Press Conference: Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden

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

 

On linebacker Brian Orakpo:

“He did a little today. He’ll still be questionable on injury report, and we’ll go from there. We’ll get a better look at him tomorrow and Saturday and hopefully he’ll be ready.”

 

On cornerback Tracy Porter and linebacker Akeem Jordan:

“Tracy did not practice today and neither did Akeem. So, not looking good.”

 

On if tests on Porter’s hamstring showed anything new:

“Not really, not anything different. He’s got a slight pull of his hamstring. It’s just a matter of how much he can handle and how he feels moving forward. So, those hamstring injuries are tough. What you always see on a MRI doesn’t seem to match sometimes what the body feels like, and sometimes they feel better than what it shows and sometimes it’s worse than what it shows. It’s going to be all on Tracy and his recovery and when he’s ready, it’s dependent on Tracy.”

 

On the strong safety rotation:

“Yeah, we’re going to start with [Bacarri] Rambo and go from there. And then from there we’re still in the process of evaluating Duke [Ihenacho]. He’s done a great job coming in here. He’s very active. Obviously, you can see he’s very physical, and he’s picked up the defense fairly quickly. But moving forward, I think Rambo’s been here, he’s done a great job when he’s been asked to step in there – both in the preseason and in training camp and during these practices. So, we feel good about Rambo, then obviously we’ll have Duke ready if need be.”

 

On the keys to improving in the red zone and how he did it in Cincinnati:

“There’s a lot of things involved in that one. There’s anticipation level a quarterback has to have and a trust factor he has to have with his receivers, tight ends and backs when you’re throwing the football. We’ve got to know where they’re going to be. The receiver’s got to be there and the quarterback has got to pull the trigger. Fortunately, we did a good job of that. I think when you’re a rookie quarterback playing rookie receivers our first year, there’s a lot of feeling out going on, and the more comfortable he got with the receivers and tight ends, obviously the more successful he will be. That’s the case here. We still have that process going on right here, and Robert [Griffin III] is still in the process of seeing the throws, and sometimes he’s pulling them, sometimes he’s not. It’s a process quarterbacks that have to go through. You have got to go out here and practice these throws and these tight windows and gain that trust factor with the receivers. And the quarterback has to know the receiver’s going to be here, and the receivers got to be there for these plays to work in the red zone because the areas are very, very tight down there. But also, you’ve got to be able to run the football down there. You’ve got to have the threat of the run. Hopefully, we have that here. It’s very important when you do throw the ball that you get defensive backs out of there and teams aren’t dropping eight men into coverage where the windows are damn-near impossible to find. You have got to have the threat of running and obviously stay out of those third-down-and-goals at the 10. Those are almost impossible. So, there’s a lot of factors involved in it but mainly it’s when you’re throwing the football, it’s just gaining trust between your receiver and quarterback.”

 

On if captains have been selected:

“Not yet. We voted today. We’re going to count the good-old votes and go from there. But, the captains are captains. That’s important. We’ll have offensive, defensive and special teams captains and then I’ll appoint a captain also each game depending on what’s going on during the week.”

 

On quarterback Robert Griffin III’s improvement in the red zone this offseason:

“I think it’s started to click. Like I said, a lot of the situations are dependent on how successful you’ll be. You know, if you get a lot of first-and-goals and second-and-goals in the short and intermediate range, first-and-10 at the plus-20, second-and-3 at the plus-16 is a hell of a lot easier than third-down-and-11 at the plus-17 or third-down-and-10 at the 10. So, it’s situation dependent. We feel good about our red zone package, and I feel good about where Robert’s at. It’s just some of those tough down and distances we have got to do a better job. I think he’s gaining momentum and confidence in the receivers. The receivers are gaining confidence in the scheme. We’re repping these plays over and over again – Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, all of training camp and all of OTAs – so they’re getting to see the same concepts quite a bit, and then depending on who we play, some of those concepts may change based on how they play. But, for the most part, I feel like he’s in a good place with our red zone offense.”

 

On how he feels about the offense’s progression:

“I feel good. I feel like we have a good game plan, a good combination of plays that we can be successful with, and that’s what it’s all about. We’re trying to put our team in the best situation possible to succeed, and now when we get the looks that we’re looking at, now it’s about them going out and producing and making plays. We’re going to try to do the best we can. Like I said, Houston has got a great defense and it’s going to be a great challenge, but we feel like with the players we have in place here and with the scheme we have in place, we should have the chance to be successful and have some good results.”

 

On if he will have a coach on the sidelines help with clock management and accepting/declining penalties:

“I can pretty much handle those. I’ll have coaches’ input and people upstairs that can maybe see a little bit better whether to challenge or not based on the replay – sometimes we don’t get the replay on the field as quickly as they do upstairs. In that regard I’ll have some help, but as far as penalties are concerned, I’ll handle taking them or declining them and all that. I feel good about that.”

 

On learning game management in his days in the Arena Football League:

“If you want to coach situational football, go through the Arena League. There’s onside kicks, onside kick returns, field goals, you’ve got to return field goals, you’ve got to go for two. It’s crazy with clock management,so I feel like that actually helped me in that regard with clock management and using your timeouts and when to save them. I feel good in that regard, yes.”

 

On what he learned about sideline demeanor in the preseason:

“I think you’ve got to have some kind of poise on the sideline. I don’t want to be running around trying to high-five everybody. You’ve got to have some kind of poise and always stay focused on what’s upcoming and notworry so much about what happened. That’s the biggest thing I’ve always tried to do, even being a coordinator. A lot of times coaches want to yell at their guys and do all the things that you need to do to help motivate them, but I’m more into moving on to the next series and trying to correct on the fly but also moving on to what we’regoing to do next. In order to do that, you have to be really focused in on what’s happening and what you think is going to happen next to get your team ready.”

 

On juggling his play calling responsibilities with other coaching responsibilities:

“Yeah, that will be tougher. Like I said, as a coordinator, you can sit on the bench while the defense is out there and go through the pictures and kind of gather your thoughts about what’s upcoming. Being that I have a lot of confidence in Coach [Jim] Haslett and Coach [Ben] Kotwica, I still think I have the ability to do that to some degree – not quite the degree I had last year – but I feel good about moving forward and calling plays, but I also have great help with Coach [Chris] Foerster in the running game and Sean McVay in the passing game. We have good assistant coaches that can get us ready for the next series. It’s a total team effort out there with the coaches. That’s why I hired the guys that I hired, because I expect them to have a lot of input on game day, and based on the first four preseason games, I feel good about where we’re at.”

 



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