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Washington Redskins' coach Mike Shanahan puts trust in rookies

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Washington Redskins' coach Mike Shanahan spoke to the media Wednesday about this week's game against the New York Giants.

Washington Redskins' coach Mike Shanahan.
Washington Redskins' coach Mike Shanahan.
Larry French

After the disappointing results the Washington Redskins have gotten with Mike Shanahan as coach the past two seasons, a 3-3 start for the team is a sign of hope for many Redskins fans. Even more surprising may be the fact they have done this while starting rookies at quarterback and running back. They have yet to play a division foe yet though, making this week's game against the New York Giants important for the Redskins. Heading into the game, Shanahan thinks it will be key for his team to shut down the Giants' run game first.

"I think anytime you go against a team you want to be able to slow down their running game," Shanahan said. "With the Giants, with the great job that they do with the passing game, if they can run it as well, you're definitely in for a long day."

The Giants, of course, are coming off back-to-back weeks where their running game was dominant. Ahmad Bradshaw has 316 yards on 57 carries in victories over the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers.

While Shanahan discussed stopping the run game as a priority, the Redskins passing defense is ranked in the bottom of the league, which is certainly a concern against Eli Manning.

"Yeah," Shanahan said. "(Laughs). We're giving up a lot of yards."

Going into the season the Redskins had some uncertainty at the running back position. Shanahan drafted Alfred Morris in the sixth round, but admittedly had no idea the back would have the success he is having now for his team.

"We didn't know that going in with Alfred, we kind of got a feel with him as we went through the preseason and he earned the right to start," Shanahan said. "He just handles himself like a veteran back. Knock on wood, he's been extremely durable. He wants the ball. He has a lot of talent, very humble guy that I think everybody is rooting for."

In the end, Shanahan has confidence in not only his rookie running back, but his second overall pick at quarterback, Robert Griffin III.

"He picks things up very quickly, he's very sharp, he's very attentive, he works extremely hard to get the offense down, he prepares extremely well," Shanahan said. "He has picked it up a lot faster than I thought he would or thought he could."