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Need to Know: Callahan says Redskins’ running scheme will be diverse

Jun 23, 2015, 4:58 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 23, 37 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp


Read and react

Here are some quotes from offensive line coach Bill Callahan’s media session during minicamp and my reaction to them:

On guard Spencer Long:

“Coming out he was a very mobile, strong, athletic-type guard so putting him into that position and trying to elevate his skill level is challenging for all of us. Hopefully he can hang on to it and compete for that starting spot.”

Callahan and the organization took something of a leap of faith in letting go of Chris Chester last month and essentially handing the right guard job to a player who has all of 18 NFL snaps under his belt. Callahan believes that he can be coached up and get the job done.

On changes in the Redskins’ running scheme:

“I think when you have balance in you running game, whether it’s the gap scheme, the zone scheme, using your draws, using wide zones, or tight zones, or whatever that may be I think it just keeps the defense off balance and it plays to your players’ strengths.”

As with the Cowboys last year, the Redskins aren’t going to go with power blocking plays exclusively. They will mix it up. I would still look for more power than zone because of the last several words of that quote.

More on playing to strengths:

“When you walk in the door you look at the players first and what they do best and you fashion a system around their strengths and their skill levels. That’s what we’re trying to do in this OTA and this minicamp session.”

Or you can walk in the door and replace one starter with a top draft pick and give another one the heave-ho and replace him with a second-year player. They already had Trent Williams, who is scheme versatile, and Shawn Lauvao, who was a fish out of water in the Redskins’ zone-oriented scheme last year. By drafting Brandon Scherff and elevating Long they transformed the line into one that is better suited to just push defenders out of the way. I’d say they adjusted the talent to run the scheme they want.

When asked about the enthusiasm he displays on the job:

“I love it, I absolutely love it. I look forward to practice every day. There’s nothing like it. I’m just an old school ball coach, you know what I mean? . . . I have a passion for this game. I love the game and what it stands for and what it’s all about, what it brings to the table and what it gives to a person and what they learn from it.”

I have to think most NFL coaches also love the game—you couldn’t put in all the hours that they do if they didn’t—but Callahan expresses it better than most I’ve heard.


—It’s been 177 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 82 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 37; Preseason opener @ Browns 51; final cuts 74

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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  1. colorofmyskinz - Jun 23, 2015 at 6:00 AM

    Keeping it real Rich! Thanks!

  2. redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 23, 2015 at 8:25 AM

    On demonstrating “something of a leap of faith” on Spencer Long was on the line of what I suggested on a few occasions before cutting Chester. While the line was not as bad as many claimed it to be over the last few seasons (closer to slightly below average than one of the worst), overall there was no evidence of any upward movement by the group. I still feel the team waited too long to challenge the younger more talented players in position of taking over for subpar performing veterans. Lauvao should be next to bed pushed hard to either perform above average at his position or get replaced, oh and please don’t wait until next season to make that move.

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Jun 23, 2015 at 9:15 AM

      They were Ranked 31st in Pass Blocking thats Pretty bad and is what the fans are talking about not the Oline as a whole (pass blocking and run blocking). Them being horrible at Pass Blocking and our coach calling 60% Pass to only 40% run and not mixing in bootlegs, play action, shotgun, pistol, read option to slow down the pass rush didnt help. When an Opponent knows you are just gonna call straight drop backs they will Tee off on you and run you over just like last year.

      • hk2000 - Jun 23, 2015 at 11:30 AM

        Exactly, the offense was so predictable- that’s my problem with Gruden, he’s so transparent, I don’t think he can do anything discretely, or use misdirection to save his life. That’s why he should be kept away from any media.sessions- He should just excuse himself or designate a proxy, but if the league rules don’t allow that, then he should practice talking a lot while saying nothing.

    • ET - Jun 23, 2015 at 1:00 PM

      Hopefully Lauvao is more suited to the incoming scheme—he should be.

      Regardless, there is no upside to canning him this year, only losing experience and depth while eatin’ dead cap space. So Lauvao has a year to prove himself. Maybe Arie or LeRib will be ready by then, maybe not.

  3. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jun 23, 2015 at 10:54 AM

    “Shawn Lauvao, who was a fish out of water in the Redskins’ zone-oriented scheme last year”

    Not that he ever was impressive in Cleveland, either. Which is why they let him walk.

    • kenlinkins - Jun 23, 2015 at 8:20 PM

      The fans in Cleveland were shocked that the Redskins signed him to that deal. And when the Cleveland Clowns start calling you names, you have a problem !

      • sidepull - Jun 23, 2015 at 9:05 PM

        Lauvao was a head scratcher that’s for sure. Desperation move is what I thought at the time. Cleveland was glad he left.

    • berniebernard666 - Jun 23, 2015 at 10:08 PM

      and this is why Scott M has been called in to rescue the Redskins. Even I could look at Lauvao and say..”okay nice player but has no potential of All Pro…never going to Hawaii”….and certainly not worth the kind of money they gave him, Same exact thing with Andre Roberts.

      Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden must take stupid pills when it comes to evaluating talent. It’s not brain surgery, in fact its pretty easy. I am just elated that they don’t pick the talent anymore now that Scott M. and Callahan are in town.

      • Trey Gregory - Jun 23, 2015 at 10:16 PM

        I’m not disagreeing with the bulk of what you said, except evaluating talent is not THAT easy. If it was, people wouldn’t be paid so well to do it.
        I also don’t know how much input Gruden had on free agents during Allen’s tenure as GM. It’s not traditionally the coaches job to determine which players to go after. If Gruden did have a say, I hadn’t heard about it and would like to get some more info on that. But if not, you might be putting some undue blame on him.

  4. hk2000 - Jun 23, 2015 at 11:36 AM

    I think it makes a lot of sense for the OL coach to call plays, I wonder why we don’t see more teams doing that, after all, he knows his personnel strengths and weaknesses, and the success or failure of any play hinges on the line doing what they’re supposed to do- especially when you have experienced receivers as we do!

  5. brucefan1 - Jun 23, 2015 at 3:03 PM

    Perhaps I’m just not following Bill’s logic well, but it seems to me his quote that Spencer Long, ” was a very mobile, strong, athletic-type guard so putting him into that position and trying to elevate his skill level is challenging for all of us” is kinda damning him with some real faint praise!

    It would seems that a guy with those attributes would present LESS of a challenge in improving him instead of more of one, no?

    And to conclude it with the statement, “Hopefully he can hang on to it and compete for that starting spot”, might imply that BC is somewhat ambivalent about Spencer’s ability to develop into a productive player ant time soon.

    Or maybe that’s just coachspeak (or simply that I don’t understand HIS definition of “challenging”), and I shouldn’t try to read to much into it?

    • berniebernard666 - Jun 23, 2015 at 10:13 PM

      Callahan’s job is not to praise players, His job is to mold them. I think he basically said that.. After all he didn’t pick Spencer. What do you want? Callahan to start singing Superbowl songs with rookie players and 2nd year players who basically are still rookies? I like that he doesn’t blow smoke and that he is honest about it.

      Spencer is not an automatic lock to start. Josh Leribeus is still in the mix along with Morgan Moses and several other who are hanging around. Competition is going to be fierce. Archives

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