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Press Release: #REDSKINS QUOTES - Allen, Callahan

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October 7, 2019

Redskins President Bruce Allen



Opening statement:

"Good afternoon. Last night after the game, we came to a decision that we had to relieve [former Head Coach] Jay [Gruden] of his duties. [Owner] Dan [Snyder] and I met with Jay this morning to release him of his duties. Jay was disappointed in not being able to achieve what we all wanted to achieve and it was a brief conversation. After that, we had a coaches meeting and we're fortunate to have a seasoned veteran like [Head Coach] Bill Callahan on our staff, and we named Bill our interim head coach and had an entire coaching staff meeting and Bill has been grinding through meetings the rest of the morning. To make a decision like this is difficult, but it was necessary. Our 0-5 start is not just disappointing, we had much different expectations for this beginning of the season. We owe it to our fans, our millions of fans – not just here in the great nation’s capital, but across the world – the organization, the players, the coaches and their families to do everything we can to win. Under Bill's leadership and the programs he's going to put in, and the discipline and execution, we believe we're given the best opportunity to beat the Miami Dolphins and for the rest of the year. With that, I'll take some questions."


On why the fans should have confidence in upper management:

"Right now, we're all 0-5. I don't believe anybody is hiding from their record. Our goal is to obviously change that and beat the Dolphins. When you're around this building enough, you can feel the passion of these players. You can feel the ability of these players and you can see the coaches working their tails off to try and come up with a winning game plan. That's all we can do right now is work toward the Dolphin game and the season and to keep developing these players."


On if the quarterback decision will be made by Head Coach Bill Callahan:

"It'll be up to Coach [Bill] Callahan who plays at any position the same way it was up to Coach [Jay] Gruden on who's going to play. We're thrilled to have [QB] Dwayne [Haskins Jr.] here. We think his future is very bright. Whatever gives Coach Callahan the formula for success I'm sure he's going to do. You will be able to ask him that later today."


On his level of accountability for the team’s struggles:

"We're all involved in this. I don't ever want to hide from our record, I don't want to hide from things that didn't go the way we wanted them to go. All we can do is work. Do I believe in the group that's here? Yes. I think [VP of Player Personnel] Doug [Williams] and [Director of College Scouting] Kyle [Smith] had a great draft. I think they've had a few great drafts. I see what the coaches are trying to accomplish. I see what the people do at the stadium. They're great workers. They care about this team. They care about this franchise. I'm not saying I care more than anyone, but I absolutely want what's best for the Washington Redskins and we're going to make sure we do it."


On when the decision was made to fire Jay Gruden:

"I believe it was around eight o'clock, seven o'clock, somewhere around there."


On if the firing was for cause:

"No, it's not for cause."


On what he thinks he could have done differently that could have prevented him from standing here and addressing the second head coach that was let go during his tenure with the team:
"I promise you, I never thought of standing here mid-season with a coaching change. We all have hopes and dreams the same way the fans do and the players who are working out right now, trying to get better. All we can do is try to improve tomorrow. I'd like to change the result of a game or two, or a season, but you can't.  All you can deal with is today and tomorrow and that's what we're going to do."


On why Owner Dan Snyder didn’t address the media today:

“Because I am.”


On whether Dan Snyder will address the public:

“Yes, [Owner] Dan [Snyder] has made himself available from time to time.”


On replicating success from his prior teams to the Redskins:

“[Head Coach] Bill [Callahan], as I said, is seasoned. He has a track record as a head coach. He is already implementing a plan for this team and schedules are going to change and things of that nature. It is 0-5. We have 11 regular season games left and we still can accomplish many of our goals. There’s no one in this locker room that’s going to quit, no one in this organization who is going to shy away from some extra work. We’ll be confident in the work product and hopefully we can execute better on gameday.”


On whether there was a debate around drafting QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. and how he has developed:

“When you take a first-round player, it gets a lot of publicity. The seventh-rounders don’t get much publicity. All the coaches are involved in our draft meetings. When we’re setting the draft board, the coaches are involved and they sign off on everything. As far as [QB] Dwayne [Haskins Jr.], we’re excited as hell to have him on this football team and we think he has a great future ahead of him. He’s working very hard, he’s learning the system and when Coach [Bill] Callahan decides to put him in, he’ll make that decision. But Jay [Gruden] was excited about Dwayne Haskins and I think he probably talked to several of you from OTAs and training camp about how well he was doing.”


On FedExField being filled with Patriots fans:

“Well, I appreciate the fact that the Patriots have a great fan base and they’ve had tremendous success and [Head Coach] Bill Belichick is probably the best coach in NFL history, so I’m sure many of our fans put their tickets on the second market and made some money on it selling it to people from the Northeast. All we can do is try to improve our product. These games, we weren’t close in. We’ve lost five games and we didn’t lose them in the last second, we lost these games decisively. And we have to change that and our fans deserve that and this market deserves that – we’re in the nation’s capital and it deserves better than that, and we have to get it done.”


On evaluating the coaching search going forward:

“It’s a question that maybe we’ll have to talk about in November or December and how we’re doing. Right now, everybody’s working on their jobs. We’ll have plenty of opportunity to explore what’s out there in the coaching world after this season. There are league rules that determine what you can and can’t do in coaching searches, which we’ll obviously follow.”


On T Trent Williams:

“He is not here and really there has been no dialogue with any other team.”


On considering trading T Trent Williams:

“No, not at this time.”


On the current culture of the Redskins:

“The culture is actually damn good. These people care. We have a very young core of players that we have brought in here who are accustomed to winning. If you look at the records of these guys, they’re accustomed to winning, they want to win. In free agency, we brought in Landon Collins – great leader, great player, wants to win. We haven’t put it together, we’ve made too many mistakes on gameday, but the effort of the players and the rest of this organization is fantastic. [Senior Vice President of Player Personnel] Doug Williams, if you want to check his timecard, working all the time. Our scouts on the road are working all the time and they’re trying to find the right formula for success. These players have the ability and we just have to execute.”


On translating culture into wins:

“Through winning football games. We have to win. We didn’t win any of these games.”


On why nothing has worked over the last decade and why it’s so difficult to create a winning culture:

“I don’t necessarily agree with the premise that it’s ‘never.’ Last year at this time, we’re in first place and we’re doing well, so it was working pretty damn good and unfortunately our quarterback got injured. The pieces are here for a winning team. We have to put them in the right place, believe in each other and keep fighting for a goal. There’s only one way you win, you have to work and you have to get better and you have to beat your opponent. And that’s what we have to do, and I believe these players and these coaches will do that.”


Redskins Interim Head Coach Bill Callahan




Opening statement:

"Good afternoon, welcome. This is different territory for me, I’ve got to tell you. Different and it’s bittersweet in a lot of ways to replace a veteran coach in [former Head Coach] Jay [Gruden] and then to be asked to lead a program now in Week 6. It’s uncharted waters for me and it’s a real privilege, an honor for me to lead this team. With that being said, I’ll do the best I can for our players, for our staff, and hopefully we can get out of the 0-5 situation that we are currently set in.”


On if he has decided on a starting quarterback yet:

"No, I’m not. We’re still evaluating some medical things with [QB] Case [Keenum], we want to see where he’s at. Still contemplating whether or not to start Case or [QB] Colt [McCoy], and we’re in the midst of those discussions right now. I think a lot of it will have to do with Miami and their defense, and what they present and what gives us our best options.”


On whether QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. is in consideration to start:

"Not right now, but he will be at some point in time. We’re going to continue to develop him and heighten his maturation process and try to get him on schedule so that he is prepared. There’s always the possibility that he could be active or [inactive], so we’ll see as we move along.”


On when he’ll know whether Haskins will be ready to start:

"I think it’s time now for him to be prepared because anything can happen and I think as a quarterback you’re always ready to step in and step up. It occurred in the Giants game and it can occur again based on the decisions we make as a staff. So, his progress is incremental, it’s starting to show signs and flashes of progress, but he still has a ways to go. I’m looking forward to coaching him. I think he’s a great kid, he’s got a bright future and he’s our franchise pick, so at some point he’ll be in the lineup at some point in time, whether it’s this year or next year.”


On the thresholds Haskins must pass in order to start:

"I think with his development also we’ve got to be conscientious of getting him some repetitions during the course of the practice, so it might be a little bit of a shift in philosophy as we move forward. So he will be able to take repetitions at some point, whether it’s at the beginning, the end, the middle, but we’re really cognizant of trying to rep him up during the course of the practice so that he is prepared and that he does obviously get exposure to game-type repetitions that can get him potentially to a starting position here in the future or next year, whatever it may be.”


On Haskins’ development:

"Well, it doesn’t take much to figure out that he’s a first-round pick and that we’ve put in resources into that position. I take it upon myself to be cognizant of where he needs to go and where he needs to be. His development is very, very important and there’s a good plan in place, futuristically, for that to happen.”


On what he can do to change the team’s current situation:

"Really, there’s no magic formula and as we go forward I’m going to rely on the staff and the team – the captainship, the leadership of our team – to change the course. There’s really no magic formula to all of a sudden go into a winning team, but I do think the formula of working hard and preparing hard and preparing better, I think those things are under the control of the staff and the players. I truly believe they’re committed to doing that. We’ve gotten great effort from our players, now we need more consistent effort. We need to be a more consistent team in the second half, I think that has shown itself across the board in all phases.”


On how he’ll change the team logistically:

“We’ll tweak some things and make adjustments to others. I've got the plan for that, not ready to announce it. I prefer to wait until Wednesday morning to visit with the team about what we’re going to do in practice and how we’re going to go about our practice regiment. I want to be a little more patient because I've only been in the situation for less than eight hours, I think, now. I'm going to take my time with that, but there will be some practice adjustments based on who we're playing. I think there's always that element of what you need to get prepared for, whether it'd be a 4-3 defense, 3-4 defense, whatever those issues and problems present themselves defensively for the offense, and then conversely for the defense, what they are facing on offense. Practice will be adjusted according to what we are going to face if that makes sense."


On how he’s approaching the change personally and professionally:

“I’ve been auditioning for over 20 years in the National Football League. I’m not auditioning. Nothing but trying to get our team better and really be focused on Miami. It's a good opportunity to help improve our team and to lead the team forward. I'm not worried about me; it's not about me. It's about our team, and it's about what we can do to get us out of this rut that we're currently in. This is a historical franchise; it's a prestigious franchise. To be where we're situated right now doesn’t sit well with any of us, the staff and players – people in every area of the building. Like I said, this is uncharted waters for me. I've never been in this situation as a coach – assistant or head – so, there's a lot of work to be done. There's a lot of work to be done. Like I said, there's really no magic formula to make this thing turn. So, we're working on it day-by-day, week-by-week, just focus on what we need to do, and that's getting prepared for Miami."


On who will take over play-calling responsibilities on offense:

“[Offensive Coordinator] Kevin [O'Connell] will take over the play-calling. We’ve got a lot of faith and confidence in Kevin. He's a bright young coach, and he's got a bright future ahead of him. He will do a great job. He's well prepared, and in a lot of ways, he was kind of like [former Head Coach] Jay's [Gruden] conduit. He kind of had a lot, not kind of but did, have a lot of influence in the play-calling. It's just a matter of putting that belt on and letting him pull the trigger. Obviously, coordinate the communication to the quarterback on game day.” 


On how the culture of the team translates to wins:

“I think we have a young core nucleus of young players that have contributed to our team. It’s unfortunate they haven't experienced success like our veterans have. The culture and the environment on a day-to-day basis is setting the tone through our leadership. Our culture is one of working harder, being more prepared, being more focused, improving on a daily basis, improving fundamental techniques, improving when you go into a meeting, when you go on the field, when you’re in a competitive environment or competitive drill. Those improvements need to take place and we need to have more of that. So, the culture of defining exactly what we want to be and where we want to go, again, it’s going to have to happen this week and it's going to be piecemealed throughout the week as we go through the Miami preparations. That culture is always changing and I think our players will see some slight changes to schedules, to the way we practice, the focus and what we demand in the meeting rooms. So, there will be a little bit of a shift in that respect." 


On what changes he thinks need to be made after observing the first five games:

“I think first, the identity of who you are and what you want to be has to take place. I envision ourselves as a running team. I'd like to get our run game going. I think that's important because everything else is complementary off it – the run-action, passes and protections off of it complement your running game. If we can play two down football and go from second down to first down, that would be huge. In order to do that, the consistency of the running game is going to have to take place. So that run identity, that not only helps us be the physical team that we want to be, but it lends itself benefits in every other area. The defense, clock time, letting them sit on the punt a little bit. So we’re really conscience of making that shift, we have a good stable of running backs we’ve got confidence in. That'll be the focus going forward for us. That's one of the areas in that respect."


On what he needs to see from Dwayne to get him to start:

“I think the continuation of preparation, of focus, and having success on the field, having confidence on the field, getting his confidence level up and putting him in a comfort level within the system so that he has a package of plays that he can obviously go out, execute, and know that those are his and he has ownership of those plays. I think that’s the focus right now, trying to get him up and get him rolling, and get him prepared just like we do Case or Colt, no different.”


On when he found out about the coaching change:

“I was called last night and I visited with [President] Bruce [Allen] and [Owner] Dan [Snyder] and talked about this role. They asked me to get ready to be put in this role and asked me if I wanted to do this. There was a lot of careful thought and consideration because I’ve been in this role before. I know what it takes, I think I have a good vision of what winning football looks like, but I wanted to take my time and make sure it was the right decision, not only for our team, but on a personal level as well. I feel very assured, very confident that we could make the shift. There was going to be a decision made one way or the other and that seat was emptied, and there are a lot of qualified coaches in the room that could’ve stepped in and taken this role. I’m honored to be asked and honored to do it, but I thought very carefully about it and gave it a lot of consideration then came to fruition this morning when I came in. I willingly took the spot and now I’m here at 3:00 P.M. in the afternoon, so today has been a little bit of a whirlwind in that respect.”


On whether he plans on making any changes to the defensive staff:

“Not at this time.”


On what he’d like to see from the defense going forward:

“I think for our entire team the second half production, efficiency, closing out a game – you know, taking a lead and closing the game out – that’s what we all want. That’s what we want to see and that’s the challenge that lies before us. We’ve played a good first half of football in the games that we’ve entered, but we’ve faltered in the second half. There’s a definitive flaw that we’ve got to correct and we’ve got to correct it. We’ve addressed that with the team today, talked about going forward what we need to do. I’ll keep that private if you don’t mind, just between myself and the team. Really the gist of it is just the focus on our second half performance. It hasn’t been up to par, not even close, so we’re working to get that fixed.”


On how he plans on changing the running game and how the absence of T Trent Williams affects the running game:

“The volume of the running game, I don’t know if that needs to increase. If you look back the last few weeks, I think we’re at the bottom of the league in rush attempts. The willingness to make the commitment and to run it more, I think benefits everybody like I mentioned. Relative to [T] Trent [Williams] and his situation, he hasn’t been here, so there’s really nothing to talk about in that regard. Basically, we’ll see how it all plays out, but going forward we’re just playing and working with the players that we have here.”


On what give him confidence in the run game despite slow start in that area:

“Well there have been flashes. We’ve had flashes of positive runs in games. There’s been a few negatives, we haven’t taken a lot of the negative hits like we did a year ago, so that in itself shows me that if we commit a little more there’s a chance we’ll get it up and rolling. Featuring [RB Adrian Peterson] and his skill set, of course [RB] Chris Thompson. I think those are all viable points. I think a running back needs to get into a rhythm and we’ve got to find a run rhythm. We have to find a runner rhythm. I can’t promise or guarantee that’ll happen, but that’s the goal to find a run rhythm where we can get these backs rolling and going. We all know we’re going to have to throw the football at some point. This is the National Football League and you’re going to have to throw the football to win, whether it’s in the two-minute drills or third down, you’re going to get in those situations where you have to throw. But I do think running the ball sets an attitude, sets a physical style, it sends a message, and it puts confidence in your line and your backs. It takes a little bit more pressure off the quarterback as well. I think we can all agree when you’re running it 25, 30 times a game, you’re not throwing the ball 45, 50 times, so there’s more of a balance in that respect. Whether it’s rushing yards or rushing attempts, I think that’s critical.”


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