Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka
Q: Having to face the Commanders again so soon, what stood out from rewatching the tape and that first matchup?
A: There was a lot of good feedback, a lot of stuff that you can look at. The areas of improvement that we are focusing on right now in the run game, the pass game – look at some of the things we did well, trying to build on that. Look at some of the things that may have not gone as well, trying to fix those, make those corrections and apply it to practice this week.
Q: Obviously there's opportunity in your receiver corps. How has (wide receiver) Isaiah Hodgins seized that and become the guy you look for in the red zone?
A: Isaiah has done a really nice job, not only in the red zone but being a factor on third down, first, second down. He's a really good blocker, he's a tough kid. He's done a great job, he's done everything we've asked of him.
Q: There is a possibility you might see (Washington defensive end) Chase Young this weekend. How much does that change how you approach the game?
A: Yeah. It's an opportunity for them to add a really good player to their defense. We'll have to prep for him and account for him in both the run and pass game. Really, even in situational positions – third down, red zone, short yardage. We have to make sure we take care of him and prep for the whole entire front as well.
Q: How tough are those defensive tackles to prepare for?
A: They do a really nice job. They're aggressive, they're violent, they get up field and they play almost every snap. They never come off the field. It's going to be a great challenge for us.
Q: In retrospect, how much was (running back) Saquon (Barkley) limited last week for you guys?
A: I never thought of it that way. Saquon came ready to play and we played him as we saw fit.
Q: So you didn't have to change anything? Aside from using (running back) Gary (Brightwell) a drive or two there?
A: Yeah, we mixed Gary in. Gary and (running back Matt) Breida in there. We mixed those guys in there. They did a nice job.
Q: How much do you pay attention to the amount that you've used Saquon this year? Is that something you look at as a whole? Do you look at it specifically within games whether it could be too much on a running back?
A: The way we use really all our players – try to put them in the best positions to be successful, use them to their strengths. Put them in positions where if there's something that may be a little bit of a weakness, try keep them out of those situations. We try to use Saquon to the best of his assets.
Q: How much does the instability of the offensive line because of injuries hindered you guys? It seems like you might be back to the point where when you started six months with the same five starters there, how much is that a problem?
A: I think we've done a really nice job with the guys who have gone in there with the next-man-up mentality. Coming in, playing tough, working to get our assignments right and sticking together. I think that's one bright spot that we look at from that o-line and really when you look at all the position groups. Guys have had to go through that. Tight ends, receivers. It's been a great job by our assistant coaches and coaching staff getting those guys lined up.
Q: When you see how maybe the run game has been a little bit more limited in the last few weeks, how much of that do you feel is other teams scouting you guys, having seen plenty of you and how much of it is just execution on your own part?
A: We look back and we look at ourselves first. If the execution was right, were the fundamentals right, was the scheme right? Those are all things that we evaluate on a week-to-week. We take that information, we apply it to this game plan and try and get those guys in the right spots and seeing it the way that we see it from a coaching staff.
Q: Does the immediacy of it offer a rare opportunity in the aspect that normally you see a team, you go into it and then when the game is over and you are reviewing stuff you say, "Oh we should have gotten to that quicker, made the mistake of not putting this in and it would have worked." You normally have to wait four weeks, who knows how that team is going to look. The fact that this team hasn't taken the field since they saw you the last time, I would imagine that lends to what you thought right after the game might still work here. Is that a fair assessment?
A: That's fair. After we watch the games and review it, we kind of always go around the staff and talk about things we would have changed, things that we should have in for the next time and then kind of build complements off of stuff we've shown. That all goes into it, absolutely.
Q: With your quarterback room, how do you think – well you know how that dynamic works – when a really smart, engaging experienced guy like (quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor), and I would say a lot of the same things about (quarterback) Davis Webb, helping not only (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) but the whole group and the esprit de corps within that group?
A: It's a great quarterback room, one of my favorites being around coaching and as a player. They do a great job communicating. They all see the game the right way and see it through the same set of eyes. (Quarterbacks) Coach (Shea) Tierney does a great job of organizing them and getting them in the right spots and communicating well with them at practice, in the meeting rooms and then on gameday.
Q: Could you see a future coach down the road from that room?
A: Absolutely. I think those guys can do really anything they want to. As far as football IQ, they do a great job and, absolutely, if they want to get into coaching, I'm sure they would do a great job.
Q: Washington controlled time of possession and they typically do. Obviously, you're trying to score when you have the ball but are you sometimes trying to also matriculate and kind of hold the ball to keep your defense off the field? Or is that not a concern, it's just call plays to score?
A: There's a little bit of both. I think you always want to score every time you touch the football, but you also got to understand the flow of the game. There's never a play call where you're like, "This play is not going to score." That's not the mentality you have. You've got to be able to manage the game and call the game that you see is going to get the offense to be the most successful.
Q: You've been yelling a lot this week?
A: Just that time of year and three kids under six.
Q: What did you feel after that Commanders game? Did it feel like a loss to you?
A: Not quite like a loss but not quite like a win.
Q: Your entire offense in that game was four series where I think you scored on four straight possessions and then it seemed like there was a faucet that just shut off. When you look at those sequences, what did you see that caused you guys to not have offense into overtime, really?
A: There are a few of those drives that came up. Just got to do a better job with execution, play calling. All those things tie in together. We talk about as an offense that we are all in this thing together and that we're working our butts off each week, each day in practice to perfect those fundamentals, perfect those schemes and those techniques. That way, when you get in those situations again, we can go and operate.
Q: I don't really have hard numbers to back this up, this is really more of an eye test. It seems like early on, you were using multiple halfbacks together more often you are now. Like Saquon in packages with Breida or Brightwell or in the rare occasion, even all three more often than you are now. Is there a reason you've gone away from that?
A: I don't have the numbers in front of me either, but I'd say each week is a little bit different, each team kind of plays personnel groupings different. We want to make sure that we have our best personnel groupings, our best people to do those jobs. We evaluate it every week, we talk about it at depth – which guys in which spots and if it's going to help us an offense score points, get yards, all those things, get first downs, skip third downs. We really talk about a lot of that. Not to say that this week may or may not be like that but that's things that we talk about. If we can get those guys in more spots to be successful, we will.
Q: If (guard) Ben Bredeson does get back, what would he add to your offense?
A: I think Bred's did a nice job in practice yesterday. I think just take it day by day, don't want to get too far ahead on it. He's doing a nice job and towards the end of the week, I think (head coach Brian Daboll) Dabs will have a good feel for what he wants to do.