Press Conference: Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden

redskins_scriptrWashington Redskins coach Jay Gruden talks with reporters on Monday. The Redskins (3-9) lost to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, 49-27.

 

On the injury report:

Kedric Golston has a back issue and plantar fasciitis – the dreaded planter fasciitis – lower back inflammation. He’s going to follow up with a spine specialist and we’ll go from there. Looks like he’ll be out [for Sunday]. Brandon Meriweather has a big toe sprain and we’ll get him checked out. He’s probably going to be questionable for a little while. We don’t know his status yet but it’s not looking good. Will Compton is getting checked out for his spine. [Compton] saw a specialist. It didn’t look like it was serious. DeSean Jackson – lower leg fibula contusions. Looks like he’ll be OK with time, just don’t know how long that will be. Chase Minnifield, concussion protocol, and then [Chris] Baker and [E.J.] Biggers we expect to return soon. Baker looks like he played through his injury, did OK. Ryan Clark was fine. Silas Redd [Jr.] was OK and [Jason] Hatcher was OK. Keenan Robinson had a little MCL sprain, came back in the game and finished it.”

 

On if he can pinpoint why so many defensive assignments were blown:

“Can’t really pinpoint that… Every game you play, you’re going to have some missed assignments. It’s just when you lose, they become glaring and we’ve had too many of them. The results of our missed assignments have been huge plays. You know, we missed a blocking assignment, we gave up a sack/forced fumble on fourth-and-one instead of a possible touchdown to DeSean. We missed a couple coverage assignments, they turned into big, huge touchdown plays. You see we play against teams and they blow a coverage here and there, but we don’t capitalize on it like other teams are. It’s unfortunate, man, but it starts up top. It starts with me and it trickles down to the coordinators and then obviously the players have got to be accountable, man. All of us are in this together, but for us to miss these assignments this late in the year, the only thing I can say is defensively we’ve had a lot of new guys filtering in and out of different positions. [Bashaud] Breeland is playing corner, he’s playing nickel. I’m not making excuses but that’s the only thing I can point to as part of the reason.”

 

On if the blown assignments are miscommunications:

“You know, I don’t think it’s communication. I just think it’s lack of attention to detail sometimes, and sometimes, you know, guys might see too much or not enough. They’re trying to be a hero on a certain play and they abort their coverage responsibility. So it’s just important for our guys to understand they’ve got to continue to do their job and not try to do too much out of the realm of what they’re supposed to do. That happens with young guys sometimes. They see the quarterback and they see him looking over there so they stop their feet and all of a sudden he comes back and finds a guy hitting a guy a seam ball down where he’s supposed to be. They’ve just got to do their job and we’ve just got to continue to coach them to do their job right.”

 

On how defensive lineman Kedric Golston sustained his back injury:

“That’s a good question. Pregame warm up he got hurt, had a back sprain in pregame warm up. He had a little bit of soreness, I guess, during the week or whatever but he was fine. And then in pregame warm up he was doing a drill and I think he felt his back twinge a little bit. It locked up on him.”

 

On if he thinks tackle Trent Williams returned too quickly:

“No, Trent actually had a holding call and he had the sack, but other than that, he played fairly well. You expect great things from Trent and actually the offensive line in general [played well]. The majority of the sacks were on the backs or the tight ends. Trent had the one sack on third-and-15 where he tried to jump the guy on third-and-15. He shouldn’t have, but other than that, I think Trent played pretty well coming back from injury.”

 

On how concerning it is to see the same mistakes:

“It’s not the same all the time. It’s just, last week was glaring. We played pretty well against San Francisco. We’ve had our stints where we’ve been pretty good on defense and competed, but unfortunately from a consistent standpoint, it’s not been there. It can go to a lot of different reasons, and yes I am concerned because we’re in Week 12 and we’re still having some of these breakdowns with some key players who we’re going to count on for the future. So, it’s very important for us to keep coaching these guys up and holding these guys to a high standard, and players have got to hold themselves to a high standard, too. So, coaching, playing, we all go hand in hand. We work together. I’m not going to blame the players, I’m not going to blame the coaches, but as an organization we’ve got to fight to make sure these things get corrected at some point or we’ve got to make some moves.”

 

On if he sees improvement:

“I see improvements in part of the game. That’s what I’m saying. From a consistent standpoint, that’s what you’re looking for. You’re looking for guys to be consistently pretty good. I don’t expect perfection on every snap. We’re playing against a heck of a quarterback, the No.1 offense in the league. I expected them to make their plays. I didn’t expect them to waltz down the field and have guys 30 yards wide open on three or four different occasions and us to miss tackles. We expect to make them work for every yard they get, and if they get yards, fine. We don’t want to give them anything and I felt we just gave them too many yards, too many easy yards. Andrew [Luck] is a great quarterback. They have a great offense over there, no question about it, and they’re going to make their plays. But, the free throws, man. We just can’t give them the easy ones.”

 

On the common themes on third down and why the team ended up in third and long so many times:

“We had a couple false starts, we had a holding call, we lost four yards on the toss play, took a sack on first down, or second down I believe. So there’re a lot of things that go into third and long, and that’s the one thing offensively from a rhythm standpoint – you have to avoid third down and long. It’s documented as far as we’re concerned. We were 1-for-45, I think, going into the game for third and 10-plus and we had five more. I think we were 0-for-5 – might have got one late in the game. It’s a miserable position to be in, and I would welcome any one of you guys to call plays on third and 14. It’s terrible. So, it’s something we have got to do a much better job on first and second down, and our quarterbacks, everybody’s got to understand the importance of negative plays. We’ve got to avoid the negative plays of penalties, the loss of yardage on an outside zone or the sack on second down. Those are killing us right now, and it killed us in the first half. Second half we got some rhythm going and were able to make some plays on offense, but we had an opportunity in the first half to put some points on the board and make the game interesting, and unfortunately we didn’t do it because of the third down and longs.”

 

On what has disappointed him the most this season:

“I’d say after that game, I’d just say the accountability standpoint. You can see it. We can all see it right now. There’s too many blown assignments. I feel like we’re putting in the time and we’re putting in the work Monday through Saturday, and we’re doing a fine job of that. Just unfortunately, it’s not translating on the field for whatever reason. We’ve got to find out why. We’ve just got to challenge our guys the last four games. We’ve got to make it the most important four games of their careers. We have got to challenge them to play like it and see what happens. That’s the most disappointing thing. I can understand some of the young guys getting beat man-to-man, or giving up a pressure to a good pass rusher on third-and-14 or a good TE stunt or whatever, but some of the blown assignments are the most frustrating so far.”

 

On if those mistakes are mental:

“Yeah, it’s mental. A lot of it is mental, yeah. When you have a mental assignment, mental breakdown, it’s mental.”

 

On if some of the responsibilities are too complex for younger players:

“I don’t think so. I think no matter what team you go to, there’s 32 NFL teams. And I think if they were to go to any other building, they would have a lot of responsibilities on their plate. When you sign up to play pro football, you have a responsibility. A) You’re going to be a good athlete because you’re in pro football and B) you’ve got to be mentally tough and you’ve got to be able to handle different things, different looks and different responsibilities. We’re not just going to play a Cover 3 corner and just bail every snap. You have to play Cover 2, Cover 3, man-to-man. They’re going to have to play in-and-out, they’re going to have to do different things. That’s the responsibility of a pro athlete. So, they have to take it upon themselves also. We’ve got to do a good job coaching. It goes hand-in-hand, like I said. We all have to take responsibility to get the people in here that are willing to learn and work and the guys that are here to coach the hell out of them so they know what to do.”

 

On helping in protection:

“Well, Trent [Williams] gave up one sack and then we gave up a sack with a tight end and then the backs gave up the other ones. So really the offensive line, if you look at their numbers – actually [Tom] Compton gave up one but it was a coverage sack more so than a ‘beat right off the snap’ sack. So actually the offensive line protected pretty well and they blocked pretty well. They didn’t grade out 100 percent – we expect better from them – but they actually didn’t play bad. When you talk about pass protection, it’s not just the five linemen. You know, sometimes the tight end and the backs are involved.”

 

On if the team is playing with enough passion:

“I was talking about – I just felt like from a huddle standpoint, breaking the huddle, getting back to the huddle, I just felt like the tempo was terrible and that’s something we have to address at practice and work. When we have a decent play or we run a play and  receivers are down the field, they are not coming back to the huddle fast enough and our linemen aren’t getting back to the huddle. We are not breaking the huddle with any sense of urgency – it’s just what I felt. And too many times I’m looking at the shot clock and we’re down to 10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, so I just felt like our tempo was not very good. No sense of urgency I felt like on offense. Not to say they weren’t doing their job. I just want to see us with a more of an upbeat tempo and more ‘go get ‘em’ type attitude, hunger attitude, run around, fly around to the football. Defensively, same thing. A lot of times we are looking around trying to get everybody lined up instead of getting to our guys and set and ready to kick some tail. Just looks like we’re tentative in what we are doing and letting the Colts dictate the pace and the flow as opposed to us dictating it.”

 

On if that is a matter of focus and passion:

“Yeah, I think a little bit. Maybe, I think we’ve got to get our guys more focused but I think we can do a better job as coaches, getting the plays in sooner and making sure they know where to go exactly and then let them play. Eventually – you know as coaches, our work is done usually after the Saturday night meetings. Come Sunday afternoon, it’s time. They have got to go out and play. You know they roll the ball out there, they kick it off and it’s those guys on the field. They’ve got to go out and make some plays. And we will try to do the best job we can as coaches to prepare them and put them in the best situations possible to succeed but ultimately it’s about their tempo. We need leaders to stand up defensively and take them by the throat, make sure they are playing fast and the same thing with offense. For whatever reason – and I am not saying they were loafing or anything like that – we’ve just got to work on our tempo and everything, the whole display of the game.”

 

On how he felt quarterback Colt McCoy handled himself in the pocket:

“I think there was one or two coverage sacks maybe but I thought he did a good job of stepping up, maneuvering in the pocket. You know the first shot we had to Pierre [Garçon] down the sidelines we got sacked on. We missed a block with our back on the protection, and then Trent [Williams] missed one and then I think we had a coverage sack. But overall I thought he did a nice job in the pocket. He threw for almost 400 yards or right around that, but the start was not very good. But he made some plays and he competed and I was impressed with his performance as a whole for the first time in four or five weeks, I guess it was. He will tell you he can do a lot better, but I think overall when you watch the tape, I think he did some good things.”

 

On how much McCoy can help with speeding up the tempo:

“He can help, he can help bring the guys – we talked about that today. You know, he’s listening to the play, then he’s got the play and he’s waiting for guys to get back to the huddle. So we’ve just got to work on our tempo and that’s something that can be coached and maybe we will install a little bit of no huddle, just to pick it up and change the tempo a little will be key for our offense.”

 

On how involved President/General Manager Bruce Allen is in addressing problems:

“Well, we talk about personnel all the time as far as who’s up, who’s down and then, you know, practice squad guys, guys we’re working out, you know we’ll have a workout again tomorrow. So him, Alex Santos will get a list together of guys we are working out. We are staying on top of the other rosters around the league and talk about future a little bit here and there. But really this time a year it’s more about getting the guys you have in your building ready to play, and then when you have injuries you’ve got to find replacements for them and then make sure you have your updated list as far as bringing guys in and working them out. So this time a year you’re not going to be able to fill a lot of voids with guys on the streets. You’ve got the guys in your building, you’ve got to coach them up and you’ve got to play with them and then next year we will address next year when it comes.”

 

On his confidence in Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett:

“Well, when you look at that game on tape, there are way too many holes, obviously. And Coach Haslett will take the blunt of the criticism as he always does. But ultimately it’s on all of us. We are all frustrated with the way we played; I know we can play better. Moving forward we are just going to continue to coach these guys up and evaluate everything when the season is over, like we do at every position on this team. Head coach, assistant coaches, players, trainers, medical staff, everybody gets evaluated after of the season by the owner, by the GM and that won’t change no matter what our record is or what our season is like. But we are disappointed by the way we played defensively but moving forward we’ll see the last four games if we can get some improvement from some of these young guys.”

 

On if he is concerned about wide receiver Pierre Garçon’s lack of production:

“I am not really concerned. He had a couple tough looks. You know, he had a couple fade balls, one was underthrown, one was overthrown just a hair. Then we threw a fade to him in the red zone and the corner was outside leverage and Colt [McCoy] misread the coverage. It was a roll, they played Cover 2 to his side basically, so that was a tough down for him. He had a slant route that went through his hands, they called PI but then they picked up the flag for some reason. Just not a lot of great looks for him. But I am concerned. I think he is a big part of our offense moving forward. We’ve got four games left and we have to try to get him the ball out in space where he can run because his whole dynamic is running with the ball in his hands after the catch and we tried to get some shallow crosses to him in the game and we just didn’t get them thrown to him but we are trying the best we can to get him more involved in the offense but for whatever reason we are not getting that done. Quarterbacks are trying to look to him a little bit and we are trying to get him the ball but it’s just not happening for whatever reason. We’ve just got to stick with the plan and read the coverages and when he gets his looks take advantage of them.”

 

On if it is hard to determine if mistakes are a function of youth or a sign of that player’s ability:

“I don’t want to play the blame game on anybody. We are not going to call out any individual player. Just for defense as a whole together, David [Amerson] had his breakdowns, we had – Ryan [Clark] had a couple – they all sprinkled in a couple of them. They just turned out to be major breakdowns for whatever reason. But as a whole, you just have to evaluate the total package of them – how they practice, how they prepare and then what their production is like and you just continue to evaluate it. You see a ton of talent in David, you really do. You see him out in practice, see him play bump-and-run, he can tackle, he can hit, he just had a couple rough plays in that game that cost us, and the more those things show up, the more you have an issue. We just have to get him coached up.”



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