Home Press Conference: Washington coach Jay Gruden

Press Conference: Washington coach Jay Gruden


redskins_scriptrWashington coach Jay Gruden talks with reporters on Monday. Washington (2-5) travels to Dallas (6-1) for Monday Night Football next week.


On linebacker Brian Orakpo:

“He is going to have surgery – and he will be out for the season – on his pec.”


On if it is a full tear:

“It’s torn enough to have surgery.”


On how Orakpo’s absence affects the defense:

“Well, you know, it’s a blow. DeAngelo [Hall] was a blow obviously in the secondary. You lose a proven starter like that and then you have to play people behind him, it hurts your depth, obviously hurts your leadership, same with Brian. His production may not be where people think it should be, but he’s still been playing very good against the run and been disruptive in the passing game and that will be a big loss. Now Trent Murphy who was playing as a role player now all of a sudden has to be the starter and it’s a big difference. So it’s a major blow.”


On wanting to evaluate Orakpo while playing on the franchise tag:

“Yeah, we will have to evaluate that after the season, where we are, how Trent [Murphy] does. Obviously we like Brian and he’s done some great things for this franchise and that is something that will have to be addressed when the season is over and moving forward. Bruce Allen and myself and the personnel department and the coaches all talk about that.”


On linebacker Trent Murphy’s readiness for an increased role and if Jackson Jeffcoat’s role will expand:

“Well, now Jackson moves into the No. 3 spot, so yes he will get some playing time. And Trent is moving into No. 1 and you know we have Gabe Miller still on the roster and he might get moved up, and then we have some other options possibly with the street guys. So Trent has got to move up. He’s got to step up his game, he has got to play better, he has got to play more physical at the point of attack. We are playing against the No. 1 rushing offense in the National Football League, so he is going to have to be very good at the point of attack and then obviously transition into pass rush against some very good tackles. So, he is going to have his work cut out for him. He’s going to have to grow up very fast.”


On what would be required for quarterback Robert Griffin III to play:

“Robert has to first of all be honest with himself and how he is feeling. He has got to get out there and run around and ultimately if he gets cleared from the doctor – which we don’t know if he is totally cleared yet we’re still going through the rehab process… He is going through his drills at the rate that we want him to go through them and we will give him a little bit more this week and see where he is at. But ultimately, can he cut without pain? Can he run without pain? Is he full speed? Is it sturdy enough? Does he feel like it is? Does he play good with the brace on? There’s a lot of issues that still go into making him a starter or seeing if he is ready or not, and a lot of those are out of my hands. He is going to have to make those decisions and the trainers.”


On what he needs to see from Griffin III mentally:

“Mentally? Nothing. I mean, mentally he will be ready to go, I’m sure. He has been in all the meetings. It’s not like he has forgotten anything. So I think just getting back in the flow of calling plays in the huddle with the ones, going through the concepts over again, just making sure he didn’t forget anything, which I don’t think he has.”


On linebacker Ryan Kerrigan stepping up this season and if he is a player the defense can rally around:

“Yeah, we have to. He is a key player. He has been a key player for us the entire season. Last year, made some big plays and everybody relies on Ryan. His consistency is excellent. He comes to work every day, works hard, he’s good against the run, he has had some great pass rush moves obviously getting up the field, got some bull rush. He can do it all. He has dropped in coverage and covered tight ends out of the backfield. So we really feel strongly about where Ryan is as a player. He is productive and he is going to have to be more productive. Everybody on that defense without D-Hall [DeAngelo Hall], without Orakpo, they are all going to have to step up and play better than they thought they ever could.”


On what sides Murphy and Kerrigan will play moving forward:

“We will mix them up, move them around and hopefully get the best matchup possible. You know, move them around. The big thing is just getting them out there Wednesday and we will go through a practice. Coach [Jim] Haslett and Coach [Brian] Baker and Coach [Jacob] Burney are up there making a plan right now, as far as where in the lineup, we will figure that out soon.”


On if Orakpo’s stinger and pectoral injuries on Sunday were related:

“They were two separate issues from what I understand, yes. He went back in the game obviously and he tried to make a tackle and did some damage to it and obviously has to have surgery. Very unfortunate for Brian, but he will bounce back, man. He is a tough guy, he is strong. Just unfortunate, I feel bad for him, and it’s a major blow to us.”


On if he can rule Griffin III out for Monday’s game against Dallas:

“No, I can’t rule him out, but he still has a long way to go. I wouldn’t rule him out, but he has got a ways to go to show that he can play, show that that ankle is 100 percent and that’s the big thing. He has got to be 100 percent ready to go. We don’t want to put him out there at 85 percent and have it be weak and have him do something else to it. We want to make sure he is ready to go when he is out there.”


On if six days is enough to decide if Griffin III is healthy and ready to play:

“Yeah, it’s hard for me to say. I’m letting the doctors – I’m letting Larry [Hess] and the doctors tell me about when it is good for him to go out and play a real football game. Do they feel comfortable putting him out there? And if they say yes, then Robert’s got to let me know. ‘Do you feel comfortable going out in the game?’ And if he says yes, then I have to feel comfortable about putting Robert out there in a game. We will go through with that process just like that.”


On his plans for Monday if Griffin III is not available:

“Right now, we’re going to move forward with Colt [McCoy]. I like to make the decision as soon as I can just to get the reps because I’m a big rep guy, and I want to make sure we get the starter ready to go. Moving forward for the Cowboys, we’re going to start with Colt, and Kirk [Cousins] is going to get the reps that he gets and he’ll be ready to go in if need be. But Colt will be the starter, I’m planning, on Monday Night.”


On if he had spoken to Orakpo today:

“I haven’t had a chance to talk to him yet. He just had the MRI today and I don’t know if he’s back here yet or not. He’s been a class act since I got here. He’s handled his situation like a pro and he’s practiced very hard. He’s competed, he’s been a good leader on and off the field, and it’s just very unfortunate. I know he’s frustrated with his sack numbers statistically. He’s been a big piece of our defense. We’re in the Top 10 on defense and he’s a major part of the reason why.”


On areas for improvement in the running game:

“Where do you want to start? Like I said, in the run game, the way we run the ball, it’s something different every time. Sometimes Alfred [Morris] needs to stay outside. He missed a couple of cuts in the game. There was no question about it. Sometimes the point of attack, sometimes the backside blocking, sometimes it’s the guard not getting up to the next level. It could be a lot of different things. In the running game, to have a good running game, it takes everybody to be a part of it. Everybody has to get on their people, the back has to make the proper cut with vision, and then sometimes you’ve got to run through some people – make some people miss and get down the field. Right now, we’re just not working in concert together the way I think we should, the way we can and the way Coach [Chris] Foerster coaches it. It’s not all the line, it’s not all the tight ends, it’s not all the backs, it’s not all the revivers. It’s a combination of everything. We’re going to continue to run it, continue to work on it, and hopefully it will click because we’re going to need it to click against Dallas, that’s for sure.”


On if running back Alfred Morris is performing differently than in past years:

“You know what, I don’t think so. He’s had some bad looks at plays where not many backs would make positive yards, but he’s had some good looks where he’s missed some cuts and he’s had some good runs. We’ve just got to keep giving it to him and keep giving him the looks. But as far as him digressing from last year, I don’t think he is. I still think he’s the same guy. I think he’s a good, productive running back in the NFL. We’ve just got to get him better looks, and when he has a good look, he’s got to make the right reads. So, it’s a little bit of a combination of everything. We still like Alfred. We still feel like he’s going to carry us to where we need to go.”


On having Offensive Coordinator Sean McVay relay plays to quarterbacks:

“Well, being that I’m with the defense when they’re on the field and I’m doing a little bit more things, I thought it would be easier for Sean to call the play, and he’s got a good familiarity with the offense. We had… two delay of games yesterday, the first two we’ve had all season. We’ve got to make sure we work on that. The only negative of him calling the play through me is it takes an extra one or two seconds. But, I feel good about Sean calling them. There is no issue really there.”


On if he plans for wide receiver DeSean Jackson to get a certain number of downfield shots each game:

“We go into like that. We have a certain amount of shots we want to take each game and he’s obviously a big part of them. We’d be foolish not to. His playmaking ability down the field, in the screen game and also just taking short passes and making people miss… You’ve got to get him more involved, but definitely we’re going to have our shot plays each week whether it’s to him or Jordan Reed down the sideline or Pierre [Garçon] or whoever it is. We’ve got to make sure we take the shots when people want to crowd the line of scrimmage and stop the run.”


On if there is any reason why he feels the need to name a starter so early:

“No. I don’t think it matters. They’re preparing for our offense. They’re not preparing for a quarterback. Both of them are very good quarterbacks in my mind, it’s just I want to make it clear to our team and our quarterbacks who the starter is moving forward so we can prepare that way. That’s the only reason.”


On if he wants to determine a starter at right tackle between Tyler Polumbus and Tom Compton:

“Yes, same deal here. We’re going to look at Tom this week and Tyler had some unfortunate pass sets, gave up pressure, I think he had a holding call, a sack, and Tom did some good things. So I think moving forward we’ll give Tom more and more reps and let him compete. Then hopefully by Friday we’ll make a decision on who the tackle is. But, Tom’s been here for a while. I think he’s been playing both the left side and the right side, so I think the continuity is there whether Tom or Tyler is in there or Morgan [Moses] for that matter. But you do want to get the guy who’s playing the most reps, and we’ll try to do that as the week goes on.”


On the decision to activate wide receiver Santana Moss instead of Aldrick Robinson:

“Well, Andre [Roberts] has been banged up a little bit with the knee – not really, he hasn’t had the injury report – but Santana is the backup punt returner and that’s the main reason and that’s the only reason quite frankly. Plus he’s the backup slot behind Andre.”


On if he has any update on wide receiver Leonard Hankerson:

“No, he had a great week of practice, though. He looked really good, and he’s another one to throw into the mix. We’re not going to dress more than five receivers, I don’t anticipate. You can’t dress six if none of them really play special teams, kickoff coverage and all of that stuff. The issue with our receiving corps is they’re all very talented wide receivers, but they’re not very good running down on kicks and punts and punt cover. So, we can only dress five of them and I told them the other day in a meeting that all of them deserve to play. They’re all quality receivers in the NFL but you can only pick five and unfortunately for the ones who aren’t playing, it’s no punishment, it’s just that we can only take five.”


On having a happier Monday press conference after a win:

“Well, it’s happier because you win but there’s still a lot of things that we can do better. I think we have to challenge our team. We got a win, which it is very hard to win in the NFL – we know that first hand – but we’ve got to play better. We can’t make the same mistakes that we are making. We can’t jump offsides on fourth-and-five on punt and give the guys another possession. We can’t throw an interception, fumble, miss the blocks that we missed, and defensively give up a simple seam ball down the seam for a big touchdown and the lead. There’s a lot of things that we can correct. Obviously, we are very happy we won the game but we have to challenge our guys, our coaches to continue to get better and work towards perfection because we are far from it right now.”


On the importance of Dallas week:

“It’s a huge game obviously, playing on Monday Night Football again, Dallas Cowboys, there’s not a whole lot that has to be said. There are not a lot of motivational speeches I would hope that I would have to give this week to play the Cowboys. They are playing in top form right now. Their running game is clicking, Tony Romo is playing as good as he has ever played, Dez Bryant – they’re all playing very good. Their defense is playing good under Coach [Rod] Marinelli and they are playing with a lot of confidence. And confidence can do wonders for a team and that is what we are trying to instill in our players. We want to get more and more confident. The more confident you play, the better you play. So, we are working towards that and we are going to have to play our best game this week.”


On how he evaluates quarterback Colt McCoy’s intangibles and clock management skills late in games:

“Yeah, he does have great intangibles in my mind. He is very poised. He is a great competitor. I feel like he is going to get us in the right play and make the right throw. You know, he has had some opportunities to succeed in the past as a starter and had some rough patches, but he is here for a reason and I’ve always liked his demeanor. I liked the fact that he came in as a No. 3 and did what he was asked to do, compete the way he is supposed to compete – be supportive to Robert [Griffin III] and Kirk [Cousins] like he is supposed to and then when his opportunity comes, take advantage of it and that is what he has done. But he has got the intangibles to be a good quarterback. He will have a great opportunity Monday night, that’s for sure.”



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