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Quotes: Jay Gruden and Greg Manusky (12-21-2017)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On injuries:

“Did not participate was Ryan Anderson, knee; Zach Brown, Achilles/toe/hamstring; Stacy McGee is still sick; Trent Williams, knee; Maurice Harris, back. Limited were [Morgan] Moses, ankle; [Samaje] Perine, groin; [Jamison] Crowder, hamstring; [Kendall] Fuller, foot and [Terrell] McClain, toe.”

On if RB Samaje Perine injured his groin today in practice:

“He tweaked his groin during that drill, yes.”

On if Perine returned to practice and how concerned he is about the injury:

“That was it for him for the day… I’ve had a bad experience trying to predict these hamstrings and groins and calves, so I’m not going to even attempt it. I think it was a minor thing based on what I’m hearing. He still had some pretty good flexibility and movement. We just held him out.”

On T Trent Williams’ comment about likely not returning this season unless it was a ‘dire emergency’:

“[Laughter] Dire emergency? That’s what he said? I did not read that, actually. But I don’t know. We’ll see what comes up tomorrow… It’d be a long shot probably for Trent to play the rest of the year, quite honestly. I don’t think we’ll be in that situation. I think he’s given everything he has for this team this year and we’ll see how he’s doing tomorrow, but I would anticipate that he’s probably seen his last snap here, but we’ll see. I don’t think we’re in a dire emergency state right now, so we’ll go from there.”

On WR Robert Davis’ development:

“Yeah, Robert is a young player – Georgia State – and he’s just continued to develop on his skills. He’s a big, strong, physical kid you love to have in your building. He’s coming along at a great pace and if he does play this week for Mo [Harris], I anticipate him being a special team player – making some plays on special teams – kickoff, blocking on kickoff return, not returning. So, I anticipate him getting in some of the plays too. He’ll be our fifth guy, so he’ll be able to get in there and get some action if Mo can’t go, so I’m excited to see him. But I like his progression. He’s worked extremely hard. He runs every route like it’s his last route on scout team and he’s been producing big time when he’s asked to do it.”

On if Broncos LB Von Miller is “the one that gets it all going” for Denver’s defense:

“Yeah, I mean Von [Miller] is a special guy based on, I don’t have to really say that, based on his production over the last years – five, six years. He can do it all. He’s good against the run. He’s a nightmare to block for tight ends in the running game and tackles, and then when you get him in the pass rush situations, he’s got every move known to man. He can beat you with speed. He can beat with power. He can beat you with inside moves. He can bend. He can line up over guards. They move him around. He can long stick. There’s really nothing that he can’t do effectively. He’s just a great all-around athlete/pass rusher/run defender. He’s just one of those guys in this league that is a dominant player.”

On the importance of getting to .500 this season:

“How important? Like I said, it’s important for us to finish strong and play our best football. It’s a big game for us. A lot of these guys are taking this very seriously in their preparation and working hard in practice and it’s our last home game, so it’s important to us. You can’t get to 8-8 without going to 7-8, so the most important thing for us right now is to get this win against Denver and play our best football and get a lot of good reps for some of these young guys and see what they can do. For the most part, let our veteran guys come out there and play and perform well and just continue to show signs of improvement.”

On if potentially being the first Redskins coach since Joe Gibbs with three straight seasons with a winning percentage of .500 or better provides extra motivation:

“I’m sure that would make everybody really excited that we got to 8-8, so, no, not really. I think we’ve had a tough year obviously and nobody’s happy with 8-8, so I can’t stand up here and say we would be, but I will be more happy that the way we finished – being 5-8 and going 8-8. But like I said before, we can’t even think about all that. We’re still taking this one game at a time and Denver gives us a great test and a great challenge, and then the Giants will too at their place on the last game of the year in the NFC East rivalry.”

On the production of the offense without Williams, RB Chris Thompson and TE Jordan Reed:

“I think the guys have gotten some opportunities to play without their help and made some plays. We’ve got a great look at some young offensive lineman – T.J. Clemmings stepped in and played and it’s unfortunate that he got hurt. Ty Nsekhe stepped in here the last couple of weeks for Trent, but Ty’s been hurt a little bit. Tyler Catalina’s got some reps. It’s been kind of nice to see some of these other guys play. Those three players that you mentioned are dominant football players and they’re hard to replace, but it’s made other people step up. It’s made us as coaches adjust our game plan a little bit, so it’s made us a little bit better I guess depth-wise but those three guys that you mentioned are pretty tough to replace.”

On if he’s seen enough out of Fabian Moreau to get a good sense of what he can do at cornerback:

“Yeah, we evaluate him every day and he’s got great movement skills and he can run. There’s no question about that. I think like all young players, coming off the injury that he had in training camp – he missed a lot of training camp or OTAs, he missed all of them and was a late add in training camp. So, this has been a great experience for him. I think he’s, again, one of these players you love to keep in here and develop and he’s got a special skill set. I think next year in the offseason and training camp is going to be a great test for him, but I think he’s got the chance to be a true lockdown corner for us. He’s physical. He can run. He’s done great on special teams as a flyer, but like you said, he hasn’t gotten the opportunity because of Bree [Bashaud Breeland] and Dunny [Quinton Dunbar] and Josh [Norman]. His opportunity will come and it will come soon.”

On if Moreau is a potential starter at cornerback in the future:

“No question, no question. All these guys – these players that we have here – we view them as potential starters and potential players for us. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be here. They’re developing for a reason – for injuries, free agency, whatever it is. All these guys we have plans on being potential starters.”

On QB Trent Williams’ situational awareness and choosing when to force the ball:

“Well, he probably should not… Forcing the ball, we’re not going to force the ball hardly ever anyway – try not to anyway. But, the play call sometimes will be a little bit more conservative based on possibly who we’re playing or how our defense is playing. You might want to play more of a field position battle from time to time and that’s not the end of the world. You wait for your defense to make a big play or get a big field position swing, so a lot of that does play into it. But I think still, against these guys, field position will be key, but we do need to try to hit some big plays against them. I think the thought of going 90 yards or 80 yards on 15 plays is going to be hard to do, so we’re going to have to try figure out ways to get some big plays and shots down the field. So, he will have to be a little bit more aggressive this week."

On if it’s still possible for a team to be dominant on both sides of the ball:

“Yeah, it’s still possible. I think a lot depends on who you have as players, really. There’s a lot of teams that are solid on both sides. They may not be dominant on either side, but I think it’s definitely possible, without a doubt. You’ve got to have some good drafts and hit on some free agents and obviously stay healthy – that’s the big thing.”

Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky

On the success of the team’s pass rush this season:

“I just think overall with Jim Tomsula and Chad Grimm and myself, we try to go through different schemes and different patterns to beat the protections that they are giving us. Overall, we have got to get the coverage on the back end with T-Gray [Torrian Gray] and James Rowe. [They’re] doing a great job of covering the guys on the back end. But overall it’s a go between the pass rush and of course the coverage in the back end.”

On if the defense is where he thought it would be at this point in the season:

“Well, not really with the guys that we’ve had injured of course. You don’t wish upon that. But from our standpoint we are growing I think each and every week. We have our ups and downs but overall it’s a process – wherever I’ve been – of trying to get that implemented across the board and we are working to it. Hopefully it will have success down the road.”

On LB Josh Harvey-Clemons:

“I think overall your first year… I always tell young guys you’re trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do and right now that is what he is trying to do. Usually that second year you start figuring out, ‘OK, I kind of know what I’m doing.’ Then the third year you start putting it together. You start knowing what the offense is trying to do against you. But overall he has been playing at a high level right now, which we like. He’s getting his hands on individuals in the pass game. He’s getting some pressures and he’s playing quite well. I’m happy with exactly where he’s at right now. He is going to continue to grow and get better each and every game and each and every practice. That’s what he has been doing.”

On areas of growth he’s seen from the defense:

“I think overall from those young guys getting their opportunities to play. Most of the times it’s that when they’re sitting and they’re in the situation to come up and play games like [Zach] Vigil, like Harv [Josh Harvey-Clemons] and those guys, then eventually the back end of your roster – because they have played and you feel comfortable with them playing – they’ve been in those real-life situations. You feel great about it. From the back end, sometimes we are doing sometimes high and sometimes not, and then vice versa. So what we have got to try to do is just put it all together and have success that way.”

On evaluating players with limited game reps differently based on practices and games:

“Well, I think the biggest thing is during practice mostly, you know what I’m saying?... Even from the scout team reps and stuff that we’re doing defensively, it’s all about those angles and exactly little precision in the third down rushes and how they are attacking it. Like Anthony [Lanier II] last week, he had a great game, he got his hands up, batted a couple balls, had a couple sacks, got a fumble. I mean, now that we are just continuing to roll, hopefully he just keeps on continuing to roll and get better.”

On if he watches other defenses and incorporates things from them:

“I mean, every coach pretty much watches the sack reel, the interceptions, the fumbles, the turnovers and stuff like that. But third downs, of course you’re always watching other people and what they do based upon the players that you have as well. That’s what coaches do.”

On the defensive performance against Arizona and how impressed he was:

“I mean, it was great from a player’s perspective. They did exactly what… communication was real good between Vigil and myself and communication with D.J. [Swearinger] in the back end. Across the board – I mean, I told you what I always say early on is it doesn’t matter what call it is as long as we are all on the same page. That was vital in the game there. Overall they played together. They played sound defense. It’s always red zone and situational football where we have to play well and we did.”

On what has clicked for DL Anthony Lanier II in recent weeks:

“I think it is just time and feeling it. I think most players once they get a feel for it and they understand over time, you know, you’re going to get better. Of course, every player in the National Football League is better in their fifth year than they were their first year. For some guys it just speeds up a little bit faster. With Anthony hopefully – knock on wood – he will do the same thing this week.”

On if batting down balls is easier said than done:

“I think it is. I think you look at one of the greatest players that have been doing it is J.J. Watt. He has great timing and he understands when that timing of that quarterback [and] when the ball is supposed to come out. Anthony had a great feel for it last week and hopefully he will continue and keep on having that timing and feel when that quarterback is going to get rid of the ball.”

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