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Shanahan: "We'll Tender An Offer For Jason"

Posted by Matt Terl on February 26, 2010 – 12:28 pm

Well, Mike Shanahan broke his long media silence. And broke it, and broke it. He spoke for fifteen minutes from the podium (pictured above, courtesy of the AP), then another twenty-odd minutes to a group of reporters, and then in some semi-one-on-one situations. It is safe to say that the Unofficial Mike Shanahan Media Embargo has come to a definitive end.

And yet, somewhat oddly, for all of the words, not much of note was said. (“Oddly” here refers only to the number of words expended in saying little; as always, I don’t expect Shanahan to reveal his thinking to the assembled media. There’s really no percentage in that.)

Still, here are what I thought were a few of the notable points:

  • The team expects to tender Jason Campbell next week, and Shanahan does “expect him to be here” at minicamp.
  • He noted during his post-presser comments that the team will be using a “Washington Redskins Defense” which will incorporate elements of a 3-4 alignment and elements of a 4-3.
  • He has not yet evaluated Colt Brennan. (Sorry, Colt-a-maniacs.)
  • He parried a question about what Clinton Portis needed to do this offseason to make the team. “Let’s not talk about Clinton. Let’s talk about everybody on the Washington Redskins. Let’s not focus on one guy. I want everybody to be as good a football player as they can be.”
  • There was, in fact, dialogue with Buffalo about their vacancy last year, but it didn’t come together at least partially because of the Buffalo winters.
  • He reiterated what he had told Larry Michael about the importance of offseason workouts. (Summary: they’re very important.)

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s my transcript of the official press conference, as complete as I could make it in the face of some spotty audio on my end.
On the importance of the offseason conditioning program:

“The first thing we have to do is make sure these players understand that we’re gonna give them a chance to get better, relative to how we run the offseason program or strength and conditioning program [and] what they can do to better themselves. I think it’s very important for them to understand that the team comes first, and to work together and do the little things the right way. It’s a long process, the offseason program. It’s not easy. A lot of hard work involved, and I think it’s very important to show your teammates exactly how hard you work and how dedicated you are to the program.”

On where he is in the offseason process:
“Well, first of all what we’ve been doing the last six, seven weeks is putting the coaching staff together. We finally got that finished a few days ago: offense, defense, and our strength and conditioning program — we just hired three strength coaches. So I feel very good about that. And in between what you’re doing is you’re trying to put your offense, take a look at what you’re going to do. A lot of different coaches coming from different organizations where you can sit down, and that takes a month or two to make sure we’re all going in the same direction on offense, defense and special teams. And in between you’re evaluating your own team, not only last year but the year before. And then you’re trying to evaluate the free agents who are out there, as well as the draft choices. So it’s a process that you work at day-by-day. It doesn’t happen overnight, and we’ll continue to work on that over the next couple of months.”

On Colt Brennan:
“It’s part of the process. We just got a coaching staff together, we put in an offense and defense, I’m looking at all the film. I haven’t had a chance to see anybody except Jason [Campbell] play except for a couple of preseason games. So that’ll be an evaluation process; obviously we’ll have to go through a couple of minicamps, see where people fit the system, and we’re going to play the best players.”

On evaluating QB prospects at their pro days:
“I think a lot of that will be done at the pro days. See if a guy’s ready to go physically, see if they’re okay. But there’s a lot of film on these plays going to back to sophomore, junior years, and there’s enough to evaluate the pecking order that you might have them in. I think it’s also important to see them physically.”

On if they’ll tender an offer for Jason Campbell:
“Yeah, we’ll tender an offer for Jason next week.” [What level tender?] “Just wait, it’ll be an exciting time for you.”

On if he expects Jason Campbell to be on the roster come minicamp:
“Yes, I do expect him to be here.”

On if looking back at the Denver years is painful:
“You know, I kinda look at it the other way: I was with the Denver Broncos 21 years, 21 great years. One out of every three years, we were either in the AFC Championship or the Super Bowl. There are some great memories, so I kinda go back, look at the good times. And even two years ago … felt I left the program in pretty good shape as far as offensive players, a couple of Pro Bowl players, and I think they’re right on the verge of being an excellent football team. So when I look back at them, I feel like it was a good time.”

On the value of the year off:
“I can see why people watch [NFL games]. You don’t realize as a coach, because you’ve got other things going on — you’re trying to get ready for the game, you’ve got injuries, you think about the upcoming opponent, who’s doing this, who’s doing that. And when you really get out of the game and sit back and watch it, when you don’t care who wins or loses, you’re kinda just sucked into the game just enjoying it … it was really a great experience for me to sit back and figure out what a great game we do have.”

On his evaluation of Jason Campbell:
“I’m still in the process, you know? You’ve got so many things to do, you’re just not sittin’ there … the best thing I can say about evaluating people is when you get a chance to meet with ’em, you get a chance to go through they system, until you do that, you don’t really know. Obviously you’ve got some preconceived notions what someone may do, but you don’t know for sure.”

On visiting other teams’ camps last summer:
“What I haven’t been able to do [before] is actually go to a pro camp and see how other people run their camp. To go to a place like New England, with the three Super Bowls that they’ve won since I’ve been in the league, and Pittsburgh, obviously, the two that they’ve won, I thought it’d be a great experience. Because when you read things in the paper, you can’t always believe what you read. It’s hard for you guys [writers] to believe that. But on the serious side, I wanted to see what type of practices they did have — did they hit in the morning? How hard did they hit? Because you hear things sometimes, but until you actually see someone practice you really don’t know. And so it was a good experience for me, not only to see the kinds of practices they had, what they did in those practices, and you [can] always pick up a few things here and there [from] two great organizations.”

On what, specifically, he learned:
“There’s always a number of things; obviously you don’t share those things — I get the benefit to experience that, why share it with everybody? — but, yeah, there’s a number of things I picked up.”

On the makeup of his coaching staff:
“I actually spent a week with the coaching staff that was there. I talked to different coaches, had two, three different interviews with a number of the guys. And I don’t like to make those decisions very quickly. Before I made a decision I wanted some time to expire, and then had a chance to go back and talk to these coaches. Then when you finally do make a decision, you understand that these decision are gonna dictate if you’ve got a winning organization or not. I wanna make sure we’ve got the right staff together and I felt very good about the staff I’ve hired.”

On his discussions with Buffalo midway through last season:
“Oh, yeah, there was strong consideration. It’s an excellent organization, very well run. I enjoyed my conversation with them, but at the end of the day, it was not something that … I want to put it in the right words. If I went to Buffalo to live there, from a family perspective, I’d be the only one that would go. Strictly to do with the weather, that’s it! But now in Washington we had forty inches in a few days, so….”

On the NFC East:
“Well, I think that everybody knows the NFC East and the type of football teams that we have. And you’ve gotta be at the top of your game. You can’t have any weaknesses. It’ll be a challenge for us to get the organization back to where it’s been. We understand how competitive the NFC East is and how well these teams have been playing. So that’s our goal: to get us back to where we’ve been.”

On his assessment of the offensive line:
“Well, when you take a look at the offensive line, first of all there’s a lot of injuries. You lose your left tackle in Samuels, you lose your left guard in Thomas, you have injuries throughout the season, so that was a battered group.”

On trading the high first round pick:
“I think there’s only one time that I’ve had a pick in the top aten, and that was when I was the head coach of the Raiders and I had the fourth pick, got a guy like Tim Brown. I think what you experience from that is that you don’t know exactly what you want to do. Not a lot of teams want to move up, because of number one the salary, number two what you have to give up to go in that direction. You have to have something they really want. There’s a number of teams in the top five or six that want to trade back and all of sudden no one wants to trade and the salaries are too high. You don’t know exactly what’s gonna happen, but we’ll have a gameplan either way with different directions we can go.”

On his offseasonexpectations (the question was asked specifically about Clinton Portis):
“Let’s not talk about Clinton. Let’s talk about everybody on the Washington Redskins. Let’s not focus on one guy. I want everybody to be as good a football player as they can be. What it takes is a commitment to get better every day. So I want all the guys on our football team to make a commitment in the offseason to work, and work extremely hard. That’s how we’re gonna get better as a team.”

On the speculation that the team will take a quarterback in the first round:
“You know, I don’t even listen to that stuff anymore. Every day it changes; you guys know that better than me. I’m looking forward to going through the whole draft. I’ve got a couple of months now to really sit back and study that a lot more than I had. I’ve probably studied the top 20, 25 guys, but I haven’t gone all the way through the draft. And I enjoy the process. I enjoy studying these guys. Potential draft choices along with free agents, and it’s an ongoing process. “

On going to the pro days for the highly-touted QBs:
“Anytime you’ve got the fourth pick in the draft, you’re gonna make a number of those Pro Days.”

On the importance of players participating in the Combine:
“Well, that’s a tough question to answer. I would love guys to come here and all compete. Sometimes there’s injuries, sometimes they get advice from certain agents not to do it. You know, they’ve gotta do what they feel is best for themselves. Whatever they do, it’s our job to dissect it and study it and find out the best guy that can help our organization.”

On how he is approaching the staff with his newly-assembled coaching staff:
“I don’t think it’s any different. Number one, when you do hire your staff, you have a philosophy in mind. Offensively, defensively, special teams. And the guys you hire have the same philosophy or you would not hire those guys. But what you try to do is isolate what you’re gonna do relative to, maybe, your first ten days of installation to the minicamp or your OTA days, exactly what you’re gonna do throughout the season. So that does take time, and that’s an ongoing process. And with that, you’re talking about what holes you have, offensively or defensively, and you try to address those holes either in free agency or the draft, and then proceed through the process as you normally would.”

On watching college football during his year off:
“I watched a lot of football, probably more NFL than college. But I did watch a number of colleges that I’ve followed through the years. Mostly the places that I’ve been — you know, any time that you’re a coach at the collegiate level like I did for about ten years, I seem to follow the places that I’ve coached at. Places like Florida, Oklahoma, Minnesota, places that I have allegiance to, and it was fun to sit back and actually watch your season unfold.”

On if he was getting a feel for specific college players by watching:
“I think you always do that. I think anytime you’re in pro football, you’re always looking at players that you think might be able to help your team. But it’s so hard to watch it on TV, because you get a glimpse here and there, might be able to get a look at a quarterback or wide receiver, but it’s very tough to isolate maybe a defensive lineman or offensive lineman — it’s obviously a little bit easier in the cut-ups.”

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