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Quotes: Jay Gruden And Matt Cavanaugh (08-25-2017)

Posted Aug 25, 2017

A transcript of Redskins head coach Jay Gruden and offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh's press conferences Aug. 25, 2017.

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On TE Jordan Reed, LB Junior Galette and LB Ryan Anderson:

“They're going to suit up in pregame and we'll see where they are. Reed looks very good, Junior had another good day today, Anderson didn't do much.”

On if anyone has been ruled out yet:

“No.”

On if he will hold starters out for the fourth preseason game and if he has determined how much they will play on Sunday:

“Correct… How much am I going to play them Sunday? I don't know, play them probably be a half at least. At least a half. Maybe end of the third quarter, we'll see how we do.”

On the value of having a regularly scheduled week:

“It's been a good week, good preview of how it's going to be like in the regular season. You're right – from preparation, to days off, to Wednesday/Thursday/Friday practice, tomorrow we'll have a walk through at Andrews [Joint Base Andrews] and play Sunday. So it'll be good having an afternoon game on a Sunday. It's good work for us against a good team.”

On practicing at Joint Base Andrews tomorrow:

“It's great, man. It's just a small token of our appreciation. You know, it's great to do that. We've done that every year since I've been here, and they did it before I was here I guess. So, it's great to get over there, shake some hands, show the respect that we definitely have for the military.”

On who he hopes will dress for Sunday's game:

“You know what, I'm hoping that they all dress up and play, but at the end of the day, it's up to the trainers and that player. So I leave it up to them. I try not to get my hopes up on a certain guy or a group of guys. I just try to wait and see how they're doing. At the end of the day, their health is the most important thing. We all need the work – coaches included – on game day. But we have to make sure they're healthy also.”

On if there is a possibility Galette and/or Reed could play in the fourth preseason game:

“No.”

On if the value in playing Cincinnati is lessened given his familiarity with the team:

“It's still the same. You know, I'm familiar, doesn't mean they're familiar. So we have to get them schooled up on what they do and some tendencies and try to attack them that way, both offensively and defensively. Trying to give them a picture of what to expect and see how they execute.”

On if the receivers will have enough time to work with QB Kirk Cousins before Week 1:

“I hope so. I think there's a lot of teams going through that with new receivers on new teams. You know, we're going to utilize every second of the day we have outside and then inside the meeting rooms and I'm sure they'll do some extra on their own time. But I think, being together as long as they have, since OTAs and training camp, got four preseason games in – or three – I think they'll be in good shape.”

On if he scripts the first few plays of preseason games:

“Yeah, we give them a little first group of plays we're going to expect to call early in the game so they get familiar with them. And defense, we will go over the calls and just get used to the calls and all that stuff at nightly meetings.”

Offensive Coordinator Matt Cavanaugh

On the difference in QB Kirk Cousins’ approach this year:

“Even if he decides to grind a little less, he’s still grinding. He’s got a nice schedule. He’s got every minute accounted for. He’s got a routine of how he studies an opponent; everything starting from late Monday, starting to look at tape, looking at defensive scheme, their personnel. Tuesday, getting a little more in depth, whether he’s doing it here or at home on his iPad and then obviously Wednesday we start installing a plan. So, he’s still putting plenty of time in, but I think he is a little more relaxed, but he’s never going to be satisfied and that’s kind of what we want out of him. It’s a position that you can’t ever think you’ve got it all figured out.”

On how similar the preparation was this week to a regular season game:

“That’s a great question. We actually took this week as a mock regular season week, so our preparation was pretty scheduled. We simulated a typical Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and then obviously tomorrow, the last day before we play. So it was kind of a dry run because of a couple of changes on the staff just for guys to get used to how we do it and that was a good reminder what the season is going to be like because it becomes a grind for us too. I think we adapted really well. We got a lot of work done, we got the things installed on time that we needed to install. And then a reminder that it’s the preseason is, just, you know, it’s the third game of the preseason. Obviously you want to win, but you also just want to make sure you’re getting guys good, quality reps. We’d like to be obviously more efficient and more productive offensively, but we’re going out to try and score points and unfortunately the score really doesn’t matter.”

On if anything stuck out to him about being in a new position on staff:

“From a routine standpoint, no, because I’ve been here for two years and we didn’t change the routine much. It was just assigning some responsibilities that were someone else’s and now a new guy’s doing it – and me included. So my time was a little more busy being accountable for the whole plan but I don’t think there was major changes to what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.”

On questions he’d still like to have answered about the offense:

“Listen, we – as an organization and certainly as an offense – expect to be productive every time we go on the field and we weren’t. The first game we had two three-and-outs and that was pretty much it. Last week, it took us a little while to get started and then we had a nice two-minute drive and looked better, but we have high expectations. We want to be more efficient running the ball. We want to be more solid in protections. We want to be accurate throwing balls and guys getting open. So that’s a focus of ours every day we go out. You can always say, ‘Well, good thing it’s the preseason,’ because we haven’t been sharp for a couple of quarters until the second quarter of the last game we kind of picked it up a little bit. But we need to go out and start fast. That builds confidence that we’re going to do things the right way and we’re going to have it expected all the time. There’s still some time to fix things, and we’re excited about playing this weekend and we’ll see where it goes.”

On if this week’s preparation serves like a dress rehearsal for the regular season:

“It does. It’s very much mirrored what our normal week is like. Our meeting time was extended a little bit. Qe were more detailed in the preparation.;Wwe did segments so on Wednesday we put in our base first- and second-down plan with different personnel groups; Thursday we did our third downs, and then today we did our short yardage, goal line, and red zone and that’s pretty much our routine for the week. I think it gave the players a sense of the detail that has to be presented to them, the kind of studying they have to do, the note-taking they have to make, and then they go home at night and this is… we’re getting close. We’re getting close to the real thing, so you might as well get used to what the routine is going to be like. We’re still going to give them time off, we’re not going to beat them up, but there’s a routine that they have to get used to too as well as the staff.”

On how deep into the playbook he’s able to go in preparing players for preseason games:

“Another great question. Because it’s still the preseason, particularly the first two games, we really didn’t narrow down a lot. We kind of went in thinking everything we’ve practiced, all through OTAs and training camp, is still available to us. Now that we’re game planning a team, obviously that gets cut down so the number of plays we’d carry in certain situations would be fewer with a lot more detail. I think they’ve felt like this week they had a chance to really zone in on what was going to be expected, what plays to expect, when to expect to them, what their responsibilities were, and that should help with execution.”

On game plans being “vanilla” early in the preseason:

“I don’t know about know ‘vanilla.’ Quite honestly, the first preseason game when you know your starters are only going to play half a dozen plays, maybe 10 plays, you’re really more focused on the second and third groups and what can they handle. Your starters come out, they know the playbook, so you kind of take some of that stuff away and then you get a little more vanilla, if you will. Last week, we had a decent plan. It wasn’t a normal schedule, but we put in a decent plan and it took us awhile to get rolling, but we finally figured it out, and then this week a lot more detail.”

On Cousins’ growth with the up-tempo offense:

“He is probably a lot more prepared to do it now. The more you are in an offense and the more you understand all the verbiage and nuances, you run plays and you get different looks. You might run the same play five times in a game and get a completely different look, a different front, a different pressure, a different coverage and you’re adjusting on the fly. I think all that lends itself to him being more exposed to what might happen on a play. So if we do something that is up-tempo and the ball is snapped quickly, his recognition should be a lot quicker and I think he is getting to that point. We all as a group are going to put a game plan together we think will help us win the game, whether it’s slowing the game down, speeding it up, throwing it every down, running every down, it really doesn’t matter as long as we are all in agreement and we understand what our objectives are and what we have to do to win.”

On the benefit of going up-tempo:

“Well, the other thing it does is it makes the defense slow down a little bit too. They have less time to react. You’re going right to the line of scrimmage, calling the play, we are in a two-minute mentality so we are going right to the line of scrimmage. The quarterback is hand signaling, he is calling out protections. The defense has to get their call in, they can’t disguise coverages as well. They don’t want to get caught off-guard. It’s hard from the sideline I think defensively to get a pressure on, you know, signaling pressure. Some teams do it, most don’t. So I think from that standpoint you kind of slow them down a little bit just by getting to the line of scrimmage real quick.”

On the benefit of having the top four pass catchers on the field with Cousins on Sunday:

“Well, obviously they are all very talented guys, so we want them out there. We are also of the mindset that again, this is not for real yet. I mean we are playing a game, and we want to play well and get a win, but our opening game is almost two weeks away, so we want to be ready for that. We are not going to expose somebody in the preseason that we don’t think is ready. If they are ready to play and we get the OK from the medical people and the organization says let’s play him, we’ll play him. But I think most of those come down to game-time decisions. They are all progressing well. They have all been on the field, for the most part, the last few days and we are excited about that.”

On C Chase Roullier:

“I’m not doing a lot of work with him, but Bill Callahan is wearing him out. Bill is putting in all the time necessary to get him prepared. Now, he has been here, he is learning the offense. He was getting a lot of work with the second group. So he has just stepped up a notch. He has been in with the ones.  I think his communication is getting much better. He and Kirk are starting to feel each other out, you know, understanding, ‘Here is couple of my cadences that we have to master. I want you to be real precise with your protection calls. Remember, I can always trump you and make a different call so listen what I am saying.’ So those are things that he was getting to a real comfort level with Spencer [Long] and now he has got a younger guy in there who we have to feel him out too. So from that standpoint, it could happen at any position. Any of the 11 positions, somebody could go down and somebody else has to go in and we expect guys to come in and perform. I am confident that Chase will do a fine job.”

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