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Cavanaugh 'Excited' To Lead Redskins' QBs

With more than three decades of NFL experience under center as both a player and a coach, Matt Cavanaugh has certainly learned a thing or two about the quarterback position.

And at each stop he's had – as a player or coach for 10 NFL teams since 1978 – Cavanaugh has been sure to take notes of what works and what doesn't work from multiple Pro Football Hall of Famers.

"I think just being exposed to good people who had a play, had a vision of the way the game was supposed to be played, how you're supposed to work at it, how it was a team game – all of those things kind of resonated with me," Cavanaugh said. "I hung around them and I was able to absorb some of it, and I used some of their coaching to this day."

Cavanaugh on Jan. 28 was hired as the Redskins' quarterbacks coach, filling in a position that was vacant during head coach Jay Gruden's first year at the helm of the franchise in 2014.

On Thursday, Cavanaugh – who spent the previous two seasons as the Chicago Bears' quarterbacks coach – joined host Larry Michael on the set of Redskins Nation, where he said the "good people" already on Washington's staff made the decision to move an easy one.

"I knew a couple of guys on the staff," Cavanaugh said. "I didn't know Coach [Jay] Gruden all that well. I've been introduced to him once or twice. I knew his brother pretty well. But just knowing the type of team that he wanted to create and the type of people he was going to surround himself with, it's exciting."

Cavanaugh – a Youngstown, Ohio, native – said he "excited" about the opportunity to work with the two young Redskins' quarterbacks currently on the roster: Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins. Colt McCoy, a veteran who played in five games for Washington in 2014, heads into the 2015 offseason an unrestricted free agent.

Cavanaugh said he evaluated both Griffin III and Cousins coming out of college and followed their pro careers as close as he could while working for other teams.

"So I have a pretty good sense of some of their abilities," he said. "What I need time to develop now is trust and relationship between us, and being able to impart some of my experiences on them to help them play their position a little bit better."

Check out these photos of the Redskins' quarterbacks in action during the 2014 season.

Cavanaugh said because Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay's system is "outstanding," evaluating that trust with his players shouldn't be too difficult.

Starting three quarterbacks in 2014, the Redskins still were able to pass the ball at a record pace in 2014, finishing the season with a completion percentage of 66.5 percent and 364 completions – both team records.

Cavanaugh said he hopes to instill what he's learned over the years to make the operation even more efficient in 2015 and beyond.

"When I talk to them about being under center and what it meant to me, I think they absorb that pretty quickly," he said. "They can hear me say things that maybe they haven't heard someone else say about the position. I think it's a strong point."

One of the most important messages Cavanaugh said he wants to pass along to his quarterbacks is to try to keep an even-keeled demeanor at all times.

"I saw some winning teams and losing teams, and I was on both ends of it. It was a good experience," he said. "Since I've been in football I've been cut, traded, fired, carried off the field, thrown off the field, gone down parades down the center of the city to try to hide from people in the seats. I experienced it all, and let them know that I'm coming from the heart. I'm here to help them get better."




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