Thoughts On Mike Shanahan’s Press Conference:

Washington Commanders Washington Redskins

On Robert Griffin III’s rehab timeline:                                                                                                                                                                  

We'll probably be seeing a lot of this photo, and that's fine by us!

“Well, like I said, we listen to the doctors. The doctors will be able to tell you more about that than me. I just shared with you what they had said. So, when the doctors do clear him, then we’ll practice him.”

On when Griffin III will be seen next by his physicians:

“I’m sure that physicians will be seeing Robert all the time; Dr. [James] Andrews, Dr. [Christopher] Annunziata, Dr. [Anthony] Casolaro. But the big thing is when we go to camp. He’ll get a physical and see where he’s at.”

My Take: Not much new hear, though we typically don’t hear about the other doctors so that is a bit interesting to hear. The most interesting thing is probably the fact that these are some of most honest statements you’ll get about an injured player from Mike Shanahan. Usually he tries to give as little information as possible, but here I think it is really because he doesn’t have any more information. No one will really know Griffin’s outlook for the season until he’s evaluated right before training camp. 

On the importance of training camp reps for Griffin III:

“It’s nice for everybody to get reps in training camp and that’s what we do. But there’s a number of people right now that are injured, but until the doctors clear them, they’re going to go through rehab. When that day is, we’re just going to wait and see. When the doctors feel like he’s ready to go, we’re going get a chance to practice him. We’ll see what he can do. I don’t think anybody knows though. We talk about this question every day and nobody knows for sure, but we’re trying on July 24th or 25th, in that area, and we’ll find out.”

My Take: A real avoidance of the question here. In the past Shanahan has said that he believes that Griffin needs to practice some before he can play. How much has been the unanswered question so far. My guess here is that Shanahan doesn’t want to put himself in a corner with either announcing a benchmark, or admitting the loss of TC reps would set Griffin back. I think for right now this kind of answer is fine, but once training camp rolls around he can really no longer put off these questions about Griffin.

On Plan B if Griffin III has a setback:

“We’ve got our plan right now. What we’re doing right now in practice every day is our plan for this year. We’ve got three quarterbacks practicing and doing quite well. Hopefully, Robert’s good when he’s full speed, ready to go. When that date is, I don’t think anybody knows, but the doctors are going to look at him and tell us when his ready to practice. When he is, we’ll see what he can do.”

My Take: A bit surprising that he didn’t take this chance to talk up Kirk Cousins at all and instead just make a general statement about the quarterbacks. I wouldn’t read anything into this, but it is just a little shocking. 

On if he expects other injured players to be ready for Training Camp:

“I think so. I think everybody looks pretty good. There might be one of two guys, I’m not going to go into detail, that I have a little bit of question about. But a majority of the guys, I’d say about 90 percent of them will be ready to go.”

My Take: Very interesting quote here. In the past Shanahan has stated that he believes one player might not be ready. Now he admits there might be two. But could there be more? The 2nd part of his quote says that 90 percent of them should be ready to go. The question there is what group is this 90% coming from (hopefully he didn’t mean the full team)? Assuming he’s answering the question directly about “injured players”, who does that include? Is that just the guys still being held out? Or does that include guys like Brian Orakpo, Chris Neild, and Stephen Bowen who are back fully practicing despite recovering from injuries. Does it include some of the UDFA’s and street free agents who are dealing with minor injuries?

On if Stallworth fits the mold for his type of receivers:

“I didn’t want to lose Donté a year ago. I did call him up and I told him I thought he made a mistake – giving him a hard time. Before he had signed, he was contemplating what to do and he had decided to go to New England. I really thought that he made a mistake. I thought he would have been better being with us just because I liked what he did, what he brought to the table. And so when it didn’t work out for him this year, I was hoping that we could get him back. He had that accident and went thought obviously a little tough time there, but I was happy to see him out there today. I thought he made a couple plays today that he looked very good. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to sign him in the next couple days.”

On wide receiver Donté Stallworth’s tryout:

“I like Donté. I think he brings a lot to the table. We wanted to see what type of shape he was in. I thought he did an excellent job today with the way he worked and what he brought to the table. So hopefully he has the same type of practice tomorrow.”

My Take: Pretty interesting in regards to last year with Stallworth and the team’s interest in him this year. The Redskins have/had a lot of depth at receiver, and it is unclear where exactly Stallworth would fit. Obviously he has some extra experience, but it is still surprising that Mike Shanahan wants him so bad, and apparently was willing to ensure him a spot last year. Stallworth can help on special teams, but I can’t see him getting much offensive reps, especially with Aldrick Robinson starting to show some promise last year. It will be really interesting to watch this wide receiver camp battle now, especially since it looked like the team may opt to keep four tight ends, which possibly left one fewer receiver spot.

On wide receiver Leonard Hankerson:

“This is the first time he’s really been healthy getting into an offseason, and that’s what I like to see with him. He’s come in, he’s competing. He’s got a lot of ability. He was pretty tough on himself last year. He still made some excellent plays. He left some on the field. Hopefully he can keep on making strides. He’s got the ability to be an excellent receiver.”

On Hankerson being better at one receiver spot as compared to the other:

“Anytime you get a big guy with speed at X or Z, you feel pretty lucky. Sometimes guys might be a little bit shorter, shorter stride where they can only be a Z receiver or slot receiver. He can play either outside position, probably play inside as well because he has the ability to make people miss. He can straighten up a guy just like a basketball player, cut insides or outsides. He has the flexibility to play three different positions, which is a big plus for him… I think he has the ability to play all three, and very few guys can do that.”

My Take: Very promising news on Hankerson. I particularly like the fact that Shanahan believes he is versatile enough for all three receiver positions. Though it sounds like he hasn’t gotten much work in the slot, it may not be a bad idea for the Redskins, given that Moss is in the final year of his contract, and Garcon and Morgan don’t really play there. I also liked that Shanahan challenged him to not leave plays out on the field. That was a big problem with a number of Redskins TE’s and WR’s last year (in fact many worse than Hankerson), and I like the team not trying to make excuses for them and instead saying you have to get better.

On cornerback Chase Minnifield:

“Well, he’s well. He’s ready to compete. I really liked him last year. It was just a shame; the last practice that we had, he had that injury. I thought he had made some real good strides after his first year. But he looks healthy now. For him to get a couple practice days in, for him to take the next five, six weeks to really hone in on being in the best shape possible, having a good feel for our system, we’ll get a chance to evaluate him.”

On if he can trust Minnifield despite his history of different knee problems:

“I don’t get too involved with that because I really don’t understand the ACL, the PCL, the MCL. The doctors say when they think he’s ready, and they feel like he’s ready to go. He’s worked extremely hard to get himself in great shape. And him coming back just in the first couple of days, it’s been very impressive. It doesn’t look like there’s any setback where he’s favoring anything whatsoever. That’s why I’m excited. He’s got five more weeks to keep on getting better and do what he needs to do to make our football team.”

My Take: This is good news for sure. Obviously it’s only been a couple days of OTA’s, but if the Redskins can get Minnifield healthy for camp, it increases both their competition and potential talent level (depending on how he comes back). Now expectations should definitely be muted with Minnifield until he further proves his health, but it is a positive sign if he’s back ready to go without pain.

On if the safety position is the most unsettled:

“You say that, but you’re never really sure with what’s going to happen with injuries. Do we have depth? We have more depth now than we’ve had in a long time. We still have a number of guys that are competing for a position, guys that are second team or third team that we believe have a chance to compete for the first position. If you were a first teamer last year, you’re going to come in as a first teamer. We’ll let the competition begin.”

My Take: Really interesting quote by Shanahan. For one thing, who were the first teamer’s last year? Yes Madieu Williams started every game, but he’s not back. Does he mean Brandon Meriweather? Does he mean Reed Doughty and Jordan Pugh in their platoon role? DeJon Gomes actually started the season (in place of Meriweather) is  he in the mix? While I think a lot of people are excited about the rookies, and that may be what Shanahan means about second team guys who could start, it sounds clear that they will need to earn their jobs and nothing will be handed to them. 

On if safety Brandon Meriweather is expected to return for training camp:

“Well, according to the doctors, he’s ready to go in July. They don’t think there’s any question about it. He’s full speed, ready to go. Hopefully there is no setback, but right now the doctors have told me that they believe he’ll be ready to go once we go to Richmond.”

My Take: It sounds promising for Meriweather, especially the fact that he is full speed, which is something you wouldn’t expect given a Nov. ACL injury. The setback factor is something to watch. Just in general it happens with a lot of knee injuries, also we saw Meriweather’s sprained other knee flare up multiple times last season. 

On the unnamed kicker/punter trying out today:

“We got a punter in here who can punt and kick off, and we try to bring in some competition and we’ll see how he does. I get to know him a lot better once he makes our team.”

My Take: It never bodes well for a guy when the coach doesn’t know his name, but it is interesting this guy is in camp. While it isn’t shocking to bring in a 3rd leg for camp and preseason work, the fact that the guy can kickoff as well as punt possibly raises an eyebrow. For as good of a FG kicker that Kai Forbath was last year, he was as bad on kickoffs. Typically you’d then look for a punter who can kick-off, but that isn’t really Sav Rocca’s area of expertise. Though few teams do it, the Redskins could consider keeping a kick-off specialist on their roster so they aren’t sacrificing so much field position. It will be interesting to watch this preseason how this plays out.



Related Articles

Who will Washington draft in the First Round? The tea leaves say it’s Ohio State WR Chris Olave

For now, assume Washington will at least kick the tires on whichever top quarterback prospect is available. Keep…

Read More about Who will Washington draft in the First Round? The tea leaves say it’s Ohio State WR Chris Olave

The Commanders have few options for a veteran QB trade

Ron Rivera has made it abundantly clear that his number 1 priority this offseason is to upgrade the…

Read More about The Commanders have few options for a veteran QB trade