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Redskins Mini-Camp: Jay Gruden and Kevin O’Connell Pressers

Gruden and O’Connell answer questions after today’s practice

NFL: Washington Redskins-Rookie Minicamp Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Head Coach Jay Gruden and Offensive Coordinator Kevin O’Connell spoke to the media after today’s practice. The Redskins opened up a three day mandatory mini-camp today. Gruden discussed Trent Williams absence/contract demands, Alex Smith, Josh Norman, and much more. O’Connell spoke about working with new Redskins QB Dwayne Haskins, what he wants to do with the offense, and more.

Trent Williams:

Dwayne Haskins vs veterans at mini-camp:

“He did [well]. He is learning every day. He’s doing an excellent job, as far as just getting familiar with the offense and terminology. He has a great skill set. He can really spin it, without a doubt, but now it is just a matter of transitioning to different defenses, different blitzes, handling the pressure, handling the looks, finding open receivers and delivering the ball. I think he is on a great course right now. He’s getting better every day from what I have seen.”

Terry McLaurin:

“Terry is doing an excellent job. He can do everything. He can block. He can run the vertical routes. He can run the short intermediate routes. He ran an unbelievable double move today. I have just been impressed with the total package of Terry, not just his speed, but his toughness, his attention to detail. He has the ability to finish plays, to block, line up correctly. He has just been outstanding in all phases.”

Kevin O’Connell:

“It’s great. It has been a great communication process with him, Bill [Callahan], [Brian] Angelico, Randy Jordan, Ike Hilliard. All of these guys are doing a great job of communicating what they want to see out on the practice field, coaching it, then seeing it on the practice field. He has done an outstanding job. We expect great things from the offense. Now it is about finding the right people and how they fit with what we are trying to run and us trying to adjust to the people we have as well. This is an important time, it’s early summer, but it is an important time for us just to gauge and see what we have so when the summer time comes around, and we come back for training camp, we can adjust our scheme accordingly.”

Colt McCoy:

“Anytime a quarterback cannot go, it’s an affect… we would love for him to take some reps, but obviously his health is more important right now than anything, and that is the most important thing for him. He would come out there and limp with a leg brace on if he could, but we won’t let him. We just have to take the process for what it is and listen to the trainers and doctors. When he is fully healed, we’ll get the word and let him go, but he’s still getting the mental reps, which is important. He is still in all the meetings, in that regard, so when his time comes it will come quickly. He will be ready.”

Developing QBs with backup OL:

“Yeah, it is tough. We kind of messed around, bringing in a bunch of tackles. We have made some changes there. We are trying to take a look at a lot of guys. With [Geron] Christian and Trent [Williams] not here, and Morgan [Moses] practicing on a limited basis, it has been difficult a little bit on the outside. We have to adjust and those guys have to handle pressure and step up. They have done a pretty good job, for the most part, but we have to do a better job of simulating drills where we can at least get some passes off without the defensive line all around [the quarterback’s] body.”

Quinton Dunbar:

“It was just Dunbar working his way back in. That was his first practice, really, so he was kind of just working his way back in. He took some reps and we told him to take a limited amount of reps based on how he felt. He felt pretty good, which is a good sign, and we will build more and more to his reps as the next day comes about.”

Alex Smith:

“He can throw. He can play catch, yes.”

Josh Norman:

Reuben Foster:

Kevin O’Connell Presser

Dwayne Haskins:

“Yeah, I think his skillset fits with having some vertical speed on the outside, especially, not only ‘just take the top off,’ I know that’s a common term sometimes. We’ve got to throw some of those balls and we’ve got to make defenses defend the entire field, not only vertically but sideline-to-sideline. He’s got the ability to really stretch the field. I mean, you guys have seen him throw the ball beyond the numbers I think pretty impressively this spring. QB Case [Keenum] can do it as well, but for the most part, them having those skillsets and WR Terry [McLaurin]’s been outstanding and having WR Paul Richardson back and healthy will be huge because he’s a veteran presence that’s been there, done that in that room along with WR Josh Doctson outside. I think those young guys have some good examples to watch work every day, but at the same time we’d love for there to be some competition amongst those guys in that room because there’s no doubt that that skillset’s needed. I think going back through the years of Coach Gruden’s offense here, when those skillsets have been there, you guys can probably remember some of those explosive plays really started to show up, which I know me personally would really like to get back to.”

QBs adjusting to a new system:

“First impressions, really on all three they’ve done a heck of a job the whole spring. But our teaching progression from the offense, the way the rules are set now, we first get a hold of them during Phase 1 [OTA] in the media room and we try to expose them to as much as we can. Then Phase 2 starts and we get to go out there and see how talented guys are. Dwayne [Haskins] integrated towards the end of that post-draft. This is really where the learning curve goes a thousand miles a minute, because we can talk protection now, we can talk situational football. Today in two-minute there were five things that came up in those two-minute drives where we had to go back and talk about, you know, you can’t run with no timeouts in the red zone. You know late in the two-minute drive you can’t do things that they know, but they’re so focused on plays, so focused on progressions and flipper calls and protections that they forget about playing football sometimes. So, we’ve got to circle back and make sure we hit all those. The spring’s a great time for teaching, but also, there’s an end game in mind in getting all these guys to compete for the job, you know come fall training camp.”

QB learning curve:

Explosive passing plays early:

Offensive line depth:

“Yeah, I think that’s the goal. I mean, we drafted a couple guys. We signed obviously somebody in free agency with T Ereck Flowers and there are still those young guys. Even though they were pressed into action last year, those guys are developing. [Offensive line] Coach [Bill] Callahan is the best in the business at developing offensive linemen. Even when he had to do it and guys showing up in the building on a Tuesday and he’s coaching guys to play on a Saturday or Sunday, you know you still saw those guys progressing. And then you have the draft picks, and then hopefully there’s nothing like seeing G Brandon Scherff and T Morgan Moses and hopefully T Trent [Williams], eventually C Chase Roullier, seeing what that starting five is going to look like, and then we can start seeing the depth at that point. But, you’re absolutely right at this point we’re just focusing on our system, making sure these guys are learning. You know, when we say things everything has a meaning in our system. You spend a lot of time talking about it, now we’ll go back upstairs and evaluate, see where they’re at. Coach Callahan will always evaluate the technique and fundamentals just like we’re doing at the quarterback, all of our position coaches right now. That’s really what the spring is all about in addition to installing all of this offense and sometimes overcomplicated things, we, in fact, need to teach technique and fundamentals to a lot of these guys because the things we’re asking them to do could be foreign to them compared to what they did in college.”

Cam Sims:

“Well, everybody probably remembers. I mean he was a play maker in training camp last year from day one. Really, pleasant surprise, we knew he had ball skills, we knew what he may be potentially could be, but Alabama there was so much talent out there, maybe the nation didn’t get to see some of those plays and then he shows up here and he’s confident. He works extremely hard. He’s got a great skillset for that Z position which we’re always looking for. You know, the injury happens and he’s kind of a forgotten for a year. We draft some young guys. We have some veterans coming back, but Cam’s in a great spot right now. I think he’s motivated to make sure that he’s in the mix every single day and when his number’s called. You never can guarantee things in this system for guys, you know, scripting plays and trying to get this guy a choice route or that guy a post or a go-ball and then [defensive coordinator] [Greg] Manusky decides to play a defense that tries to make the quarterback throw it here or there. So when his number is called it can be free and far between, but it was good to see him really execute and make that deep play in two-minute. He made a couple others, caught the dagger I think in 7-on-7. So, it’s good to see him showing up and finishing plays for sure.”


“No, I think for me, when I got here day one three years ago, I noticed right away Jay is one of those play callers that he gets in a great rhythm, but he’s not afraid to ask for a call every now and then. He’s not afraid to say, ‘hey Kevin what do you like here?’ You’re talking to a quarterback every day, every meeting as the quarterback coach or even last year, even transitioning, still working with the quarterbacks transitioning to a more passing-game role. He relies on his coaching staff just like he does Bill in the run game, [tight ends] Coach Angelichio in the run game and the pass game and then us as a staff, when we game plan everybody’s got their responsibilities, but the best plays and the best ways of attacking the team we’re playing get put on the call sheet. Coach Gruden’s going to call those plays, and if he ever needs a call I’ve learned really quickly to have a call ready for him. I’m always trying to develop and being around some of the coaches that I’ve got to be around as a player and a coach; it gives me that opportunity to give us every day to learn. Potentially when he needs a call it might be three calls in a game it might be 10 calls, it might be no calls, but I’ll be ready because I’m constantly evaluating myself. You know, am I ready to call a play, its third-and-seven with the game on the line what would I call here? And if Jay needs a call, I have it for him but I’m pretty sure he’ll be ready to go most times like he has been and he’s a wonderful play-caller to be able to learn from every day just like the guys I’m lucky enough to be around.”