Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry and offensive coordinator Sean McVay give their thoughts heading into Sunday's 2015 Week 7 matchup agianst the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry
On the run defense during the last two weeks:
"Well, we talked about last week I think the game plan the week before against Atlanta dictated it a little bit, but the funny thing was – going back to Atlanta – the three biggest runs they had were in what we call eight-man fronts. We just lost a gap and missed a tackle. I know that you can't do this, but just going back and really analyzing this Sunday on Monday and Tuesday, there were seven plays that really hurt us in the run game – two by the quarterback and then five by the running backs. They ran the ball 41 times. The other 34 runs, we gave up I think 56 yards. Now, you can't do that. They rushed the ball 41 times for 220 yards, bottom line, but I think when you really break it down, was it, 'Can we not stop the run?' or 'Were we just bad, really bad, on seven individual plays?' It wasn't just one thing, it wasn't just one guy. It was a full breakdown. Unfortunately it happened and gave up big yardage. We went back and watched it together as a group and I tried to point out we looked at those other 34 runs where we were pretty damn stout and knocked the run out. But to give up, I don't know what that averages out to be, 34 runs for 52 yards is pretty damn good. At the end of the day, we've got to be more consistent. We've got to play down in and down out. That's what happened the last two weeks. We've let a couple get away from us and that can't happen."
On if that creates optimism that the defensive breakdowns are not widespread:
* *"Yeah, you feel a little bit better in the overall picture, but bottom line, like I said, 41 rushes for 220 yards, that's not good and we can't allow that to happen. But at least you can kind of pinpoint it and look at these specific plays. These five running plays when they've turned and handed the ball off to the tailback, we've got to be better."
On the reason behind the defense being less aggressive with the lead going into halftime:
"Are you talking about the two-minute drive? Yeah, it's two-minute defense. We have a lead. We ended up intercepting the ball before the end of the half. So, it's just when you go into a two-minutes. it's kind of what mentality you want to have. What's the situation? Is it tied? Are you up? Are you down? How aggressive are they being? I think at the end of the day, at the end of the half, our mentality in two-minute this past week worked because they didn't get any points and we intercepted the ball and gave the ball back to the offense."
On what changes the team will make in the third quarter:
"Well, I think it's one of those things where you just can't… number one, it's been addressed. It's been talked about. I don't think it's one of those things that you can just go, 'Oh, whatever,' and dig a hole and put your head in the sand. For whatever reason, I wish I could tell you exactly why. I have no idea that it's been an issue for us on our side of the ball, but it's been addressed. It's been talked about. It's been a point of emphasis, starting fast. We've got to come out and start faster because we don't have a problem starting the game; we just have a problem starting the second half. But it has been addressed, it's been talked about. It's been kind of a theme on the practice field. Halfway through practice, kind of cranking it up, so I think it's just one of those things. I think the worst thing you can ever do anytime something is not going right is to ignore it and not talk about it. We've talked about it. We've addressed it. Now, we've got to go play better. We've got to coach better."
On if there will be specific coaching changes to solve third-quarter issues:
"Well, no, we're not going to have a first half game plan and a second half game plan. I just think it's something from a mentality and it starts with us as coaches. We've got to be conscious of the fact of getting our guys ready to go when they come out of the locker room. We don't have a problem doing it coming out of the locker room in the first half, so we've got to get our guys going in the second half."
On CB Bashaud Breeland's mentality with takeaways:
"Well, like I've told you every time that it's been brought up in here with you guys, that's been a point of emphasis since OTAs. We stress turnovers. We stress takeaways. We stress taking the ball away. We have a mentality, 'Hey, when the ball is in the air, it's our ball. When a runner is carrying the ball, go take it from him. When the ball is on the ground, scoop and score.' We've been stressing those things since OTA No. 1. Like I mentioned to you guys three or four weeks ago when the takeaways weren't going our way, I said 'We're going to keep stressing it, we're going to keep hammering it, and they'll come.' Now that we've had two pretty good games of getting the ball, taking it away, it's not like our mentality changes. It's not like we stop stressing it and stop talking about it. You really do it even more now and we have."
On if Breeland's ability to produce takeaways is a function of the opportunities he's getting:
"It helps. As a corner, when the ball is thrown your way you get opportunities. But I think Bree, I think Chris Baker, they have a great knack for it. The thing that's great is that the other nine guys see those two, 'Wow, when I do punch at the ball, when I do hammer the ball, when I do rake the ball, look what happens.' It's kind of helped us in what we've been stressing. To ask you why it's happening with him, I have no idea. But I'm totally for it and I like it."
On if LB Ryan Kerrigan 'got sucked in' on a screen pass against the Jets:
"That wasn't Ryan. That's one of those deals where the defense that we were in and the call they had, they got us. It had nothing to do with Ryan."
On how important it is to have the discipline and recognition of screen plays against Tampa Bay:
"No question. We spent time on third down today. You know, I showed a big third-and-15 that [No.] 22 [Doug Martin] converted against New Orleans. [No.] 34 [Charles Sims] had a huge third-and-15 against Jacksonville for 50 yards — on screen plays. I think the more dynamic backs that there are in this league, a little, simple two-yard pass on a screen play can be dangerous if it's not properly fit, if your pursuit angles aren't proper. So, yeah, it's been something that we've stressed and not just on third down. These guys do a great job in the screen game on first and second down, on third down. It happens all the time, they have a different variety of screens, but most importantly, the two guys carrying them — No. 22 and 34 --- very good screen backs. So, it's been a point of emphasis for us all week, no doubt."
On evaluating LB Perry Riley's performance since his return from injury:
"The thing that was a bummer was when he got hurt, he played lights out against the St. Louis Rams. He really did. I think that's a little — when a guy misses some time, especially with a lower extremity injury, he comes back, you've got to knock a little bit of rust off, so I don't think Perry has played poorly. And we've had the conversation, 'Get back to how you played against the St. Louis Rams.' I think he had a great week of practice this week. So, I think it's part of the deal sometimes when a guy misses time and then comes back, it takes him a little bit of time to knock some rust off… Perry has played physical. I don't think by any means — don't pinpoint anything on Perry Riley. We've all got to play better, we've all got to coach better, bottom line."
On if LB Will Compton could play more:
"Yeah, Will — we talk about a starter in waiting. Every time that we've ever called Will's number to come in and play, he's done a great job. I love the fact that we have Will Compton. He backs up both our Mike backer and our Dime backer in sub. He backs up our Mike backer and Mo linebacker in base, so he's totally adequate to come in and play, but no we're not at that point."
On if the Jets' running game helped keep the edge rushers off-balance:
"Yeah, I think when a team is able to run the ball 41 times, it's hard to get a bead from a pass rush standpoint. I thought Ryan [Kerrigan] did have a couple nice rushes early, but yeah, it's hard. When the game is going in that type of flow, it's hard to get to going as a rusher, just because they're running the ball… Difficult."
Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay
On improving the offensive execution in the second half of games:
"It always starts with the run game. We've got to clearly do a better job of being more efficient on first down when we do run the football. Then it keeps your run-pass open on second down to where you're not in some of those long yardage situations, you're kind of a bit one dimensional. So, I think it's being more efficient, being able to run the football effectively and then it kind of mixes up everything off of that."
On how to get the running game going despite the defense stacking against it:
"You know there's a story on each play. A lot of it comes down to execution. Clearly we know as coaches and players we've got to do a better job collectively executing whether it's a back-side combination, front-side combination, or [running] back reading it out. You know there are some things that give credit to the defense as they've done a nice job loading the box and stopping us. But we feel like if we correct some of the issues that have shown up especially these last couple of weeks. We'll be capable of running the football like we've shown in glimpses earlier in the year."
On if it is a possibility RB Matt Jones could play in third down back role if RB Chris Thompson is out:
"Sure, it absolutely is. I think credit to Chris; he's done an excellent job in that role so far this year. If it's a situation where Chris isn't able to go, we do have confidence, because Matt's a guy that coming out the back field, he's a little bit different type of player than Chris. But, he does have natural hands where you can use him as a legitimate option in the passing game. When he's had his chances to catch the football, I think he's done a nice job this year in our screen game and in some of our play action as a check down back. If that's the case then we feel very good about him as a third-down option."
On what getting TE Jordan Reed back means to third downs:
"It's a big-time help. Any time you're able to get a player of his caliber back, you feel really good about that. His influence and involvement both on first and second down as well will be critical to our success. I think he's done a nice job when he's been able to play this year and proven in the run game. Obviously, we know what a special receiver he is in the pass game, so we're very excited about having him on Sunday."
On if C/G Josh LeRibeus is getting more comfortable:
"Yeah, I think he is. Just with any other player, the more experience you get the more confidence you're able to gain through that experience. I thought he did a nice job against a very good front last week. He did a good job with the communication. They through a couple different looks at us protection wise where he was able to handle it in the right manner. We feel good about Josh and we're looking forward to seeing even more improvement as he goes towards his next start this season against the Bucs."
On WR DeSean Jackson's situation:
"His on-field situation is he's been really working hard to try and get his hamstring ready to go. Whenever he'll be able to play we know he's going to be a huge impact player for us. We're excited about getting him back as soon as possible."
On if Jackson was able to participate today:**
"He wasn't. He was doing some things as far as just rehabbing and doing things like that on his own getting ready to go."
On Jackson's home in California:
"It wouldn't be fair for me to comment. I don't know enough about the situation. I don't know enough about it to say right now."
On how QB Kirk Cousins has performed in practice this week:
"He's been good. I thought he's had a good week of practice. He's been really focused. I think with last week all of us were frustrated. The Jets did an excellent job slowing us down in the second half. So everybody was a little bit frustrated that we weren't able to get into a better rhythm offensively. I think he's come back; he's had a single focus this week on getting better and doing the best that he can to put himself in a position to execute at a high level against the Bucs this week."
On assessing Cousins' decision making in the passing game:
"I think everybody points to the pick that he had in the second half, the first one. He knows that's a decision that we can't afford to have. That's one that he'll learn from. Anytime that you evaluate the quarterback position at this level - defenses are so good now – that over the course of a game no matter how good of a player or how consistent you are there's always going to be a couple decisions that you want back. What you always constantly strive to do is minimize and eliminate those the best that you can. I think that one stood out that clearly really hurt us, but overall I think he's doing a nice job with his decision making. Like you pointed out earlier, he's just got to do a good job of being able to move forward and not let previous plays affect our ability to move forward as an offense and be productive."