Home Press Conference: Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden

Press Conference: Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden

redskins-helmetOn the first week of OTAs:

“I think we’re getting done what we need to get done. We’re installing our system, defense is installing their system, special teams installing their system and we’re going out and competing every day. Guys are doing a great job. They’re flying around the ball. The tempo’s been outstanding. Coaching has been outstanding and I think the players have been very responsive and they understand it’s a new season and everybody’s excited, champing at the bit to get out there and practice and perform.”


On wide receiver DeSean Jackson’s hamstring:

“We’ll see. He is probably on a plane here right now as soon as practice was over. He’s had some function I think, but I think it’ll be okay. I talked to [Head Athletic Trainer] Larry Hess about it, but it’s a minor pull. Receivers get those from time to time, and we’ll take the necessary precautions and make sure he’s right. He’s no good to us unless he’s running very fast. You saw some of the glimpses of it today – and he’s had a good offseason camp so far. We just have got to make sure he’s right.”


On quarterback Robert Griffin III’s understanding of the offense and the terminology:

“Robert, all the quarterbacks, have done a great job as far as terminology is concerned. We tried to have some carryover from last year, there’s a lot of new plays, formations. He’s done an excellent job as far as his command of the huddle – that’s always been a positive of his – spitting out the plays and not having many mentals at all. So we’re impressed with all three quarterbacks, the way they’ve handled it – Colt [McCoy], Kirk [Cousins] and Robert.”


On what he hopes to see from Griffin III moving forward:

“I think just overall, the quarterback position, decision making, his drop, his everything. When you’ve only played two years at the quarterback position, you know you’re going to have your growing pains from time to time. Each year you’re going to have to improve, and the great ones will always improve from year to year and learn from their mistakes and never get too high or never get too low. They just have to continue to come out here and work, see the look, see the defenses and attack. And he’s doing a good job of that. We’re getting him a lot of reps, a lot of good looks, and a lot of different concepts and so far he’s reacting well. Yesterday for instance – we had a play, and luckily we got the same defense today – threw an inception on it,  today we got the same exact defense, he saw it, went through his progressions and made a great throw to Logan Paulsen. So this is all a learning process for him. It’s important for him to just take natural strides every day and get better. And the thing about Robert is that is his intent when he comes to work every day. He’s a sponge for information and wants to get better.”


On if he talked to Jackson about his role and expectations:

“We’ve talked about it. We try to talk about our expectation level with everybody and not just DeSean, but this is a team game and this is not about one individual and a lot of people make this about Robert or want to make it about DeSean or what have you, or [linebacker Brian] Orakpo, but we have to make it about the Washington Redskins and he’s going to fit in here just fine. The players have embraced him, the coaches have embraced him, and as long as he comes to practice with the right head on his shoulders willing to work like he’s proven so far, there will never be an issue.”


On safety Tanard Jackson’s return:

“He doesn’t look like he’s been away for two years. He’s done a good job. He’s mentally into it, physically he’s in good shape, a lot better shape than we were thinking he would be, so he’s done a good job. You know people make mistakes. He had an unfortunate incident or two – we’re going to give him a shot – and this is probably his last go around. So he’s going to make the most of it, I’m sure he’s a good person, a good player and hopefully he’ll learn from his mistakes off the field and perform at a high level like we know he’s capable of.”


On his transition from being an Offensive Coordinator to being a Head Coach:

“It’s different, but you know I’m handling it pretty much the same, I’m letting Coach [Jim] Haslett coach the defense, Coach [Ben] Kotwica coach the special teams, and I’m really hands-on with the offense right now. Part of the reason I hired the guys that I hired is I could count on them to run their specific groups, and it’s been a very smooth process so far. I address the team, try to address the team every morning and at practice I try to keep my eyes on the defense – what they’re doing – but right now I’m pretty hands on with the offense and how we’re doing. So it’s been a good transition, smooth transition and the big thing you look for is effort and tempo, and I think so far our guys are buying in and they’re performing at a pretty high level.”


On nose tackle Barry Cofield’s hernia:

“We’ll talk to the trainers here, but he’s doing a good job so far. He’s rehabbing and we’re hoping to get him full go at least by the start of the training camp. He should be in good shape.”


On date of Cofield’s surgery:

“I don’t know the exact date on that, but it wasn’t too long ago. He’s making quick strides to get better.”


On how he played the quarterback position as compared to Griffin III:

“I never played the position at the level he’s playing at, that’s for sure. You just have to understand there’s so much pressure on the quarterback, whatever level you play at, all eyes are on you. You just can’t be too hard on yourself. Robert’s a perfectionist, and if things don’t go perfectly right sometimes he’s a little bit hard on himself. We just try to give him the best situation possible, play wise and try to make each play its individual entity, against its own defense and go from there and get the coaching process going. [Offensive Coordinator] Sean [McVay] is doing a good job of working with the fundamentals and that’s the big thing we’re working on. The OTAs here and then the scheme and the system we’re installing and trying to see it against different coverage, different looks, different blitz pickups and he’s doing a good job. Pat him on the back when he needs a pat on the back and coach him when he needs to be coached. He’s very receptive to both.”


On if he was a perfectionist as a quarterback:

“You have to be to play quarterback. If you’re not, you’re not going to be very good.”


On the schemes the team can run with the players on its defensive front:

“I think Coach Haslett is just champing at the bit and he’s slowly but surely installing more packages. As you can see we’ve been here not too long already and he’s already got the walk-arounds and he’s doing a good job of putting in some good blitz packages for third down and nickel situations. The more versatile the players are both offensively and defensively, up front linebackers, safeties that can play at corner, corners that can play at safety, the more effective you can be and give the quarterbacks different looks because, as you know, great quarterbacks – Peyton Manning, Tom Brady – if you’re vanilla, they will kill you. So we have to be exotic a little bit here and there, but also be sound in what we do. Right now the OTA goal is to be sound defensively, know our system and then as we branch off maybe add a few elements to our pass rush or secondary.”


On linebacker Keenan Robinson:

“Mentally he’s in good shape. [Inside Linebackers] Coach [Kirk] Olivadotti has done a great job with him getting him up to speed. Physically, he looks excellent to me. He’s running, he’s long and he can run sideline to sideline in pass coverage. He’s disruptive. He gets into zones and is a big guy to throw over. He can cover tight ends, he can cover backs. We have high hopes for Keenan and we love the progress he’s making. Just from a short period of time, he’s one of the guys on the field that stand out, ‘Is that Keenan again?’ He’s doing a great job, so the big thing is keep him healthy. Our strength coaches will be working with him and we’re hoping he has no drawbacks from his injury.”


On safety Phillip Thomas:

“Phillip’s done a great job also. He had a great interception today. He’s just getting back in the flow and [Defensive Backs Coach] Raheem [Morris] is working with him and doing a good job, and between he and [safety Brandon] Meriweather, we expect good things from that safety spot.”


On the rookies adjusting to play at the NFL level:

“They have done a good job, really. All of our draft picks have done a good job. Some of the rookies we brought in – free agents – have done a nice job. It’s not easy for those guys, you know, both mentally and physically. They are going against some great players that they are not use to seeing. Not only mentally are they probably shell-shocked a little bit, but physically. [They think] ‘Now I know what to do.’ And then all of a sudden, ‘Oh, there is [linebacker] Ryan Kerrigan… great.’ So it’s a tough deal for them. But so far, you look for mental toughness in rookies. You look for how they can handle some kind of adversity, some kind of failure and how they rebound from a poor play to the next play. So far we have seen some good things from a lot of people.”


On tight end Jordan Reed’s progress:

“[There is] no question he has done an excellent job. He is obviously a force in the passing game. We got to work him a little [on] being more stout in the running game because it is important for a guy like that. But overall I think he has had no drawbacks from his concussion…knock on wood. We have, obviously, one of the more talented young tight ends in the league, I believe. He is going to be a great guy up in the middle of the field. If people want to crowd DeSean or crowd [wide receiver] Pierre [Garçon], he’s a guy that is very much needed in the passing game, so we just got to keep him healthy and get him going.”


On if Sean Lee’s injury in Dallas impacted the way he runs OTAs:

“Well, the approach in OTAs has been pretty standardized by the NFL as far as the collective bargaining agreement with no contact. But sometimes when you have 11-on-11 drills, people get tangled up and it’s unfortunate for Sean. We brought that up to our team again this morning about staying on your feet, doing the best you can to avoid any kind of drag downs, pull downs, contact. But every now and then you are going to have a collision, unfortunately, because it is football and guys are trying to show that they are doing right, but we are trying our best to police that and keep people up. It is something [where] we are definitely keeping an eye on them and making sure we preach every day about staying up.”


On wide receivers Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson:

“Leonard is rehabbing right now and we are hoping [he will be back] sometime in training camp but we are not sure when. It’s a process. Everybody is different when you’re talking about that injury and how fast they recover. The big thing is that he recovers first. That is the most important thing. We don’t want to rush him back because, obviously, it is a tough injury to overcome and rehab from. Most importantly, let’s get him back 100 percent, whether the time is start of training camp, middle of training camp, third game, lets get him healthy first. Everybody is different. As far as Aldrick’s concerned, Aldrick is showing his flashes of speed. He is doing a good job. There is no set position so to speak. We are going to come here and every receiver, every linemen, every kicker, every defensive end is going to compete every day. That is going to make us a better football team. I don’t have any decision made right now as far as our starting two, three, four wide receivers or five receivers. I have been surprised and I have been excited about all our receivers at this point.”


On the importance of attendance at OTAs:

“It’s important because it’s important to the group that everybody is working together. For the most part, we’ve had 100 percent [participation]. We have had a guy miss here or there for a kid’s graduation or a wedding, what have you. But for the most part, I think everybody has been here and everybody has been working hard together and that is how you build unity, really, and accountability. I think when a rookie comes in here and he sees a guy like [wide receiver] Santana Moss working his tail off every day in a non-mandatory session, it’s important. When you’ve got veteran guys leading the way like that, like Santana, [cornerback] DeAngelo Hall, [linebacker Brian] Orakpo, [defensive end] Jason Hatcher, [safety] Ryan Clark, you know these guys are doing a good job.”


On tackle Morgan Moses’ possible impact for the team:

“We’ll see. All these rookies right now, they’re obviously just, like we brought it up earlier, they are struggling a bit mentally but you can see some talent there. Him and [linebacker] Spencer Long both have done a great job with the offensive line. There’s a lot to learn as far as offensive line play, picking up the stunts, all the run schemes that we have – inside zones, outside zones and then the pass protections we have. We have nine or 10 pass protections already and maybe more, so it’s a grind for them mentall,y but you can see the talent is there. [Offensive line coach] Chris Foerster is going to work his tail off getting them ready to play. But lucky for us, we’ve got a solid offensive line and he is going to come in here and contribute when he is ready to contribute both mentally and physically. There is no exact date on that either.”


On having all of the team’s draft picks signed before June:

“That’s great. You cannot say enough about the front office here, what they have done in the offseason as far as free agents and the draft – getting people signed, getting people here that love football and want to play. It’s exciting. It’s an exciting time here and to have all our rookies signed and ready to go… Part of the reason we drafted the guys we drafted was because we knew what kind of guys they were and how much they loved football and you can see that on the practice field and in the meetings.”



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.

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