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Redskins Park: Quotes - Mike Shanahan

Mark The Homer

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January 7, 2013

Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

Opening statement:

“Robert [Griffin III] will fly down tomorrow to see Dr. [James] Andrews. He’s going to have some more tests and a physical exam. I’m not sure right now the extent of his knee [injury]. Anytime you do have a former ACL injury or an LCL and you take a look at his MRI, sometimes it’s old injuries. That’s why he’s going to fly down there and see Dr. Andrews – get some new MRIs, get a physical examination. Right now, everything is totally speculation. When I do know of the extent of the injury, I’ll let you know.”

On if Griffin III’s knee injury is an old or new injury:

“I’m saying right now, I really don’t know. Dr. Andrews is going to take a look at Robert. A lot of times, you look at an MRI… In my understanding, when you have an ACL injury, an LCL injury, you’ve had former injuries, they want to take another look – another physical exam to make sure they’re not looking at old injuries on the MRI.”

On the sequence of events between Griffin III reaggravating his knee and when he was cleared to return:

“He tweaked it a little bit on that sideline. I went up to Robert and I said, ‘Are you OK?’ He said, ’Yeah, no, I’m fine.’ He said, ‘I got it retaped.’ I said, ‘Do you have a good feel for it?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, I feel good.’ He was OK right away.”

On if Griffin III was evaluated by doctors at that point:

“I did not talk to the doctors at that time. I asked him [Griffin III] how he was doing. The doctors – every time he comes off and he gets retaped – they do talk to him.”

On when he spoke to the doctors about Griffin III for the first time:

“I talked to the doctors three or four times during the game at different sequences. Anytime he gets hit on the sideline, I had all the doctors come up and we talked as a group, I think three or four different times during the game. You’re trying to get their opinions on how Robert is doing. You want to not always listen to the quarterback. You want to get some great feedback from the doctors, especially the doctors we have on our sidelines. We have three of the best in the country. I talk to them at various times during the game.”

On the nature of the conversations he had with the doctors on the sidelines after a report that he and Dr. Andrews had a miscommunication about Griffin III returning to the Baltimore game:

“There was no miscommunication with Dr. Andrews. It doesn’t matter. I asked Dr. Andrews if Robert is OK to be in the game and he said yes. I don’t ask him… I don’t sit down with him and say, ‘Hey, did you give him a proper evaluation?’ I asked him, ‘Is it OK if he goes back in the game?’ He says yes or no. He said yes.”

On if Griffin III’s MRI showed any old or new partial tears:

“Like I said, I’m not going to speculate on that. Dr. Andrews will get a chance to take a look at him. Everything right now is total speculation for the reasons I just gave… Anytime there are old injuries to the ACL and LCL, there’s always differences of opinion on the MRI. That’s why he’s going to see Dr. Andrews tomorrow.”

On the reason Griffin III is going to see Dr. Andrews:

“There is a concern. That’s why he’s going to go see him. Anytime you get an MRI and you have old injuries [to] the LCL, ACL, he wants to give him a physical exam himself and give him a number of tests and evaluate him in person.”

On Dr. Andrews’ comments that he never evaluated Griffin III’s knee during the Baltimore game:

“You have to think about what’s going on in the game. Robert comes off the field. He comes off and he starts running around. I asked him the same question. When Robert starts running around, I’m looking at [quarterback] Kirk [Cousins] being in the ballgame. When Robert runs back on the field, I look over at Dr. Andrews. I said, ‘Is he OK?’ and he said, ‘Yes, he’s OK.’ When you ask him that and he says he’s OK, you don’t ask him, ‘Did you look at him? Did you watch him run around? Did you give him a test?’ He said he was OK, so that’s why he went back in the game. I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t expecting him to go back into the game at that time. But he went in there for a few more plays and did a good job. Then, you saw the setback when we did take him out. After we took him out, he was out for the game… Why don’t you get a hold of Dr. Andrews and you ask him. I think what happens is when somebody sees somebody come off the sideline, you show the doctors he’s running around where the knee looks good… You’ll have to ask him. I can’t tell you that.”

On if he was surprised by Dr. Andrews saying Griffin III was OK to return without talking to him:

“Obviously, I don’t know. I don’t know what they do. Obviously, it surprises you. I’ll let those doctors do their job.”

On second guessing Griffin III’s return to the game on Sunday:

“I say second guess, I second guess a lot. I second guess plays that I call on third-down-and-short, third-down-and-long. After the game is over with, you always second guess yourself. What you have to do is make decisions that you think are the right decisions. I thought we made the right decisions. You don’t make the decisions by yourself. You get a lot of opinions during the game – especially with a guy like Robert – not only talking to him, but talking to the doctors. Then, you go with what you think is right.”

On how Griffin III is feeling today:

“I think Robert is looking forward to seeing what’s happening with Dr. Andrews tomorrow – same thing that we are.”

On the turf at FedExField:

“You like a perfect field. It wasn’t a perfect field. We all know that. I kind of had mentioned before, I’ve been in San Francisco where that field at the end of the season was always torn up. Sometimes we put sod down and it was worse after we put the sod down – especially new sod. Did the same thing in Denver at one time and it didn’t work out for the sod. If you do sod right, a lot of times it’s good. I really thought the field was OK because I didn’t see people slipping during the game. I’ve seen perfect grass and guys just slipping all the time. Therefore, I don’t think there’s an advantage one way or a disadvantage one way. You would like to have the perfect field, yes. Relative to turf, you just have to judge if you’re willing to go in that direction because of the injuries on turf compared to grass.”

On the possibility of changing to turf:

“I would talk about it. I would talk about it, but I do like natural grass… We have that here, but for some reason it’s just not working as well. Anyway, we’ll try to address that for next year.”

On the importance of Griffin III participating in the offseason program:

“You always like to have everybody part of the offseason program. I thought [Vikings running back] Adrian Peterson did pretty good last year for not being part of the offseason program. There’s a number of guys that have injuries who have to work extremely hard to overcome injuries in the offseason. The perfect scenario is always being there, especially for a quarterback.”

On if he has reassessed how he will handle this type of situation in the future:

“I think you do that through your experiences. You’re constantly evaluating. I know Robert is constantly getting attention relative to being a quarterback, but we’re doing the same thing with [guard/center] Kory Lichtensteiger, [tackle] Trent Williams, [linebacker] London Fletcher, guys that are banged up during the week. You’re evaluating them as the game goes on. You’re looking at their performance and sometimes you get a good feel on how a guy is doing and you look at film and say, ‘God, [he is] not playing quite as good as I thought he was. Maybe we should have pulled him.’ That’s a constant in the National Football League.”

On if he expects to have all of the players and coaches back next year:

“I don’t talk about the players or coaches for a while. It’s part of the evaluation process. You’re always hoping that you can bring back the guys that are free agents. You can talk about your players. You can talk about the coaches. You always want your coaches to… Hopefully, if they’re interested in a head coaching job or they’re offered a head coaching job or if you have an assistant that might be offered a coordinator’s job, sometimes I’ve entertained that in the past even if they’re under contract, because you want the best for them. Other times, you get a top assistant that you’re paying pretty good money to and you made a commitment to them and you want them to stay even though a coordinator’s job may be offered. There’s a lot of things that go on in the offseason with coaching staffs and the players – the free agents. You’re always trying to do what’s best for the organization, sometimes what’s best for the person as well, if they’ve made a commitment to you.”

On when the players will return:

“April 15 is usually the date. If you’re a new coaching staff, sometimes it’s April 1.”

On if he can trust Griffin III to assess his injuries in the future:

“I think that you grow together, just like you grow putting an offensive scheme in. You grow week by week. You understand what a guy is about, what he can do, what he can’t do. Yeah, I think that’s part of the learning process as you go forward. You understand the guy a little bit more, he understands you a little bit more – what he expects, what you expect.”

On if he has been contacted by any teams regarding interviewing his assistants for openings:

“Not that I know of at this time.”

On if he learned anything about Griffin III yesterday:

“I think you learn something about people every game. It’s part of the process that you go through. We talk about the evaluation process that there’s going to be some highs and lows every game, every season. The quarterback, I think, has the biggest learning curve out of anybody, but to have the type of season that he has, to me, is unprecedented as a rookie coming in – what he’s been able to accomplish. He’s going to keep on getting better.”

On if there are any other players having surgery in the near future:

“We haven’t talked about that yet. We’ve been pretty busy with other things. Players are checking out today, but I will give you that list when I know for sure.”

On owner Daniel M. Snyder’s reaction to Griffin III’s injury:

“I had a conversation with Dan after the game [and] texted him this morning. We were texting back and forth this morning. [He reacted] probably just like everybody else here in D.C. – keeping our fingers crossed that everything is positive and look forward to this football team coming back next year.”

On if he will change protocol for handling player injuries on the sidelines:

“No, not at all. When you have a chance to look to your left and you have a doctor – a medical doctor – that hasn’t happened to me in the past. I’ve had a lot of trainers. I haven’t had many medical doctors with me on the sidelines. I think it improves every year. With concussions, that’s a big improvement. Back when Robert had the concussion, I needed to go to the doctor to see that Robert wasn’t going back into the game. He said he was fine. I knew he wasn’t fine. I’ve been around enough concussions. I could see the glassy eyes that there’s no chance of him going back in the game. Some things you get a good feel right away. The things that you don’t know of are when you deal with a knee or you deal with other things that you’re not very good at.”

On assistant coaches potentially interviewing for head coaching positions:

“I think anytime you get an experience to interview, it’s always good. It makes you organize your thoughts, your game plan, what you would do as a head football coach. So, when somebody asks you to interview, it makes you organize yourself a little bit. One thing as an assistant football coach, you never even think on those terms about being a head coach because you’re so focused on the job at hand. So when someone does, it makes you feel good. You organize your thoughts. How do you want to put an offseason conditioning program together? Free agency? The draft? How do handle your OTAs? How do you handle your camps? Things along those lines. People never ask you the question so I think it’s always good for assistant coaches to have interviews. I think every assistant coach eventually some day would like to be a head coach if it works out.”

On if he thinks Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan is ready to be a head coach:

“For me, I’ll let other people judge that. I’ll let other people interview him.”

On if the team is still challenging the salary cap penalties:

“Well, I can’t answer that at this time so that means we’re still involved in it. Yes, we’re still involved in it. When I can speak about it, I will speak. But at this time, I can’t. I think that answers your question.”

On if the Seahawks took excessive shots at Griffin III:

“No. The Seahawks are a team that there’s always a lot of chatter and so there’s probably more chatter than you see in normal games. But no, I didn’t see anything like that. I think you’ve got two competitive teams. Some teams do talk a little bit more than others. It’s not really teams – it might be two or three guys that get a lot of attention. But it happens in the National Football League. I could give you four or five teams that every time you play them, you’re going to get that type of chatter. It usually comes down to those guys.”

On what he was evaluating when deciding to play Griffin III:

“You’ve got to make a decision that’s not based on one or two things. You get a chance to evaluate him every day in practice. You see how he prepares. You see how he works. You talk to him on the sideline. You watch his footwork when he’s playing. So, it’s the things that you feel still gives you the best chance to win.”

On if his evaluation matched with the game film against the Seahawks:

“Yes, it did.”

On if he has given thought to restructuring players’ contracts:

“No. I think I talked about that. This is not the time of year where we talk about free agents or restructuring contracts. What we try to do now is kind of go back and look at everybody. The offensive coaches will look at their players and evaluate their players and put them in a pecking order. The defensive coaches will do the same and we’ll do the same with special teams. Then, we’ll cross-check. Defensive coaches will look at all 16 games for the offense. The offensive coaches will look at all 16 games for the defense. They’ll evaluate the players. We’ll do that every year to kind of get a cross section of different opinions. We’ll do that with our personnel staff as well. We usually do that and get a little jump on free agency before we take off on vacation.”

On what changed after the first quarter against the Seahawks:

“You take a look at the first quarter and everything just clicked. When you take a look at the second, third, and fourth quarters, we didn’t move the ball very well. So, it was disappointing. We’ve got to execute better and it’s a combination of different things.”

On the offense’s performance against the Seahawks:

“Well, when you only average two first downs a quarter – the second, third and fourth quarter where we weren’t doing a lot of things well as an offense – I don’t break it down to one person because it’s just not one person that gets the job done. But I was very pleased with the first quarter and you could see we couldn’t do some of the things that we did in the first quarter.”

On if any coaches will be attending the Senior Bowl:

“First of all, with the Senior Bowl, I kind of encourage our coaches not to go. I think they’ve been hitting it pretty hard for all these weeks. We look at every film that they have at the Senior Bowl and all our scouts are there. They’ve talked to all these players individually. I like to coach it because you get the chance to really know them but to me when I go to the Senior Bowl, it’s more like a coaching convention. I would rather have them spend a little time with their families and doing the things that they need to do. When we get back here, we can study all those tapes.”

On Director of Player Personnel Morocco Brown interviewing with the Arizona Cardinals:

“I talked to Morocco today. He did have the interview. He thought it went well and we’ll just wait and see.”

On receiving criticism for playing Griffin III against the Seahawks:

“First of all, as a head football coach, you’re used to criticism. You make decisions based on what you think is the right thing to do and you listen to a lot of different people. You get their opinions sometimes during the game, sometimes during practice. Then, you make the call and you’ve got to do what you think is right. I got a lot of criticism for bringing in [quarterback] Kirk Cousins. You’re just used to it. [Wide receiver] Pierre Garçon was ‘a total bust’ in Week 6-7. He couldn’t play. You get used to those types of things. But if you don’t believe in what you’re doing, if people got a chance to be in your shoes and be around the scenario, then maybe they’d understand the decisions you’d make. Robert’s our franchise quarterback and I’m not going to take the chance on his career to win a game. But I also know that when you’ve got the belief in a guy and you feel that he can play at a certain level and the doctors are telling you that he’s OK to go in, then you’ve got to do what you think is right. If I didn’t think it was right, he wouldn’t have been in. It’s just that simple.”

On if he would allow Griffin III to play in the Pro Bowl:

“First of all, again, I would speak to the doctors first and see what they say. But right now, I would think that there’s one thing that he’s concerned with and it’s getting that LCL well. So, I would say it’s probably a long shot but I don’t know that for sure until we figure out where he’s at with the examination.”

On if Dr. Andrews’ comments put him in a tough position to answer questions from the media:

“Yeah, it sure does. But like I said, that’s part of being an NFL head coach and what I do is I just talk to Dr. Andrews, ‘Hey Doc, just tell me what you heard, what you said.’ I felt very good after my conversation with him so when things go different directions, you can’t control that. All you do is try to focus on the job at hand. The thing I’m excited about is our football team and that’s where I’m at. At the end of the season, we’ve got a lot of young guys going in the same direction. Next year, our goals are changed. Everybody believes that we’ll be at a very, very high level. When you do win the NFC East, they expect to win it again. That’s the standard. You create a new standard. How you practice? How do you play? They want to get to the mountain top. That’s what you like. That’s what you look for. I understand all these things come with the job, especially in a market like this with the quarterback that we have. You don’t find guys like that and to think we’re going to question the guy’s career to win a football game is crazy. But I understand the questions that happen. They’re good questions especially when a guy’s limping a bit. It’s part of the process.”

On if he addressed the team today:

“I don’t address the team. The only thing I brought everyone in here for was because I wanted them to talk to the coaches – the assistant coaches. I spoke for a few seconds. I was going to have somebody else speak to the team today but they weren’t here. That’s the reason I did call them together. So, basically they got the assistant coaches. Before they left, we got their phone numbers. I said a few words but that’s about it.”

On if players ever take themselves out of games if they can’t play:

“Oh, yeah. Kory Lichtensteiger – he knew he was out. He’d say it, ‘Hey Coach, I tried.’ Players know. Players know when they can’t play, the majority of them.”

On the season:

“I said to our football team after the game, I said, ‘Hey guys, I could not be more proud of a group of guys.’ Because when you’re 3-6 and you’ve got all the adversity we had, it’s really hard to overcome that to keep on working hard, as we’ve briefly talked about before, and that just shows you not only what type of talent we have but what type of character we have in our organization, what type of players that we’ve got. Because a lot of people, once they get a little criticism, they can’t fight through it. It’s the end of the world and they start pointing fingers. Not this group. We lost four games in the fourth quarter we could’ve easily won. Instead of being 3-6, we could’ve easily been 6-3. But to do what we did just says so much about the guys in that locker room. Leadership really stepped up with our captains. A lot of guys that we never knew would perform at the level… We’ve got guys coming in like [running back] Alfred Morris. You’ve got him coming in. You take a guy like Robert playing at that level. You’ve got some our free agents like Pierre coming in and [wide receiver] Josh Morgan coming in and you lose a guy like [tight end] Fred Davis. How do these guys play with some of the injuries, besides four starters and three backups? So, you feel good. You even feel better about the depth of your football team next year when these guys come back to your football team. Even though it’s bittersweet, you do have to look at the positives.”

On linebacker London Fletcher:

“I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. I’ve never seen a guy not practice and play at the level that he did. He couldn’t practice and for him to go in the games and play at that level, it kind of gave you an idea of what type of preparation he had during the week because you can’t do that without knowing somebody’s going to do that before they do it. That’s what he did.”

On safety Tanard Jackson’s suspension:

“I know it’s one year. So, I’d say one year to the day is when he’ll be allowed to come back in.”

On Griffin III’s MRI:

“There’s just differences of opinions when you do have a new MRI with previous injuries with the ACL and LCL. What they like to do is give people a physical exam instead of just looking at the MRI. They want to bring them back and that’s what Dr. Andrews wants to do – an extensive physical exam and some more tests – and that’s what he’s going to do.”

On what he thinks Griffin III’s injury is:

“I’m not going to even try to speculate. I’ll tell you when I know. That’s what you get paid for – to speculate. So, I know you’re going to speculate either way so I just can’t because I don’t know.”

On when Griffin III will meet with Dr. Andrews:

“Dr. Andrews, from my understanding, is at the National Championship game tonight. His office is in Pensacola. I do know they’re going to meet tomorrow. That’s all I can tell you.”

On if Dr. Andrews was present for Griffin III’s MRI:

“I don’t know when he took off. I think he takes off right after the game so I don’t know if he was there for the MRI or not.”

On Griffin III’s previous injuries he referenced:

“The old ACL injury [at Baylor] and this latest injury with the LCL.”

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