Home Press Conference: Washington coach Jay Gruden

Press Conference: Washington coach Jay Gruden


redskins_scriptrWashington coach Jay Gruden talks with reporters on Monday. Washington (1-1) takes on NFC East rival Philadelphia (1-0) on Sunday.


On quarterback Robert Griffin III:

“Robert has a dislocated ankle. It is not a fracture. We’ll know in a few more weeks as far as how long he’ll be out. We’re going to send his results of the MRI to Dr. [Robert] Anderson, a foot and ankle specialist and get it casted up and we’ll just go from there.”


On the timeline of Griffin III’s recovery:

“He’s just going to put it in a cast for a couple weeks and then the rehab process. You just don’t know how long it’s going to be as far as the recovery time as of now.”


On if he’s optimistic Griffin III could return this season:



On if he was given a rough timeline for Griffin III’s return:

“No. No, no. Not roughly at all. I think it’s too early to tell as far as the timetable is concerned. All we know is it’s not a fracture. We’re going to put the cast on it for a couple weeks, get more results [from] Dr. Anderson, see what he says and go from there.”


On if there was any consideration to placing Griffin III on the Reserve/Injured list:

“No, no consideration.”


On if there is ligament damage to Griffin III’s ankle:

“No. Not that we’re aware of, no.”


On how he can ease the transition for quarterback Kirk Cousins:

“Well, we have a number of plays Kirk is very comfortable with and we don’t have to make a lot of wholesale changes with Kirk in there. It just might be a package of plays we don’t run, but even some of those plays are good on occasion with Kirk. Kirk can do everything, you know, everything we’ve done from day one at OTAs to now is up and running. So, we’ll have a special specific game plan for the Philadelphia Eagles and there will be plays that Kirk’s comfortable with.”


On wide receiver DeSean Jackson:

“He’s got the AC sprain. I think it’s just a grade one and he’ll be day to day. And, depends on if he can play with the pain. He’ll be good to go for Sunday, but we’ll have a better idea probably Thursday or Friday to where he is.”


On what will happen when Griffin III returns if Cousins plays well in his absence:

“Well, we’ll cross that bridge when that comes. Right now, we’re going to prepare with kirk cousins as our starter and Robert’s going to rehab, and all decisions after that will come after that. But right now, we’re going to go try to do the best we can and get Kirk ready to go and beat Philadelphia.”


On how Griffin III’s injury will affect him as a packet passer:

“It’s injury and injuries happen. It’s obviously a step backwards for him as far as him getting injured and missing time because you don’t get time back and the reps that you lose from being injured are unfortunate. He was coming along great. He had a great first quarter of the game. He was 2-for-3 and the only incompletion was the one that should have been reversed, in my opinion. So, he should have been 3-for-3 and had two rushes for 20 yards. He’s playing at a high level in that game, a lot of great energy and it’s an unfortunate circumstance, but he’ll recover and we’ll cross that bridge when it comes when he does recover.”


On if he will bring in another quarterback behind Cousins and Colt McCoy:

“We may. We haven’t decided that yet. And, you know, Colt is a very capable backup, as we know. He started some in the NFL, so we’ll address that at a later time, whether or not we bring a third guy in for practice squad.”


On McCoy being inactive Sunday and what adjustments would have been made at quarterback:

“Andre Roberts was going to go back there in the shotgun and hand it off or run it.”


On if the field played a role in Griffin III’s injury:

“I think it was just an awkward angle. He was rolling out and he saw DeSean late and he stiff armed the linebacker and I think he just landed awkwardly on his ankle. I don’t think the turf had anything to do with it. It was just an awkward angle. It was a great throw by him to get it out, but I think it was just an awkward, one in a million type injury.”


On safety Brandon Meriweather’s return:

“He’s back, he’s ready to go and he’s excited. I saw him today, he’s bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and fired up to get back on the field. It was an unfortunate incident what happened to him, missing two games, but he’s raring to go. He’s champing at the bit and we’ll have to make a decision tomorrow on what we do with the roster spot.”


On what Cousins does well:

“Well, he’s a smart quarterback, and I think he can make every throw. He’s got a very strong arm, he can throw the deep balls as we saw yesterday, and he’s got good medium accuracy and touch and obviously he has got short accuracy and touch. The big thing for him is playing – handling the pass rush, handling the blitzes and the protections, which he hasn’t had a whole lot of reps at. And that will be the difference in him being a very, very effective quarterback in the coming week. So, we’ve got to just get him ready from a mental standpoint, but from a physical standpoint, he’s got the tools to make all the throws. I know the team has confidence in all our quarterbacks and moving forward and he’s got a chance to be very successful.”


If his game plan will change significantly with Cousins:

“No, no. Our game plan will be our game plan. Nothing is going to change really whatsoever. If we see that we can run the ball, you’re going to try to run the ball every week, no question about it. There’s nothing that’ll change with Kirk at quarterback and these guys have practiced all our plays from Day 1 like I said when I first got here. They’ve both handled it very well – Colt [McCoy] included – all three of them. There’s not going to be a lot of change moving forward with Kirk.”


On if Cousins’ skills align more with a typical pocket passer:

“Well, Robert threw from the pocket at Baylor quite a bit and he won the Heisman, so he did some good things in the pocket and he did some good things his first year here. A quarterback skillset is different from one quarterback to another and Kirk might be your more standard, prototypical quarterback as far as pocket passers are concerned, but Robert has all those traits to become a pocket passer also, plus he runs a 4.3 so there’s nothing wrong with that. I think moving forward they both have a great skillset to play the position – Colt included. And, we’re very fortunate. Not many teams have two, three quarterbacks they can count on in game-type situations. We’re one of the fortunate teams to have them, and we’re lucky to have them. Now, it’s just Kirk’s opportunity to play and I imagine he’s champing at the bit and he’ll take advantage of his reps.”


On losing his starting quarterback in Week 2 of his first season as a head coach:

“Well, you’re sick about it because you spend a lot of time with Robert getting him ready and you watch how much passion he has for the football game and how seriously he takes his job and what kind of will he has to succeed. He’s such a great kid on and off the field that you hate something like this happen to somebody and it’s really a sad deal because I know how much he wants to be great. But, this is just a bump in the road for him. It’s another little bit of adversity he’s going to have to overcome. Part of being a quarterback, like I said, is your mental toughness and your ability to overcome adversity, and he’s done it in the past and he’ll do it again. We have total faith that he’ll bounce back and be as good as ever soon.”


On running back Roy Helu, Jr. and left guard Shawn Lauvao:

“Roy is going to be day-to-day. I think he’s fine. Shawn’s fine. He walked off the field. His had a little knee soreness. He’ll be fine. Tracy Porter’s getting better. We’ll get a little more time from him this week – maybe be ready for Philadelphia or the Giants. So, we’ll see.”


On if he worries about Griffin III’s durability:

“No, it’s unfortunate. It is. The more injuries mount on him, it just becomes more of an issue I guess from a lot of people that think his durability is in question, but this is an unfortunate injury.  You know he had an unfortunate knee injury and this was a fluke deal where he’s rolling out and got his ankle caught in the ground in an awkward way.  I don’t think it speaks to his durability. I think they’re just fluke injuries and they happen from time to from to certain players. Hopefully when he recovers from this, it’ll be the last one he ever has.”


On helping Cousins succeed as a starter instead of as a backup:

“Yeah, we’ve got to help him. People around him have got to step up, not just Kirk. Our running game has got to step up, our linemen have got to do a better job in pass protection and opening up holes for our backs. Our receivers have got to do great things after the catch. And then of course, our defense needs to continue to play well and get the ball for us in good field position. If we think we’re going to play from behind, it’s going to be hard on any quarterback, but I think we all realized what a team game this is yesterday. Our special teams was pretty good, our defense was outstanding and our offense was good in the running and the passing game. We put those three phases together, we’re going to be a tough team to beat. As we learned in Houston, when we don’t do that, it’s very tough to win whoever the quarterback is. I think it’s just important moving forward that we try not to make this about Robert when Robert was the quarterback. We’re going to try not to make this about Kirk now that Kirk is the quarterback. We’ve got to make it about the Redskins moving forward, and everybody needs to get involved and help us through this.”


On if Griffin III will not require surgery:

“No surgery, yes.”


On Cousins’ ball distribution yesterday:

“Very impressed, I thought he had an outstanding game. He worked the tight ends, he got the receivers involved, he got the backs involved, made good sound decisions with the football, quick decisions and kept us in positive down and distances and moving the ball. Our running game was outstanding, also. I think we had 190 yards rushing which also helps. Then of course the field position the defense got us and special teams was also outstanding. So we were able to keep Jacksonville on their heels with the run, the play pass and the drop-back pass. It was a great day and both quarterbacks did well when they were in there.”


On tight end Niles Paul:

“Niles is one of the most improved players on this team I believe, not just in the passing game but in the running game. He has done an outstanding job blocking, and not to mention he is one of Coach [Ben] Kotwica’s core guys on special teams. So he has really been a very active player for us, a very valuable player for us, very much improved in the passing game as far as route running, route definition. I think he is getting better and better, he can run. The most impressive thing to me is his blocking ability both in pass protection and in the running game. He is very strong, has improved strength in the weight room with Ray Wright and it’s just impressive. He is really, really starting to come on and become a big factor for us at the tight end position.”


On what he learned about Griffin III by how he handled yesterday’s news:

“He is a class act and I know he is disappointed and he put on a face for you that it is not going to bother him, and I don’t think it will bother him. I think he is going to rehab this thing and get back on the field very soon and be ready to roll. It is still going to take a little bit out of him, he is disappointed and like I said he put a lot of time and effort into this. All football players do, and when their season get cut short or you have to miss some time to an injury, it’s frustrating. Jordan Reed is going through the same thing right now. He is frustrated, [nose tackle Barry] Cofield is very frustrated. They’ve all worked extremely hard to get on the field and when you have an injury, it is part of the game and part of the business. The only thing you can do is put a positive spin on it, take the time off, get yourself ready to go mentally and physically and come back stronger than ever and I think Robert will do that.”


On if he would consider using punter Tress Way for kickoffs to help relieve kicker Kai Forbath:

“Could be, could be. Kai had a little bit of the groin deal, so we chose to kick with Tress and he did a nice job both punting and kicking and that’s something to look at. I think when Kai feels like he is back to 100 percent he will probably resume the kickoff duties but it is good to have another guy who can do it in case of an emergency. He was very impressive with his kickoffs, hangtime wasn’t quite where you want it, but he did get three touchbacks which was very good.”


On defensive end Jason Hatcher’s presence and if he has been the ‘force of nature’ they expected:

“That’s exactly right. That’s why he was one of our focal points as far as signing a pass rusher. He was one of the guys we wanted and targeted and we are lucky to have him. He is a great guy, not only on the field with his production but off the field he is a great motivator, keeps the guys up on the sidelines and keeps everybody accountable to playing hard and you can feel everybody feeding off of it. When you get the push up the middle, it opens it up for everybody else and you saw [Ryan] Kerrigan get four and [Brian] Orakpo had one and a half or two and it gets everybody involved. The key is to obviously get teams in third down and long which we did yesterday and then let him go after it. He has been everything we hoped for and more, so far.”


On what tight end Jordan Reed needs to do to play next Sunday:

“He has to practice at least a day and get feeling better, that’s all. It’s a hamstring, it’s one of those things – it is hard because you don’t want to rush and guy back and have them re-pull it or do more damage to it, but you also want to see him out there practicing before he plays because he needs the reps. All these guys do. It’s hard to come out on Sunday and play without taking any reps especially at the tight end position for how much they have to know. So if he doesn’t get out there by Friday, I would say he would probably be out.”


On if he can take confidence from beating Jacksonville:

“I think every team is good in the NFL and anytime you win in the NFL it is a heck of a thing. There are good players on the Jacksonville Jaguars and they have a good coaching staff, so anytime you get a victory in the NFL, you should be proud of the fact you got the victory. But I am not going to take anything away from Jacksonville. They are going to win a lot of games this year and do some good things. They just had a tough day yesterday partly because all three of our phases outplayed them and when that happens, good things will happen.”


On Chris Baker’s first game back at nose tackle:

Chris Baker had an outstanding game, also, and Jarvis [Jenkins] did good, too. And Perry [Riley, Jr.] did well. But, like I said, the key was stopping them on first down. I don’t know what the average per carry or play was on first down but they were in a lot of second-and-longs and then third-and-longs, which really let us get going.  We stopped the run extremely well. I think [Toby] Gerhart had seven or eight carries for nine yards or something like that, and he’s a darn good running back, so it’s very impressive that our front not only rushed the passer extremely well, but we stopped the run. When you do both, it means good days for your defense and I think we have the front that can do both, which is exciting. We’ve got the athleticism, we’ve got the size to stop the run, we’ve got the athleticism to rush the passer. That’s why I feel like our future is so bright here this year because I think defensively we can play with anybody.”


On what he learned about his team after it played so well despite so many injuries:

“I think in the offseason we addressed not only some starting players with free agency and the draft, but we really addressed our depth situation and it’s showing. When you have a couple of key players go down and your backups are able to step up and play so well, it speaks volumes for what we’ve done in the offseason as far as getting people in here that can play from a depth standpoint. Guys are asked to play and they don’t blink. They just come in there and play, and that’s what you have to have on a football team to be successful because it’s going to happen. In a 16-game season in the National Football League, people are going to go down and get injured and the backups have to step up and play well and fortunately we’ve had that so far.”


On the explanation he was given for the reviewed incompletion to Jackson:

“We’re going to turn it into the league. I don’t know. I thought he was down, but I threw the flag. I’m 0-for-2 throwing the flag, so we’re going to wait on that explanation. We’re sending it into the league. We’ll wait on the explanation when we get it back, but I thought in the field of play – in the end zone, I know they have to maintain possession throughout the whole body of the catch, but out in the field of play, I thought it was a catch down by contact, play’s over. But we’ll get the rule.”


On if the ruling of fullback Darrel Young as a defenseless player in the fourth quarter was a clear call:

“No, not really. It was an unfortunate deal. I think it was a bang-bang play. Fortunately for Darrel, he didn’t have anything seriously wrong with him. He has a sore back and sore chest today, but as far as the referees are concerned on that call, you know, it’s a bang-bang play and that’s the way they saw it. I think they thought it was a defenseless player and we just had to go with it. We had another issue with that – Chris Baker had hands to the face. A couple of key calls, we just have to keep monitoring that. Akeem Davis had one on a punt, you know what I mean? We’ve got to lower his target. It’s a factor and we have to just maintain and keep talking. D-Hall [DeAngelo Hall] had one capping off, and we just have to keep talking about it. Those penalties are very big and we can’t give the referees any reason to throw those flags. We’ve just got to keep coaching up lower the target and going from there.”


On if he can recall being part of a defensive effort like the one he saw against Jacksonville:

“You know, my first year coaching with my brother in 2002, the Buccaneers had a pretty good defense with [Warren] Sapp and Simeon [Rice] and all those guys, so we saw a few of those. Firsthand, I mean, 10 sacks and just the whole defense in general flying around to the football, the energy that they played with, I haven’t seen it in a long time. So, [I’m] just impressed with the whole energy in general and people talk about the sacks, but the coverage was outstanding by the defensive backs and the linebackers – Keenan [Robinson] and Perry [Riley, Jr.] – they were flying all over the joint, and they don’t get any credit as far as the stat people are concerned, but they had a lot to do with the success of the defense also. So very impressed with the whole unit. Coach [Jim] Haslett called a great game, obviously, and the defensive coaches had those guys ready to play and it showed.”


On safety Trenton Robinson:

“Trenton has had a couple good weeks of practice. He’s been a special team demon for us, and after the play at the end of the half, we thought we needed a look at Trenton, give him a chance, see what he could do. And he didn’t disappoint. He got an interception and was in on a few tackles and did some good things. He was part of the big play we gave up in the second half, but overall, I thought Trenton did a nice job.”



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