New Redskins quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh this week answered a variety of questions from Redskins fans about his philosophies and plans for the signal callers on *Redskins Nation *with host Larry Michael:
Jeff in Arlington, Va.:
"What is the biggest area RGIII (Robert Griffin III) needs to improve on?"
Cavanaugh: **"They should be doing an honest self-scouting of their play last year. Literally take every play, run and pass, and critiquing themselves. You mentioned a great point the way the game has changed. Our offseason is so limited, it's going to be April before I can really sit down and talk football face-to-face with these guys. I suggest that they get the game film from last year and watch all their reps – everything from how I take a snap to how I pull away from the center, to how I hand the ball off to how I drop. Do I step up in the pocket? Do I complete my throwing motion? Am I making the right read? When you do that and take the time to go back and see what you did, and then reflect on what being asked of you, you should have a pretty good sense of where you're at."
Randy in Gaithersburg, Md.:"Welcome aboard, coach. As a Redskins fan, I am worried about the upcoming season. Sell me on what you bring to the table as coach for the Redskins in 2015."
Cavanaugh:"As I mentioned yesterday, experience having played the position and a lot of years coaching the position, and I think I'll give the quarterbacks a former player perspective while we're out there at practice is very beneficial for a young quarterback."
Big John in Washington, D.C.:"Do you spend much time in this area (Washington D.C.)?"
Cavanaugh: **"My daughter lives here. I come down and I have a stint in Baltimore, so we'd drive down and visit the city a little bit. I don't know it inside and out, but she's been very welcoming and she'll show me around."
Anthony in Northeast D.C.:"How can you get RGIII to understand what pocket awareness is all about?"
Cavanaugh:"For a quarterback, it's being able to drop back and throw the ball, feeling where the pressure is coming from. It's our job as coaches to make that quarterback comfortable. This is the part of the pocket where we feel you'll be best protected. It's your job to get up in what we call the dish. Get up in that dish where you'll be able to step up, make a throwing motion and finish it before people hitting you. If you're not pocket aware, sometimes you drift in the pocket, sometimes you stay too deep in the pocket. Sometimes you slide and run into trouble that you created doing that. So, I think pocket awareness applies to every quarterback."
Cool J.C. (location not specified):"General sense, how do you teach a quarterback to read defenses?"
Cavanaugh:"It is [trial and error] to some extent. If you do that in an offseason, one of the things I'd like to do when we get a chance to work is start from square one by identifying defenses. A lot of times with a quarterback, there's a period when you break the huddle until you literally take the snap when you're you're gathering information. What are you looking at? You're looking at front. Based on that front I can eliminate 80 percent of the coverages they might play and I limited it to the coverages they may play. So, just information gathering on the way to the line of scrimmage is a big way for them to read coverages."
Daniel (location not specified):"Throwing in rhythm – how does that come about?"
Cavanaugh:"Trusting the route, trusting the protection, trusting your footwork. [It's] that simple. And, him being aware enough…we say you always throw with your feet to stay in rhythm. So, if your feet say I took the proper drop, No. 1 hitch and No. 1 wasn't open, I got to get off of him. I can't wait. I can't wait thinking he might get open if it means holding onto the ball a little longer. That means you're going to be late throwing to No. 2 or No. 3, and that's typically a progression read. Your feet will tell you if No. 1 is open."