Shanahan on Portis, minicamp impressions, use of 3-4 defense
After his first minicamp as coach of the Redskins, Mike Shanahan spoke about his first impressions of the roster he inherited, the quarterback he acquired in a trade and the changes the franchise faces as it looks to rebound from a 4-12 season.
This weekend was the first time Shanahan had seen the Redskins in live action since he was hired as coach, and it also marked the first days with a new starting quarterback, Donovan McNabb, leading the offense.
Shanahan said he was impressed, as expected, by the natural leadership abilities of McNabb, but that the veteran quarterback was adjusting as he settles into a new system.
"Donovan has done a great job since he's been here," Shanahan said. "It's always a learning situation any time you come in. It's like learning a new language any time you have a different system, even though some of the terminology is the same, there's 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 and he's looking forward for him getting to know the system a little bit better and getting more comfortable with the system as we go through these OTAs [organized team activities]."
Shanahan said he was impressed by several players during the three days of voluntary practice - though he wouldn't divulge who had caught his eye - and also acknowledged that a turnaround shouldn't be expected during the offseason, or a three-day minicamp.
Asked about running back Clinton Portis, Shanahan praised the veteran for his work over the offseason and this weekend and later touched on whether the Redskins would employ a running-back-by-committee system with the addition of veterans Larry Johnson and Willie Parker.
"I think the end result is you want a productive running game," he said. "The experiences I've had through the 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 a 2,500-yard back with three guys doing it. So [it's] who gets it done, it really doesn't matter if you're doing three guys, one guy or two guys, you want to be productive in the running game, that's the bottom line. It's just not yards; it's yards per attempt."
Shanahan also discussed the Redskins' shift to a 3-4 base formation on defense, emphasizing that the unit also will work out of a four-man front and saying it was a philosophy he has wanted to use for some time.
"It's been very successful and if you take a look from an offensive perspective it's much harder to prepare for," Shanahan said. "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 a four-man front to really keep an offense off balance."
April 18, 2010; 3:58 PM ET
Categories: Mike Shanahan , Minicamp
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