Skins Quotes 12/6/19: Callahan, O'Connell

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Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC

Marine Corps Virginia

December 6, 2019

Interim Head Coach Bill Callahan

On injury updates for WR Paul Richardson Jr. and WR Trey Quinn:
“They're both out.”

On whether he paid any attention to the Thursday Night Football game:
“I didn't even watch the game last night. I was just working on the Packer game honest to gosh. I saw the score, but I didn't have a chance to watch one snap.”

On S Deshazor Everett's injury:
“His shoulder kind of flared up, and he'll be out for the game.”

On how ready this team is to go to Green Bay:
“We prepared the best we could today. Throughout the week, we've had good focus, we've had good practices. I think the energy level has been positive. Preparation, I think in all phases in meeting, in the meeting rooms and on the field has been really good. So, I feel like we're prepared and ready to play a good game. They're a good team, we know what their record is, we know what their record is at home, especially in December. So, we understand all those factors and those challenges and we're excited about going up there and playing.”

On whether the team is tired of the “Go Pack Go” chant simulated in practice:
“Oh, I don't know about that. I just think it's good crowd noise to have.”

On the impact of Packers OLB Za'Darius Smith:
“I think it was a really great pick up that they had in the offseason. He lines up just about anywhere and everywhere. So, he's going to play the end positions right and left, he's going to get over the guards, he's played off the line of scrimmage. So, they're using him in a lot of different capacities. It's really impressive to watch his ability to pressure, to pressure rush, from those various alignments that give him a uniqueness that I haven't seen in a long time. Haven't seen a rusher like him bring the combination of power, speed, length, close and then get over the guards and show edge ability and put cans and power as well. It's pretty rare to see a guy like him and his abilities to dominate at the different positions and levels that he's been featured at.”

On why RB Adrian Peterson was held out of practice:
“He practiced today. We just always carefully look and see how he's doing. Some weeks he feels good to go early in the week, some weeks he feels better to go later. It's just how we manage it. We just communicate with him on a daily basis to see how he's doing, and we take care of him from a physical standpoint. If we need to back him down, we back him down. It was good to be on the grass all week and in the cold a little bit. So, it was good for us in that respect, it didn't have anything to do with his injury or anything of that nature, but we just carefully monitor him and how he's feeling and how he's doing on a weekly basis.”

Offensive Coordinator Kevin O'Connell

On RB Derrius Guice's patience:
“I can remember having conversations with some of our coaches, [Running Backs Coach] Randy [Jordan] and Jay [Gruden], even going back to when we first drafted him. That was one of the qualities that people saw in him that really jumped out, even though he was hurt early on here leading up to that preseason game where he did get hurt. He had had some great training camp practices, physical practices where he showed that patience, that burst. What was great about last week was just the finish, that violent finish to all those runs he had on the second level. We're really hoping to see that again this week.”

On whether there will be an increased emphasis on the run game versus the Packers:
“Yeah, I think it's important because those guys, especially – everybody's seen so many games up there where they get hot offensively and if you put your defense in some tough spots they can put some points on the board in a hurry, so we've got to be really smart about how we try to attack early on, take our shots where we can. It's no secret, we want to run the football. We've had some success in more games than others, but we stick to the run. That's what we want to do and it's my job to make sure that I'm building things in around the run game, how we want to do it that particular week and make sure we're doing it with the play-pass and trying to move the quarterback a little bit. But also, when we do decide to pass it, we've got a great reason to, we've got a great plan to try to get our playmakers the ball in space, so it all works together. When you're playing against a quarterback like this and really a defense like this – I mean, that secondary and their pass rush and what they want to do defensively, we've got to make sure we try to impose our will a little early on in the game with whatever the conditions may be. That's a whole other part of it, but it's a tremendous task for us, a difficult challenge for sure.”

On WR Steven Sims Jr. winning more one-on-one battles:
“Well, I can remember talking to him to you guys when were in Richmond, just some of the impacts he was making on a daily basis. It's just always finding that balance between asking him to do too much between his special teams responsibilities, what we're trying to do in the run game, understanding our concepts from that standpoint. It's not just about his impact in the pass game – which is clear – or his impact in some of the gadget type plays where we can get him involved in the run game. It's one of those things where, how much can we put on his plate before it becomes too much? And you never really quite know that the way the week's put together with the situational football coming throughout the week. All of a sudden you look at the gameplan and you see a lot of 15 tags on the sheet, you see a lot of plays for him. What he's done a great job of for a young player is just managing that – a couple more plays each week, a couple more plays – and now he's to the point, especially with [WR] Trey [Quinn] being dinged up that we need him. He's going to play a lot of snaps and he's definitely somebody that I think about trying to get touches to, not just receptions, not just targets in the pass game, but just touches of the football on first, second and third down.”

On whether he saw more growth in QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. in the last game:
“I think what I loved best about [QB] Dwayne [Haskins Jr.] on Sunday was it was a game we talked about – even in here last week – we talked about their pass rush and their ability to get pressure on the quarterback. What he did so well, I thought, was navigate the pocket. I thought he handled his progressions for the most part and going back I think we counted four or five where maybe he turned down one of his 1A, 1B type progressions to get through a progression. Situationally, he was trying to do a little bit too much at times, but that's normal for a young, competitive player like that – he's trying to score, he's trying to make plays. We've just got to continue to keep him in the confines of what we need him to do from a footwork, timing, anticipation standpoint. And then the plays where, ‘Hey, it's time to turn it loose,' that was one of the best things. There was about three throws in the two minute drive in the two minute that I can think of and then the last third down to [WR] Kelvin [Harmon] he makes a great decision. Even the go ball to [WR] Terry [McLaurin] where we didn't complete it, I thought he threw a really good ball, he held the safety, the timing of getting that ball up. There was just some little things that he's starting to do. Things are clicking for him, it's just continually a progression of how much of our system, how much of the offense can we take to Green Bay with us where we feel like he can play consistently like that. He's working his butt off, I can't talk enough about his work ethic on a daily basis. He's getting with [Quarterbacks Coach] Tim [Rattay] and myself and he wants to be coached hard, and the last three, four weeks we've done that. He's been able to take some of it to Sundays, but he'd be the first one to tell you there's still little things that we've got to get cleaned up from a standpoint of consistency with his feet and eyes. I'm hoping we take another step forward this weekend against a really good defense.”

On how RB Chris Thompson opens up the offense:
“I think it's just his detail, his understanding of route-running. I can think of the play last week where we hit him on a sail type route in two minute where we've been talking about that play, him and I, since we first tried it a couple years ago, maybe in the opener last year against Arizona, I can't remember. But we've had variations of that play up. That was a little bit different with the fly action with [WR] Steven [Sims Jr.], but just understanding what we're trying to get accomplished and it's never going to be a clean, blatant, wide open type of catch, but just his feel of leverage and understanding who he's running the route off of and maybe what the picture looks like pre-snap and post-snap and his detail in that. All of those things are coach speak for ‘He's just a really good player.' He gives us the ability to obviously attack linebackers in pass coverage whenever we can. We had him on the choice route that we got strip-sacked on at the end of that two-minute drive – I would've loved to see that ball get off – but it's going to be another thing this week where if they want to try to move coverage to help on 17 [WR Terry McLaurin] or 15 [WR Steven Sim Jr.] or whatever it may be, that's the beauty of the impact of those young guys is it's starting to give us that feel of being able to isolate the running back and maybe even the tight end in certain spots where we can take advantage of that.”

On whether he's seen if defenses have changed coverages against the young receiving corps:
“I think some teams more so than others. It really shows up situationally. Some teams in our league right now use single high in the red zone has been a popular thing, it really has been for the past couple years, but now it's trying to figure out where that help is, trying to figure out, ‘Are they doubling [WR] Terry [McLaurin]?' It might not be someone screaming in the middle of the field, ‘Hey I'm doubling 17 [Terry McLaurin].' It might look like a post-safety look and then all of a sudden, [QB] Dwayne [Haskins Jr.] has to see the demeanor of that DB go double him with his eyes and his location post-snap and then that does activate the throws to [WR] Kelvin [Harmon]. Maybe a double-move, we throw quite a bit of in-breaking routes to Kelvin and I think that speaks to his willingness. Not everybody can handle that. Not everybody can handle being a third or fourth progression on an in-breaking when there is safeties and linebackers in the middle of the field. I think it's a testament to his toughness, his detail, understanding where we need him in the progression for Dwayne, but also understanding that he's going to be a first progression every now and again, too. It's not just where a situation where we can take five steps in the gun and just look for 17. If it was that simple, I would get home a lot earlier every week, I know that. So, we're always trying to find the best possible concepts that we can isolate 17 and then if the defense wants to dictate, ‘Hey, we're not going to let you have him this play.' That's when 15 [WR Kelvin Harmon] and 13 [WR Steven Sims Jr.], our three rookies, kind of working together to help each other get open. It's really cool to watch because I think they're starting to get it a little bit and we have to go do it again Sunday.”

On how he determines the running back workload:
“We try to tag plays, tag reps that they're going to get in practice and take them to the games, but sometimes, like last week, we kind of had to adjust. We had a plan going into that game of maybe wanting to run more interior runs where we would try to isolate things in the zebra game, the three wide receiver game, and then early on, you guys saw, we went backwards on that first drive and they did some things we hadn't really seen going into that game. So, we kind of had to adjust. Then when that happens, it's really on myself and [Running Backs Coach] Randy Jordan to really figure out, ‘Ok, how do we get these guys equal touches?' And make sure situationally is one thing, 25 [RB Chris Thompson] is going to be coming into the game, but we also want to have [RB] Derrius [Guice] and [RB Adrian Peterson] in there for some third downs because the ability to run the football, but also those guys are real talents out of the backfield as well. They're hard to tackle. Derrius' ability to make people miss in space is something that I'm always trying to find on early downs in the pass game. So, from the standpoint of touches ‒ that's how I talk to AP and Derrius, I say touches. One guy might have 10 carries, the other guy might have five, but then the other guy with five carries has four receptions. It's touches. It's how many times in the game can we get those guys in space while also giving them power run game to impose their will on the defense, which obviously they were able to do last week.”

On whether part of the running back rotation is to keep backs fresh:
“As much as possible. I think you saw [RB] Derrius [Guice] hit a long run the other day and then [RB Adrian Peterson] comes in. Then there's other times where you want to say, ‘Hey he just took it 40, 50 yards, let's let him finish the drive,' and we give him the short yardage, below the line type runs. I like to say it's really on [Running Backs Coach] Randy [Jordan] as much as possible, but every now and then, one of those guys will come over to me and say, ‘Hey coach I need this,' or ‘Next time you call that pop or power, give me that one.' I have the ability to call personnel groupings and what we do, I can tag a number on any personnel grouping. So, if the guys upstairs are saying, ‘Hey it's been mostly 29 [Derris Guice] on first down, let's make sure we get AP in there or 25 [RB Chris Thompson] and make sure we're balanced.'”

On whether it feels like he has the weapons to create the offense that he envisioned in the offseason:
“I think so. Really, we were joking the other day, there's so much of this system in the past that we built around the tight end position. Having 86 [TE Jordan Reed] and 85 [TE Vernon Davis], it was a luxury and we had them both up for games, we always wanted to have a system built on those guys that we could get the reps in the offseason and take it to the season with us and really attack, be in attack mode, maybe more than a lot of teams in this league with 12 personnel, two tight end sets. Now, we've shifted a little bit. Not that [TE] Hale [Hentges] and [TE Jeremy Sprinkle] can't have an impact in the pass game, but for us to maximize our matchups, it's what you said. It's those three rookies, it's the running backs, it's how do we isolate those guys while also still making our formations look the same, not giving up too many tendencies. To your point, it's fun to be able to game plan in a where you know if No. 1 isn't open, the secondary progression has a great chance to win or the run-actions with [WR] Kelvin [Harmon] and [WR] Terry [McLaurin] if you can get them one-on-one, they've got a great chance to win. Then [QB] Dwayne [Haskins Jr.], just the success he's had trusting his progressions and watching him turn it loose. Really, you start to see why we've felt really strongly about that rookie class when they came in.”

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