Notebook: Washington loses to Seattle on Monday Night, 27-17

redskins_scriptrPostgame interviews with coach Jay Gruden and Washington players following a 27-17 loss to defending Super Bowl champion Seattle on Monday Night Football.

 

Coach Jay Gruden

On injury updates:

“Let’s see, [Tyler] Polumbus had a finger dislocation. He came back in. [Brian] Orakpo had an ankle. He came back in. Perry Riley had a knee sprain, MCL knee sprain. He came back in. Ryan Clark had an ankle sprain. He came back in. Other than that it was pretty clean.”

 

On his challenge:

“I saw his whole body was two yards in front of the line, it looked like. The ball was at the 48 [-yard line], around there, and he went all the way up at the 50 [-yard line]. I don’t know. It looked it was clear from up in the box and looked like it was clear from the sideline. We challenged it and lost again. I thought it was worth a challenge. It was close, but they said the ball had never crossed the line, but it looked like it did on the replay.”

 

On what happened with the fake field goal:

“We couldn’t get a block on it. It was well-contained and did a nice job on their scheme. They got the first down. They had a pin on our right side, their left side and they got the first down, obviously. Unfortunately, it was a good call by them and not very good by us.”

 

On his thoughts on the game:

“I thought the guys played hard, number one. We wanted to come out and really go toe-to-toe and play our butt off. I think we did that. As far as them not being at their best, part of that was because we were playing pretty darn good. Had nothing to do with them, and everything to do with us, I’d like to think. Got some penalties in our favor, got some penalties not in our favor. Overall we were in position to win or make a great game out of it in the third quarter and we had a couple of three-and-outs, and we never could change the field position there after the failed onside kick. We were backed up, backed up, backed up, and then we’d punt and we could never change the field position. They just held on for the victory.”

 

On if some of the missed throws are part of a growing process for quarterback Kirk Cousins:

“I’ll tell you what, he can make a tough throw look really easy and he can make some of the easy throws look a little tough. That’s part of the consistency process, and seeing throws under pressure. You can never really get a good look at this game-type speed, especially against Seattle. He had a great pass rusher, up the field fast. Guys are all over the place. For the most part, he played pretty good. I thought he kept his composure. I know that when he watches the film, as all quarterbacks do, there will be some plays he’s going to wish he had back. Overall, I thought he kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win.”

 

On if there was something about Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s game they were not prepared for:

“No, I think we were ready for the zone read. They did a little bit more than they have shown in the past, but that’s no excuse. We were ready for the zone read, we’ve practiced that. I think some of the keepers, they faked the outside zone, and he was reading the backside pursuit. He was keeping them, and that’s where he hit us on a couple of them. Just a true blue, not a zone read, just a true blue faked outside zone and he just kept it on his own, which they haven’t done a whole lot of that. Russell is a hell of a player. He kept a lot of plays alive, obviously that play at the end of the game was unlike I’ve seen in a while. He’s won a lot of games for them because of that. He’s a heck of a player.”

 

On if Cousins corrected things that went wrong from last game:

“I think he did. I think he played well. There were some things he could have done better, obviously. I think he came out here and competed. That’s the number one thing. I think early in the game he was maybe a little bit gun shy, so to speak, as far as not being able to pull the trigger, maybe throwing balls a little bit too quick to get them out of his hands, looking for the checkdown a little bit quick. I think as the game went on and he felt the pocket and got in the flow of the game, he was a lot more patient and saw a lot more throws. I think he played pretty well. He’s going to need to step up his game, as we all are, coaches and players alike, for us to really get this thing turned around for Arizona. Well, he did good.”

 

On the depth of the offensive line:

“Yeah, we have [tackle] Morgan [Moses], who’s been playing a lot of left tackle and right tackle, and when [Tyler] Polumbus went down, Morgan went in there and then had a little mental mistake there. We have [tackle Tom] Compton there, he backs up left tackle and right tackle and Morgan, so we feel alright about our depth there. We have [guard Spencer] Long and Polumbus on the inside and [Chris] Chester as backup center, so from a depth perspective we’re better than most teams at this point in the season on the offensive line. The offensive line actually played pretty well in the past game. In the run game, there weren’t a lot of holes there for Alfred to run through – I think he only averaged 1.5 or 1.8 yards a carry – but kind of knew that going in. We knew it was going to be a struggle to run the ball against these guys, base personnel, and it was.”

 

On the team’s offensive struggles:

“They haven’t put it together, fully. It’s a process. We have to keep working at it. You know, we’ve got to get the running game going, we have to get more than 1.9 yards a carry, and it’s not good enough. When we take some shots we have to do the best we can. But overall as a group offensively, our running game is not quite good enough, obviously our deep passing game is not quite good enough. We’re not quite good enough anywhere, and obviously that starts with the play calling, so I’ve got to do a better job to get these guys prepared. We’re going to get there, I think we’ve got the talent on the team to get there. Seattle is a great football team, great defense; they’re going to make a lot of teams struggle offensively. But moving forward I think we competed and we will compete in the future.”

 

On the onside kick and not kicking the ball deep to Percy Harvin:

“That hurt our field position a lot. We decided not to kick to Harvin, and then the onside kick was my call. We had a plan for it, we were working on the pooch kicks and seeing how they lined up and we thought we had a numbers advantage on the onside kick but it didn’t work out. So we lost some field position, but we lost field position all night on the kickoffs, and we kind of knew that coming in. We don’t want to kick line drives to him, don’t want him returning it, so we thought that if we could stop them at the 28- or the 30-yard line with the pooch kicks, it’s better than risking kicking it to him deep, with room to run. That’s the decision we had going in.”

 

On sticking with the running game despite their struggles on the ground:

“Well, you know with Kirk [Cousins] as the quarterback we wanted to take some pressure off of him and get the run going. Alfred [Morris] is obviously one of our better players so we can’t just abandon him, although we probably should have. Some days when you don’t play very well you abandon it too quickly, some days you don’t abandon it quick enough. So I just didn’t want to put the pressure on Kirk and have him throw the ball 55 times against this pass rush, so we thought we’d try and stick with it. We had some good looks, but just didn’t make any good runs.”

 

On the team’s identity and linebacker Brian Orakpo calling it a work in progress:

“It’s a work in progress. We’re still working together. Finding out our identity, for what we are. I don’t know what anybody’s identity is defined as. We’re just trying to get our guys out there, reallyfor the identity to be to just go out and play their butts off every day and compete every snap, and I think our guys have started to do that, defensively especially. And that’s very, very important. Offensively, you know, it’s a work… you go from Robert [Griffin III] to Kirk and you get some changes up front every now and then and we’re still working to find that. But we’ll find it, we’ll keep practicing and keep working it and keep studying it until we do.

 

On the significant growth in quarterback Kirk Cousins’ play: 

“Significant? I mean, I think he was coming off of a four-interception game, and you’re a young quarterback, to come out here and compete against the defending champs like he did, I think that’s progress, yes.”

 

On if he thought the defense improved in the second half:

“Yeah, I thought so. I thought we came in at halftime and Coach [Jim] Haslett did a nice job of making some adjustments to get those guys off the field. He kept getting the ball back for the offense; the problem is we kept getting backed up. We were at our own 1 one time, we were at our own 8, our own 10, we were unable to flip the field position, which just kept giving them opportunity after opportunity. So, we’ve got to do a better job offensively to at least flip the position or special teams. And again, we’ve got to get a turnover somewhere. We aren’t getting turnovers, and we aren’t really changing the momentum with our special teams. There was a couple areas where we’ve got to really figure out what to do. When you’re playing these close games, eventually somebody’s got to get a turnover. We’ve got to block a kick, somebody’s got to do something. I see these ESPN highlights all the time, I see blocked kicks for touchdowns and interceptions for touchdowns and we’ve got to figure out a way to get some of those.”

 

Quarterback Kirk Cousins

On making progress as a team:

“I think we did some good things. I think there are plenty of places we have to get better. Until we win, we’re always going to focus on where we need to improve. Well, Seattle is a great football team. We did a lot of good things tonight. We went toe-to-toe with them and there are still so many things that we are capable of doing better. And I think that gives us hope going forward knowing the kind of team that we have. It’s just a matter of putting it all together and putting it out there in one whole game to get that win.”

 

On his performance:

“I think stats are stats. I think ultimately quarterbacks are going to be judged on winning. You know, we’re not doing that right now, but hopefully we can get in a stretch right now and get right back in it. I’ve seen it happen before. We did some good things tonight — absolutely. We moved the ball at times and made some big plays. I continue to get better. I’m continuing to learn. By no means do I feel like I have arrived. But every game, every rep, I’m getting better and I feel like I’m getting close.”

 

On difficulty of going the length of the field under pressure:

“When you’re backed up like that against a great defense, the odds are stacked against you. When you get down to the strike zone and you get down to the red zone, you want to come away with a touchdown instead of a field goal. So that missed opportunity there where we had to kick a field goal was tough. But like you said, when you’ve got bad field position, it is a challenge to go 89 yards against arguably the best defense in the NFL. ”

 

On Head Coach Jay Gruden’s comment about Cousins’ making easy passes look hard and hard passes look easy:

“I feel like if I could point to some place where I need to get better, it would be on third down — on third down medium, on third down and long. We’re looking for a completion. We’re looking for a first down. The odds are stacked against us a little bit. They pinned their ears back rushing, but we need to find a play somewhere. I think those are the places where I can, will, and need to get better. But as I said earlier, I’m close and I can feel myself getting close. I’m not there yet, but I do feel like I’m really getting close. ”

 

On communication issues with the headset:

“There were communication issues with the headset, but that happens on a regular basis. Headsets go out at times, especially in two-minute situations. That’s kind of always been something you have to be prepared for. It’s unfortunate, but it’s something that does happen probably more often than you think.”

 

On the amount of time he had in the pocket:

“They have a great pass rush in Seattle and they were bringing it. We didn’t take any sacks, I don’t believe. So that is a positive. At the same time, when you lose and didn’t quite make enough plays to win, you start to look at plays where you think about what you could have done differently. To answer your question, they did a great job protecting. They didn’t have any sacks, which sums it up.”

 

On the 60-yard touchdown to wide receiver DeSean Jackson and then his 57-yarder later:

“I’m still learning on how to play with a guy like DeSean. He’s in a category in his own. It takes some time to build that chemistry and learn how talented he is, how much you can let the ball go and he can get it. He is so good at tracking it in the air. I’m still learning how to work with him. Those two plays show how good he is. It’s just a matter of every week getting him the football, because when the ball is in his hands, good things happen.”

 

On if he has the option to run:

“I do. From a play calling standpoint to a scheme standpoint to a coaching standpoint, I always have that freedom there and that is still built into the game plan. It’s not as natural for me to do it like a Russell Wilson or Robert [Griffin III]. It’s probably times I need to go back and be tough on myself. Can I be more of a runner here or maybe not a runner? Maybe I need to be a scrambler or off-schedule plays. When you watch the great guys play, a lot of them are off-schedule plays. An area where I can get better. It’s tough to simulate until you are in a real game with a live pass rush. [There are] many areas where I’m looking to be hard on myself. That’s an area where I can go back and improve.”

 

On sticking with the run,:

“I feel like that’s our foundation. That is what we do so well, that zone running game. We have great running backs. When you start to get away from your identity, who you are, I think you get bigger problems. We’ve got to stick to who we are, what we are good at. We knew coming into this game with Seattle that it was going to be a little rocky. They are good at stopping the run. They are a top defense and have Super Bowl rings for a reason. They are going to be good at stopping the run. We had to commit to it because that is who we are and it’s our identity. For the most part we are good at it. Credit Seattle in that sense.”

 

Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson

On the status of his preexisting shoulder injury:

“My shoulder’s pretty sore, but I think it’s in a lot better shape than what it was a couple weeks ago. It’s week to week but I’m doing everything I can to get my treatments and better it up so, toward the end of the season, I won’t feel it anymore. It’s no serious concern. I’m just getting my treatments and doing what I need to do to take care of my body.”

 

On how the game played out:

“Yeah, it was a tough team we played. They’re Super Bowl champions. What I felt when it was 10-17, we really couldn’t catch that break to tie the game up. Everybody is doing anything and everything we can to continue to play and try to get a break but we were never really able to do that.”

 

On why the team is not producing wins consistently:

“You know, it’s a process man. New coach, new quarterback that’s getting a lot of new experience and things like that. There’s a lot of new players added to the team here, so we’re trying to find our identity or continually go out there and just give us a chance to win. That’s the best I can say.”

 

Safety Ryan Clark

On the team’s performance:

“I’ve been doing this a long time. I am just a free safety. All I can control is No. 25. I’m going to come back and work. I’m going to get these rusty ankles fixed up that I hurt tonight, and come back and play ball. I think you saw that from all the guys in here though. It’s not necessarily about building on the good things. It’s figuring out what we didn’t do enough of to win. I think that’s the way guys are looking at it right now. Hopefully, we’re not saying we can build on it, because you can’t build on a loss. It’s still an L. What we have to do is find the things we did well, need to do those, and the things that made us lose the game, do those better.”

 

On his disappointment last week in how the team handled adversity:

“Without question. I think for me I was very disappointed with our reaction to adversity last week. I was very disappointed in the way we attacked after we were punched in the mouth. I think tonight that is what I wanted to see. I want to win. I understand that we don’t get paid to play football. We get paid to win football games. Period. We have to be better. For me, at this point in my career, I can’t play for a group of men who will lay down, and we didn’t, so I can live with that.”

 

On if he is running out of time for close calls:

“Definitely.”

 

Linebacker Brian Orakpo

On how hard it was to deal with Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson getting outside:

“That is a difficult thing. You normally – the edges – you can see Russell getting out but at the same time the way we are playing is playing play run, run. It’s hard man, it’s hard. You are trying to read the mess and you really can’t tell who has the ball. Russell who kept it a lot more than he would on his keeps this game than he showed on film. I guess he knows that we play our stuff a little but more aggressively than other teams when we are trying to stop the run. He did a good job, it was almost like he wasn’t even reading, it was almost like it was designed keeps the way he was hitting the edges and his quarterback boots and things of that nature.”

 

On adjustments made when the score was 17-0:

“Just squaring ourselves a little bit more, plaster a little bit better, like I said before. And then we got ourselves back in the game. We didn’t run out of gas, just didn’t make enough plays at the end. Phenomenal effort, we almost had it, was coming back. We almost did it but fell short.”

 

On how he felt like the defense did overall:

“I mean, we lost, but like I said phenomenal effort, guys didn’t quit regardless of the score we just kept fighting. We gave ourselves a chance at the end.”

 

On where he feels the Redskins are as a team:

“Obviously, like I said, we are 1-4 and we are disappointed, but these are the defending Super Bowl champions and we went toe-to-toe with these guys and that is something to hang our heads high on getting ready for Arizona.

 

Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan

On adjustments made from first half to second half:

“We just kind of just tried to play the bootlegs a little bit better. I mean, that is where he was really effective early in the game was on those keepers, which we didn’t see much of those on film in the previous weeks so you’ve got to tip your hat to them for adjusting during their bye week.”

 

On how frustrating it is to lose this way:

“Well, it is frustrating because we left it all out there and we came up short. But if we get that kind of effort and just limit the big plays and limit the mistakes then we have a chance to be good and start stacking up some wins.”

 

On Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson’s ability to create with his legs:

“He was a special player tonight. I don’t think it was anything we were really doing poorly, I mean the guy is just a football player and was making some really great plays.”

 

Safety Brandon Meriweather

On how the defense played as a whole tonight:

“I thought we played OK. I think we got a lot of things to get better with but we played OK. I think we played alright.”

 

On frustration on the long third down catch by Marshawn Lynch late in the game:

“It is always frustrating. Anytime you give up a play you shouldn’t, it’s always frustrating. So, you know, it is what it is.”

 

On how to process this loss with better performance than last week:

“You keep giving the same – you keep giving effort. As long as you are giving effort and you’re going out and doing your job, everything is going to fall into place. So, you know, you just have to go out and keep giving effort and let the chips fall where they may.”

 

Running Back Alfred Morris

On the rebound in the second half:

“We just corrected our mistakes. Their defense in the first half played one heck of a game, and we really didn’t match them the first half. We came back in the second half. In the first, we were able to get a touchdown, give us a little more momentum coming out in the second half – and the ball first. I mean, we had a lot of opportunities, and we didn’t capitalize on them. In the end, we lost.”

 

On the outcome of the game and if he is disappointed:

“Yes, because our effort was high. We played hard, but like I said, we didn’t capitalize on all the opportunities we were given. We didn’t match the defense early on. Thinking in the first half we had three or four three-and-outs. You know, you just can’t do that and expect to win the game.”

 

On Seattle’s defense shutting down the run:

“They’re just very active. They were doing a good job shedding blocks. You have them blocked, they’ll give us a look. They would shed guys and fall back into the holes. It was definitely causing problems in the running game. We didn’t do so good on the ground today and I think that hurt the offense.”

 
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