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Need to Know: Callahan appreciates Redskins' O-Line history

callahan-minicamp.png

Need to Know: Callahan appreciates Redskins' O-Line history

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, July 7, 23 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Read and React

A couple of weeks ago I posted and discussed some quotes that Bill Callahan gave to the media during minicamp. I found a few more good ones in the interview so here is Part 2 of that Read and React:

Why did he decide to go Washington after leaving Dallas?
“There were plenty of options out there that I was fortunate to have and an opportunity to come here and be reunited with a lot of the guys I’ve worked with. I thought it was just a great situation to come to and be in.”
I’m sure the money in Washington was very good but he was a hot commodity and he would have been paid well no matter where he went. But coaches have a tendency to gravitate towards other coaches they know. Callahan had worked with Matt Cavanaugh in New York and had coached RB coach Randy Jordan with the Raiders. In addition, Bruce Allen was the Raiders GM when Callahan was the coach there. We all snicker about the crony network but the bottom line is that if a coach is going to spend very long hours with others in a high-pressure situation he often will choose to do it with coaches he already knows.

How is the revamped right side of the line shaping up?
“Preliminarily we’re looking at a lot of combinations. Spencer and Brandon are on that right side. Certainly Compton has experience on that side. We’re lacking Moses not being in the lineup right now so we’ve got some options and some other players that we’re looking at as well. As time goes on I think it will all be settled in training camp when the get the pads on. Once we get out of these pajamas we’re going to start getting into contact and we’ll figure it out better.”
I found this interesting because of the mention of Morgan Moses. Since he was out for all of the offseason work with that Lisfranc injury we don’t know where they intend to put him. Most assumed that Callahan was referring to Moses as a backup right tackle, which could push Compton off of the 53-man roster. But was he talking about a potential backup right guard? There has been talk of converting Moses to guard, although it has mostly been fan and media chatter to this point. Also, the pajamas line drew a laugh. I get the feeling that most coaches hate the no-pads aspect of minicamp. It probably creates more questions that it answers.

Why did he put up a picture of the Hogs in his office at Redskins Park?
"I had the opportunity to be around Raleigh McKenzie about 20 years ago when I was in Philadelphia. Just learning about the history of the Hogs and, of course, having been exposed to the Redskins as a college coach way back in the early 80’s when the Redskins were rolling pretty good. I had a chance to go to Carlisle and watch them practice in training camp several times. I’ve always admired what Joe Bugel has done. He had a great reputation then as he does now. He’s been kind of a mentor in a lot of ways, watching his film and watching what he’s done with the players over the years. We’re trying to emulate that and live up to the tradition and the standards that they’ve established."
McKenzie was not an original Hog--he's not in the famed picture of the group in top hat and tails--but he was a very good one. He was drafted in 1985 and started for two Super Bowl champs. Philadelphia was one of several stops for him in his post-Redskins career and Callahan was the offensive line coach. You don’t find many coaches who are interested in those who were there before them, it’s refreshing to see Callahan show such respect for Bugel and the history of an organization he just joined.

On what they look at when drafting top talent:
"The type of player we bring in is important to the cohesiveness and chemistry of the group. It’s great to have a top-round draft choice but that’s not discluding the fact that you are going to have younger players from lower rounds just as good if not better than. So we’ve seen that dynamic as well."
He’s happy that the team spent the No. 5 overall pick on a player who is in his position group, no doubt. Just like he was happy in Dallas when the had three No. 1 picks on the offensive line. But he wanted to make it clear that he values all of the players that he’s in charge of and that the character of the players selected is very important. On a side note, I’ve been told that this is an improper use of the word “discluding”, which may or may not be a real word. But his meaning was clear, the opposite of “including”. If you want to take it up with him, feel free.

Timeline

—Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson was born on this date in 1989.

—It’s been 191 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 68 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 23; Preseason opener @ Browns 37; final cuts 60

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 8th worst play came from a big hit in Arizona

The Final Countdown: Redskins 8th worst play came from a big hit in Arizona

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 8 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Cardinals Week 13

5:13 left in Q3, Redskins ball 2nd and 8 at their own 29, Redskins leading 13-10

Kirk Cousins sacked at WAS 36 for -9 yards (Calais Campbell). FUMBLES (Calais Campbell) [Calais Campbell], RECOVERED by ARZ- Markus Golden at WAS 30. Markus Golden to WAS 10 for 20 yards (Chris Thompson).

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: The Redskins had survived a rocky start and they were in position to take control of the game after the Cardinals missed a long field goal attempt. But the situation turned abruptly when Campbell blew over guard Shawn Lauvao and hit Cousins, sending the ball flying. Golden scooped it up and returned it to the 10. Three plays later Carson Palmer threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd. That was the beginning of the end of the Redskins’ chances to get a road win that they desperately had to have.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: When the Cowboys opened the game by marching right down the field against the Redskins on Thanksgiving, nobody blinked, as Dallas' offense had been superb all season. When Arizona did the same thing the following week, there was reason for concern. The 'Skins were able to stem the Cards early, and even took a lead, before Campbell bull-rushed his way into the Washington backfield and blasted Cousins. The Cardinals defensive line was hitting Cousins all game, and this play almost seemed inevitable. It would later come out Lauvao was playing through injury, but bigger picture, the Cardinals loss was the first game the 'Skins truly needed and the team couldn't win. The loss dropped Jay Gruden's squad out of a playoff spot, and though the team would eventually inch their way back into contention, in hindsight, losing in Arizona was the first real indicator that the 2016 Redskins would not make the postseason. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Dennis Thurman

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Dennis Thurman

The Redskins are set to interview Dennis Thurman for their vacant offensive coordinator position. Here is a look at Thurman’s qualifications for the job.

Before becoming a coordinator: Thurman played in the NFL for the Cowboys from 1978-1985. Redskins fans may best remember him for trying to break up the “Fun Bunch” celebration in a 1983 game. He played for the Cardinals the last season of his career. He coached the secondary for the Cardinals for two years before going to USC and holding the same job there from 1993-2000. Thurman then returned to the NFL as a Ravens defensive assistant and secondary coach. He moved to the Jets to coach the secondary there before getting promoted to defensive coordinator in 2012.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Note: If you want more complete stats on Thurman’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2013 Jets (8-8)

Rankings: Yards 5,359 (11th), points 387 (19th), takeaways 15 (31st), 3rd down 38.8% (13th), DVOA -5.6% (12th)
Notable players: DE Muhammad Wilkerson, CB Antonio Cromartie*, S Ed Reed

The Jets traded away their best defender, Darrelle Revis, during the offseason. Wilkerson led a good pass rush as he racked up 10.5 sacks and LB Calvin Pace had 10. It should be noted that head coach Rex Ryan is a defensive-minded head coach and he certainly had influence in what went right and what went wrong on that side of the ball.

2014 Jets (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,235 (6th), points 401 (24th), takeaways 13 (32nd), 3rd down 45.2% (30th), DVOA 3.5% (21st)
Notable players: DT Sheldon Richardson*, DE Quinton Cooples

If you want to know how a team can finish in the top six in yards and in the bottom 10 in points allowed just look at the lack of takeaways and the porous third-down defense. An offense with Geno Smith at quarterback couldn’t keep thinks afloat and Thurman was fired along with Ryan after the season.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

2015 Bills (8-8)

Rankings: Yards 5,702 (19th), points 359 (15th), takeaways 25 (12th), 3rd down 40.5%, DVOA 8.6% (24th)
Notable players: DE Mario Williams, DE Jerry Hughes

Ryan and Thurman both moved to upstate New York when they were hired by the Bills. This unit ranked fourth in both yards and points the year before Ryan and Thurman arrived and they obviously didn’t maintain that. It didn’t help that 2014 first-team All-Pro Marcell Dareus got into some legal trouble during the offseason and his production plummeted from 10 sacks in 2014 to two.

2016 Bills (7-9)

Rankings: Yards 5,712 (19th), points 378 (16th), takeaways 18 (23rd), 3rd down 40.0%, DVOA 8.0 (26th)
Notable players: LB Lorenzo Alexander*, CB Stephon Gilmore

Former Redskin Alexander had a good year, racking up 12 sacks and making the Pro Bowl but there wasn’t much else to talk about on defense. They essentially spun their wheels and Ryan was fired with a game left and Thurman soon followed him out the door.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.