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Press Conference: Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden

redskins_scriptrWashington Redskins coach Jay Gruden talks with reporters after the Redskins’ 27-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.


On the injury report:

“[Tackle] Trent [Williams] has an MCL. We’re going to get an MRI tomorrow. He also has an ankle sprain. [Defensive lineman] Chris Baker had an SC [sternoclavicular] joint sprain. [Guard Shawn] Lauvao went out with a concussion. [Tight end] Jordan Reed – hamstring. [Linebacker] Trent Murphy – knee aggravation and sprain. We’ll get a better look at all those guys tomorrow. And [center] Kory [Lichtensteiger] got banged up on the last play. I don’t know exactly what happened to him.”


On where he feels the team fell short:

“I have no explanation right now. I just have to congratulate Lovie Smith and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They came in and played with a greater effort, made plays in key situations and we didn’t. The turnover battle we lost significantly again. We gave up six sacks, turned the ball over three times and created none except on special teams. You know, it was a struggle today. It was a struggle all the way across the board. ”


On reassessing what he’s doing and moving forward from here:

“Yep, that’s an ongoing process. You get a look at these players, get to know these players and assess what they’re doing and assess what we’re doing. That’s what it’s all about; that’s what coaching is all about. It didn’t look like we coached much today, but it’s an ongoing process like you said. We’ve got to continue to coach our offense up, find out what we can do, what we can’t do and try to improve on the things we struggled with today and same thing with defense. Again, we had some things that seemed simple to the coaches that we had breakdowns with, but obviously there’s a reason we are [having breakdowns]. We have to coach them up better – make sure our players understand what they’re supposed to be doing because we had way too many mental breakdowns again, yes.”


On if the defensive play was aggravating:

“It’s aggravating. They had 12 first downs, and three-for-10 on third down. It’s frustrating. We’ve got to do a better job of giving the defense better situations to play. We’re turning the ball over, giving the ball up at the plus 30-yard line. It’s 13-7 at the half and nobody is making any plays that are significantly changing the course of the game. When you look up at the game, everything is a grind to get five yards and, defensively, we’re not making enough plays. We’ve got to look at ourselves, everybody’s got to look at themselves, quarterback, offensive line, running back, coaches…everybody, defensive line… everybody’s got to take a long look at themselves and figure out what they can do to help this team and just continue to compete.”


On if the loss stings more at home:

“No, it doesn’t sting any more. Anytime you lose a game at home like this and you play like this in front of your crowd, you’re embarrassed. These guys came out, we had every intent [to win], had a good week at practice to play well and we didn’t play well. It’s very unfortunate, because it’s in front of our home crowd and we take a lot of pride in our home crowd and we gave them nothing to cheer about today – nothing early in the game to cheer about. We had a late touchdown at the end of the second quarter, which was great to get us back in the game, a little bit of momentum, but we did nothing to build on that in the start of the third quarter. Nothing whatsoever, just disappointed all around.”


On if tackle Trent Williams’ ACL is believed to be intact:

“That’s the belief right now. They’re going to check the MCL.”


On quarterback Robert Griffin III’s downfield vision:

“No, I don’t know, we’ll have to look at the film. There were some concepts there that we should have been on the same page [about] and the ball should have been out and it wasn’t. Maybe he couldn’t see, maybe there was pushing in his face. I couldn’t tell from the sideline. With some of these concepts that we had for the coverage we were playing against, we should have had some open receivers but I’ll check out the film tomorrow.”


On the offense’s penalties and basic mistakes:

“It’s very frustrating, yes. We lined up wrong; we put [wide receiver Leonard] Hankerson in at the goal line and he lined up on the wrong side of the formation. We had a couple false starts, like you said, had some holding calls, three turnovers, took some sacks we shouldn’t have. It looked like, really, it looked like the first preseason game is what it looked like. It was not good by anybody on our staff, offensively, myself… We have to first initially take the blame and then hold some accountability to the players to find out where the confusion is and why we’re having this much trouble saying, ‘Set, hike’ and snapping the ball or throwing the ball to slants with guys over the ball on time. We’ll find out.”


On if Griffin III proved that he has earned the starting job:

“After today’s performance? Nobody has proved that they deserve to start anywhere after today’s performance. Offensive line, we’ve got to look at, running backs, everybody. You hate to pin a struggling performance on one person before you see the film, but I believe this was a total team effort, this horrific game. But he has a lot of improvement to do, obviously. Just based on what I saw from the sideline, it looks like there are some things that he needs to improve on, as does everybody else.”


On the team’s effort and accountability:

“I think with physical effort, we’re OK. I think they’re playing hard. It seems like they’re running hard, it’s just some of the mental hula-hoops we’re having to jump through. It just seems like it’s too hard sometimes, and it’s not one guy. It’s a combination of a couple of different areas where we’re struggling for some reason. You can’t do that. We’re not good enough to struggle, have mental mistakes, have penalties, have false starts [and still win the game]. We blew two coverages in the second half that gave them an easy touchdown, didn’t blitz a guy who was supposed to blitz in the A-gap… there was too much confusion. If we have to simplify our stuff to let our guys play fast, then we’ll have to do that.”


On what he can do as a coach to motivate the team:

“I think as football players, we have an obligation. First of all, to play this game as hard as you can. That’s the only way you can play this game. You’ve got to challenge and you’ve got to compete. I want great competitors in our locker room. I don’t care if we’re 0-10 or we’re 10-0, we have to continue to compete in the same fashion on a weekly basis. Us going out and competing is one thing, us going out and not mentally playing well and doing some of the things we’re doing is what we’ve got to get to the bottom of. But I think from a quality standpoint of the players that we have in the locker room, I’m hoping that we’ll continue to compete no matter what our record is.”


On if the game was a reflection of this week’s practices:

“I thought we had a good week of practice. We really did. Energy was good, effort was good and our guys were attentive in the meetings. First off, when you have a game like today, you’ve got to credit the other team just beating you. Secondly, we just got to figure out why some of the things happened that happened – some of the penalties, why they’re happening, the turnovers, why they’re happening. You can’t always say it’s just getting a bad break on a tip ball. Sometimes we’ve got to create our own breaks, make some plays ourselves, but it is clear out there the last couple weeks – big players are making big plays in key situations and we’re not making any it doesn’t seem like, other than the screen pass to [running back Roy] Helu [Jr.]. We’ve got to do a much better job of getting the ball to our playmakers somehow and letting them play.”


On the secondary during Tampa Bay’s 56-yard touchdown pass:

“That was a blitz, and obviously that was one of the ones where we didn’t have an A-gap blitzer and somebody was supposed to blitz there. But when one of your blitzers doesn’t hit the A-gap, then the quarterback has an extra three or four seconds to scan the field and [to] watch a deep ball with the linebacker running down the middle looks really bad from a schematic standpoint. Great job by [Tampa Bay quarterback] Josh McCown, and nice job by [Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike] Evans, and poor play design by us.”


On his decision not to change the quarterback during the game:

“Once it got to be 27-7, with about nine or 10 minutes to go, then they had the long drive and we didn’t get the ball back until five minutes to go, I didn’t think there was any point, really. Then [center] Kory [Lichtensteiger] got banged up and we were down five linemen as it was, so I thought it was smart to just run the clock out and get out of here and lick our wounds and move onto the next one. We’ve got to coach [quarterback Robert Griffin III]  up and find out what’s holding [him] back and continue to have him do the things he does well and find out what those are and continue to work on the things he’s having trouble with.”


On the performance of the offensive line today and his thoughts on that group moving forward:

“It’s tough, but I don’t think it can all be placed on the offensive line. You can’t say it’s all on Robert and we can’t say it’s all on the offensive line because they sometimes have to work hand-in-hand. Sometimes we call a three-step drop and the ball’s got to be out, and our line is not going to protect forever. I’ve got to see the film, but I did know that there was too much pressure in [Griffin’s] face, but also know there were times where he should have gotten rid of the ball and made better, quicker decisions to help our offensive line.”


On the difference in Griffin III’s performance since 2012:

“I don’t know. That’s a great question. That’s something we have to find the answer to, and he has to find the answer to. When you come out and have such great success as a rookie, and then it’s expected on every game, and every time you walk out on a field… but people have got to understand that he’s still a young kid and defenses have changed and he’s got to change with them. He’s got to continue to grow and get better and I see every week that there is a great player that struggles at that quarterback position. But we’ve got to do a better job of coaching him up and getting in his brain and finding out what he knows and what he doesn’t know. He’s a talented kid. There’s no doubt about that. I have no explanation as far as why he struggles since his rookie year, other than the fact that it’s a tough game and you’ve just got to continue to perform.”

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