Head Coach Ben McAdoo
September 21, 2016
Exciting week for our organization. We have an opportunity to host the division champs this week. As we all know, when we play these games, these rivalry games, you can throw the records out the window. Theyíre a very good, talented football team. Their offense is creative. Itís multiple. Cousins is coming off of an outstanding 2015 season. They have a fast and dynamic perimeter group with Jackson, Garcon and Reed. Jones is a physical runner, big physical back. He fits well behind their big tackles and guards. Their center does a nice job getting everything lined up and directing traffic upfront.
Their defense is aggressive. Itís physical under second-year coordinator Joe Barry. Heís doing a nice job organizing the unit. They mix in a variety of personnel groupings. They have a strong group of pass rushers and some young guys really coming on for them. Kerrigan, Smith, Murphy and Baker all do a nice job in that role. Their back end has a nice blend of youth and experience. They added a premier cover corner in Josh Norman. Special teams, theyíre off to a good start in the return game with Crowder and Blackmon. We all know how explosive Jackson can be when he gets his opportunity back there.
Q: Coach, in your opinion, what was the biggest difference last year between the Washington team you saw on Thursday night at MetLife and when you guys faced off in Landover in early December?
A: I think they just got in a rhythm. Theyíre a good, talented football team. Itís still early in the season. Theyíre good, talented and their pass rush is coming on defense. You look at the beginning of football games, theyíre in the games. The first game, that Pittsburgh game, they had the chance to go up on a two-score lead and had to kick some field goals. We have to make sure weíre ready to play a good team.
Q: You called Josh Norman a premier cover corner. What would be your level of surprise if he was not completely covering Odell or spying him throughout the game?
A: I think we have a good receiver group. I wouldnít be surprised to see him playing across from all three, four of our receivers. They play him on one side more often than the other. He is a talented player and does a good job of punching at the ball. In the run game, he makes a big difference. On punch and pivot type routes, he does a good job of coming up and knocking the ball out.
Q: How much would you like to avoid the matchup of Josh and Odell?
A: Weíre going to play our game. I think they put on a great show. You have two outstanding competitors at the top of their game. Two premier players in this league. I think they put on a great show for everyone.
Q: Was it a great show last year or was it something else?
A: It was not a great show last year. We learned from the past and we moved on from the past.
Q: How confident are you that Odell will not engage?
A: I think last year was a one-time thing. I think everyone involved in the situation learned from it and moved on.
Q: What do you do to make sure it doesnít happen again?
A: I think weíve learned from the situation and moved on.
Q: You donít think itís necessary to bring it up to Odell?
A: All conversations in that regard are private conversations.
Q: Do you think the rule change with the ejections will play into peopleís minds when they take the field?
A: It may be a deterrent to some, but you can still have ejections with one foul. I donít think itís a major factor.
Q: You were saying itís a one-time thing. I was just wondering what your level of concern is when you see people engaging on social media about it. That person or any other corner in the NFL, in terms of that back and forth?
A: I donít have any concerns about it. I trust our players, our locker room. I feel like weíre going to go out and play a competitive game against a division rival. Keep football the main thing.
Q: Sterling Shepard has 11 catches in his first 12 targets, do you have to talk to him at all how defenses are going to change how they cover him from here on out?
A: No. Thatíll take care of itself. He was a featured player in college. He saw some different things to try and attack him that way. Obviously defenses will start to show him a little more respect than they have, but we have some weapons that we can deal the ball. Weíll take the one-on-one matchup every time.
Q: Is that something you try to anticipate going into a week? How the defense might attack your three receivers that are out there and then adjust into the game or is it one of those things where you wait and see how they go about it?
A: Well, I think you go in with a plan to attack (based on) what youíre seeing on tape. You have confidence in your scheme that youíll be able to get to whatever you need to get to to beat a certain coverage. You make adjustments during the course of a game. When you play a division team, itís a little bit different. When you play a division team, they usually have something they like to spring on you a little early. Then, in the second half, they have something they like to spring on you. Weíll be ready to adjust and improvise.
Q: There was a report that laid out their defensive game plan with Josh Norman. How much validity do you give to those reports?
A: Do you have a copy? We trust our own preparation. We trust what we see on film. Thatís first and foremost.
Q: As a play caller, when you scout another teamís defense and they have a corner that is following a receiver all around the field, is it more difficult or is it easier because you know where heís going to be?
A: It just depends on what youíre seeing. Where are the safeties and the linebackers? Is it a double-team or a single matchup? Whatís the leverage? Thereís certain things you can do to take advantage of leverages and matchups. Whether the safety is tilted that way, a single-high safety, post-safety favoring that way or a two-shell safety. Itís really the call. The starting point, giving Eli a clean starting point, that factors in there as well. He can get there what he needs to get to to take advantage of a matchup if itís personnel driven.
Q: Several of your players have said they are considering making their feelings known in the wake of the recent shooting. I know youíve said in the past that you would be disappointed if that happened. In light of those discussions among the players, is there any level of concern on your part about that? What is your feeling now that this may happen?
A: There are a lot of things going on in society. As a coach, we have bunker mentality. A lot of times we donít know or see whatís happening. The players, theyíre out there a little bit more than we are. There are a lot of serious and heavy issues. Theyíre at a conflict, a lot of them. I had a conversation with a few guys Iím not going to name. Theyíre conflicted and they want to make a difference. The league is a platform to make a difference. I encourage them to. I would like to be involved in that. Anything I can do to help. Still, I feel that you can make a difference outside of the anthem. We can do something together to make a difference. It doesnít have to involve the National Anthem. I still believe that you pay tribute to the people that sacrifice their lives so that we can coach and play in this great game. Thatís what I believe.
Q: Do you get a sense that those conversations may change anyoneís opinion if they do plan to do something different during the anthem?
A: Iím not trying to change anyone elseís opinion or decision. Thatís their freedom. I just want an open dialogue. Something that we can do together as a team to make a difference.
Q: Would you allow them to not stand if thatís what they wanted to do?
A: It doesnít have to do with me allowing anything. Itís their freedom, their choice. Thatís part of the reason why I choose to stand.
Q: Is there any concern on your end that it may become a distraction?
A: No. I think we have a great locker room, a healthy locker room. I support our players 100 percent. I trust in them.
Q: The officials took a lot of heat last year after the Panthers game. Do you have to tell your players that this crew might be a little reactionary?
A: I believe that they will be. I believe the officials are going to have their thumb on everything right from jump street. We have to be ready for that.
Q: Just to clarify, you said that would be something you would like to see done as a team. If the team came to a decision collectively on what they wanted to do, in unison, you also as a coach would participate?
A: I have an open door policy. I would like the players to come up. If they want to do something, I would like to get together, talk with the players and get on the same page. I choose to stand for the anthem. I would like to do something outside of the anthem. Actions, away from the facility, to give back and pay back to the communities.
Q: Your team has done a lot of confident talking recently. Do you like that?
A: I think we have confidence as a football team. Iím fine with that. Itís not arrogance. We stay humble. I think itís important that we chase the great film every week. Thatís whatís important to us. Putting a great product on tape.
Q: Do you view Jordan Reed as a wide receiver?
A: I think heís an elite tight end.
Q: Would you look to cover him with a corner?
A: Based on the coverage, you look for the best matchup.