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Quotes: Head Coach Jay Gruden, Introductory Presser For Jonathan Allen, Ryan Anderson 04-29-17

Posted Apr 29, 2017

A transcript of Redskins head coach Jay Gruden's press conference Apr. 29, 2017.

On RB Samaje Perine:

"Well, there's a lot to like. He was very productive in his years at Oklahoma. He's a physical runner, without a doubt. Nobody can argue that point. We got a chance to interview him, sit down with him at the combine. He's also a leader-type player, but really when it comes down to it, he can get from here to there – physically. He's a physical runner and had a lot of production and a lot of yards. He's a great kid. I think he's got a chance to be a special team player also. He's done some of that in his career. Can't argue the production and the toughness that he has, and that's what drew us to him."

On if he planned to have this kind of size in this draft class:

"That's always what you're looking for. It depends on the player, but we got bigger and stronger. We also drafted some speed. Fabian [Moreau] can run 4.3 and obviously Robert [Davis] is a very fast player, so we got a couple guys that can really run."

On where the defense is right now on paper following the draft:

"That's what it is – it’s on paper. You feel like you're better, everybody does at this time. It's how we gel as a unit that is the important thing – how they buy into Coach Manusky's scheme and Coach Tomsula's coaching, how they work well together and how they make each other better. That's a challenge that we have. And we're going to start out here. Phase I, they've already started. We're going to get them going and introduce them to the scheme and see how they work together." 

On if there is a common theme in their draft selections, whether it be attitude, speed or size:

"You’d like a combination of all of them, but we definitely sided towards the attitude and the size. I think Jonathan [Allen] and [Ryan] Anderson, we figured out those two guys were tough, physical football players and that's very, very important. And Fabian, obviously, for being a corner he's got some toughness to him also, but he also runs a 4.35 and he's got a combination of all of them. He's also been a captain. We've got great guys, great physical, tough guys." 

On the distribution of how positions were drafted:

“It’s the way it worked out really. We tried to follow our board. I think Scott Campbell and Bruce [Allen] and the scouts really did a great job of getting the board set. The assistant coaches had a lot of say in it, did a very nice job. We feel like we did a good job. We’ll see how it stacks out, but getting Fabian in the third, Samaje in the fourth and obviously getting Montae [Nicholson] is a heck of a good add for us. We got some guys late that we feel really good about.”

On if not selecting a quarterback is an endorsement of the current quarterbacks:

“I think so. I think just because we draft a guy at your position doesn’t mean were saying you’re bad at your position. I think it’s just that those are the best players available. But we obviously feel good about Kirk [Cousins], Colt [McCoy] and Nate [Sudfeld] moving forward. If we get one as a free agent for the rookie minicamp and see how he does, well go from there.

On targeting defensive backs and selecting S Montae Nicholson in the fourth round:

“I think when you’re looking in the third round and you see Fabian sitting there, you had to take him. Obviously, the running back situation, we weren’t really necessarily looking for a new addition, but we couldn’t pass up on Samaje. We were happy to get him, man. We really enjoyed his interview, his toughness watching him on tape. You feel his presence when he runs the football. He’s a hard guy to get down, and if you do get him down, you’re going to get up holding your shoulder or something because he’s going to hit you. Then Montae was sitting there and it was kind of a position of need, but also he was one of our top-rated safeties and we decided to take him. He’s got an injury, but we feel like he’ll be ready for camp. He’s a big kid that can really run. I think he ran a 4.4 at the Combine, and worst-case he’s going to help out our special teams and that’s important. That’s one of the big three phases so that’s a good add for us.”

On WR Robert Davis and if the team has specifically targeted larger receivers:

“Well, I think when you’re looking for outside receivers, you’re looking for a guy that can be a little bit bigger. We feel like we have the best inside receiver – one of the best ones in the game – in Jamison [Crowder] so we weren’t really looking to add another one there. But we have some guys that can play a little bit of everywhere. You’d like to have size, but we just felt like at the time Robert was the best player available at receiver. He just so happened to be 6-2 and runs a 4.4. Good for us [laughter]. Really, size, we weren’t looking for a specific position there. We were looking for a guy that could run and maybe help out on special teams in his first year and continue to develop and break in the lineup that way first.”

On if WR Jamison Crowder will move outside:

“Well, he’ll be inside when we go three receivers, for sure. Just when we go two receivers, we’ll mix-and-match however we do it. We’re going to try to keep him on the field as much as possible.”

On the nose tackle spot:

“I feel good, you know? I think a lot of people don’t know the guys we’ve had here or the guys there were on our practice squad like Joey Mbu, A.J. Francis. We feel good about the development of Matt Ioannidis, those three guys. And we added Phil Taylor. He’s an ex-first-round pick, had a couple of injuries but he’s looking good out here. He looks healthy and [he is] rolling so we feel good about those four guys competing for the nose guard spot. And we added obviously Stacy [McGee] who has played a little bit of nose but he’s more of an end, but we’ve got some multi-dimensional guys.”

On if he feels like he got the blocking tight end he was looking for in Jeremy Sprinkle:

“Yes, we do. He’s a big guy that can do both. That’s very exciting. That’s very rare nowadays in college football. A lot of tight ends are athletic, can run, but when you ask them to put their hand on the ground and block that six-technique, it’s a whole different ballgame. We feel like Jeremy [Sprinkle] can do a little bit of both. And he’s still got to develop his upper body, but I think we get him in our building, get him in the weight room… He’s got the length, he’s got the size, he’s got the toughness. I think he’s a good pick.”

On the coaches’ input and workload during the draft this year compared to last year:

“It was about the same. Same, same. Everybody is responsible to grade their players at their position. Gave the input and did a great job.”

On what he liked about C Chase Roullier:

“He’s a tough guy, man. You know, he’s played center, he’s played guard. And when you’re looking to draft a guy in the later rounds, the sixth round when we got him... He was a target for us because of his ability to play guard and center. You like to have a guy come in here and compete for the backup job behind Spencer [Long], but also if somebody gets injured in front of you, you’ve got to be able to play left guard and right guard. We feel like he can do that.”

On how the draft room operated:

“It was great. Very smooth. No issues whatsoever. You know, we had our share of back-and-forth conversation. You know, you’ve got a lot of guys [with] same grades, and some guys, positions want this guy, we want that guy, but it was a smooth process led by Bruce [Allen] and Scott Campbell. They did a great job, and obviously all the area scouts were tremendous.”

On how involved he is in contract discussions with QB Kirk Cousins:

“I’m not involved in the contract negotiating at all. No, that’s not my cup of tea, nor do I want it to be. I just try to say ‘We want you,’ and ‘Please sign.’”

On S Josh Harvey-Clemons:

“Josh is an interesting guy. He’s played some safety, but he’s 6-foot-4 and can run. He’s a tough guy, he’s played in the box a little bit. We’re going to try him at dime linebacker, and see and go from there. But, you know, you look around the league and you look at some of these running backs that are getting drafted, you know [Alvin] Kamara and some of these smaller scatbacks that are really good receivers, you better have somebody that can run and cover them and also be able to tackle if they run inside zone or something like that. We feel like he can do that. [It will] be a good project, and height/weight/speed, he fits all the measurables, we’ve just got to find a spot for him.”

On what position Josh Holsey will play:

“We see him competing at nickel and a little bit at corner. He played very well. He competed against Mike Williams and did a great job. I love his competitiveness. You look as his measurables and he’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he competes as good as any corner we’ve seen out there. We’re excited to throw him in the mix and let him compete at nickel/corner and special teams obviously.”

On how he feels about the defensive line after drafting Jonathan Allen:

“Like I said, it’s just how the draft board went. Once you get a player like that to add to the room… We feel good about the guys we’ve mentioned before, obviously [Terrell] McClain and [Stacy] McGee. Then we’ve talked a lot about Anthony Lanier who we feel good about, Ziggy Hood is coming back. We feel like we have a good combination there at defensive line. We could add maybe one or two more as a college free agent that are still out there – there’s some good players still left out there. So far, so good. We feel like we’ve addressed it with three big signings – Ziggy was a free agent, so really four – to go along with Matt [Ioannidis] and Anthony, and then the guys that we had on our practice squad with [Joey] Mbu and A.J. Francis and obviously Phil Taylor. So we feel good about it.”

On what adding another running back means for RB Matt Jones:

“He’s here just like everybody. I’ve mentioned it before, you sign a guy, it doesn’t mean the end of the world for a somebody who was his backup or what have you last year. Everybody has to come in here and compete. Anybody who knows me and the way we’ve done business here in the past, we play the best player. We don’t play the politically correct player, we will play the player who performs the best, and everybody is going to get a chance.”

On if there was a single performance by Perine that attracted the team to him:

“Kansas his junior year was pretty good – 427 yards, I think [laughter]. That’s not easy to do. But I just think his body of work, really. Playing with a great back like Joe [Mixon] over there, to really take advantage of the carries… I think he’s averaged six-point-something yards per carry. You say, ‘Oh, he’s a big back, he’s a between-the-tackles back.’ He’s averaging six yards per carry, so he’s a little bit more than that. I don’t think he gets enough credit for once he gets outside that ability to run over people, stiff-arm people [and] still make people miss. Not to mention, the character on this kid is A-plus. We know we’re going to get the most out of him. He benched 30 times on 225 [pounds], so we know how strong he is. Just a total package is really what we liked.” 

Introductory Press Conference:
DL Jonathan Allen and LB Ryan Anderson

Opening statements:

ALLEN: “For me, I would just like to thank the Washington Redskin organization for making this dream come true. This is truly a blessing for me, not only to play for the NFL, but to be on the team I grew up watching. This is just a great and tremendous honor. It’s just been a lot of hard work to this point in my life, but I would just like to say thank you. I’m excited and looking forward to going out there and getting my NFL career started with this great locker room. From the guys I met, I’m very excited.”

ANDERSON: “I’ll just kind of build on what he said. Thank you to all those GMs, coaches and everybody that believed in me and bringing me in. I’m excited to be a Redskin and to get this process started, meet some of my teammates and get this ball rolling.”

On Redskins that were role models to Allen:

ALLEN: “As far as role models, Chris Cooley was a guy who I’ve always kind of had a relationship with, so he’s definitely been a big help to me through this process. If I had to choose one, I would definitely say Chris Cooley. He’s just a great role model, a great leader, been a great mentor to me. He’s been tremendous for me.”

On their relationship together at Alabama:

ANDERSON: “We [were] pretty close. We talked a lot. We played on the same defense for years, man. We were close. But never ever in a million years I thought we would be on the same team. I thought I got rid of him [laughter].”

ALLEN: “Kind of to repeat back what Ryan said, playing on the same defense for the last four years, [we] definitely came close. We definitely have a great brotherhood at Alabama. You never think about a situation where you go to play for a team with one of your great friends from college. It’s a blessing, I’m excited.”

On their dynamic on the field together at Alabama:

ANDERSON: “Like I said, we had a great relationship. We got to the point where we can work together, we can go out there and we call a lot of games and stuff on our own – that came with trust and time. For us to be on the same team, we can just pick right back up where we left off. I know him and I know his skill set. I know when he’s hot, I’m going to cover him, and if I’m rushing good, he can cover me. We pretty much have got that understanding. Like I said, man, it’s a great feeling to have another dog, somebody that’s going to go out there and lay it out there with you every day. That’s good, too.”

ALLEN: “Kind of what he said, just the mentality that we have coming out of Alabama, I feel like we’re very special. To know that I have a guy with me from Alabama is cool. We kind of fuel off of each other [and] feed off of each other just by our playing styles and how we go about doing it the right way. I’m excited. I’m excited to get things started, and having an Alabama guy with me makes it even better.”

On how they would describe each other as players and teammates:

ANDERSON: "Jonathan is a great teammate, you know what I mean? He’s a guy, he can come in the locker room and change the mood of a lot of guys. He has got that ability. He can joke around, but when it’s time to get serious and get on the field, he's all about his business. He's a smart player and great player… That’s pretty much it."

ALLEN: "For me, Ryan is a very versatile player. He's dominant on the run, aggressive, physical, and nasty. For me, those are things I'm kind of looking for when I'm looking for.”

ANDERSON: “Oh, that’s killing him [laughter]. That’s killing him right now.”

ALLEN: “Those are the kinds of things I’m looking for in a linebacker. And as far as a teammate, he's probably one of the best I've had just from the work ethic standpoint. It’s not really too many times you would catch Ryan slacking off, he's usually bringing guys to his level. As a teammate, and as a person, you can't really ask for too much better."

ANDERSON: “I’m glad you asked that question. He would have never said that stuff about me.”

On Anderson’s inspiration and from where his attitude comes:

ANDERSON: "Those people sitting right there – my mom, my sister and my brother. I always go out there and I'm playing for them. I'm playing for something bigger than me. It ain’t all about me. I don't feel like I can play this game at the level that I play it at and where I came from playing it if it was just about me."

On the last 24 hours:

ALLEN: "For me, it’s been a lot. I’ve probably experienced every emotional thing that you can, but probably the biggest thing is being excited. Yesterday, I was just so excited just to come in and meet all the coaches and Mr. Snyder. It’s been amazing. My mom said today, it's just back to the process. I'm looking forward to playing here, but I'm most excited to just get to work, get to running, get to working out with the team and just trying to catch up to speed with the rest of the guys. Just getting back to business."

On the draft process:

ANDERSON: “For me, like you said, we had a long season. Coming out of that season, the long season, the way we played, the way we practice at Bama is physically and mentally… it will wear you down. We had to play catch up on this training stuff, a lot of the combine stuff, it was tough. Guys had been done playing in November and December, really early and were training, so that was the tough part for me. It was non-stop and didn’t really get a break. We are jumping right back into it now, but I’m glad that part is over with and it’s back to football now… “I got advice from a lot of players, that played and went through it and they said the same thing. Just try to enjoy it. You only have got to do it one time, but I really wasn’t hearing that. I really didn’t like the draft process that much.”

ALLEN: “For me, I would probably say the waiting. It was a long season. It was physically and mentally exhausting, but this is my job. This is what I love to do. So, for me, it was just the waiting part, doing things that weren’t necessarily football-related. For me, getting back to football is what I have been waiting for since January 11th. So that’s what I’m most looking forward to.”

On what it means for Allen to play for the Redskins:

ALLEN: “To play for the Redskins means a lot. I still remember the days when I would come up to the Redskins’ facility when we first got Donovan McNabb and I was out there for training camp and watching them. So it’s cool to be able to say I can play for the Redskins. But that was then and this is now. This is my job and this is my business. It’s so exciting and it’s fun, but I’m just ready to get to work. For my family, they are so excited. Right in the backyard. It’s something you only hear about in stories. Not really something we even thought could happen, so now that it happened is really just a blessing and a dream come true.”

On why they chose to play collegiately at Alabama:

ALLEN: “Well, I was born in Anniston, Alabama, so I’ve always grown up an Alabama fan. For me when you have Coach [Nick] Saban sitting on your couch in your living room telling you he wants you to play for him, I mean, that’s not really something you say no to.”

ANDERSON: “I wanted to roll with the Tide, big guy.”

On if Allen has a preference where he plays on the defensive line:

ALLEN: “No, I mean, I don’t have a preference. As a football player I just want to be out there. That’s the most important thing for me. So, where ever the coaches tell me to play at that’s where I’m going to go play at and do it effectively.”

On if Allen had been to FedExField before today:

ALLEN: “So I’ve never actually been to a game. I went to the Barcelona/Manchester United game in 2010, I think, but besides that this is my first time. So walking in was an amazing experience. Like Ryan kind of said, just trying to soak it all in. You know it doesn’t even seem real at this point.”

On what they expect to feel walking into the stadium to play their first NFL game:

ALLEN: “I’m going to be excited, but I don’t really know how I’m going to feel. Probably going to be locked in and focused because it’s going to be my first NFL game. I have a job to do. This is a business. So I’m probably going to be just super mentally locked in and focused and ready to play football.”

ANDERSON: “I don’t feel like it’ll be any different from my first time walking into Bryant-Denny [Stadium in Tuscaloosa]. It’s just a different level, different team. High level competition, but at the end of the day it’s all the same game. It’s all the same feeling. Going in there for one reason.”

On if Anderson could play inside linebacker:

ANDERSON: “They haven’t talked to me about it.”

On if Anderson would be against playing inside linebacker:

ANDERSON: “No, I wouldn’t be against it. This is my job now. I ain’t in college no more. I ain’t doing this for free, so [laughter].”

 

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