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Bill Callahan/Kevin O'Connell Redskins Pressers: "It's no secret we want to run the football"

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Bill Callahan and Kevin O'Connell answered questions from the media after today's practice

New York Jets v Washington Redskins Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Redskins interim Head Coach Bill Callahan and Offensive Coordinator Kevin O'Connell spoke to the media after today's practice. They talked about the Redskins young WRs, running back rotations, preparing for the Packers, injuries, and more.

Injury updates:

Preparing for the Packers:

"We prepared the best we could today. Throughout the week, we’ve had good focus, we’ve had good practices. I think the energy level has been positive. Preparation, I think in all phases in meeting, in the meeting rooms and on the field has been really good. So, I feel like we’re prepared and ready to play a good game. They’re a good team, we know what their record is, we know what their record is at home, especially in December. So, we understand all those factors and those challenges and we’re excited about going up there and playing.”

Za'Darius Smith:

"I think it was a really great pick up that they had in the offseason. He lines up just about anywhere and everywhere. So, he’s going to play the end positions right and left, he’s going to get over the guards, he’s played off the line of scrimmage. So, they’re using him in a lot of different capacities. It’s really impressive to watch his ability to pressure, to pressure rush, from those various alignments that give him a uniqueness that I haven’t seen in a long time. Haven’t seen a rusher like him bring the combination of power, speed, length, close and then get over the guards and show edge ability and put cans and power as well. It’s pretty rare to see a guy like him and his abilities to dominate at the different positions and levels that he’s been featured at.”

Cowboys:

Kevin O'Connell Presser

Derrius Guice:

Running back rotation:

“We try to tag plays, tag reps that they’re going to get in practice and take them to the games, but sometimes, like last week, we kind of had to adjust. We had a plan going into that game of maybe wanting to run more interior runs where we would try to isolate things in the zebra game, the three wide receiver game, and then early on, you guys saw, we went backwards on that first drive and they did some things we hadn’t really seen going into that game. So, we kind of had to adjust. Then when that happens, it’s really on myself and [Running Backs Coach] Randy Jordan to really figure out, ‘Ok, how do we get these guys equal touches?’ And make sure situationally is one thing, 25 [RB Chris Thompson] is going to be coming into the game, but we also want to have [RB] Derrius [Guice] and [RB Adrian Peterson] in there for some third downs because the ability to run the football, but also those guys are real talents out of the backfield as well. They’re hard to tackle. Derrius’ ability to make people miss in space is something that I’m always trying to find on early downs in the pass game. So, from the standpoint of touches ‒ that’s how I talk to AP and Derrius, I say touches. One guy might have 10 carries, the other guy might have five, but then the other guy with five carries has four receptions. It’s touches. It’s how many times in the game can we get those guys in space while also giving them power run game to impose their will on the defense, which obviously they were able to do last week.”

Run the football:

"Yeah, I think it’s important because those guys, especially – everybody’s seen so many games up there where they get hot offensively and if you put your defense in some tough spots they can put some points on the board in a hurry, so we’ve got to be really smart about how we try to attack early on, take our shots where we can. It’s no secret, we want to run the football. We’ve had some success in more games than others, but we stick to the run. That’s what we want to do and it’s my job to make sure that I’m building things in around the run game, how we want to do it that particular week and make sure we’re doing it with the play-pass and trying to move the quarterback a little bit. But also, when we do decide to pass it, we’ve got a great reason to, we’ve got a great plan to try to get our playmakers the ball in space, so it all works together. When you’re playing against a quarterback like this and really a defense like this – I mean, that secondary and their pass rush and what they want to do defensively, we’ve got to make sure we try to impose our will a little early on in the game with whatever the conditions may be. That’s a whole other part of it, but it’s a tremendous task for us, a difficult challenge for sure.”

Packers:

Steven Sims Jr.:

"Well, I can remember talking to him to you guys when were in Richmond, just some of the impacts he was making on a daily basis. It’s just always finding that balance between asking him to do too much between his special teams responsibilities, what we’re trying to do in the run game, understanding our concepts from that standpoint. It’s not just about his impact in the pass game – which is clear – or his impact in some of the gadget type plays where we can get him involved in the run game. It’s one of those things where, how much can we put on his plate before it becomes too much? And you never really quite know that the way the week’s put together with the situational football coming throughout the week. All of a sudden you look at the gameplan and you see a lot of 15 tags on the sheet, you see a lot of plays for him. What he’s done a great job of for a young player is just managing that – a couple more plays each week, a couple more plays – and now he’s to the point, especially with [WR] Trey [Quinn] being dinged up that we need him. He’s going to play a lot of snaps and he’s definitely somebody that I think about trying to get touches to, not just receptions, not just targets in the pass game, but just touches of the football on first, second and third down.”

Chris Thompson:

Dwayne Haskins Jr.:

"I think what I loved best about [QB] Dwayne [Haskins Jr.] on Sunday was it was a game we talked about – even in here last week – we talked about their pass rush and their ability to get pressure on the quarterback. What he did so well, I thought, was navigate the pocket. I thought he handled his progressions for the most part and going back I think we counted four or five where maybe he turned down one of his 1A, 1B type progressions to get through a progression. Situationally, he was trying to do a little bit too much at times, but that’s normal for a young, competitive player like that – he’s trying to score, he’s trying to make plays. We’ve just got to continue to keep him in the confines of what we need him to do from a footwork, timing, anticipation standpoint. And then the plays where, ‘Hey, it’s time to turn it loose,’ that was one of the best things. There was about three throws in the two minute drive in the two minute that I can think of and then the last third down to [WR] Kelvin [Harmon] he makes a great decision. Even the go ball to [WR] Terry [McLaurin] where we didn’t complete it, I thought he threw a really good ball, he held the safety, the timing of getting that ball up. There was just some little things that he’s starting to do. Things are clicking for him, it’s just continually a progression of how much of our system, how much of the offense can we take to Green Bay with us where we feel like he can play consistently like that. He’s working his butt off, I can’t talk enough about his work ethic on a daily basis. He’s getting with [Quarterbacks Coach] Tim [Rattay] and myself and he wants to be coached hard, and the last three, four weeks we’ve done that. He’s been able to take some of it to Sundays, but he’d be the first one to tell you there’s still little things that we’ve got to get cleaned up from a standpoint of consistency with his feet and eyes. I’m hoping we take another step forward this weekend against a really good defense.”

Defenses Redskins young WRs:

“I think some teams more so than others. It really shows up situationally. Some teams in our league right now use single high in the red zone has been a popular thing, it really has been for the past couple years, but now it’s trying to figure out where that help is, trying to figure out, ‘Are they doubling [WR] Terry [McLaurin]?’ It might not be someone screaming in the middle of the field, ‘Hey I’m doubling 17 [Terry McLaurin].’ It might look like a post-safety look and then all of a sudden, [QB] Dwayne [Haskins Jr.] has to see the demeanor of that DB go double him with his eyes and his location post-snap and then that does activate the throws to [WR] Kelvin [Harmon]. Maybe a double-move, we throw quite a bit of in-breaking routes to Kelvin and I think that speaks to his willingness. Not everybody can handle that. Not everybody can handle being a third or fourth progression on an in-breaking when there is safeties and linebackers in the middle of the field. I think it’s a testament to his toughness, his detail, understanding where we need him in the progression for Dwayne, but also understanding that he’s going to be a first progression every now and again, too. It’s not just where a situation where we can take five steps in the gun and just look for 17. If it was that simple, I would get home a lot earlier every week, I know that. So, we’re always trying to find the best possible concepts that we can isolate 17 and then if the defense wants to dictate, ‘Hey, we’re not going to let you have him this play.’ That’s when 15 [WR Kelvin Harmon] and 13 [WR Steven Sims Jr.], our three rookies, kind of working together to help each other get open. It’s really cool to watch because I think they’re starting to get it a little bit and we have to go do it again Sunday.”

Redskins vs Packers Injury Report