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 Friday. The Redskins (3-9) host the St. Louis Rams (5-7) on Sunday.


On the injury report:

“Kedric Golston is out. He did not participate. Jason Hatcher was limited. He will be questionable. DeSean Jackson did not participate. He will be questionable. Brandon Meriweather, toe, did not participate. He will be doubtful. chase minnifield is out with a concussion. Chris Baker was limited today. He is questionable. E.J. Biggers was limited today. He is questionable. Ryan Clark will be probable. Will Compton was full today. He is probable. Keenan Robinson did not participate. He will be questionable. Probable will be Ryan Kerrigan, Silas Redd and Tyler Polumbus is OK – obviously there was no issue with Tyler anyway.”


On if he is less concerned about players being able to play after missing practice at this point in the season:

“Yeah, probably so. Especially when somebody like DeSean’s [Jackson] speed is such an important factor for him. Instead of trying to push him through and making it worse, this is an injury where he needs rest and ice and treatment, so we’ve just got to make sure we do all the proper precautions to get him ready. [There are] steps that we have to take, so hopefully he will feel better tomorrow and then come Sunday he will be able to go, but if he is not at full strength then it will be a long shot for him to play.”


On his faith in Phillip Thomas to potentially fill the safety spot:

“Well, we have to count on him. You know it’s time for him to step up. This is a great opportunity for Phillip. He has been on the practice squad, been in and out of the lineup. We waived him, brought him back to the practice squad. He had some opportunities last week and failed on a couple plays, but this is a great opportunity for Phillip and we hope that he can step in there and show why he is still here. I think he has got some talent but he has to go out and put it together for a full football game, not for three quarters or for eight drives out of the 12. He has got to put it together and hopefully he will. We have faith in him.”


On if Thomas knows where he needs to improve:

“Yeah, I think he knows. You can see that when he messed up, he knew exactly what he did. He just thought he was going to try to make a big play, come out of his zone and try to steal an interception but got caught and [Colts quarterback] Andrew [Luck] saw him. But I think he knows what to do, man, he is a smart kid. He just sometimes gets a little greedy with his eyes and tries to make big plays that aren’t there, but hopefully he will learn from it and have a good game for us. We need him.”


On reports that quarterback Robert Griffin III could be starting before the end of the season because of the work he puts in at practice and if he has a comment:

“No, not really. As a backup quarterback, you have to get ready to play. That’s just the nature of the position. Kirk [Cousins] did it. Colt [McCoy] did it. You all have to do it. Every backup quarterback in the league, there’s a chance for them to play. So I don’t know why that’s ground breaking news. That’s weird that that’s a big story, but backup quarterbacks need to be ready and he will be.”


On what he is looking for in players during practice:

“You want to get them prepared for the game, number one. You’ve got to get them all the looks they need to prepare themselves for the game. You want to see great tempo, a sense of urgency where they’re trying to get better every day and really learn – sinking their teeth into the game plan and understanding what they’re supposed to do, what their role is. Then, you want to see them fly to the football defensively and offensively, be on top of all the minor details that are important on each play. A split might be a route depth – whatever it is.  It’s set technique by a tackle and a guard… There are a lot of fundamental things that go into each individual play and as coaches, we try to harp on them, but as players you want – especially this late in the week – everything to be put together. You want things to be crisp and fast, no mental mistakes. We had a good practice today. Hopefully it carries over.”


On running back Roy Helu Jr.’s performance this season:

“Roy’s been good. He’s had a few issues with pass protection, which has been disappointing obviously. He’ll be the first to tell you. But I think overall, from what we ask that back to do… There are a lot of responsibilities on that third-down back as far as blitz pickups, then winning on routes against linebackers, sometimes against safeties, catching the ball and blocking. It’s a tough role and there’s a lot of demand for that role nowadays in the NFL. He’s really starting to show he can be that back to come out and win matchups against linebackers like he did last week against the Colts on an option route. [It’s] very, very important for him to keep growing as a player, but more importantly he’s got to do a better job in the blitz pickups and that’s going to be a huge stressing point this week, especially against Coach [Gregg] Williams and the Rams.”


On having a sense to alert for trick plays against the Rams:

“Yeah, you’d like to think that sense is there all the time no matter who you play, whether they fake one or fake 20. You have to have that sense of alert – know the down and distance and know the situation. But they do a great job, you’re right. They do an excellent job trying to create more possessions for offense with the fake punts, the special plays and the return game.  We just have to be on high alert, like you say, at all times. Coach [Ben] Kotwica has these guys ready. They watched every bit of film and hopefully we have a scheme that can guard against all the special trick plays.”


On how Griffin III is handling backup role:

“He’s handled it fine. I think that he’s obviously, as a backup quarterback, he understands his role now and at practice he’s taking the scout team reps. Then, when we get a chance in individual drills, we’re still working with his footwork and with his drops and all that stuff. It’s very important for him to take advantage of the reps when he can get them, but they are few and far between later and as the week goes on. Mainly, Colt gets the first team and then obviously he’s [Griffin III] got to get the scout team. But there are still things from a conceptual standpoint that teams do that are similar to ours so we can still read out the progressions, still work his footwork in the pocket, redirect blitz pickups and all that stuff. It’s a matter of playing football, still working on his feet and just playing the position.”


On young players in the secondary balancing attempting to make big plays with sticking to their assignment:

“Yeah, [balance] is a special thing. It’s like if they come out of coverage and make a big play, everbody’s high-fiving them, but when they come out of coverage and they get burnt bad for it, it’s bad. You have to make sure that they’re doing their job and understand their responsibilities on each individual coverage, play and situation. It’s very, very important that everybody’s on the same page – no matter if the play comes to you or not. We have to do a good job as coaches to make sure, even if it’s a run over there, if that backside corner isn’t doing what he’s supposed to be doing, he needs [to be] coached, taught to make sure he’s doing the right thing. I feel like we have a good staff. We’re teaching the players how to get by, so they’re aware of how important each individual person’s role is on each individual play – gap security, coverage and all that. It becomes very, very important during the season when you play good quarterbacks and good offenses.”


On Thomas’ natural instinct as a ball hawk:

“Well, there are certain coverages where you have the opportunity to be a ball hawk. Just when you’re playing the back hall in two-man, basically you don’t have that luxury unless you see that ball in the air, but there is a [time for that]. You’ve got to understand situations and coverages and know when it’s OK. If we put you in position to be a ball hawk, be a ball hawk. But if you are playing two-deep coverage, you’ve got to play your two deep coverage. Pick your spots but understand the responsibilities as a coverage where your location is number one is first and foremost and making a play obviously is secondary.”


On the Rams’ pass rush and adjusting protection:

“You know, you like to try and change up your protection schemes against everybody. You know, we’ve tried to do that because this isn’t the first team that we have played that has had good rushers. You know they have a lot of them [good pass rushers] obviously with [Aaron] Donald and [Robert] Quinn and [Chris] Long and the rest of their guys are pretty dang good, but there are some other defenses [we’ve faced with good pass rushers]. But I think the key is to mix up the quarterback’s location. You know is it three step, five step, seven step, is he bootlegging outside? Are we keeping the tight end in? Are we sliding? Are we not sliding? That’s very, very important. And when you get in third-and-long like we have been in so many times this year, you are pretty much one dimensional. You’ve got to get people out on the route to get to the sticks so your protections are going to be very soft at times. So it’s very important to stay in positive down and distances – Third-and-four, third-and-five – where we have the ability to slide and protect [and] we have the ability to three step drop, seven step drop, still roll out, whatever we can do and not be locked into a deeper drop progression type play where we have to get to the sticks. That’s where they really, really thrive.”



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