BB:How we doing? Friday, November, football season. What do you guys got?
Q: I know Duron Harmon missed practice yesterday to have a baby. He's made some big plays in the secondary for you guys. What are the expectations for him?
BB: Same as for everybody – be ready to go and go out there and do their best.
Q: Is there a policy where players are out for a few days for that?
BB:I've coached a lot of players. Every player has their own personal situations that come up from time to time – could be babies, deaths, hospital visits, relatives, so forth and so on. Each one of them is different and each one of them is about that individual person – what their needs are and what their situation is. There is no set rule or anything because we're all different.
Q: Do you defend a receiving tight end like Jordan Reed differently than you would defend a more traditional tight end like Jason Witten?
BB:Each player has their own individual strengths and weaknesses, whatever those happen to be, and I think you always want to be aware of what the player's strengths are and take those away. If you can gain an advantage where you feel like you have an advantage in that matchup you want to take advantage of that when you can or if you can. Again on that side of it, sometimes when you're on offense, you keep players out of situations that you don't feel are strengths for them. That's what good offensive coaches do with their players. Reeds' case, I think he's obviously one of their best players. They have a lot of confidence in him. They go to him in a lot of critical situations, he comes through. They move him around, he's all over, he at times plays receiver positons where he's split out and detached from the formation. That's fairly common. He's in close more than he's split out, but he's split out more than a lot of tight ends are. When you face guys like that, you've got to figure out the matchup that you want to be in that you feel comfortable with. And he's made plays down the field. He's a very crafty route runner, knows how to get open in tight coverage. He's a big target, catches the ball well, has got a big catch radius, so you can kind of put the ball away from the defender where he can get it and the defender can't, and he can come up with it. He's good in the red area, good on third down. He has quickness to separate from man coverage. Yeah, it's just trying to find the best matchup, but again, a lot of times it's hard to jam him or disrupt his route because he's extended as opposed to being in-line. But yeah, he does a lot of things well. I'd say in their running game, they use their tight ends but a little differently than say the Dallas offense as an example in the way they block. A lot of times they don't force players, or extended players, so that's really compatible with the skills of an athletic tight end. It's similar to [Tyler] Eifert when Jay was at Cincinnati. I think Reed is kind of Eifert in the Cincinnati offense if you will.
Q: What's the difference between a West Coast running game and a traditional running game?
BB:I'd say that's all kind of changed. When you go back to Paul Brown, that is the offense. What the running game was in the 70's when he was in Cincinnati, late 60's and 70's when he was there, what it was throughout the league is a lot different than what it is now. Even in San Francisco when [Bill] Walsh was there, it was a lot of two backs. Now most every team has one primary runner in the game. Very seldom do you see two runners and so that has obviously been a big change. So it just depends on where you want to draw that line. We're going back call it 30 years of West Coast, Ohio River offense, whatever you want to call it, and that running game has changed. I think what has probably stayed more consistent is the passing game concepts and then whatever running game you have, then you adapt that with that kind of Ohio River passing game, whether it's zone runs, whether it's gap runs, whether its 12-personnel runs, whether it's 21-personnel runs. But the pass concepts I would say there is a lot more carryover. When you go back to what Coach Brown did, Coach Walsh, those are primarily two-back sets with some one-back sprinkled in there. Now you see teams that have West Coast background, even when Mike [Holmgren] and Andy [Reid], but they've kind of transitioned as they've gotten further into their careers, they've kind of transitioned into more one-back offenses as well. But I think in the passing game, I think those core concepts kind of have stayed more constant than the running game.
Q: So do Alfred Morris and Matt Jones split their carries?
BB:Yeah, some version of that. Some games it's more than others. Maybe it's a little bit of a who has the hot hand type of thing, but you're going to see both of them. [Chris] Thompson is more of a third-down sub back, but he's a good runner, too. They also use Morris and Jones some on third down, especially when Thompson hadn't been out there, those guys have played in that role, so I think there is a comfort level of using each of those guys on every down, but probably it looks like Morris and Jones are more early-down guys and Thompson is kind of their sub guy, but there is definitely some carryover. It's not cut and dry. There is some carryover here.
Q: What has been the key to the success of the pass rush this season?
BB: Really it's all tied into the coverage. If you have the receivers covered, it gives the pass rush more opportunities. If you don't have the receivers covered then even a good rush isn't going to result in the quarterback getting tackled probably. The interceptions are a result of pass rush just like sacks are a result of coverage. I think it's really team defense, so the better team defense we've played, the more production we've had. When an area of the team defense breaks down, then that affects the production not just in the catching end or the sacking end but the other end, too. I'd say when you look at a lot of our sacks, a lot of them are on three-man rushes. A lot of them are on good coverage situations. And then there are times we come clean and make the play, too. There is a little bit of everything there, but overall you need good coverage to have a good pass rush. You need good pass rush to have good coverage. When those two have been in sync, we've been more productive and when they haven't, we've given up some plays.
Q: What type of development leap have you seen from Chandler Jones this season?
BB:Steady. You know the big thing about Chandler this year is just his health. He missed some time last year, came back and played well at the end of the year when he came back. This year it's kind of been good right from the very beginning, hasn't missed time, has been able to practice more, train harder, work on his timing and techniques and execution with his teammates – [Dont'a] High[tower] and Jamie [Collins] as well as the defensive linemen. So I think all those things are positives. Particularly with a relatively young player like Chandler, the more time the player can be on the field and practice and work his technique and work with his teammates and be aggressive because he has a full understanding of the calls or the adjustments or whatever it happens to be and just be able to play aggressive and play fast and I think all those things work in the player's favor.
Q: How have you seen Bill Callahan's influence change the Redskins offense by improving the front compared to what you saw from them last year in Richmond?
BB:Well I think Richmond is kind of a tough comparison because they hadn't even played a preseason game at that point. Coach Callahan is to me one of the best offensive line coaches in the league. I think he does a great job. His players play with good fundamentals and techniques, good pad level, good leverage, just good techniques and good footwork, especially on their combination blocks, but in addition to that, they do a great job with their scheme plays. They run different plays against different defenses against different looks – not a million of them – but each week there will be a couple of things that will attack this team and then the next week there will be a couple things that will attack the next team and so forth. They always do a pretty good job of when you're into the game or after the game, you realize they had a good plan there, they had a good attack, they got us to do this and that opened up that or whatever it is. They tie the passing game with the running game so it's hard for the linebackers or the safeties if they're playing down at linebacker level sometimes to differentiate between the running plays and the passing plays, or if you're playing one it's hard for you to play the other one, so they get you in a run-pass conflict. Coach Callahan does a good job of all those things – the fundamental coaching, the scheme in the running game and then the overall coordination with Coach [Sean] McVay and Coach Gruden, however that works in game planning and setting it up and all that – I don't know who exactly does what – but whatever part they have in it it's pretty well coordinated and it's pretty challenging to defend. They do a good job. They do a good job of mixing the short quick throws, possession passes, play action passes with chunk plays, over routes and seams and things like that with shot plays like go's and posts and double moves and things like that, so they kind of attack you at all three levels of the defense in the passing game and they definitely attack you from sideline to sideline in the running game. They have a lot of outside plays, inside plays, they have misdirection plays, so you've really got to defend from sideline to sideline and from the line of scrimmage to the goal line on a pretty consistent basis, so that puts a lot of pressure on the defense.
Q: When you bring new players in, do you have to change the way you run the hurry-up offense? How important is the conditioning factor when you're doing that?
BB:Conditioning is definitely important, and it's important for everybody. It's important for the big guys obviously because it's the big guys, but it's important for the skill players because they're the ones who are doing a lot of running – run 40 yards come back to the line of scrimmage, run 30 yards come back to the line of scrimmage. The conditioning part of it is important and of course it's not just the conditioning but it's also the thinking part of it. It's being able to think quickly, make decisions, if Tom [Brady] changes a route or we call a play and then they run to their look and then we need to change it there is some quick thinking, quick decision making that needs to go on. That's really part of the conditioning process, too. It's definitely challenging to do that with new players. There are a lot of things that can happen when you're trying to go fast and you don't have a lot of time to think or communicate. You kind of got to know what to do, so terminology and communication and anticipation of all three of us, four of us, whatever it is, we all kind of see the same picture, but we all need to see it the same way. We don't have time to talk about it because the ball is being snapped and we're going to go. That part of it is challenging. You also get some defensive looks that obviously aren't the way you're going to practice them. They're struggling to get lined up, they're kind of scrambling, they're moving late because they're communicating on their end of it, too, so normally when you huddle up and run a play, you're going to be where you want to be and they're going to be where they want to be, and then you execute it from there. When you're going fast, that's not always the case. Sometimes they're kind of where you think they're going to be and sometimes they're kind of scrambling at the last second – a linebacker or a safety or someone will get to where he needs to be on that call and it happens late. Sometimes it works to your advantage, sometimes it doesn't, but it's still being able to identify it and see it and all be on the same page in a short amount of time. It's challenging for guys who have done it multiple times, and it's even more challenging for guys who have less experience in that. There's no doubt. And you hear one word or two words or whatever it is, only a couple words, instead of calling out the whole play – the formation, the protection, the play, the blocking, the route. Now you're just sometimes saying a couple words and that tells everybody what the formation is, what the blocking is, what the route is. Sometimes it's two plays. The terminology, it's cut down to make you go faster, but you have to remember a lot more things where if you just hear a normal play normally that will tell everybody what to do. You use three of four words to call a formation and you use words to call out the backfield action, the run blocking, the protection, the strong side route, the weak side route, maybe what the back's route is or what some auxiliary route is just to tie that in. Now it all just becomes one thing.
Q: Last year, Malcolm Butler told us he went to the coaching staff and said he wanted a chance at DeSean Jackson during the joint practices. Do you like it when a player does that?
BB:You take it with a grain of salt. It depends. Some guys want them, some guys really don't want them, but they want to kind of say they want them. I've seen it go a lot of different directions.
Q: Have you seen it go different ways?
BB:Oh yeah, you definitely have the guy who comes in here and says, "Can I get on No. 68 this week, I mean I could kill him, let me get over there on him." There is that side of it, too. Or, "Let me cover so and so, I can really get all over this guy." Yeah, alright. How about taking the best guy? What about that? But we have a pretty competitive group. I think on this team there are a lot of those situations, especially in training camp and when you're going against each other, guys kind of get to the front of the line or get where they're matched up against another really good player, whatever it is, and they have a little bit of a competition going there, and certainly that carries over to our opponents. I would think our guys like to go up against who they think are our best players or go up against the other team's best player and try to ... But again sometimes that's part of the game plan, sometimes it isn't and that's just something we kind of have to sort out. I don't think that's a bad thing to want to take on their best guy, but I would say we've got a lot of guys like that. I wouldn't put Malcolm as the only guy in that category. I definitely wouldn't characterize it that way at all. But I've definitely seen the other side of that, too. "Even though I play over here at this position, if you put me over there somewhere else against the guy on the other side of the line, I think I can have a big day against him." Or, "Normally I would be covering this guy, but if you put me over here on this other guy who's not very good, I think I can cover him." I've seen that, too.