Mike Shanahan: With 2011 Giants in mind, Redskins are “Right in the Thick of Things”

November 15, 2012 – 7:30 am by Brad Gagnon

Mike Shanahan knows that the future is bright for his Washington Redskins, but he says he refuses to give up on 2012 despite a 3-6 start. He’s made it clear that he’s now evaluating talent for 2013 and beyond, but the 2011 New York Giants taught Shanahan that you’re never out of it until the math says otherwise.

Mike Shanahan joined The Dave Logan Show on KOA in Denver to discuss his rookie studs on offense, the running backs he keeps finding late in drafts and the team’s playoff chances.

On the progress his offense has made with two rookies leading the way:

“From an offensive perspective I think we’ve done some good things with a rookie running back in Alfred Morris. He’s one of the better backs that I’ve been around, and he’s a young kid with a big upside and just doing a fantastic job. … Robert Griffin is — he’s gonna be a great one for years to come. He’s just kind of starting out in a pro offense, and just a heck of an athlete. Like all young quarterbacks, he’s learning every game. I feel good about them. … I think we might get Pierre Garcon back, which would be a big plus for us.”

On he and Gary Kubiak finding successful running backs late in drafts:

“We both believe in the running game, so you’re gonna try to make it work. It’s a part of your philosophy, part of your offense. You look for a guy that’s really a downhill runner, maybe a one-cut guy that has power, can break tackles. And I think we’re both pretty fortunate, though, to find guys like that where we found them.”

On the team still believing they can make the playoffs despite a 3-6 record:

“I think our football team gets excited because they know exactly where the Giants were last year when we beat them at their place and they went 7-7. Everybody said they were out of it, and as you mentioned, they ended up winning the Super Bowl. And our football team feels the same way. You take a look at our division … New York is 6-4, they’ve got a bye week but they’ve got some pretty tough competition down the road, plus we play them. So only one game out there if we happen to win the rest of the games. So yeah you’re right in the thick of things, but you have to be playing your best football.”

On his comments suggesting he’s already assessing players for next year’s roster:

“When you have a little adversity, some of the new guys you have on your team — some of the draft choices, some of the free agents on your football team — you’re not really sure how they’re going to react when they do have a little adversity. … I said, ‘Hey, this time of year, every game’s a must-win game. We’re playing for playoff spots.’ Any time you’re 3-6 and you’ve got the remainder of your schedule, you know you’ve got to win the rest of them. That [means] we’re going to see the character of some of our guys that we haven’t had on our football team. Guys that were free agents, guys that were draft choices right now. How will they play when their backs are against the wall? If they don’t play good, they won’t be here, but it has nothing to do with this season. I was just trying to motivate some of our guys that haven’t been part of our football team that if we don’t see your best football, you won’t be with us.”

Listen to Mike Shanahan on KOA here (starts at 12:00)

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