Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett give their thoughts heading into Sunday's matchup against the New York Giants.*
Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay:
On what he's seen in Colt McCoy that makes him believe he's ready to be a winning quarterback:
"I think he's got great anticipation. I think he's a lot better athlete than he's given credit for. He does a great job recognizing coverage and getting the ball wherever that dictates and he's got a good command, great way about himself with all the players and everybody really likes him and he's got good command of the huddle. He's done a nice job. We've certainly got to be better in a lot of areas and he knows he can play better than he did last week, but we feel really good with the progress that he has made, especially only being in this offense for one year."
On what McCoy could have done better last week vs. the St. Louis Rams:
"Well, this is a big momentum game as we all know, and I think when you look at what we were able to do that first drive – string a couple first downs together, Alfred [Morris] has a long run – and you get down in there to where you're at least in field goal range, and he's got to be better than that on that first pick. I thought he made a great throw on that first third down to Pierre where we know we haven't been very good at all on third down, but once you get into those scoring opportunities, we get into that empty formation, the safety made a nice play, but that's a play that we expect [McCoy] to make and he will make and as the course goes on, he did some good things throughout that game, but anytime that you're the quarterback and we don't score any points, we know that there are things we need to do a lot better."
On what wasn't going well for the running game last week:
"I think you look at the opportunities. I want to say we had about 20 plays and that's going back to not being very good on third downs. You get yourself in bad situations on first and second down and now you're in third and long and the defense is able to push their ears back and come at you hard, so we didn't get a lot of opportunities where – we only had 20 snaps until we got into that two minute drive at the end of the half – so I think that was part of the problem."
On how confident the Redskins are that they can change that this week:
"You never take anything for granted each and every week. The last time we played the Giants, they did an excellent job defending us, so we have a lot of respect for them. They play us well. They're familiar with some of the things that we've been doing similar to the last couple years, and coach [Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell] does a good job with those guys. Anytime that you go into a gameplan, you're always confident and optimistic that you put these guys in the best situation to have success, and we're continuing to grind and hopefully this is the week where some things come together for us and we get the results that we want."
On getting running back Chris Thompson some carries:**
"He's a guy that has improved a lot. He's an excellent guy that can do some different things out of the backfield as a receiving threat. I think he's starting to understand the protection responsibilities and he's a good runner that brings a different change of pace. If Coach Gruden decides that he'll be up, there probably will be some things and ways that we'll be able to utilize him, and he's a guy that we'll continue to be excited [about] and will continue to get better."
On what Thompson needs to do to keep up in pass protection:
"Until you get into those live game reps, that's really the best way is by gaining experience through those live game reps, andd I think the first thing is recognize the issues. When am I going to be used? What are my pickup responsibilities? And then once you do that, being able to be decisive, use the right technique that Coach [Randy] Jordan preaches to those guys where you're square, you've got your weight underneath you, you stick your face on people and you be physical at the point of attack."
On why they didn't take a lot of shots downfield last week:
"I think it's kind of just predicated on the way the Rams were defending us. They did a nice job on the perimeter playing softer with their corners and sometimes the flow of the game dictates when Coach Gruden decides when they want to utilize those shot plays, but that's something you want to be aware of especially with the players that we do have."
On the Giants defense:
"They're a hard eight-man front on first and second down where they do a good job stopping the run. They've got good physical corners on the outside. [Dominique] Rodgers-Cromartie is an excellent player and I think Antrel Rolle has been a very good safety for a long time. They've got some good players on the back end and obviously everybody knows what [Jason] Pierre-Paul can offer up front, and they've got some depth where they've had some injuries, but they've got guys that have stepped up and played well for them."
Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett:
On changing things up against Giants after the Redskins' loss Week 4:
"We can't let it happen, that's a good football team. They did a nice job and we didn't play very well and I expect us to go out and play better this game."
Can you explain how a toe can hurt a safety?**
"It's [Brandon Meriweather's] big toe. I just know this: You need the big toe to move. The little ones, I don't know what they do."
How did defensive lineman Barry Cofield look?
"He was good, he moved around well. He's been sick. He had the flu, he got it right in the middle of the game the other day. He started getting headaches and chills and everything. He's been sick for a couple of days but I think his fever broke and he's going to be fine."
How about defensive end Jason Hatcher?
"I don't know that either. It will be a gametime decision."
On safety Phillip Thomas' first-career start last Sunday vs. the Rams:
"I thought he did a nice job. He improved 100 percent. He's really good around the box. He tackles really well. His issues are always in the backend. He just hasn't had a lot of playing time back there. He didn't do that in college also, playing in the backend, he was more around the box. So I think the more and more he gets reps, being it two deep or four deep, single high safety, the better he'll get."
How do you control Thomas' ball-hawk abilities?:
"He's got to have good eyes, he's got to be able to read the quarterback, knowing when the quarterback is going to release the ball, his aiming point. The good ones have those gyrations to get the post player out of the post with a high safety. I think the more reps he gets the better he'll get at that."
On linebacker Will Compton's big day vs. the Rams:
"He did a nice job, had 17 tackles. I thought he did a nice job in coverage, and we didn't do a lot coverage wise, but I thought he executed very well and did a good job tackling."
On potential problems Giants quarterback Eli Manning has with turning the ball over:
"Well the games you watch throughout the season, obviously you've got to get some heat on him. Anytime you get heat on a quarterback you get issues, you get a lead, you can turn guys loose, that's when the turnovers come. He's actually pretty good with the ball, but he'll take some risks too."
On slowing down Giants tight end Larry Donnell:
"That's one of our main goals is to make sure he doesn't catch any touchdowns. He's a heck of a player. [We] kind of didn't know who he was the first game when we played him. A guy out there we thought was very athletic, but he's got half of his touchdowns on us."
On if those touchdowns to Donnell were breakdowns:**
"No -- [Manning] threw two nice balls on a fade for a touchdown and then the one Perry [Riley Jr.] was right on him, he just made a nice catch. We've just got ot make sure we know where he's at all times."
On if the fact the Giants don't have wide receiver Victor Cruz changes the Redskins' approach?
"Well they've got [Odell] Beckham now. They're going to have a good receiving core when Cruz comes back that's going to be a heck of a group. Parker, him, Randle. All those guys that's a heck of a group they've got."
Practice scuffle between Bashaud Breeland and Andre Roberts: positive or negative?
"Well, I'm different, I'm a coach. I thought competitiveness came out in the guy. I go in and everybody's writing about the fight. I thought it was great, not from the standpoint, they both were competing. It was a great play by Bashaud and they got up. One wanted to catch the ball and I just thought it was competitive spirit, which is kind of nice to have. I liked it."
On if he thought Breeland already had that competitiveness in him:
"He is that guy and that's why we like him so much."