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Postgame Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan


On the Redskins' performance:
"I was pleased with the overall effort of the football team. I felt we played extremely hard. Nothing's perfect though. You got to find a way to win a game and that's what I thought we did."

On the performances of rookie linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and rookie nose tackle Chris Neild:
"You always want guys making plays, especially young guys. They both came in and played well."

On quarterback Rex Grossman's performance:
"I thought Rex played an excellent game. There was a lot of pressure up front; they were a very talented football team. It's extremely hard to get big plays in the passing game against a defensive front that puts lots of pressure on the quarterback."

On Neild's pass rushing:
"Anytime a guy gets two sacks, I don't think you are expecting that the first game of his rookie season, especially for a nose tackle, so it's a little bit of a surprise for a guy to have two sacks. But, Chris has that type of mindset. He's a worker. He does an excellent job at the nose tackle position, especially coming in as a young guy. I like the way he handles himself. He's a worker, very accountable and he played accordingly."

On Kerrigan's interception:
"They did a great job. We had a max blitz on that play. We kind of read the quarterback trying to dump the ball off. We played a little smoke to the wide receiver – very edgy play by him – good adjustment. It was a big play."

On the defense's performance in the second half:
"It's what you have to do. You got to make some plays on offense and defense. I thought our defense made a number of plays in the second half. We had some third and shorts, some first downs, put a little pressure on their quarterback and got him a little bit out of rhythm. I thought that was a big difference in the second half."

On Grossman's slow start:
"They did something that they normally don't do – a lot of man-to-man and pressure early. It really challenged our offensive line and wide receivers. It was a good adjustment by them. It was something they hadn't shown a lot of and I was pleased with the way we adjusted."

On the importance of tight end Fred Davis' catches:
"You have to make third downs. You have to have your quarterback stand in the pocket and make the proper reads. You have to have a guy like Fred and some of our other receivers make big plays which they did. That's a big part of that football game – making those big third down plays. It takes a combination of everybody especially against a team that was really putting a lot of pressure."

On the team's mindset:
"I got a lot of belief in our football team, but it is one win. We got to take it one game at a time. It's a long season, but you have to believe in yourself. I think our players believe in themselves, but like we said in the beginning, talk is cheap. You have to go out and prove yourself each week, and hopefully, we can continue to do that."

On finishing the game:
"People have to make plays. You turn the football over, and your defense comes up and makes a number of big plays. That's what you have to do. You have to finish games. We got a chance to finish a little bit earlier in that third quarter and we couldn't get anything going offensively when we were in some excellent field position. Sometimes when you hang around like that all of a sudden it can come back and bite you, but we stepped up and kept working and persevering. I was pleased with the way it turned out. We played a full 60 minutes."

On Davis' overall performance:
"Fred had an excellent camp. I'm really proud of Fred and how he's handled himself. He made some big time plays today as well as Rex stepping up in that pocket. You got to have everybody making some plays. We really had a chance to make a few more plays in that game, but I think down the road we will make those plays. For the first game there were a lot of positives."

On playing on September 11:
"It was amazing – 9-11. It brought tears to your eyes. It was quite emotional."

On adjusting to man-to-man pressure:
"Everybody's got different game plans relative to what you do – running game, passing game. They did a good job. They put a lot of pressure on us. They did a good job of taking a lot of our runs away. We didn't run like we normally run, but I thought we had a couple of big plays in the passing game."

On linebacker Brian Orakpo's sprained right ankle:
"Hopefully it's not too bad."

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