HEAD COACH BIILL O’BRIEN
The Redskins’ offensive line has faced quite a few injuries. Can you talk about their line and the guys that have filled in for those injured players?
“Yeah, they’ve done a good job. I think that it starts with the coaching – Bill Callahan does an excellent job. Mike Devlin here, worked for Bill or with Bill back in New York. He does a great job. Then, the guys that have filled in, they really fought hard last week and played well. I mean, they had to block a top front in Tampa Bay with (Gerald) McCoy and those guys up front. So, it’s going to be a big challenge for our defensive line.”
What is the status on WR Keke Coutee?
“I think Keke’s got a chance. I think it’ll be a game-time decision but I think he’s got a chance to play in the game.”
QB Deshaun Watson has taken better care of the ball the past few weeks. What does that say about his development and what does that unlock for you as a playcaller?
“It’s a very positive development when a young quarterback understands how important it is to possess the ball after every play. That’s a big stat. I think if you asked – I mean, I don’t want to speak for every coach in the league, but I think if you polled the coaches in this league, they would tell you that one of the most important stats is the turnover, the takeaway-giveaway stat. The Redskins are doing a great job. They’re plus-11, I think we’re plus-four. They have 18 takeaways, I think it’s nine and nine – nine interceptions and nine fumble recovers. So, it’s a big deal. It’s one of the reasons why we’ve won games, it’s one of the reasons why they’ve won games, and so I think with Deshaun, he really understands that and is trying to do the best he can to make great decisions.”
Do you expect CB Johnathan Joseph to play?
“I think that’s probably going to be a game-time decision but I would say he’s trending toward being able to play.”
Same thing for CB Aaron Colvin?
“Yes, same thing. I’d say Aaron is a little bit farther away, though, from being able to play.”
Did anything surprise you about DE J.J. Watt during the offseason while rehabbing?
“I would say training camp. Just watching him in training camp, I thought he had a really good, strong training camp. He took a bunch of reps in practice, played a little bit in the games, I saw obviously, that he was going to be able to come back at a high level. So, I would say, for me, it was really training camp when I think as a coaching staff we looked at it and said, ‘this guy’s going to have a chance to have a great year.’”
Does it surprise you that DE J.J. Watt says that he does not feel like he is back completely?
“I really try not to answer for him because I’ve found that with every great player I’ve ever been around, they have a standard that they hold themselves to that’s very, very high. He’s a guy that he wants to do great on every single play, he works extremely hard, he has a high standard for himself. I’m just saying what I’ve observed from a coaching standpoint in training camp led me to think that this guy’s going to have, like I said, a really good year. For him, I’ll leave those answers up to him.”
How do the Redskins use QB Alex Smith differently than he was used in Kansas City?
“It’s a little bit different. It’s just a different scheme, but he still has so many of the qualities that you look for in a really good quarterback. He takes care of the ball. He’s very smart with the ball. He’s a very smart player. He’s an accurate passer. He’s able to throw all the different types of throws that you need. He puts touch on the ball underneath, he can throw the deep ball, he can drive the ball in there when he needs to and he can run. His ability to run – I think he’s a lot faster and a lot more elusive than some people may give him credit for. That’s going to be a big challenge for us on Sunday. If he’s running around, breaking out of the pocket, extending plays, then that’s going to be a tough day.”
You always talk about the difficulty of winning in the NFL. What does it say about the team that they’ve been able to win in multiple ways?
“When I say that, all I’m saying is that the NFL has done a great job of creating a league of parity. The difference between a 9-1 team, a 6-3 team and then a team that maybe is 2-and-whatever, it’s a very small difference. It’s more about who is the team that will not beat themselves? A lot of these games come down to the turnover margin, a lot of them come down to penalties, simple things – things that you can control. I think we’ve been doing a pretty good job of that lately. We have to continue that now. If we can go out there and play solid football and not beat ourselves, then we’ll have a real chance to win games.”
What’s the difficulty of continuing the momentum of a six-game winning streak over the bye week?
“I think it’s tough. I think the bye week came at a great time because we had to get some guys back healthy. The questions were asked about whether it’s (Keke) Coutee or Johnathan Joseph or some other guys, it was a great break, and for the guys that have played a lot of football to get a break. The key for us is that we won going into the bye, which is a good thing, and now the key is can we basically pick right back up where we left off? Can we keep that momentum going? Can we start the game well? Can we play a clean football game, which we had been doing the last couple of games before the bye? That’s going to be the key, but I do think that the bye came at a good time and it allowed us to take a break from football – the players – and also get a healthier team.”