Gru­den to call of­fen­sive plays again

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY MATTHEW PARAS

ASH­BURN | Matt Ca­vanaugh has found him­self han­dling a va­ri­ety of roles as Wash­ing­ton’s of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor. He just won’t be call­ing plays. Red­skins coach Jay Gru­den will again take that re­spon­si­bil­ity, which leaves Ca­vanaugh to man­age mul­ti­ple other of­fen­sive tasks.

“It’s a mix,” Ca­vanaugh said. “I’m do­ing some of the in­stal­la­tion (of the of­fense), Jay is do­ing some of the in­stal­la­tion. Jay is run­ning the film, I’m run­ning the film. He’s got other du­ties, ob­vi­ously, as the head coach, and if he gets pulled out of a meet­ing and can’t be there, then I’ll take over and fill the void.”

Ca­vanaugh was named the Red­skins’ of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor in the off­sea­son when he re­placed Sean McVay. McVay, whom Gru­den groomed and called plays, was hired to coach by the Los An­ge­les Rams.

This is the fourth time Ca­vanaugh will be an of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor in the NFL. Ca­vanaugh, who has been coach­ing in the NFL since 1992, pre­vi­ously held the role in Pitts­burgh (2005-08), Bal­ti­more (1999-04) and Chicago (1997-98). He’s been with the Red­skins since 2015.

Ca­vanaugh was pro­moted, in part, be­cause of his fa­mil­iar­ity with the of­fense. Ca­vanaugh said even when McVay was call­ing plays, the Red­skins’ of­fen­sive plan felt like a group ef­fort.

“Be­tween Jay, my­self, the other of­fen­sive coaches, we’ve all got in­put into what goes into the game plan,” he said. “When I was in Bal­ti­more we used to have a say­ing, ‘Any­body can call the game.’ That’s a bit of an ex­ag­ger­a­tion, but the point there is if every­body un­der­stands the game plan so well, what plays are in, why they’re in, what looks we want to run them again, you re­ally could have any­body call the game.”

Gru­den said he’s been try­ing to get back in the flow of call­ing plays dur­ing OTAs. For some drills, Gru­den will not script plays in ad­vance to sim­u­late call­ing real-time plays.

“Matt’s role won’t change,” Gru­den said. “Matt will call some plays too. I’m sure we’ll have some rec­om­men­da­tions in be­tween se­ries. (Of­fen­sive line coach) Bill Cal­la­han will be in­volved. At the end of the day, I’ll end up call­ing them.”

As for what of­fen­sive suc­cess will look like un­der Ca­vanaugh, he said one po­si­tion wouldn’t de­fine the group. It’s about get­ting ev­ery­one on the same page, which in­cludes con­vert­ing in the red zone.

Last sea­son, the Red­skins were 30th in red zone con­ver­sion per­cent­age, scor­ing touch­downs on only 45 per­cent of their op­por­tu­ni­ties. In 2015, they ranked 11th — con­vert­ing 58 per­cent of their chances.

Ca­vanaugh said the red zone comes down to ex­e­cu­tion.

“We’ve spent a lot of time this off­sea­son study­ing every­body in the league and some of their red zone con­cepts,” Ca­vanaugh said. “Many we al­ready have in our play­book, a cou­ple that’ve we added. So now we’ve got to go out and ex­e­cute over the next three months and get ready for the sea­son to start.

“Hope­fully, we have that con­sis­tency with a good mix of run and pass down there and just make more plays, quite hon­estly.”

Red­skins of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Matt Ca­vanaugh will con­tinue to lead quar­ter­backs Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy af­ter be­ing their po­si­tion coach last sea­son. How­ever, he will not be call­ing plays on of­fense un­like pre­vi­ous of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Sean McVay.

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