Home Press Conference: Washington coach Jay Gruden

Press Conference: Washington coach Jay Gruden


redskins_scriptrWashington coach Jay Gruden talks with reporters on Monday. Washington hosts Jacksonville in its home opener on Sunday.


On nose tackle Barry Cofield and tight end Jordan Reed:

“Cofield has a high ankle sprain. He’s getting checked out today, but it looks like he could miss some time. Then Jordan Reed has a mild hamstring strain and that’s another one. He was very sore after the game, so that could be some time also.”


On if both Cofield and Reed received MRIs:

“Yes, we did the MRIs on both of them. So, we’ll see how it goes. We have the trainer and  it’ll probably be a week or two or three. We’ll see.”


On defensive end Jason Hatcher:

“Yeah, Hatcher’s OK. No issues with Jason.”


On if Chris Baker will play nose tackle if Cofield misses time:

“Yeah… Chris Baker can play nose. He finished the game at nose and did a very good job at nose. So, our depth is being tested a little bit on defense line, and whether we get some of these guys back or not, we’ll find out. But Chris Baker is a very good nose guard so we will be OK there.”


On the significance of Reed’s absence:

“It’s very difficult. You have a lot of formations and part of your game plan designed around him, playing him outside, in the slot and all that. When he goes out after the seventh play of offense, it hurts you a little bit. But, luckily we had other things we could do. We didn’t do them very well, but we were able to do some other things. But he was a major part of the game plan, especially in the red zone. But, it didn’t work out that way and now we’ve just got to get him well as soon as we can and keep moving.”


On if Cofield would be a candidate for the Reserve/Injured Designated for Return list:

“We’re going to wait and see what the doctors say afterwards and how long they envision him being out. He’s also been battling that sore groin too so it would be good for him to get some rest and hopefully get back healthy. I don’t know the timetable yet on that.”


On if the team should have run more in the second half:

“We had a good balance. I think we had about six plays in the two-minute warning/two-minute drills in the first half, and about eight passes in the two-minute drill in the fourth quarter. That’s 14 passes, or somewhere around there – I think we’re right around 50-50 throughout most of the game if you take out the two-minute drills. Some of the plays that really hurt us were when we tried the reverse – we lost nine yards – and some of our boots and designed play-actions to get Robert [Griffin III] out of the pocket – we were very unsuccessful on those. I think we ran five of those and we completed four of them for like five yards or something. Defense did a great job over there in Houston playing those things, so we’ve got to do a better job on those. When we decide to do some play-actions, we’ve got to do a better job of making the teams pay and at least try to get some better positive plays out of them. We didn’t take advantage of those whatsoever.”


On if he looks at the mistakes as the team having a long way to go or something that is easily correctable:

“Well, you try to be the positive one – and you look at [the fact that] there are very correctable mistakes that we made. The one thing I did like was our defense was flying around to the ball – there’s a lot of good things on tape, but we had some monumental mistakes that can’t happen in pro football. You can’t fumble the ball in the red zone, you can’t give up big plays, and you can’t let a guy rush inside of a wing guy on a punt protection. There are some things that are very correctable obviously, but there are some things that we did well, but we just didn’t play good enough all the way around. There is a good thing – offense, defense, and special teams – they all had their hands in this loss. It wasn’t like it was just the offense, just the defense, just the special teams – I think everybody can really take a long look at themselves in a mirror and realize that everybody could’ve done something better, and hopefully they will and move forward to next week.”


On wide receiver DeSean Jackson:

“He is very explosive and throwing him some short balls, letting him run after the catches is one thing, but we’ve got to get him the ball out in space a little bit more, and we tried the reverse and it didn’t quite work. There are some other things we need to try moving forward to get him the ball because he’s electric when he gets the ball. It’s good to see him out there. He competed very well; Pierre [Garçon] did too – but we’ve got to utilize those guys a little bit more, but when you say that, you talk about not utilizing your running game. So we’ve got to have good balance on our team, but it does start with the run game. If I had to do it all over again Sunday, I probably would have run the ball more than I did.”


On if safety Duke Ihenacho’s role on defense will increase next week:

“I hope so. [Bacarri] Rambo had that big play obviously that we flubbed up on. I think Duke, with another week of practice, will be ready to give us some production on defense and on special teams, more so than he did obviously this week.”


On quarterback Robert Griffin III’s play:

“It was pretty good. He did some good things, obviously, and  there are some plays there that I’m sure he wishes he had back obviously as everybody does in that game. We took a sack at the 34-yard line when we’re in field goal range – didn’t have much protection, but we’ve got to throw it away. We took a sack on a screen pass in a two-minute drill that we can’t have happen, but he did complete I think 75 or 80 percent of his passes, which were good, but really to score six points on offense – not quite good enough.”


On safety Ryan Clark’s tenacity:

“That’s what he was brought in to do – to fly around and give the defense some energy and he did that. He missed a few tackles that I’m sure he regrets, but for the most part, I was very impressed with Ryan and the defense in general. There were some situations that we didn’t do a good enough job of getting the ball back for our offense, or we didn’t force as many turnovers as we would liked to have, but I think overall to hold the Texans to 10 offensive points was pretty good, and Ryan Clark was a big reason.”


On if he could have improved his play calling:

“Yeah, we could have done better in the first half. First half we were poor, I was poor in the first half and we could have had a nice lead. However, we didn’t execute and I took some shots with play-actions that failed miserably, and didn’t quite work out, but you’re right. Defensively we’ve got to do a better job of getting off the field on third down. If you look at the stats, if you’re a stat person, third downs were a major issue for us on offense and on defense. They were 50 percent, I think we were 25 percent and that’s a huge issue. Third-and-six, they get a first down, they gain seven. Now that not only obviously gives them better field position, it eats up another minute and a half of the clock. Hats off to Houston playing good ball control offense and keeping the offense off the field, but you’re right, we have got to do a better job defensively getting off the field and stopping them on third down.”


On if there are things he can work on to improve Griffin III’s exchange on handoffs:

“Yeah, there are. I think he just took a bad exit angle away from the center on the fumble to Alfred [Morris]. Alfred noticed that something was off-kilter and Alfred changed his hands at the last second to try to catch it like this instead of keeping the pocket. Robert was trying to put it in the pocket and then Alfred changed at last second, I think it hit his elbow. I think if you look at Robert’s feet on the exit angle, he could have done a better job of getting away from the center – getting away from Kory [Lichtensteiger] – to get the handoff back there. Those are things that you just can’t take for granted in football. Fundamental footwork, all that is very, very important and anytime you jeopardize that then you’re going to have some problems and in that case, going back to look at the film, he could have got out a little bit steeper of an angle on the exit and it cost us.”


On if he would make a move with tight end Reed’s potential absence:

“Yeah, we’ve got some guys working out. We’ll work some guys out this week and see what happens but if we have to play with two, we will. Tom Compton played some tight end there a little bit. We have Logan [Paulsen] and Niles [Paul], they both know the system. To bring a guy in this late and get him ready in a couple days is going to be rough but it happens all across the NFL and if we have to do that we will. We want to find out the severity of Jordan’s injury before we go crazy. Hopefully it’s not as long as we are dreading, but we’ll find out here in the next couple days.”


On if the blocked PAT was low:

“I ran it back a bunch times, I couldn’t tell. It might have been just a little bit low, but J.J. [Watt] busted through there and Kedric [Golston] was a little bit soft in the protection. Kedric in the center has got to be a little bit more stout and he just went low and raised through there and made a good block, but I couldn’t tell if it was abnormally low or not.”


On the play of the special teams unit:

“Actually, it’s very unfortunate because the one they blocked wasn’t even a punt block design. It was just a mental lapse. Roy [Helu, Jr.] just was out to lunch on that one play and it’s unfortunate. It was a great play by their kid. [Alfred] Blue made a good block but it wasn’t even a designed block, I don’t think. It just can’t happen. And the extra point block was a little rarity. Other than that, I mean you look at Andre [Roberts] had a couple good returns, we covered kicks extremely well, guys were flying around, but when you have two plays like that, they’re bad and they make the whole day look bad and same thing with offense. You fumble twice in the red zone and you score six points, it takes away from the fact that you’re 29-for-36 passing the ball and defensively you hold them to 10 points but you can’t get off the field and you give up a big huge play, a 75-yarder that takes away from the fact that those guys did some good things too. Anytime you lose, the bad plays are magnified. When you win, we’re not even talking about those things. So, that’s the nature of the game and we’ve just got to get everything corrected and move on.”


On punt protection and if it is hard to trust a player after a mental mistake:

“Well, that’s a good question and that’s something that will be addressed. We’ll try some other people back there. The thing was Roy was in that series at running back and we went three and out. We ran the reverse, they got the loss and we ran two other plays and Roy said he was a little bit winded and lost a little bit of focus and so that’s an instance when we might have to put a defensive player in that spot at that time.”


On linebacker Brian Orakpo:

“Defensively, like I said, we did a pretty good job but you didn’t really see him flash or make any splash plays – he was doing his job, did pretty good. But we expect a lot from Orakpo and [linebacker Ryan] Kerrigan. Kerrigan had a big forced fumble. Overall they didn’t really get a lot of great opportunities to just flat out rush. There was a lot of third down and mediums, a lot of runs, a lot of quick play-actions. So it is the responsibility of our run defense to really get them in to second-and-long and third-and-long, to give our guys an opportunity to rush and they didn’t get a whole lot. And when we did, they did a good job blocking them. We’ve got to do a better job of offensively trying to get a lead and making teams pass to catch up, then we can really unleash our pass rushers. Didn’t happen. They had the lead the whole game, really conservative in their approach offensively and did just enough to win.”


On the long touchdown:

“Yeah, we had a coverage that kind of got fouled up a little bit. We had a couple guys break it, but ultimately when they make a big play, we have got to get them on the ground for a 25-yard gain and missed tackles, twice, is unfortunate but we were supposed to have somebody trailing him underneath and blew the coverage.”


On cornerback Bashaud Breeland’s first NFL game:

“He played some nickel and did a pretty good job. Didn’t have a lot of opportunity balls thrown his way but overall I think for seven plays in his first game he did good on special teams also, he did fine. [Cornerback E.J.] Biggers played majority of the time at nickel and he did a good job also. Those two guys at nickel, they can both play in there. Just a matter of keeping them fresh and depending on the defense who is going to be in there.”


On wide receiver Andre Roberts and his collision with fullback Darrel Young:

“Yeah, he just didn’t see him. I think if Darrel would have saw him and gotten out the way, he would still be running. It was a great design on the punt return but unfortunately Darrel was trying to find somebody else and they just collided. It happens sometimes. But overall I think Andre is a dang good football player. He did a good job in the return game and had a big catch and we’ve got to do a good job of getting him more involved on offense also – trying to get him more balls, and trying to get DeSean [Jackson] more balls and Pierre [Garçon] more touches and get Alfred [Morris] the ball more. We just have to get more snaps, and in order to do that, we have got to do a better job on third down. When we are punting after third down, we are not maintaining drives and we are not distributing the ball to people who need to get the ball.”


On the play of the offensive line:

“Yeah, six points, offensive line was very much scrutinized. J.J. Watt had a great game obviously, [Whitney] Mercilus had a good rush, and Brooks Reed had some good rushes. I’d say they would all be pretty much disappointed in the way they played. Trent [Williams] gave up a sack and had a holding call, I think Kory had a very good game, [guard Shawn] Lauvao had a couple pressures, [guard Chris] Chester actually played pretty well and of course Tyler [Polumbus]  gave up a sack and had a couple pressures too. When you put the whole grade on the board, when you have ‘this guy had two pressures, this guy had a sack, this guys had two pressures, he had two sacks,’ it combines to seven or eight or nine and that’s not good enough. Then you throw in a tight end that gave up a pressure and a back that gave up a pressure, so overall we have got to do a much better job in pass protection. We are going to play teams with not just one, but two, but three, but four good pass rushers. Jacksonville is no different, [Chris] Clemons and Red Bryant, they’ve  got some players that can rush the passer also, so we’ve got to step it up.”



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