Home Press Conference: Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden

Press Conference: Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden


redskins_scriptrWashington Redskins coach Jay Gruden talks with reporters on Monday. Washington (1-2) plays NFC East rival New York (1-2) on Thursday.


On the injury report:

“DeAngelo [Hall] is out for the year. He’s going to have to have surgery. Duke [Ihenacho] is out for the year. Those are the two major injuries. Pretty much everybody else on the list, we’re still in the process of evaluating in the day-to-day type deal. [Jason] Hatcher included, Akeem Jordan, [Shawn] Lauvao, [Tyler] Polumbus, Kedric Golston, Jordan Reed, DeSean [Jackson], Kory [Lichtensteiger], [Brian] Orakpo, Keenan [Robinson], Trenton [Robinson]…  me [laughter].”


On the challenge of playing a Thursday game despite so many injuries:

“It’s tough, you know, but nobody said it would be easy. We knew this was on our schedule for a long time, you’ve got to prepare for it. Sometimes football is about playing when you’re quite not 100 percent. Guys are going to have to buckle up, strap it up because the Giants are in the same boat we are. We’re both 1-2 and it’s a very important game for both of us in the NFC East so, somebody’s got to strap up and I think a lot of these guys will fight through it and play hard.”


On safety Duke Ihenacho:

“Fractured his foot – heel, foot, somewhere in there.”


On the kickoff return for touchdown:

“First of all the kick was right down the middle, unfortunately, and it was a perfect spot for a nice return and then we had a couple guys on the left side get out of their line. Trenton Robinson got out of his lane and then [Brandon] Meriweather just missed the tackle right at about the 22-yard line and the rest is history. It was a great return, well-blocked, but we had a couple guys not squeeze it like we wanted to on the backside and the front side Meriweather missed the tackle in the hole, took a bad angle.”


On the role critical penalties played:

“Those were big. We had a couple times, we had third down and nine, third down and 11 and premier pass rush type circumstances of events and we ended up getting penalties. We had a holding on [E.J.] Biggers down the field, which was pretty good defense. We had the late hit one time and we had a holding on Keenan one time on the running back. Sometimes they’re put in stressful situations. Keenan covering [Darren] Sproles or covering [LeSean] McCoy, he kind of reached out and grabbed him, tried to do the best he could but they got him on it. Biggers was trying to make a big play and their arms got tangled up and they called him and it’s unfortunate and it happens sometimes in football. We’ve just got to continue to preach [that] you’ve got to let the receivers go after a certain amount of yards and we can’t hold them.”


On defensive lineman Chris Baker’s hit on Eagles quarterback Nick Foles:

“He threw the interception and [Bashaud] Breeland got up and ran it and Baker was getting up off the ground and came around and he saw Breeland running towards him and he saw a white jersey and he lowered his shoulder. It was the same shoulder, same leg, it was in the chest area. I don’t think it looked malicious – it looked malicious on tape, but I don’t think Baker meant for it to be malicious. It’s just one of those things, it’s a bang-bang play. It’s football. He’s trying to make a tackle. If Baker doesn’t block him and Breeland gets up and runs and gets pushed out of bounds by Foles, then we’re probably going to be all over Baker for not blocking the quarterback. So, I don’t know what to tell him. We obviously don’t want any ill will toward the quarterback, no cheap shots. We don’t preach any cheap shots. But in the heat of battle in a football game, sometimes things like that happen, but the league will take care of it, I’m sure, but at least is wasn’t above the neck. It was in his chest area and it was unfortunate.”


On if he has communicated with the NFL about the hit:

“I think the biggest concern is what happened afterwards with the melee on the sideline. We just have to really break that down and see who’s responsible for that, but they’re trying to protect their quarterback as we were trying to protect ours when they blew the whistle and they tackled our quarterback about three seconds late. Things like that happen in a rivalry. It’s a big game, a lot on the line for both teams and tempers flare sometimes, but we’ve got to make sure we do a good job as a staff to control our guys. Like I said, we would never want to intentionally injure anybody on another team ever. None of our players do, none of our coaches want our players to. It just happened that that looked – unfortunately – it looked worse than it was, I think.”


On if the team will discipline any players for their role in the scrum:



On the loss of cornerback DeAngelo Hall:

“Well, he was voted captain for a reason. Guys look up to him. He’s a veteran guy and has that experience that you can’t coach. He communicates well with the young guys and is a great leader by example for the young guys like [Bashaud] Breeland and [David] Amerson, and unfortunately, he’s going to be gone.  But now somebody else has to step up. Breeland, in [Hall’s] absence, I thought, played pretty well. And we have Tracy Porter, hopefully, coming off his injury pretty soon. But to lose not just the player of DeAngelo, [but] the person and leader, it’s a big blow. I’m not going to lie.”


On if the team will look to add a player with the open roster spot:

“Yeah, we will be looking. We haven’t decided who that’s going to be yet, what position. It depends on some of these injuries, who can and can’t go. You know, some defensive linemen, obviously, are questionable, and some of the linebackers and outside – [Brian] Orakpo, some of these guys – we’ll have a better idea tomorrow after practice, see what the trainers say, and whatever position we need we’ll probably call somebody up then.”


On the team’s final offensive play:

“Fourth and 10 play, we needed obviously 10 yards. We had DeSean [Jackson] on a clear out; we had Andre [Roberts] on a deep-seven route. Two good options – we had our tight end bangin’ and going to the flat to help the right tackle out, and then we had Pierre [Garçon] on a basic cross. He [Cousins] worked Pierre on a basic cross, and Pierre ran a great route – he just missed the throw. He just missed the throw. That happens sometimes – fourth and 10, and there’s a little bit of pressure on him, he probably wishes he has that throw back, but unfortunately he missed it.”


On if he would change the play call on that play:

“I wouldn’t have done anything different. Obviously I’d call a play that he’d complete, but that play design I thought had a couple good options to get the first down. The goal of a fourth and 10 play is to make sure you have two or three or four guys at least getting 10 yards or more. So we had other plays we could’ve called  – maybe I should’ve called them – but, unfortunately, the one I called didn’t work.”


On safety Brandon Meriweather’s performance vs. the Eagles

“I think it was just a couple times he got out of position with his technique. Sometimes he was put in an unfair position, and a couple times he might’ve thought he had Ryan Clark supposed to help him over the top, and he didn’t quite get there. You know, there’s a couple things. He didn’t have his best game. You know, to sit out for two weeks and not even be allowed to come to the facility because of a tackle in a preseason game is pretty rough. I don’t care who you are, how long you’ve played in football – you need to practice, you need to be around the facility, you need to be around meetings, and to come out and have a couple days of practice and go to Philadelphia and play after a two-week hiatus, it was rough. So I can understand that. We expect better from Brandon and he expects better of himself, and we will get better from him. I’m not worried about Brandon. I’m not worried about the defense. I just want to make sure we really start to try to cut down on some of these penalties, No. 1, like we’ve talked about in here, and then just do a better job in general on special teams, and, obviously, there’s some places on offense that we’ve got to do a better job.”


On if he has any concerns about quarterback Kirk Cousins’ ability in late game situations:

“No, not really. He’s only played five, I think, that he’s started. He’s a young guy with very limited starting experience, and those games will come. He’s got to see, he’s got to be in the pocket in third down, he’s got to make the throws on fourth down and with the game on the line. And time will tell. But I have total faith that Kirk, Robert [Griffin III], Colt [McCoy] – all of them can do it, it’s just a matter of they’ve got to go out and do it and play in the situations. To sit back on the sideline as a backup quarterback for a couple years, you’re not going to get the reps, you’re not going to get the experience, but to go out there and play, it’s going to make him a better player in the long run. [He] might have to go through some growing pains here for a little bit, but I don’t expect them to last very long with any of those guys at the quarterback spot.”


On cornerback Tracy Porter:

“He is day-to-day, he ran around pretty good today. So hopefully, fingers crossed he will be one of the guys that we can get right, but a lot of it will be on him – see how he feels.”


On if Porter could play Thursday:

“Oh yeah, there is a shot for all those guys for Thursday other than Duke and obviously D-Hall.”


On how the Eagles were able to slow down running back Alfred Morris:

“They played well. They did a good job at the line of scrimmage of really forcing everything lateral and then when Alfred cut back the backside pursuit got to him. They did a nice job; they had a good scheme. I think that is part of the reason – they committed to stopping the run, so that’s part of the reason we threw for a lot yards. So they chose to stop the run and allowed us to throw it, so we threw it a lot. Sometimes yards are going to be tough to come by. Defenses are pretty good and in the run game you have to get your hat on a hat and if one guy fails – tight end at the point of attack, backside tackle on a cut off, center maybe doesn’t get his reach – it’s a tough down. So those guys have got to work in unison and they are very good at what they do but sometimes the defense wins too.”


On his thoughts about playing games on Thursdays:

“My thoughts don’t really matter. Player safety and all that matters to me. The health of our football team matters. Obviously this is a week that I would rather not have a Thursday night game, probably any week would be a week I would rather not have a Thursday night game. It is what it is. Every team has got to do it one time and we are no different. So we are just going to have to buckle up, bite down on our mouth pieces and just go out and play. Everybody is going to have excuses after the game. We are not going to use the Thursday night as an excuse if it doesn’t go well.”


On how Cousins handled the pressure from the Eagles in the second half:

“I think he handled it pretty well. We didn’t give up any sacks, he had a couple hits; he got hit one time by [Trent] Cole. For the most part he stayed pretty clean, I thought the pocket was excellent. Offensive line, Coach [Chris] Foerster and those guys did an excellent job of protecting him all game. I think he hurried some throws on his own thinking that the pocket was collapsing – it wasn’t, and that’s just going to come with the experience playing. When you go back and watch the tape you see that maybe he could have stayed in there and waited one more second, half a second for the guy to come open instead of rushing it, and that happened probably four or five times. That’s going to come with experience and playing and feeling the pocket. But overall, man, to throw for 400 yards on the road like he did, he did a lot of really, really, really good things obviously, and there are some things he can clean up.”


On the result of guard Shawn Lauvao’s MRI:

“He is OK. He just has a contusion, some swelling but nothing inside the knee.”


On the play of guard Josh LeRibeus:

“Yeah, he did fine. Coming off the bench cold, he came in there, stepped in and did a good job.”


On decision to sign cornerback Chase Minnifield to the active roster and if Minnifield could contribute on Thursday:

“He will be able to because he will help on special teams, No. 1, and plus he can play corner and he can play safety. He is a great guy to have around here and we just couldn’t obviously keep him active and we had to release him and put him on the practice squad, but we like Chase and what he brings to this team because he is very versatile.”


On if there is any time to be frustrated this week:

“No, you just have to turn the page. Anytime you win, you are very obviously excited, but win or lose you have to turn the page very quickly in this league, no matter what. Otherwise if you let losses linger then you have no chance the following week to get out of a rut. So we have to turn the page. We did a lot of positive things, we are going to focus on the positive things and continue to build and correct the things that we did wrong. I think everybody can see, at least I can see – maybe I am blind – but there are a lot of good things going on in that locker room and on the field, defensively, offensively, special teams. We just have got to clean some things up, but as long as we are hard like we are playing – physical, hard football – we will win a lot more than we lose.”


On the injury to linebacker Brian Orakpo:

“His finger, he has a finger issue, so he is going to see a specialist on it. But I think he will be OK. It is just going to hurt him a little bit.”


On President/General Manager Bruce Allen’s involvement in replay challenges:

“He’s involved. The last one was my fault. That was bad communication. He said not to challenge it and then I saw the replay and I said ‘Should we challenge it?’ and somebody thought I said challenge it and the flag went out. That was poor on my part. The one before that against Jacksonville I would have challenged 100 times out of 100. That was a catch. I still say that was a catch and I always will to my grave by DeSean [laughter] because Niles Paul had the same one in the end zone, the ball came out after the guy stripped and they called that a touchdown. So I don’t know what the difference is, but anyway, that was a bad challenge on our part as staff but overall I think we have communication. Wes Phillips and KO [Kirk Olivadotti], they try to watch the replay as fast as they can, get the opinion out, and then Bruce comes in there and he gets his opinion out and if I see it on the sideline or I see it on the jumbotron, then I’ll whip the flag out. That one got out whipped out a little hastily.”


On how Cousins takes constructive criticism:

“Kirk’s like a sponge. Quarterbacks in our room really, all three of them are excellent when it comes to being coached. None of them think they know it all. They all want to learn, they all want to be coached. They come in here, they’re bright and early, they’re studying, they’re writing notes every day and studying film and they want to be coached. They know they have a long way to go. They want to be great, and in order to be great, they have to take coaching and watch film, study tape, practice and go out and do it and then rep it. And then in the games, they have to perform and learn in game-type speed and it’s hard to get that out here on practice field, the game speed, how fast it is. But the play, to get the experience that he got at Philadelphia, throwing for 400 yards, making some key third down throws, some great checks at the line, handling the noise, playing in the fourth quarter from behind, catching up, having a chance to win it at the end, those are experiences you can’t get standing on the sidelines, so that’s going to make him a better player. From a fundamental standpoint, we continue to teach that every day, and I know that no matter how many years you’ve been in the league as a quarterback, you’re going to get taught fundamentals every day. Every time you go back to pass, ‘Your base is too wide, you’re too short, your knees are bent too much, your hips are open up too much.’ So, he’s really receptive to that and he’s going to be a great quarterback because of that.”



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