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Press Release: #Redskins Quotes- Gruden


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December 14, 2015

Redskins Park

Head Coach Jay Gruden

Opening statement:

"Derek Carrier did tear his ACL and MCL. He'll be out for the year. DeSean Jackson has a patella contusion. He'll be day-to-day. Morgan Moses was evaluated but did not have a concussion. He came back in the game. Chris Thompson will be day-to-day with his shoulder, Andre Roberts day-to-day with his knee and Jeron Johnson day-to-day with his hamstring."

On losing TE Derek Carrier:

"It's a big loss. Obviously he was our true remaining Y blocking tight end. [Je'Ron] Hamm is going to have to step up and Jordan Reed or we'll have to go out and look for another one."

On if there are tight ends available that can help at this point of the season:

"There's a couple that we're looking at. Scot [McCloughan] is looking at them now and Alex Santos and they’re doing their work now. We're going to maybe bring in a couple of guys in tomorrow morning for a workout, see how that goes. But with Hamm, obviously Jordan and [Tom] Compton, who has played a significant amount of reps at Y, has done a good job, so we have that option also."

On Carrier’s improvement as a blocker throughout this season:

"He was getting better. He wasn't a finished product and isn't a finished product. We liked his progression, it's just unfortunate that it happened. We liked where he was going. He's a smart guy. He was gaining strength in the weight room and was doing better at the point of attack and backside. He had a ways to go, but we liked where he was going. It's unfortunate, but now Hamm and Jordan and Compton will have to step up."

On winning without a dominant run game:

“We'd definitely like to do better than we’ve done, that’s for sure. Having Kirk [Cousins] throw the ball – I think it was 31 times in the game – and we rushed the ball right around 30 times, I think that’s a great recipe for us. I’ve said that all along. We’ve got to get our average up though. When we’re running on first down, we’re getting one or two yards. I think in the first half we averaged 2.5 yards per carry. Again, challenged the guys at halftime and they upped the ante a little bit. But still we need to demand a little bit more from our running game but the commitment is there. We’ve just got to do better at blocking and running.”

On if he considered taking WR DeSean Jackson out Sunday after he sustained his knee contusion:

“I considered it, kind of left it up to him. He’s pretty good about his body and he felt like he could go back in. He went back in there and hobbled around and tried to make some plays. I think he’ll be OK. He'll probably miss a day or two of practice knowing him [laughter]. He’ll be ready to go."

On if TE Jordan Reed set the tone by fighting for more yards after catches:

“I think so. He’s always been a very good runner after the catch. Just got to continue to harp on his ball security, gets a little scary, he's reaching the ball out… He played with unbelievable effort yesterday. He was by far our most dominant player in that football game – running after the catch, getting off the line of scrimmage, separating himself from the defender and making strong catches in tight windows. Excellent game by Jordan. We’re going to need him to have big games these last three also."

On the challenge of finding an accomplished tight end these days and the challenge of coaching them this late in the season:

“It’s a great challenge. It’s a tough position to find nowadays with all these spread offenses in college football. There’s just not a lot of tight ends on the streets anymore, not a lot that can do both – block in the core and run routes. It’s either you get a big blocking tight end that can’t run a lick or you get a spread tight end who’s a great runner but can’t block a lick. Hopefully there’s one or two out there that we can work out and maybe sign. But if not, like I said, we have it in-house. I think we can get by with the guys we have. Obviously you don’t have the flexibility that you’d like to have at that position if Compton is your tight end in some of your base personnel stuff. We’ll have to do it with what we have.”

On if TE Je’Ron Hamm might be able to contribute:

“Yeah, we hope so. He’s come in and he’s learned the system. He’s been on the practice squad a little bit more than a year now. He’s gained some strength in the weight room, which is good. He’s one of these guys you like to have him in your building where you develop him. He got some reps last week a little bit, spot duty, did an adequate job. We just have to see. He’ll get more reps in practice and we’ll have to see how good we feel about it, blocking the point of attack backside. We know he can run and catch the ball, that’s a good thing. But blocking is one thing he’s got to work on and [Tight End Coach] Wes [Phillips] has done a good job working on it with him."

On QB Kirk Cousins’ interception:

“I think he could have gotten a lot from the pre-snap recognition of where the corner was and the coverage. He should have seen that it was Cover 2, and that particular route, the flat defender was the corner. He just didn’t see him. I don’t know if he was blinded by the right tackle or what have you. He needs to know where the corner is in Cover 2 for sure when you’re running a deep out-breaking route to Pierre. It’s something he’ll learn from, but he does have to do a better job of seeing where he’s throwing it and seeing the underneath hook defenders or flat defenders.”

On Reed's improvement this season:

“Well he’s staying on the field, number one, which is a big thing. He’s always been very gifted, athletic human. He can cut on a dime. He’s got very strong hands. He gets in and out of his breaks in a hurry. But now I think he’s doing a better job of recognizing coverage and how to get on people’s toes and work on leverage, use leverage to his advantage and set people up. A lot of times when you’re a good athlete and you’re young, you’re too quick with everything. Now he’s being a lot more patient in his routes and getting up on people and doing a great job of separating and getting his head around, becoming a really friendly target for the quarterback. That goes a long way with a young quarterback."

On if there's a specific message to the team this week:

"I don't think there's a specific message. I think you just have to continue to take it one game at a time, man. This league is crazy the way it works out. We have yet to put back-to-back wins together this year and I think that'll be a focal point, man, how we rebound from a victory. I've said that before six times and it hasn't worked out very well. This is going to be a very important game for us. Buffalo is coming in here after a tough loss to Philadelphia and they have a very good football team. So, we're going to have to just continue to stay on top of our game as far as the mental and physical approach to it, a consistent approach and just go after them, continue to stay after them. I think the guys will be ready."

On if the narrative of Cousins as ‘mentally fragile’ and a ‘turnover machine’ is past him:

"I hope so. I think he's still got to continue to prove that. But quarterbacks are going to throw interceptions. Just look at the stats amongst the great quarterbacks that are playing right now and they've thrown interceptions. He's going to throw some more in his career and he's probably going to get badgered for them in the media here. But playing the quarterback position is very difficult. You have pass rush to deal with, protection to deal with, coverages to see, touch, throw it hard in between defenders and all that stuff is very difficult. He can't lose his confidence one bit after an interception. That's one thing we want to see is if he does throw an interception, to come back and still have an aggressive mentality. I think he's starting to do that. It's not affecting him as much, or if it did affect him I don't know but it doesn't seem to be affecting him when he does throw a pick. So that's the big thing. You’ve just got to keep grinding and keep playing. But he was 24-for-31 I think for 300 yards against the Bears on the road. That's pretty dang impressive, whether you throw an interception or not. So we're happy with his progress. He's got us in a great position to be successful at the end of the year and that's all we can ask for."

On if the team getting a win despite losing a 14-point lead on the road shows growth:

“Yeah. it was big. A big kick by [Dustin] Hopkins – that was a huge kick, 46 – I think – yarder against the wind. He nailed it. It gave us a lead and the defense did a good job of holding their ground and not giving up anything big after the Alshon Jeffery big completion. They held their ground right there and made them make a 50-yard field goal and he missed it. Good resilience by our football team. We’d like to play a little bit better when we do have the lead, maybe be a little bit more aggressive. But for the most part, that’s a good football team we beat at home. We just stayed the course and the guys played well and got the victory."

On the protocol if the quarterback’s headset goes out:

“We have a wristband and then Kirk does have a group of plays that he can get to in each personnel grouping. The one at the goal line, like I said, we were trying to figure out what personnel to get to and they started the clock and I didn’t know it. That was my fault all the way. They usually tell me or point at me or hit a whistle or something, but nobody did that. We were just trying to get our guys out there. The one at the end of the quarter we were like a second off, thought we had the quarter and didn’t. Called a play out there and it was too late and we had to take a timeout. Other than that, you prepare for situations where the headsets do go out, so we have a wristband ready to go. We have signals available for Kirk and he also has some go-to plays out of each formation."

On the three-TE sets:

“They’re OK. I think you can expand on them a little bit. We’ll have to, you know, that’s what we’re doing right now. We lose [Derek] Carrier. We weren’t going to do as much of it yesterday but when Carrier went down we had to use some more of it than we really wanted to, but we still have different personnel groupings we can be in. We can be in… three receivers, one tight end. We can be in three receivers, no tight ends and two backs. There’s a lot of things we can do. We just have to hone in on what our plan will be for the [bills] and go from there, but I imagine Compton will be part of it in some way, shape or form and possibly [Ty] Nsekhe still.”

On if the defense has grown into what he expected in the last few weeks:

“I think so. They’re playing sound football. We’re not giving up the big plays, which is good. We gave up the big one to Alshon Jeffery of course. It was a good throw by Jay [Cutler]. He bought time and scrambled and hit him. Then he had another scramble play I think where he hit Jeffery down the middle earlier in the game. But for the most part, we’re playing good, sound defense in the back end and getting enough push where we’re making the quarterback hurry a little bit. I think we still need to get better with our pass rush, no question about it, especially when we have third down and seven-plus. There were a couple instances there we had third down and medium to long where had time to throw and move around and find some completions. We’ve got to continue to work on our pass rush, but overall, I think from a sound standpoint, I feel good about where they’re at.”

On changing the team’s practice schedule last week:

“I think there is merit to altering your schedule depending on how the team is, health-wise. We’ll have to make a determination once we talk to [Head Athletic Trainer] Larry [Hess] again and we’ll find out tomorrow when these guys come in for a walkthrough. We’ll see where they’re at but I think we can get some work in on Wednesday, may not quite be as long as a normal Wednesday would be or a normal Thursday would be. We’ll alter the plan depending on the health of the football team. If DeSean [Jackson] can’t go and Andre [Roberts] can’t go, we’ll be short some receivers so there are certain things we’ll have to shorten down.”

On if the jump in LB Ryan Kerrigan’s production is related to simply missing opportunities early in the season or if he is finally feeling healthy:

“He did miss some opportunities early on, plus he missed all of preseason. We were trying to rest him with his knee and all that stuff. I think he’s getting back in the flow. You know, he’s a consistent player for us. He’s very good in the running game and like I’ve said before, it’s not about his sacks. His presence is felt quite often throughout the course of a football game. In the running game, you see him on the backside making tackles, on the frontside forcing the ball back into our big guys. He does a great job in the running game. In the passing game, he is occupying chip blocks which is taking receivers out of the occasion and he’s doing a good job of making the quarterback step up to other people. I like where Ryan is at. He is getting better and better and I think he is feeling healthier and healthier as the season is going on.”

On DE Jason Hatcher:

“He was a little sore. I really appreciate Jason and fighting through that injury. A lot of guys probably wouldn’t have played with that thing. He strapped it up for us and gave us all he had. That’s what he’s all about, man. He’s been like that since we got him from Dallas. He’s one of the leaders that we talk about in the locker room. He won’t miss it. If he can walk, he’ll be out there playing."

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