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    • Skins Quotes 9/25/17: Jay Gruden


      September 25, 2017

      Head Coach Jay Gruden


      On why the offense was able to perform so well:
      “Well, I think a little bit of everything. I think when you are talking about successful offensive play, it takes all 11. It takes the quarterback getting us in the right play. It takes the line with their protection and the run-blocking, and tight ends and receivers doing what they’re supposed to do. I think everybody was honed in, they were focused and then they finished plays, made big plays. We stuck with the running game again. We didn’t hit a lot of big time runs but, still, the ability to run the ball and control the ball, possess the ball, helped our defense out, obviously. And our defense helped our offense out by getting the ball back. I think all around, you just have to credit everybody. Coach [Bill] Callahan had a great run plan again. The protection plan was sound and guys executed.”

      On what worked particularly well for the defense:
      “Well, I think, like I said last night, I think it was a combination. I think we played very strong in the middle of our defense. Our defensive linemen did a great job being stout. Our outside backers were stout in the running game and held them to minimal yards per carry and forced them to throw the ball in known passing situations, enabled our rush to get home and our coverage was tight. I think just all around, the calls were sound, the players executed, we tackled extremely well, we flew to the football, didn’t give up any big plays whatsoever – other than the touchdown pass after the turnover. I think when you’re talking about a defense that played that well, I think it’s impossible to just say, ‘This is why.’ I think it’s because everybody who took part played well, played hard, played with great passion and energy and played smart.”

      On tackling:
      “It was excellent. It’s a huge key. Every week, it’s a huge key. It’s going to be another huge key this week with Tyreek Hill and [Kareem] Hunt and all the guys that the Kansas City Chiefs have. It’s a major emphasis for us since OTAs, it’s a major emphasis in training camp, and it’s a major emphasis during the week – good fundamentally sound tackling and pursuit to the football. So hats off to the guys for executing the plan and playing well.”

      On S Montae Nicholson:
      “I think Montae really has been impressive, there is no doubt about it. You just look at his stature coming out of the tunnel. I mean he looks the part. He is physical. He is big. He can run. I just can’t say enough about what D.J. Swearinger means to Montae. As far as communication, giving him the confidence where he can play fast and free. Those two together are just a great tandem. [Deshazor] Everett had seven or eight plays and did a good job, almost had a pick six. So he played well. So I have just been really impressed with Montae and his development and I think he is a guy that is just going to continue to get better and better with the more reps he gets.”

      On having a performance like Sunday’s early in the season despite all the defensive changes this past offseason:
      “Yeah, it says a lot really. I think it says a lot about the character of the guys we brought in, number one, and the energy they play with. When you talk about bringing new guys in and how they fit a scheme, you’re never quite sure until they get here. Just getting to know D.J. in the offseason, Terrell McClain and Stacy [McGee] and obviously the young guys – Jonathan Allen and Montae and Fabian [Moreau] – then having veteran guys like [Ryan] Kerrigan and [Josh] Norman and [Bashaud] Breeland and Preston Smith, Ziggy Hood. They all work together. They all play hard and they all are very, very, very coachable. You have got to love the energy they play with. Now it is just a matter of keeping it up week in and week out and getting better and continuing to strive for greatness.”

      On the defensive line and the impact that Defensive Line Coach Jim Tomsula has made:
      “Huge impact. It helps when you coach good players and we’ve got good players in here. I think the development of Matt Ioannidis has been critical. I think Jonathan Allen – obviously getting him in the first round is a huge, huge lift for our defensive line. Having a main stay like Ziggy Hood at nose guard, he has bounced around and played some defensive end, but when we lost Phil Taylor, I think him stepping in at nose guard and filling a need for us and playing well has helped the linebackers free up and make plays. Coach Tomsula’s coaching has really obviously been a key component of that, working with their alignments and their get-offs and their hand placement and fighting off blocks, double teams. He is the best in the business. Obviously he has a huge impact and then the players buying in and performing. It works hand and hand.”

      On if he thought he would be able to get this big of an impact out of DL Jonathan Allen this soon:
      “We sure as heck hoped so. I think when you’re picking in the first round, I think you have to have somebody with that type of impact. That’s what you’re looking for and everything on tape said that he would be that type of guy from his junior year to his senior year, the production he had at Alabama obviously. We had no idea that he would be there when we picked. We were just glad he was because we knew he would help and he will continue to get better. That’s the beauty; that’s the most exciting thing about Jonathan. He just hasn’t scratched the surface of his own potential yet. He is just going to get better and better the more he sees and the more he plays.”

      On if he could have realistically expected Nicholson and CB Fabian Moreau to contribute this early given their injuries in the offseason:
      “You’re exactly right – we weren’t quite sure. We obviously liked them on tape. I know that Torrian Gray thought Fabian was one of his top corners in the draft, period. And we got him in the third round. We thought very highly of Montae. Just the injuries, we weren’t sure when they were going to be available. Our training staff did an excellent job of giving us a sound projection that was pretty accurate, but still you just never know how these guys react to their surgeries and how quickly they are going to recover and fortunately for us they recovered a little bit faster than we thought. We were able to get them in walkthroughs in training camp so they could get the mental reps and then they were available to us in a physical standpoint a little bit sooner than we anticipated and then you have to see how they produce once they get the reps and they are producing.”

      On what initially concerned him most about throwing Nicholson into action so early in his career:
      “I think it is just the mental part of it, really. He is a young player. Obviously he is a rookie and playing safety there is so much change. There’s change of strengths, there’s change of calls that happen fast, there’s no huddles and you have got to get lined up. And that’s why I say playing along D.J. [Swearinger] has really made the transition smooth for Montae. I think if we had another young safety back there, I don’t know if he would be as productive quite frankly. But with D.J. back there leading the way, communicating, talking has made life a lot easier for Montae. I think Montae’s success is really dependent on D.J., and then once he gets more reps, he won’t need D.J. as much, but he needs him now.”

      On the improvement he has seen in CB Kendall Fuller:
      “The thing about Kendall is he’s one of our smartest players and he understands leverages and down and distance and techniques. He is a fundamentally sound guy. He is a lot more healthy. I think he feels better about his body this year then he did last year. He’s coming off that injury obviously, and I don’t know ever if he was quite 100 percent or was confident that he was 100 percent last year. He tried to fight through it and he did fight through it. Now I think he’s 100 percent healthy and feels confident and mentally he is always going to put himself in good positions. That’s what I love about Kendall. He’s not going to line up with poor leverage or play with bad technique. He is always going to have good technique and play with the right leverage and do what he is supposed to on defense. When you do that, man, good things will happen and they happened for him last night. I think he was 3-for-3 when they went after him. He had a nice interception, had a forced fumble, had a forced fumble last week. He is tackling good and he is playing with good, sound fundamentals.”

      On LB Martrell Spaight:
      “I think early on he was a little all over the place, but I think he settled in and was physical like we know that he would be. That’s the great thing about our linebacking corps even though we lost Mason [Foster] who was playing extremely well for us, we didn’t really lose any sleep because we know we have Spaight and [Will] Compton backing him up. They are both excellent linebackers. Spaight took advantage of his reps and played well. You can see the depth that we have at middle linebacker is very good and very solid. Spaight is another player that has battled through some injuries and I think the more he plays the better he is going to get also.”

      On what the defense did well on third down:
      “Like I said before, it’s not one thing. I think it is a combination. I think Coach [Greg] Manusky did a good job of disguising coverages and playing different coverages and the guys did a good job executing. When you play good team defense and you hold a team to 0-for-11 on third downs, it is everybody. It is all 11 playing as one. That’s what I liked most about our defense. It was somebody different all the time. It was the interior pass rush. It was the edge pass rush. It was the coverage. It was tackling. It was pursuit. It was a little bit of everything. Fighting off blocks. There was some fundamental clinic tape in that game that I am very, very impressed with. Now the key is to… the standards are set very high around here now and the ability to maintain it is going to be critical for us.”

      On QB Kirk Cousins’ ability to operate the offense effectively without RB Rob Kelley or TE Jordan Reed:
      “Well, we had great protection, number one, and then number two, he’s just very accurate with the football. He was very precise and he anticipated some great throws. He really was very accurate and had great anticipation and that’s a great combination for a quarterback, that’s for sure. He saw the field. He saw the coverages and then anticipated throws and was accurate. And he had time to do that. Your quarterback is only as good as your protection, and the protection was sound. And then the receivers have to finish plays for him and make plays for him and get open in man-to-man. They did that for him.”

      On to what he attributes the improvement on third downs on defense this year:
      “I think, number one, we’ve upgraded our talent pool. Like I said, we added three new defensive linemen – Terrell [McClain], Stacy [McGee] and obviously Jonathan [Allen]. And Matt Ioannidis is playing a lot better… I think our outside edge rushers are better because we have more of them. Preston [Smith] only played 19-21 snaps and he was very effective in there every snap that he played. Ryan Anderson got in there. Junior Galette gets in there. Ryan Kerrigan played one of his better games since I’ve been here. So we have a great mix of players that can play well and we can keep them fresh. Linebackers, adding Zach Brown to the mix with his speed and his ability to play the run and the pass has been outstanding. And then [Martrell] Spaight stepping in and playing well. And our coverage was sound with Josh [Norman] and Bree [Bashaud Breeland] and Kendall [Fuller]. They were excellent. And then the safety play has been upgraded considerably. We have two new safeties playing with D.J. [Swearinger] and obviously Montae [Nicholson]. So when you talk about why we’re better, we have better players. Coach [Greg] Manusky is doing a great job of getting the calls in on time and guys are doing what they’re supposed to do and Torrian Gray is teaching great, fundamental techniques and [Jim] Tomsula is great teaching hand placement in the running game and obviously Chad Grimm is doing a great job with the outside backers and KO [Kirk Olivadotti] with the inside backers. Guys are buying in, but most importantly, they’re playing hard, they’re playing fast and they’re playing physical.”

      On if T Trent Williams sliding to guard on the screen pass to RB Chris Thompson was a personnel grouping for that particular play or related to G Shawn Lauvao:
      “No, that was Lauvao. Lauvao got his facemask ripped off or something like that, so he had to come out for a play. Trent just moved into left guard and we just called a screen out there and let Trent lead the way and get a key block. Obviously Ty [Nsekhe] got a little bit and Brandon Scherff had an unbelievable block on the second level and Chris did the rest – and Terrelle [Pryor Sr.] had a great block.”

      On why Cousins tends to find his rhythm a few games into the season:
      “I just think every week is a different challenge, obviously. And the first game of the year against Philadelphia, we didn’t match their intensity up front. They beat us up front. I mean, I can’t sugarcoat it. I mean, Brandon Graham and those guys, they put a lot of pressure on our quarterback and made times tough for him in the pocket where he couldn’t see and get off to his second level or he was throwing out of a hole, was pushed in the pocket. Last week and this week, he’s had time to step up and scour and see the field and make good, accurate throws with his feet underneath him. When you’re throwing off your back foot and you feel pressure, you’re not going to be as accurate. The ability to run the ball, keep teams off-balance and then the ability to step into your throws and see coverage and get to your second and third progressions, Kirk is going to be very, very effective every week.”

      On if it was challenging to stick with the run:
      “Yeah, it is. I think sometimes it is. But we had faith in our plan and we thought we hit a couple. We ended up hitting some. Still rushed for over 100 yards, which is good. But I still think it just takes pressure off the quarterback a little bit, takes pressure off the line just to be able to hand the ball off, you know, and not make the quarterback think on every play. ‘What coverage is this? What’s my protection going to be? Who’s hot?’ All this stuff going through his mind. You know, it relieves the quarterback to be able to just turn and hand it off on an inside zone or outside zone or power play. So I think that’s important for the quarterback. And then you have to be effective on third down. We were more effective on third down, made some good third down plays, conversions. Had a touchdown, had a big play on third down on the first drive of the game to Vernon Davis. Guys were winning in man-to-man and Kirk’s reading the zone coverages and getting them to the right people. So I just think after Week 1 he settled down a little bit and is playing well.”

      On injuries:
      “Jordan [Reed] and Rob [Kelley] will be day-to-day. I think we’re going to get them out there… They’re off today and tomorrow. We’ll get them out Wednesday for practice and we’re hoping to get them on a limited basis. Ty Nsekhe has a core muscle injury. He’s going to see a specialist in Philadelphia, Dr. [William] Meyers. There’s a chance he could be out for a little while, so we’ll see on him. Samaje’s [Samaje Perine’s] hand contusion looks to be OK. He just got hit right on the hand with the helmet. Didn’t break any bones. I think he’ll be OK.”

      On how much WR Josh Doctson’s touchdown will help in developing trust with Cousins:
      “That’s exactly it, and that’s something that’s got to continue to develop because Josh can do things not many people can do when the ball is in the air. He can track it, he can go get it, and he can leap and high-point it like he proved last night. I think with that will hopefully come more opportunity for him to make plays down the field on the ball where he looks like he might be covered but Kirk might give him a chance. Hopefully it won’t lead to interceptions, but Josh will make plays for him. We’ll give him more opportunities.”

      On electing to punt prior to halftime and how tempted he was to go for it on fourth down:
      “You know, I really was tempted, man. You’ve got to bring that up, don’t you [chuckles]? Yeah, I was very tempted. But we were in a position right there, it was 14-0, we’ve got the ball coming out, and I didn’t want to give them a chance to have any hope into halftime to have any kind of rally, you know what I mean? We tried to no-snap, no-play to get them offsides and it didn’t work. Took the delay of game penalty and punted and got out at half, 14-0. I think the risk was probably just a little bit greater than the reward because if we don’t get it there, they’ve got the ball at the 40, they come out of there with three points and a little momentum. I didn’t want to give them any momentum going into halftime.”

      On how much the Redskins starting the second half with the ball factored into the decision:
      “That and the two-score lead. You know, it was 14-0 and we had the ball coming out. Had it been a close game, 7-7, 14-14, I probably would have gone for it and try to get some points on the board. Since we were up two scores with the ball coming out, I didn’t want to give them a chance to put points on the board at the end of the half.”

      On LB Mason Foster:
      “Mason looked better today a little bit. You know, he’s still a little sore, but again, Wednesday I think we’ll strap him up and see what he can do on a day-to-day basis, so we’ll see. He’s got a chance to play, I would think.”



      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
      This article was originally published in forum thread: Skins Quotes 9/25/17: Jay Gruden started by Boone View original post
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