Here are the highlights from coach Mike Shanahan’s afternoon press conference the day after beating Arizona, 22-21:
Shanahan declined to provide updates about any injured players, including CB Josh Wilson (head/neck/back).
He dodged a question about whether Fred Davis has overtaken Chris Cooley as the Redskins’ No. 1 tight end.
“We’ve got two excellent football players,” he said.
“Those are the problems that you want. We will play the best players. If we have four tight ends that are our best players, we won’t have wide receivers on the field. If we’ve got four wide receivers that are great players and our tight ends aren’t playing at a certain level, then we’ll have four wide receivers. We’ve got the flexibility on offense to do what we want to do. You can’t do that on defense. So we dictate on offense who’s going to play, how many reps people are going to get. That’s dictated on what they do through practice and how they do during the games.”
Shanahan didn’t watch the Philadelphia Eagles loss Sunday night. He dined out with family who was visiting from out of town.
As for being 2-0, Shanahan has been there before eight times – each as coach of the Denver Broncos.
“You just won two games,” he said. “That’s about it. I don’t think our players are overly excited that we’re 2-0 because they understand we’ve got a big game Monday night against Dallas. Things change very quickly, so our concentration will be on Dallas. I’m not really concerned about what our record is.”
Shanahan reflected on his decision to go for it on fourth-and-3 trailing by 8 with 5:23 remaining in the fourth quarter and all three of the Redskins’ time outs. He was asked whether he relies on established percentages when making such calls.
“You go through all those stats, but it usually comes down to gut feel,” he said. “I’ve always leaned to the other side, not very conservative. I usually take chances.”
That the Redskins scored touchdowns on only two of seven drives inside the red zone will help keep heads level around team headquarters this week.
“You work on the things you did poorly, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Shanahan said. “It’s nice to get down to the red zone as many times as we did, but…you’ve got to finish. If you finish, then you get 40, 45 points. If you don’t finish, then you score 22 points like we did. We’re going to keep working on that area. Obviously, not very good, not good enough to score 22 points the way we moved the football and to be down in the red zone seven different times and to only come away with two touchdowns. That will be an area of emphasis this next week and hopefully we’ll improve.”
This week is longer than normal, but the Redskins will install their game plan on a normal schedule. They’ll practice Wednesday and Thursday and have a walkthrough Friday, as usual. Then they’ll have an extra walkthrough Saturday.
Shanahan is proud of how QB Rex Grossman responded to the early interceptions.
“When he came off to the sideline on the second interception, I just smiled at him and said, ‘Hey, those things do happen. Just shake it off. You’ve got to play well the rest of the game.’ Sometimes a ball will be tipped. Other times it will be a bad decision. It could be a missed assignment. But at the end of the day you’re responsible for that ball. Rex has been a quarterback long enough to understand that you’ve got to wipe those things out and find a way to win.”