Press Conference: Washington coach Jay Gruden

redskins_scriptrWashington coach Jay Gruden talks with reporters on Wednesday. Washington (1-1) plays NFC East rival Philadelphia (2-0) on Sunday.

 

On the injury report:

“Obviously Robert [Griffin III] will be out. Did not participate – Akeem Jordan still with a sore knee, Tracy Porter with his hamstring, Jordan Reed’s day-to-day with his hamstring, Kedric Golston with his groin, and DeSean Jackson did not participate with his shoulder. Limited was DY [Darrel Young]. He has the neck and back issue. Then Kai Forbath was limited with his groin. Full practice was Roy Helu, Shawn Lauvao and Brian Orakpo.”

 

On his level of optimism about wide receiver DeSean Jackson’s chances of playing this week:

“I feel pretty good. A lot of these injuries I can be optimistic or not, it doesn’t really matter. It depends on how he feels, really, and whether or not he feels like he’s got full motion with the shoulder. We’re not going to put him out there in any circumstance where he’s going to be playing in pain because that will take away from his style. He’s a reckless player, a fast player, and if he’s not 100 percent, he’s not worth being out there. But he’s a tough kid and I think he’ll get right.”

 

On if there is any new information on quarterback Robert Griffin III’s ankle:

“No, nothing really new. I think everything’s the same. He’s going to be in a cast for about 10 days, and then they’ll reevaluate after they take the cast off. Nothing new popped up as far as any new injury popped up. It’s what we thought it was. It’s just going to be 10 days in a cast and then we’ll look at it from there and it’ll be a rehab process – probably four to six weeks, somewhere in there.”

 

On if he has any sense for tight end Jordan Reed’s possibility of playing this Sunday:

“I don’t. It’s just the dang hamstring. It’s one of the most difficult injuries to guess upon and try to predict because you push him out there too quick, he’ll reinjure it. But right now, he’s not doing anything. He’s just working with the trainers as far as doing some rehab in there and hopefully tomorrow he’ll go out there and do some more individual work and then see where he’s at.”

 

On Reed’s injury history:

“Well, it’s a totally different injury and you have to take every injury for what it is. It’s something different and the plan varies based on the injury, whether it’s the knee, neck, shoulder… Hamstrings are totally different than you’d rehab a knee or concussion or what have you. So, we just have to take every injury into its own account and rehab him and get him right 100 percent. I don’t know when that’ll be, though.”

 

On the similarities in coaching Kirk Cousins and Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton:

“It’s what I know. It’s where I come from. It’s the football that I’ve learned coming through the ranks, studying other teams from my brother and all that stuff. So the system hasn’t changed really from Robert Griffin to kirk cousins to Andy Dalton. We’re running a structured amount of plays and concepts that I like and know and we try to be different and have some variety but nothing’s really changing. But he is a very similar guy to Andy. They both wear rubber rings on their ring finger, you know, but they’re quarterbacks. They’re drop-back quarterbacks and they’re both very good, competitive, smart players. But Andy’s done it. Andy’s proven it. He’s won. He’s been the past three years in the row and played a lot of football. Kirk hasn’t had the reps that Andy’s had. Andy from Day 1 of training camp, he got every first-team rep. That’s not the case with Kirk. So, he’s got to now take all these reps and fast forward to a game on Sunday and that’s easier said than done a lot.”

 

On how much time the coaching staff took in the offseason to prepare for the Eagles’ offense:

“Yeah, we take quite a bit. We really study our division opponents very much and we always study trends around the league and obviously the no-huddle is a trend that a lot of people are going to. Not just Philadelphia, but there’s a lot of teams running no-huddle and you study how you communicate the process for your defense and try not to be so vanilla all the time. But, I think today was a great day, a firsthand look at the tempo. It’s hard to mirror that tempo in a game situation – the fast pace – but today was a start. Tomorrow we’ll get more of it, but we have studied Philadelphia quite a lot.”

 

On how difficult it is to create that tempo in practice:

“It’s hard, it’s very hard because you have to show the cards to the scout team and you try to have a couple different sets of cards going and all that good stuff and you try to tell the defense, ‘Hey don’t give the signal until the very last second so you’ve got to communicate it.’ So, there’s a couple different ways to do it and you only have so many guys that can run scout team cards, too. It’s not like we NCAA football roster limits. You know, we have 53 guys here practicing here, really about 45 guys practicing here so it’s hard to get the subs in and out of there. I think we have a couple good periods we really do the up-tempo and try to get a good look. Practicing the up-tempo and tackling [Darren] Sproles and [LeSean] Shady McCoy are two different things.”

 

On the difference in this opportunity for quarterback Kirk Cousins:

“I don’t know how the opportunity was last year. I’d like to think that this year I tried to lay it out very clear for Kirk coming in here that Robert was the starter and he was going to get all the starter reps and it was his job, and it was his job to be the No. 2 guy and take advantage of his reps when he got them in the preseason and in practice and he’s done that. Now that Robert’s had the injury, it’s his job and we’ll cater to what he does, but he’s been nothing but a pro with the whole process of this ordeal and I think he’ll be ready. Time will tell. He got some good looks, the running game was very effective against Jacksonville. We’ll see how he does in some key third down situations when the game’s tight or if we’re trailing. There’s a lot of circumstances in a football game that can really determine how a quarterback will be with the pressure. We’ll see, but we have obviously high hopes for Kirk and I know the team does.”

 

On if he appreciates running back Alfred Morris more after working with him this year:

“Yeah, no question about it. He is a tough guy and he’s a great guy to lean on. You know, if things don’t go right in the passing game, if you’re worried about a pass rusher here or there, it’s nice to turn and hand it off a guy you know is going to get some chunks of yards for you and run through tackles and make positive plays and not complain if he doesn’t get the ball and all that good stuff. He’s a class act. He’s a good, hard runner, great zone runner. He has great vision and obviously, the best part of Alfred is No. 1) he’s very durable, and No. 2) he makes yards after contact. He’s always falling forward which gets you from second-and-nine, instead of second-and-nine, you get second-and-seven, second-and-six, which those are huge yards. They really are. So, he’s been everything as advertised when I got here and we’re going to continue to rely on him.”

 

On running back Darren Sproles joining the Eagles in the offseason:

“He’s a great player. Anytime you have a chance to get after a player like that who’s been that dominant in the passing game – a third-down type player, ball in space – you’d like a crack at him. It didn’t work out for us, and when you find out it’s not going to work out with us, you dang sure want him to go to the AFC somewhere, but unfortunately he went to Philly. He’s a great player. You can tell he works hard. He understands his role. He relishes it. He dominates his role. When his number is called, he produces consistently, year after year after year. He’s a great pick up for them.”

 

On if a quarterback like Kirk Cousins can be good without immediate playoff wins, awards, etc.:

“There’s no question. No question. We don’t expect him to go out and win the MVP next week or win a Super Bowl to prove he’s an upper-echelon quarterback right away. We do expect him to produce and play within the offense and not make mistakes and do what he’s supposed to do – handle the protections and play the position – because we feel like he’s good enough to play the position at a very high level. Expectations? We expect him to be effective. He doesn’t have to throw for 450 yards and six touchdowns to be effective. He can manage the game, manage third downs, not turn the ball over, keep us in good field position and play the position. Good quarterbacks can play differently. It’s not all about stats all the time, so we feel good about where Kirk is, but we’ll see. ”

 

On Jackson as a teammate:

“He’s been great. I like DeSean a lot. He hasn’t been any issue, hasn’t had a problem as far as being late, as far as any personal problems. He comes out to practice, works hard. I don’t have any problem with him. I don’t know what the issue was beforehand, I can’t speak on Philly, but ever since he’s walked in these doors he’s been fine with the players and with me.”

 

On the return of safety Brandon Meriweather:

“It’s another guy to communicate, another guy to help handle the defense. Ryan Clark has done a great job of holding the fort down. Now you throw another guy out there who knows the defense inside and out and can communicate with the linebackers and the defensive line and they really play well together. You can see that all through training camp. When Ryan and Meriweather are out there together, they really do a great job at communicating and working well. He’s another physical presence to our defense. You throw Ryan Clark out there and Brandon Meriweather out there, two guys that’ll bring the funk so to speak, tackling-wise, it makes a big deal when receivers go across the middle.”

 

On the next step for Jackson:

“I think we’re just going to go day-to-day with it and see. I think tomorrow he’ll probably be limited, if anything. The big thing is he’s getting his range of motion back and his strength. We’ll see where he is, but I thinkThursday I would be surprised if he practiced. Friday, I’m hoping he gets some reps and we’ll challenge him with some balls over his head, see if he can go up and get them, put the shoulder pads on him and see if he can bang around a little bit. I’m hoping Friday, if he practices, then he’d be good to go, but we’ll see. ”

 

On if he was worried about the talk about Jackson prior to signing him:

“Not really. We did our due diligence on him. I’ve known some people that worked with him and I feel pretty good about when you bring a football player in, you coach them to play football and you have a set of rules and you have some good players that have a great sense of accountability. [Linebacker] Brian Orakpo, you bring in [defensive end] Jason Hatcher, you have Ryan Clark, you have guys like that that hold the players accountable. The more players like that you have, you worry less about somebody like DeSean who has a bad reputation, but none of that bad reputation thing has followed him. If he had one or not, I don’t know. He’s been fine with us, like I said – on time, worked hard, prepared hard. Actually, I really like him. He’s a fun guy to be around… every now and then [laughter].”

 

On the release of safety Bacarri Rambo:

“Well, when Brandon came back, we had to release somebody and I think Trenton Robinson has done such a great job on special teams, same with Akeem Davis, that they were going to stick. Then, we got Duke [Ihenacho] just now. We had to release a safety and that’s what we chose.”

 

On if he is concerned about defensive line depth when facing an up-tempo offense:

“No question, there is a major concern there. It’s been a concern for the first two opponents that they [Philadelphia] played because Jacksonville wore down and so did Indianapolis – it looked like on tape. I’m not going to speak on their behalf. When you’re up 17-0 in the third quarter and you give up 34 and a couple of those big plays, it could be not so much the defensive line but maybe the safeties, the communication gets out of whack. Big plays happen, so it’s very important for us to figure out a way to stay fresh and try to use the best rotation we can possible whether it’s nickel, whether it’s base, whatever it might be, but we have to stay fresh somehow. For them to stay fresh, we’ve got to do a great job defensively on third down and offensively on third down to keep drives alive and keep them off the field. That’ll be the key to the game.”

 

On how Jackson is so effective despite his size:

“He can run really fast [laughter]. He’s really fast and he’s really good after the catch, you know what I mean? He can catch and he’s not afraid of traffic whatsoever. So he can catch a short pass, turn them into big gains, and obviously he takes the top off a defense. Even if he’s not catching the ball he’s opening it up for somebody else underneath. Unfortunately against Houston, we weren’t able to use a lot of that stuff and then he got hurt against Jacksonville, so hopefully the next 13 games you’ll see a lot more of DeSean.”

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