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Mike Shanahan Conference Call Transcript

Washington Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan addresses the New England media during his conference call on Wednesday, December 7, 2011.

Q: How do the losses of Trent Williams and Fred Davis impact your team right now and going forward over the next four weeks?  

MS: Yeah, well it's always disappointing when you lose two players, especially two of your better players, you know in Trent and Fred and disappointed that they didn't pass the test and they didn't do what they were supposed to do. You're disappointed in that and they've got to pay the consequences. Not only do they have to pay the consequences but our team pays the consequences. You want your people to be accountable and they made a mistake and they addressed our football team and told them how disappointed they were. I told them how disappointed I was in them for making that decision, but that's basically over now and it was addressed. I just talked to our media about it. Now, we go on.  

Q: Who steps up in their place now?  

MS: We've got a couple guys. We've got Willie Smith and Sean Locklear and then we'll see. Then we've got Tyler Polumbus who has worked there as well. So we've got three guys, but really we're looking at Willie and Sean more at left tackle and Tyler's backed up to right tackle and left guard position.   

Q: The offense seems to spread it out a lot in terms of receivers, but how do you expect to change without a guy that leads your team in receptions?  

MS: Well, it's just like somebody getting hurt. Somebody goes down, somebody has to step up and get the job done, so we'll see who steps up and hopefully takes advantage of an opportunity.  

Q: Andre Carter said when he parted ways with the Redskins he thought his career might be done due to the lockout and not immediately signing. When he left the Redskins did you think he was done?  

MS: Well, no. He wanted an opportunity to go some place. We had talked about his ability to rush the quarterback and we were running a 3-4 defensive scheme and [using] him more as an outside linebacker. And we knew we couldn't pay him what he was making, but we knew there would be somebody out there that would pay him what he deserved or at least what we thought he deserved and we weren't sure, so we let him go just because he was such a class guy. Obviously, he landed in a great organization and he's doing a great job for them.  

Q: So this level of production from him is not entirely surprising to you?  

MS: Oh no. He's pretty - I think he had 10 sacks the year before we got here. So he's in a little different scheme, so he's a guy that works really hard and I've been impressed with the way he's playing.  

Q: Maybe a much different situation, but what was the decision like to part ways with Albert Haynesworth?  

MS: Well, like you said, that was completely different. You talk about Andre Carter who was the most accountable guy that you could be around - he's a pro. Albert, it didn't take long to figure out that everybody buys into a system and it didn't take long to figure out that he wasn't buying in, so that was an easy decision.  

Q: What reaction did you have when you heard how it ended here with Albert Haynesworth?  

MS: It doesn't surprise me.   

Q: A couple former Patriots seem to be doing pretty well for you. How have Jabar Gaffney and Donte' Stallworth helped out your offense?  

MS: They've done a good job for us. It was Jabar coming in - we needed a veteran receiver, we didn't have a lot of depth at the wide receiver position. We lost Santana Moss for four games and we needed some more depth and brought in Donte' because just his experience in the NFL. We had some draft choices, we lost a guy like [Leonard] Hankerson and we had some other guys, some of our draft choices step up. We felt we needed some depth and Jabar's come in and really played well and Donte' has come back after we released him and has had a couple good games.  

Q: When you visited Patriots camp in 2009 were you taking notes?  

MS: You know what you really do is you just kind of go in and watch people and how they practice like their two-a-days. As a head coach and really as an assistant coach, you don't get a chance to really visit any clubs. And so, in New England with all the success they had and Pittsburgh with all the success they' had, I just wanted to see how they ran their camps. You know everybody is fairly similar and there're some different ways [and] different styles people go about it. It was nice of Bill [Belichick] letting me come in and watch his practice as well as Mike Tomlin watching his as well.  

Q: Have you taken anything you learned during that little hiatus and used it in this next stint?  

MS: Yeah. What I think you do is try to stay on top of everything. There might be an idea here or there. You watch a lot of film, but you go about [watching] how they practice, how they do their drills, how they incorporate their kicking game in certain game-type situations. There's always something that you pick up anytime you watch somebody practice or at least you try to. With a guy like Bill [Belichick] and they way he runs it, it's easy to pick up a lot of things.  

Q: How did you and Bill Belichick become acquaintances and how has your friendship developed over the years?  

MS: I think how you develop relationships in this league is you go against each other in some big games as assistants, as coordinators, as head coaches and we've been going at it for - I got in in '84 and Bill was in way before me, so you start taking a look at 25, 30 years of going against each other as assistant coaches [and] coordinators, and there are a lot of games, a lot of meaningful games, and a lot of respect through the years. Then it just has carried over to you know, dinners and maybe getting together for a beer here and there, and I've got a lot of respect for him.  

Q: When you look at the season you are having this year, it started off with some promise with a record of 3-1 and then you had the five game slide and a change at quarterback. Can you talk a little about the decision to go to John Beck and then back to Rex Grossman?  

MS: Yeah, that was a little different because not only did we lose - I mean we played Philadelphia and lost the game and we lost three of our starters - [Kory] Lichtensteiger, we lost [Chris] Cooley and at that time we lost Trent Williams for a few games. Then, the next game we lost a couple more - [Tim] Hightower and Santana Moss. So we kind of put John in a tough situation there coming in and playing with five starters being out in comparison to Rex. Rex got pneumonia and he was out for a couple games anyhow. John didn't play as well as Rex did, so when Rex was ready and healthy we put him back in and he's been our quarterback since.    

Q: How do you think Rex Grossman has done over the last five games or so?

MS: I think a couple games he's played well; a couple games he's played not as good as you'd like. I think last week he didn't play as well as he had the two previous games but that's the nature of the quarterback [position]. We had our opportunities to put the game away late and we didn't do it so that's disappointing, but you strap it up again and get ready to go.  

Q: As you put together your game plan every week, you have put different guys in different positions each week. The Patriots do that too. Have you ever seen anything like what the Patriots have done on defense bringing guys off the street, starting them, using receivers on defense?  

MS: No, I think Bill [Belichick] is probably the only one who can do that and then he keeps them out of the end zone. He looks at one stat and that's giving up points and if you can't give up many points you're going to win a lot of football games and that's what he's doing. He's scoring a lot on offense and not giving up many points on defense. He doesn't care about total defense. He just cares about giving up points and winning football games. He knows how to win and he knows how to utilize guys.  

Q: Going back to Rex Grossman - he seemed to be playing with great confidence and obviously, is a confident guy. Have you seen that wane at all over the last four or five games for him?  

MS: Oh no, just the opposite. He has a lot of confidence and he demands perfection and he expects guys to play at a certain level and he's got a lot of belief that he can go out there and get the job done. That's what you need from the quarterback - a quarterback that believes in himself, believes in his teammates, and even when you have a so-so game, you're not afraid to call yourself out and say, 'Hey, I've got to play at a higher level.' I like what we have.  

Q: Did you know when you were in New England in 2009 or any point after you left Denver that you would get back into coaching again? Or was it just about getting the opportunities? How did you handle that situation?  

MS: Until you're actually out for a year, you know you coach for 35 years and you get some time off, you realize that you really do enjoy the game. And yeah, I knew I was going to get back in. I really didn't know where, I didn't know how long, but there were a lot of question marks. The question was how long it would be before I got an opportunity. Do you wait for the right part of the country or a certain part of the country? I shouldn't say the right part of the country, just what your interests were.  

Q: What do you think about what Tim Tebow is doing in Denver?  

MS: You know it's kind of great. I had a chance to work out Tim a few times and got a chance to get to know him. He did the same thing at Florida that he's doing now with Denver. He's got a way of moving the ball and finding a way to get the ball in the end zone and people are playing at a high level around him. People still come up with the big question mark - you're going against a team that scores some points, can he play a catch up game? But he'll keep on getting better and better and I don't think the controversy will ever end.

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