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Redskins Conference Call Transcripts

Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan

Q: What do you miss when you don't have an indoor facility?
A: I don't think you miss a whole lot. It would be nice to have one because it would be a lot more convenient but I still think we got done what we needed to get done today.

Q: Why didn't Devin Thomas work out for you guys down there?
A: It's really hard to say, but I've had a chance to get to know Devin over the last six or eight months and I'm really pulling for him because he's got a lot of ability. It didn't happen here but I'm hoping that it does work out for him in the NFL because he is really a quality guy.

Q: Do you rely on Donovan's experience and expertise against the Giants?
A: Sure. Any time you've got a quarterback with experience, you're always leaning on that quarterback to guide you through tough situations.

Q: Did you anticipate Brandon Banks having the kind of impact he's had?
A: Well, if I would have, then I would have drafted him, so I don't think anybody knew he'd have that kind of impact, but it didn't take long to see that he's got some exceptional skills.

Q: What is your running back situation at this point?
A: I'm not really sure. We're going to evaluate a couple of our tailbacks here over the next couple of days to see exactly what kind of shape they're in.

Q: How concerned are you about your defense right now?
A: Well, you're always concerned about every phase, but our defense has played some excellent games, but you've got to do it week in and week out and last week we didn't get it done collectively – not just on defense, but on offense and special teams.

Q: You and Tom Coughlin have both been coaches in the NFL for a long time. What does it take to survive as coaches in this league and keep the message strong to your teams?
A: First thing you need is some good players, next thing you need is a good owner and then obviously a good coaching staff.

Q: As for the message, what is the message that you need to deliver to players and how has it changed over the years?
A: I just think it depends on who the head coach is and what are his priorities, what type of message that he wants to deliver to his team – how he practices, how he goes about his off-season – everybody is a little bit different, but everybody has got their own personality and you've got to be yourself and I think that Tom and I have been ourselves through the years and everybody has got just a little different message and just a little different way how they go about things.

Redskins QB Donovan McNabb

Q: How does not having an indoor practice facility affect practice for you guys?
A: I think what happens is guys get a chance to rest their bodies. The most important thing is we get the mental phase down. Communicating and walking through the particular plays and the fronts that you may see, the blitzes you can prepare for, and guys get a chance to watch a little bit more film. I think that's very important in what we would like to accomplish, and getting back out to practice tomorrow at full speed and continue to progress.

Q: It's been an up and down season for you guys. What do you have to do to get back on track and make a playoff run?
A: You just have to eliminate mistakes. I think for a lot of teams in this situation, it's a time where you want to play your best. If it's changing some different things that you've done in the early part of the season, or adding some different things to your regiment, whatever it takes. I think this is the time that guys look around to see who steps up and who is going to feed off of what.

Q: Are you guys in a situation where you feel you have to win out to make the playoffs?
A: I think for us, we don't need to focus on playoffs. We need to take one game at a time, and make sure we're playing our best. We do have to win every game, and I think that's for every team no matter what your record is. You want to go into every game like you need to win, and this is a must-win situation for us, and it's going to be like that for the rest of the season.

Q: What can you tell us about Shawn Andrews and what's your relationship with him?
A: He's a hard worker, very talented guy, great feet. He was one of the best offensive linemen, not just on our team, but in the league while he was playing. Injuries kind of played a part of things, but he's battled back well and he's doing a great job over there playing tackle for the Giants. When you have a guy who can play inside and outside and be very effective, obviously that's a bonus.

Q: What do you attribute your success to against the Giants?
A: It's just a comfort level in the team that you're with and the things that you're able to do. Guys around me made plays, and when you're playing against a team twice a year, you have a feel with them, like what they're going to do, their defense's fronts and blitzes, and the answers to some of their questions. That's something that is obviously a lot different being with a different ballclub, but when you play against a team for eleven years, you build a good relationship with them as far as what they're doing and the defensive coordinators and things of that nature. It's going to be a battle, and it's going to be a lot of fun.

Q: What's your opinion of Eli not being sacked in four games despite constant shuffling of the offensive line?
A: When you have a guy like Eli, who is experienced now, and he knows that he has to get the ball out of his hand. He's a talented guy with an offensive line that he's very comfortable with. I know that they've been mixing some different guys in and out, but guys still gain that confidence from one another and they've been very effective in what they've been doing.

Q: Have things settled down for you after the controversies last month?
A: Things have settled down. I don't have to answer that question too much anymore. At least that's a bonus. Again, I think for all of us that we have to move on from the situation and focus on what we have to do to be a good football team over here.

Q: Does the later division games and a growing familiarity with the offense help you?
A: It's being in this offense, and I think also what it is is building a relationship with these guys. They're getting a feel with me and I'm getting a feel with them. We had a lot of positive plays all throughout the year, we just now have to eliminate some of the negative plays from taking us off the field on third down, or going from seven points to three points.

Q: How have the injuries in the offensive backfield affected you?
A: It hasn't just affected me, it affects the run the game. When you have a guy or two that's been there all throughout the year and you know what you're getting, that does wonders for an offense. When you rotate different guys in there due to injury, it's tough, it's tough. That's not an excuse for the mistakes that we made. We've made some mistakes in tough situations where each and every guy has had their part in that category.

Q: Most memorable game against the Giants?
A: That I don't know. I don't know because I've played against them so much, I can't pinpoint one or two things.

Q: What do you need to do to avoid getting sacked and allowing the Giants pass rush to take control of the game?
A: We have to recognize the blitz and be able to get the ball out, and give our guys opportunities to make plays. We have to be able to run the ball, and run our offense.

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