Home Press Conference: Washington coach Jay Gruden

Press Conference: Washington coach Jay Gruden


redskins_scriptrHighlights from Friday’s press conference with Washington coach Jay Gruden. Washington (1-3) hosts defending Super Bowl champ Seattle (2-1) on Monday Night Football this week.


On tight ends Jordan Reed and Niles Paul:

Jordan was limited. Niles went full today, did a good job.”


On his level of optimism for Reed for Monday:

“It’s hard to gauge. He did a little bit more yesterday. He’s coming along at a pretty good rate. We just have got to wait and see how he feels tomorrow moving forward. It’s hard for him when he’s not getting a lot of team reps. He’s getting some but not very many. We’ll have to wait and see how he does tomorrow to make that final decision, and if we feel like he’s ready – not only physically but mentally, that he’s got everything down…”


On if game planning changes with Reed’s uncertainty:

“Well, Niles [Paul] has played very well in his absence so a lot of things we ask Jordan to do, Niles has been doing. Maybe there’s a few other plays that Jordan’s really good at that we haven’t asked Niles to do, but for the most part we’re running our offense without a few of the specialty things we like Jordan to do. It does alter it some, but not to the extent where it hurts us moving forward.”


On left tackle Trent Williams:

“He did a good job. He looked OK… still a little sore. But, we’ll get another look at him when he gets treatment after practice and then he’ll let us know how he does today or tomorrow… I feel pretty good about it. I don’t know about him, but I feel pretty good about it.”


On if he is optimistic that guard Shawn Lauvao could play Monday:

“I am. He’s was limited today too, but he looked pretty good out there so that’s a good sign. Like I said, it’s just a matter of tomorrow after working it, coming in for treatment in the morning and seeing how they do in practicetomorrow will be a big test. Tomorrow will be a big test for them all.”


On if he scouted quarterbacks Kirk Cousins, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson prior to the 2012 NFL Draft and if he is surprised by their career paths:

“No, every case is different. I looked at it a little bit, but obviously we had a quarterback in Andy [Dalton]. We weren’t looking at the quarterback market the second and third year. But all three of them are very talented. You know, Russell has been given a great situation with a great team around him also and took advantage of his reps. And Kirk and Robert, Robert’s obviously had some issues with his injuries and so much, and Kirk’s been stuck behind him. But, they’re all three good quarterbacks, they’re all three young quarterbacks, and I think all three of their futures are very bright in the NFL. One has done a little bit more, accomplished more obviously to this point, but that doesn’t mean the other two won’t accomplish great things in their career moving forward. So, all three of them have a lot to be proud of for what they’ve accomplished so far, but I know that Kirk and Robert both have their sights set higher for what they want to accomplish later on.”


If he has thought about running back Alfred Morris’ past success against Seattle:

“Yeah, we try to give that a lot of thought every week, no matter what defense we play. Seattle’s obviously doing very good against the run. Like I said, they are 2.6 or 2.8 yards a carry. They do a nice job. The one thing you want to avoid against these guys is third down and long somehow. So when we do run the ball, we have got to make sure we make positive plays out of it. We’re trying not to alter from our game plan. Our game plan is always going to be to try to feature the run and use Alfred as much as we can – especially with a quarterback that hasn’t had a lot of reps throughout the season and the offseason. But it takes a lot of pressure off Kirk, it takes a lot of pressure off the offensive line and pass blocking those guys who can really rush the passer, so it’ll be important for us to have balance and to be able to run the ball.”


On if he is pleased with how the players have bought into contributing on special teams:

“I am. I think they’re doing a good job. We’ve given up a couple big plays unfortunately, and it’s more player-related more so than scheme-related, I think. We’re in the right spots. We just have got to make sure we fit-up and make the tackles, make sure we work our technique in punt protection and all that. But I feel like improvement has been made and I feel like with Adam Hayward as the captain of the group, he holds everybody accountable, as does Coach [Ben] Kotwica, and they are buying in. They are running to the ball, they are doing a good job learning what they’re supposed to do and doing it. We just have got to continue to put it on the field every Sunday, and eventually we’re going to have to make a big play on special teams. We’re going to have to block a punt, we’re going to have to return a kick for a touchdown – something – recover a fumble. Something that changes the momentum of the football game is really what I’m looking for on special teams.”


On if the reserves are willing to contribute on special teams:

“I think the majority of them are and the ones that aren’t were probably looking to move. If you’re a reserve, you better make sure you make your mark with Coach Kotwica, otherwise we’ve got to find another reserve because if you’re not playing, you need to be busting your tail on special teams. That’s what your job is. All three phases are equally as important and guys understand that. Some guys are just naturally better at it than others. There’s nothing you can do about that. Some guys aren’t asked as a reserve to do a lot of special teams, but for the most part, I think everybody understands the importance and are playing fairly hard on it.”


On if play calling is affected when smaller receivers face larger cornerbacks:

“Yeah, it makes it a little more difficult. It’ll alter some of the game plan and route concepts and all that stuff. Those guys are both excellent corners and are very physical down there. The whole group in general, they’re just a physical group. The safeties are physical, the linebackers are physical and they do a great job of reading eyes and playing their zone coverages. And then when they want to play man-to-man, they do a good job of getting their hands on receivers and re-routing them. And they do a nice job altogether, so whoever we’re going up against, it’s going to take great effort by our wideouts, whether you’re 5-foot-10 or 6-foot-1, to really work your releases and locate the ball and make a good play on the ball and the accuracy by the quarterback is going to be equally as important. It goes hand in hand, but we do have some different concepts for them down there in the red zone as we do every week for every different team and hopefully they’ll work.”


On linebacker Brian Orakpo:

“We have high expectations for Brian and we think that he’d have more than a half-a-sack right now in Week 4. In fairness to him, I guess, Houston and the Giants, there weren’t a lot of great, premier pass rush situations for him, so we have got to make sure we do a good job as a group on first down and second down to get him some opportunities to rush the passer. When he does have the opportunities, we expect more production but he has had some plays where he’s forced the issue and other guys have gotten sacks because of him. Sometimes it’s not about the sack number, it’s about consistent pressure and that is really what we’re looking for from him. I don’t really care so much about how many sacks you get, but I do want him around the quarterback and I want quarterbacks to feel him on a consistent basis. I think he can improve in that department and he’ll tell you the same thing, but he’s not doing as bad as a half-a-sack may sound.”


On Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s reputation for managing games:

“Just because he manages the game doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the talent to do whatever – he could throw the ball deep. He can hurt you in a lot of ways. If they need to score 35 or 40, then he can open it up and they can throw it 50 times. He just hasn’t had to do that because their defense has played so well. When I say ‘great game manager,’ it means I think he’s not turning the ball over and he’s making great decisions. If it’s time to punt, it’s time to punt. He’ll let his defense get the ball back for him. He does a great job in that regard. If they ever get in a situation where they’re down, he has the ability to throw the ball in bunches and do a good job. So I think as a total package quarterback, his numbers may not speak for it, but I think his production does. When it’s all said and done, it’s about production in this league with wins and losses, not so much about stats. You know, preparing for him, there’s a lot of pass concepts that they have. They have a great running game, obviously, so you’re preparing for him like you prepare for any other quarterback in the NFL, but you have to also add in the fact that he’s unbelievable as far as getting out of the pocket, avoiding the rush and buying time. He’s like Houdini back there avoiding the rushes and the sacks and keeping plays alive. So that’s the biggest concern is trying to keep him in the pocket as opposed to letting him get out and make big plays with his legs.”


On if he is using this game as a measuring stick:

“I think we try to measure ourselves on an individual basis and a team basis. I don’t like to measure ourselves against any other team. Obviously they’re the Super Bowl champs and you’d like to try to compete with the best and see where you stand, but I think every day we try to measure our guys and see how they’re doing, how they’re performing, if they’re getting better on a daily basis. So we’re not really trying to measure ourselves against any other team, we’re trying to measure ourselves as how we’re getting better, how we’re preparing and what we do. Just moving forward, as long as I feel like we’re getting better, making strides for the better, playing hard with some passion, I’ll be all right no matter what the outcome is. Obviously we took a little step back in that department against the Giants, so I’m looking for big-time improvement in that regard.”


On comparing his team against last week’s performance:

“We just want to make sure we continue to get better. That’s it. We laid an egg against the Giants, there’s no question about it. But offense, defense, everybody laid an egg, coaches included, in front of our home crowd. That’s what the most disappointing thing is – you talk about the importance of playing in front of our home crowd and we’ve got to turn that around. We’ve got to take advantage of our home games. It’s a great advantage for us and we want to make sure we don’t ever let that happen again. So we’re hoping that these guys come out, take it personally and come out and play with a lot of pride and passion and improve on their performance. That’s all we can ask.”



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