Press Conference: Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden

jay grudenWashington Redskins coach Jay Gruden talks with reporters on Monday. The Redskins (4-12) concluded the 2014 NFL season with a 44-17 loss to NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

 

On his first season as Head Coach and if he sees ways he can improve in his second year:

“No question. It’s a humbling experience, man, being the head coach in the NFL, going 4-12, obviously. You learn a lot. You learn a lot about yourself, a lot about the team, a lot about the staff you work with, and it’s definitely a learning experience. It’s something you can grow from. The big thing is not making the same mistakes twice, trying not to, and growing with your staff and with your football team and moving forward to bigger and better things. But, you’ve got to always keep your eyes up, eyes on the prize, have a positive outlook and try to do the best you can every day and that’s what we have every intention of doing.”

 

On his plan for this week:

“This week, I’m going to meet with Mr. [Bruce] Allen here tomorrow and then Sunday I will meet with Mr. Allen and Dan Snyder, and then after that, we’ll get together with the staff and start our evaluation process. But, we give the guys a couple days off here – a much needed break after a long grueling season, let them see their family and kids, get away for a few days. Then come Monday, we’ll all be back to work, ready to roll.”

 

On if he anticipates any coaching changes:

“I’m not anticipating any right now. Right now, it’s just let’s take a deep breath, let’s get to the tape, let’s get to the evaluation process, let me meet with Dan and Bruce, and we’ll go from there and start the process slowly but surely, get it all taken care of.”

 

On if he needs to meet with quarterback Robert Griffin III to “clear the air” on certain things:

“Yeah, there needs to be some clarity at certain spots. There’s no question about it, obviously the quarterback position is one of them, you know, and that’s going to be part of the process we’re going to have to evaluate and move forward from. I got a chance to sit down with all the players, about 95 percent of the players, today one-on-one – some of them for 30 seconds, some of them for a few minutes. I talked to them and let them know I appreciate their hard work and moving forward and hopefully I can bring a lot of those guys back to be part of this growing process and this turnaround. Robert is no different. We’ve just got to sit down and talk with our staff and GM and owner and decide who we want to make sure we come back and bring back and go from there. ”

 

On if he is already considering what he will do different next season:

“Yeah, there’s a million things. There’s a million things swirling in your brain right now. That’s why it’s important just to take a deep breath, take a few days off, let everything sink in, make the notes you need to make and when you talk to the owner and the general manager and the rest of the staff, then you move forward with some of your thoughts and your beliefs and make sure some of the key points are addressed, some of the key issues are addressed as quickly as possible so the team can move forward.”

 

On Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett and if he foresees any changes at the position:

“Well, I didn’t say there won’t be any changes. I don’t know what the changes are yet. I just said we’re going to take a couple days here, take a deep breath, and I’ll meet with Bruce tomorrow and I’ll meet with ownership –Dan – on Sunday and then we’ll decide and talk about the future of everybody in this organization, try to get some clarify moving forward. Every decision we make, it’s not going to be Dan’s, it’s not going to be Bruce’s, it’s not going to be my decision – it’s going to be our decision. It’s something we’re going to live with and something we’re going to do together. I’m going to be on board with whatever decision we decide to make.”

 

On his thoughts about Haslett:

“Well, I think I have a lot of respect for Jim Haslett. Coach Haslett had his hands tied a little bit this year. We had a lot of injuries, a lot of issues to our defense, the personnel that not many people have had to go through in this NFL season or in the history of this league, playing with as many different guys at as many different key positions throughout the season. I don’t know what the numbers were but I’m sure they’re up there with a record amount of players that had to start and play in this defense. Obviously, from a production standpoint, offense, defense, special teams, we all have to take a step back and look and evaluate everybody and nobody got the job done this year. You’re 4-12, so we had issues all across the board. I’m not going to talk about fictional things. I’m just going to take a step back here, wait for the meeting with Mr. Snyder and we’ll go from there.”

 

On if he would recommend keeping Haslett:

“Would I recommend keeping him? I would recommend keeping him, yes.”

 

On how long it could take for Griffin III to develop as a pocket passer:

“You can’t put a timetable on that. I wish I could. I really do. Obviously he did some good things in the game. He did some good things the last couple of games, but there are some things that we need to improve on in the offseason, as does everybody. His play is the focal point of this offense, obviously, as well it should be. Most quarterbacks, that is the job. That is what you sign up to do. When you sign up to play quarterback in the NFL, you’re going to be under a microscope. It’s no different here. This microscope is a little bit bigger than everywhere else, though. Obviously as a young quarterback he’s going to go through some growing pains. We all have a long way to go as far as learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we’ve just got to grow from there. Moving forward I think he’s got the arm talent to be a good quarterback. Obviously some issues in the pocket have to be worked with – anticipation, accuracy. There’s a lot of things that can be improved on. But every quarterback in the NFL will have to improve on every part of their game from one season to the next and he’s no different.”

 

On if Griffin III is the quarterback going into next year:

“It’s all part of the evaluation process. Coaches, players, all of it together, it’s going to be… we’re going to take this thing slow, very methodical. We don’t want to jump to any conclusions right now about anybody – coaches, players, anything. I want to go back and watch all the film of all of our defensive snaps, all our offensive snaps and evaluate our guys in the most professional way I can before I make any comment on who’s the starter and who is going to be competing for the job, who’s going to be here, who’s not going to be here. Luckily for us, we’ve got a lot of tape to look at on all three quarterbacks. All three quarterbacks have shown the ability that they can play quarterback in the NFL, but all three quarterbacks have shown that they need some work. That’s the case with most teams who are out of the playoffs right now. We’re going to go through that process slowly but surely, but we will get there.”

 

On developing players within the framework of the collective bargaining agreement:

“That’s tough. You’ve got to play by the rules. They come in here, they can work out but they can’t use a ball and can’t be with the staff, so it’s hard. They have to do a lot of their work on their own, with their own personal coaches and we can give our recommendations but we can’t be out there with them. But we do have all the OTAs, we have a chance to get really hands-on with them. We have the training camp and all the necessary preseason games and all that moving forward. Hopefully this experience that they all had they can take and learn from and study the game themselves with a lot of tape they have on themselves, study other quarterbacks, study other systems and continue to grow as a person and a player.”

 

On his message in a team meeting this morning:

“It wasn’t very long at all. The big thing was just giving the dates for the first offseason training activity, tell them [I] appreciate their work, their hard work, and you know we’re all disappointed with the 4-12 record, obviously, but we want to approach this next season differently, man. We want to work harder. We want to do things that you have never done before. And sometimes when you go about the same way you train, same way you work, same way you prepare, you’re going to get the same results, and we’ve had the same results here for too long. We’ve got to look at doing things differently and hopefully these guys come with a fresh mindset, come in in the best shape of their careers, best shape of their lives because we have to. We’re not good enough not to come in in the best shape of our life. So, a challenge to these guys? Very much so. And the core group of guys that I know are going to be here I feel good about. Now it’s a matter of surrounding them with other good people.”

 

On if he would be comfortable with three players competing for the quarterback position:

“It’s very difficult to have three with the reps that you get. You’d like to try to narrow it down to at least two. But like I said, if somebody said that, ‘Hey, you have to play with this guy, this guy or that guy,’ I’d be comfortable working with one. I’d like to pick one as soon as I could so we could really try to work and grind on him and develop him, but until that position is earned, you have to have a competition. And I anticipate us having a competition at a lot of spots and quarterback is no different next year.”

 

On if the team improved from last season:

“Well, it didn’t get much better, to be honest with you. We won one more game, so I guess we got a little better but that’s not good enough. We tried to address some issues in the offseason, depth-wise, and in the draft, but however, the results did not show. I think that will be determined next year and hopefully the year after to see the progress. You know, I think we are making progress, I think these guys competed, I think these guys came out the last few weeks despite being out of the playoffs. I feel like they laid it on the line for the most part. They really played hard, and that’s a positive sign for me. But the results aren’t much better, so I can only speak on results and it’s a results-driven league and, personally, if you look at the scores and the final 4-12, it’s not much better, so we have a long way to go.”

 

On if it would make a positive difference if A.J. Smith was at Redskins Park full-time:

“Well, he’s got great experience in the league and he’s a well-known general manager and done some great things out there with what he’s accomplished, but that’s not up to me. That’s up to Bruce and A.J. themselves and I have a lot of respect for both Bruce and A.J. and I think if A.J. is here full-time, it could only be a benefit.”

 

On his expectations for the level of scrutiny the team receives:

“I didn’t expect it quite to be this crazy, but it’s pro football and I’ve always understood the level of media scrutiny in pro football. You’re under a spotlight, you’re under the microscope like you said and if you don’t perform, you don’t win, then all your demons and all your skeletons are going to be pulled out of the closet, and as well as they should be. That’s what people want to read, I guess. I just get a little disappointed sometimes with a lot of the negativity because there’s a lot of good positive stories to write about. There’s a lot of players on this team that play their butts off and perform very well and I don’t feel like those stories are written enough, personally. The Alfred Morrises of the world, the Ryan Kerrigans, there’s some good people on this football team that are good off the field and on the field that I think deserve to be written about more so than all the controversial opinionated stories, but that’s just me. But overall, man, it’s been kind of what I expected for a 4-12 season.”

 

On his expectations for his first season and how accurate his expectations were:

“Anytime you come into an organization as a head football coach, man, it’s a great opportunity obviously and you can’t wait to get started and your expectations are always high at the highest of levels, otherwise you’re in the wrong business because that’s what you have to strive for as a football coach. The highest level’s a Super Bowl and that’s the only thing we can strive for here, and when you don’t reach those expectations, then you’re answering questions uncomfortably Week 17 when you should be getting ready for the playoffs. But I think from a standpoint of working together with the staff and the players, I think everything went pretty well. I have respect for a lot of people I work with, a lot of people that I coach and I know moving forward there’s enough people in this building that we can get this thing turned around very swiftly if we do it the right way.”

 

On if he prepared himself for the job at hand or if he had to learn on the fly:

“A lot of it’s on the fly. You know you don’t prepare yourself for this – 4-12 is hard to prepare yourself for. You don’t want to prepare yourself for that, but you know that when you coach in football long enough and you play, you’re going to have your ups and downs, man. You’re just going to have them. You’re not going to win the Super Bowl every single year of your career, so you have to handle the adversity like a pro and hopefully these players don’t get too used to losing, but you have to handle it and have to learn from it to do everything they can and everything we can in our power not to let it happen again.”

 

On if he has given thought to adding a quarterbacks coach:

“Yeah, there’s definitely been some thought to a lot of different things we’re going to do staff-wise. I am not going to stand up here and say everything is going to be exactly the same as next year. I’m not going to do it. There will be some changes; I just don’t know where they are yet, what they are going to be so I promise you there will be some changes. Maybe some additions, maybe some subtractions, but moving forward we will have some changes for the better and make this team better.”

 

On what “doing it the right way” entails:

“Bringing in people, bringing in the right people, number one. You know it starts with the right people, the right kind of people –guys that buy in, guys that like football, love football, want to be here, want to come to practice on time and practice their butts off and prepare the right way and coach the right way and love the game. We’ve got a lot of guys in the building that like that right now. We’ve just got to continue to add more.”

 

On if timing between the quarterbacks and receivers is fixable:

“Hopefully it’s fixable. You have to fix it. Playing the position of quarterback, you have to rely on timing and accuracy. Right now, for whatever reason, with the new receivers that we had, the quarterback switches, we just haven’t had the right timing and consistency with routes down the field. Yesterday we threw for a lot of yards but the majority of those were on screens and flat routes and all that stuff. Being able to push the ball down the field is a very important part of football nowadays and we have to do a better job of making sure everybody’s on the same page – running a route exactly the right way, throwing the ball with the right timing, footwork and accuracy. Right now, whether it’s receivers, whether it’s blocking, whatever it might be we’re just not quite clicking to where you need to click in order to win more games than you lose.”

 

On if he has to do some “house cleaning” inside the organization:

“No question. Sometimes the best addition to your football team is subtraction. That’s what we’ve got to figure out. Being with these guys for a long time, there are some things that you want to address. You want to make sure you have the right people in here. I’m not saying that all 53 guys are my type of guys, you know? There are some changes that are going to be made. I do have a lot of respect for everybody, the way the worked and prepared, but we do have to get better. We do have to make some changes. I promise you this – this will not be the same football team, football staff  right now that we’re going to have the start of next year. So we’re going to have a lot of changes that are done and made and hopefully for the better.”

 

On injured players:

“[Chris] Chester had a sprained toe. He’s going to be out for a couple of weeks. Trent Williams had his MRI – he’s going to have an MRI – on his high ankle sprain. Hopefully it won’t need surgery. And [Tom] Compton had the MCL sprain. He’s going to get an MRI. The other guys that were already – I think [Jason] Hatcher – were trying to avoid surgery, I think we’re going to keep close tabs on him. Tracy Porter might have to have surgery on his shoulder. We already know D-Hall, there’s a couple others. We can get you a list, too, if there’s need be. But on a lighter note, Logan Paulsen played good left tackle for a few plays. The more you can do the better, man. But, you know, injuries happen and hopefully our training staff gets with these guys closely and some of these guys who are hurt come back full strength in the OTAs and be ready to roll, give us some more depth.”


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