Press Conference: Washington coach Jay Gruden

redskins_scriptrWashington NFL coach Jay Gruden talks with reporters on Monday. Washington (1-5) hosts the Tennessee Titans (2-4) on Sunday at 1 p.m. at FedEx Field.

 

On if the challenges of winning are different compared to what he thought before the season:

“Yeah, there’s great challenges every week, not just physically but mentally. Trying to get these guys out of a rut, trying to get these guys to a consistent approach where winning is the norm, not the abnorm. But we have to go out and do it. We have to coach better and we have to play better in order to do that and understand that each week is going to be a great challenge. Every team in this NFL has great players, has good coaches and we have to go out there and make plays when they are there for the making and dominate situational football, which we are not doing right now. Also obviously the turnover battle is something that needs to be addressed. Whether we were 3-13 or 8-8, whatever we were last year didn’t matter. I thought going into this year, I thought that from a talent standpoint we had a chance to compete every Sunday and that’s all we could ask for. I said that before the season and I felt very strongly about that. For whatever reason, we are just not getting it done at this point but tomorrowis a new day and we will try to beat the Titans.”

 

On if this is a tougher job than he envisioned:

“Every job is tough in the NFL. Nobody is going to walk into an office in the NFL and say ‘Oh, this is easy.’ They are hard; they are very hard, very difficult. You’ve got to do all the schedules, you’ve got to get these guys prepared, you’ve got to draft and you try to pick your team and some guys are here and some guys – it is not easy. It’s not easy for the 5-1 teams. It’s not easy for the 1-5 teams. But we knew that going in – it is a great challenge every week. I feel we have the type of guys on this team that are willing to compete. Obviously we just have got to find out ways to make more plays, all across the board. If I had one area where I could say, ‘Well, we need to improve right here,’ I think we’d have a great understanding of what we need to do. But right now, it is a little bit of everything. It is a little smorgasbord of things that we have to work on and improve on, it is not one area. It is the quarterback, it’s the running game, it’s the pass protection, it’s the wideouts and their blocking, it’s the defensive line pass rush, it’s the coverage, it’s the linebackers, it’s the special teams, it’s a little bit of everything. Now, that doesn’t mean they’re not all doing something good. They are all having their share of good plays, but over the course of the game, everybody sprinkles in a little bit of poor play and that results in 1-6 – or 1-5, what are we 1-5? I am losing track.”

 

On what he can do individually to coach better and help the team:

“That is something – we are going to have a coaches meeting here in a minute. We’ve all had a chance to break down the film and really break down our first six weeks. So we just have to address what we are doing and see if there is anything we can change or address to do something better. Recognizing where the change needs to be made is something the coaches have to do. Staying status quo is not good enough obviously. So there are something things we are going to have to address whether it is changing the way we are practicing, the way we are meeting, the plays that we are calling, the defenses we are calling, something. But we are going to work to figure out the right remedy to get this thing fixed as coaches and hopefully the players will come in and be able to compete and make the necessary change that they have to make.”

 

On if it has been difficult to get meetings and practices to translate to games:

“Yeah, I mean there are some instances where we work specifically on a look and we get that look in the game and we don’t get the results that we should get. So some of that the players have to take accountability, some of it – bad play design or bad defensive design, bad special teams design – the coaches will take responsibility. It’s a little bit of both, to be quite honest with you. I am not going to sit here and blame the players for poor execution and I don’t think the players can stand up and say it’s the coaches for poor game planning. I think it is a combination when you have the record that we have and as long as we all understand that and we’re all willing to accept the fact we’re all letting the city down, the better chance we have to get out of the rut.”

 

On how he prioritizes what areas of improvement are most important:

“I think you just have to go back and watch where we think we think we are failing. And right now offensively, I think third downs – right now for me – the first thing on my mind is third downs and the running game. I think we have to do a better job. That is something that is going to be addressed here very shortly this week. Defensively, I think it is communication and just making sure that guys are doing their job, basically. There’s a lot of times where we are calling defenses to get them in the right situation and for whatever reason we are not getting the flat defender out there or we are not getting the hook defender where he is supposed to be or what have you. So it is just possibly one guy – it could be 10 guys doing exactly the right thing and one guy screwing up and it seems like, ‘There it is, there he is, right there.’ I wish we had it more down to one part of the game but really it is a combination of a lot of things. We’ve just got to keep coaching these guys. A lot of these guys are young players, getting a lot of reps for the first time in their career playing key positions. I mentioned that a couple weeks ago.  Keenan Robinson, Bashaud Breeland, [Chase] Minnifield got a lot of reps last week and on and on and on it goes – both offensively and defensively and Kirk Cousins, obviously. Sometimes it is just a matter of getting them on the field seeing things and making the change they need to make.”

 

On what can change to help the offense on third downs:

“A lot of it is a little bit of both – execution, play calls – you know we had a couple third down and shorts. We had just simple bubble screens out there. We had great looks. We had three receivers over two defensive backs. We’ve got to block the two guys and we get an easy first down, and we don’t block them and we run it wrong. We run another one later on and Kirk [Cousins] is late to throw it and it’s picked off. I mean, these are simple plays that should be easily executed for whatever reason and we weren’t clear on the detail and that is on us as the coaches. Things like that should be fixed quickly. They should not happen in pro football but they did yesterday for some reason and they killed a couple drives.”

 

On mistakes by veteran receivers:

“Sometimes when you have veteran receivers, you assume they know more than they do. It’s our job as coaches to make sure prioritize and really get it taught the right way, and if they’re not doing it the right way, that’s on us because we know they’re good football players and they should know what to do but if their effort’s poor then that’s on them. It’s a combination of things right now and some key situations. Sometimes we’ll miss a throw, maybe miss a protection. I can handle a tackle getting beat by a good pass rush, or a cornerback making great pass coverage on the ball and getting a knockdown. But some of the easily executed plays that we should be executing that we don’t, those are the ones I have a problem with and those are the ones that have got to get fixed. It’s hard enough to make third-and-8 as it is, but when you don’t execute it the right way on easy looks, that’s the problem.”

 

On linebacker Brian Orakpo’s production:

“Obviously, he’s probably disappointed with his production. We would’ve thought he would have more production – a forced fumble or two or three and a bunch more sacks. He has been around the quarterback, which is good. I think the quarterbacks feel him when they go back to pass. We need more from him, we need more from [Jason] Hatcher. We need more from [Ryan] Kerrigan. Kerrigan is tied for the lead in sacks. We need more from him. We need more from everybody. We’re not getting enough from anybody in this. It’s not just one guy, it’s everybody – the quarterback position, the wide receivers, the tight ends. Everybody needs to do a little more to get out of the rut. It’s not just one guy, it’s the whole squad.”

 

On cornerback Bashaud Breeland:

“That was third down and 13. That’s just him being young and not realizing it’s third-and-13 and giving a little bit too much respect and not having that aggressive nature. He should’ve broke up on that pass – all day, every day. There’s no question about it. He had every reason to break on that ball – the down and distance, the route, the way he ran the route, the quarterback was staring him down. There was no reason for him not to break on that route and he’ll tell you the same thing. That just comes with playing. In training camp he did a good job, did some good things, but he was playing behind DeAngelo Hall, Tracy Porter — well, Tracy Porter was out, but he was getting his reps. It just comes with playing and seeing and knowing situations and taking and picking your shots. He had a couple opportunities to make plays, Breeland did, and didn’t make them but he’s going to learn from them. That’s the beauty of playing and not sitting on the sideline watching is when you play and when you are actively involved in these reps, ‘God, I should’ve made that play, I’ll make it next time.’ And he will make it next time. It’s a matter of growing and keep playing.”

 

On potentially changing playing time:

“Yeah, that’s something to take into account. We have to look at that. We have to look at the guys that aren’t playing, and there’s a reason why we have the guys in front of them, but we’ll see if there’s a way we can upgrade our roster. Mainly, I’m looking at maybe ways to prepare, how to practice, our practice schedule, all of that. So I’m always looking at something. We have to do something a little bit different. Obviously, status quo is not doing so well. We’ve had some injury issues so guys have been forced into the lineup obviously, and we’ve got some new guys on the practice squad. They won’t be ready for a while obviously. So, there’s not a lot of guys that we can pluck. You can’t just pluck somebody off the street and say, ‘You go in there and start. I like the guys that are playing. They’re all doing enough good things to be starting football players in the National Football League and doing enough good things to win. We’re just… Collectively, we all pick the most inopportune times to either call a bad play or have a bad throw, or run a bad route, or miss a coverage, or take a bad zone drop, or not get a pass rush. It’s hard to put your finger on one thing.”

 

On if quarterback Colt McCoy could start Sunday:

“No. We’re going to go with Kirk [Cousins] again. He threw for 300-some-odd yards. Obviously, the fourth quarter was an issue. The first interception I believe was to Andre [Roberts]. He just overthrew it, he over-strided. Andre ran a heck of a route. He beat the underneath coverage, man coverage, was bending it in front of the safety and Kirk just kind of hesitated and over-strided and threw it high. It was intercepted. The second one was one he hesitated on should’ve thrown the ball to DeSean [Jackson] on the little pick screen thing that we did. I don’t know why he waited. He just hesitated for a second. Of course the third one was 30 seconds to go in the game and he was trying to make a play. That one could have been avoided also.”

 

On when quarterback Robert Griffin III could practice again:

“I think he’s going to start individual drills this week. As far as actually taking practice reps, I think that will be at least another week. But we’ll get him out there, do some individual drills, maybe throw some balls to the wideouts. That will be the first step, and then obviously next week we’ll try to get him maybe into practice situations and see where he is.”

 

On if cornerback David Amerson will go through concussion protocol:

“Yes. He’s going through Tuesday with the testing. He will be day-to-day. Perry Riley, he’s going to be day-to-day also. Everybody else should be limited. Ryan Clark is limited. He re-aggravated his deal a little bit. Akeem Jordan, mild aggravation. Brian Orakpo, soreness to his ankle. Trenton Robinson, he aggravated his high-ankle sprain a little bit, and Trent Williams I think just banged it a little bit. He’ll be OK but he’s still suffering a little bit of pain, so he will be day-to-day.”

 

On if the players on the Physically Unable to Perform list are eligible to practice this week:

“Yes.”

 

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