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04.18.10 April minicamp: M. Shanahan, K. Shanahan, Haslett, Portis, McNabb

Executive Vice-President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On if quarterback Donovan McNabb met expectations during mini-camp:

“Donovan has done a great job since he has been here.  It’s always a learning situation any time you come in.  It’s like learning a different language any time you have a different system.  Even though some of the terminology is the same, there are a lot of differences in what we do and what Philly has done through the years, but he’s a worker.  He’s come out here and he’s really thrown the ball well.  I’m just looking forward to him getting to know the system a little bit better and feeling more comfortable with the system as we go through these OTAs.”

On defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth not attending the mini-camp:

“The reason why I like people here is the standard of how we operate as an organization.  I think our players are getting a good feel on what we expect on and off the football field both, in the offseason program.  Obviously learning the Xs and Os, we got some OTAs ahead of us and what you do [is] you get a chance to see how we operate, the coaching staff.  Also, you’re going to get a chance to get a good feel of our system.  What I found out with players, especially as they get older, if they don’t really have a commitment to the offseason program they get pulled hamstrings, quads.  They can’t stay healthy and anytime that you work out with your teammates, normally it’s a big plus.  Now the people that don’t do that, obviously there is a downside, and as you get older it is harder to push yourself to the next level.  Obviously Albert has made a decision to do that.  I am hoping he comes in, in great shape and can help our football team win.  We’ve made a big investment in Albert and hopefully he can come in here, stay healthy and play at a level where he can help us win.  We will find that out in time.”

On if he has had people in the past who have trained away from the facility:

“I have had people in the past.  I gave Shannon Sharpe the ability when I first got to Denver.  He proved to me that he could be in the best shape.  I gave him the opportunity to go back to Atlanta because I never worried about Shannon.  He would still show up to offseason conditioning programs.  I think you know that I want everybody here, especially, some of the people that you are counting on to be some of your big time players, people that you want to lead.  Obviously, he’s made a decision to do what he wants to do.  I’m just hoping that he can come in here, in great shape, come in here and prove me wrong.  What I mean by that is a guy that is doing everything he can in the offseason program, not being with his teammates and come in here and help us win.”

On if he is open to trading Albert Haynesworth:

“There has not been one mention about trading Haynesworth or any other player on this football team since I have been here.  The only person that I have allowed to talk to other teams is Jason Campbell.  I want to get a good feel of the people that we have on this team.  I’m not looking to trade anybody on our team.”

On if there is concern about Albert Haynesworth accepting his role in the 3-4 defense:

First of all, I don’t worry about people that aren’t here.  I’m not worried about Albert Haynesworth.  I always look at a person that’s not here just like they sprained their ankle on their first play of the game.  They might be out for the season.  That happens.  Those things happen.  If Albert comes in and he plays at a very high level and gives us a chance to win, so be it.  If not, I’ll look at a guy that just sprained his ankle on the first practice and he’s out for the year so we will see that.  What I want to talk about is the people that are here.  That gives our organization a chance to grow.  All this talk has been about Albert, nobody has asked me about these other players that have been working their rear ends off for the last month.”

On if he can tell that quarterback Donovan McNabb is a leader:

“When I first came in to Denver, [John] Elway was older than Donovan.  When I was with San Francisco and won the Super Bowl, Steve Young was older than Donovan and five years later I tried to get Steve Young back after John Elway retired and he had that concussion.  I think everybody knows what type of leader Donovan is.  It’s always nice to have a guy that has done it consistently in big games, who’s played well, who’s been able to do what he has done at Philly for those years going to the NFC Championship Games and obviously going to a Super Bowl.  You like that about them.  Our players understand that.  He’s a natural leader.  He’s got charisma.  He enjoys practicing.  He enjoys the game and I’m looking forward to obviously building our offense around him.”

On if he saw any examples of Donovan McNabb’s leadership this weekend:

“Just the way he practices.  Just the way he handles himself.  There is a sense of urgency.  He’s a natural leader the way he handles himself with his teammates.  Just the way he goes about his business.  Anytime you have a guy who’s a natural leader it’s very easy to see.”

On how satisfied he is with running back Clinton Portis’ work ethic:

“Clinton has worked very hard.  He’s done everything I have asked him to do.  I don’t believe he has missed an offseason workout except the one time he had to get checked out for his concussion.  He’s working extremely hard.  He had three excellent days in the mini-camp.  We’ve got some competition.  We’ve got a lot of guys working extremely hard.  I think our conditioning staff is doing a great job getting these guys ready for our OTAs and players have done everything I have asked them to do.”

On differences between this mini-camp and his mini-camps in Denver:

“Very similar, you got a standard on how you practice, on how you operate as an organization.  You can always go back and look at things and say ‘Hey, if I had to do it over again, what would I do a little bit differently?’  I think everybody does that.  Most of it is communicating with your players, letting them know the standard that you expect them to practice at or how you conduct meetings, how you expect them to handle themselves and you get to obviously implement your offense, defense and special teams as well.”

On how he has worked with Executive Vice President/General Manager Bruce Allen in preparing for the draft:

“It’s a long process, obviously, taking a look at all this film.  You got the scouts in, the college scouts, the coaches.  It’s just a long process of evaluating all these players.  You take into consideration the coaches’ evaluation, the scouts’ evaluation and we’re looking at a lot of film.  There is no easy way to do it.  It’s just a lot of hours, a lot of evaluation.  You’ve got a Redskins board that we’ll be looking at and that’s one of the reasons for this mini-camp out here.  You get a mini-camp to evaluate our players, the players that I haven’t had the chance to be around, to address some of your needs if it is through the draft or maybe a trade here and there or possibly free agency as time goes on.”

On what is has been like to work with Bruce Allen:

“Bruce has got a lot of experience doing this over the years.  Obviously when I was in Denver and he was at Tampa [Bay] we talked many a times with trades when we were on the clock.  So he’s a veteran.  He’s very good at what he does.”

On if there were any players that surprised him this weekend:

“There was a few but I don’t share that with you because then you’ll have an idea of what were going to do in free agency or the draft, but yeah, there was a number of those people that I was pleasantly surprised and a couple out there that you were disappointed in.  That’s usually the case.  It’s a long process so a three day mini-camp is not the end of the day.  It’s part of the evaluation process and we’ve got a lot of days ahead of us and I’m looking forward to them.”

On what his message to the team was at the start of mini-camp:

“First of all, we talked about a standard of how we practiced. That’s how we practice everyday. It’s the way I’ve practiced since I’ve been a head coach, and really got that started when I was in San Francisco. I learned that from that organization, and its stayed with me since I’ve been a head football coach. Doing certain things that we feel is the right way to practice. Finishing was one of those things today.”

On if this draft is deep enough to only have four picks to address the team’s needs:

“Obviously there’s a gameplan there, exactly how far do you slide, and what do you get in return. There are a number of different scenarios that we’ll look at, and possibly do, you just don’t really know at this time. But it’s part of your gameplan going in, what gives you the best chance to have success long-term, and that’ll be part of the process.”

On the status of Rocky McIntosh:

“I understand what Rocky’s [McIntosh] situation is. A lot of these guys that have been restricted free agents, and all of the sudden you’re going into your fifth year, going into your sixth year, and years pass and they’ll be getting that big contract. I understand and I can sympathize with what they’re going through, but at the same time we’re dealing with the situation at hand. I’d like Rocky to come in as quick as possible and be with his teammates, but I understand agents, some guys view things differently. I got a lot of respect for Rocky, and hopefully he’ll be in here quickly.”

On if the running back job will be designated to one player or multiple players:

“I think the end result is you want a productive running game. The experiences that I’ve had through past is we’ve done it different ways. We’ve had a 2,000-yard back, we’ve had a 1,750-yard back, we’ve had a 1,500-yard back, and we’ve had 2,500-yard back with three guys doing it. So, who gets it done? It really doesn’t matter if you’re doing it with three guys, one guy, or two guys; you want to be productive in the running game. That’s the bottom line. And it’s not just yards, it’s yards per attempt.”

On what it was like being with his son, Kyle, on the field for the first time:

“It was fun. You hate to brag on your son, but you never get a chance to work with him before, it was really an interesting adjustment for me because we’re very proud. He understands the game. He’s so much further than I was at his age it’s not even close. I was a coordinator in the league at 31 years old, and I look back and his knowledge is so far past mine at that age it’s kind of amazing.”

On if he is happy with four picks in the NFL Draft or would he like to add more:

“I would like a lot of picks.”

On if he’s comfortable with the personnel at the nose tackle position:

“What we try to do is get better everyday. You can’t put the whole team together within three days, or two weeks, and what you try to do is improve. There’s a reason why we won four games last year, and my job is to improve on our roster each day. We got to get better at practicing, we got to get better personnel, we need more competition, and we’ll constantly strive to do that. If it’s through the draft, free agency, or a combination of both.”

On the characteristics he’s looking for when evaluating the offensive line:

“Good offensive lineman. We’re looking for a balance. You want guys that can obviously do the job in the running game, and they have the ability to pass protect as well. These guys have been working extremely hard for the last month and I was impressed with a lot of our offensive linemen the last couple days.”

On if Denver Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady is his standard for draft offensive linemen:

“Everybody would love a Ryan Clady. They don’t happen very often. In fact I’ve been fortunate enough to be around a couple guys, Gary Zimmerman and Ryan Clady, and at the same time you win a lot of football games you don’t usually get a guy like that unless you’re very fortunate. We’re going to always try to get the best players that we could possibly get, and hopefully we can add to our football team.”

On his draft philosophy with regards to trading picks:

“I think if you look at my past, I love draft choices, so this is a little bit unusual for me going in without a third or a sixth rounder, and making the decision to acquire someone like Donovan [McNabb]. In the past I haven’t done that very many times. Every once in a while you’ll throw a draft choice here or there, which you feel gives your football team a chance to get better, but at the same time you know those draft choices are very important and I guarantee you we won’t give them away very quickly unless we think it’s the best thing for the football team.”

On his discipline infraction list:

“It’s doing the little things the right way. One thing about a team is everybody’s got to trust each other, and a part of trust is everybody making a commitment to one another that they’re going to do the little things the right way. My job is to keep them accountable. They’re job is to do what they’re supposed to do, and that’s the nature of a team. When your players trust each other, you get a chance to do something special. If your players don’t trust each other the chances of winning a Super Bowl aren’t very good. You may win a playoff game, but at least the Super Bowl teams that I’ve have been on that have won, it’s been a very strong trust. I’ve been to a lot of Championship Games where we had not won the Super Bowl, and that trust factor wasn’t as strong as when we did win the Super Bowl. They’ve got to believe in one another, they’ve got to count on each other to get the job done when the tough times are apparent, and hopefully we can accomplish that.”

On a characteristic about Donovan McNabb he was not aware of:

“I always liked the way he handled himself with the media. I thought he always handled himself in a class manner, and some of the toughest questions I’ve ever seen asked to somebody were some of the questions I’ve seen Donovan handle. I thought he handled it with as much class as anybody I’ve ever seen, and he handled himself the same way on the football field with his teammates. He’s a guy that has a lot of talent, and at the same time has a lot of charisma and class.”

On if there is a contradiction between holding players accountable and establishing trust:

“Just the opposite. What you have to do as a head football coach is you have to make people accountable. That’s my job. It’s also their job to understand what it takes to have this organization be successful. And my job is to make sure that everybody is accountable to each other, and they have a lot of experience on how to practice, how to do things. If you have rules, the reason why you do have rules, and we don’t have a lot of rules, is to make them, everybody, beat to the same drum. If you don’t, usually you’re not very good.”

On if the defense is officially a 3-4:

“I think if you take a look at Jim’s [Haslett] background, our base is off of a three-man front. Now, we also do a lot of things with the four-man front, so we’re using a combination of different things. I’m just saying we’re using a three-man, we’re using four-man, a lot of people in different positions, and that’s why were calling it the Redskins defense.”

On if the three-man front concept is a new addition to his playbook:

“I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, and I’m glad that I have somebody with the experience to actually implement it, and feel very comfortable with it because a number of guys have been around the 3-4 system for a long time, and yet they understand the four-man front as well, and they’ve used it for a number of years. A combination of both those things is what my philosophy has been.”

On why he has wanted to use a three-man front concept:

“Because it’s been very successful, and if you take a look from an offensive perspective it’s much harder to prepare for.  You’re not really sure who’s coming. A lot of different variations you can do, at least from my perspective with a three-man front, and the four-man front to really keep an offense off balance.”

On if this new defense is more conducive to generating turnovers:

“That’s one of our big emphasis is turnovers. If you take a look at some of the defenses that have used the three-man front, it’s a big change so hopefully those turnovers will come, but as you mentioned that will be our big emphasis. Over the last four years we were dead last, 32nd in the NFL.  For us to be the type of football team we want to be, we’re going to have to make some big time strides in that area and hopefully we will.”

Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett

On his thoughts about mini-camp:

I thought it went well. I thought the players out there worked hard. I enjoyed working with them. I think they are very intelligent. They are a very intelligent group, a very athletic group and I can see why they have played well in the past. I am excited about coaching.”

On which players he wants to build around:

“The building block is really Coach Shanahan. He is the one who is really building it from the ground up. He is the reason that I am here, obviously and the reason I came here is him. He has had a lot of tradition over the years. He has won a lot of games, has Super Bowl wins and I think he knows how to do it. I like what I have seen so far from that standpoint, I think the players are buying into it and that is where everything starts.

On his expectations for the defense:

“The big thing that we are emphasizing is that we need to get more turnovers and that is the number one thing that we need to get through to them. We haven’t ranked real high [in turnovers] and [haven’t gone a lot the defensive side over the last four years]. We are trying to get more – whether it’s interceptions, whether it’s fumbles, strips, different ways to get them. The other thing I want is to get more touchdowns to help the offense. I think teams with defenses that score six, seven, eight touchdowns a year usually win a lot of games.”

On where Albert Haynesworth fits on this defense:

“Albert is a guy who we would love to have here and we would love to have him now. He is a very talented player, a very smart player and a guy who can play almost any position. I think he is athletic enough to play anything. When Albert does show, he will have to play all three [front] positions. In nickel and dime he will play end, he will play tackle, he is going to play a lot of different positions. Hopefully, he comes soon because there is a lot to learn. I am excited about the opportunity to work with him.”

On whether Albert Haynesworth will be strictly a nose tackle:

“He will play every position up and down the front in this scheme.”

On whether the Redskins will play a 3-4 defense this season:

“We are going to do a little of everything. I have done a lot over the years. I have coached a 3-4 and a four-man line. It is going to be a little bit of everything. It is going to be an aggressive defense. Obviously, I think the guys like it that way. We will play multiple coverages, multiple fronts and we will do a lot of things. We are going to try and put them in the best positions and take advantage of their athleticism.”

On his evaluation of LaRon Landry:

“I think you have to put him in the right spot. He is so, so fast that he does not know how to temper his speed. The guy is unbelievably fast, and I think once we can harness that a little bit and get him to take some better angles, I think he is going to be a better football player. The scheme will help him and some of the things we will do will help him. He is a talented kid, he really is. He has unbelievable speed. If we can take advantage of it and use it right, I think it will be to his best advantage and to ours. It will help us win more games.”

On whether LaRon Landry will play free or strong safety:

“In our scheme we don’t have a strong and free. We have a left and right, open and closed. You can call it what you want. They have to know both spots because of motions and shifts. You can call it strong, free, it doesn’t really make a difference. They will all be in the box. They will all be in space. They will all blitz. They will all do a number of different things.”

On how much players who are not at mini-camp are missing:

“They have a lot to learn. There are more things to this defense – there are a lot of things. I think the longer you stay away, you have a lot of catching up to do, but being around the guys who are not here, knowing them and knowing how consensus they are, I think that they will be fine once we get them here and get them up to speed. I do not think it will be a big learning process.”

On whether he has been in contact with Albert Haynesworth and Rocky McIntosh:

“I have talked to both of them. I know our linebackers coach has talked to Rocky on a consistent basis. They both understand that we would love to have them here, but obviously that is not happening right now and that is out of my control. It really doesn’t bother me because I have to coach the guys that are here and have fun with them, and I am doing that. I think they will be fine once they get here.”

Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan

On how he felt the first mini-camp went:

“It went well. It was good to finally get out there [and] see what we’re working with.  [We are] teaching everyone a new offense, so each day it got better; first day everyone is a little rusty, they’re just trying to know what they’re doing. The more that they knew what they were doing each day, we got a little better at technique as it went and I thought today was our best day.”

On what it’s like to work with his dad:

“I really didn’t notice it out there at all. It’s been weird starting off, hearing him talk at meetings and stuff, just seeing it for the first time, but once you get on the field it’s all ball and you forget who’s out there.”

On quarterback Donovan McNabb’s presence and experience:

“He’s a professional. He’s been in this game forever and he’s had [11] years in it and he’s very poised out there; knows what he’s doing. But he’s rusty just like everyone else, even though he’s running some plays that he’s ran before. Everybody runs similar plays, but everyone coaches them different, so we’re trying to get them used to running it how we do. Things are new for him and I think he got better each day, also.”

On how Donovan McNabb has performed during mini-camp:

“He did really well. I didn’t expect him to come in and be on with everything, because it’s the first time he’s calling stuff out, trying to spit out our verbage, but just as far as him being Donovan it was definitely what we thought we were asking for.”

On the implementation of the West Coast Offense

“The West Coast is such a general term. It all comes from the same tree as far as terminology, which goes back to the 80s, but everybody’s branched off in so many different directions that it doesn’t help. There is some terminology, but it almost hinders them more than anything because they hear a similar word and think it’s what the word was in the old one, in somebody else’s West Coast system. Just because it’s West Coast we might use the same word, but the word does mean something totally different. So sometimes this causes a little confusion because the way we do it is different than what they know it as, so they’re trying to relearn some of the same words that have different meanings, so it doesn’t help it too much.”

On what his expectations are for installing the offense:

“We’re throwing it all at them.  We’re not holding anything back, we’re throwing it all at them.  We expect them to have it down by Week 1 and it’s a process.  You throw a ton at them and see what sticks and then you throw it all at them again and hopefully a little more sticks.  If you keep doing that throughout training camp and you’re not seeing improvement each day then you do pull off but we’re not going to pull off until we know we have to.”

On if the acquisition of Donovan McNabb change their offensive plans:

No, we put in the exact same system.  I believe a system you got to be able to attack a defense every single way so we have things that I think Donovan will be better at than others.  You want to play to his strengths but as soon as you start to do his strengths, defenses will stop that and you got to do the other stuff so nothing changes.  You might lean towards doing things more often than you would with a different quarterback but when it comes down to it, if you want to be a good offense you got to be able to do it all.”

On how he plans to use three running backs:

“Give them all the ball.  Can’t do it at the same time but when you have three backs – it’s very rare that you have just one back that the one back plays in all 16 games.  So to have three backs, it’s going to make all three of them better and it’s a matter of time, but all three of them will help us.”

On if he will try to alter Donovan McNabb’s technique:

“From a technical standpoint, I’m not going to tell a guy how to throw but from a technique standpoint we got to get him to play in the rhythm of our offense.  Technique is huge and that’s what we’re on him every second.  I’m not trying to change who he is as a passer and stuff but when you play in a different system you got to be in the rhythm with that system, and he’s used to a certain rhythm.  We can’t just change our whole scheme to fit that rhythm.  We’ve got to get him to fit into the rhythm of our offense and that’s why we try to get everyone to come to all these mini-camps and OTAs so when we go into training camp, hopefully he has that rhythm and then we can practice just getting better.”

On if quarterback Rex Grossman’s familiarity with the offense helps:

“It definitely helps when players have played in your system before because then when you are asking guys to do stuff and they are not quite sure about it, they don’t know if it makes sense.  Then you have another guy there who has been through it, where it didn’t make sense to Rex when he first came to Houston with me.  Now Rex understands what I am asking him to do and he can go out there and do it and the quarterbacks can see it and they can go; alright that is how it is supposed to be; because if I tried to imitate it, I would totally lose them.”

On what the year off did for his father, Mike Shanahan:

“I think it helped him a lot.  I think it would help any of us as coaches, just not many of us are in a situation where we can take a year off and then come back.  I think anytime, anybody in any profession, you take a year off, and you have a chance to sit back and relax and really evaluate yourself and why you do it.  I think he really realized how much he loves the game.  He finally got to sit down and just watch football on Sunday like most fans do and really enjoy it.  I think he got to sit back and put together a better plan.  Coaches, we’re tired as can be at the end of a year come January.  We get about five days off and then we’re starting it up right away.  To have a year off,  you can actually clear your head and I think put together a great plan.”

On deciding to join his father, Mike Shanahan, in Washington:

“I’ve thought about it my whole life, but I made it a point to not go coach with him right away. I was starting to really enjoy Houston.  They got some really good players out there, and we were having some success offensively. It was hard for me to leave, but when he got let go from Denver, I made a decision then that when he comes back, I’m only going to have so much time to work with my dad. He could retire. I could’ve thought at Denver, it might have been his last year, but then he gets fired and then I realize I’m not going to have this option forever. Even though it might not be perfect for me, regardless of the situation, I’m going to go with him.”

On how he feels about the offensive line:

“I’m real excited about our offensive line.  They talk about that that’s been a weakness and stuff, but I don’t see it on tape and I don’t see it on the field.  We’ve got some real good players.  I think we’ve got some big guys who aren’t just big guys who stand still.  We got some big guys who can move.

“We’ve just got to get them in shape and get them used to running the zone scheme, and running and cutting and I think we’ve got a good chance there.”

On if he sees a difference in the team compared to on tape:

“No.  It’s not different.  It’s tough when you watch tape of an old staff; you don’t want to watch too much, because you’re not watching scheme.  You don’t know what they’re asking players to do, so you’re not really evaluating that.  You’re trying to watch the individual.  When you watch the individual, you do see talent.  You see size and you also see speed. And as a coach, that’s all you can ask for.

“Now we want to get them on the field and see.  We know they’re talented.  Can they do what we’re asking them to do?  Each day they got better, and hopefully by training camp they’ll continue to grow.”

On the zone blocking scheme:

“All 32 teams use the zone blocking scheme.  I just think the difference in the commitment to it.  We’re gonna commit to it.  We’re not gonna do much else.  We’re committed to running the zone, getting guys moving, and I really think it’s just what you emphasize.”

On what makes a good offensive lineman:

“Everyone thinks you want them small and quick.  Well, we want them fast.  They have to be able to run.  We want a big guy, too.  Not all big guys can run; if you can get a big guy who can run, then you’ve got Pro Bowl type players.  It’s just hard to find those guys, but when you have them you couldn’t look for anything else.”

On if he is confident in the left tackles on the roster:

“Oh yeah.”

On if he is confident in the left tackles on the roster as of today:

“You better feel confident going into the draft with every position you have, because I’ve been around enough — not too long, but around enough — to realize that if you’re dependent on getting a player in the draft, you’re going to be pretty disappointed because it rarely works out that way.

“You get your team, you’ve got to be good to go through free agency and what you see out here, and then everything in the draft is just a bonus.”

On who is the starting left tackle:

“I think it was [Stephon] Heyer today.”

On if he feels confident with the current offensive line:

“I definitely do.  I think we can compete definitely with what we have.  Whatever the position is, you always want to get guys who are better, but no doubt, we can compete with our team out there.”

Quarterback Donovan McNabb

On his feelings after the first mini-camp:

“It was fun. I used it as a mental weekend of being able to get accustomed in the offense, working with the guys to make sure we focus a lot on chemistry and timing. Communication and patience is very important in this offense. A weekend like this is important for us and hopefully we can benefit from it.”

On being new to the Redskins:

“The guys are very welcoming and I try to display great work ethic by studying and watching film and also training with these guys. For our beginning stage, at this first mini-camp, I think it was beneficial for us to get out here and move around and get adjusted to each other. All of us feel like we’re just starting class and learning a new system, but it’s fun. It’s fun to think that we’ve shown signs in this camp of a lot of positive plays, both running and passing. It makes it more exciting each time we step out on the field.”

On having a new offense to work with:

“It’s a change. I’ve been looking back for years seeing [Brian] Westbrook doing everything. Now I have three running backs who have been very effective on their given teams who have now come together to add one force and they all present different things. We’re all learning together and these guys have shown signs of running as well as catching the ball and they’re picking up the blitz in this offense.”

On how interested he is with working with new offensive coaches:

“I’m very interested, just communicating with Kyle [Shanahan] and watching the film of Houston and the things he was able to do with Matt Schaub over those years. It takes time, patience is very important. You’ve seen what Houston was able to do over a three-year span when Schaub got there and just knowing the track record of Mike Shanahan and things he’s been able to do with the quarterbacks he’s had, it just brings excitement to you. I think this whole ball club has a lot of excitement and anticipation because of that. We know what we have to do on this football field. A lot of things that happen on the field are really what we do in the classroom as well as out on the practice field so we can put it out on game day.”

On how he is adjusting to a new team:

“I’m getting adjusted. That takes time. As far as the football aspect is concerned, I’ve gotten comfortable and settled in. Everything else will just take its course as this continues on. You’ve got to be patient and take one day at a time. I’m just enjoying myself and looking forward to what we really can do in the next couple of camps and training camp.”

Running Back Clinton Portis

On if Mike Shanahan is the same coach he remembers playing for in Denver:

“Yeah, he actually is. He came in to this organization and brought in what we we’ve been looking for, and that’s a spark and a head coach who’s going to put you in a position to win.”

On how he’s been healing from his concussion last season:

“I’ve been feeling good. I went up to Pittsburgh and finally got the clearance to do everything, which I had already started doing anyways, but I feel good.”

On if he thinks there will be enough carries for all of the running backs:

“I think we’ll find a way to make it work. That’s the beauty. Some people say you can never have too much, and some people say there are not enough balls to go around. But I think the situation will work itself out, and I think everyone will add a different dimension to help this team win.”

On if he feels more committed this year than years in the past:

“I actually do. It’s different when you say commitment and you want someone to buy into a system that you really don’t believe in. I think having Coach Shanahan here, you just believe in whatever he says. If he tells you, ‘I think we can jump off the roof and land safely,’ it’s like ‘Alright, let’s jump.’ You buy into it. He’s a proven coach and a proven leader. I think he gets the best out of the guys. He’ll approach you like a man and tell you what he wants from you, and you get it done.”

On if the hiring of Mike Shanahan and the trade for Donovan McNabb is effective in doing what this team is capable of doing:

“I think when you brought in Bruce Allen, that was sending the team in a different direction, saying to the team, ‘Okay, we’re ready to start winning.’ Then you go out and get Coach [Mike] Shanahan and it just solidified that you were tired of being the laughingstock of the NFC East. I think you’re going to add that kind of personnel and you see the power of moves they make. If we can get Jason [Campbell] to come in, just for the competition side of things, you wish Jason the best, but at the same time, if Jason doesn’t go to his ideal situation have him here just in case anything happens; you got two accomplished, capable quarterbacks. I think they’re just loading up our roster, which is a good thing because it makes everybody compete.”

On if it’s different with Donovan McNabb in the huddle:

“It actually is. Every year you step into the huddle with Jason [Campbell], it was like he was learning as well. I was trying to figure out if Donovan had played in this system before. He came in with the terminology; he’s already making checks and readjusting receivers’ routes. He looked good. But at the same time, just a system where everything relates, everything looks the same; I think this system would have helped Jason out a lot. It’s different. You got a proven guy in Donovan who had been outcast and feels as if he has something to prove, and he’s here. I think everyone on this roster feels the same way.” Archives

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