Home Press Conference: Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden

Press Conference: Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden


jay grudenWashington Redskins coach Jay Gruden talks with reporters on Thursday. The Redskins (3-11) host the Philadelphia Eagles (9-5) in NFL action on Saturday.


On the injury report:

Jason Hatcher did not participate. Gabe Miller did not participate. Jordan Reed was full. Trent Williams was limited. Brandon Meriweather did not participate. Keenan Robinson was limited. Full was Chris Baker, Will Compton, Roy Helu, Kory Lichtensteiger and then Trenton Robinson did not participate today because he had an illness.”


On if fewer touches for wide receiver Santana Moss this season are a function of the talent of the other receivers:

“Well, I don’t know about that. But yeah, we only have so many balls to go around and unfortunately some of the receivers haven’t got as many touches as they would like to have seen or that we projected early in the season. Part of that is the quarterback changes, part of that is the bodies that we have at wide receiver we feel are pretty good and just part of that is, schematically, sometimes when they are out in the game they just don’t get the ball. But Santana, I have been impressed with him all season. You know he has been a total pro, been a great leader in that receiver room and we are happy he is here.”


On if game statuses for injured players have been determined:

“No, just that’s what they are. We just have to keep monitoring them and we will have a better feel tomorrow.”


On if tackle Trent Williams will play Saturday:

“We definitely hope so. But you know all these guys that are on the injury report have significant injuries and it’s something that we just have to talk with the trainers and then talk with each individual player about and hopefully he can go.”


On the drop off at the position if Williams can’t play Saturday:

“Trent? Well, it’s a pro bowl player…”


On if there is any consideration sitting Williams on Saturday:

“That’s on him and the trainer, really. I leave all those injuries up to the trainer No. 1 and then the player, obviously, No. 2, and I think if Trent can go, he’ll go. But there is no reason to shut somebody down if they can go – if they feel like they can go.”


On if safety Brandon Meriweather suffered any setbacks:

“He tried to go yesterday on a limited basis and he didn’t feel right about it. It was sore. You know, big toes for guys who have to backpedal are really, really hard.”


On matching the Eagles’ intensity:

“Well, it’s a division rival, No. 1. No. 2, it’s a chance for us to come and play a home game in front of our fans and try to right the ship and show what we are made of. Anytime you get an opportunity to right the ship after some poor performances, it’s a great opportunity for a lot of guys. We’ve got some young guys really trying to show their worth. We’ve got some veteran guys that are trying to establish themselves for next year. And obviously we have an offense and a defense and a special teams unit that are dying to get out there and show the people that they are good football players. So it’s a huge game for us, man. I don’t care what is riding on the Eagles. All we care about is what is riding on us and we need to come out and play a competitive football game and give it everything we’ve got. I want to see the guys to complete and play their tails off, which I believe we will.”


On why it is difficult for coaches to play young players over veterans to evaluate them:

“We’re still playing to win football games. I’m not going to pull a veteran out of the lineup because I want to see a young guy play if the veteran deserves to play. The veterans want to play. They have earned the right to play and they’re going to play unless we decide the younger guy is better. But, we’ve got a lot of young guys who have gotten significant reps, and we have some veteran guys that are still playing and competing and want to win this football game. That’s what it’s all about, man. I don’t care how old you are. I just want the best players out there on the field.”


On the Eagles’ 10 return touchdowns this season:

“Well, they got it a lot of different ways. Special teams – blocked punts, punt returns, kickoff returns. They’ve got defensive fumbles scoop-scores, interception returns. They have got touchdowns in a lot of different ways and it’s a credit to their effort and their special teams coach and the way they play on special teams. I don’t know if it’s what they eat or how they sleep. I really don’t know. I just know that the guys play hard and they are very opportunistic. When the players are there to be had, they’ve made them on those units. So, obviously we haven’t got any of those yet, but we’re not the only team. But credit to them and their effort and hopefully we’ll get a couple.”


On if scoring on return touchdowns can be coached or if the ball has to bounce a certain way:

“That’s part of it. Sometimes the ball bounces funny, sometimes they make the balls bounce funny by rushing the punter and blocking punts and getting great blocks on the special teams returns. They have a great returner in [Darren] Sproles. [Chris] Polk got one against us early in the season. So, it’s a combination of a lot of things. A lot of things have got to go right. The pass rush has got to be there on defense and defensive backs have got to take advantage of the opportunities when they’re there, and they’ve done that.”


On quarterback Robert Griffin III’s performance in practice this week:

“Robert’s had a good week of practice so far, and really we just want to see him improve and play hard. That’s all. That’s all I’m asking for is that all our guys play hard and improve upon their performance and play with great accountability, great determination and whatever happens happens. I feel like he’s had a good week of practice. I’d like him to master the concepts, master the plays that are in the game plan so he can anticipate what’s coming and make some plays. Then from there, when the ball’s in his hands, I just want him to make great decisions, play hard and not worry about anything.”


On if he plan on having more checkdowns available to offset the Eagles’ pass rush:

“We always have checkdowns. It’s a matter of us finding them and throwing them and being able to get the ball off. I think the big thing – like it always is – is trying to move the quarterback, three-step, five-step, obviously play-action, bootlegs – all of those are very important. But also, with the running game, it’s going to be very important to try to take some pressure off. They have a good pass rush as does everybody we play. They have DBs that have great ball skills, and it’ll be a great test for us. As far as Robert’s concerned, we’re just going to call the plays that he’s very comfortable with we feel like and hopefully he makes great decisions.”


On punter Tress Way:

“He’s been awesome. He’s been great. He’s got great hang time. He’s been very good, very steady, very accountable, obviously, very dependable. You know, he can pin the teams back and when we’re backed up, he changes field position. That’s what you want a punter to do. If you’re backed up, you need to try to change the field position, give the cover unit some time to get down there and cover and then when you have a chance to back people up, get them backed up inside the 10 and he does that. So he is a very effective punter and I think one of the best in the league based on this year.”


On judging improvement by the players this season:

“We are going to judge all that when the season is over. Obviously, every player will be graded by their position coach, by the coordinator, by the GM, by the scouts, by the head coach, and we’ll decide all that right now. But there are some young guys obviously that with the more role that they’ve had, they’ve had a chance to really play and develop and get quality reps. I am not going to go through every player that I feel like has done that. I feel like all our guys have done some kind of improvement from the season, from the beginning to now. But together as a unit, our units have not quite shown the progress that you want – offensively, defensively, special teams. And part of that is the flux of talent that we’ve had to put in at different spots, a lot of people playing together for the first time. So hopefully all this will do this year is a chance for us to really work on our depth for next year. Some young guys playing quality reps, so when we do get some of our injured guys back we’ll have a great depth chart rolling and add to the mix, but I’ve been impressed with a lot of young guys.”



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.