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Quotes: Jay Gruden (08-012-2017)

Posted Aug 12, 2017

A transcript of Redskins head coach Jay Gruden's press conference August 12, 2017.

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On losing LB Trent Murphy to a season-ending injury:

“It’s too bad. He was really having a great offseason program and then he followed it up with a really good training camp so far. It’s unfortunate, just wrong place at the wrong time in pro football. It was a great play by Zach Brown. He knocked their fullback back right into [Trent’s] knee and it was really unavoidable, unfortunately. Hopefully he gets his speedy [recovery]… I know Trent is the type of guy that is going to work extremely hard to get back to full strength before you know it.”

On S Su’a Cravens:

“Cravens just had some swelling in his knee and we’re going to just keep a close eye on it and go day by day with this thing, see how it does in the next couple days, see if it can get the swelling out of there and see if he can practice.”

On if there’s any structural damage to Cravens’ knee:

“No structural damage. No, not right now, not that we can see. We’ll wait until the swelling goes down, maybe take another look at it.”

On the starting offense against Baltimore:

“I mean, six snaps, heck, we overthrew the first pass a little bit and Terrelle [Pryor Sr.] couldn’t go up and get it. Third down we gave up a sack. We had Vernon running down the seam, and unfortunately Spencer [Long] tripped in the pocket and gave up pressure. Next drive we had third down and one and mis-blocked it. So, unfortunately it was six plays that weren’t as productive as I would like. It was a good learning experience for our guys. I’m glad they got out there and got beat around a little bit, took a few hits, and played against a physical defense. Now they know what to expect next week. We just have got to turn it up next week and play a little bit better and harder.”

On the team’s depth following the injuries:

“We’ll see how our depth is here soon because we have a lot of guys that are banged up a little bit, that won’t be practicing. So, the negative is they won’t be practicing, the positive is we’re going to get some guys some work and see how they do. You know, for Cravens, Deshazor Everett stepped in and did a nice job. Will Blackmon will get more reps, obviously. We’ve got Montae Nicholson coming back from his injury; he’s going to be full-strength today. So, we’ve got some guys to look at, it’ll be good to see.  [Stefan] McClure actually stepped up and had a good game. I’m excited to see these safeties play. As far as outside backer, that’s where we’re really thin right now. I think Ryan Anderson has a stinger. I don’t know if he’s going to do much today. Obviously, Trent’s out. Preston Smith is out. Trail’s a little bit banged up. So, it’ll be a challenge. [Junior] Galette’s got the hamstring. He’s going to be out about six, seven days. So, that’ll be a challenge at outside backer today.”

On if the first preseason game reenergizes teams:

“A little bit, I think especially when you don’t play as well as you’d like to, especially on offense. Defensively, we did some good things. They ran around to the football and did some nice things against their one offense so I was pleased to see them play. But offensively, I think it was sort of a wakeup call for them, as far as the communication process goes with the young centers that we had in the first, second, third, fourth quarter. We had some issues there. Our offensive line coming off the football, we have got to do a better job being more physical and our backs have got to hit the hole and our receivers have got to do a better job at getting open, man, and the quarterbacks have got to let the ball fly from time to time. A learning experience for everybody. That’s why people who complain about preseason games really don’t understand the importance of them. It’s important for us to go out there and play, get this stuff on tape, get things corrected before we get out to Philly.”

On the balance of pushing players and taking care of them during preseason:

“It gets challenging, especially like today. We have so many guys that aren’t practicing, that’s the tough part. But we have to go out and practice and the guys that are able to practice, we need work and that showed Thursday night. We need work. We have got to work on our pad levels, our fundamentals, everything we need to work on in pro football can only be practiced with pads on and challenging them in that regard. We’ve got to do the best we can to push them but also it’s our job and the trainers’ job to make sure we keep them healthy somehow. But there is no substitute for practice.”

On TE Jordan Reed:

“Jordan got some special orthotics in today. He’s going to try these out for a couple of days and we’ll take a look at him probably after the Green Bay game, hopefully.”

On if he will change anything for the final few days in Richmond:

“No, not really. We’re going to specialize certain categories as far as practice is concerned. We’ll work on some third-down periods, some blitz pickups. Obviously we have to press ourselves in that regard. We weren’t very good on blitz pickups. That’s one area. You know, that’s the good thing about playing a game. You can really start to put a bulls-eye on certain areas/situations in football that you need work on and third down is one of them. Obviously we can always work on red zone, but some special situation work will be good for us for the next week or two.”

On LB Nico Marley and if his size prevents him from a chance at making the team:

“I think he’s already shut up a lot of naysayers as far that’s concerned, but there’s still great competition at middle linebacker. I’m not going to say he has no chance; everybody on our team has a chance to make the team. That’s why they’re here and that’s why we’re going to compete until the very end until we have to make final cuts. So I think special teams will be huge for him. How he does on special teams will be big. And then how the other guys do in front of him. Zach Brown played well, [Will] Compton played well, Mason Foster had a heck of a game with the plays that he played. I thought Josh Harvey-Clemens stepped in and made some big plays at linebacker. [Zach] Vigil made some good plays. So there’s a lot of guys at middle linebacker and it’s a great competition.”

On Marley’s knack for being at the right place at the right time:

“Very instinctive. For that size, you have to be. He’s very instinctive. He hits holes. He can shed blocks. He plays with great leverage, obviously, which is a good thing. So good player, very productive.”

On RB Samaje Perine:

“He had a rough first start. He had that little fumble, kind of a missed exchange a little bit, and then he dropped the pass. He didn’t quite hit the hole as violently as we’d like him to hit it. You know, a couple of times he was kind of weaving his way through traffic a little bit, trying to get his reads right. I think just getting him the ball more, letting him see more runs, get him some of these outside zones, these powers, some duos, and stuff like that and see how he hits it. But, you know, we’re not losing faith in Samaje. We have total confidence that he will get right.”

On if he’s considering sitting QB Kirk Cousins for the second preseason game:

“No, it’s not under consideration. Kirk will play.”

On the defensive line:

“I think that was really good. They played up through the third quarter, some of them, because we have such a strong rotation. [Matt] Ioannidis played extremely well. Ziggy Hood did his normal thing, Phil Taylor showed up. I thought Jonathan Allen had a big day for his first game. I liked the way he moved around. [Anthony] Lanier had a sack, did some good things. Obviously Terrell McClain showed up when played, and Stacy McGee, I think he showed up and hustled and made some plays. I was happy with all those guys in the rotation and some other guys came in late and did some decent things, so that's going to be a great battle to watch also. How we can utilize these guys in base and nickel will be the true determination on who makes the team and all that.”

On if there’s ever a benefit to coming up short of expectations in preseason games:

“A little bit, there might be a benefit there, but really the expectations that I had for the game is to really to start our evaluation process. I think schematically there's some things that as coaches we might not have prepared our team quite as well as we would’ve liked to against Baltimore. They had some really good blitz fronts that we weren’t quite as prepared for as we normally would be on a Sunday, but for the most part, really this is about evaluating our players and trying to get them in positions where they can show what they have so we can make the final determination on the 53. And it was the first step in the right direction. We saw a lot of good things. We saw some things we need to work on. Now it’s about seeing how they can improve and if they can develop some kind of consistency in what they’re doing.”

On CB Fabian Moreau and S Montae Nicholson:

“Fabian and Montae are both going today. Can’t wait.”

On DL Phil Taylor Sr.:

“Well, I’ll tell you, I was in Cincinnati for three years when he was at Cleveland and I know what a force he can be at nose. He was tough to deal with, he really was. We had him for a workout, and I didn’t even know he was on the streets. His knee looked better. He was in good shape. He had a whole offseason and did some good things. I think his body is finally back to where he feels really good. He’s moving around, he’s active, he’s strong, so I like where he is right now. He’s just got to continue to maintain it.”

On if Taylor looks like the same player he was in Cleveland:

“He looks very similar, he really does. Now, like I said, he’s got to play some more plays and he’s got to put in day after day after day. We’ve got Green Bay, a very good team, and obviously Cincinnati [in] Week 3 will be a great test with the running game that they have with obviously Joe [Mixon], Gio [Giovani Bernard] and [Jeremy] Hill, so we’ll see how he does.”

 

On who will return kickoffs and punts this season:

“[Jamison] Crowder at punt returner, I hope. After that, [Kendall] Fuller did some good things. Will [Blackmon] had an unfortunate drop. We won't give up on him. But, you know, I think it's going to be important we find another guy. Chris Thompson can return kicks for us, [Bashaud] Breeland's done some of it. So we're still trying to fight through our final kick returner and I think we'll obviously figure that out in the next couple weeks.”

 

On potentially carrying only two quarterbacks on the roster and if WR Terrelle Pryor Sr. will serve as the emergency quarterback:

“I think on game day he'll have to be. You know, I think we've only dressed three quarterbacks once since I’ve been here, so whether we keep three or two quarterbacks is irrelevant. On game day, Pryor will have to be the emergency quarterback.”


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