Augusta Free Press

Press Conference: Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden

Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden talks with reporters on Thursday. The Redskins (3-7) play the San Francisco 49ers (6-4) on Sunday at 4:25 p.m.

 

On the injury report:

“Chris Baker did not participate. Shawn Lauvao was limited. Jordan Reed did not participate. Trent Williams did not participate and Trent Murphy was full participation.”

 

On the 49ers’ injuries on defense and what he sees from that unit:

“Well, you hear about [Navarro] Bowman and Patrick Willis not being on the field and you’re like ‘whew,’ but then [Chris] Borland steps up and he’s playing very, very well. Obviously their pass rush has always been good. Justin Smith is very tenacious on the inside. Of course the outside guys with Ahmad Brooks and now they’ve got Aldon Smith back and the rookie from south florida is doing some good things. They have solid players all across the board and then the secondary is doing an outstanding job too with the coverage that they are playing – man-to-man, they can play man, they can play zone, they can bring pressure if they need to. They give you a lot of different looks but consistently they stop the run and force you into some third down and longs and make it tough on you with the amount of coverages they play.”

 

On a comparison to linebacker Chris Borland and if he is reminiscent of Zach Thomas:

“Yeah, I don’t know. I would say that’s a pretty good description… He is not a very tall guy out there but he is like a little fire hydrant running around there making all the plays. He can cover in space – very instinctive. You want your linebackers to be instinctive and he has got great natural instincts for the position. He sniffs out screens, he can go sideline-to-sideline and then if you run at him he has the power to take on fullbacks of that nature. So he is just a good all-around football player and he has stepped up to fill a void that you would think would be damn near impossible to fill with Patrick Willis and [Navarro] Bowman, but he has done an excellent job.”

 

On if tackle Morgan Moses would be up to the challenge of starting:

“Well, we hope so. I think he will be ready for it. He is a very calm kid, he’s very laid back. Hopefully he gets up a little bit more; he is going to have to. It’s going to be a great challenge for him whoever comes off that side. Like I said, their edge pressure’s been good all year long and they’ve got three or four guys that can get there so his technique has got to be sound. They do a great job with the stunts also that have given us trouble and then of course the blitz recognition, he has got to do a good job with that. But just from a one-on-one standpoint, Morgan is long and I think he will do a good job and compete in that regard. But he has got to do a good job in the run game also, getting up on the right people. We’ll see. For your first start to be thrown out there at San Francisco, it’s like, ‘Hey, it’s a tough one,’ but they are all tough in the NFL and I think he will do fine.”

 

On what the 49ers’ offense is doing well:

“Yeah, they don’t turn the ball over a lot. They don’t take a lot of unnecessary risks, which is smart because they know they have a very good defense. When it’s time to punt they punt and they play very good defense. You know, they could be a little more wide open – they do a good job of mixing their personnel groupings, their formations, all that stuff to keep you off-balance. They’ve got a great variety of things they can do with Colin [Kaepernick] obviously with the quarterback designed runs, the read option, the rollouts, the bootlegs, all that stuff that Colin can do to keep you off-balance. But really when you look at them, I feel like they want Frank Gore to be the guy and pound you between the tackles and then hit the play-actions off of it. Then of course they’ve got the receivers with Stevie Johnson, Anquan Boldin and… [Michael] Crabtree, obviously. It’s a dang good football team with weapons all across the board and a system that keeps you off-balance.”

 

On the pros and cons of starting younger players late in the season:

“We’ll have some guys who might get some time. They’ve got to earn it. For us to take a starter out and put a young guy in, the young guy has to earn the spot. That’s No. 1. We’re not going to just do that. This isn’t D-League, trying to develop players. We’re still trying to win games. I think players will lose the fact that you’re trying to win games if you start doing that. So, I think the big focus is we’re going to try to win each game that we play, and if a young guy deserves to play, he’ll play. We have got a number of young guys that are developing and playing key roles already, and maybe later on in the year some other guys will start to step into some roles if they earn the right.”

 

On quarterback Robert Griffin III’s footwork in practice compared to games:

“Well, I think there were a few instances where his footwork was off-base, off-kilter with the drops that matched the plays we called. No, that doesn’t take place in practice. Sometimes in the games, like I said, he might see somebody flash and he quickens up his feet or what have you. Sometimes live pass rush can alter your footwork from time to time. But we just have got to keep coaching him, make sure he trusts his footwork because all of our plays are very important that the footwork matches up with the concept. That didn’t take place – it wasn’t like it was every snap. It was a few critical ones. But, we just have got to keep coaching him up. That’s one thing you have to do as quarterback, young quarterback – you want to make sure when you go into a game, that’s the last thing you’re thinking about. I mentioned that before. If you’re thinking about, ‘OK, what drop do I have?’ or ‘What’s the protection? OK, what’s the route concept?’ OK, now I have got to read the coverage.’ That’s too much to think about in about a nine-second span, you know what I mean? So that stuff has to come natural and that’ll come with more and more repetition.”

 

On if linebacker Ryan Kerrigan’s wrist injury from earlier in the year has affected his play:

“No, I haven’t seen any injury report. So, that’s the first I ever heard of it. I think initially when he did it in the game, I can remember when he did it, he was a little sore. If it’s still bothering him, hopefully he’s getting the necessary treatment. But, I don’t know what he’s feeling. Hopefully, he gets healthy for San Francisco. But, I’ll look into that one.”

 

On if having played two NFC West opponents already this season will help the team prepare for the physicality of the 49ers:

“I don’t think their division than a lot of teams we’ve played. They are physical, not to say they aren’t, but we’ve played some darn physical teams already. I think every team in the NFL brings some physicality. San Fran is known for their physical play upfront – especially on offense where they come off the ball and do their double-teams and they do their power blocking. If you’re not ready to mix it up with them, they’ll dominate you at the line of scrimmage and they’ve shown that they can do that. Defensively, they are physical with the 3-4 that they play. They have got the inside guys. But, you’re right. We do have to go down there and match the physicality otherwise it’ll be a rough day for us. But they’re totally different in my mind, the way Seattle and plays and the way Arizona plays, but they are physical. There’s no question. I’ve got to give it to them.”



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