Thursday, November 11, 2010 4:15 PM
By Rich Tandler
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Here are some quotes from the past two days at Redskins Park along with some reaction and analysis. Mike Shanahan on the possibility that Brandon Banks would be able to play on Monday after having an arthroscopic procedure done to his knee last week: "I think a lot has to do with his size. Not as much weight on that knee. We're keeping our fingers crossed." It is hard to believe that Brandon Banks will be able to play on Monday night, which would be one day shy of two weeks after he underwent that surgery on his knee. But Shanahan says that its possible. Banks also has expressed optimism about playing against the Eagles, too. But players generally tend to be much more optimistic about their chances of playing than are the team doctors, especially early in the week. The Redskins would miss Banks greatly, quite a statement for a player who was put on the waiver wire when the team made final cuts in September and who is listed at 155 pounds, although that weight may be in full football gear. Banks started with a bang, setting up the Redskins with a short field in Philadelphia with a 54-yard punt return the very first time he touched the ball as an NFL player. That helped them get off to an early lead and that proved to be critical in a game where the Redskins found scores hard to come by after the first quarter. In Detroit, Banks kept the Redskins in the game, setting up the still-sputtering offense with great field position time after time and scoring a go-ahead touchdown on a 95-yard punt return in the fourth quarter. Although Shanahan says that hes optimistic due to Banks small stature, he still has to be able to cut back on the knee and that puts considerable strain on it. Anything that Shanahan says about injuries, of course, must be taken with a grain of salt, if not an entire shaker of it. He is the master of the smokescreen. I, Anthony Armstrong, am faster than Brandon Banks. If Banks is unable to go, receiver Anthony Armstrong could return punts, kickoffs, or both. If thats what they ask me to do, that is what I will do, said Armstrong. Ive taken kicks back before. As you can see, his is confident in his ability to do that. Most of his experience taking back kicks has come while he was playing indoor football, including the Intense Football League. London Fletcher on Eagles quarterback Michael Vick: Hes playing great football. He's making plays. He hasn't thrown an interception yet. The book on Michael Vick used to be that he was talented but erratic. Coming into this season, he had 72 touchdown passes and 52 interceptions over the course of his seven-year career. Add into that the 27 fumbles that he lost and you have a few more turnovers than touchdowns. This year, however, its different. In about four games of action, (three full games plus parts of the Eagles games against Washington and Green Bay), Vick has yet to turn the ball over. In 125 pass attempts this year he has no interceptions and the Eagles have recovered both of his fumbles. If you do the math, that makes zero turnovers. The book on playing Vick used to be that if you took away the big play and forced him to dink and dunk his way down the field that he would get impatient and make a mistake. That is no longer the case. Against the Colts, for example, Vick led four drives of nine or more plays. Three of them led to points and the fourth burned off 6:48 of the fourth-quarter clock when Peyton Manning was threatening to bring the Colts back. Andy Reid on Vicks zero turnovers: Once you start worrying about that stuff then you start fumbling and throwing interceptions. I think that all around hes playing good football. I cant go either direction with that. Theres not enough wood here to knock on. Reid seemed very nervous when asked about Vicks good performance when it comes to turnovers. While it takes a great deal of skill to avoid any turnovers, there is some luck involved, too. According to one Eagles observer, Vick has had a few potential interceptions dropped by the defense. But such plays are a part of any quarterbacks stats. Donovan McNabb: I like to handle my business behind closed doors. I dont go through the media and vent or react to certain situations. Thats not truly professional. My professional manner is to talk to you man to man and try to find out what the problem is. You find out the problem, you come up with a solution, and you move on. I think for a lot of guys its a hard deal to manage because they want to vent. But what, really, do you get out of the deal before it becomes an ongoing battle of he said, she said. Thats just not how I go about business. People are talking about this whole McNabb benching situation as though we know everything involved. We dont. The public and the media have seen just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The real story has gone on behind closed doors. We dont know what Mike Shanahan has said to McNabb. We dont know what conversations Kyle Shanahan has had with his quarterback. Other than a few leaked nuggets here and there, what went on behind closed doors has stayed there. And from what McNabb said and the way Shanahan operates, we arent going to find out firsthand anytime soon. There is nothing wrong with speculation. It helps keep me in business. But realize that all of it that is going on in regards to McNabb-Shanahan is only partially informed speculation at best. Shanahan: I think Donovans done a good job this week getting ready to play. There have been a lot of distractions. Weve fought through it as a group and were ready to go on. Sometimes you make decisions that you feel are in the best interest of your team, youre not always right. Sometimes you go with your gut. But the bottom line is that you make it and you go on and hopefully well play our best football here in the second half of the season. In parsing this, there are a couple of interesting phrases here. One is the admission is that the whole fiasco has been a distraction. Usually, the company line during any sort of firestorm is that it is just a big deal to the media and the fans but the team is isolated from it, as though it is in a submarine 200 fathoms beneath a hurricane raging on the surface. The benching and subsequent shifting explanations must have created quite a stir in the locker room and in the organization for a coach like Shanahan to say that it was a distraction. The other interesting phrase is youre not always right when it comes to making decisions. Is this perhaps an admission that he bungled the situation? Certainly, he doesnt go that far in what he says but to even open up the possibility that he could have been wrong here is interesting. Clinton Portis on if he will play on Monday: Im not a rocket scientist. I cant tell you if Im going to play . . . One day at a time. Portis has been out with a separated groin since the third quarter of the Redskins win in Philly on Oct. 3. As noted above, players tend to paint a very rosy picture when it comes to whether or not they will play when dealing with an injury. If this is as rosy as Portis gets, its not a good sign for his fantasy football owners, thats for sure. Then again, Portis isnt your typical player when it comes to talking to the media. As evidenced on multiple occasions, the filter between his brain and his mouth is often turned off and he speaks the truth. So it may be a truly honest assessment. Portis talking about his injured groin: Its real sore. He was speaking before Thursdays practice which if four days before the game. If its real sore then, its hard to imagine it healing sufficiently for him to play on Monday. Phillip Daniels, speaking to another CSN Washington associate before practice: Tell Rich Tandler that I play special teams. I suppose that one sign that youre getting established at a major media outlet is that players will call you out when you make a mistake. Daniels read my article from Tuesday about the defensive players who may be coming and going between now and the start of the 2011 season and he had a couple of bones to pick with me. I should point out that it was all in good-natured fun, which is fortunate since Daniels is one of the strongest players in the NFL. When I wrote the article, I forgot that Daniels does play on the field goal block team. This was a particularly bad error on my part since he blocked a field goal earlier this year and he was involved in a key play against the Lions. Daniels was charged with jumping offside just before the Lions were about to kick a short field goal. That gave Detroit a first down and they went in to score a touchdown. Daniels, for his part, said that the center had moved, drawing him offside. There is some video evidence to back up Daniels claim. Daniels also called me out on some shoddy math skills in calculating his age. He will be 38 next season, not 39. As far as me having him in the Change of scenery category, I told him not to worry since I have written him off every year since 2006. He agreed that it probably was a good sign.Join Rich Tandler for an in-game chat from the press box at FedEx Field during the Redskins-Eagles game on Monday night. Things will get underway onwww.CSNwashington.comshortly before kickoff and continue all game long.You can reach Rich by email atRTandlerCSN@comcast.netand follow him on Twitter@RealRedskins.