This is the first time the rookie quarterback has faced an opponent for a second time in a season.
“I think it’s a big challenge for any rookie quarterback to play in this league, especially going against a division opponent the second time, when they kind of get a feel for him, and the football team,” Shanahan said in a conference call with New York/New Jersey reporters. “It’s a big challenge.”
“The Giants are very sound in what they do,” Shanahan added. “They make adjustments very quickly. They’re very sound, very talented. They have the ability to do a number of things, so you’re really not sure until you play what direction they’re going to go.”
Shanahan admits this rematch is like a last stand for the Redskins. At 5-6, the Redskins have to beat the Giants (7-4) to keep hopes of winning the division alive.
“We put ourselves in a situation, starting off 3-6,” Shanahan said. “We knew each game was a pivotal game, games you had to have. This game is no different.”
It was only a few weeks ago that Shanahan made it sound as if the Redskins were in evaluation mode for the future.
“Now you’re playing to see who obviously is going to be on your football team for years to come,” Shanahan said earlier this month according to The Washington Post. “Now we get a chance to evaluate players and see where we’re at.
“Obviously, we’re not out of it statistically, but now we find out what type of character we’ve got and how guys keep on fighting through the rest of the season.”
When asked about that comment and how the Redskins can be right back in the race if they beat the Giants, Shanahan clarified his statement.
“First of all, if you know me, I don’t care if we’re 1-14, we’re going to play that last game and play the best players,” he said on the conference call. “What I meant by it is that when you are down, you’ve got to have your football team play your best football. I think we had 46 guys on our team and 26 of those guys have been with me for one or two years. We’ve got 20 guys who will find out how they play their best football in the second half of the season.”
One guy he does not want to see on Monday night is Ryan Torain, his former running back. The Giants signed Torain as a free agent on Tuesday.
“I’m hoping that he’s not doing anything this weekend,” Shanahan cracked. “Hopefully, he’s sick, he’s not playing very well. Ryan Torain is a great young man. He’s got excellent running ability.
“I was kind of really surprised that he was on the street as long as he was. I think the one thing he’s going to look for, is a guy that can make people miss, a guy that can carry the football and he’s a great kid.”