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Quotes: Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins (11-01-2017)

Posted Nov 1, 2017

A transcript of Redskins head coach Jay Gruden and quarterback Kirk Cousins' press conferences November 1, 2017.

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On injuries:

“Get your pens out. Did not participate: [Matt] Ioannidis, hand; Niles Paul, concussion; Jordan Reed, hamstring; Shawn Lauvao, stinger; Spencer Long, knees; Trent Williams, knee; Ty Nsekhe, core muscle; Zach Brown, back; Brandon Scherff, knee; Jamison Crowder, hamstring. Limited were Rob Kelley, ankle; [Bashaud] Breeland, groin, knee; [Montae] Nicholson, shoulders; and [Martrell] Spaight, shoulder. Everybody else was full.”

On the status of the offensive line:

“I think we have to go with the guys that are practicing right now. We have to prepare them to get ready to play. Anybody of these guys who did not participate, if they get ready, it’d be a bonus. But right now, we’re getting the guys that are here and able to practice ready – that’s all we can do.”

On the new offensive linemen:

“They’re learning. It’s new to them. They’re playing together for the first time, really. T.J. [Clemmings] is doing a good job, he’s getting better. Tyler [Catalina] is getting better. Obviously Chase [Roullier] is doing a good job at center. So it’s just about communication, playing together, trying to play in unison, which is hard to do at this stage of the season, but I think Coach [Bill] Callahan and Coach [Kevin] Carberry are getting them ready to go.”

On playing in Seattle:

“That’ll be a challenge. You work on the counts and all the stuff, and it’s always a great place to play, Seattle. Whether you have a 10-year veteran or a one-game player, it’s always going to be a challenge. We’ve just got to get them ready and Kirk [Cousins] has got to do a great job with communicating the snap count and we’ve got to handle the noise.”

On if T Trent Williams could play this week:

“That’s all on Trent and the doctors. I’ve given up trying to guess or predict.”

On how much offensive line injuries affect game planning:

“A little bit. We still have to be able to throw the ball and protect, whoever’s out there. So it’ll be a good challenge, obviously with Michael Bennett and Frank Clark and those guys that can rush the passer. And they just added Dwight Freeney also. But we’re going to have to do it. We’ll have to give them some help, maybe some quick game. But we’re still going to drop back and wing it, what the heck.”

On if DL Arthur Jones can play immediately:

“Yeah, Arthur, I think, can slide right in. He played in Indianapolis with Coach [Greg] Manusky, so he’s familiar with some of the terminology and all that stuff. He’s a fast learner, talking to him out there, he’s already got a good grasp of the game. Now it’s a matter of what kind of shape is he in and I think he’s down some pounds, so he looks pretty good. But over the course of five-, six-, eight-play drives, we’ll see how he does. We still have a five-man rotation so hopefully we’ll be able to keep him fresh.”

On if placing S Stefan McClure on IR opened a roster spot for S DeAngelo Hall:

“Well, that opened up the door for Arthur Jones first. If we want to get Hall up, we’ll have to make another move eventually.”

On if having only three safeties is an issue:

“We’re still, we have another good, full day tomorrow to practice and we’ll see where we are, health-wise, of the offensive line. If we can make a roster move, obviously we’d love to get D-Hall up. Might have to wait a week. I don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see. But there are obviously not many spots with healthy bodies to make those moves. And none of these guys are really IR candidates. That’s the problem.”

On WR Josh Doctson’s targets:

“I think he’ll catch more of those than he’ll drop. The one against Kansas City, he had the ball, just the ground caused the incompletion. You’ve just got to learn to squeeze it and roll properly when he hits the ground. The other one, it was a wet ball and it was a little bit underthrown. He got both hands on it and you’d like to see him make that catch. Normally, he will. I think the days of teaching a wide receiver how to catch… if you had to teach him that now, I don’t think he’d be in the NFL right now. Josh knows how to catch, he’s got great hands, great, strong hands. Those are two exceptions to the rule, similar to [Jamison] Crowder on the two punts that he’s dropped.”

On how involved they were in trade deadline discussions:

“There were some discussions, but we obviously couldn’t get too involved with the status of our football team right now, with all the guys that are banged up. We’re happy with the team we have, and we’ve just got to coach the ones up that are healthy and get them ready to go.”

On when DL Matt Ioannidis can return:

“Yeah, I think the big thing is after surgery, we’ll see if we can cast that thing up and if he can play with a cast – how soon that’ll be. That’ll be up to the doctors and Matt, how comfortable he feels with that thing casted. But there’s been a lot of players that have played with a cast on their hand and been effective. But everybody’s different, we’ll see how it goes. Could be next week, could be the week after.”

On if he would expect Ioannidis this week:

“I wouldn’t… no, not this week.”

On losing talented players to create roster room to overcome injuries:

“Yeah, that’s the hard part. We didn’t want to do Mack Brown but we had to try to make room somewhere. We had probably the least amount of running backs in the NFL. We only have three – four was probably standard and most teams have one on the practice squad, five. We’ve been going with four and hated to lose him, but unfortunately we had to make a move. We intended on bringing him back on Monday but he got claimed. A similar move might have to be made here pretty soon if we have to get somebody else up, but hopefully we’ll get better news on these injuries and we won’t have to do anything like that.”

On preparing for Seattle’s atmosphere:

“Yeah, the good thing [is] we’ve been through it. Kansas City on Monday night was really loud and Philadelphia on Monday night was really loud, so we’ve practiced it a lot. The problem is we practiced it with our other guys, so now we have to re-practice it again with the new guys. We’ll do that tomorrow and Friday. We’ll go to the bubble on Friday, work the noise really well and the snap count.”

On if being underestimated provides a competitive advantage:

“I don’t know if we’re underestimated or not. I don’t know who’s underestimating us, but I feel like the guys that we have available, we have good players. We’re going to go out and compete and do the best we can. We’re not looking for excuses or looking for reasons why we won’t have success out there. We have every reason to believe that we’ll go out there and have success. That’s the only train of thought we can have and we’re excited about the challenge.”

On who can go on Sunday if TEs Niles Paul and Jordan Reed can’t play:

“Who can go? [Jeremy] Sprinkle and Vernon [Davis].”

On if Sprinkle and Davis can fill that same role:

“I hope so, yeah.”

On if he’s surprised by the success of QB Kirk Cousins and QB Russell Wilson as mid-round picks:

“I’d probably say you’ve got to be surprised a little bit because you don’t expect those type of draft picks to succeed. It happens. It has happened before with other guys, but the way Russell Wilson was in college, it’s really not that surprising. Anybody who watched him on tape – the athleticism that he displayed in college at Wisconsin and when he played at NC State – he was a great player, great athlete, very successful, always a team leader. If you had a chance to interview him, like at the combine, you could just see the leadership skills and the confidence just glowing from him. Kirk’s very similar. Captain, successful at Michigan State, great passer, great arm. It’s just a matter of getting in the right system and then when your opportunity comes, taking advantage of it and learning from your mistakes and getting better every day – and both of them have done that.”

On if the 2012 draft class at quarterback was one of the most talented at that position:

“I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it. I guess you could say that, I don’t know. I can’t compare it.”

On Seattle’s defensive play and how he game plans for that:  

“Yeah, they’ve changed a little bit. They play their Cover 3’s – different versions of Cover 3. There’s a couple different versions they can play and then they have their man-to-mans that they’re very successful with. They have their five-man rushes. They have blitzed six a couple times and they have some two-deep Tampa 2 stuff that they play. They do mix up their coverages quite a bit. Just when you think they’re going to play man on third down, they bust out a Cover 3 or Tampa 2. They do a good job. The defensive coordinator there is very good. They know exactly where they’re supposed to be and how they play the coverages and then what plays hurt those coverages and they know how to guard against them. Very well coached football team and they have a lot of talent on defense – a lot of speed.”

On the team morale:

“I think everybody’s a little disappointed. The last couple of weeks we had a great opportunity against two division opponents, especially the home game against the Cowboys. Monday night against the Eagles, we didn’t get it done, so everybody’s a little disappointed. We understand it’s a 16-game season. It’s a long, long season and there’s a lot of games left. [There’s] a lot of good things we can still accomplish. Our goals are still in reach and I think we’re in a good place. We’re obviously concerned about the guys that are injured – we want our guys back and we want them healthy, but we also feel like we have enough good players to go out there and compete with anybody. I think morale is fine. It’s my job to keep them upbeat and keep them positive and I think they’re in a good place.”

On if does anything to help new players acclimate to being with the team:

“Yeah, we have to just put them in the room with coaches and get them ready. Coach [Bill] Callahan and Coach [Kevin] Carberry have done a great job of getting those linemen ready. Luckily Arie [Kouandjio] was here in training camp the last couple years so he had some familiarity. That’s why he was such an important sign for us. But for [Tony] Bergstrom and [Orlando] Franklin, they have been non-stop meeting with the coaches. They haven’t had a lot of time to really mingle with the other guys, but I think Coach [Jim] Tomsula met them for the first – ‘Hey, how you doing? I’m Jim Tomsula.’ That was on game day. It is what it is and we are not the only team going through this. There’s other teams that have had to go through this with injuries at certain positions and that’s just the way it is. We have got to adapt and overcome it.”

 

QB Kirk Cousins 

On how much he factors Seattle’s defensive talent into his decision making:

“I think you have to still play out your reads honestly and not necessarily just eliminate a side of the field because of any one player. But at the same time, understand that, trust your eyes, and if they’re covered well, you have to progress. I’ll try to trust my eyes and trust what I see and make quick decisions, and if that leads me into a great player, then so be it. Certainly, they’re great players and I’m sure that many times they’ll force me to progress and I’ll have to stay patient and take what they give me.”

On his evaluation of his performance against Dallas:

“I played well. I think the biggest thing that you learned from that game, in spite of all the miscues or challenges or unfortunate events, we’re still there – we’re still right there at the end. There’s a few third downs that if you convert, maybe you come away with a touchdown instead of a field goal. Or if you can get that field goal instead of having them block it, there’s just plays here and there, you say, ‘Man, we certainly made it tough on ourselves,’ and yet we were still right there. So you just have to keep playing. You learn that when you don’t have the critical errors, you tend to hang around in this league and you tend to stay in the game. And then in the fourth quarter, try to make some plays to win it. All in all, when you factor in, like you said, so many different things, I think there were a lot of positives. We just came up short.”

On if the noise in Kansas City helps his preparation for Seattle:

“I think we… I always talk about having experience, and I think again, you have experience with the noise by playing in Kansas City and by playing in a loud environment in Philly on Monday night. So we take that experience with us as we go to Seattle. I’ll be the first to say that I haven’t played there. I’m sure that Seattle may be even louder than anywhere else. We’ll be ready for it the best we can. We understand what we’re walking into from that standpoint, and we know we have to communicate very well, verbally and visually, and be ready to go, from the first snap to the last.”

On having a week to work with the new linemen:

“Yeah, we’ll do the best we can. You then don’t know what injuries may happen in the game, but I’m sure we’ll have more of a contingency plan, as a result of what happened last week, so that if we have to shuffle players around, they’re ready to do that or we’ve talked about that leading up to Sunday. It’s certainly not a preferred option, but we’ve learned that it can happen and if it does happen, we still have got to find a way to win a football game.”

On how much he has kept in touch with Seahawks QB Russell Wilson:

“Not a great deal. Maybe a text here or there or see him at a conference in the offseason and catch up briefly, but he’s a busy guy. He’s had a lot of success and done so many good things – he got a lot of opportunities – so it’s always been a good competition going back to college, and we trained together leading up to the draft. And I think that whether it was playing against him in the Big Ten, or training together for the draft, or just both being quarterbacks in the NFL, I think he’s always challenged me and the competition there has always brought the best out of me as a result of always trying to raise my level of play.”

On comparing himself and Wilson to quarterbacks selected earlier in the 2012 NFL Draft:

“Time will tell. I think we’re still pretty early in the process to say what became of that class. When I was drafted, I remember thinking, ‘Boy, it’d be fun if that class was able to have a lot of production in the NFL.’ We’ll see where we go from here, but I’m happy for him and all the success he’s had and the way he’s been able to earn all those accomplishments and wins and a Super Bowl championship. He’s done so many great things in this league and he’s got so many good years ahead of him and he’s certainly a bright spot in our league when you talk about just somebody to be excited about and fun to watch and that people can get behind. Hopefully we can contain him on Sunday, which very few teams are able to do.”

On if he can take anything from Houston’s offensive success against Seattle:

“It’s a variety of plays. It’s not any one thing like ‘Oh, he’s scrambling, that’s why he threw for as many yards and touchdowns as he did.’ One play was a phenomenal play down on the goal line, very athletic to avoid somebody and then quickly find someone open in the end zone. Another play is a 65-yard bomb in the air where he reads the safety and throws it over the safety’s head and the receiver goes and gets it for him. Another one was a simple five-yard screen pass that [DeAndre] Hopkins takes for whatever, 70 yards. It’s a combination of things and when you hit on screens and you hit on a deep play pass and you hit on a red zone play action then, yeah, you are going to end up having a great day. So you have to be successful in all those phases and we would have to be as well.”

On accounting for the crowd noise when communicating with the offensive line:

“How do we account for the crowd noise? We handle it the way we’ve handled every other away game. You have silent counts, you yell and scream, you make sure the huddle is tight, you prepare for it with noise at practice and you do the best you can and make sure you’re on the details. What are the challenges of having new offensive linemen? I mean, you name it. I mean, we have all kinds of code words and terms and snap counts and techniques. They have to face all kinds of different pressures and stunts and T-Es and blitzes. It’s a lot. We’ve got to be given a crash course in trying to learn as fast as we can.”

On his memories of the 2012 playoff game against the Seahawks:

“I remember a charged atmosphere at FedExField. I remember how fun it was in our run to get up to that game and how exciting that moment was at kickoff. I remember being up early, about 14-0. Then I just remember they gradually got back in the game and showed a lot of the things they’ve continued to show for several years now – playing good defense, sound defense, preventing big explosive plays and being able to run the football and make efficient plays through the air. It ended up pulling away from us at the end and it was a tough loss in the moment, but it was a fun run to get to that point because we won so many games in a row.”

On TE Jordan Reed being hurt and if that creates opportunity for the receivers:

“I think we will continue to just throw to the open guy. It certainly does, personnel groupings – you have to formulate around your personnel. If we don’t have enough tight ends, then we won’t be able to emphasize those groupings. We may go with multiple running backs; there are other options we have. We will just have to see as we go what works best, how we match up well and then throw to the open guy.”

On Seahawks S Earl Thomas:

“Earl is a tremendous talent, a great competitor, covers a lot of ground and sees the game so well. He has a great deal of experience playing that position and just about everything you can try he has seen. He is going to make plays. I think also while they have many, many great individual players, I think the sum of the 11 is also what makes them a very good defense where they all pick each other up. They all help each other out, where, yes, I have got to beat Earl Thomas to a spot on a throw, but I also have got to throw it over K.J. Wright and I also have got to throw it before Richard Sherman falls in on it. It is really a group effort to make each pass challenged and difficult and they want to force you into a tight-window throw where their athletes and their playmakers can go make you wrong.”

On his reaction to the 49ers trading for QB Jimmy Garoppolo:

“I think I have enough to worry about with the Seahawks. That’s where my focus is and when we talked through the offseason and got to the start of training camp it was really – fortunately in my situation I can just go play and I really can’t by the rules of the league do anything with my contract or my situation, which is really a blessing in disguise. It enables me to just focus on the task at hand and winning football games and being productive in helping lead this team. Then when we get to the other side, then we can start to have those conversations. I think it works out well that I can just focus on football and I’m not in a position to be traded or work out a deal. I can just try to win games and then see where we are when the season ends.”

On his Buffalo Nickel shirt:

“This is the Buffalo Nickel that was made back in the day. It says 1920. I thought it was cool. Our equipment managers pointed it out to me and it looks and awful lot like our Redskins logo. So, yeah, we put it on a shirt and we are selling them on my website, but, yeah, it is kind of fun… We definitely are going to give a portion to charity to IJM [International Justice Mission] and just kind of have fun with it and see where it goes.”

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