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Quotes: Doug Williams and Jay Gruden (08-13-2017)

Posted Aug 13, 2017

A transcript of Redskins senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams and head coach Jay Gruden's press conferences August 13, 2017.

Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams

On his impressions of the team at this point:

“You know, I still feel the same way [as] when I came here that this roster is still the best roster that I’ve seen since I’ve been here. And I know some people that [were] here last year are not here, but I do feel like we helped ourselves in a lot of different areas. I think defensive line – even though it might not have showed it like we would like for it to have Thursday – but I still feel pretty good about the D-line. I think the secondary, with Fabian [Moreau] being healthy now and [Kendall] Fuller has got a year up under his belt along with the two guys that are starting, and with D.J. Swearinger coming in here, I certainly think that the secondary is much improved from last year. The offensive line is what it is. I think Terrelle Pryor and when [Josh] Doctson gets healthy – he was having a good offseason – and with Jamison Crowder, the receiving corps, it’s going to be up to our quarterback getting the ball to the guys like he did last year. I think that’s the most important thing.”

On if there are particular areas that have jumped out to him during camp:

“Not really. After watching these guys in the offseason, and with [Defensive Line Coach Jim] Tomsula coming in and watching him, I really believe we’ve got two coaches of the same type of coaches on different sides of the ball. We’ve got [Offensive Line Coach Bill] Callahan and we’ve got Tomsula. Those are the same two guys. It’s all about fundamentals. It’s all about being tough, and it’s about a lot of work. And when you see the one-on-ones, that’s the most exciting part of practice because they get their reps. They go against each other and you can see them getting better each time. When you see Trent Williams, who he is, it’s amazing who he is from an athletic standpoint, but when you see guys like Anthony Lanier, Junior Galette and Preston Smith working against those guys, both guys are getting better. So I think when you look at this team as a whole, in the trenches has gotten a lot better not only because of the players that are here [but] the coaches too. And Jonathan Allen is the guy that he was hyped up to be. When you watch him, as soon as he learns the pro game and using his hands a little better, I think he’s going to be a beast in there. Once he gets his body into you, nine out of 10, he’s going to win.”

On QB Kirk Cousins’ growth on and off the field:

“I think, number one, nobody is more confident than Kirk Cousins. I think even from the fact that he decided to play on the tag, he’s confident in himself. He knows what he’s done the last two years. And the way I look at that, I don’t think he’s going to do no worse this year than what he did the last two years because the offense is what he’s played in for the last two years, I think he’s got a good rapport with the head coach [and] the quarterbacks coach. And Kirk is not a guy that is hard to get along with. The players like him. I think at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about, it’s about leadership. Everybody knows that Kirk can play this game. He’s proved that he can play it, and I think the key here is taking us to the next level and he understands that the next level is important, not only to the team but also to himself, too.”

On the value of a quarterback being comfortable:

“I think that we can look to the northeast of us and the New England Patriots have had pretty good success. Bill Belichick has become a really good coach with the same quarterback. I think when you look at Kirk being in this system for the last three years and playing well the last two, I think that speaks volume for him and the organization and the coach who feels comfortable calling whatever they want to call with Kirk because they know that he can get it done.”

On his biggest takeaway from camp:

“Well, the biggest takeaway for me is learning to be in this position and being in control of the personnel department. Getting the opportunity to sit down with the head coach and the guys that work in the personnel department to setup workouts and talk about the players and talk about how we have got them slotted on the roster, and who should probably make this team… Where, you know, being in that position is new to me, but at the same time, it’s the same thing that we’ve been doing since I’ve been here. It’s just that I’m in a different role now.”

On the evolution of physicality at training camps and if there is enough physicality to prepare players:

“I think we have got to be fair because the same rules apply to every team in this league. So, we can’t use that as an excuse and I’m certainly not going to compare it to the days when I played without the facemask [laughter]. But, no, the excuse of not being able to do some of the things that we haven’t done, we can’t make that excuse as far as the rules are concerned because every team has to play up under the same rules. We just have got to be cognizant of it and train the guys, ‘Hey, this is what has to happen.’ We don’t get a chance to ‘hit hit’ and practice [tackling]. In a game time, your mindset should be, ‘tackle.’ I watch D.J. Swearinger, who I feel like has brought a lot of swag to this defense. There’s no doubt in my mind you don’t have to tell him that when the game starts that you have got to tackle, that this is tackle football. And I think once he gets out there, you’re going to get a lot of guys that are probably going to follow D.J. and I think that’s what we need and he’s here hopefully to lead us down that path.”

On what the team has gained by being in Richmond compared to its time in Ashburn:

“Well, we’re in the training camp. We can do some things that we weren’t able to do in Ashburn. We can bring everybody together. We can put on shoulder pads. We can do – whether or not it’s thumping or a little tackling… You know, early on in this camp, we did let the younger guys go all out and have a tackle. They didn’t have a chance to do that in Ashburn. So, I think when you get in a situation where you’ve got pads on and you’re together all the time, you’re meeting together, you eat together, it forms a little continuity and I think that’s what camp is all about.”

On the loss of LB Trent Murphy:

"Well, you know, we were going to lose Trent for four games, but Trent was having a pretty good camp, and we know what Trent did last year. Quite naturally, you don’t want to lose anybody, but Trent Murphy was a big part of our outside linebackers. And knowing that you’re not going to have him, now somebody else has to step up. This is a great opportunity for [Junior] Galette, who’s missed the last two years to stay healthy and be that guy. If not we’re going to have to go with Ryan [Anderson] and Preston [Smith] and Ryan Anderson is going to have to step up and be a good player for us and Chris Carter is going to have to fill in somewhere. But I think at the end of the day, we’re still going to be pretty good on the outside if we stay healthy."

On the first preseason game and concerns he wants to address prior to the start of the season:

“Well, I think number one, the starters only played briefly Thursday. I think you can’t tell that until you’ve seen them play a certain amount of time – get a quarter under their belt, get a half under their belt, and then you go assess and see where we really need help. And that’s when we start calling teams and doing things and wondering, ‘Do they have this?’ or what have you. That’s if you have a guy in that position. I think this week is going to help us kind of detail that and where we are, where we would like to be, and what we might need to get there.”

On if he is focused on any certain position group:

“No, not at this point. Like I said, coming to training camp, I think talent-wise, we’ve got talent at every position. We want to see what guys as a group function well together and what we need to do to get it to function that way if they don’t." 

On Colin Kaepernick:

"Well, you know, Colin Kaepernick is not my concern. We’ve got three guys in camp and those are the guys we're going to concentrate on at this time.”

On hypotheticals relating to Kaepernick:

"I'm not thinking hypothetical. I'm going to think the way it is right now. We’ve got three guys and that's what we're going with."

On if he can rely on LB Junior Galette:

“I’m [going to] give him a little credit, too, from this standpoint – how many guys can have two Achilles on different ankles and work as hard as he has to get back to this point? I think he did that. I mean, he can’t control a little tweak of the hamstring. I do believe if we can get him on the field, we’ll see some of the Junior Galette that we are looking for. I’m [going to] give him the benefit of the doubt and say I think we can get something out of him.”

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On his takeaway from training camp:

“It was a good camp. We got a great evaluation on a lot of guys. Now it has to continue on into Ashburn. We’ve got three major preseason games left to finalize our evaluation process and that’s what it’s all about. At the end of the day, our ultimate goal after four preseason games is to establish some kind of identity and have a great evaluation on our players.”

On if missing some offensive players has allowed him to evaluate more people:

“Yeah, it gives other guys great opportunities. You’ve seen Niles Paul make a lot of plays. Derek Carrier stepped up, Vernon Davis in Jordan’s [Jordan Reed’s] absence. With Josh [Doctson] and obviously [Jamison] Crowder out, Ryan Grant’s made a lot of big plays. [Brian] Quick’s got an opportunity. [Matt] Hazel’s done some good things. So, other guys have stepped up and done some good things.”

On how he’ll use CB Fabian Moreau:

“The jury’s still out. You know, he’s still learning. We’ve got to see how he’s picked up the system, but he looks fine. You know, he’s exactly what we thought as far as his height, weight, speed measurables are concerned. He looks the part. He can run. Now it’s just a matter of him adjusting to the scheme and the techniques that we’re teaching.”

On the development of QB Kirk Cousins and WR Terrelle Pryor Sr.’s chemistry this offseason:

“Yeah, they’re still in that process really. It’s not a finished product by any stretch of the imagination. So, they still have a lot of work to do, but they’ve come a long way from when he first got here. Getting to know each other and the type of balls that, you know, Terrelle can handle in the red zone and all that stuff, they’re still working through that. But, I like where they’re going. I like their progress. I like both of them communicating and working well together.”

On TE Jeremy Sprinkle:

“I like Sprinkle a lot, man. He’s got long arms, he’s strong and I think he’s going to be a Y tight end in this league for a very long time. He’s going to get stronger and stronger every year and he’s got very good hands. He’s got deceptive speed, but you really like him as an in-line blocker. In the passing game, he’s got very good hands and he’s very good after the catch. Like I said, I’ve been impressed with Jeremy.”

On the difficulty of finding good in-line tight ends and having Sprinkle available in the draft:

“He was available. We had good grades on him and we just really didn’t have a serious need for a tight end with Vernon [Davis], Niles [Paul], [Derek] Carrier and obviously Jordan [Reed]. But being that he was there and that position is hard to find, I thought it was important to grab one. So we made a good call there and he’s going to be around for a while.” 

On if there’s any update on WR Josh Doctson:

“No, no, just a hamstring. He’s going to be about four or five days probably.”

On second-year players that have improved:

“I think they all have, really. They wouldn’t be here if they didn’t.  So everybody’s on a steady, gradual improvement rate.  So I think they’ve all done a nice job, working well. I think Su’a [Cravens] was on that road but then he got hurt, obviously, which set him back. Doctson is the same way, so those two guys unfortunately got injured, but the other guys have done well.”

On what WR Robert Davis has done well:

“He has shown the ability to play big. He’s a big kid. He can run. Obviously now it’s just a matter of polishing up his routes and figuring out our system. He’s done a nice job. We’ve thrown a lot at him since OTAs for a rookie. He’s done a nice job. He’s really starting to play one position at X but we’re starting to flip flop him around a little bit. He’s done a good job. I like the fact that he’ll go in there. He’s a willing blocker in the running game. He’s strong. But as far as him producing, he had a nice catch on the angle route against Baltimore, had a couple other opportunities. [He was] a little short on some routes here and there. We’ve just got to polish up and tweak some of his stems and all that stuff, but Ike [Hilliard] is doing a nice job with him. I think he’s a guy that is just going to steadily progress and get better and better.”

On if finding an identity is something a team does every year:

“Yeah, it’s something that we develop and keep, and we’re still working towards that – what we’re all about – and trying to preach physicality around here – both sides of the ball, line of scrimmage, really, offensive, defensive line. And that doesn’t really change since I’ve been here. It’s just a matter of making sure they understand the importance of that.”

On progress from RB Rob Kelley:

“I’ve seen a lot of progress from Rob. Confidence, number one, and knowledge of the system. He’s done a nice job, really. I think he only had a couple carries in the game, didn’t get a very good look either carry and he had one catch. But watching him out here, I think he’s got great vision and he’s got [a] very low center of gravity, he’s hard to bring down with the first guy. I haven’t really seen the first guy bring him down very often, which is good. I like where he’s at. He’s another one of those second-year guys that has really improved.”

On Kelley’s improvement as a pass catcher:

“He’s not going to ever be a feature wide receiver but he’s functional out of the backfield. We can throw him check-downs and all that stuff. Probably won’t win on many choice routes, but he does have a role. When we do our drop-back passing game and he gets out and they all panic drop back there, he catches flat routes. He’s got hands that are functional. He’s got good hands.” 

On how the team has responded in practice since the first game:

“We had two really good days, I think. I think two of our most physical days up front, both sides of the ball. They were getting after it – pod drills and team run. We ran the ball a lot today, challenged them with their pad level and tried to get movement and all that stuff and they responded, I really think they did. So it’s good to see.”

On the second-year jump for DL Matt Ioannidis:

“Yeah, that’s another one. Matt’s done a great job, really. He’s gotten a lot stronger in the weight room. It’s kind of what I was hoping. Getting him out of Temple, he’s just a big, strong guy. He works hard in the weight room. It’s led by Ziggy Hood. He’s a great example for those guys, those young guys, with his work habits in the weight room. He takes them all under his wing and Matt’s one of those guys that’s just gotten so much stronger. He gets great push in the pocket and he’s playing good against the run, so I’ve been impressed with Matt.”

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