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Shanahan Season-Ending Press Conference

Posted Jan 2, 2012

TRANSCRIPT: Head coach Mike Shanahan recaps the Redskins' 2011 season and looks ahead to the offseason.


On the team meeting today led by Navy SEALs and a United States Marine:
“I never address the team on the final day. As we talked about before, I talked to the team after the game. [We] talked about some things – the schedule for today, some of the things, our plans for the near future, what’s in store, different things that you normally do over the next couple of weeks. But they did a great job. I listened to the speech today with the Navy SEALs – very motivational. I thought they did a great job.”

On why he wanted them to address the team:
“Really it’s from the NFL. The NFL has a mandatory meeting every year and [Director of Player Development] Bobby Crumpler puts it together. We didn’t really have a lot of time to put it together during the year, so our game plan was to have it after the season was over with. And Bobby knew it would be very motivational, very informative and we thought they did a great job.”

On the injury status of linebacker Brian Orakpo:
“Brian had a [pectoral] strain, just like we thought. He’s having an MRI today. Hopefully, it’s not too serious.”

On if there is a timetable for when safety LaRon Landry would have surgery:
“He’s going to make that decision if there’s surgery. We talked about Dr. [Robert] Anderson on what recommendations he had and his recommendation was for surgery. I don’t think LaRon has made a decision yet what direction he’s going to go.”

On the timetable for wide receiver Leonard Hankerson’s recovery:
“April 1. That’s what we’re targeting right now. We’re hoping he’s ready to go April 1 if there’s no setbacks.”

On if Hankerson had surgery:
“Right now, it’s just rest and treatment.”

On if he’s made the decision if all the coaches will be back next season:
“I haven’t sat down and talked to any of our coaches. I take the first couple weeks right now to sit back and talk to every coach. We sit down the next two weeks and we look at all our players. So no decision is made very quickly where I get a chance to sit down and talk to them as well as going back and taking a look at all of our offensive players and defensive players. One of the reasons why we don’t meet at the end of the season – sometimes emotions are so strong from a coaching staff standpoint, from a players standpoint. Sometimes, over the years, there have been things that have been said and done that aren’t usually in the best interest of the organization. To me, you give people a couple of days to kind of settle down a little bit and for us to relax a little bit and look at the film [and] be a little bit more objective in our evaluations of what went on throughout the season, get our game plan for next year.”

On if he has a schedule for when players return for offseason conditioning and OTAs:
“What happens now that’s pretty well-regulated. April 1, if you’re a new coach, you can start bringing players in. With the situation for coaches that have been at their places, middle of April and then they’ve got a plan from the middle of April to the middle of June what you can do.”

On how he’s handled end-of-season meetings in the past:
“Just like I did last night. I talked to the team a little after the game. I talked to them about the game, talked to them about the season, especially if you don’t make the playoffs – different things that you intend to do to give our football team and this organization the best chance to win in the near future.”

On if he had any individual meetings with players:
“Yeah, I had a number of individual meetings.”

On who requires an individual meeting and who doesn’t:
“Just ones I feel like talking to for whatever reason it may be. And some you’ll have where a number of players want to talk to me. It works both ways.”

On how big of a priority it is to re-sign linebacker London Fletcher:
“I’m not going to go into detail about all of our free agents because once I cover one, I’ve got to cover everybody. But I have addressed it with London already. He is a priority for us. Love to have him back and hopefully he’ll be back and part of our organization for years to come.”

On his relationship with Executive Vice President/General Manager Bruce Allen:
“It’s been great, to be honest with you. You always have got to have a game plan. You have a game plan with free agency. You have a game plan with the draft. You have a game plan with the salary cap. There’s a lot of different things that you do to put an organization together. He’s very experienced and he’s very good at what he does. It’s worked out well together.”

On how active he plans to be in the offseason with personnel:
“I think very similar to last year. I thought we were pretty active last year. We did some things to help ourselves with the salary cap to get into position for the future. I think we made some strides defensively with the acquisition of a few free agents that have helped us as well as some draft choices. We’ll continue to do that as a team both on offense and defense. And I think we made some strides even though the record may not show it, but we’re a much better football team than we were a year ago.”

On the quarterback position:
“I’m not going to get into specifics. That’s pretty obvious – who is here and the potentials through the draft and free agency. The only thing I can say – we’re going to do everything possible to improve at every position if it’s through free agency, if it’s through the draft. We’re going to get as much competition in here as possible and try to look through every scenario to help our football team win.”

On acquiring more competition at the quarterback position:
“It’s very early right now. Like I said, regardless of who’s a free agent, who’s got a contract [and] who doesn’t have a contract, it really is meaningless at this time. What we’re going to do is work as hard as we can – could be through a trade, could be through free agency [or] could be through the draft at every position. Our job is to try to put a football team together that gives us the best chance to win. That’s what we’ll do.”

On special teams coordinator Danny Smith:
“I think Danny’s done a great job if you take a look at his body of work. You just don’t do it this season, [but] take a look at his body of work over time. I think he’s done a great job with the special teams unit and we’re going to continue to get better. We’re pretty inexperienced at that position, which is no excuse, but we’ll keep on working to upgrade us. We’ve got to get better in that area. There’s no question about it.”   

On the longer gap for when players have off:
“First of all, you’re hoping that you have players who are motivated, self-motivated. So when they do come in, they’re in decent shape. We’re going to bring them in in the middle of April and we’ll have a couple week conditioning program, which is mandated by the NFL. Then, you get a chance to work people for a couple of weeks independent of offensive and defensive teams. The next couple of weeks you’re able to do that. You’ve got a plan in the offseason now, which is uniform throughout the league. It’s mandated. We’ll follow those rules and work within the rules.”

On how he determined his schedule following the season:
“Probably a combination of being in a lot of different places and then taking what you feel gives you a chance to, at least before you leave, [get] a good feel for where you’re at as a football team. To me, a lot of people just take off right away, kind of get away for a couple of weeks and then come back. I’ve always enjoyed at the end of the season having a chance to go back and study the film of how guys played in the NFL season [and] kind of get a picture in your mind at least of how you feel kind of going into the offseason program about your football team. I’ve always enjoyed the cross-check with defensive coaches looking at offensive players and offensive coaches looking at defensive players, even our special teams coaches. I’ll take a certain segment on offense and defense and evaluate that and you kind of study it over a couple week timeframe. You get some cross-check of opinions of how they feel that players played before you go into free agency, you’ve got a good feel where you’re at with your football team - guys that you want to keep, guys that you want to bring back, other guys that you might want to replace. So it’s a combination of all those things that kind of give me a good feel when you do get a couple of weeks off mentally, you feel pretty good where you’re at as an organization.”

On if he looks for offensive linemen who are specifically skilled at either pass blocking or run blocking:
“First of all, you’ve got to take a look at guys that you feel like can play. Obviously, if you can play, you’ve got to be able to do both. Sometimes one might be a little bit better in pass protection or the running game and you’ve got to anticipate or at least project if a guy can play in the National Football League and help you win.”

On Sean Locklear’s comments about not meeting with players in the team meeting:
“Like I said, I talked to Sean after the game… I’ve only been doing it that way for a number of years. He must be used to a different way.”

On tackle Jammal Brown’s performance while playing through injuries:
“I think you kind of nailed it on the head. Jammal is a guy that is very talented. I think we know what he’s done. He has been hampered with injuries…His future will be determined on how he heals up in the offseason. He’s going to be here all offseason. I’ve talked to him, had a good conversation with him. He knows he’s got to get in great shape because he knows he can play at a very high level if he’s feeling good. That hip was by no means close to 100 percent this year. So he’s going to be here throughout the offseason getting in the best shape that he can possibly get in to give himself the best opportunity to start next year. If not, he understands that it’s a short career if you can’t stay healthy.”

On how the lockout affected his season:
“I’ve always been one to adjust. Whatever the schedule is, everybody’s got to adjust to the same schedule. It is what it is. With the lockout, with all the different rules, people had to adjust. I thought it was the toughest on new staffs and they adjusted very well. So whatever it is, you’ve got to deal with it. Some people obviously did it a little bit better than others.”

On running backs Roy Helu and Evan Royster:
“I thought they both did a terrific job this year taking advantage of opportunities when they presented themselves. Both Helu and Royster got some experience, obviously Helu a little bit sooner than Royster. Taking a look at Royster against Philly, here’s a guy that comes in and gets over 100 yards and carries the ball extremely well against a defense that’s been giving up about three-and-a-half yards a carry the last couple of games. He came in and played exceptionally well and was tired and hurt and fought through it. Two young guys that got a lot of experience–  that’ll help us for the future.”

On if offensive lineman Eric Olsen was signed by another team:
“If he was, I’m not aware of it.”

On if the team is searching for a playmaking wide receiver or if one will emerge from the current roster:
“You’re always hoping that that difference maker, that playmaker, emerges from your own team. But you’re always looking for playmakers. As I stated after the game yesterday, it was the first time that we caught a pass that we actually ran it in for a touchdown. So you’re looking for guys that can make plays and go the distance. So, regardless if it’s a halfback, if it’s a wide receiver [or] tight end, you’re always looking for playmakers.”

On if a losing season motivates him:
“Obviously, you better be motivated, because if you’re not motivated, you’re not going to be in this business for a long time. I enjoy what I do. I’m looking forward to the challenge of putting a great football team together here with the Washington Redskins. I know we’re not there yet. But I’m excited with what I do. I’m excited about this football team and the players that we’ve got. And I’m excited for the future. I knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight. But I know we’re heading in the right direction. We’ve got a lot more depth. We’ve got some young guys. We’ve got some older vets. But we’ve got the people that I feel give you the chance to make up something special. And that’s where it starts. It’s not going to happen all in one year or two years. You know, I’m still disappointed we didn’t win 10 or 11 games. I really believe if we would have stayed healthy — that’s not using it as an excuse because we didn’t have a lot of depth —I think we could have gotten there. But you’ve got to go get it done. I think in the near future we’ve got to have a good free agent class, more depth, but I like what we have on our football team. That gives you a chance to do something special.”

On if the season took a toll on him:
“It always takes a toll on you. With all the time that you put in, every time you have a loss, especially with the effort that you put in, it’s like somebody sticks a knife in you. It’s tough to go through a season like that. Thank God I haven’t gone through any like this before. I might not have been in this profession very long. But it’s something that really drives you, motivates you. It’s something that I look forward to doing – putting a great football team together and doing it the right way. And sometimes it takes a little bit longer than sometimes expected.”

On moves the team made that might have indicated the team was closer to contending:
“I think you’re referring to Donovan [McNabb] and giving up a second-round draft choice and a fourth-round draft choice, if you’re going to be specific. But I think it’s always worth the chance, always worth the risk sometimes to take a chance to get a possible Pro Bowl quarterback. They don’t come very often. But I also made the commitment that, if it wasn’t the guy for the future, we weren’t going to keep that guy just to keep him. Sometimes you’ve got to deal; you’ve got to make decisions like that. And if it doesn’t work out, you’ve got to be able to go on. I thought we were fortunate enough this year that since we gave up a second and a fourth, that we took that10th pick and we went back six spots and were able to pick up a second,- third- and fourth-round pick, and we got three starters on our football team. So I think that helped our football team. And then obviously being able to trade another quarterback, with Jason Campbell, we were able to get another fourth this year, which I think will help us in our future. Those are the type of things that you have to make some tough decisions [about] and you’re hoping they work out. But if they don’t work out, you’ve got to keep on going forward and either do it through draft and free agency and put together the best football team you can possibly put together.”

On the role owner Daniel M. Snyder will play during the offseason:
“Any time you’re the owner of the football team, you constantly keep him updated on what direction you intend on going, both in free agency and in the draft. He’s been very, very supportive. He wants to do it the right way. You understand it’s not going to happen overnight. You’ve got to do it the right way, and I appreciate his support.”

On if it is important to have an older quarterback to mentor younger quarterbacks:
“I think it always helps. It always helps to have a great mentor if you can. Just having a guy like London Fletcher on your football team — I don’t care what position you play —but you’ve got a veteran player that knows how to prepare himself, he’s got passion for the game —  he can set a standard not only for you, but for the whole defense. It picks up the whole defense. You’re always looking for that type of leadership, especially at the quarterback position.”

On reports about why linebacker Rocky McIntosh was inactive last week:
“I don’t go through that, but obviously Rocky didn’t dress for the game and there was a reason for it but I don’t go through why...I’m not saying it’s true or not true.”

On the importance of Trent Williams proving what he has learned this offseason:
“I think it’s very important. He’s got to be smart enough to understand that if you disappoint your football team like he did, you better come back with a passion and show people you’ve got the work ethic and the drive to do what we need him to do, especially being the fourth pick in the draft. We know what type of talent he has. We know he’s a very likeable guy. I was pleased with his work ethic coming into his second year, how he prepared himself, how he was playing. But he’s got to prove that he can do it on a day-to-day basis and set the standard for the rest of our football team and our organization.”

On fullback Darrel Young:
“DY’s a heck of a football player. If we have everybody that has a mindset of a DY, we have a chance to have great seasons every year. He’s what you look for in a football player. Making the transition from a linebacker position to a fullback position sometimes is very tough, but he’s stepped up and he’s played at a very good level and I expect him to play at that level in the future. He’s very sharp, very conscientious, very passionate – everything you look for in a guy. Very well prepared.”

On how his evaluation of tight end Fred Davis was changed by the suspension:
“You know, Fred made a mistake. We sat down and talked about his mistake. I do feel very good about Fred as a person. I liked the way he worked. I like his attitude. I like his development over the last year and a half since I’ve been here. I think he’s had a complete change in the way he’s handled himself off the field to prepare himself to be a consummate pro with working out. Hopefully the mistake won’t happen again that he made this year.”