Press Conference: Redskins coach Jay Gruden

redskins-helmetOn if he is trying to prepare players for the training camp schedule:

“Clearly, yes, we are. We had practice in the morning, good tempo, and obviously we’re going to break off and meet in the afternoon and do a walkthrough in the afternoon and get them off their feet and meet and see how much they retain the next morning. We try to beat the heat a little bit and get them out here fresh in the morning. I think it’s a good thing.”

 

On trash talking:

“It happens. [Defensive Backs Coach] Raheem [Morris] is guilty of it, I’m guilty of it, we’re all guilty of a little trash talking. Pushing and shoving I’m not going to do. We don’t condone that, but sometimes competitive players push and shove. We’ve just got to avoid that.”

 

On if he had ever seen a player rip off another player’s facemask:

“Did that happen? I missed that [laughter].”

 

On linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive end Jason Hatcher:

“Orakpo just has a cold; he wasn’t feeling good, under the weather, strep throat maybe. He’ll be back, hopefullytomorrow. Hatcher, we’re going to continue to look at his knee and just see how he’s doing and make sure we take the proper precautions and get him ready for training camp.”

 

On Hatcher’s knee:

“I don’t know when he tweaked it, he just said he had a little bit of pain, a little bit of swelling, so we’re just going to make sure we do the proper procedures and as far as getting him checked out, MRI, X-ray, all that good stuff, just make sure he’s good… We’ll keep him out tomorrow also.”

 

On the progress the team has made:

“I feel good. You know, we’re in shorts. Obviously there’s limited things you can do. You can’t see us tackle, obviously, but I think from installing our system, how we’re going to practice, the tempo that we want to practice at, I think it’s been good. I think the players have all been receptive. They’ve come out here, practiced hard, played hard, retained information. We’ve made our share of mistakes, but we’ve been able to correct them and the same guys aren’t making the same mistakes, which is exciting. So I think we’re seeing progress every day. The big thing is to make sure we continue to progress and not take any steps backwards.”

 

On who is the biggest threat on offense:

“Hopefully the quarterback. The quarterback’s got to be the biggest threat of all-time. But after that, I think the good thing about our offense right now is we have multiple threats and the biggest key will be to distribute the ball, try to distribute it evenly and make sure everybody feels a part of the offense. Jordan Reed has had a great camp. Pierre [Garçon] had a great day today. DeSean [Jackson] has done his thing. Andre Roberts has done good things. There’s been other players. Ryan Grant had some big plays today. Alfred Morris is going to do his thing in the running game. [Roy] Helu has made some big plays. So it’s just a matter of getting people involved and getting excited about the gameplan and knowing every play, there could be somebody different that could hurt you.”

 

On tight end Jordan Reed’s concussions:

“The concussion thing, as we know, is a serious issue in the NFL right now. We have got to make sure we monitor everybody. Anybody who gets the slightest bit of a headache, we’re going to take our proper precautions and they’re going to see the doctor and go through the concussion test. He had a couple of unfortunate ones last year I guess and they kept him out for eight weeks, so obviously he had one and they took precautions. But he’s feeling good. We’re going to monitor everybody who might be feeling a little lightheaded or have a headache or what have you so that’s something we’re taking very seriously and our trainers are doing a good job to make sure everybody’s good.”

 

On Reed’s skill set:

“In the passing game, he can run every route and get down the field fast. He can lineup inside and outside, he can still play in the core. There’s not many tight ends anymore that can play in the core and block and also run routes. He’s got to put on a little bit of pounds, gain a little bit of weight by training camp, but overall we’re feeling good about what he can do not only in the running game because he’s got great feet, but obviously in the passing game lining up in multiple spots.”

 

On size of the wide receivers, specifically in the red zone:

“Yeah, it’s not the size that matters, but Pierre [Garçon] is six foot tall. [Tight end] Jordan [Reed] got a good size. DeSean [Jackson] plays a lot bigger than 5-foot-10 and, of course, a running quarterback with a major threat to run the ball is also very exciting to have. So we have plenty of weapons and we’re fine on size.”

 

On expectations for the defensive line:

“I think we have multiple players that can come in and rotate in there, be effective and stay fresh. That’s the important thing. We’re not just limited to two, three or four guys. We have seven or eight guys in the rotation that are all playing pretty well. We’ve got guys who can stop the run that are very powerful and not allow linemen to get out to the linebackers so that our linebackers can roam freely and now we’ve also added some guys that can rush the passer, which is very important. So, we feel pretty good with the depth of our defensive line. We’ve just got to continue to coach them. [Defensive Line Coach] Jacob Burney is doing a great job with those interior guys, of course [Outside Linebacker Coach] Brian Baker with the outside guys. So we’ve just got to continue to coach them and make sure they are doing the right thing in the right gaps and take care of business.”

 

On if the philosophy has changed for the defensive linemen:

“A little bit from time to time. Depending on the call, depending on the situation – first down, second-and-one, third-and-one, what’s the situation, what’s the call. Every call in our defense has different rules for gap assignments and rush assignment lanes and all that. But they can have the ability to play different styles. They can play a two-gap style, they can play one-gap style. There are different styles they can play.”

 

On the versatility of defensive end Kedric Golston:

“That’s important. That’s important to everybody. If you’re not the No. 1 guy, if you want to come in and be a rotational-type player, you need to play multiple spots and Kedric is another good example of that a guy that can play different spots. He’s played with a lot of energy. He’s not playing like a 30-something-year-old player like you said, he’s playing like youthful kid. He talks a little bit too much but he’s playing very well.”

 

On the tempo of the offense:

“I feel good with the tempo and urgency every day at practice. Sometimes in the morning it’s going to get hot and they are going to be a little bit lethargic but I think the coaching staff that we have, we have a lot energy on our coaching staff and they’re not going to allow their guys to loaf and be lazy. [Wide Receivers Coach] Ike [Hillard] is doing a great job with the wideouts, so on and so forth. I feel like they’re buying in right now. We still have a long way to go obviously but come training camp, once they get use to the schedule, it’s going to be a grind and they are going to have to get better and fight through the lethargies, being lethargic, and trying to fight through being tired. But right now I think the tempo has been good.”

 

On if the players are ready to put pads on:

“Yeah, there’s no doubt they’re ready – offensive linemen, defensive linemen. It’s very difficult for them to handle these shorts, these practices without pads. You tell them stay off the ground and don’t hold and don’t grab, but you tell them have great pad level and be physical and it’s hard to do that in shorts. I think in order to get a great look at the offensive and defensive line play, you’ve got to put the pads on. But I think overall we’ve stayed off the ground, we’ve adhered to the rules of the CBA and our guys have done a good job of buying into playing pursuit football, playing gap football and also staying off the ground.”

 

On linebacker Trent Murphy getting more reps in Orakpo’s absence:

“It’s been good for Trent. All the rookies have got some quality work, not just Trent. But Trent’s done a great job. He’s played both sides, he’s played in nickel situations, he’s played with the three technique, he’s stood up and moved around. So Trent’s done an outstanding job and I see him all the time in the film room watching practice. He’s very aware of what his role is and what it’s going to be and he wants to study it and be the best at it. So he’s got a long way to go, there’s no question about it, but the amount of work that he puts into practice and in the games, I think he’s going to get there a lot quicker than a normal person.”

 

On linebackers around:

“It’s the ability to get matchups, you know? You might not want to have Orakpo on the same tackle every down, you might want to put him on the opposite side tackle – you might want to put Trent over there. It’s about matchup football and trying to get your right people on the people you want them to rush against.”

 

On his pass reception during practice:

“My reception? Wasn’t expecting it. You know Jake Peetz threw a nice spiral, I made a good catch, got both feet down and turned up field and got the first down.”

 

On the level of concern with Hatcher:

“There’s no concern. We’re going to get him checked out and we’ll go from there, but I feel like he’ll be ready for training camp, that’s the big thing. We’re taking the proper precautions and [Head Athletic Trainer] Larry [Hess] and the training staff will do a good job making sure he’s ready to roll.”

 

On evaluating quarterbacks and his evaluation of Kirk Cousins:

“I think Kirk has done a great job and I think Colt has done a great job also. There are some things they are going to… They’re going to make some mistakes out here. Coach [Jim] Haslett, they’ve done a good job – Raheem Morris – of throwing different disguises at them, different coverages, different blitzing schemes and overall I feel good about the mental aspect of the protection. No. 1, making sure they are protected and No. 2, getting to the right progression and right reads. They haven’t been perfect, nor would I expect them to, but I feel like they are coming along good from the mental side of it.”

 

On how quarterback Robert Griffin III will progress before camp:

“Quarterbacks need to throw. He needs to continue throwing and working on his footwork and fundamentals, different arm angles throwing the ball. You see some, he’s got to throw three-quarters, over the top, high release, low release, footwork, stepping up into the pocket, two hands on the ball. There is drill work you can do as a quarterback that you have got to take care of yourself when nobody is watching you in order to be great. I know that Drew [Brees] is going to do it, I know Tom Brady does it, Peyton Manning does it. All the great ones are going to do it and he is no different. He is going to work his butt off in the offseason with a coach or without a coach, but he is going to just continue to work on his balance, footwork, and fundamentals.”

 

On if he plans on starting camp with three quarterbacks:

“We’ll see. I like the three quarterbacks right now. I think we should coach the three quarterbacks up we have and there’s not a lot of reps because the majority of the reps we have will go to Robert and the rest of them, Kirk and Colt, they will have to make do with the rest but the majority of the reps will go to Robert. I think three is good and we will see how their arms do in training camp and if we need to bring another one in we will, but I can also throw perfect spirals and complete passes.”

 

On evaluating running plays without pads:

“It’s hard because defensive linemen, they’re trying to pull guys and hold guys off and not let them get in the gaps. You can’t see the offensive linemen get up on the next level. Sometimes, ‘Would he have gotten tackled? I don’t know.’ Just trying to work on any points by the backs, footwork by the backs, angles of the offensive linemen getting up in the hole, and the cutbacks by the backs and the pad level, ball security. There are certain things you can still look at like run fits, assignment blocking, fundamentals. All that is very, very important this time of year whether you have pads on or not. But obviously the true test will be in the preseason games when it is live and [you see] who can run through tackles, who can get hit and make yards after contact. Those are the ones that separate the average backs from the great backs. Obviously, Alfred [Morris] has already proven that after contact he is one of the best in the NFL.”

 
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