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Offseason questions: With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

Offseason questions: With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past.

The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players.

In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS

With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run more?

Tandler: You can look at a whole pile of stats that indicate that Sean McVay should have called more running plays in 2016 but let me pull out just a few. When they ran, they did well. They averaged 4.5 yards per rushing attempt, ninth in the NFL and according to the guys at Football Outsiders their rushing game was ranked fourth in DVOA. But they were 21st in rushing yards because they ran only 379 times, 27th in the league.

As the season went on, the press conferences with McVay saying something along the lines of, 'yeah, we should have run it more, it just got away from me' became nearly a weekly affair. Now that McVay is gone and Jay Gruden is taking over the play calling duties, will the Redskins run the ball more often?

Gruden has a reputation for being pass happy but that is not necessarily accurate. His first year here the Redskins averaged 25.1 rushing attempts per game, less than the 26.7 that the league averaged but certainly in the ballpark. Actually, considering that the Redskins were 4-12 and were playing from behind far more often than not, Gruden called runs more often than you might expect him to.

Going back further, Gruden was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator for three years and in all three seasons Cincinnati’s rushing attempts were very near or above the league average.

With all that said, projecting rushing attempts in 2017 is tricky. It will largely depend on personnel. On one extreme, if both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson return and Kirk Cousins is back in form, Gruden will lean on his passing attack more. If one or both receivers are gone and the Redskins either draft a dynamic back or if Rob Kelley or Matt Jones becomes a top back, Gruden will ground and pound. I’ll put the early over/under at 410 attempts, within one or two of the league average.

Finlay: The stats make the case here fairly simple. Washington will run more in 2017 because it would be hard to run much less. For all his strengths, McVay got away from the run far too often.

Perhaps the best example came in a loss at Arizona. Rob Kelley was gashing the Cardinals for 4.5 yards-per-carry, and Chris Thompson had great success to the edge, taking two carries for 24 yards. Yet the 'Skins ran only 16 times in a tight game where Cousins was not his best. The quarterback completed just 56 percent of his passes that day and was under heavy pressure all game. 

Speaking with 'Skins coaches, expect Kelley to get the opprotunity to cement his role as the No. 1 runner. And expect the offense to give him the ball more. 

More offseason questions: 

What are resonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Report: Bill Callahan to join Browns' staff as offensive line coach

Report: Bill Callahan to join Browns' staff as offensive line coach

Bill Callahan was not unemployed for long.

The former Redskins offensive line coach, who served as Washington's interim head coach in 2019 after Jay Gruden was fired following an 0-5 start, is joining the Cleveland Browns staff, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

The 63-year-old will reportedly serve as the Browns' offensive line coach, a title he has over two decades of coaching experience of.

Callahan served as the Redskins offensive line coach from 2017-2019. He worked his way up the coaching ranks in both college and the NFL as an offensive line coach for over a decade before the Raiders hired him as offensive coordinator in 1998. He was later promoted to head coach in 2002 and spent two seasons at the helm before leaving for the same position at Nebraska.

After a four-year tenure as head coach at the University of Nebraska ended in 2007, Callahan returned to the NFL as an offensive line coach for the Jets. He spent the next 12 years as an offensive line coach for three different NFL teams before he was named the Redskins interim head coach in October.

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Scott Turner won the Redskins offensive coordinator job over Kevin O'Connell, per source

Scott Turner won the Redskins offensive coordinator job over Kevin O'Connell, per source

There has been plenty of speculation as to why new Redskins head coach Ron Rivera decided to hire Scott Turner as offensive coordinator, and now a source tells NBC Sports Washington the answer is simple. 

Turner won the job competition. 

Many expected 2019 Redskins offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell to maintain his position when the team hired Rivera as their new head coach earlier this month. That didn't happen. 

As Rivera moved quickly to assemble his coaching staff, the biggest question seemed to be running the offense and working with second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Rivera interviewed O'Connell and Turner for the job, and asked to interview former Giants head coach Pat Shurmur. 

Shurmur declined the interview, and at that point, a source explained that Rivera then made his decision to go with Turner over O'Connell. 

So why Turner? 

Both candidates got their first experience calling plays last year after an in-season firing to the head coach. The results weren't great for either coach, but Turner's game plans involved more play action passing than O'Connell. 

Turner's resume working with Cam Newton and Teddy Bridgewater mattered, as did the plan Turner presented for working with Haskins. 

It's important to note that Rivera had years of experience working with Turner, as well as his father Norv Turner. That mattered too, and one source explained Rivera "believed" in Turner. 

While O'Connell landed in a strong spot as offensive coordinator for the Rams, he won't be calling plays. Coaches don't like giving up control, particularly offensive coaches giving up play calling. For O'Connell, maybe that will change in LA, but it will take time. 

Some Redskins fans have a bad habit of assuming the worst. That maybe Turner got the job because O'Connell passed on it. That's not the case, per multiple sources.

Ron Rivera wanted his guy, and that's why Turner got the job. 

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