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5 Takeaways: Oct. 2 Sean McVay Presser

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Here's five takeaways from Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay's Oct. 2 press conference at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.


1. Staying on course with the gameplan, which is expected to be more balanced than it was against the Giants, will be important for the offense.

Despite being down 12-0 after one quarter and 18-6 by halftime against the Giants in their 32-21 Week 3 loss, the Redskins, for the most part, had an evenly balanced offense between pass (20) and run (18) through the first 38 plays.

But as the game wore on and Matt Jones' fumble in the end zone killed one particular key drive, the Redskins had to shift toward a more pass-heavy attack.

By the final whistle, Alfred Morris had a season-low 19 yards on six carries and Matt Jones had just 28 yards five days after bursting into the national spotlight with 123 yards and two touchdowns against the Rams.

While the Redskins want to get back to the one-two punch of Morris and Jones being the bread and butter of their offense, it wasn't all bad against the Giants.

"We were more efficient than what we thought," McVay said. "I think the key thing to remember as we're getting through the course of a game is even if we're only getting three or four yards, those calls get you on track to where you're in those third-and-manageables. I thought we actually were more efficient in the run than it probably felt like. Then by the time we have 38 plays, once we have our second turnover, we ended up having to get into a two-minute mode."

Against an Eagles team that likes to score as quickly as possible whenever they have possession of the ball, the Redskins would ideally like to have their run game counteract their desire to push the ball in chunks.

"I think it's analyzing each week, but when we are able to stay on schedule like we were those first two weeks – run the football and have your actions tie off of that – that's an ideal situation to be in for us," McVay said.

2. Even if the run game is gaining minimal yardage early on, the offense must stay grounded to eventually create bigger plays down the field.

Yes, Jones' first NFL touchdown came from 39 yards out, but only Chris Thompson is really the team's primary home run threat out of the backfield.

Both Jones and Morris are, however, powerful runners that can wear down defenses inside the tackles.

A look back at some of the top images in games between the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles.

While the Redskins would like to stretch defenses out more – especially when DeSean Jackson is healthy – they do want to build through their ground game.

"That's always something that you want to remind yourself of – stay patient and stay committed to that," McVay said. "Our linemen have done an excellent job up front handling the different fronts and things in these first three weeks that we've seen. That's been something that has been a strength when we are able to stay on-schedule. So that would be ideal and you've got to consistently remind yourself of that for sure."

3. McVay believes Kirk Cousins can use last year's performance against Philadelphia as a good confidence booster for this week's game.

While both the Redskins and Eagles have good running back stables, the crux for each teams' offense is how well the quarterbacks play.

Cousins, of course, had the best performance of his career last season in Philadelphia, when he threw for 427 yards on 30 completions, albeit in a losing effort.

While the Michigan State product said earlier in the week that the 2014 Eagles game was a good indicator of how far he's come in the last year, McVay thinks it can provide a good morale bump.  

"I think any time you see yourself have success and do some good things, it gives you confidence," McVay said. "I think one of the big things that was very beneficial for us was we created a lot of big plays in that game. We hit an 80-plus yarder to DeSean [Jackson]. Roy Helu goes for 50-plus on a screen. We hit a 35-plus-yard pass to Niles Paul. Those are the things that we're looking to do is to be able to create some bigger plays so you don't feel like it's got to be 10 to 12 to 15 [play] drives every single time. Defenses are so good and your margin for error is so limited when you're not able to create some of those explosives."

4. Losing Shawn Lauvao hurts the offensive line, especially their rhythm, but they have two young, talented guards ready to step up.

Last Thursday, Lauvao went down with what was later diagnosed as a season-ending injury, cutting short a season that started so positively for the University of Arizona product.

From a timing and comfort standpoint, it may take some time for either Spencer Long or Arie Kouandjio to gel in-between Trent Williams and Kory Lichtensteiger.

"It ends up being a big challenge because any time you lose a guy like Shawn Lauvao, Trent's very comfortable in combination with him and so is Kory," McVay said. "So you bring somebody new into the mix, that's why you look at how important all five of those guys being able to play together are to be able to develop that continuity and that rapport with each other. We're hoping the reps that they got this week will allow Spencer or Arie to step in and allow them to feel comfortable. It's certainly tough to be able to replace a veteran player like Shawn who those guys have a lot of experience playing with."

Both Long (a second-round pick in 2014) and Kouandjio (a fourth-round pick in 2015) showed glimpses of their talent during the preseason.

Now they must do the same starting with a veteran Eagles front.

"They've got a bunch of players that they rotate inside," McVay said. "They move [Fletcher] Cox back-and-forth, [Cedric] Thornton's been an active player. Whoever it is that ends up playing has a great challenge against a very strong front. We'll see how those guys do on Sunday."

5.  Even though he made a move to the other side of the ball, Quinton Dunbar still impresses McVay.

A "raw" wide receiver prospect coming to the Redskins this summer, Dunbar made the switch from wide receiver to cornerback during training camp and is now on the team's 53-man roster heading into Week 4 action.

Not only will Dunbar contribute on special teams immediately, but with DeAngelo Hall out for the game and Chris Culliver's status up in the air, Dunbar could get play in the secondary as well.

If he makes plays like he has in practice recently, then he could make a name for himself early.

"He's always one of those guys that always disrupts our practices with his ability to get hands on the receivers, disrupt releases and he's got that length where he can turn and run and he's fluid in transition," McVay said. "I've been very impressed with him. That transition is a not a normal thing by any stretch. But all I've seen him do is continue to get better and better as he's played DB and I'm really happy for him."

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