Press Conference: Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden

redskins-helmet1Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden talks with reporters. The Redskins open the 2014 season Sunday at Houston.

 

On quarterback Robert Griffin III and having a perfectionist mentality at that position:

“Robert is a perfectionist, no question. That’s good, that’s what you want your quarterback to be. You want him to be detail-orientated as far as the routes are concerned, the protections and be aware of what’s going on around you and also make sure that he knows that every throw has got to be on time and perfect. Obviously, we’ve had our instances where not everything has been perfect. When you play 16 games against 16 very good defenses, you’re going to have some issues every now and then. The big thing is to fight through them and move on to the next play as quickly as possible, learn from your mistakes and hope that the next play is going to be a better one. I’m very encouraged with where he is as a quarterback right now. Obviously, time will tell when we play Sunday. I’m sure we’ll have a great measuring stick there.”

 

On how helpful it is to have a strong running game when game planning against a good pass rush:

“Very. That’s the case every week.  Every team has good pass rushers somewhere along their defensive front and Texans are no different with [Jadeveon] Clowney, [J.J.] Watt and [Brooks] Reed. So they can really get after the quarterback and obviously the great neutralizer is a strong running game and we think we possess that. So, it’s going to be very important for us to establish some kind of running game. If we get behind and it turns into a dropback pass fest, it won’t be pretty. So it’s very important for us to stick with the run, run the ball and do the best we can in that regard to take some pressure off our quarterback and our linemen, for that matter.”

On game planning for Texans rookie linebacker Jadeveon Clowney:

“Clowney and Watt have been on the field for about 20 plays this whole preseason. So, it’s been very difficult to really try to get a good feel for where they’re going to be all the time. We have a general idea, but, you know, it’s difficult and to really envision the type of speed and size and power that he has just watching it on film is also not easy. We assume that he’s going to be on Trent’s [Williams] side and if he moves over to Tyler’s [Polumbus] side then so be it. We just have got to do a good job of knowing who her is, where his strengths are as a pass rusher and go from there.”

On Gruden saying Griffin III wants everyone to love him, and if Griffin III has grown since then:

“I think so. I think so. He came out of Baylor, was a Heisman Trophy [winner], everybody loved him. He had a great year his rookie year, was Rookie of the Year, did some great things, and then obviously as quarterbacks do go through at some point in their career, they hit a rocky spot. He hit the rocky spot last year and kind of realized that people will turn on him, writers included. That’s just the nature of the business [laughter]. Just the nature of the business and I understand that as a coach. You have to understand that as a player and you have to take the good with the bad. The most important thing I tell the quarterback is you have got to be mentally tough and you have got to handle adversity. I think he’s done a great job of that. It’s tough a pill for him to swallow, but I think he swallowed it and I think he moved forward and is trying to do the best he can.”

 

On what happens once a player learns that lesson:

“I think he just stays focused on his job and his job only, and not worried about reading papers and articles and seeing ESPN or whatever it is. He just wants to worry about his job, making himself better, a better player, worried about his progressions, his pass protections responsibilities, his run game responsibility. Just worry about playing the position and doing right in his family life and not worry about anything else in the outside world.”

 

On if he has established his captains:

“I have not, yet. We’ll vote on those probably Friday.”

 

On Griffin III’s progression in making decisive throws:

“We hope that he’s progressing good, but we’ll see on Sunday. It’s going to be very important for him to get the ball out of his hands. The longer he pats the ball back there and gives those great pass rushers in Houston or Dallas or New York or Philadelphia – any pass rushers, for that matter – time to get after him, it’s not going to be good. So the whole intent of this offense is when we do pass it, we know where our quick elements are, we get the ball to our players out in space and let them do the work for him. Hopefully Robert knows where all those people are on the field and can get the ball out. Our intent as an offense is to make sure we have enough passing plays where he doesn’t have to hold the ball that long. We’ll take some shots here and there, too, where he has to hold it a little bit longer, but for the most part, let’s get him into some rhythm – unlike we did against Baltimore – and try to get the ball moving.”

 

On if he has any concern about Griffin III being attentive to his perception:

“He gets interviewed so much that sometimes he probably says some things he probably shouldn’t say, but I think that he’s far enough along and he understands this business now that not everybody is going to like him. He’s probably just making that point, I hope. But hopefully he understands that, and I just made that clear a minute ago. He’s just got to understand at the position that you play, you’re going to be criticized quite heavily if things don’t go right in this organization. He’s going to be the focal point – myself and he will be the focal point. We’ve got to understand that, take the good with the bad and learn from our mistakes and move forward and not worry about the outside world. But if he’s focused too much on what other people are thinking, it’s going to be a problem for him in the future, and hopefully he’s moved past that.”

 

On if safety Duke Ihenacho could start Sunday:

“Right now it looks like it will be [safety Bacarri] Rambo but we still have another day or two of practice and we will see how it goes.  Just have got to make sure he gets up to speed and then we will make that decision probablyFriday or Saturday depending on where he is mentally.”

 

On if being a first-year head coach has its advantages:

“Yeah, that is true. We both are kind of dealing with the same thing, trying to study and put together a game plan based on a couple preseason games is rough. Like I said, [cornerback] Johnathan Joseph hasn’t even played, Watt and Clowney has only played about 18-20 snaps together at the same time, [Brian] Cushing’s played very limited. I don’t know exactly what they’re going to do. You try and go back and watch some tape from a couple years ago of Kansas City’s defense to see what they did there. Overall you just have to have a good sound approach to the type of defense that he plays and have answers both in the passing game and the running game and feel good that your system in place can account for a lot of things that you might not see on tape. And we do feel good about our protection scheme and our running game and we feel good. Anything that they throw at us, we should have an answer eventually.”

 

On if being a first-year head coach is a positive:

“It could be a positive. Can be. I hope it is.”

 

On his emotions and game readiness going into Week 1:

“I feel good. I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders a little bit. When you’re a coordinator you just worry about the offensive game plan and scripting and doing the cards, but as a head coach there is a lot more on your plate. And I’ve been eating it all, it’s rough. It’s been exciting and I’m very excited about the first game to start, very nervous, but I know that the staff that I hired and the players we have in the building, I know it is not going to be about me and it is going to be about them and their success. And we feel like we have got the players and the coaches in place here to put together a successful football team on the field and when it’s all said and done as a coach that is all you want. You want to get your players in the best position to succeed and we feel like we have done that up to this point. Now it is up to them to go out and play.”

 

On cornerback Tracy Porter:

“He got the hamstring. He is getting his hamstring checked out.”

 

On Texans defensive end J.J. Watt’s ability to bat down passes:

“You just watch tape on him and he’s got plenty of tape to prove that he is one of the most dynamic linemen in the game. [Chris] Chester’s got to watch him, Kory’s [Lichtensteiger] got to watch him, Shawn Lauvao’s got to watch him, our tackles have got to watch him because we don’t know where he is going to lineup half the time. They’ve all got to be aware of his power move, he has got a swim move, he has got an inside move, he has got it all and then if he doesn’t rush he’ll bat the ball down. So we’ve just got to understand that he is a great player and we’ve got to work on our technique. Coach [Chris] Foerster, we’ve been working techniques all throughout training camp and these guys are professional linemen, been playing it for a long time and have faced great pass rushers, but they just have got to buckle up and bear down on every snap because he is a game-changing type player and we have to know where he is at all times.”

 

On tight end Jordan Reed and linebacker Akeem Jordan:

“Yeah, Jordan [Reed] did everything today, and Akeem did not participate. He is still working through the knee.”

 

On his level of concern about Porter:

“We are a little concerned – not concerned, we have players here. If he can’t go, we are OK. We have some good enough players that are ready and have been taking a lot of work because he hasn’t been available that often in training camp and in the preseason. So we have guys that are ready to step up and play if he is not ready.”

 

On if Porter was in attendance for practice:

“He was elsewhere. He was getting checked out from another doctor.”

         
 

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