Skins Quotes 11/15/19: Callahan, O’Connell

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Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC

Marine Corps Virginia

November 15, 2019

Interim Head Coach Bill Callahan

On S Montae Nicholson and the legal process:
“First off, a young lady lost her life. Our condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to her family, her friends and loved ones. That's a sad situation. Relative to Montae [Nicholson] and the legal process, we're letting that play our right now. We're getting more facts and information. As of right now, Montae practiced. He's still on the injury report, and we'll see where we're at tomorrow as we get a little bit more info.”

On whether he talked to Nicholson today:
“I have not. Not yet.”

On whether Nicholson will play if he's recovered from his ankle injury:
“Like I said, we're still gathering information and we'll make that determination and decision as we move forward.”

On WR Paul Richardson Jr.'s injury status:
“We'll know a little bit more this afternoon as we get the medical report from the trainers. He's been backed down the past few days, he's been rehabbing and trying to get himself healthy again. I thought there was a really good chance of him playing this week and that possibility still exists, but we'll see a little bit later.”

On when Richardson suffered the injury:

On the New York Jets offense:
“Really versatile. I'm really impressed with [Jets QB Sam] Darnold and what he does and how he leads plays, executes. He's a young quarterback that's emerging, and I think he's going to be an outstanding player in the years to come. The thing that sticks out mostly when you watch him is his versatility – throwing the ball under duress, making quick decisions, holding it and making the last-minute decision to work through his progression. I've seen him basically draped with two or three defensive linemen on top of him and come through and make a throw for a completion, just like he did last week in the Giants game. He's an impressive guy, a talent, smart. The decision-making is really well-done, but his ability to scramble and extend plays – he has all the traits, moving ability, escape ability, quick drops, quick throws, fast release. I think he's going to be a really good player for years to come.”

On whether RB Chris Thompson and TE Vernon Davis are being considered for injured reserve:
“It's a good question. We go week-to-week, day-to-day. We do a really good job gathering information through their workouts and also the rehabilitation process. They're on the field everyday working. [TE] Vernon [Davis] is out on the field everyday working – I think he's getting closer. [RB] Chris [Thompson] may not be as close, but we're doing everything we can to try to find ways to get him back on the field. It'll be great to get those two guys back out there for certain.”

On RB Adrian Peterson's toe injury:
“[RB] Adrian [Peterson] is really something. We were discussing his traits and what makes him a great player. I've seen him go through so many different injuries since I've been here and seemingly one week he has a calf, or a thigh, or a hip, or an elbow. By gameday, he gets himself ready mentally to overcome injuries that he has. He's impressive that way, he's rare, he's one of a kind. I don't think it's bothered him much at all through the week. I think the main thing has been rest and trying to keep him off his feet so that he's fully ready to go on Sunday.”

On whether Peterson is harder to manage because of his tendency to downplay injuries:
“His threshold is amazing. I think I explained this a few times how he pushes through his rehabilitation process and it's exceptional. He's honest as to where he's at, and I always have a discussion with him relative to where he's at during the week. I can point blankly say, ‘AP, where are you today? What do you need? Are you going to be ready for Sunday? Can I count on you?' He's point blank. He's honest and he'll tell you right where he's at, what percent he's at, whether he's at 60 percent, 80 percent. If he tells me he's 100 percent he'll say, ‘Coach, don't even worry about it. I'm fine, I'll be ready.' So, I've got a lot of trust in him because he's the type of athlete that really knows his body. He knows himself better than anybody, and I've got great confidence in his ability to get himself ready as he works through injury and things of that nature. He's done that his whole career. He's done it since he's been here, and that's one of the most impressive parts about him as an athlete and as a potential Hall of Famer.”

November 15, 2019

Offensive Coordinator Kevin O'Connell

On whether the game plan was dialed back against Buffalo:
“I think a lot of it comes down to just how we want to play the game as a team in all three phases and compliment not only the offense, but the defense and the special teams. I think you said it – the two weeks of preparation, more repetition, we got some good work done on the bye week and then leading into practice this week really honing in on the Jets. He's had a good week of practice and a lot of it just comes down to how we want to play the game and what his comfort level is, the plays he – I know I say to you guys every week – the plays he really starts to feel comfortable with we'll meet on that and talk over some of the things maybe he might not like at this point and those plays will vanish from the call sheet. If that means we carry less inventory, so be it because I want him to be comfortable and feel really good about what we're calling on Sunday.”

On what constitutes a good game for QB Dwayne Haskins Jr.:
“I think there's a lot that goes into it right now, but we're trying to win football games. I think we wouldn't have him in there if we didn't think he gave us a chance to win football games. I think his development is obviously a huge thing. I think the day-to-day, minute-to-minute process of him growing as an NFL quarterback and now our starting quarterback is huge, but at the same time when that ball gets kicked off on Sunday we're trying to do everything we possibly can to win a football game against an opponent that's coming in here with a really good defense. They'll have a good plan for him, we'll have to adjust on the fly, but at the same time growth for him is now helping us win football games because he's got the skill set to do it. I think he's improving every single day and I really try to challenge the guys around him – not only the veteran guys, but the other rookies because we have a few of them in the huddle with him – let's all do our best. By those guys being the best possible versions of themselves, that will only enhance and elevate [QB] Dwayne [Haskins Jr.]'s play and vice-versa.”

On how Haskins' arm strength will open up the game plan against the Jets:
“I think those guys have had some injuries in that secondary for sure, but one thing about [Jets Defensive Coordinator] Gregg Williams is that defense always does some things to provide some different looks and disguise. For a young quarterback watching the way they played against obviously the Giants last week versus maybe how they played against [Patriots QB] Tom Brady and the Patriots early in the year, some of the other veteran quarterbacks that they've played – he's going to have some wrinkles, there's no doubt. Like we do every week, we try to pinpoint maybe the matchups within man coverage or within zones that we can attack, as well as making sure we're spaced out in our concepts and the progressions for [QB] Dwayne [Haskins Jr.] are clear and concise, and he can be really aggressive with his feet and eyes as he progresses through a play. It's definitely something we're thinking about, but at the same time we want to stay focused on what we want to be as an offense each and every week.”

On what Haskins can build upon from the Bills game:
“I just think there were plays where there were progressions in place where we wanted him to be really decisive based upon what he was seeing and he did that. I think there were three second-and-long type of situations in that ‘get back on track' variety where you're really calling all-encompassing beating plays where this side of the field we may want to work versus this coverage or this type of coverage, on the other side maybe a man or pressure type of concept. It requires the quarterback to not only pre-snap read the defense, but accept the snap on his cadence and then have his eyes up, diagnose coverage and then with or without a hitch throw the ball in rhythm to somebody. He did that a couple times – [WR] Paul Richardson [Jr.], [WR] Terry [McLaurin] a couple times – and I think on a pretty windy day in Buffalo his ability to cut the ball through the wind bodes well for him moving forward in some of the environments here that we may play in in November and December. Just some of those decisive moments that he had. Then, there were some other ones where we went back and looked at it, and he would be the first one to tell you ‘I've got to be more decisive with that' – I thought it was that, but there was still some unknown factors there for him and that's all part of the learning process for him. The best thing is where he's at from a preparation standpoint now. You feel comfortable evaluating where he's at as the week goes on because we're really not having to repeat a lot of things. He's done a really good job handling first and second down and puts that away, and then we move into situational football and he carries that throughout the rest of the week. I think he's really starting to get a process to the week and it's been fun to watch here. In a really short amount of time, he's done some really good things here.”

On how getting RB Derrius Guice back opens up the offense:
“I think it helps, I really do. I think it helps because obviously we want to run the football, that's no secret. Now, we just have the versatility to do it with either him or [RB] Adrian [Peterson], or obviously [RB Wendell] Smallwood in the game plan, but maybe two of those guys in the game at the same time – just changing personnel groupings, changing looks. When our offense has been at its best at times this year I think we've kept defenses off balance with doing some things from a personnel standpoint, formation motions, things like that where we can try to make it an ‘easy for us, hard for them' philosophy where we can be in attack mode.”

On how many safeties in the league impact a game like Jets S Jamal Adams:
“There are some really good safeties in the league right now, but as far as his impact on football games, I'm not sure there's anyone better out there as far as his understanding of what they're scheming up on defense. Then, there are some plays that are [Troy] Polamalu-esque. There's documented stories of him being a two-deep safety and him making a play in the A-gap or intercepting a ball in the flat and he was the post safety, and things like that. You see things pop like that on tape. He's around the line of scrimmage a lot, so when he's there we've got to account for him, we've got to know where he is, we've got to be aware of the potential negative plays he can cause based on what we're asking the tight end or the running back to do – ‘Who does he have in coverage on this third down? Why is he over here? Is he pressuring? Is he disguising?' All those things when you do have a rookie quarterback, that's more so on us to try to really focus on and game plan for and let [QB] Dwayne [Haskins Jr.] know the certain critical spots he's really got to account for him.”

On Guice's impact on the passing game:
“Go back to the game against Philadelphia, I think he had three catches on three targets, all of which were in the check down variety, but I think he gained nine, eight, seven yards on all of them, really making the first two defenders miss in space. When you're playing a team that plays quite a bit of man coverage, but they also play a lot of zone coverage where the halfback is going to be getting the ball on check downs, that may be the best possible option on some plays when you can have that be [RB Adrian Peterson] and [RB] Derrius [Guice] in space. Get those guys one-on-one matchups, get those guys involved in the screen game, get those guys involved on third down – that'll be very helpful for us.”

On what the absence of TEs Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis means for the offense:
“It's definitely a factor, just because if you think about having [TE] Jordan Reed and [TE] Vernon Davis, your offense is going to be different, so all the things that we really tried to focus on when we were in Richmond and through the spring and how we wanted to build the offense from inside-out. We expected [WR] Terry McLaurin to be a very, very good receiver. We didn't know he would be our X receiver and really be a guy we're trying to target in the pass game and make things compliment him and what he does well. Going back to training camp and going back to the spring, we really thought we would be an inside-out passing team with the ability to try to take more shots and generate more explosive plays outside, but really still try to focus on the interior of our field ‒ our slot position, our tight end position, our halfback, that [RB] Chris Thompson-type role. Not having those guys makes you go back and see things that you did and spend time and develop in this offense – they're really not factors in this offense right now and we try to do those things. I do think our tight ends do have some route ability. We've got to find what they do well – maybe it's not the full route tree, but [TE] Jeremy Sprinkle and [TE] Hale [Hentges] can run some things with great detail and they can catch the football. Where you're playing zone teams, your tight ends have to get more involved because you're spacing out the field more than maybe you are when teams are playing predominantly man against you. Then the halfbacks, we just talked about it. Just the impact those guys can have not only as check downs, but let's get them out, let's free release them, let's make them the first progression in some things and allow [QB] Dwayne [Haskins Jr.] to get the ball out of his hands.”

On how the absence of Reed and Davis impact Haskins:
“I think any time you look at the young quarterbacks in this league that have had sustained success they've got playmakers around them. They've got a full group of weapons where teams can't really take one or two things away and then force guys to try to completely enhance certain players around them. Hopefully those are the guys who are making life easier for the quarterback position. That's obviously our goal, so we'll continue to try to move our playmakers around and try to feature those guys. That's my job to make the progressions fit with the people we want to get the ball to as well as the guys we think can attack coverage.”

On what the benefit of having RB Adrian Peterson and Guice on the field :
“You guys always ask me some of this stuff like the New York Jets may not be listening. The benefit of that would be having two really good players on the field. We're trying to find ways to get the best possible 11 players we can on the field in those down and distances when we think it can have an impact on the defensive players they have on the field.”

On how different backfield personnel groupings change the game:
“They're going to treat it a little different than when we have [FB] Michael Burton in there with [RB Adrian Peterson] or [RB] Derrius [Guice] or when we've got two. I think the defense sometimes treats those personnel's different. They've got coaches that are watching exactly who are in our huddle, so what it does is it gives me the opportunity to see how they're defending those plays, see how they're defending those personnel groupings and see if there's an advantage that we can try to take advantage of somewhere along the lines of how they're defending it. Since we haven't done a lot of it, we obviously don't carry a ton of volume just in the playbook upstairs, so a lot of that becomes new, different, things we've got to coach, things we've got to get the guys comfortable with. What we want to make sure we're focusing on, variety and different looks. Having those guys on the field is definitely one of them.”

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The Commissioner
Joe Gibbs Club Member
Aug 1, 2009
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Florida State

I think it's becoming clear that O'Connell isn't the wonder kid everyone is thinking he could.

Everyone needs to be fired.

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