Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica give their thoughts heading into Sunday's Week 2 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Offensive coordinator Sean McVay
On trying to get the ball downfield more:
"Well I think any time you're on offense, you always want to have the threat of explosive plays down the field, especially when you look at the personnel that we do have. Houston did a great job. They were presenting a nice rush and they did a good job playing some soft coverages where we didn't have as many opportunities as we probably would've liked. You always have to be ready to adjust your game plan accordingly, but hopefully when those shots do present themselves to take, we'll be ready for those."
On how much the game changes without the red zone mistakes:
"It's everything. You look at what a key thing turnovers are week in, week out in the NFL, and it's such a small margin for error, and anytime you do turn the football over when you're in those scoring red zone opportunities, it's going to make it tough on you. We felt like that's something that you have to improve on. You can't get in there and not come away with points, let alone touchdowns, and we've got to do a much better job collectively as an offense taking care of the football in those situations."
On the communication between head coach Jay Gruden and himself:
"I think any time that you're collectively working together as an offensive staff, you always want to have those open lines of communication and that's one of those deals that's tough. As a play caller, I don't think there are really many things that are in the NFL, and you can always look back and say, 'I wish would've done this, I wish I would've done that.' I think there were a lot of great things that he put our guys in position to make plays and ultimately you look back and we were able to run the football well and we'll see what kind of game this is against Jacksonville and what we feel like will give us the best chance to move the football."
On how to correct those mistakes (coaching vs individual guys doing better):
"I think anytime you look at a game where (there's) turnovers, you can always be better as far as emphasizing ball security, situational things, when to expect certain pressures, things like that. As coaches, you always know. You can look at yourself and figure out what could I have done to put our players in a better position to have that success and then those players will take the accountability on themselves, too, to know that, hey, I've got to take better care of the football, and we've got the type of guys that'll have that mindset."
On the importance of getting the ball to playmakers:
"Credit Houston for doing a nice job. There were a couple plays there where Pierre (Garçon) turns a quick hitch route into a 15-, 16-yard gain. DeSean (Jackson) did the same thing. That's why you go get guys like them because … you almost want that to be an extension of your run game if they are going to play some of those softer coverages where you're able to get it out in space, let some of those guys that have great ability on the perimeter work, and we feel like both of those guys can do that. It's kind of one of those deals where they're one tackle away, and credit Houston for doing a nice job."
On what changes with tight end Jordan Reed being out:
"Well you just know that you got those two guys (Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul) that have played a lot of football for us and have done a nice job. Obviously, Jordan brings a unique skillset, but we'll continue to use those guys similarly to how we would if Jordan was going, but Logan and Niles will spell each other and we feel good about what they bring to the table for us."
On quarterback Robert Griffin III in Week 1:
"I think he did some good things. I think there are some things that we know that we want to do differently if the opportunity presents itself, but anytime you're able to complete a high percentage of your balls, you feel good about that. Obviously, we want to eliminate the turnovers as a whole offense, but I think that there are a lot of things that we can build on and we're looking forward to improving this week."
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett
On the defense in the second half last Sunday without the injured Barry Cofield:
"You lost two of our noses right now, so it's disappointing from that stand point, but I thought Chris (Baker) went in and did an outstanding job. Chris is probably more a natural nose than an end, but we're trying to get the best athletes on the field. I think we'll do fine replacing Barry.
"He's athletic, strong. It's a natural position for him."
On defensive end Jarvis Jenkins, and whether he'll start Sunday:
"I didn't look at these guys as starters, non-starters. They all played about 40 plays last week. We try to rotate them in, keep guys fresh and if we can do that, I think later on in the season you'll be better on defense just because of the rotation that you have. "
On when recently-acquired safety Duke Ihenacho will play defensive snaps:
"I don't know. He's only been here for six practices, it'll be six tomorrow, so it's not that easy to get somebody ready. That's why you have 10 OTA practices, you have mini camps, training camps. You throw somebody in there, it wouldn't be fair to him after five practices and everyone else has 45, but it's coming."
On if Ihenacho can help at all on Sunday:
"I don't know. We'll see."
On if Ihenacho's ankle will be a problem:
"No, he's fine. He looked fine to me today."
On defensive end Jason Hatcher:
"I thought Hatch did a good job when he was in there, both in the run and the pass. I thought he was outstanding. He's a guy that, obviously, we're going to rely on and count on making plays for us in both the run and pass game. Fortunately, the way the game was played last week, there was a lot of short passes and protection and spread sets where the ball was coming out of their hands. We didn't get our rushers much of a chance to really get a prime look at a pass rush."
On giving his pass rushers an opportunity with better third-down situations:
"You need to get teams in third and long. We were in third and short. We had six third and ones, I think, for the game. We did a good job on them, but it's just too many. We need to stay in those types of situations and if you can unleash these guys and get prime opportunities, you to be in third and six-plus."
On if safety Bacarri Rambo' had a setback vs. the Texans:
"I look at that – he had 54 plays, and he had two bad plays and that one (long Texans touchdown pass) just happened to be a bad, bad play. It's unfortunate because he had 52 other plays that were pretty darn good. He had one play where he stuck his nose where he shouldn't have gone and they got a nine-yard run, but even that, he was just trying to be a football player. That (long play) was disappointing from the standpoint of the team because we had a miscommunication. We didn't have anybody run with him, but you still have a half-field player that should have made the play. To be honest with you, everybody knew what the play was. It was a dagger. Ryan Fitzpatrick was staring the dagger and had about six guys run to the dagger. It was half a team open. That's the play when Barry went down and Kedric got hurt, so we had no rush. The rush kind of led to it more than anything because we had everybody playing the play."
On safety Ryan Clark:
"I'm a fan of Ryan's just from a standpoint it's like talking to another coach on the field. It's easy communication, you can tell him something and he can take it right to the field, and you do something in the meeting room and he takes it right to the field. You can talk to him on the sidelines the same way."
On Clark's run play ability:
"He brings it. He probably missed four tackles last week, but he had 12. There were good tackles and he missed them. He went from the post and swung at a guy at the opposite D gap on the line of scrimmage which I haven't seen too often. We gave him a missed tackle and he was looking and he said "it was a good missed tackle, though."
On bringing pressure with middle linebackers Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley:
"We kind of moved guys around a little bit last week. Keenan is a pretty good rusher and so is Perry, so we were sending those guys off the edge trying to fill up the running lanes, more because the quarterback running and different situations. We were trying to fill up the gaps and make sure he wouldn't take off on us."
On Jacksonville's screen game:
"They got a great screen game. They got a really good, young receiving corps that's going to be a heck of a group some day. They got a good quarterback, both of them. I think they've done a good job – good running backs. … That group you just find ways to get them the ball, and obviously screens are one of them so we're going to have to deal with that this weekend."
On Rambo's mentality after the big play:
"Well if you all would stay off of him he would be better. He's fine. Like I said, it's an unfortunate play, but he had 52 other plays that were pretty darn good. You eliminate that one from the game, you would say and write he played a pretty good game."
On the defensive line rotation and the scheme:
"It depends on who's in the game. (Clifton Geathers) will be up this week, and he was up last week, he'll get more opportunities, so he's got to make an impact. We got opportunities with other guys. We'll just try to use them right and see what they can do."
On if Geathers is ready:
"He played last week. I thought he did good. I think he's the guy that's the most improved player from the offseason, through training camp until the end of the season. I thought he was the guy that kind of struggled with the scheme early, then kind of picked up on it and then as he went in and started playing in the game, he was a guy that was making plays when he was out there. I can't deny a guy that makes plays, and he's big. 6-8, 345. I stay by him and nobody's going to mess with me."
On a trickle-down effect to other guys when they see Ryan Clark making plays:
"I just think it's the attitude of the team now. Everybody is running to the ball, flying to the ball, they're throwing the body around. That's when big runs break out when you have that kind of hustle and Ryan brings that and everyone just kind of follows the lead."
On Jacksonville running back Toby Gerhart's big performance against the Redskins in 2011:
"One time. One half. That's Adrian Peterson's fault. He did a nice job against us. He rushed for over 100 yards in a half and we knocked the quarterback and Adrian out, right? They both did a good job."
On the key to stopping Gerhart:
"He runs like (Arian) Foster. He's got great vision, runs hard and he can catch, he's got good hands. He can do everything. I think he's an excellent back. I like all their backs. Toddman's a good back and they bring the little guy in and he runs around and he's a good football player, too."
Special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica
On his evaluation of the special teams' performance against the Texans:
"Yeah, I thought we did plenty of good things. Unfortunately, those things get lost over because you have the two mistakes. I thought we covered early on, we had the 25-yard punt by Andre Roberts and really had some good things going and then we hit the iceberg. So the food was great, the music sounded wonderful and then we hit the iceberg."
On whether he believes running back Roy Helu Jr.'s blocking can improve:
"Yeah, we need to get em' blocked, there is no doubt about that. Give the guy credit – he had a good rush – but it's a move that we have seen before. He'll be the first to tell you that, but I've got to do a better job of getting them ready to go and I take responsibility for it.,and I just think that we have worked on it today here in practice and we'll move forward."
On what happened on the blocked extra point:
"J.J. Watt, that's what happened. He did a good job – you've got to give J.J. Watt a lot of credit. He is a dynamic player in there, he came low and the kick was a little bit low and they got penetration (and) he got his hand up. We have to do a better job of anchoring in there and get that block."
On Jacksonville's Red Bryant and his history of blocking kicks:
"Yeah, well, we recognize the threat. You identify what they are trying to do and how they are trying to get him to influence what the kick is gonna do. We are well aware of Red Bryant and what he brings to the table and we've just got to tighten down on protection."
On Andre Roberts' performance as a returner:
"Yeah, I like a lot of things that Andre did. He had the one (return) for 25 yards and, quite frankly, if he doesn't run into one of our other players he may still be running up the sideline. The other thing I really like is his decision making. If you look back at the tape there is a couple of those punts, whether you fair catch or let it go in the endzone, that influence the coverage guy coming down. And that's yardage that doesn't get chalked up a lot of times, so instead of our offense starting at the 2-yard line they are starting at the 20. I really liked what he has done so far and I'm encouraged about the direction he is headed."
On who stood out in kick and punt coverage for the Redskins:
"There is a lot of good guys in that room that work hard and are conscientious and really get down and cover. Adam Hayward did a good job. We had the two kicks, one was a touchback, which was a nice job by Kai (Forbath) and the other one they start at the 10-yard line, so the coverage aspect on the kickoff was excellent and I thought early in that football game, we are going back and forth, punt, punt, punt, and our first two punts we net 49, we net 51, so again there are some things we can take away from and build from."
On his impression of punter Tress Way's first-career game:
"Tress did an excellent job, I think that coming in being that first game did an excellent job of hitting the ball – had a huge punt inside the 10-yard line, so he is a good young man. He is working hard and I'm encouraged about what he is going to do for the rest of the year."
On safety Akeem Davis helping special teams against the Jaguars:
"We'll look at the spots that exemplify his assets. As you mentioned in the preseason he did a nice job in the coverage aspects of the game and he makes it difficult for them to block, so I'm excited for him, I'm happy for him – he's earned it, and we'll see how it shakes out on Sunday."