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Quotes: Jay Gruden And Jonathan Allen (07-29-2017)

Posted Jul 29, 2017

A transcript of Redskins head coach Jay Gruden and defensive lineman Jonathan Allen's press conferences July 29, 2017.

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On the process if it rains during practice:

“Well, if it’s really bad and the field gets terrible, we go in the convention center down the road and we’ll walk through the practice. We’ll fight through it today — hopefully we’ll get enough in. The fields don’t hold water that well so we don’t want to tear them up either. We’ll get in what we can get in today and if we have to, we’ll go to the convention center.”

On the depth of the linebacker group and how it will help and/or complicate the decision-making process:

“It always helps to have depth because you never know when you’re going to run into some injuries or what have you. I think it’s not just the linebacker group, I think it’s every group right now. We feel really good about the depth that we have on this football team in general and there will be some great battles. It’s our job to make sure we give everybody ample opportunity to make the team and make plays. Special teams will be a big role also — who performs the best on that. If it’s close, the better special teams player will probably win out.”

On how much they focus on the rest of the division in their preparation for the season:

“You have to definitely be aware of teams that you’re going to play twice in the NFC East obviously, so you have to understand what the roster is like but you also want to really pick the best player available and adjust your roster with the need basis of free agency and the draft. We feel like we have addressed a lot of the needs that we’ve had, but I think we’ve also upgraded our roster such that matches what the NFC East has in general and across the league, really. Across the league teams have good players, good receiving corps, but we’ll see.”

On how much he has learned about DL Jonathan Allen:

“Not a lot – he doesn’t speak a lot. He’s a good guy obviously. Very strong, very strong, and wants to work, which is good. He’s put on a lot of muscle mass already in the short time that he’s been here, we feel like, and he’s going to get stronger and stronger. I like his work ethic, I like the way he learns and the way he works.”

On Allen’s maturity:

“He’s really mature. Really, really mature. He comes from such a big-time program that I don’t think they have any choice but to be mature coming from Alabama. So, he and Ryan [Anderson] both are very mature beyond their years, have great work ethic and are good football players.”

On managing LB Trent Murphy’s reps:

“That’s a good question. I think he still needs the work, and we’re going to get him some work, but we also have to get the other guys ready. I think Preston [Smith] and Junior [Galette] need the reps. Ryan [Kerrigan], I think we can taper off him from time to time, the veteran that he is. Lynden Trail can get some more reps, Chris Carter can get some more reps. So, we can mix and match, but Trent will still get some.”

On if he wants to limit LB Junior Galette given his injury history:

“Right now we haven’t had to. We’ve only been here a couple days, but if something happens where he’s a little sore then, yes, we will taper back on him. But I think he needs the work, and he knows he needs the work. He’s been out for two years so there is a fine line there but if does have soreness, the trainers will let me know and we’ll hold him out.”

On if he has any sense of when TE Jordan Reed will return:

“No, no sense.”

On if he expects an edge in practice today now that players are back in pads:

“I hope so. We’ve got some smash-mouth runs in today we put in. Coach [Bill] Callahan put some specials in there so we’re going to have some banging around and see what happens. You know, I think it’ll be a spirited day, I would expect. Day off tomorrow. The guys will be ready to get out of meetings early, but it’s not going to happen [laughter].”

On WR Maurice Harris:

“We’re going to hold him out the next couple of days – probably three or four days, maybe five. Got some knee soreness, and we’ll take care of it.”

On TE Derek Carrier’s ankle injury and the timetable for his recovery:

“Same. I don’t know the timetable on Derek; we’ll just play it by ear. He’s had some swelling, tweaked it a little bit. I don’t think it’s serious, just probably a day or two.”

On the value of having S DeAngelo Hall around the team even while unable to participate:

“Yeah, I talked about DeAngelo before. I think he’s been a great mentor to that room. He’s a calming influence to those guys and he’s still learning also but he also uses his expertise, his knowledge and veteran leadership that he’s learned over the years to help the younger guys out. He wants to get back on the field today, really. He’s excited, but we also have to be safe and be smart with him. He’s coming off that injury. But he’s been a great influence on those guys. He works hard, he’s in the meetings, and he’s preparing like he’s going to play, which is good. We’ll probably need him eventually.”

On if the team will sign any defensive backs today:

“Yes, we are talking about that as soon as we get out of here.”

On how he measures expectations for LB Junior Galette in his return from injury:

“I think that’s what these practices are for. We will see where he is. He was a great player at New Orleans. That’s why we went out and got him. We were fortunate to get him and we had high expectations for him. Pass rushers this day in age that are dominant pass rushers like he was in New Orleans are hard to find. Unfortunately, he had two [injured] Achilles but now he’s back. We just have to play it by year and see how he does. I’m excited. He has got great energy out there, he works hard and has won a bunch of one-on-ones already out there, one-on-one pass rush and he’s played good against the run so far, but today we’ve got the pads on. Like everybody says, today will be a great evaluation, Monday and the rest of the time we put the pads on, we will see how he does.”

On WR Zach Pascal joking that he’d learn how to kick field goals if necessary to make the team:

“Hopefully he won’t have to kick a field goal. He’s a big, physical kid. I liked him at Old Dominion. I really did. I saw a lot of tape on him. He’s done a good job. The big thing for him is he’s got to have position flexibility. You’ve got to know all three and that’s tough for a rookie. Then he’s got to do some things on special teams that can crack into the lineup somehow, and that’s the start. Special teams are the start for a lot of young guys that are trying to make the roster. So if he can do well on special teams, that will be a huge plus for him. If he’s got position flexibility, that will be another huge plus for him. Then obviously he’s got to make the plays when they are given.”

On who has stood out so far:

“Nobody really; we haven't had the pads on really. You know, we've just been in shorts. You know, all throughout the OTA process and mandatory camp, there's been some guys, like Keith Marshall's flashed a little bit from his injury, coming back. I think people are sleeping on him a little bit. But, overall, I think I've been impressed with a lot of guys. But now, this is where, this is what separates the men from the boys, so to speak. And we'll see today. I've been impressed with all of them. There's really nobody that I can just say has no chance at this point. I'm excited to see how they do today.”

On if he agonizes over trying to plan around the weather:

“There's nothing I can do about it. You know, wish we had a bubble, but I think we'll fight through it. We have to play through the elements and the wind. We understand that we have some tough games on the road this year and home games late in the year, you have to deal with some of this stuff. So, that's why today, we'll focus on the running game quite a bit today and see what happens.”

On the scheduled day off after the first three days:

“They have to have one day off every week, so this was their one day off coming up. I wanted to have two good days of practice and then one day in pads, give them a day off, and then jump back into pads, pads, pads and, you know, try to give them every three, four days. You don’t want to go four, five days in a row in pads. These guys are working extremely hard. A day off can be very beneficial to their legs and their bodies.”

On if they will consider bringing in competition at kicker:

“Not at this time, no.”

DL Jonathan Allen

On his first couple of days of training camp:

“I think it’s going pretty good. As far as surprises, I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of surprises, just getting acclimated to things. Definitely the speed of the game was one, size and athletic ability. Everything’s been going pretty good. You know, we’re just grinding right now.”

On finally being able to practice in pads today:

“I’m just excited, honestly. The first time in pads at the NFL level is something I’ve been waiting for my whole life. So I’m just excited for the opportunity and just ready to play.”

On being a local product and the fan support he has received:

“I definitely feel the support of fans. I really don’t focus on the fact that I’m from here, because this is a new environment for me, new playbook, new team. So even though I’m home, this is still a new experience for me and I’m excited. I’m loving it, just being a part of the Washington Redskins. Every day I just wake up with the mentality to just try to get better and help this team win games.”

On if anything has surprised him during the last few days:

“Like I said, I wouldn’t say there was one specific thing that surprised me. There’s just things that I have to get adjusted to and acclimated to.”

On how much emphasis and responsibility will be placed on him as a pass rusher:

“I feel like there’s a definite responsibility to get to the quarterback, but that’s later on down the line. Right now I’m just focusing on doing what the coaches are asking me to do. If that’s rushing the passer, so be it. Playing the run is definitely the biggest emphasis that I feel like because you can’t rush the passer without stopping the run. We’re just taking it day by day. I’m not worried about the expectations of others because I feel like no one can put more expectations on me than myself. So, I mean, we’re just grinding as a unit right now.”

On if any veterans have stepped up to guide him along or if he has sought any specific advice from them:

“I feel like it’s a little bit of both. When I first came in here, I definitely looked at some of the veterans and see how they worked. But as a defensive line, they all took me under their wing. They all told me their experiences and what they went through. I’ve just all kind of been piecing it together to help get me along through my process. So my D-line has been great. Coach [Jim] Tomsula has been great. I mean, I have no complaints.”

On working with Defensive Line Coach Jim Tomsula:

“It’s been great. Coach Tomsula is crazy. We love him though. I love him. He reminds me a lot of Alabama – just his coaching mentality, his style. Just, if it’s not about winning he doesn’t want to hear about it and I love it. You know, he’s going to push you, he’s going to work you, but he’s always fair. So as a player, that’s really all you can ask for in a coach.”

On if any moves from the offensive linemen have surprised him early in camp:

“I wouldn’t say one specific move, just little tricks that they’ve learned from playing in the league for a long time. Like Trent Williams, he does a lot of little things that I’ve never seen before. So that just goes back to the acclimation process that I’m getting adjusted to right now, but I mean, I love it. It’s been great.”

On what T Trent Williams does that surprises him:

“Probably his knowledge of the defense. I mean, you don’t really see that on the college level – a left tackle who knows almost everything about the defense. So, just seeing that first person was pretty incredible.”

On if the defensive line has had any teambuilding activities away from the facility:

“Yeah, we’ve had a bunch of get-togethers. [We] definitely have cookouts over at people’s houses. Sometimes we go to Topgolf. It kind of just depends. But we definitely feel that we’re a close group and try to do things together.”

On how good he is at Topgolf:

“I’m pretty good, I’m pretty good.”

On who is the best on the unit:

“I’d probably say A.J. [Francis], then I’m second.”

On if he has had to take steps to balance coming home with keeping his focus on football:

“Not really. Ashburn is completely different than what it was when I was in high school. One Loudoun wasn’t built and none of that was built, so coming home was almost kind of brand new for me. So, I mean there’s definitely some added distractions, I guess you could say, but for the most part everything been a pretty smooth transition for me.” 

On how Tomsula’s rotation helps the unit prepare for any situation:

“I really don’t feel like that’s something that I could probably answer as good as he can. As a player, you should try to go out there and compete and perform whenever you’re in the game. He doesn’t care about depth chart. We’re not worried about that. We’re just out there trying to play good football.”

On what gets him fired up:

“I love contact. As a defensive line, everything is always hand-to-hand combat. Just the physicality of the game is what I look forward to the most.”

On his relationship with LB Ryan Anderson, with whom he played at Alabama:

“I mean, it’s definitely a good feeling having a familiar face come with you to the next level. Probably haven’t spent as much time with him as some people may think only because he’s with the linebackers, I’m with the defensive line. We’re doing our own things. I mean, he’s definitely one of my great friends, but we’re just focused on our own tasks right now. Definitely good to see him on the field but it’s a job.”

On what he’s learned so far about the pro game:

“I would say a little bit of everything. The things you learn at college [are] good and helped us excel at the college level, but that might not transition over to the NFL level. Coming in, I’m just trying to learn as much as I can and I feel like I’ve learned a lot. I can’t even… it’s a lot how much I’ve learned. I’m just trying to take that day by day and apply it in some practices.”

On his favorite memories from the Western Branch/Chesapeake area:

“I’d probably say little league football. That’s when I started playing football, so those are some of the things that come to mind when I think about that.”

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