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Quotes: Jay Gruden (08-29-2017)

Posted Aug 29, 2017

A transcript of Redskins head coach Jay Gruden's press conferences August 29, 2017.

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On injuries:

“The only injury that I’ll go over is Phil Taylor. He’s going to have surgery tomorrow. He tore his left quad tendon. He will be out for the year.”

On the depth at nose tackle with DL A.J. Francis and Joey Mbu:

“Yeah, Ziggy [Hood] can play there, Stacy [McGee] can play there some, too. Those guys have played well. It’s been a constant battle throughout OTAs and training camp, so those guys have gotten a lot of work. Coach [Jim] Tomsula’s rotated them in there, different people with different groups – part of the plan. I feel terrible for Phil [Taylor Sr.] because he did a great job at getting himself ready to play. He’s in excellent shape but it’s just an unfortunate injury. The rest of the guys have got to step up.”

On his impressions of the first-team offense from last Sunday:

“There’s obviously a lot of coaching that we have to do, clean up some things, but overall I like the way we bounced back and stayed in the game. Quite frankly, that’s the way a lot of our games are going to be in 2017. They’re going to be close, there’s going to be some adversity and we’re going to have to overcome it and make some plays to keep us in games and then win them late. There were some good things that we liked and obviously a lot of things that we need to clean up, as is the case every week in pro football.”

On what he hopes to see from the second- and third-string players on Thursday:

“I’m hoping they play well. Obviously we’re excited to see how these guys play. Last week, a lot of them didn’t get a lot of chances to play. This is a good week for them to show how much they’ve learned throughout the OTAs  and training camp and now it’s their opportunity to play well against a good Tampa team.  Not a lot of preparation time, obviously, which is a negative for them, but we hope that the fundamentals that we’ve taught and the plays that we have should be good versus everything and we’ll see how they react and adjust.”

On if he would be more comfortable shifting DL Ziggy Hood and Stacy McGee to nose tackle as compared to more traditional nose tackles like Mbu and Francis:

“We’ll see, we’ll see. A lot is going to determine that – how many defensive linemen are we going to dress on game day – that’s one – if we dress five or six on game day, how many we’re going to keep on the 53-man roster. There’s still some time for us to have those discussions and we will.”

On if he feels more confident potentially starting Chase Roullier at center in Week 1:

“Yeah, if I had to start him, I’d better feel OK because he’s starting, but he did some good things. He mistargeted a couple plays, which is natural, a lot of movement Cincinnati had on certain down and distances. But for the most part, he did well. He competed well and he stood his ground. I felt him getting up to the next level a few times and he blocked some good defensive lineman over there so I was impressed with his first outing. We’ve just got to clean up some of his communication, but overall I think he did well.”

On if QB Nate Sudfeld will play the entire game Thursday:

“That’s the intent, yes.”

On if Thursday is a chance for Sudfeld to prove he is worthy of a roster spot:

“The thing about Nate is that Colt [McCoy] and Kirk [Cousins] are very selfish when it comes to reps so he doesn’t get a lot. So this is a great opportunity for him to show what he can do. He’s had a few sprinkled in here – he played I think half against Baltimore Week 1, sparingly, he didn’t play last week, and he played sparingly Week 2, so we’ll see how he does. All those roster decisions, they are going to come up come Friday morning when we get back.”

On his level of concern with WR Josh Doctson’s injuries:

“Well, it’s been an issue. We’ve only had him a year, a little bit over a year now, and he hasn’t really done a lot with us unfortunately, but I think he’s going to overcome these. I think he could have played last week; he could play Thursday if we wanted him to. I think he’s going to be ready to go for Philadelphia and now it’s a matter of keeping him out there, and knock on wood, we hope we can do that.”

On if he views Doctson as a starting receiver:

“Well, we have some players there that have been performing in practice in his absence that have done well, obviously [Jamison] Crowder and depends how many receivers you play. If you play a two-receiver set, right now Crowder could be the starting Z, it could be Josh, it could be Ryan [Grant]. We have plenty of options there. The big thing is we want to keep them fresh. If Terrelle [Pryor Sr.] gets tired, I won’t hesitate at putting Josh at X or Ryan Grant at X or whatever, so we have a good group of wideouts that could play anywhere at any time.”

On if Doctson is having any trouble with confidence in his own health:

“I don’t know, you’d have to ask him that. I think he just had some unfortunate… he was running a lot in OTAs and training camp and he was doing some really good things. It wasn’t like he pulled it, it was just tight, I guess, so to speak. It hasn’t been a major pull, so I think he’s going to be okay.”

On if there is concern about LB Ryan Anderson being ready for the start of the season:

“We’ll see. I think if you’ve missed this much time, there’s some concern because he needs the practice. It’s not like we can just throw him out there, ‘Hey!’ He’s a rookie, he needs a lot of work – the communication, where he’s supposed to be and how to get there.  So there is a little level of concern there, but we feel like he’ll be ready eventually, we just don’t know when. It’s a unique injury. We’ve just got to get his strength back.”

On if Roullier will play on Thursday:

“That’s a good question. You know, we will wait and see come Thursday afternoon. We will go through pregame warmup and see where we stand. We will try to get Chase maybe a series or two and see how it goes, but Ronald Patrick will get the majority. We will go from there.”

On if there is temptation to play players who might have starting roles who haven’t had a lot of reps:

“Junior [Galette] is definitely not going to play. He played with his injury, very similar to Josh [Doctson], but he is not going to play Thursday. Josh wants to play Thursday, but that will be my decision here in about 24 hours.”

On LB Will Compton, RB Rob Kelley and CB Kendall Fuller:

“Will Compton, no, he just has a chest contusion a little bit. Kelley and Fuller? They’re OK, they just took the day off, a little sore.”

On if he likes the new cut-down rules:

“I do, I do, I do because — I mentioned this before — I just think that we have had these guys for so long that this is a great opportunity for a lot of them to play and show what they have, not just for our team and our practice squad, but for everybody else. If you make a mad cut after the Thursday game, or after our game against Cincinnati, you’re not going to be able to really pick anybody up. You don’t have the roster spots and then you don’t have enough guys to play against Tampa because you’re going to rest all your starters. So it is great to have all these guys available and it’s great to see them play. You give them an opportunity to see what they have in a pro stadium and a big game.”

On his memories of last year’s game against Tampa Bay, which was moved a day earlier because of Tropical Depression Nine:

“That was a grind. It was tough – a tough week. But we got through it and guys adjusted well. They actually played well. Mack Brown had a big game and did some good things. We were able to look at a lot of good players.”

On if he had previously played or coached in circumstances like that:

“In a hurricane? No. That would be the first.”

On if the team could look to add defensive linemen after roster cuts:

“Yeah, could be. I think our scouts upstairs are looking at everybody’s roster and projected cuts and seeing if there is somebody we could pick up that can help our football team; we’ll look at them. Also for practice squad purposes… But we feel good about the depth we have at the defensive line. I’ve said that from day one. I think with Joey [Mbu] and A.J. [Francis], they’re playing well. Obviously Matt [Ioannidis] is playing well and Stacy [McGee] and you’ve got Terrell [McClain] and Ziggy [Hood], so we’ve got a good group. Anthony Lanier is young and he’s still getting better. So we feel pretty good about our depth. But obviously if somebody they feel like is better, we’ll take a look.”

On if he expects there to be a lot of fluctuation on the roster once all teams have cut from 90 to 53:

“Could be. You know, I don’t anticipate a whole lot, but you don’t know. We’ve got to wait and see who’s out there. Like I said, the scouts know them all a lot better than I do right at this second, so we’ll get a look at who’s out there and if we feel like they can make our team better, we’ll look at them. But I feel good about the guys we’re going to keep. I don’t want to let any of these guys go right now, but we’re going to have to make those tough decisions. I like the guys that we have and I think we can compete with the ones that we have.”

On CB Joshua Holsey:

“I’ve been impressed with Josh. He’s played nickel, he’s played corner. He’s active. He’s a good tackler. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he makes up for it with his smarts. He knows where to go and where to be and has great coverage skills, in my opinion. I like his toughness, I like his attitude and he’s done well – both inside and outside.”

On which offensive coaches help in the booth:

“Coach [Matt] Cavanaugh is up there. He does good. And then we have Kevin [O’Connell] downstairs and obviously Wes [Phillips] downstairs and Coach [Bill] Callahan downstairs.”

On if calling plays detracts from his time with the defense:

“No. I didn’t spend a lot of time with them last year. Every once in a while I’d just pat them on the head and say good job or yell at them if they weren’t hustling. I stay out of the schematics part of it. They’ve already got all that stuff and the defensive coaches do an excellent job, so we’ll just let them do their job.”

On areas in which RB Chris Thompson has improved this offseason:

“Oh, wow, I think last year he was very good in his role. I think we can expand his role if we want to. It’s just he’s so good at the third-down role that I just want to keep him there. He’s a very valuable commodity to our football team, both in pass protection and getting out on the routes. I mean, the thought of him not being around scares the heck out of me. So he’s improved every part of his game, and a lot of these young players, they do that. You either get better or worse, and he’s just one of those guys that continues to work and he’s gotten better at everything. His vision on the running game and his pass protection has gotten better and better, and his routes, really, are the most improved, I think, coming out of the backfield. It takes some time for those guys to work their releases and work on the linebackers and run them at the right depth and come out at the right angles and all that stuff, and he’s darn-near perfected it."

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