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Notes & Quotes, 10/12: Callahan Brings In Changes On Offense

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Interim head coach Bill Callahan has made the effort to institute a variety of changes since taking over the head coaching duties on Monday, but rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins’ development is one area where he would like to maintain some continuity.

Callahan wants Haskins to prepare as if he could enter the game at any moment, because that is exactly what happened against the New York Giants. Haskins replaced Keenum in the second quarter of the game and finished 9 of 17 for 107 yards and three interceptions.

Callahan did not want to name Haskins the starter for the rest of the year. His feelings remain the same as the rest of the coaching staff; he needs time to develop and learn. That’s why he was named the backup in Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.

“I talked about Dwayne being the future of this franchise,” Callahan said on Friday. “I think it’s always invaluable that a quarterback is ready and prepared. It heightens his awareness. We’ve got a package of plays for him going into this game, so that’ll allow us to focus on bringing him along and also groom him futuristically.”

-- It has been 16 years since Callahan held head coaching responsibilities in the NFL, and since then he has been through stints with four teams, including one at Nebraska for three seasons.

Callahan often thought about what he would do differently if he ever got the role again. He’s had it for less than a week, and now that he’s at “the tail end of his career,” Callahan said he has learned to be more patient.

“I think that just comes with age,” Callahan said. “I’m just more patient, and I think coaching linemen helps create that patience. The position is so intricate, and there’s so many details. So, grooming a young player like Brandon Scherff when he was a rookie to where he’s at now, it’s night and day. You just learn how to become a better coach, a better communicator, and you really just take inventory of how you can do things better.”

-- Third downs have been a struggle for the Redskins’ offense throughout the year, and Callahan has met with the group about staying in manageable situations.

Ideally, Callahan would like the offense to go immediately from first- and-second down to first again and avoid third-downs “at all cost.”

He knows that isn’t always achievable, but avoiding third-and-long scenarios -- something the offense has found itself in more times than not -- is something that can help alleviate some of the pressure from defenses.

“It’s really hard to overcome,” Callahan said of third-and-long plays. “The rush is on top of you, the coverage sags a little bit more, they drop another defender in it, it makes it tough to hold the ball and get completions downfield. So, if we can improve and regulate where we’re at relative to the down and distances of our play and eliminate the negative aspects of our execution, it gives us a chance to be in more manageable situations.”

Take a look at photos from Redskins practice on Thursday October 10, 2019 before they take on the Miami Dolphins.

-- The Redskins want to be known as a strong running team for the rest of the year, and they gave offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell the keys to do that as the play caller.

But that doesn’t mean the offense is going to be one that lines up in an “I” formation and runs the ball straight through defenses. Plays like misdirections, run-pass options and jet sweeps like the one Steve Sims took 65 for a touchdown against the New England Patriots are going to be part of that plan.

“I come from the school of thought from some of the coaches that I’ve worked for that there’s a lot of extensions of the run-game – those jet sweep plays, the misdirection plays, specials, screens to both the running backs and the receivers, RPOs,” O’Connell said. “I think you need all of those tools at your disposal. Defenses are very, very good, they understand how to leverage certain formations, they understand how to take advantage of what you’re trying to do on offense.”

Sunday will be O’Connell’s first game as the primary play caller. He wants to rely on his assistant coaches for help, and his main goal is to put together a game where the offense plays well for four quarters.

“Preparation, communicate early and often, then be ready to make some adjustments and obviously, hopefully, play well not only in the first half, but be ready to play four quarters including the second half,” O’Connell said on how he’s preparing for the Miami Dolphins.

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