Home Press Conference: Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden

Press Conference: Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden


redskins-helmetWashington Redskins coach Jay Gruden

On the injury report:

“Chris Thompson was limited; he went in individual drills only. Still looked a little tentative on it but he was doing it which was a good start, but he’s got a little ways to go. [Barry] Cofield sat out, he had a little bit of soreness in his groin but he’s going to be OK, mainly just monitoring him every day. But he’s fine, he could have gone but we chose to keep him out. Who else? Tracy Porter had a hamstring, kept him out. It looks like it’s a mild one but… he’s probably questionable to doubtful for the game… [Darryl] Sharpton’s still out with a high ankle sprain. He’s probably still doubtful for the gameSaturday.”


On if Robert Malone has secured the punting job:

“No, there’s a possibility we could bring another punter in. We’re still working on that. We let Blake [Clingan] go today. Robert’s had little bit better overall camp so we’re going to look at Robert some more closer but there’s a chance we could bring another punter in.”


On quarterback Robert Griffin III improving his sliding:

“Sometimes you have premier looks to slide and it’s easy. Sometimes you’re running at a 45-degree angle and you’ve got somebody chasing you from behind, somebody right here and you ‘ve got somebody coming at that angle and sometimes it’s hard to get your feet exactly underneath you for the perfect slide. I think that was the case the other day. He was looking downfield for a pass and then when he decided to tuck it, he saw a guy here, he saw a guy here and he had a guy behind him so he just awkwardly fell. But that’s something that I don’t know, I’m new to this. I’ve never had to practice a slide. I played baseball, I know he played baseball. It should be little bit more natural, sometimes it looks unnatural but it’s something that he’s aware of, but like I said, that was a tough instance to get the perfect slide in because everybody kind of surrounded him at once. Sometimes they do look more awkward than they need to be but he needs to be a little bit more fluid with his slides.”


On if he would just throw the ball away instead of slide when he played:

“No. I usually just got killed [laughter]. That’s why I limp a lot.”


On if having so few punts in the preseason games makes it difficult to evaluate punters:

“Yeah, unfortunately it does. You don’t want to punt, but you’d like to punt, get some more looks at a punt in a game to evaluate your punters and the guys on the punt team. Unfortunately, we’ve only had three, but we have used the evaluation process throughout practice and in training camp and OTAs. It’s not just the games like we’ve talked about. The games are very important but also everything leading up to the games is important. That’s why we’ve made a decision that we made today and we’ll continue to evaluate the punter position, maybe bring another guy in for the last couple weeks to compete and we’ll see where it goes.”


On if he is changing the way he coaches technique because of new rule changes and points of emphasis:

“Well, they’re focusing on the rule. Being an offensive coordinator the last three years, the rule [illegal contact] has always been in place. I don’t know why they didn’t call it the last three years when I was an Offensive Coordinator. It’s amazing, but it is a focal point and now we just have to be aware of it. You look at the tape and sometimes they’re calling a lot closer on certain guys and certain parts of the game than others you see – ‘Well, if that is, then that should be.’ But it’s going to be a judgment call for the referees. It’s a tough thing to call sometimes, but we just have be aware of it as defensive backs and as linebackers as once you get past five yards you’ve got to get your hands off and mirror the guy and we can’t shed guys five yards down the field. We know that it’s a focal point and we just have to do a better job of addressing it with our team on a daily basis when we’re watching the tape and not allow it to happen in practice or it’ll carry over to the game and cost us. They had a third down and 18, we’re off the field and we had just a little tug of the jersey, which should have been called. It was illegal and it was a five-yard penalty, automatic first down instead of a punt. So, those are very important plays and they’re going to cost you so we’ve got to be aware of that penalty because it’s a big one.”


On how he can coach quarterbacks to avoid false start penalties during hard counts:

“If they’re looking at that that closely, obviously you have to be more static. But my point is, when you yell ‘Hut!’ real loud, your shoulders might move a little bit forward, and if the defense doesn’t jump, I don’t know why it would be a penalty. But it’s just another area – a point of interest that they’re trying to bear down on for some reason. I don’t know… I don’t know if that should have been called. The only way I think they should have addressed that was if the defense jumped. Then maybe they’d talk about it, maybe the quarterback did sudden movement to bring him across. But in a loud stadium, in order to enunciate your words, sometimes you have to move your chest to yell. Am I right? ‘Hut!’ Sometimes you yell, and that’s what he was doing, so we’ve just got to make sure we don’t have him do any sudden movement with his hands or try to really move his head and shoulders. But that to me was a little insane.”


On if he would consider having Griffin III practice sliding:

“That’s an option, maybe. I remember a while ago I guess Rex Ryan brought a sliding coach down to New York just to help [Mark] Sanchez. Maybe that’s an option. I don’t know if it helps or not. There’s different cases. He’s slid well before in the past. It’s just some of them are very difficult to get the right timing, get your feet under you. He’s running so fast and everything is happening so fast around him – with things flying all around him, people at different angles – that sometimes it’s not going to be very natural. Maybe there is a point in time we teach it. Not today, not tomorrow, but maybe some time.”


On if defensive end Jason Hatcher will play Saturday:

“Yeah, he did practice and team drills today. He’s fired up and ready to go. He looked good today. So, he’s going to play against Baltimore and we’re excited to see him in his first action as a Redskin.”


On how long starters will play Saturday at Baltimore:

“We’re looking to play them a half. We’ll see how it goes. I want to finish this week. We have a good practice tomorrow, we’ll have walkthrough and then we’ll be on the bus and ready to go for Saturday. But, I want to see how healthy we are and go from there. But, I’m planning on at least a half for the ones.”


On if he has advice from his playing career to help Griffin III slide:

“I didn’t slide very often. I never scrambled. I wasn’t able to run so I either stood in the pocket, threw it away or got killed. But, like I said, it’s an important part of the game for him because he is a movement-type quarterback. He’s fast.  He can escape trouble. He’s going to get out of the pocket and make some plays, so it is important for him to understand he is very important to the franchise and he has to protect himself. How we teach him, when we teach him, it’s going to happen at different angles in different parts of the field. It’s something that we’ll have to try to address and keep working with him on, but I don’t know if I want go out here and just have him slide in practice. It’s just something he’s got to be aware of. I know he knows how to do it. He’s done it before, just sometimes it looks more awkward than others.”


On if linebacker Keenan Robinson has won the Mike linebacker job:

“Yeah, he has. He’s the first-team Mike linebacker for sure. He’s done a great job. He’s flying around and so far he’s done nothing to relinquish that. So, moving forward we still have competition at every spot. Just because you’re a No. 1 player today doesn’t mean you’ll be a No. 1 player for Houston or Jacksonville or whoever. We’ve got to make sure he maintains the level of play that he’s playing at, the consistency, keep coaching him up and as long as he’s doing what he’s doing as far as leadership roles on defense – calling the defenses, being in the right spot, wrapping up and making tackles – it’ll be his job to lose for a while.”


On how excited he is about the defensive line:

“Oh, we’re excited. There’s still some things that we’ve got to continue to coach. They’ve done some good things but I think they can do a lot better. I think their pad level can get lower. I think they can get off blocks faster. I think there was an 18-play drive there that Cleveland had that you could see our guys were gassed again. I think every defensive line would be tired after that 18-play drive… but there are some things that they can do better. I know Coach [Jacob] Burney is going to stay on them and Coach [Brian] Baker is going to stay on them about their pad level, about shedding blocks and then transitioning into pass rushes. But we are excited about the unit we have and the guys that we’re working with. They’re still in the process of improving.”


On if he relied on himself to create the team’s weekly schedule or took input from others:

“Yeah, a little bit of both, from Coach [Jim] Haslett obviously and what they did here. But I was in Cincinnati, obviously my brother was in Tampa, so we pulled a little bit from everywhere. The big thing is, you want to get in in the morning and introduce the team you’re getting ready to play and install all your basic runs and base passes. Then you come out and you walk through some of the new things that you’re doing, then you have lunch, watch the walkthrough, then you come out and practice, then you’re able to watch practice and get them out of here. So Wednesdays and Thursdays are quite the grind, you know, really for players both mentally and physically. Sometimes the tempo will tend to drag because you’re showing cards and it doesn’t happen as fast as you want, but it’s a very necessary part of the game. I told them today after practice that you just have got to deal with it. That’s the way football is at 31 other places, I believe, and it’s a grind but it’s necessary. For us to get to where we want on Sunday afternoon, we have to really prepare this way. Later in the season that could change, but right now that is the way it will be.”


On using the preseason to set a tone for the defense on fourth down:

“It’s important to start setting that tone and setting your standards high in certain situations and teaching situational football. Like I said after the game, we had some sudden change. We’d throw an interception and all of the sudden they’re on the field and the offense has the ball at our 30-yard line, we’ve got to get a stop, hold them to a field goal. That happened. We’ve got to get them off the field on third down. If they go for it on fourth down, we’ve got to get the stop. Two-point conversion, we had to buckle down and make a play. Luckily we made the play, but there are some things we can correct on that. But overall I think we’ve had a lot of good situational football that we can learn from. We’ve had some success that we can build from. We’ve also made some mistakes that we can build from. Overall, I think we’ve got a lot of lessons that we’ve learned and still yet to learn, but I think we’re moving on pretty well.”


On if the media is making a bigger deal of Griffin III sliding than the team is:

“Robert sliding is only a big deal if he gets injured in the process. You know, I’ve seen guys get hurt trying to slide, actually. One time I actually almost broke my wrist trying to slide; the guy hit me in my wrist. I said, ‘Damn, I should have just stayed up and took it like a man.’ He has to understand – and he does understand – that that quarterback position is very important. I’m not going to say the most important, but it’s a very important position and we need him healthy for 16 weeks. So if he has the opportunity to take any hit off of him and slide, to play another play and not risk taking another injury, that’s what he needs to do. Now, if it’s fourth down and eight, game is on the line in the fourth quarter, I don’t want him sliding for a five-yard gain and lose the game. He’s going to have to take his risks and take care of opportunities of what he sees fit. He’s the quarterback, he’s going to make those decisions. They’re not always going to be right. He’s a young kid, he’s got a lot of energy. We have to deal with it and just try to continue to coach him. It is an issue if he gets injured. It’s not an issue if he doesn’t.”


On defensive end Jason Hatcher:

“I think he is another bona fide defensive lineman that can play, rush the passer and run sideline to sideline. Anytime that you have a big man that can get after the quarterback, it’s a huge bonus for you. It’s a huge bonus for [Brian] Orakpo and [Ryan] Kerrigan, it’s a huge bonus for DeAngelo Hall and the safeties and the corners over there, it just makes your defense better. He plays with a great energy, he’s a great leader, he plays hard, but he is a dominant pass rusher inside and that is an added advantage for the Redskins.”



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.