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Need to Know: Shanahan says it’s too soon to judge NFC East

Oct 1, 2013, 4:59 AM EDT

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Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 1, 12 days before the Redskins visit the Cowboys on Sunday night.

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Five key quotes from Mike Shanahan’s Monday news conference:

1. The Redskins went to a no-huddle attack a couple of times during the game and it was pretty effective. One no-huddle drive led to a field goal and their first touchdown drive started with the quick tempo.

It’s always good when you use something that nobody has ever seen before, so you do catch people off-balance a little bit and I think that’s what we did. We caught them a little off-balance. The pace was a little bit different, and I think it’s a good changeup.”

2. Some Redskins didn’t particularly like having the bye so early in the schedule. Shanahan pointed out that the Redskins have played eight games counting the preseason so a break is welcome at any time.

I don’t even think about that because when you’ve got your bye, it’s your bye. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of the season, toward the end of the season or in the beginning. You can use excuses that it’s the perfect time for any bye week. At the end of the day, we have got a chance to heal up a little bit. We have got a couple of guys banged up which is a positive for us to get these guys healthy.

3. Shanahan thinks it’s too early to make any grand pronouncements about the state of the NFC East where the teams are a combined 4-12.

Remember, this is a long season. Don’t get carried away with things that happen very early or very late. Just stay the course. Understand your objective and your goals and try to get better each day. A lot of those games can go either way and people get healthy or they get injured and there is a lot that goes into it.”

4. Brandon Meriweather played a decent game, mostly lining up at free safety while Reed Doughty was at strong.

The one thing about Brandon, if he’s deep or he’s in the box, he can tackle, he’s going to make some plays. I think he’s getting in better football shape. You can see each game he’s playing better and he’s getting healthier. You need reps to be good no matter what, and those reps are helping him.”

5. As I noted yesterday, Robert Griffin III has been flagged for intentional grounding six times in his 19 NFL starts including one in a key situation yesterday. Shanahan was asked what can be done about this tendency.

“We go over the things with Robert. If you do get put in a situation like that, and someone might miss an assignment, they may have an all-out blitz, which side do you throw it to? Do you throw it to the side with no wide receivers or the side with three wide receivers? All of a sudden, as time goes on, the process slows down a little bit, and with repetition, you get better.”

Stat of the day

—The Redskins were called for just three penalties for 29 yards against the Raiders. In their first three games they had averaged 7.7 penalties and 66 penalty yards.

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Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Cowboys 12; Bears @ Redskins 19; Redskins @ Broncos 26

—Today’s schedule: Availability with assistant coaches and players 10:30; Mike Shanahan news conference follows, approx. 11:30.

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