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Exclusive: Bill Callahan reflects on loss to 49ers, ready to turn attention to Vikings

Exclusive: Bill Callahan reflects on loss to 49ers, ready to turn attention to Vikings

Following every Redskins game of the 2019 season, NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay will sit down with an exclusive, one-on-one interview with interim head coach Bill Callahan to discuss the team's performance.

Here's what Callahan had to say following the team's Week 7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

JP Finlay: Through two weeks now, record is 1-1, how do you feel your team is playing?

Bill Callahan: They’re playing better. From what we saw yesterday, especially from the defense perspective. You saw great effort, intensity, production and it went through four quarters. The consistency of the performance is there. We just need to find ways to close out and make a few more plays to put us in a position to win the game.

JP: Offensively, I understand that you want to run the football. But do you need more out of the passing game?

Callahan: You know, that’s a great question. There’s a fine balance to that question. We were in a situation yesterday, based on the elements, where we were running it pretty successfully. There were a couple opportunities where we could have done better in the passing game. There are a couple plays I know Case [Keenum] would love to have back. Unfortunately, we weren’t quite as productive as we wanted to be. I think overall, we’re on schedule of where we want to go. If we can improve that aspect and fix that aspect of our game, I think we’ll be right on track.

JP: You said after the game that you’re sticking with Case, have all of the faith in the world in him running your offense.

Callahan: Absolutely right. 

JP: About Dwayne though. At what point, at 1-6, I know it’s 1-1 in your tenure, but at what point does his development not become kind of the goal for the organization?

Callahan: That’s a good question. And we’ve discussed it many of times, because we did draft him in the first round. At this point, I think it’s important for him to continue to study, continue to prepare and learn from not only Colt, but Case. And I think he’s doing that. He’s made strides. I mentioned that to the media last week. He continues to make strides. Case is still our quarterback, and that’s where we’re at currently, and I don’t see anything changing in the future.

JP: Not on the short week, I imagine, it’s not the right spot for a rookie?

Callahan: Even still. We believe in Case, what he’s done, and what he’s capable of doing.

JP: So long term, at least past the bye week, I’m guessing? 

Callahan: That’s the direction we’re heading in right now.

JP: Let’s talk about the short week then. A guy on the other side of the field you might have heard of, Kirk Cousins. How interesting is that for this organization to have to face Kirk, considering everything that’s happened at quarterback here since Kirk’s departure?

Callahan: It’s interesting, as always, but this is how the league is these days with free agency and players having the ability to go where they want to go and be paid. I think the players get that, and I also think that the players don’t play into that. They look at it as the next challenge against another quarterback they have respect for. And that’s the name of the game, let’s go play. It is Kirk. We know him. There are some similarities in terms of what their offense does and what we did here. But by in large, it’s a different challenge. They’ve also got a fine running back that we need to contain. We’re addressing those kinds of things now as we’re getting ready for Minnesota.

JP: The road to a win in Minnesota is…still rushing attempts?

Callahan: I think it’s balance. Every game is different. You would love to have the balance in your run and your pass. Some games you’re fortunate to run it more than you throw it, and other games you’re going to need the passing game. So I don’t ever dismiss the fact that you need the passing game and that it shouldn’t be at the forefront. I think there are times where you are featuring one or the other. So that doesn’t mean you’re going to go in that direction. It’s always great to have that run identity and establish the run, but you’re going to need big plays out of the passing game. You need the passing game to win. That’s the nature of our league.

JP: Your D-Line is starting to deliver on some of the promise that we thought they showed some of us saw in the preseason and all the talent there. How important are those guys to get out of Minneapolis with a ‘W’?

Callahan: It’s huge. I think our defense provides that role and leadership for our football team. Just based on this last performance, if we can carry that over into Thursday night, on the national stage, that would be huge. They’ll provide that catalyst for us, and we’re hopeful, but we have a huge challenge with the running back in [Dalvin] Cook.

JP: Short week and your time is condensed, but quickly, World Series prediction.

Callahan: Nats, of course.

JP: How many games? Who’s the MVP?

Callahan: I don’t know who the MVP is, but I just want to come away with a World Series for this town, this city.

JP: You know if you win Thursday night, you can probably get tickets Friday night at Nats Park?

Callahan: Well I’m more focused on my team. That’s my focus. I wish them all the luck in the world.

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Redskins cut edge rusher Noah Spence, promote Carroll Phillips from practice squad

Redskins cut edge rusher Noah Spence, promote Carroll Phillips from practice squad

The Redskins cut former Buccaneers second-round pick Noah Spence Tuesday and promoted Carroll Phillips from the practice squad, according to Ian Rapoport

Washington signed Spence in mid-September after the Bucs cut him at the end of training camp.

Hopes were high for Spence in Tampa after he recorded 5.5 sacks in his rookie season, but has only recorded two sacks in the three seasons following 2016. 

Phillips joined the Redskins practice squad in Week 9 after playing in limited snaps with the Jaguars and Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2017. 

The Illinois product figures to be the fourth man in the Redskins pass rush rotation behind Ryan Kerrigan, Montez Sweat and Ryan Anderson. 

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2020 NFL Mock Draft 5.0: Will the Redskins go best player available at No. 2?

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2020 NFL Mock Draft 5.0: Will the Redskins go best player available at No. 2?

After Week 11 of the 2019 NFL season, only the Cincinnati Bengals have a higher likelihood of landing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft than the Washington Redskins. 

Washington is 1-9, and it's hard to identify which, if any, games remaining on their schedule are winnable. In all likelihood, even if the Burgundy and Gold tally another win or two on the season, Washington will be selecting a player in the top five of the 2020 NFL Draft.

So how do the Redskins turn it around? It starts with the draft

In our latest Mock Draft 5.0, the Redskins have the No. 2 overall pick. With the team needing help in a variety of areas, what do they do with the pick?

<<CHECK OUT OUR 2020 NFL MOCK DRAFT 5.0 HERE>>

Here are a few options.

Chase Young, Ohio State, EDGE: In a draft full of offensive talent, Young has been widely considered the best player available. The OSU product would make an immediate impact on a team that has struggled to get to the quarterback in 2019. Our mock draft has Washington taking Young.

Jerry Jeudy, Alabama, WR: Jeudy is arguably the best wide receiver prospect since Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014. He's lethal with the ball in his hands and is the best route runner in college football. Outside of Terry McLaurin, Washington's wide receiving corps have little promise. Selecting Jeudy would give young QB Dwayne Haskins a go-to target.

Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State, CB: Quinton Dunbar has had a solid season for the Burgundy and Gold, but both Josh Norman and Fabian Moreau have been liabilities in the secondary. With Norman's contract, Washington will likely release him in the offseason. Okudah is the best cornerback in the draft and has elite man-to-man and ball skills.

Andrew Thomas, Georgia, LT: Donald Penn has proven to be a serviceable fill in, but at 36 years old, he has little future in Washington. Trent Williams has vowed to never be a Redskin again, meaning this position becomes a necessity for the Redskins. Thomas is the best offensive lineman in the class and would be a Day 1 starter for Washington.

Trade Back: The No. 2 overall pick could be used as a trade asset for the Burgundy and Gold before or on draft day. With quarterbacks Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, and potentially Tua Tagovailoa slated to go in the top five of the draft, any QB-needy team could offer the Redskins a package they cannot refuse for the No. 2 pick. The Redskins have holes across the board, and the best way to address them could be stockpiling draft picks, similarly to how the Raiders did in 2019.

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