newspress conference washington redskins coach jay gruden 10

Press Conference: Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden


redskins-helmetHead Coach Jay Gruden

On finding the balance of how much read option to use:

“There’s no question, we’re still working on that balance right now. Today, he [Robert Griffin III] had the option to pull it. He pulled it and made a heck of a run, so he’s obviously very good at the read option. He’s proven that he can do it, but he’s also proven to come off a major injury here the last couple years. He’s healthy, but there will be a balance. I think we used some in Cincinnati with Andy Dalton and they used some here, so he’s got experience with it. He’s good at it. It’s another way to attack the defense and get the numbers in your favor offensively. How much we’ll do is going to be on a game plan basis and how he feels about it and how we feel about the actual play going in each week. But it’s something that will be talked about every week, for sure.”


On quarterback Robert Griffin III’s health and its effect on how much read option the team will run:

“I think he’s healthy now, really. You can see him run out there today, and as hard as he’s worked, his knee is probably stronger than it was before he got hurt. That’s what happens. I had a similar type injury and you’d rehab it so much, it’d become stronger than your other legs. So I don’t think the injury will play a part, but future hits on the quarterback – you know, they get hit a lot. If you’re going to drop back and throw it a lot, they’re going to get hit a lot. You want to take as much pounding off of him as you can. If he can do a good job of protecting himself, getting down, I don’t think it’ll be an issue. We just won’t overuse it.”


On cornerback Courtney Bridget, Jr.:

“He hurt his shoulder and I believe we waived him today – injured.  He’ll have surgery and hopefully he’ll recover from that and be ready to go next year.”


On if walkthroughs are ‘lackadaisical affairs’ to observers:

“They are, but we do get a lot out of them. It’s a chance for us to walkthrough certain areas of the game that we need work on. Maybe it’s base blitz, maybe it’s nickel blitz, maybe it’s red zone, maybe it’s spread and empty, maybe it’s no-huddle, maybe it’s two-minute. And it’s a chance to just take it at a different pace and try to utilize it the best way we can as coaches to get as much out of it as we can. With the CBA the way it is, we have to follow the rules, and really we’re getting good work with these guys in the morning. I think in the afternoon the walkthrough is a good avenue for them to recover and get ready for the next day. It’s just a chance for them to take a step back, take a deep breath, go through these plays and concepts again in a walkthrough manner and pick up some of these tough nickel blitzes and base blitzes that teams are throwing at us. It’s really been beneficial to us. We’re trying to get the most out of it without being too mundane with it. I think we feel good with where we are with the walkthroughs.”


On running back Evan Royster and wide receiver Pierre Garçon:

“Royster actually practiced today, did a nice job. Pierre went through individual and we shut him down. I think he probably wanted to go but it’s important for him to make sure he’s fully recovered. Some of these light pulls, you think you’re OK and then all of the sudden you burst out sprinting and you reinjure it. So we just want to make sure he’s back to 100 percent and can open it up and run before he goes again.”



On if he has to balance possible injuries with his desire for more physicality:

“Most of our injuries have been soft tissue, so it’s just a matter of them making sure they’re stretched and lubed up and ready to go. It’s just part of the deal. You read across the internet that a lot of guys are getting slight hamstring pulls, and as long as it’s slight, we take care of them, we monitor them and they get the right rehab and treatment. I think we’ve been pretty fortunate so far with the injury bug, knock on wood.”


On if the read option is sustainable in the NFL:

“It’s just my belief that – and everybody is different, every coordinator is different – they might view it as, ‘You’re right, maybe defenses are starting to sniff it out a little bit better.’ I’d view it as if you run it just a few times throughout the course of the game, maybe three or four times in two games, I don’t know, it’s just something for the defenses to have to worry about and practice. They have to practice their fits. It gives them problems and it’s something they have to work on diligently at practice. It’s like everything else. If you run something too much, defenses will figure it out. I think it’s a chance for us to be more diverse in what we do. You throw the quick game, you throw the dropback, playaction, the outside zone, you sprinkle in some read option, it becomes tough.”


On if defenses can stop the read option if it is called 7-8 times a game: 

“Yeah, exactly, I don’t really envision us running it seven or eight times a game, but we’ll see how the game dictates. It’s just like anything else nowadays in football, if you run something similar, often, defenses will figure it out. We’ve got great coaches on defense in the NFL so you’ve got to be diverse in what you do, you have to disguise what you do and try to attack them the best way you can. If that’s part of your game plan, you’ve got to make it work somehow, and if not, you’ve just got to make the other plays work.”


On how good of an athlete tackle Trent Williams is and if he could be an emergency quarterback:

“Emergency quarterback? No. We’d run a read option with Trent maybe [laughter]. Trent’s a great athlete obviously but I think he’s going to stick at the left tackle spot. That’s what he’s built for, that’s what he is born to do and he loves it. He could probably play tight end; he could probably play three-technique if he wanted to. There’s not a lot that he couldn’t do but I think as good as he is at left tackle, he’ll never move from there that I envision any time soon. But he is a great athlete, no doubt.”


On the team responded to having its first day off:

“I thought it was great. Usually after a day off, players have an off day. Today was not the case. I thought we ran around pretty good. Offensively we had a great ‘move the ball’ session. They had some big plays. Niles Paul had a big touchdown and Robert [Griffin III] had the keeper for a long run. We had some good keepers for bootlegs. We moved the ball pretty well. The third down session, the defense did a heck of a job getting off the field, I think nine-out-of-15 times or 10-out-of-15 they got off the field on third down. So it was a good balance. Offense did some good things, defense did some good things and overall I thought the tempo was outstanding. Guys were still running to the ball and buying into Coach [Jim] Haslett on defense and Coach [Sean] McVay on offense. It’s been very productive. I’m very encouraged from what I’ve seen so far.”


On value of a good screen game in slowing down the pass rush:

“That’s exactly right – to negate some of these great pass rushing teams that really get up the field and play gap-style defense, that rush up the field hard. Screens are a great way to attack them. So that’s just another thing we have to continually practice. Teams that don’t rush as much, they play two-gap. It’s not as quite as good because it’s hard to get the back out, but Alfred [Morris] has done some nice jobs on screens. We got Roy [Helu, Jr.] out there a couple of times. Silas Redd hit a couple of screens. It’s good to practice these screens because teams are going to do screens against us. It’s very important for our defense to see these screens and  react and get off blocks and pursuit to the football at the right angles. So the more and more we can practice it out here is good for our offense, but it’s really, really good for our defense and seeing how many guys are really running to the ball and what angles they are taking to make the tackles. So we have had some good looks at screens and we’ve had some bad looks at screens and that’s just the way it is. Overall I like the way our screen game is looking with the outside screens with the receivers and our back screens.”


On how tackle Tom Compton performed in the absence of Tyler Polumbus:

“He did good. Tom did good. Tyler missed today for personal reasons and we expect him back soon. But Tyler did a good job. Morgan [Moses] stayed at left tackle and Mo Hurt played a little bit at right tackle, so both of them filled in very well.”


On if running back Alfred Morris is flying under the radar:

“Alfred is not flying under the radar in our eyes, that’s for sure. He’s done a great job. He’s had a great camp. He’s caught the ball very well too which is a pleasant surprise for us out of the backfield, so Alfred’s going to get his touches. The running game is very, very important to take the pressure off the quarterback and, of course, our linemen are very good at what they do in the run game so it’s a very important part of our offense with the nakeds and the playactions off of it. We base our offense on the run game, so the effectiveness of Alfred Morris is going to take us a very, very long way. If he is ineffective, it’s a heck of a lot harder when you become one-dimensional as an offense. Now we’re going to drop back and throw it every time, you get every line stunt known to man, you get all these blitzes and tough to pick up, so the run game neutralizes the defense and it’s very important to make sure that’s a focal point of our offense.”


On if he has gotten down to the point where the coaching staff is installing specialized situations:

“Yes, no doubt we are. We’ve already installed most of our red zone package and now it’s a matter of installing what specialty situation comes up next. I think next  tonight is two-minute and maybe some no-huddle and that’s just a matter of communicating words and terms for lines so we can play fast. Then we’ll have some goal-line short yardage coming up also. Sowe’re pretty close to being finished and then, of course, each game plan will be different, will be team-specific where we’ll add new concepts or new formations or new plays, but overall I feel good about where we are as far as installing.”


On guard Shawn Lauvao:

“Shawn Lauvao, in OTAs we were a little worried, I’m not going to lie. He struggled a little bit, but he’s probably the most improved player on this team I think from OTAs until now. He’s done an excellent job of really getting… Coach [Chris] Foerster has done a really good job with him, getting him out of his stance on time. He was a little late early on and in OTAs, just not really timing the snap count up well. But now he’s getting up out of the snap count, getting out of his stance and getting up to the next level in the running game and he’s doing a good job with the stunts in the passing game and the blitzes and blocking man on. Shawn’s done a good job. He’s been a very good, solid pickup for us and we’re happy to have him.”


On tight end Jordan Reed:

“He has improved and he’s a little bit more confident with his route running and his blocking and we’re trying to make sure he knows what he’s doing out there, number one. This is all new to him and really the tight end position is one of the most difficult positions to play in this offense. You have to know two tight end spots, you have to know all the patterns, all the hand signals, all the routes, not to mention all the blocking schemes and protections if you’re in protection. He has a lot on his plate right now, and he’s going to make a few mistakes here and there, but Wes Phillips has been working his butt of with him. Niles Paul is doing a good job, Logan Paulsen is doing a good job of memorization as far as these plays are concerned, the running game, passing game, protections. And I’m happy with where Jordan is. Obviously we have high hopes for him,  and he’s going to continue to get better. He’s a big red zone target for us. He’s great down the middle of the field so he’s just got to keep working like everybody else.”


On why Reed is ready to be more of a threat down the field:

“Very fluid athlete, he gets in and out of cuts and he’s effortless when he runs down the middle. He didn’t run a blazing 40 time coming out, like Vernon Davis so to speak, but he ran a good enough 40 where he can get down the field quickly. He’s effortless the way he runs and very smooth and very difficult to cover and he can stop on a dime and get out of cuts. He’s very sudden, and he’s got a good feel for the zones. It’s just a matter now of perfecting his craft, both in the passing game when he has to protect and in the running game. So, you know that takes some time. He’s only in his second year and this is a new system, new terminology for him and he’s doing a good job but he has a ways to go before we mention him with the great tight ends in the NFL.”


On if he has found a running back capable of fulfilling a role similar to the one Giovani Bernard had in Cincinnati:

“We’re working towards that right now. We are hoping that somebody emerges as that person. It’s not easy and it’s a very difficult position to play to not only be a good pass protector for the quarterback but also to get out in the screens and get out and work your man-to-man routes on the linebackers or find zones. If you haven’t done that a lot, it takes some time and that’s why we are out here. We’re doing seven-on-seven, we’re doing team pass and we’re doing a lot of different specific categories to try to get these backs out there in space and work against linebackers and safeties and protection. They’re doing one-on-ones against linebackers, safeties and nickels. So we have a ways to go before we find somebody like that – like Gio – because he came in and he was a natural at it right away, but I think that we have some guys that can compete. Chris Thompson is doing a good job, Silas Redd is battling for it, Evan [Royster] is doing a good job and obviously our draft pick [Lache Seastrunk] has a ways to go, but he’s got a chance because he can run.”


On where he is in the process of examining the possible 53-man roster:

“Yeah, we have a depth chart board and it’s revolving. It’s a revolving depth chart board that you talk about the guys. We have meetings every morning as a staff and we go over guys in each position and see how they’re doing, how they are coming along and whether or not we need to get them more reps or take some reps off some guys. It’s early stages of our evaluating process, but we do have a good feel for the guys, but only time will tell. The more you tackle in these preseason games, some guys are going to emerge that you didn’t think are going to emerge and some guys are going to kind of fall back that you wouldn’t expect to fall back. But you have to let the games be the main evaluator, not just coming out here in shorts at walkthroughs and practice. So the games are going to be a major part of how we evaluate the bottom half of the roster and the backups and the depth of our team.”


On cornerback David Amerson saying the defense could be the best in the division:

“Well he’s a little anxious right now, excited [laughter]. We have a long way to go before we’re the best defense in anything. We’re just trying to be the best defense today and then the best defense tomorrow. There are some reasons for hope, that’s for sure. They’re doing a good job against the run and obviously we have guys that can cover in the back end and the addition of Ryan Clark has really helped solidify the communication process back there, so that’s a good sign. There’s a lot of good signs but they have a long way to go before they start beating their chest.”


On guard Josh LeRibeus and what he wanted to see from him dating back to the spring:

“Well, number one, he has to control his weight and he’s done that. So he came into OTAs, he was in good shape and his weight was down and he came back after summer break and obviously took that very seriously and kept his weight off. He’s come in here and he’s competing like everybody else but we just need to see more consistent play from him and I think he’s trying to do the best he can. He’s competing everyday like these other guys – Adam Gettis – I mean we’ve got a lot of guys in there that are competing on the inside. Our rookie draft pick, Spencer Long, is doing a good job. Obviously Chris Chester is returning. We’ve got Mike McGlynn, who has played center and guard, so we’ve got a lot of guys in there that can play the interior. We just need guys to step up and do it consistently to prove that they deserve to be here. I think they all have definitely characteristics of being here and being a good lineman and it’s just a matter of we’ve got to pick the right ones.”


On what he saw in Patriots fullback James Develin, whom he coached in the UFL:

“James went to Brown and was an interesting guy. He was a defensive end at Brown and a friend of mine worked him out at fullback – I can’t remember where it was, Carolina Panthers – Kurt Beathard was our running back coach and saw him working out somewhere and brought him in as a fullback. He’s just a great kid and he works his tail off. Strong. You can put him at fullback, you can put him at tight end and he’ll produce for you and he’ll play his butt off. Great kid, smart, hard worker.”


On how he is preparing the players for practicing with the Patriots:

“Just continue doing what they’re doing. When it’s live, it’s live. When it’s not live, it’s not live. Be smart in how you practice and make sure you’re prepared. I think the coaches have all done a good job of giving these guys the right information with the checks and all the things that they need mentally to go out there and play fast, physical and hard. I think that time will tell but we’re going to come out here and we’re going to have some team sessions with them that are live, that aren’t live. It will be ones against ones maybe twos against ones. It will be a good mix for them and a great test for us to go against obviously a very good football team that’s been a very great football team for a long time and to see another team prepare, it will be good to see. These guys have been consistently to playoffs and Super Bowls for the last 10-15 years. To see how they consistently go about their business is going to be good for all of us in this building.”



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