Quotes: Jay Gruden, Josh Johnson 12-12-18

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On injuries:

"Did not participate [Tony] Bergstrom, knee and ankle; [Ryan] Anderson, hamstring; [Josh] Doctson, concussion protocol; [Colt] McCoy, fibula; [Jordan] Reed, ankle and foot; [Ty] Nsekhe, knee; [Matt] Ioannidis, shin. Limited were [Jamison] Crowder, knee and ankle; Shaun Dion Hamilton, shoulder; [Adrian] Peterson, shoulder; [Chase] Roullier, knee; [Morgan] Moses, ankle; [Trent] Williams, thumb and wrist."

On LB Mason Foster’s leaked Instagram messages:

"We talked to Mason about it. I don’t know when it was exactly, but it was a private message. The guy I guess screenshotted it, which is I guess against the code of private messages on screenshots. I know what Mason is, I know what he means to this football team, what he’s meant to this football team, and anything he said in a personal message was personal and I really don’t take anything from it. I do, however, disagree with that guy posting a private message out on social media. He broke a code there that I don’t agree with. As far as Mason, I have nothing but respect for him as a person and a player."

On the details of the Instagram message:

"I really don’t even care. It’s a private message. I don’t know when it happened. I know Mason and how hard he’s worked and how hard he plays. I know he wouldn’t say anything publicly to do that. That was a private deal. He could’ve been messing around. I don’t know the intent of that message, I don’t really care."

On if the message exposes a bigger issue with the defense:

"No, not at all."

On filling the leadership void without QB Alex Smith:

"It’s hard to put your figure on exactly what. I just think he’s just always been very accountable for his actions, very predictable in the way he shows up to work every day. He’s a great teammate. You lose somebody like that it obviously has an impact on the field and off the field."

On others filling the leadership void:

“I think some guys stepped up in his absence for a little bit. Colt [McCoy] tried to and then he got hurt right away. But you know that’s the responsibility of the next guy. Mark [Sanchez] did a good job trying to step up and take on some of the roles of quarterback. Trent Williams has always been there for the guys and Morgan Moses and some of the veteran guys we’ve had here. Vernon Davis, Jamison Crowder those guys have also stepped up offensively and had a little bit of a voice.”

On evaluating S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s performance and if S Monte Nicholson will have more playing time:

"I think everybody in general needs to step up on both sides of the ball and special teams and coaches and all that stuff. But as far as Ha Ha is concerned, he’s done some good things. There are a couple plays out there that would probably be viewed as a poor angle or what have you and it may be true. But I like Ha Ha as a player, I like him as a person, I like the way he works. I think he’s going to get better and better within the defense and just understanding the depths and techniques that we’re playing with he’s going to get better. As far as Monte is concerned we have not lost faith in Monte at all. I mentioned it the other day I think there might be a place where he might have a package or two where he can get back on the field."

On QB Josh Johnson’s playing experience:

"Well he’s played with or against everybody in the league, so for starters he knows everybody on the Jacksonville defense. He knows everybody we’re about to play and is familiar with terminology and systems and coverages and defenses and all that stuff, so that’s a good thing. As far as knowing what to do here I think the big reason we wanted him is because of his familiarity with what we do. Being at Tampa, there’s some carry over and obviously being at Cincinnati for the length of time that he’s with us there’s a lot of carry over that he remembers and can handle. Now it’s a matter of honing in on his skillset and trying to come up with a plan to utilize his strengths."

On if there is one factor that has forced losses as of late:

"No, not one thing, there are a lot of things. There are a lot of things when talking about losing a football game. If we had it narrowed down to one thing, we’d fix it and be okay. Sometimes it’s defense, sometimes it’s offense, sometimes its special teams, sometimes it’s coaching. It’s a combination; it’s a matter of all of us having to step up in some key players’ absence and playing better. We haven’t done that. We haven’t taken it to the next level of coaching, the next level of playing, the level you have to take it to when you have some injuries and some voids in your offense or defense, or corner, or what have you. It’s up to the young guys to step up, the veterans to lead, and the coaches to coach."

On taking a different approach to the practice schedule:

"We just have a lack of bodies a little bit but we got a lot of work done today. We had a lengthy walk through and then at practice some good scripted sessions and we had another walk through at the end of practice. We’ll watch film here in a little bit, we just changed it up but we’re going to get all the reps in for Josh [Jackson]."

On a possible disconnect between the players and coaches:

"We always make an effort to bridge a gap. At the end of the day, like I said, it’s up to the coaches to coach and the players to play. There are some things as coaches that we have to hone in on and make sure we understand the skillset of our players and try to put them in the best positions possible, and then it’s up to them to go out and make some plays. There were some plays to be had that we did not make, there were some things from a coaching standpoint that we have to do better. Anytime you lose a football game, I hate to say it’s the coaches’ fault. It’s never the players fault, it’s a combination of a lot of things and that's areas we need to improve on. At this moment in time we’re 6-7 and half a game out of the playoff race so we have a lot to play for, a lot of reason to try to get together, all of us, and make this thing work."

On changing the playbook for QB Josh Johnson:

"There is obviously a skill set that he has that you can implement some different things, but not a whole lot, with the guard situation the way it is. We'll have a new starting right guard and Josh didn’t practice today, but we can't change the entire offense in three days. But, there are some things that we've done in the past with Alex [Smith] that we can maybe possibly pull back out that Josh would know, but still as we're teaching them, everything is brand new to Josh, even though he's done a little version of certain things, but, we'll try to figure out something."

On if Johnson remembers the playbook:

"Oh yeah, he's a very sharp guy there's no doubt about it. We changed a lot of terminology when I got here though, especially in the running game and some in the protections and some of that nature to suit the quarterbacks that I had here when we got here, so some of this is brand new to him."

On comments made by LB Zach Brown and S D.J. Swearinger Sr.:

"I did not see those so I don’t know what they said."

On if he brings defensive team leaders to talk to them:

"Yeah, it's important to mention how they speak to the media and how the media views their comments and how comments can be taken out of context from time to time and blown up into a headline. We made that talk at the very beginning of training camp and every so often we have the same talk. At the end of the day, with the amount of microphones in their face and social media, there will be things said that can be taken the wrong way or said in a poor fashion, so to speak, that could do damage to a team or a person's livelihood so to speak. So, just got to tell them to be careful, both those guys are highly emotional guys. They play very hard. They want to win and they're all frustrated, as we all are. We've just got to be careful with what we say."

On Johnson's persistence to play in the NFL:

"It helps him a lot. The one thing that I really respect about Josh Johnson is he is a very confident guy. He believes in his ability to be a quarterback in the National Football League despite being on 12 or 13 or 11 teams so to speak. He has a skill set that’s pretty good but hasn’t been able to stick anywhere, but still, the game's not too big for him. You could see when he went out there in the second half, he had poise, he had confidence, showed leadership, moved the chains, so that’s what I like about Josh and I think despite only being here for a little bit of time, he's going to go out there and feel like he's the best quarterback in pro football. That’s just the way he thinks and that's the way you have to think to be a good quarterback."

On how TEs J.P. Holtz and Matt Flanagan have progressed this year:

"They've come along good, really, I like them both. J.P. is kind of a tweener between tight end and fullback, he can line up at both those spots. Flanagan is more of a tight end in the core so to speak, so we'll have to make that decision probably Thursday or Friday who we're going to bring them up for. That’s the big issue right now. We have some guys that are a couple of week injuries, don’t want to put them on IR. We don’t really have a lot of room to waive people, but we'll figure something out Thursday or Friday if one of them comes up."

On fixing missed assignments in the running game:

"I think we miss-targeted a couple of runs, which happens from time to time with all the movement, when you do jet sweeps, fly motions, all that stuff and people move sometimes to center points here, they rotate over here, we get the point wrong so to speak. Sometimes when you line up stagnant and we get the point right, but we get our butts kicked in or make a wrong read with the back or what have you. Everything has got to be right on the offensive line. It's got to be 10 guys working in unison, including the back with his reads and footwork and the quarterback getting him his right play. The big thing is we have way, way too many negative runs. Negative runs have been the death, that and penalties, both of those two things have been the curse of this offense and that kills our drives, that kills our momentum, that kills our ability to call plays, keeping everything open in the playbook. When you have second and 18, and third and 15, your playbook goes down to this…when you're first and 10, second and six and third and two, everything is open and we haven’t had that luxury."

On if he's heard back from the league on penalties:

"I hear back from them every week and you know, same thing, different day."

On if WR Simmie Cobbs Jr., could be called on to replace WR Josh Doctson:

"Simmie has been great. He's been great. [Darvin] Kidsy has been great also, so if need be if one of those guys needs to be called up, I won't hesitate for a second. Like I said though, it’s a matter of roster spots. We don’t have a whole lot available so, we'll figure it out. I think Josh has a chance to be ok. He's getting checked out by an independent guy and hopefully we'll know more tomorrow."

QB Josh Johnson

On his experience across the league:

"It has helped because I’ve been around a lot of different quarterbacks, a couple Super Bowl quarterbacks, a Hall of Fame quarterback, first-round picks, fifth-round picks. I’ve experienced coaching from numerous coaches and you pick up on some common traits. You pick up on different things where you can apply it when necessary whether it is preparation, performance, mental stability. Everything becomes a full circle, so it’s getting me ready for Sunday."

On the difficulty of maintaining confidence:

"Not hard, it’s not really hard for me because at the end of the day, I’ll always reflect back on reality for myself. Growing up in Oakland, California, I understand the real struggle. I understand the mentality that we tend to have in the inner city. For me, not only am I setting an example of what resilience is, I can’t tell a younger kid, I can’t tell my own kid how important it is to keep their mind on something if my actions don’t reflect that. They kind of hold me accountable as well when I interact with the youth because it’s important for me to practice what I preach."

On staying mentally sharp when not on an NFL roster:

"I could watch football. I’ve got old film that I study at home. One thing one of my coaches taught me, ironically it was Jay [Gruden]’s brother, when I first got in the league was to keep a manual on coaches, keep a manual on how the league is moving and just always stay updated. I kind of did that whether it be with footwork or whether it be with anything. So, even when I’m at home and I’m working out with the younger kids I’m putting them in situations that I want to experience out here. It may not be that exact same thing, they don’t even know what they’re doing some of the time but they’re learning. But it’s also helping me if I ever get put in this position and by the grace of God I’m here dealing with this opportunity."

On the speed of the game against the New York Giants:

"It felt like football. There are going to be some things that you don’t expect and there are going to be some things that you can do better, but at the end of the day, it kind of felt like football."

On the familiarity of head coach Jay Gruden’s system:

"It’s helped me a lot because, ironically, Jay yelled at me enough out there to where it kind of stuck in my head on certain things on how he wants things done. Stepping back in here has kind of eased my way through the little things a little bit better. There are some things that have changed, but again my journey has put me in so many different systems I’ve learned a huge amount of football from a lot of great football minds. It’s just kind of re-learning another language. At the end of the day, concepts are concepts. You have to really get focused on your teammates and really learn [from] those guys, that’s what kind of differentiates each team. But there are only so many plays you can run in the world."

How the NFL has changed since his last start:

"It’s a more wide open game. It’s a lot more catered to spread offenses. When I came up, I never even got into shotgun until third down in college, high school I was never in shotgun. I had to learn how to throw out a shotgun once I got in the league because the game was transforming a little bit to that. Obviously a lot of young quarterbacks’ college kind of caters to a spread offense, so really just keeping up with that and working it. Just working it any way possible, just try to be as resourceful as I can whether it is with another human being or that be with my old film, or even with a video game. Every little thing helps."

On how those changes impact his game:

"At the end of the day, I always felt like if a coach can get me to understand why I'm doing it, I have the ability to go out there and do it. I've always had that confidence in myself, it's just really now getting out there and repping it and going out there and doing it. My game is going to be my game regardless. I can't really be anybody else, so now that I have the opportunity to just play my game, it's pretty cool."

On if Coach Gruden can get him to understand why he's doing a play:

"We've worked together. We've had a good working relationship. We went to the playoffs that year in Cincinnati. I performed well in the preseason, so I always had comfortability in his system. He got a head coaching job after that, which he deserved and he's been winning since he got here, to come back and kind of experience a similar culture and being in something that I've been comfortable with before, it's kind of a blessing for me, because I don’t really have to go through the rigors of a coach trying figure me out. It's more of just figuring me in, you know?"

On the challenges from Jacksonville's defense:

"Honestly man, to me that’s the beauty of sports. As a pro athlete, as a kid, you want to be out there. I've been a backup for so long, I think you understand that having this opportunity is more special than the challenges that are ahead. I'm excited that we're playing this great defense. I'm excited that we're playing against these talented corners, this pass rush, these linebackers. It's a great test and I wouldn’t have it any other way to get an opportunity to go against somebody that you have to earn it and go out and prove that you deserve to be on this field. It’s kind of what I've been asking for, so by the grace of God, He's giving me the opportunity to prove my worth and proving your worth versus a great defense, as a competitor, what else can you ask for?"

On how his work ethic is shaped by his upbringing:

"To me, it’s just reality. One thing I've always appreciated, I mean I went to a non-scholarship school, I had to work jobs, so I didn’t get a scholarship, and nothing was ever given to me. To me, my life and what I've experienced is kind of common. We've kind of all experienced trials and tribulations in our career fields and our life trying to get ahead, wanting to get ahead, wanting to be at the top, but one thing that’s consistent is not everybody is at the top at the same time. So, you've just got to be patient, wait your turn, but if you really want it and you really love it, you're going to put in the work, so at the end of the day, when you get an opportunity, you can say I did what I was supposed to do to take care of my business. Everything I went through in Oakland is real life and that’s what a lot of people go through, so when I had an opportunity to go out here and play a game, that maybe 2,000 people get the opportunity to do, there isn’t anything to complain about. This is like going to Disney Land every day for me, for real, because just a week ago, I was at home in the hood, chilling with the kids, chilling with my family and thinking on the couch that I might never play in the NFL again. But a week later, look at me now, I'm here starting with a great opportunity to get us a victory this Sunday against Jacksonville. I'm excited about that and that’s a blessing."

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