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Bill Callahan press conference: “It is winning by any means necessary”

Bill Callahan talks to the media

NFL: Washington Redskins at Miami Dolphins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Callahan spoke to the Washington sports media after Wednesday’s practice.

Opening Statement:

“Again, congratulations to the Nationals, wow. Pretty amazing. Our Director of Football Operations Paul Kelly, his son is a bat boy for the Nationals, so it was great to see him on the tube last night celebrating. So that’s pretty awesome, I had to mention that. Getting ready, just starting preparation on the Niners. Had a good day at practice just focusing on all the early-down situations, getting ready for a really talented football team in all phases. They’re pretty good running the football, as you all know they lead the league in completions and rush attempts, number one in the league. Defense is top five in all categories and special teams is solid across the ball, so we have a great challenge this weekend as the Niners come to town.”

On RB Chris Thompson’s status:

“We’ll know a little bit more about him at the end of the week. He’s down right now at practice today, but we’ll know a little bit more going forward.”

On the statuses of RB Derrius Guice and RB Bryce Love:

“Just maybe, possibly [RB Derrius] Guice could be released [back to practice] in another week or so, possibly. Then [RB Bryce] Love, we’ll just see where he’s at. He’s still in the rehabilitation process.”

On why RB Adrian Peterson and QB Case Keenum were held out of practice:

“Definitely just veteran guys, backing them down and just trying to take care of their bodies a little bit better.”

On what he’s seen from the pass rush recently:

“I thought it was good. I know we focused on it last week and you saw [LB] Montez Sweat, he had some good efforts and good [opportunities] one-on-one in the game. [LB Ryan] Kerrigan did, as well. They didn’t get the production they wanted, but you look at [DT Tim] Settle and [DT Matt] Ioannidis and [DT] Jonathan Allen – I think all of those guys have been doing a really good job. Our interior has provided more push and more production than our outside guys have, so that’s a challenge that we accept. We know we’ve got to get a little more heat on the quarterback. We’re definitely tied into that. Of course, [LB] Ryan Anderson did a pretty good job last week as well just putting heat and pressure on the quarterback.”

On whether Thompson needed surgery:

“No, just rest.”

On how difficult it is to practice without your starting quarterback:

“[QB] Dwayne [Haskins Jr.] took all the reps today and it’s invaluable for a backup to take starting reps, especially at the beginning of the week in terms of putting your plan together and laying it out there and making all the adjustments, whether it’s new communication, new formations, handling the shift-motion game. I thought he did a really good job today, so his growth is starting to show in practice and also in his preparation. He’s in earlier, he’s out later, so it’s all coming to fruition. It’s going to take a little time, but it’s good to see him take a major step today in practice.”

On how to find success in the running game against a tough 49ers defense:

“Every game is different, so how the game unfolds and how we attack the Niners, whether we do it internally or whether we throw a little bit more – it really doesn’t matter to us. We’d like to run it more and if we don’t, as long as we’re making yards and scoring points it really doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, it’s getting on the board and it is winning by any means necessary. We’ll do whatever we need to do. Of course we want to establish the run and we want to keep that identity just like everybody else around the league, but they’re good, they’re a really good challenge for our football team. They’re solid in every area, in their front, in their backend, their second-level. Their speed, quickness, explosion and pursuit to the ball is one of the best in the league right now, so they’ve done a tremendous job putting that front together. It’s interesting, a couple years ago when they were here you could just see kind of the blueprint of what they were trying to do – now, they’ve added a lot of pieces, they’ve got five first-rounders up front, the backend is tied down pretty well. They’re making plays in the backend, but their front and the way that they pursue to the ball is really impressive. They’ve done a good job, good staff, so it’ll be a great challenge for our team.”

On what makes 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan’s run scheme so effective:

“Kyle [Shanahan] knows the running game. He’s well-respected around the league for what he’s accomplished here, in Cleveland, in Atlanta and obviously in San Francisco. He’s really worked hard to establish their identity. It’s a good mixture of their wide zone game – I mean, that’s where it starts, of course they’re going to stretch the ball, they’re going to be a one-cut-runner type of team and then they’re going to mix it all up with their diversionary motions, their jet sweep motions, they add in and implement the gap schemes and the perimeter schemes, so they’re pretty diverse, pretty challenging in that respect. You don’t see a lot of teams have that much diversity in their attack and in their scheme, but they gameplan really well. They change week-to-week and you’ve got to be ready for everything. They’ve got it all.”

On what 49ers defensive lineman is the main focus this week:

“There are so many different front variations, so we’re preparing for everything. It’s difficult to say that it’s just one rusher because the minute you focus on one rusher obviously there are three more first-rounders on the other side that you have to deal with. We’ve got to have a great protection plan going into this game. Rush control is going to be important, you can see that exhibited by the way the Rams played last week, and other teams and how they’ve played them. It’s no secret that the Niners have got a good rush plan and of course the pressure plan with it is outstanding. How we matchup, that can all vary because they line up in different locations, different spots and then they change those matchups based on what they see. Hard to predict, but we’ll try to prepare for it all.”

On getting the running game going on third-and-short situations:

“First off, short-yardage situations, third-and-one to-two, they’re always balanced Run-Pass-Option downs. Third down and three-to-four, three-to-five, those are downs where you can mix it somehow, but you really gotta be outstanding to generate a five-yard run on third-and-five against the different types of pressures you can potentially see. It’s not that we’re reluctant on those downs-and-distances, we just have a lot of confidence in [QB] Case [Keenum] and our receivers. It didn’t work out as well down in Miami. I thought we could have done a better job versus the press man that we’ve gotten. We’ve gotta go back to the drawing board and work a little bit harder, be a little bit more diligent in our technique in terms of defeating man coverage and that’s no secret. That’s nothing that anybody doesn’t know in football, whether it’s our staff or their staff or our players, we just gotta do a better job being a little bit more definitive, having more definition in our route running in those situations.”

On his expectations are for Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky:

“I think he has high standards and he wants to put our kids in good position, our players are in good position in the backend and we’re working hard to tie up and fix possibly a coverage or two, but other than that I thought we played really well down in Miami. Like I mentioned the other day, [CB] Quinton Dunbar played really well, [S] Landon [Collins] played well – NFC Defensive Player of the Week. Those guys played really well in the backend and they continue to get better and if we can complement that back end with a little bit more pressure, hopefully that’ll provide some more opportunities for turnovers and picks.”

On whether there was an emphasis placed on blitzing Collins last week:

“Yeah there was. We featured his blitz ability and you saw the matchup on the [running] back in the game where he created the sack. So if we could put him in positions where he can get matched up and not have the offensive line slide to him on a pick up, that just enhances our percentages of making a play and being productive. I thought [Defensive Coordinator] Greg [Manusky] did a great job, I thought the staff did a great job preparing the team and creating those opportunities whether it was for [S] Landon [Collins] or the defensive line up front.”

On how WR Terry McLaurin’s approach compares to other rookie and veteran wide receivers:

“I think pretty similar in terms of… I’m trying to think back on some of the guys. I’ve been around more veteran type receivers [opposed to] some of the younger guys. They’ve been all good, there’s no knock or anything like that and when you make a comparison, it’s hard to judge for me. Just talking about [WR] Terry [McLaurin] individually, I go back to his make-up and his character and what he brings to the team and what he brings by example. When you’re a rookie, you don’t say a lot of things, you’re not always so vocal because you’re just learning, you’re trying to feel your way around in an NFL environment and you’re trying to really learn from the other players. For him to overcome that learning curve and take on a leadership role by example speaks volumes for his play. As he just continues to work diligently and he maintains his focus and shows continual improvement, the sky’s the limit for him. We’re just really happy for him and good to see him have the success he’s had this year and he’s really helped our offensive unit by a large stretch.”

On whether Keenum will be on the injury report:

“I don’t know. I haven’t seen one yet, I’ll see it when it comes out.”

On whether Keenum was held out for rest or if he was held out to give QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. an opportunity to get first-team reps:

“Strictly for [QB] Case [Keenum]’s purposes, yes.”

On the trade rumors surrounding T Trent Williams and if he wants to see some assets return to the team in a potential deal if Williams decides he will not return:

“Well number one, I don’t know anything about that conversation, the first part of your question, I don’t know anything about that, so we’ll see about that, I guess. Number two, I think you’re always looking to improve your roster by any means. Whether you’re acquiring by trade or acquiring it through free agency or obviously guys off the waiver wire, we’re always looking. We’re always trying to turn it and always trying to improve the bottom of the roster and also develop the players we have here on practice squad. [We have] a number of players that are working hard, diligent in terms of upping their stock and getting their chance, just like [DB] Jeremy Reaves did this weekend. That’s really the focus as i’m concerned as a coach, just trying to get the players we have here in-house better and we’re always searching to improve each position by any way we can. I hope that answers your question.”