Press Conference; Washington coach Jay Gruden

redskins_scriptrWashington coach Jay Gruden talks with reporters on Tuesday. Washington has its 2014 NFL home opener on Sunday vs. Jacksonville.

 

On tight end Jordan Reed:

“He’s got a moderate hamstring pull still. We’ve just got to take it on a week-to-week basis. He didn’t do anything today and it’s still pretty sore, so we’ll just have to continue to monitor him and see what he can dotomorrow and the next day and keep moving forward.”

 

On if there is no chance of Reed playing:

“I wouldn’t say there’s no chance. There’s always a chance. But I think the way he’s walking around right now, it’s pretty sore for him, and you can see him working out with the trainers. He’s trying to do some stuff out there individually, but anybody who has had a hamstring pull – moderate – it’s going to take some time. When you rush guys back there and they pull it worse, then they’re out for longer. The big thing is to make sure he’s 100 percent when he’s out there so we don’t have any recurrence of the same injury.”

 

On the injury report:

“[Kedric] Golston’s groin, he’s day-to-day still. Akeem Jordan’s knee, he’s still a little gimpy. And then [Tracy] Porter’s hamstring, he did not practice again today. [Brian] Orakpo’s ankle, he was limited today. Duke [Ihenacho] twisted his ankle just a little bit in individual. He was limited today. And Trent [Williams] had a little shoulder. He practiced  but he was limited.”

 

On if Reed’s injury could potentially open a spot for wide receiver Santana Moss to be active Sunday:

“Potentially, yeah. Wednesdays and Thursdays we’re trying to look at all options, find out who our healthy bodies are and then our best case scenarios as far as who’s dressing and special teams plays a big role in that. If you’re going to dress six receivers, you’d like a couple of them to be special team demons. We just didn’t feel that way for the game against Houston so we only dressed five. We’ll see moving forward with only the possibility of two tight ends up. It could be an extra lineman, could be an extra safety, could be an extra running back, we don’t know yet. We just have got to play it by ear and see what happens. Tomorrow after practice, we’ll start making a decision.”

 

On quarterback Robert Griffin III’s performance on Sunday

“There are certain things you like. You know, when you play a game, you throw 39 balls or whatever it was, he completed 29, he had a high completion percentage. We didn’t drive the ball down the field, unfortunately, but we scored six points. We fumbled twice in the red zone. He took a couple sacks that he shouldn’t have taken. He did some great things, he did some things not so great. That’s kind of the story of everybody in that game, play callers included. Everybody has a lot of improving to do. I like where he’s at mentally. I think he’s starting to gain momentum and confidence every day out at practice. We just have to carry it over on the field and decisions have to be consistent at the quarterback position, especially when games are tight. When the level of competition is so equal amongst the 32 teams, one mistake here can cost you and we had five or six catastrophic mistakes that really cost us and you can’t have those if you expect to win the NFL. Quarterback had a couple, our punt team had one, our defense had one or two. All those add up to major losses in NFL so we have to eliminate those, quarterback had a few. Overall, I think from a mental standpoint, I feel good about it now. It’s just a matter of him getting comfortable and letting loose and playing. He’s still a young kid, he’s just got to go out there and play and let loose and let it rip.”

 

On emphasizing Griffin III’s development as a pocket passer and managing his ability to run:

“There wasn’t a lot of running lanes for him. As a dropback passer, sometimes you’ll get running lanes. Sometimes the pass rush up the field, you’ll get a natural running lane, but Houston did a great job of really pushing the pocket and not giving a lot of running lanes for him to go. We didn’t have any designed runs for him, but if you’re going to be a professional football quarterback, you’re going to have to learn to be a pocket passer at some point in your career and he’s learning. He’s not a finished product yet by any stretch of the imagination, but he will get there. I know one thing that if you keep telling Robert he can’t do something, he’s going to do it and he’s going to want to do it and he’ll get there.”

 

On safety Duke Ihenacho:

“Yeah, he just twisted his ankle just a hair in individual but I think he will be OK. He just got wrapped up and re-taped. He was limited, but he has picked it up. He had a good walkthrough. I think mentally he is starting to get a good feel for the defense and the calls, which is important. It is one thing to be a great physical specimen and be a great tackler but you’ve got to know where to go and how to get there and he is starting to learn that process now and Raheem [Morris] is going to get him ready. So if we need him he will be ready to roll – him and [Bacarri] Rambo and we will play them both hopefully.”

 

On the loss of nose tackle Barry Cofield:

“It’s a big loss. Anytime you lose a defensive lineman, you don’t have that many – not many big good football players in the NFL anymore, especially at defensive line. You lose one and you might have a replacement but it really hurts your depth, but luckily Chris Baker is a darn good nose guard. He will step in – he stepped in during Barry’s absence and did a great job against Houston. Now Frank Kearse has to step up and play in the backup role, [defensive end Clifton] Geathers might have to play a little bit more, [defensive end Jarvis] Jenkins might have to be on the field a little bit more and same with [defensive end Jason] Hatcher. Now instead of being six deep, seven deep, now we are down to five possibly, so those guys have got to make sure they are in great shape but we have bodies to do it, they just have got to do a little bit more.”

 

On if there was a specific moment he saw improved confidence in Griffin III last week:

“Not really, I think just talking to him on the sideline and watching him play, his demeanor, I think he played with a good amount of confidence and felt pretty comfortable. Them pushing the pocket I think had some issues with him as far as his footwork is concerned but overall he got the ball out in rhythm. We didn’t run a lot of passes down the field where he had to hold the ball too long and make a whole lot of different reads, but he did a fairly good job. He was accurate with the football, which was good. He was decisive with the football, which was good. But there were some other plays in there – a couple of the sacks he took weren’t very good. Some of his out of the pocket decisions weren’t very good and that’s where we need to thrive as an offense. If he gets out of the pocket with the dual threat that he has, A) the receiver has got to do a great job of getting open for him down the field and he has got to find them. We had the one in the first quarter, Andre Roberts is running free and he threw it out of bounds and he stepped out of bounds by a foot, that’s a 40-yard gain that you end up punting. Those are plays we need to take advantage of with an elusive athletic quarterback like that if we are going to really take that next step. Pocket passing is one thing but when he breaks contain, that is when there is a lot of damage done and you see the great ones do that – Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and [Colin] Kaepernick and all those guys that have the elusiveness when they break contain. It’s important for our receivers to do a great job of bailing him out.”

 

On if it is easier to run read option against 4-3 defenses instead of 3-4 defenses:

“In certain cases it is but you can do some things to be successful against the 3-4 teams. They did it against Baltimore a couple years ago and had some success. They have had success in the past with it, but it is a little more difficult because the edges are set a little bit more firm. We are playing a 4-3 team but we just did not have any called last week and we might not have any called this week. We will see how the game plan works right now. It is still part of our game that we will get to eventually. When and where? We are not sure yet.”

 

On bringing back safety Akeem Davis:

“He’s a great special teams player. He’s still learning the defense – very raw as far as secondary is concerned. He’s learning, but he really makes his mark on special teams and really helps in that regard. You hate to lose big guys that can run fast, and he’s one of those guys that can run fast and he’s somebody the other team has to really deal with on special teams. From a defensive standpoint, if he’s a fourth or fifth safety, hopefully he won’t be thrust into action anytime soon, but if he is, he’s slowly but surely coming along and can take some reps at safety, but really he will make his mark on special teams.”

 

On linebacker Brian Orakpo’s ankle and if it affected his performance last Sunday:

“I don’t think so. I think his ankle is fine. He’s just being very cautious with it. I think the biggest thing that had something to do with his quiet afternoon is Houston was never really in a position where they had to throw the ball. They were in third down and mediums a lot, third down and shorts where they didn’t really have to hold the ball too long. They had the lead so they were very conservative with their approach, so we didn’t really get a lot of good get-offs and get-after the quarterback type plays. Those will come once the offense gets going and we start to get a lead and the teams have to pass it – then you will see more Orakpo and [Ryan] Kerrigan – hold teams to third down and eight or third down and nine and we’ll get a chance for them to rush, but against Houston, there just weren’t many opportunities for him.”

 

On if Reed’s possible absence could open up opportunities for the receivers:

“It could be the case, but really I think whether Niles [Paul] is in there or Jordan is in there or Logan [Paulsen] at tight end, I think they’re still part of the progression. As a quarterback, you can’t predetermine where you’re going with the football because I can draw up a coverage to take away any pattern that you draw up, so it’s very important for you to see the field, see the coverage, see the safeties and be able to read and react quickly to your different progressions. If they want to take away our two outside receivers, then Andre [Roberts] or Logan or Jordan, our halfback has to do some damage. It might be that type of game, we’ll see how they play. Definitely Jacksonville has the ability to play some Cover 2, they play some Cover 3, they play some man-to-man, so it’s important for our quarterback to read and react to what they’re playing and our receivers to take advantage of the looks when they get them.”

 

On how important it is to make plays downfield:

“It’s very important. I said it the week before the Houston game –it is very difficult to go on the road and try to put together eight, 10, 12-play drives against a good defense with a good pass rush, and that’s kind of what happened. We kind of put together five, six, seven, eight plays and then eventually we shot ourselves with a sack, a throwaway or what have you or a fumble, two fumbles, so it’s important for us to get some chunks somewhere. We’ve got to figure out a way to get them and take the shots, and when we do take the shots – don’t take a 14-yard loss or throw an interception. We were very poor with our play-actions. I think we ran seven play-action passes with the bootlegs included and I think we completed four balls for eight yards and we took a big sack on one of them. You’d think the way we ran the ball that the play-actions would have been more successful, but Houston did a nice job covering. But, we can’t stop calling them, we’ve got to make sure that we have a good combination, a good mixture of runs and the play pass and take our shots when we can, and just make sure we eliminate the negative plays out of our repertoire.”

 

On eliminating the ‘catastrophic’ plays:

“You just hope that everybody understands that each play is its own entity and very, very important in the course of a ball game. You never know when your number is going to be called or when that play is going to strike and become a huge one. You never know. Second-and-10 at the minus-30, playing defense in Cover 2, you never know. You’ve got to be in position to make a play. If you’re on punt,  you’ve got to make sure that guy doesn’t go inside. If you’re the quarterback, you can’t take a sack on third-down-and-eight on the 34-yard line. You’re in field goal range. You never know. You’ve got to understand situational football. Coaches have got to understand, players have got to understand and we’ve got to do a better job of making sure that you’re not the guy, I’m not the guy, that makes that mistake and everybody is accountable to their job. And that’s a big focus this week – do your job and everything else will take care of itself.”

 
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