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As players and coaches take their final breaks before training camp, The Redskins Blog will take a look back at the new faces from this offseason and what we've learned about them, football and otherwise, so far.
Today, we'll focus on quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh.
1. He adds another set of experienced eye balls to the offense:Without a quarterbacks coach last season, the Redskins found it was more challenging to have detailed, critical focus on their three quarterbacks. That's changed with Cavanaugh, another resource to utilize for the offense.
"It's been great," said offensive coordinator Sean McVay. "Having Matt Cavanaugh here with the experience he has as a player and a coach has been a great resource for myself and the quarterbacks. He's done a great job implementing some of the fundamental techniques and things that we want to emphasize on a daily basis. From a work standpoint, just being able to kind of bounce around and have eyes on all position groups, it has been extremely valuable."
2. He's given Robert Griffin III more tools in the film room:One of the benefits of having a new coach is a fresh perspective. That's been especially helpful for Griffin III, who has already learned better ways to read defenses and watch film from several months working under Cavanaugh.
"Just more advancements in watching films and different ways to see things and different ways to get keys on the defense," Griffin III said of Cavanaugh's approach. "I think he's done a great job helping me in that area, and you want to continue to add to your game every single year, and you could never shut your ears off and not listen to a guy with that much experience."
3. He thinks the Redskins' three quarterbacks are great to work with:Unlike his previous coaching gigs, Cavanaugh isn't dealing with any rookies. That means he can worry less about their mental readiness for the NFL and dedicate more time to coaching their play. So far, he's been pleased.
"I love my job. I'm happy to be here with the Redskins. I think it's a great organization. I'm excited to be working with all of the quarterbacks, and I think I have three guys who are committed to getting better every day and helping this team win. That's really all you can ask for as a coach. It's happened at other places I've been, and sometimes there's been places where it wasn't so friendly. These guys are great to work with."
4. Gruden has already seen tangible results from his presence:A head coach doesn't want to get caught up in the minutia of each player. He wants to delegate responsibilities and oversee the entire team as best he can. That means he has to trust his supporting staff. Cavanaugh has allowed him that confidence and provided a singular voice for the quarterbacks.
"I think just from having a voice there that's a consistent voice there, a constant one, a guy who's been there and done that, a guy with a great deal of experience, helping them along the way," head coach Jay Gruden said. "He still hears from myself and Sean [McVay] quite a bit, but to have somebody, an individual really strictly work with him on his fundamentals, you know sometimes as a coordinator or the head coach, I'm watching the defensive backs or the linebackers or the line play, Sean is watching the total picture, and now we have a set of eyes strictly on the quarterback. And I think that's important. Every snap, every handoff, every dropback is being critiqued and making sure we do it the right way, and I think that has been a big benefit for Robert [Griffin III]."
- He's been very impressed Robert Griffin III's play so far: **In the couple months he's seen Griffin III up close, Cavanaugh has seen a lot of positive things from the former Rookie of the Year.
"He's extremely talented," Cavanaugh said. "I'm not saying I didn't notice that, but when you're not around it every day I don't think you appreciate it fully. He has incredible athleticism. He has a very strong arm. He's really accurate. I just think fundamentally, we're working on some of the core things of throwing a football: being comfortable in the pocket and having a good base to throw from all the time, which helps you consistently be accurate down the field more than anything. That's what we're working on. I think he's made really good strides over the last month or two.
6. Mark Brunell admired how even-keeled he was:When he worked with him* *in New York, former Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell appreciated Cavanaugh's calm demeanor when coaching. He never got too excited or too upset. The consistency of tone helped him.
"I played 19 years and only had a couple coaches like Matt," said Brunell. "What I like is that he was always very even. His highs aren't too high and his lows aren't too low. I don't remember ever a time with him ever yelling. I remember him getting after us, but he had real good balance as a coach. Some guys are yelling or high-fiving you and there's no in-between. Matt was always that in-between, really steady. I enjoyed how consistent and steady he was. He helped me out a lot."
7. He is feeling optimistic about the coming season:This is always something you want to hear from a coach after OTAs. Cavanaugh, in just the few months he's acclimated to the organization, believes the offense has a clear direction and is ready to refine it at training camp.
"I think we took a big step the last couple of months with our OTA's, not just on the field but in meetings figuring out what we want to be offensively and having a good sense of what kind of offense we want to run, and that's a good start," Cavanaugh said. "Now when we come back in the summer, we'll just continue the work we've had going here. We'll focus on a few more things and pay attention to the details, try and hone on what we're going to do and exactly when we're going to do it and how we're going to beat the defense. I'm real happy to be here."