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Quotes: Jay Gruden And Greg Manusky (08-24-2017)

Posted Aug 24, 2017

A transcript of Redskins head coach Jay Gruden and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky's press conferences Aug. 24, 2017.

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On encouraging TE Jordan Reed in a one-on-one drill against S D.J. Swearinger:

“It's a very competitive period down there – one-on-ones, receivers vs. D-backs. And it's a great route. You know, the whole thing about it is defensive backs have got to make it a perfect throw and a great catch. Fortunately it was a great throw and a great catch for Jordan and Kirk. D.J. was right there, had great coverage. But, yeah, it's great to have him back.”

On the health of Reed and LB Junior Galette:

“Jordan looks fine. He looks good. You know, I still want to see how he's doing tomorrow and then obviously Saturday and Sunday see how he does in pregame warmup, but he looks very good. Very crisp, very fast, very sudden, like he always is, which is good. Junior, he's been doing more and more each day and I think that'll be a game-time decision.”

 

On LB Ryan Anderson:

“Same thing. Same thing. He did a little less today but we're going to keep getting him checked out, and we're not going to push the issue unless he has full strength – full range of motion and full strength. Right now he doesn't have full strength. He’s close though, very close.”

On if C Chase Roullier is preparing to start at center in Week 1:

“We're preparing Chase like he needs to go. You know, I think getting Spencer [Long] back, we're hopeful, even if it could be in a backup role if he's not 100 percent ready. So there's a good chance there also. So we have a couple different options. But the big thing is to get Chase ready to go, and take advantage of the reps he's getting. And he's done that, he's done a nice job. We just brought another center in here for depth, you know, we need, for Sunday's game and for the game against Tampa. We'll take a good look at Lucas [Crowley] and see how he does.”

On the inside linebackers and the status of that position group:

“Where do we stand? Right now, we're starting with Mason [Foster] and Zach [Brown]. You know, that's a starting point. And then obviously [Martrell] Spaight and [Will] Compton will get plenty of reps and then you’ve got Nico [Marley] and [Zach] Vigil, and then obviously Josh Harvey-Clemons. So we have a good stable there. We kind of moved Pete [Robertson] to outside backer when all our outside backers got injured. So he's getting some reps as a pass rusher and he's doing a good job.”

On what he likes about Mason Foster at Mike linebacker:

“I think, you know, Mason played well last year. He really did. And he's a smart player and he's very physical. So we like his physicality. He's healthy, and he's playing well.”

On the nickel corners:

“I think right now, [Kendall] Fuller is probably our nickel corner if we had to start today. [Joshua] Holsey's doing an excellent job though, you know? For a rookie, a seventh-round pick, he's surpassed expectations by far. He's done a good job both outside and inside. So those two guys are really the ones we're counting on.”

On his level of concern potentially starting a rookie at center:

“Yeah, seems like we’ve had a little rollercoaster ride at center since I’ve been here. Kory [Lichtensteiger] was here and then he got hurt. We had to try [Josh] LeRibeus and last year we had some issues early on, so I think we just have to get Chase [Roullier] ready. We drafted him for a reason. He’s a true center from Wyoming and did a good job last year at Wyoming, but he is a rookie. But he’s a very smart guy and he’s learned a lot. Coach [Bill] Callahan has done an excellent job with him. If he has to play, I think he’ll be ready. He has a couple major obstacles at Philadelphia – Fletcher Cox and [Tim] Jernigan there inside – and they have some good pass rushers, so it’ll be a great test for him. You don’t ever like to thrust a guy into the fire, but we think he’s a mature guy and if he has to play, he’ll play. If Spencer [Long] is ready to go, it’ll be great, but Chase is mature and I think he can handle it.”

On the rotation at center during the past few seasons:

“It’s difficult because the center’s the one who makes all the calls pre-snap. He’s the one that communicates and you’ve got to have a smart center. You want an athletic center, you want a big center. At the end of the day, you’ve got to have a center that, number one, they’ve got to get the snaps back and they’ve got to be able to communicate. Then they’ve got to be able to finish blocks and be able to get up on the next level and pass protect and all that good stuff. There’s a lot on a center’s plate, especially for a rookie. But like I said, Chase can handle it. We’ve had to mix and match different centers since I’ve been here but we just have to deal with it.”

On if he has adjusted the reps for first-team offense in practice:

“Oh, yeah, we’re trying to get as many reps as we can without wearing them down. Yesterday, we had about a 17-play drive to end practice, which was good to get them out there and stay on the field and we’re trying to get more and more together. Very important, like you say, once you get everybody back. Still, it’s important for Kirk [Cousins] to get as many looks as he can get, so we’ll try to do the best we can without wearing them out, but get them a lot of reps.”

On how important QB Kirk Cousins’ ability to help Roullier at center is:

“A lot, a lot. I think earlier in Kirk’s career it might have been a little bit more of an issue, but I think now this stage, Kirk feels a lot more comfortable with the protection calls and he’ll help out a lot. The big thing is initially getting the calls right and I think Chase has done a good job so far out here. It’s going to be a great test for the Bengals. [Defensive Coordinator Paul] Guenther and the Bengals, they give you a lot of different looks; double A’s, they give you the odd looks, they give you spinner looks, three-down fronts, four-down fronts, all of them. So, it will be a great test for us.”

Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky

On the combination of Mason Foster and Zach Brown at inside linebacker:

“I mean, we’re going back and forth all the time during practice with Mason and with Comp [Will Compton] and then with Zach and even [Martrell] Spaight. We are going through a process – that’s the preseason – right now. That’s why I like both of them right now. Mason and Zach inside, they are doing a good job from a coverage perspective. The communication has been well across the board and just making the calls. So right now just getting in that smooth progression with some players, just figuring them out and who is going to be our starter at the end of the preseason.”

On what Foster brings to the Mike linebacker position:

“I think he is just a physical cat in there. From a mental standpoint, he is starting to adjust to it. Over the course of training camp and then OTAs trying to learn it a little bit more in depth, but overall he has been doing a great job with communication, a great job stuffing the runs and hitting the holes that we are supposed to hit.”

On if he can make sense of Defensive Line Coach Jim Tomsula’s rotation along the defensive line:

“No, I’ve known Jimmy for a long time and I just let him do whatever he wants to do pretty much. From our aspect, we want to see players play at different positions because during the season, you never know, you might need a backup nose that has played end and vice versa. So, switching those guys inside and out has been a good scenario because they have got to learn left defensive end, they have got to learn right defensive end, they have got to learn a little bit of nose as well. We are just tinkering with it, figuring out what is going to happen. Here in the next couple weeks we will figure it out.”

On when he changes from evaluating the whole roster to focusing on preparing the starters:

“I think in this third preseason game, I think that’s kind of the avenue that we are sticking with, but across the board you never know. Some guys get injured or sometimes other guys do show up – from a previous game, they didn’t play as good. You know every game is different for every player because sometimes they have had great performances and other times they just didn’t, just for some reason. We are honing in on it, of course, with the players that we have got going into this third preseason game. Rotationally wise – Jimmy up front­ – I don’t know, maybe the second series is totally different. We do have a plan in place and we kind of know where we are going to try and alter it.”

On the value of having a nose tackle that can play in the nickel package as well:

“I think that is a big plus. That is what we are trying find out. I am just saying that sometimes during the preseason games at the end of the game, we want to see them against a little bit better competition, too. So switching those guys is a point that we are trying to figure out.”

On his philosophy on where CB Josh Norman will lineup in his defensive system:

“I think certain corners are sometimes really relaxed on the right side and some are on the left, and sometimes if you flip them at times, it actually messes with their head. It depends on the individual. If he feels comfortable switching sides, then that is fine. All of a sudden if he feels like we have a threat on the outside that we have to have Josh cover, then we will flip them. It depends on the personnel and it also depends on the player that you have.”

On what makes CB Kendall Fuller a good fit at nickel corner:

“He is smart. I think from a smart player inside that has good quickness and capabilities of reading the route combinations. And that guy, sometimes if you move that corner into that nickel spot, it is a lot of space, it’s a lot of room and sometimes they don’t have a great feel for it. Kendall has been doing a great job. We will be cross training of course. [Joshua] Holsey has been doing it and we will be training some other corners inside as well.”

On how Norman’s skill set fits into the defensive system:

“It is the things that you can’t coach. I think from that standpoint, he is just a savvy player that has a feel for the game. I think even when you draft players coming out of college, there is just certain guys that just have a feel for the game. It’s just uncanny. Even Jonathan Allen has a feel for the game, and you can’t say anything but that these guys have a feel for the game. That is what Josh has. From defensive calls, stick him in a one, always covering that same guy over and over and over, I am going to try to use his talents a little bit better, try to get him in quarters a little bit and get him in different coverages that we have. So we will get him to play the ball a little bit more.”

On how important it is to see LB Junior Galette in game action before the regular season:

“I think it is huge. We have got to see him that way because he hasn’t started, he hasn’t played in two years or whatever it has been. During practice he has been doing a great job. He is confident in his abilities. His abilities are very good right now. I think right now learning the defense, he has done a great job, but he has been banged up. I want to see him against good personnel and see what he can do. So it is majorly important that he plays in these preseason games.”

On how his relationship with players has changed since transitioning from a position coach to a coordinator:

“I don’t think it has been any different. They knew who I was and I talked to all the defensive players when I was here last year as an outside linebacker coach. I think the biggest thing is the acquisition of the coaches that we have brought in. With Jimmy and Torrian [Gray] and [James] Rowe and then with Chad Grimm and then [Kirk] Olivadotti, all those guys, it’s a tight group of coaches that are very specific. I always tell the coaches this when I was a position coach, I just facilitate the information from the guy that wants it to the players. I can’t sit in the room with 30 some guys and say, ‘OK, this is what the corner is doing.’ It is going to waste too much time. They do a great job of facilitating the information that I am trying to get to those players and we are having success with it.”

On how quickly S D.J. Swearinger was able to integrate himself into the team:

“I think it was the first week. Just like the physical gifts and talents that players have, some guys just have that aura about them and that is what he has. He has that power. I love the energy that he brings to the table and across the board he is trying to get it right. I don’t know exactly how many years he has been in the league, but he has been doing a couple jumps back a forth from different teams. He wants to see what he can do and see this defense, where it is going to go and it is going to a high place, I think.”

On his perception of Norman’s play last year and if it has changed:

“You know, last year he played fine. Sometimes it is just situational stuff. Splits, the receivers, which Torrian [Gray] does a great job of talking about with the players across the board, just honing their skills into the level of just breaking it down from a football knowledge. I think that is what Torrian is doing with him and actually D.J. helping him as well. Everybody is helping each other on the back end. From a calls perspective, they’re doing a great job and we are playing together. I don’t care what call it is as long as we are all on the same page, we will have success.”

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