October 19, 2020

Washington Redskins Minicamp: Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan defends last year’s scheme

In his first public comments since last season, Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan spoke Wednesday about the team’s frequent use of the zone-read option, a play which many outside the organization felt put quarterback Robert Griffin III at risk of injury.

“I was real pleased with [the zone-read],” Shanahan said at the team’s mandatory minicamp. “I think it really helped us.”

The offensive coaching staff had been the target of fierce offseason criticism after many believed the zone-read — which allows the quarterback to become a run threat — was one of the culprits for Griffin’s eventually knee injury.  But Shanahan begs to differ.

“Those aren’t really designed quarterback runs,” Shanahan explained. “They’re designed to give the ball to [Alfred Morris] and when the whole defense is not accounting for the quarterback and taking everyone else, that’s when he goes the other way. So, I kind of enjoy the zone-read because really, your quarterback’s not taking it unless there’s no one to hit him.”

So what, then, contributed to Griffin’s injury troubles as last season went on? According to Shanahan, it was his quarterback’s approach to avoiding big hits when he was scrambling on designed pass plays.

“When you think about last year, we’ve got to get better at coaching certain things,” he said. “I think we did throughout last year, situations on how [the quarterback] can account for the free hitters [on scramble plays]….when guys aren’t blocked and stuff, there’s seven guys in coverage who are coming at him from all directions going airborne to hit somebody. Those are the times when I really get worried.”

Earlier this offseason, Griffin has publicly acknowledged the need to protect himself on the field by learning how to slide, running out of bounds, or by throwing the ball away. Shanahan echoed that sentiment Wednesday, while also adding that the zone-read is actually safer for the quarterback, contrary to outside opinion.

“The three injuries [Griffin suffered last year] were pass plays. They weren’t the zone-read. The zone-read is something I learned throughout going through the year that I think really helped us.

“It’s the least pass rush I’ve ever seen as a coordinator. [Defenders] just sitting there just scared to death just watching everyone else not moving. And I really enjoyed sometimes being able to drop back and not have four guys just teeing off on the quarterback all trying to hit him in the pocket.”

In other words, don’t expect a philosophical shift in the Redskins offense in 2013.

Washington Redskins Minicamp: Shanahan briefs media after first minicamp session

Mike Shanahan spoke to reporters Tuesday on a broad range of topics after the team’s first session of mandatory minicamp. He gave updates on a number of rehabbing players, spoke about the development of the team’s young defensive secondary, and explained the decision to bring in veteran receiver Donte Stallworth on a tryout basis.

Here are some of the highlights, transcript style:

On Robert Griffin III’s rehab: 

“We’ve got our plan right now….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.”

On Stallworth: 

“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…..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 how outside linebacker Brian Orakpo has looked in practice thus far: 

“’Rak, just the way he practices is like he’s possessed. That’s what you like to see. You can tell he misses the game, being out as long as he was last season. You can tell that he is looking forward to having a great year. He’s done everything you ask a guy to do in the weight room, rehab. He’s really looking forward to that opportunity.”

On the health status of second-year cornerback Chase Minnifield, who tore his ACL last offseason: 

“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.”

On strong safety Brandon Meriweather’s status to start training camp: 

“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.”

Shanahan is scheduled to the media again for the remainder of minicamp. Assistant coaches will be available Wednesday, including offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.

Washington Redskins Minicamp: Robert Griffin III gives last health update before training camp

Speaking to the media for the final time before training camp begins, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III once again expressed a belief that he’ll be able to return to practicing in full once camp begins in late July.

“[It will be] just a matter of how my body feels when I get back on July 25th,” he said Tuesday after the team’s first session of mandatory minicamp. “I’ve said it a bunch of times –  I’m pretty confident I’ll be ready.”

Griffin was again seen working off to the side with other players not cleared for full practice. He  reportedly followed a similar regimen as he had the last few weeks; throwing to receivers, planting on his surgically repaired right knee, and doing light sprinting.

With training camp as Griffin’s target date for a return, the Redskins quarterback says there’s only one phase left in his rehab process before he’s ready to be back with the team.

“The  next big stage [of rehab] is just cutting,” Griffin said. “I’ll start cutting next week and then after that it’s just everything over and over.

“I’ll continue to work out in the weight room over the next four or five weeks, continue to keep sprinting, and just get more and more comfortable, and then whatever I feel like I have a deficiency at, I’ll make sure I fix that.”

Griffin will have the next six weeks to prove to the training staff that he’ll be healthy enough to practice fully in training camp. He’s scheduled meet with team orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in the coming weeks (per 106.7 The Fan), and will take a physical on July 25th, the first day of camp.

Washington Redskins OTAs: Robert Griffin III eyes training camp return, while Mike Shanahan remains cautious

With a wink and a smile, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III answered one of this summer’s key questions  with one declarative statement.  Could the rehabbing Griffin be far enough along in his recovery from knee surgery to participate in training camp come late July?

“Without a doubt,” he told reporters after another successful session of Organized Team Activities.

The bold statement came shortly after another practice session in which Griffin was reportedly seen participating in short sprints, dropbacks from center in which he planted on his surgically repaired, and throwing to receivers. Griffin pointed to his increased participation in practice as the primary reason for his optimism.

“It’s just how I felt and how it’s progressed [that makes me confident],” Griffin said. “Over the last three weeks, you know, I’ve had a lot of progress and I feel a lot better. So, if you think – I think training camp’s a month, month-and-a-half away? Two months? – I feel really good about that and the start of the season is even farther than that. I feel good about that and that’s why I say ‘without a doubt’.”

But while Griffin’s press conference reflected one of confidence and enthusiasm regarding his return, head coach Mike Shanahan was far more measured when assessing the status of his quarterback for training camp.

“You always want somebody to have goals, that’s for sure. You want him to come back as soon as he is ready to go,” Shanahan said.  “But the doctors have got to OK him.

“From the beginning they have talked about the recovery time being anywhere from seven months to nine months. I think August 9 is seven months, and so we will just have to wait and see.”

The gung-ho mentality from Griffin has been consistently juxtaposed with Shanahan’s cautious optimism, a dynamic that will likely be a constant theme as Redskins training camp nears.  Griffin’s new target date to be full-go is July 25th, the first day of camp, while Shanahan retorted that August 9th as the most optimistic date he could hope to expect his quarterback to return.

“I’ll do the same thing I do during the season, the same thing I’ve been doing for 40 years of coaching,” Shanahan continued. “I ask the doctors. They’re the best at what they do and they’re going to tell me if he’s ready to go and when he’s ready to go. And we’ll get a chance to evaluate him once they do clear him.”

All along, Griffin has said he hopes and expects to play in the Redskins season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9th. But given his recent progress, it seems “All in for Week 1″ — his catchphrase throughout his rehab and recovery — may no longer be satisfactory for the star quarterback.

“I think [training camp] is the right target if I’m healthy. I’ve talked to Coach. I’ve talked to the doctors. I’ve talked to [head trainer] Larry [Hess]. I’ve talked to everybody that’s close to me. If I am ready to go Week 1, then I play. If I’m not ready to go Week 1, then I can swallow pride and not play. It’s that simple.”

For full audio of Griffin and Shanahan’s comments, please click on the links below:

06-06-13 Robert Griffin III Practice RAW

Washington Redskins OTAs: Mike Shanahan speaks to media at first open OTA session

Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan addressed reporters Thursday after the team’s first Organized Team Activities (or OTA) session that was open to the media.

As expected, much of the discussion revolved around the status of quarterback Robert Griffin III’s surgically repaired right knee. The quarterback was seen in practice moving well, according to reports, something that strengthens the possibility that Griffin could be available to play come Week One against the Philadelphia Eagles.

With nearly two months until training camp, Shanahan praised Griffin’s progress thus far and was hopeful the quarterback will be able to participate once the team heads to Richmond in late July.

“We’re hoping that he’s ready for training camp,” Shanahan said. “I think you guys could see today that he’s been throwing for a while. His arm is in pretty good shape. It looks like he’s making a lot of progress.”

Shanahan, like Griffin before him, was then asked to address a number of issues surrounding his relationship with his quarterback, the fallout from the controversial Seattle Seahawks game, as well any potential changes to the offense moving forward.

The Redskins coach also updated the injury status Adam Carriker, Josh Wilson, Pierre Garcon, and  Josh LeRibeus, among others.

To hear the full audio, please click on the links below (audio courtesy of Sky Kerstein):

05-23-13 Mike Shanahan Practice RAW 1

05-23-13 Mike Shanahan Practice RAW 2

Washington Redskins OTAs: Robert Griffin III speaks to local media

2013.05.23 OTA Griffin

Robert Griffin III speaks to the media following first OTA. (photo by Brian Murphy)

The Washington Redskins held their first session of Organized Team Activities (or OTAs) open to the media Thursday morning, signaling the next phase of the offseason as training camp is nearly two months away.

Not surprisingly, the focal point of practice was quarterback Robert Griffin III, and his rehabilitation and recovery from reconstructive knee surgery on his right leg in January.  In front of a large group of reporters, he was seen on the practice taking snaps, planting his right leg, throwing, and moving well for a player less than five months removed from surgery.

After practice, Griffin spoke to local reporters for the first time since his injury in the Redskins’ playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

“My knee feels great,” he said. “I can do all the stuff on the field without any hesitations and that’s the best part.”

Griffin went on to discuss the myriad of issues that have followed him and the team in the months since the controversial game that ultimately led to his surgery and rehab process.

On his season ending injury, Griffin said: “The injury and how the injury was handled overshadowed the success we had on the season. The injury left a bad taste in the mouth of everyone between us players, the fans, and the coaching staff.”

Asked if he needed to repair his relationship with Mike Shanahan — who allowed Griffin to stay in the Seahawks game despite being at risk of further injury —  the Redskins quarterback replied that “the only thing I needed to repair from last year was my knee and that is repaired.”

To listen to Griffin’s complete comments, please click on the link below (audio courtesy of Sky Kerstein):

05-23-13 Robert Griffin III Practice RAW 1

05-23-13 Robert Griffin III Practice RAW 2


The Washington Redskins Announce 2013 Training Camp Dates

The Washington Redskins announced Monday the dates for the team’s 2013 training camp, which will be held at the their brand new practice facility, the  Bon Secours Training Center located in Richmond, Virginia. Camp is scheduled to begin Thursday, July 25th and will run through Friday Aug. 16th.

This summer will mark the first time the Redskins have held training camp away from their Ashburn headquarters since 2003. Their new $10 million dollar facility will feature two full-sized natural grass fields,  an additional drill field, among other amenities.

There will be 17 scheduled days that practices will be open to the public, with the team’s Fan Appreciation Day being held on Saturday, Aug. 3rd at noon.  Admission is free for all fans.

Here’s the full list of practice days that are open to the public (dates and times are subject to change):

Thursday, July 25

Friday, July 26

Saturday July 27

Monday, July 29

Tuesday, July 30

Wednesday, July 31

Thursday, Aug. 1

Friday, Aug. 2

Saturday, Aug. 3       (Fan Appreciation Day – Noon)

Monday, Aug. 5

Tuesday, Aug. 6

Saturday, Aug. 10

Monday, Aug. 12

Tuesday, Aug. 13

Wednesday, Aug. 14

Thursday, Aug. 15

Friday, Aug. 16

Washington Redskins Round Out Draft By Selecting Rutgers Running Back Jawan Jamison With Seventh Round Pick

The Washington Redskins closed their 2013 draft by selecting Rutgers running back Jawan Jamison with the 228th overall pick.

Jamison (5-7, 203) finished his Rutgers careers amassing 1972 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. He doesn’t have the same burst as fifth round selection Chris Thompson — he ran a 4.62 40 yard dash —  but was projected by draft experts to be a good fit for the zone-blocking scheme that the Redskins run.

With the Redskins draft now over, here’s the complete list of the players they selected:

2nd: David Amerson, cornerback , North Carolina State

3rd: Jordan Reed, Tight End, Florida

4th: Phillip Thomas, Safety, Fresno State

5th: Chris Thompson, Running Back, Florida State

5th: Brandon Jenkins, Linebacker, Florida State

6th: Bacarri Rambo, Safety, Georgia

7th: Jawan Jamison, Running Back, Rutgers

More analysis to come here on District Sports Page

Washington Redskins Select Georgia Safety Bacarri Rambo With Sixth Round Pick

The Washington Redskins continued their makeover of their secondary Saturday, selecting Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo with the 191st overall pick.

The pick of Rambo (6-0, 211 lbs) continues the Redskins’ theme of going after aggressive, ball-hawking defensive backs who can make plays. He finished his career at Georgia with 16 interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns. Widely expected to go somewhere between the third and fourth rounds, Rambo fell to the Redskins in the sixth round and would appear to be a good value pick.

Rambo fell that far, some speculate, because of off-the-field issues while at Georgia. He was suspended for a game in both his junior and senior seasons for failing drug tests, as he tested positive for marijuana in both years.  The Redskins clearly did not mind taking that kind of risk in the sixth round, especially at a position they had already addressed earlier in the draft with safety Phillip Thomas. If Rambo’s issues are behind him, then perhaps the Redskins may have finally addressed the secondary concerns that have plagued them all offseason.

Washington Redskins Select Florida State Running Back Chris Thompson, Linebacker Brandon Jenkins With Fifth Round Picks

The Washington Redskins used their two fifth round picks in the draft to select a pair of teammates from Florida State, drafting running back Chris Thompson with the 154th overall selection and taking linebacker Brandon Jenkins at 162nd overall.

Thompson (5-7, 192 lbs) addresses the Redskins need to have a shifty, speedy, change-of-pace back that can help lighten the load on starter Alfred Morris. However, Thompson has had to battle a string on injuries throughout his collegiate career. In 2011, he suffered two broken vertebrae, ending his season and nearly jeopardizing the rest of his football career. After battling back to return the following season, he rushed for 685 yards and five touchdowns until suffering yet another season ending injury, this time tearing his left ACL last October in a game against Miami. Despite the injury history, the Redskins view Thompson as a viable option to spell Morris and provide the homerun threat out of the backfield.

Jenkins (6-2, 251lbs) is considered a pass-rush specialist,  finishing his career with the Seminoles with 22.5 sacks to go along with 37.5 tackles for a loss. Like Thompson, however,  Jenkins suffered an injury that derailed his final season at FSU. He suffered a Lisfranc injury on his left foot in the season opener,  causing him to miss the remaining 12 games. Instead of red-shirting, Jenkins declared for the draft hoping that a team would take a chance on him. That team was the Redskins, who could afford to take the risk in the late rounds because of their depth at the outside linebacker position.

More on the Redskins draft later on District Sports Page.

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