- The Washington Times - Friday, September 12, 2014

When Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay looked back at his team’s 17-6 loss to the Houston Texans last week, one of the themes that stood out to him is something that has stood out to many: there were too many turnovers.

The Redskins racked up 372 yards of offense in Week 1 but only had six points to show for them after committing two turnovers in the third quarter. On one fumble, quarterback Robert Griffin III and center Kory Lichtensteiger tangled their feet and Griffin dropped the ball while trying to hand it off to Alfred Morris. On another, Niles Paul was stripped from behind, ending what was Washington’s longest pass play of the day.

Though players are ultimately responsible for losing the ball, McVay said Friday there are ways he and the rest of the coaching staff can address the problem.

“You can always be better as far as emphasizing ball security, situational things, when to expect certain pressures, things like that,” McVay said. “As coaches, you always know you can look at yourself and figure out, ‘What could I have done to help put our players in a position to better have success?’ And then those players will take the accountability on themselves too to know that, ‘Hey, I’ve got to take care of the football.’ And we’ve got the type of guys that’ll have that mindset.”

First-year coach Jay Gruden said he feels confident the team is on the right path to eliminating those mistakes — not just offensively, but in all facets of the game — ahead of Sunday’s home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“We just got to keep giving the looks, giving the situations and hopefully they have a great understanding on Sunday of the importance of each situation and each play as its own entity,” Gruden said. “We feel good where we’re at mentally right now. Now it’s a matter of letting the guys just go out there and play with a reckless style and have some fun doing it.”

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Gruden, who calls the team’s offensive plays, has said throughout the week there are things he wishes he had done differently against Houston. In retrospect, he said, he should have called more running plays. In the future, he also would like to take more shots down the field.

McVay echoed those remarks.

“I think any time you’re an offense, you always want to have the threat of explosive plays down the field, especially when you look at the personnel that we do have,” he said. “We didn’t have as many opportunities as we probably would’ve liked, and you always have to be ready to adjust your game plan accordingly. But hopefully, when those shots do present themselves to take, we’ll be ready for those.”

When asked to evaluate Griffin’s performance, McVay said he was pleased with the quarterback’s completion percentage given the soft zone coverage Houston played throughout the game. However, he also believes they will do a few things differently Sunday, “if the opportunity presents itself.”

“Any time you’re able to complete a high percentage of your balls, you feel good about that,” McVay said of Griffin. “Obviously we want to eliminate the turnovers as a whole offense, but I think there’s a lot of things we can build on.”

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