Press Conference: Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden

redskins_scriptrWashington Redskins coach Jay Gruden talks with reporters on Wednesday. The Redskins (3-5) play at the Minnesota Vikings (3-5) on Sunday.

 

On the injury report:

“Limited was Ryan Clark, ankle/shoulder; Trent Williams, knee. Full participation was [Robert] Griffin, [Tracy] Porter, Perry Riley, [Ryan] Kerrigan, [Trent] Murphy and [Keenan] Robinson. All were full.”

 

On quarterback Robert Griffin III’s status:

“Yeah, it’s the same thing for him. Basically, he will get cleared when they see him participate in all the drills and moving forward and [is] able to make all the movements. Last week was more of introducing him. This week is more about getting him reps with the ones a little bit more and then seeing how he handles it. And then he will go to treatment right now and tomorrow morning we will see how he is feeling. Doctors will continue to monitor him through each drill, through each movement – see how he is doing and then I will have to decide whether or not he is ready from a mental, quarterback standpoint.”

 

On what he thinks will be best for the team:

“What do I think? Well, we will see. It is all going to depend on how he does in practice today – tomorrow andFriday – and moving forward how I feel like he is coming back. From a physical standpoint, he looks good. Now it’s a matter of mental and getting back into the football part of it, and if he looks good in that regard then there is a chance he could play and if not, if he needs another week, he will take another week.”

 

On what Griffin III can do to show that he is ready:

“It’s the whole process of playing quarterback. You know, it’s getting to the line of scrimmage, calling the plays, calling the runs the right way, dropping back, going through his progressions the right way. You know, he has taken five weeks off from having to do that in any live situation and now he has got to go through it in practice and let’s see where he is from a mental standpoint. If he remembers, if he has retained the information, if I feel like he has, then there is a chance. If I feel like he needs another week just to get his feet wet, might be the way to go too.”

 

On how he splits the reps:

“You know, just split them up.”

 

On if both Griffin III and Colt McCoy received first-team reps:

“Yeah.”

 

On if the change in quarterback changes the offensive players in the huddle:

“I hope not. Those guys are going to block and do what they’ve got to do and run routes the way they run routes no matter if I was playing quarterback. They wouldn’t run them as deep but they will play hard. That’s the big thing, I think the guys are going to play hard – they’ve already shown that they will play hard for Kirk [Cousins], they’ll play hard for Colt, they’ll play hard for Robert – so it shouldn’t have any impact whatsoever.”

 

On if he has to add first team reps to accommodate both quarterbacks:

“We added a couple, not too many just because the linemen have got to be in there, have got to take care of everybody else. Today was a unique day; we didn’t get as many reps because we just played on Monday night – such a quick turnaround. So, today was more of a – just we were in shorts and no shoulder pads, a glorified walkthrough so to speak. So the tempo wasn’t great upfront but the receivers were running full speed but we will have to get more reps tomorrow. We will have to split them up and make do with what we have.”

 

On if he would like the decision at quarterback made by Thursday:

“Yeah, I would like to have one soon, but this one is a little unique circumstance because I am not going to know for sure until I see Robert actually go through the process with our guys. So I want to make sure I really evaluate where he is and, like I said, I think from a physical standpoint, he might have been able to play last week, I don’t know. But we are really trying to make sure that A) he goes through these drills on these turf fields and there is no injury afterwards, make sure it is stable which we feel good about that. And then B) just make sure from a quarterback standpoint that he feels good about his reads, his progressions, his pickups, responsibilities, his run responsibilities. You know, it is a lot of information. You take five or six weeks off and you hope that he is in the meetings paying attention but we just want to make sure that he has retained everything and so far it looks pretty good.”

 

On linebacker Trent Murphy and tackle Tom Compton making their first career starts last week:

“Murphy did good. You know, he did really good against the run. We were a little concerned about that but he really stood up against the run and made his presence felt. Pass rush wise, he wasn’t as effective. He was going against a pretty darn good left tackle over there at Dallas but he still was a nuisance, but we expect more from him in the pass rush standpoint but we were impressed with him in the run and for his first game on MondayNight Football we thought he held his own and did a good job. Compton, same thing, there were some plays I know he wish he had back. He went the wrong way on a run and got beat one other time, but for the most part, for his first full game at right tackle, I thought he played pretty darn good. But like everybody else, we expect more from him but I was impressed with both of them.”

 

On how he is keeping his players motivated:

“That is not an issue, I hope. We are 3-5, they are 3-5. There is not just an NFL team that we have to even think about. It was a great win for us no question about it. But the true quality of a good team is how you respond after wins and losses and we are hoping that we can respond and continue to build off our success the last two weeks. We don’t have time to take any steps back. We have to continue moving forward. I think our players understand the situation that we are in. As good as you feel after a big win like that, you still look at the division race, we are still in last. So we still have a long way to go.”

 

On the performance of the inside linebackers against Dallas and if they had any impact plays:

“They did. You know, Keenan [Robinson] is still steady; he’s steady… We let [Cowboys running back] DeMarco [Murray] out there a couple times, but for the most part they played steady, consistent. And actually, Perry [Riley, Jr.] was the main reason the last drive of the game was stalled. They had second down and two and he broke up two passes back-to-back, got them to fourth-and-two and made [Cowboys quarterback] Tony [Romo] come off his first progression and scramble and that’s when [cornerback Bashaud] Breeland got the knockdown. So Perry was very, very instrumental in that victory also. Those guys are athletic as we all know and just the more reps they get and the more they play, the better they’re going to get.”

 

On Keenan Robinson’s progression and if he looks more fluid diagnosing plays:

“Yeah, he sure looks that way to me. I think you feel him when you’re on the field. You feel his speed. He’s starting to really bring the thump with them on the tackles also. His pass coverage, everything, he’s feeling a lot more confident. You can tell. Last week against Tennessee he had 14 tackles –Defensive Player of the Week. This week against a very good Dallas team, he held his own and did a good job. A guy like that with the athletic ability that he has, the more he sees, the more confident he gets with what he’s going to do, he’s going to be a dominant force because he’s got the great athletic tools. Now it’s just a matter of making him comfortable in the defense. Coach [Jim] Haslett and K.O. [Inside Linebackers Coach Kirk Olivadotti], they’re doing a great job with him teaching him what to do and how to do it.”

 

On promoting safety Akeem Davis from the practice squad instead of Phillip Thomas:

“Well, Davis makes an impact on special teams right away. He makes our special teams a lot better. He’s a gunner, he’s a flyer and he had a big play in the game again. He’s also in all the special teams – kick cover – and he’s one of our best performers. That’s the reason and the only reason. We’re going to try to get Phillip up here sooner than later. He’s making strides. You know, after he hurt his foot, he just wasn’t playing like the Phillip we know he can play like, so it’s important to get him in practice and he’s done a good job in practice and hopefully we’ll get him up, but Akeem’s played because of the special teams.”

 

On preparing for the game knowing Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer’s strengths from their time together in Cincinnati and what it’s like to compete against a friend:

“We competed every day in practice. It was not friendly, usually. Both of us are pretty good competitors and we all wanted to win the drill, definitely – in Cincinnati – so we had our share of arguments and tension but ultimately I have a ton of respect for him. As far as knowing what he’s going to do, what makes his defense so good is not many people know what he’s going to do because that’s why he’s successful. They’ve got a lot of different packages they can get to from a front-wise, from a blitz standpoint, from a coverage standpoint that really makes them very, very effective – very aggressive style. The corners or linebackers are very disruptive – knocking people off routes and they have a great pressure package. You watch the tape and he’s taking that defense who struggled a little bit last year into one of the top five or six defenses this year and a lot of it is because of his scheme.”

 

On if safety Brandon Meriweather’s performance against Dallas was his best with the team and if something ‘just clicked’ for him:

“I don’t know. He just played his butt off, I know that. He was excellent. He was all over the place, so whatever clicked in, we’ve got to make sure it stays clicked in. He’s a good safety, man. He’s got good coverage skills, he can play man-to-man and he’s obviously a good tackler and he proved that in the game against Dallas. He’s just got to – from a consistency standpoint – put another game together back-to-back-to-back-to-back and continue to get better, but we’re very impressed with him and I haven’t had any doubts in Brandon personally. I’ve seen what he does out on the field. I’ve seen him communicate. He’s a leader of that defense – one of the leaders of the defense. He gets criticized a little bit here and there like all of us, but I think he’s a darn good safety.”

 

On if the Vikings are where Zimmer wants to be defensively as far as his preferences and tendencies:

“Yeah, I think they’re close. You know, he’s going to get what he wants. He’s that type of guy. He’s very demanding of his players. He demands greatness from his defense and, like I said, he’s close. They’re sixth in the league in defense I think – seventh maybe, I don’t even know – but they’re playing fast, they’re playing physical and they’re buying into his system. When you have guys that are flying around to the football and they have a good scheme – a good blitz scheme – that really keeps offenses questioning what they’re doing… You know, you want to send five guys out in the pattern? Well, if they bring all these guys, you’ve got no chance. Do you want to keep tight end in? If they play Cover 2, you’re losing an eligible guy. So they do a great job of keeping you off-balance and confusing offenses and quarterbacks –great quarterbacks. When I was in Cincinnati, I’ve seen some of the best quarterbacks come in there and walk out of there scratching their head, so he does a good job.”

 

On if Minnesota’s defense would be a tough one for a quarterback to face in his first game back:

“Yeah, it’s a hard defense for guys that have played for 10 years to face. I promise you that. It’s not just young quarterbacks that have had trouble against them. It’s veteran quarterbacks, too… Yeah, nice try [laughter].”

 

On if he is watching this team grow up before his eyes:

“Yeah, we hope so. Part of the growing process is, like I said, how you handle success along with adversity, and how we handle success will be very important. Playing a Monday night game and how we come off of a great high like that, playing at Minnesota is a great challenge for the young guys and hopefully they’ll be up to it. Very impressed with a lot of guys on this football team – coaches included – and we’ve just got to keep building on it and keep playing hard and the players have got to buy into what we’re doing at practice and carry it over into the games.”

 

On cornerback Bashaud Breeland and how quickly the coaches recognized the mental aspect of his game:

“Yeah, it took a little bit – a couple days here and there. He’s a smart kid – loves football. You know, that’s the one thing. You have a pretty good sense if a guy is going to get it or not by how much they really study the game and he’s here later than just about anybody watching tape. He really studies the game, wants to be great and it’s carrying over. You know, he’s going to get challenged more and more and I’m sure he’s going to have his share of ups and downs, but he’s a great competitor and he’s going to continue to flourish in the system if he works as hard as he’s done.”

 

On running back Alfred Morris’ production so far this season:

“Well, I think from an expectation level, I think we all expected him to have probably more yards, more touchdowns and that’s a combination of things – not getting as many looks, me not calling enough runs, maybe. Like I said, in the running game, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong. But he is where he is. He’s still a force. He had 73 yards against the Cowboys, did some good things in that game, had a touchdown and we’re going to stick with him, man. We like Alfred. From a statistical standpoint, we’re all a little surprised he’s probably down a little bit from where he’s been, but we still have eight games left and I still anticipate him having a very solid year.”



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