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Quotes: Jay Gruden (10-16-17)

Posted Oct 16, 2017

A transcript of Redskins head coach Jay Gruden's press conference Oct. 16, 2017.

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On injuries:

Jonathan Allen has a Lisfranc sprain. He’s seeing Dr. Anderson for the review. It could take some time. [Dustin] Hopkins has a right hip rotator muscle strain – he’ll be week-to-week. We’ll probably work out some kickers tomorrow. [Stefan] McClure has a knee hyperextension – he’ll be week-to-week. [Bashaud] Breeland has a knee sprain – hopefully we’ll get him up this week. [Montae] Nicholson has shoulder aggravation. Other bumps and bruises we’ll update later in the week.”

On how long DL Jonathan Allen will be out:

“If I would guess right now, it would probably be three to four weeks probably. Hopefully.”

On the impact of Allen’s absence:

“It’s an impact. He’s been playing well. We have a good group of defensive lineman. We had a good, strong rotation going. Now we’ve just got to get Anthony Lanier as part of that.”

On when K Dustin Hopkins’ injured his hip:

“He was dealing with a little bit of a… I don’t know. I don’t know what it is. I just found out about it this morning and he’s pretty sore so he got an MRI and we’ll have to see how it is later in the week. We’ll have to work out some other kickers just in case.”

On if Hopkins could miss this week:

“Yeah, it’s a possibility. If it’s his right hip rotator muscle strain, then I’d imagine it’s pretty significant for a kicker.”

On if CB Bashaud Breeland’s injury is severe enough to keep him out of Monday’s game:

“Yeah, I don’t know. I think Breeland’s always been a fast healer. He’s like Gumby. I mean, he took a pretty big shot on that play and I thought he was going to be out for a little bit of time but he recovers quickly. We’ll see.”

On his confidence level in the young defensive backs against QB Carson Wentz if Breeland can’t play:

“Well, it’ll be a great challenge because he’s playing extremely well. They’re 5-1 for a reason and he’s a major part of that. He’s got a great rapport with the receivers right now. They’re playing at a high level, so our guys will have to step up. That’s just the way it is. There’s a lot of teams around the National Football League this time of the year that are dealing with key injuries at certain positions and we just had a couple of them at the corner spot. So Fabian [Moreau], [Quinton] Dunbar – they’ll have to step up and play well – [Joshua] Holsey, [Kendall] Fuller.”

On trying to finish teams after strong starts:

“Yeah, we started fast, which was good. It was a big emphasis coming off the bye to start fast and we did that. We had a little lull there – we had a third-down-and-one that we didn’t make and convert on. A couple third downs offensively that looking at the film we had opportunities to make some plays and we didn’t. And then defensively, at the end of the half, the fourth-down-and-two penalty was critical. Gave them a touchdown and then the fumble. I don’t know if it has a lot to do with play calling or what, but we’ve just got to execute a little bit better and perform a little bit better when we have the lead.”

On why the pass rush wasn’t as strong as he’d hoped Sunday:

“I don’t know, I just… We had the young quarterback in the game. [C.J.] Beathard is starting or playing for his first significant time in the National Football League and I was hoping we’d get a little bit more pressure on him, make it harder on him but he made some good plays. We had some people around him from time to time, but I still think we can get more. Junior [Galette], Preston [Smith], Ryan [Kerrigan] – those guys are very good pass rushers and they did get around them at certain times of the game, but from a consistent pass rush standpoint, it probably wasn’t up to par for any of those guys but they did OK.”

On the hit Breeland took:

“It was out in space and the lineman just caught Breeland off guard a little bit. His leg was planted in the ground. I didn’t think it was an illegal play, no.”

On areas in which DL Anthony Lanier II has made progress:

“He has gotten progress in the weight room, that’s for sure. He is a lot stronger and that’s a good thing. [He’s] a small college guy and he came in and got some experience last year and then hopefully parlays that on to a good strong preseason and training camp. We will see how it translates on game day. He will be a part of the rotation, not just on third down. He might have to play some early downs. He is a guy that hopefully is getting better not just at rushing the passer, but playing the run.”

On things Allen was doing that were above his expectations:

“I think just playing the position like a veteran, really. He is a young player, but he plays it like a veteran. He has got great fundamentals. He’s got a great idea of run/pass, how to get off blocks. He has got strong hands and he was getting a pretty consistent pass rush push. He doesn’t have a lot of sacks obviously, but he was getting push in the pocket which was critical for the interior guys so the edge guys can get home. Just all around, he has played well.”

On the run game:

“We put some of our guys in tough situations. Our tight ends were trying to block some of these big defensive ends and hold up for a long time and it didn’t work out quite as well. We had our receivers try to crack down a couple times on the defensive ends and it didn’t work out a couple times. But the linemen played pretty well. Not to say the tight ends and receivers didn’t play well; they just were put in some tough situations against some very big men. But overall I think there are some things that we can clean up and get our running game back to where we need it.”

On if he has noticed offenses attacking S Montae Nicholson differently:

“No, not really.”

On if he is looking to actively expand WR Josh Doctson’s role:

“Yeah, we are going to actively expand it, without a doubt. He didn’t get as many reps as I would like at the end of the day when you look at the numbers, but it’s our job. We have got to get him in there more and expand it.”

On the decision-making process for determining Doctson’s role:

“Yeah, we have personnel groups where he is definitely in for sure, and other ones he needs to sub in and out of. So we just have got to do a better job of the personnel groups that he is not a starter in to get him in.”

On if the team lacks intensity when it has a big lead:

“No, I mean obviously you want to close them out and put your foot on their throat, but it doesn’t always work out. They have 46 guys on their team that are trying not to allow that to happen. They just made some plays. We made some unfortunate penalties and turnovers. The turnover was huge. You’ve got the ball at the 44-yard line, second-and-three, instead they’ve got the ball on your two-yard line. It’s a huge difference. We just have to do a better job of protecting the football in those situations and when we do have a turnover – sudden change like that – do a better job of trying to hold them. And we have to do a better job on defense of getting more turnovers. We had the one at the end of the game, which was huge, but we are not forcing any turnovers, sudden changes, in our favor.”

On the improvement by DL Matt Ioannidis and LB Preston Smith this year:

“Well, Matt is getting playing time. He didn’t play a lot last year. He was playing basically in base and he is playing a different position. Now he is playing defensive end. He is playing some three-technique in nickel, getting some opportunities to rush where he didn’t get that last year. He mainly was a base player playing the run. Now he is actually in sub packages rushing the passer. So he is getting more opportunities. Preston, I think the good thing about Preston is I think you’re seeing him more fresh this year. I think with the rotation we have at outside backer with Ryan Anderson, he, [Ryan] Kerrigan and Junior Galette, I think they’re all getting their rest and they’re getting their reps and they are being effective.”

On the importance of this week’s game against the Eagles:

“Obviously anytime you play a division team it is significant, especially when they’re ahead of you in the standings and they already beat you. So it is a big game for us, without a doubt. We have to do a much better job than we did the last time we played them handling their pressure. It wasn’t just blitzes. It was four-man pressures with [Brandon] Graham and those other guys. They have Fletcher Cox. They have a very good pass rush, very strong defense. They are well-coached on defense. From an offensive perspective, we have to do a better job handling the pressure, and then defensively, we have to figure out a way to contain [Carson] Wentz. He killed us with the off-schedule plays and he has been doing that consistently throughout the year. That is why they are 5-1. It’s a big game for us. We know that. A division game on the road, Monday Night Football. We are a game-and-a-half behind them so it’s important for us to try to get this one somehow to get back in the race.”

On RB Samaje Perine and his usage on the final drive:

“He had some good catches, which I was happy about. He had the big catch on the third down touchdown play and he had a nice screen pass that he popped out of there. I think there are still some runs – the more he sees, the better he is going to get. The more opportunities he gets, the better he is going to get. He is not a finished product by any stretch. He is a rookie. He is feeling himself through it, but I am just looking for more decisive cuts by him and more physical runs. That’s just what we expect from Samaje and I know he expects that himself. The last three plays, the first play I don’t know if he missed the cut or not. He probably could’ve kept that inside. The second play he had a nice run getting it to third-down-and-five. Then the last run wasn’t much of a chance. They blew it up.”

On trusting Perine in that situation:

“We knew we were going to smash them between the tackles pretty much and that is more Samaje’s style.”

On CB Josh Norman:

“Josh Norman will increase his exercise and running and be reevaluated mid-week.”

On the ideal number of carries for RB Chris Thompson:

“Ideal? I don’t know – eight, probably? Seven or eight, and then get about seven or eight catches, would be nice. I would like to get him about 15 touches somehow, 10-15.”

On if he worries about wearing Thompson out:

“You do from time to time, but I think we gauge him on the sideline, too. Randy [Jordan] does a nice job of seeing how they are physically, talking to them, making sure they’re OK. Chris was handling the workload very well so we kept going to him.”

On what Cousins spreading the ball around indicates:

“I think it’s an indication of people doing their jobs, number one. I think any time we have a route combination, I think he trusts everybody involved in the pattern and he’s seeing things pretty clearly, getting to his right reads and right progressions. There was a couple errant throws he had but for the most part, I think he was making good, sound decisions and getting them to the people and the players were making good plays for him after the catch for the most part. It’s all about reading the defenses, going through your progressions and the line giving him time and then trusting the guys to make the plays for you.”

On if the team could activate S DeAngelo Hall’s practice window soon:

“Yeah, that’s a possibility. We’re talking about that here today with our strength coach and our trainer. We’ll decide on that either this week or next week. Could be a possibility.”

On the determining factor on the decision to have Hall potentially start practice:

“We want to make sure when he starts practice, he’s ready to start practice. We don’t want to have him start out practice at 80 percent. When he starts practice, we want him to be at 100 percent because we want him to get the reps. You can get guys 21 days to get himself in football shape. We want to make sure he’s in football shape before we start the 21-day clock and make sure he’s 100 percent, which I think he’s pretty darn close. So I think it could start Wednesday, actually, could be next week. We’ll see.”

On if Doctson has expanded his role beyond just the Z receiver position:

“We still have to realize he’s in his second year and last year he didn’t practice a lot. Before we start throwing more on his plate, we’ve got to make sure he can handle the little bit that’s on his plate already, which I know he can. I know he can play some X and Z now. Now it’s a matter of getting him out there at practice, making sure he can handle the workload and the mental load of it. We will definitely put him out there at X at some point here soon.”

On RB Rob Kelley:

“He is to practice this week – ankle.”

On S Deshazor Everett and T Ty Nsekhe:

“Everett is to practice this week – hamstring – and Nsekhe is week-to-week. He’s getting close.”

On if he thinks T Trent Williams would have played yesterday if Nsekhe had been available:

“That’s a good question. I think he probably would have. He played extremely well. And I know he didn’t feel like himself, but I’ll tell you what, he was impressive. He played really well. We’re glad he played.”

On if there’s any chance Norman is available this week against Philadelphia:

“I think there’s a chance, but we’ll see. I think that’s up to the doctors and Josh, see how he’s feeling. We don’t want this thing to get re-injured obviously, but if he can go, I’m sure Josh will go.”

On if the team will practice Wednesday:

“We’re going to probably walkthrough Wednesday just because of all of the injuries that we have. We have some other ones that aren’t on here that we have to monitor. I don’t think we’ll have enough guys to practice on Wednesday anyway, so we’ll give them an extra day here to rest, recover and go Thursday, Friday, Saturday, leave Sunday.”

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