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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:

Theyre 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 theyve been playing.

On differences in the Cowboys offense since week 12:

I think theyre a little bit healthier. It looks like they have everyone back on offense. Theyre 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 Ive been with him. This year, he has taken his game to a different level. I was very happy that he was rewarded for that. Its nice to see players and coaches see that. To me, its one of the biggest honors you can have. Trent Williams, weve talked about Trent, hes made some tremendous strides since hes 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 its always nice to see him get rewarded for the way hes played and the way he has handled himself. Robert [Griffin III], his play speaks for itself. Weve been talking about him all year. He has played at a very high level. That doesnt 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 theyll 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 quarterbacks skillset. Robert has earned that by his play. I dont 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 dont think anybodys 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. Hes 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:

Hes done such a great job. I think numbers think for themselves. Hes got time for that. Hes 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. Hes 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. Thats 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. Thats what Im most proud of.

On taking pride in seeing individuals break records:

What you take pride in is trying to win a Super Bowl. Thats what youre trying to do. To see guys have individual success, youre always happy to see a guy like Alfred come in as a rookie, to stay healthyhes so humble and he works so hard. Its 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, its 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 optionThere are a lot of running plays that are designed for a quarterback to just run and take off. Thats how you get the quarterback hurt. I dont care if youre 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 cant account for. Hes either handing the ball off or pitching it. He has to protect himself on the pitch or he has to learn how to slide. Thats the type of things hell learn over time. And I think hes done a great job over the last four or five games.

On who would start at tackle if Polumbus is healthy:

Well take a look at him, see how he practices. Its all based on who we think gives us the best chance to win. Its all based on how he practices. Well 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 hes much more comfortable in his position. I take a look at [defensive end] Jarvis Jenkins, how hes played. Our safeties have stepped up and played at a higher level. Thats what youre 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, thats what you have to do. You have to play your best football in the second half. Not even talking about the offense, but thats what youre 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 couldnt have gone out there yesterday and been productive at all. Today, it was so windy, I dont think we could have filmed practice. We didnt want to have those guys up there in the film towers. I think it was close to 40 mph at times, so we wouldnt be able to film practice as well. Its a big plus to have an indoor facility.

On safety Reed Doughty:

No. 1, hes here for a reason. Hes 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. Hes a difference maker on special teams. Hes 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. Hell be prepared, hell do the little things the right way and hes 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:

Its hard to make up for a guy like Fred. Hes 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. Hes a little bit of a freak there. Thats what you want. Hes takes great pride in blocking as well. When you lose a guy like that, youre 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, doesnt miss assignments. He just has come up big for us. Hes 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 Im 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. Hes a little bit younger. We felt like wed 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:

Youre hoping that happens. Youre always hoping that happens. It doesnt 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. Theyve 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 its what separates kickers. There are a lot of talented kickers out there. Ive seen guys make them consistently in practice, then all of a sudden the lights are on and its not the same guy. You have to do it when the lights are on. Thats why Ive been very proud of Kai.

Source: Washington Redskins Media



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