTAs.

On running back Roy Helu, Jr.s status:

Hes still a little bit sore. I still think hell be able to go here over the next couple weeks. Hes not 100 percent but hes close to it. Hes got the same injury as Reed [Doughty]. Reeds close to 100 percent right now. I think hell be able to go. He did set it back about a week ago but according to Larry, he still thinks theres a chance, so well wait and see.

On how much a running back like Helu will help the offense:

Anytime you can get guys that can run, it helps you. You want guys that can make plays. If its a third-down back or first-down back with speed, youre always looking for a guy that has the ability to make plays.

Source: Washington Redskins Media



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