Callahan also swore to rededicate the offense to the running game. Adrian Peterson rushed for a season-high 118 yards on 23 carries in the 17-16 victory.
One week doesn’t change an entire team, but some of the specific details emphasized last week played a huge part in Washington’s first victory.
“Our theme here is that our practice preparation really just shows up in game-day reality,” Callahan said. “Those clips that we take from practice carry over.”
That doesn’t mean the Redskins have suddenly turned the corner, and the 5-0 San Francisco 49ers this Sunday undoubtedly will provide a stiffer test than the winless Dolphins. But the things that were preached in Callahan’s first week — attention to detail, running the ball, complementary football, physicality — were all on display against Miami.
“We’re a young team; you go through the down, but it’s how you react to them,” defensive tackle Tim Settle said. “The season can flip at any time. You’ve just got to stay in it. … Still play with an edge. You don’t know how things will pan out. It’s a long season; people deal with a lot of adversity. I feel like we can get something going, take away the penalties and just play football. Us playing football with no penalties, we can execute and play with that poise. It’s just the little things.”
The minimizing of the penalties, the development of the running game and the defensive improvements seemed to go hand-in-hand. Too often this season, offensive-line penalties put the team in unfavorable down-and-distance situations that often resulted in punts after short possessions. That put pressure on the defense, which would tire late in games with the team’s time of possession ranking 31st in the league.
“The goal going in was to manage the game in a different manner where we could stay more manageable” on third downs, Callahan said. “That was a focus, and that was our intention going into the game. A little bit of a different mind-shift philosophically.”
Redskins linebacker Jon Bostic actually felt some sympathy for the Dolphins’ defense, which couldn’t get off the field when Washington was backed up against its own goal line with 4:41 remaining.
“I was telling guys on the sideline, ‘Crazy thing is, we know their pain right now,’ ” Bostic said. “Trying to get off the field. Trying to make a play. Trying to get the ball back to your offense. … Going forward, we’ve got to keep that up. Keep the physicality up. Stay staying after the run game. We’ve got to play complementary football.”
Callahan explained that the penalties were a major focus this past week, and the team studies each officiating crew to pick up its tendencies. That gives players an awareness of what the officials are looking for and what they rarely call. Sunday was the first game this season that the Redskins did not have an offensive penalty.
The offense was nowhere near perfect with six three-and-outs and seven punts, but this was a team built to win with defense and a strong running game, and that played out against the Dolphins.
Running back Chris Thompson suffered a foot injury Sunday and had an MRI exam Monday. Callahan said they were awaiting the results.
Safety Deshazor Everett was inactive after an ankle injury suffered in practice put him on the injury report late last week. Callahan said he’ll miss a few weeks, and he was spotted in the locker room with his right foot in a boot.
Recently signed tight end Jerome Cunningham suffered a knee injury that Callahan said he expected to have more details on later Monday.
Callahan also addressed the timing of placing tight end Jordan Reed on injured reserve. Reed suffered a concussion, his seventh documented in his career dating back to college, in the third preseason game and had yet to be cleared from the league-mandated protocol when the team placed him on IR on Saturday. Callahan was unsure whether the team would take Reed off IR later in the season.
“We gave him as much time as possible to overcome his injury,” Callahan said, “and at this juncture, it’s going to be a little bit more prolonged. So, I think the decision to put him on IR was probably the smartest move we could make at this time for him.”
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