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    • Skins Quotes 11/12: Jay Gruden

      November 12, 2014
      Redskins Park

      Head Coach Jay Gruden

      On the injury report:
      “Logan Paulsen was the only one that was limited with his foot and hamstring. Everybody else was full. Ryan Clark, Robert [Griffin III], Silas Redd, [Ryan] Kerrigan and Keenan Robinson – all full participation.”

      On the return of nose tackle Barry Cofield, Jr.:
      “Barry looked good, man. It’s a good, strong rotation, man. Big, physical guys up front, which you want, and you want a lot of them. And we now have a lot of them, which is very good. They can rotate in and out and stay fresh. Barry looks good. He’s got a little bounce in his step and we’ve just got to make sure we don’t overdo his workload because it’s his first game back in a while, but he looked good.”

      On where Cofield, Jr. will play and if he will displace Chris Baker at nose tackle:
      “Like I said, he’ll just be in a rotation with Chris and Jarvis [Jenkins] and all those guys up front. So it’s just a matter of finding out his niche and getting him in there slowly but surely and making sure we don’t overdo it. Obviously he’s a very solid nose guard, but Chris has done a great job in his place. Both of them can be very beneficial to us.”

      On if Cofield, Jr. looks fine after having surgery on his groin:
      “Yeah, he looks fine, but we’ll see in game-type situations. But he looked good running out there today, but we kind of noticed it a little bit the last game that he played. He was running around, we saw him chase a quarterback, you could see he didn’t have that burst. You could see him limping around a little bit and it was related to his groin. Since he had to get the other procedure done, he wanted to make sure and go in there and fix that groin once and for all. So that’s what he did and he feels pretty good.”

      On if Cofield, Jr. had surgery on his ankle as well:
      “Just rehab.”

      On if there are certain things he wants to see the offense improve the rest of the season:
      “Yeah, you know, obviously third downs is the key and then obviously the turnovers. We have done a little bit better job with the turnovers but third downs and turnovers are what’s killing us. Right now you look at the stats and I think we are No. 1 in the league in yards per play and No. 1 in the league in yards per pass attempt. So there are some good things we are doing. Obviously the rushing game we need to improve upon and third downs and turnovers, man. That’s the Achilles heel for us.”

      On if he gets the sense the players are champing at the bit to play again:
      “I do, I do. I feel like they came in with good spirits. You know, it’s not easy being 3-6 by any stretch of the imagination but I feel like our guys are champing at the bit trying to get back on the field and they had a good tempo today, a good practice and that is good to see. Nobody is hanging their heads. Nobody is feeling sorry for themselves. We are all eager to go out there and prove what we are all about because we haven’t really done that yet but we have shown flashes. And now it is a matter of going out and doing it consistently. We still have seven games to do that.”

      On if the team will be more aggressive defensively the rest of the season:
      “Yeah, there is a fine line in doing both. We’ve got to pick our spots. You can’t be too predictable in anything you do. So the big emphasis really moving forward for us – we challenged them today are the turnovers. You know, right now we are minus-nine. We are not creating enough and we are giving too many away. You get what you deserve in football, and the reason you are 3-6 is partly because of that turnover ratio. So we challenged our team, we are going to try to get that down to even by the time the season is over. That takes a lot of accountability by the offensive players but it also takes some great effort from the defensive guys to force some takeaways.”

      On if he sees players coming together:
      “Well, I never really – double negative, but I have ‘not not’ seen it. I think since it became to light with y’all saying that we weren’t a unified locker room or we didn’t have leaders, I think it kind of made people think about it and realize that we are OK, maybe. So, I think that’s the case. I just think that there are some guys that are a little but more willing now to step out of their shadow and maybe speak up a little bit more than maybe they would’ve like a DeSean [Jackson] the other day. And that’s a good thing. It’s good to have people speak their mind and get us on the right track, but overall, I think everybody is fine in there. We don’t have any leadership problems in my book and the locker room has been united as far as I can tell.”

      On matching up against Tampa Bay’s wide receivers:
      “Yeah, it’s a great test for them. Luckily both our DBs are big and physical. You know that’s why we liked them both. We liked [Bashaud] Breeland coming out of Clemson because he is a bigger guy and played physical and the same with [David] Amerson at NC State, bigger type corners to go against the bigger type receivers. So it’s going to be a great matchup for them. You know, you’ve got to mix up your coverages. You’re not going to expect to play bump and run, man-to-man all day, you’re going to have to mix in some Cover 2, mix in some Cover 3 and some blitz pressures and all that good stuff, but we have to really be sound with our technique at corner because both those guys can hurt you real bad and both quarterbacks have shown the ability to get them the ball on the outside and make big plays.”

      On the progress of safety Phillip Thomas:
      “Very good. You know, I like the way he is running around out there and hopefully we will be able to get him in some action here as the season winds down. Dealing with his foot injury, he never really looked the same but the last four, five weeks, I really think he has shown on scout team that he is ready to go and get an opportunity. First he has to earn it on special teams and then he will get into some action on defense hopefully as the season goes on but he is doing a good job.”

      On his thoughts about getting Morgan Moses some reps to help with tight end Logan Paulsen’s injury:
      “Yeah, we are hoping that Logan will be good by game time but that is something we will have to address as an offensive staff, but we do have other personnel groups we can go to with the three wide receivers, one tight end and four wide receivers, no tight end so we have that covered, but that is an option we can get to with Morgan.”

      On how important it is to establish a routine:
      “It helps, it helps a lot. Sometimes you get out of whack with these night games and then short weeks and coaches staying up all night and everybody’s grouchy and tired and, you know, it’s difficult. But everybody has to go through it. When you have the same routine over and over again and guys know what to expect on a daily basis, they get their sleep habits – coaches and players alike – it’s important. Hopefully we can use that to our advantage. With the home games that we have coming up on our schedule, obviously, we want to use those to our major advantage, but also with the schedule being consistent, I think it is a good thing.”

      On if he finds quarterback Robert Griffin III “mentally delicate”:
      “No, no – you don’t want to have anybody mentally delicate, I just think people can chip away at you. If you continue to read everything written about you and listen to everything that is said about you on television then – he is a human being, it can wear on you. I think really for a young kid that has been through as much as he has – both good and bad – already at age 24 or however old he is, he has shown the fact that he is a thick-skinned guy and really in good spirits, both mentally and physically. So you’ve just got to continue to grow and learn from every experience both on and off the field and that’s what great quarterbacks have to do.”

      On if he gives Griffin III advice about that:
      “We talk about stuff all the time. We don’t just talk football in team meetings. Sometimes we talk about things like that. There are other things that come up that are important in a quarterback’s maturation process. You know, he is not perfect by any stretch, in any phase, off the field, on the field, but he is a guy that is willing to work at it and hopefully we can get him there.”

      On Griffin III saying he doesn’t have to be liked, he just has to win:
      “I don’t think anybody is liked by everybody. Heck, I’m not liked by everybody, I don’t think. Might be. It’s not about being liked. It’s about performing at a consistent high level at that position. I know there’s great quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. If you look at them, I don’t think everybody liked them in their locker room, but they all respected them and they knew that come game time, crunch time, he was going to make a play. And that’s what it boils down to. He has to get the most out of everybody around him. Offensive line, wide receivers, tight ends, running backs – they all have to want to play at their best for the quarterback.”

      On how much the threat of Griffin III’s ability to run helped in Minnesota:
      “It helps. It helped open up a couple holes for Alfred. You know, Alfred’s long touchdown run was a result of that, I think. It’s just another element to our running game that’s important. You know, you throw in a little bit of the zone read with our outside zone that has been pretty successful and the inside zone. We have some of the gap blocking power plays, so it puts a little bit of stress on the defense. But you still have to execute them properly and that’s something we’re continuing to work on.”

      On if he believes he has a group of players that can make a run similar to the one made in 2012:
      “That’s the intent. Your goal is to win every game – obviously – that you play. I feel like we’ve got the ability to do that. We’ve just got to go out and do it and perform at a level a lot higher than we’ve been performing in – at a consistent level that we have not really done from week to week to week, play to play to play, quarter to quarter. Not going to be easy by any stretch. Our schedule is very difficult. We play some great teams coming up. A lot has to go our way. Ball security wise, third down conversions – a lot of things have to change. But we are very optimistic in the fact that we can win all the games that we play but obviously we have a long way to go. It starts on Sunday against Tampa Bay and we can’t look past anybody and we’ve got to play our game.”

      Quarterback Robert Griffin III

      On wide receiver DeSean Jackson’s comments:
      “Everybody was in the room. Like we said, he was just addressing the group, addressing a few out of the group. Who those guys are? We don’t really care. The thing that he stressed and the thing that we are stressing is that we’re focused on winning, focused on Tampa Bay. We need everybody focused on doing their job to the best of their abilities. Look at the man in the mirror, and say, ‘What can I do to help this team win?’ That will help us not only win games but it will help us change the culture around here.”

      On how this 3-6 start differs from the past two seasons:
      “Every year is a new year. Obviously we want to do what we did in 2012, but we can’t look at the big picture right now. We’ve got to take care of everything that we can do every day to get better, and it starts with Tampa. They’re not going to come in here and just lay down and let us win a game. We’ve got to go take it from them. So, that’s what we’re focused on.”

      On what specifically needs to change about the culture:
      “I mean, nothing specific. I don’t know everything, that’s for dang sure, but I do know a little thing about changing the culture. It takes everybody from the top down, and the players have to be willing. I think we have got guys in that locker room who are willing, but to get into details, it’s not really worth it right now. We’ve got to focus on winning the game, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

      On if likability matters:
      “I don’t know. Certain networks push that stuff, and some people have friends in high places. I don’t. But, do you like everybody you work with? You don’t have to point them out [laughter]. It’s really not even about that, I think. For us as a team, what we are focusing on and what D-Jack [DeSean Jackson] did stress and what Ryan Clark had stressed and what other guys and leaders have stressed – Hatch [Jason Hatcher], [Stephen] Bowen and [Barry] Cofield – is that we can’t let anybody try to tear us apart from the outside in. I know it’s been pushed and pushed and pushed, and everybody thinks it’s coming from the inside out. We’re strong in that locker room, and we feel like we can’t let any of these reports or anything divide us. At the end of the day, we’re responsible for what we go out there and do, and right now we are 3-6. We understand that. I think everybody in this room knows that we have a hunger to win, and we want the fans to know that too. We’re going to go out there and do everything we possibly can to not only put out best foot forward, but to also make you guys proud.”

      On Jackson saying Griffin III does not need to take everything on himself:
      “I take it to heart. I think all the leaders on the team cosign with that… I’d rather be the guy that feels like he has to take it on than the guy that is shifting it away and say, ‘No, I don’t have to do that.’ But, these guys will help me. I know that. I need them to win games. On a happier note, [Barry] Cofield is back.”

      On how to avoid taking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for granted:
      “We can’t take anybody for granted. For us, it’s getting the 1-0 each week. Everyone’s talking about 7-0, going on a streak. We’ve got to get in 1-0 this week. That’s it. These guys are talented. I could name every guy on their defense, but the guys that they rally around – Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David – these guys can play. For us, we’ve got to go out there and execute. That’s what it all comes down to. Execution is what Coach is stressing to us this week. Have every play that they put in, have your mindset toward what you need to do on that play to make it successful – everybody down the line, all 11 guys. We feel we can go do it.”

      On what he wants to improve upon the rest of the season:
      “We want to win. That’s it. Win games.”

      On Head Coach Jay Gruden saying the team could have been 7-2:
      “Our job is not to play the ‘if’ game. We are 3-6. So this week, like I said, we’re going to focus on getting to 1-0. There is no, ‘If this would have happened, if that would have happened.’ Right now, we have got to focus on moving forward. I think that’s the best thing for this team so that there isn’t any of that talk. What coach says and how he feels is probably a sentiment that everybody in the back of their head might feel, but it’s not something that we’re pushing forward, saying ‘Hey man, we could have done this or that.’ We’re saying, ‘We’ve got to this against Tampa. We’ve got to do that against Tampa.’ That’s our only focus.”

      On playing with Jackson:
      “Yeah, he’s a talented guy. It’s an honor to play with him, a pleasure to play with him. He can track the ball down the field, we all know that. But what I think is misunderstood is they think he’s just a deep threat. He does a good job in the underneath routes. Guys are going to play with a cushion on him, and even when we do get Cover 2 with a safety over the top of him, we’re still finding ways to get him the ball, and he’s finding ways to get open and opening things up for other guys. So, that’s been very helpful.”

      On Jackson’s other assets:
      “Great hands, elite tracking ability down the field. Usually, guys have one or the other – they can track it really well or they have elite hands. I think he catches the ball well in traffic, he catches the ball well when he gets hit, and he’s a competitor. He brings that attitude, and a lot of guys feed off that. But, we have got a lot of weapons and everyone does things different ways and has different strengths. When you’re talking about DeSean, that’s what he does really well.”

      On the bye week:
      “I think everybody went away and came back refreshed. It’s good to get out of the building and not see the same locker room and things like that every single day. I think it gives guys a little more energy when they come back and that’s what bye weeks are for. We’re excited to be back. It’s like the first day of school. You get to see all your buddies again and we’re going to work hard together.”

      On how important a routine is for a quarterback and if he feels like he is back in a routine after playing in the Minnesota game:
      “Yeah, I think it’s very important. Missing those seven weeks, it hurt. It hurt for multiple reasons. Obviously, the injury hurt and then having to watch your team struggle hurt as well, but being able to get back out there with them, get a game under our belt and get back in that daily routine – making the calls, making the checks at the line, just going through everything. We’re a team. We’ve got to be a well-oiled machine and your quarterback’s got to be out there to make that happen, so it’s been good to be back.”

      On if the 2012 run after the bye week can be used as motivation:
      “Yeah, we talked about that. Basically, our focus is to get to 1-0. It’s not to get to 7-0 this week. We have to take care of business this week against Tampa and they’re a very talented team regardless of their record. There’s no easy games in the NFL and we’re not going to overlook them because we can’t afford to overlook anybody. I think the guys are motivated and we do feel like we do have an opportunity to seize.”

      On the importance of the final seven games of the regular season for him personally:
      “We’ve got to win games. We want to win and it starts this week. That’s really our only focus. It’s not anything about personal accolades or personal goals that everybody wants to get. As a team, you have to come together for one common goal, and for us that is winning.”

      On Jackson’s comments:
      “I mean, that’s what teammates do. That’s what a family is. I think we’re getting closer as family on this team and what DeSean said, like we said before, is just addressing the few but we don’t know who those guys are and it doesn’t matter. Everybody’s in line, everybody’s focused on one goal – winning football games, looking in the mirror saying, ‘What can I do to help this team win and what can I do better? What can I cut out of my game? What plays do I need to make?’ Everybody’s going to be that guy and that’s a good thing to have.”

      Nose Tackle Barry Cofield

      On how he feels:
      “I want to start by saying I missed you guys. There was no hello [laughter]. I was grumpy then. I wasn’t playing… I feel great. You know, it’s go time. I had eight games and a bye week, so I worked tirelessly with the training staff – Larry Hess, Elliott [Jermyn] – those guys were amazing. A lot of people didn’t know about the groin and it bothered me pretty badly, and it’s almost like the ankle came right on time. Like I think I would have had a hard time making it through the season the way my groin was. So I had the ankle and then went and had the groin surgery done like right after that, so a lot of rehab – rehabbing two different injuries – and it’s been tough but I’m very excited to be back, very excited to be back.”

      On if his return means he can play nose tackle and move Chris Baker to defensive end:
      “That’s making an assumption that that’s what is going to happen. We’ve got some creative coaches, so you never know what formation we’re going to be [in]. We have position versatility, so we will be all over the place. Bake’s been playing great at nose, so why would I come in and bother that situation? So we’ll see how it shakes out, and Sunday hopefully the Buccaneers will be guessing to try and figure out where I’m going to be lined up at.”

      On if he made any observations during his time away that can help the team moving forward:
      “I mean, it’s definitely a unique perspective. It was definitely abnormal for me. I had never really missed any extended time in my life, you know, going back to middle school. It’s been very unique being able to watch from like a bird’s eye view, watch the game from upstairs, and I learned a lot. I learned a lot. There was a lot of things I talked to the guys about. Defensively, I feel like we’re doing a lot of things right. We just need to make big plays here and there, and literally one play a game can really turn the momentum and change the tide. So the biggest thing I’ve imparted on the guys is just that we’re close. We’re close. We’re not a Top 10 statistical defense in this league by mistake. You know you’re doing some things right, but at the same time, you give up points, there’s a problem. If you’re losing, there’s a problem. My biggest thing is that we’re close, try and give guys that confidence, and we’ve had injuries. Hopefully I can come back, just a free agent off the streets and someone that’s just going to come in, lay it on the line, just play as hard as possible and hopefully help get us over that hump. But it’s going to take a collective effort, and after the bye week, I think we’re ready.”

      On what he can offer in terms of leadership:
      “From a leadership perspective, I just want to lead by example. I’m just going to be honest, I feel like it can be overstated. I’m kind of on DY’s [Darrel Young’s] level. When you’re winning, I think that stuff gets – no one worries about it. No one asks you who are the leaders. They just ask you, ‘What did you do to win?’ When you’re losing, when you’re struggling, I think there’s a spotlight cast on every little thing. I think we’re a collective group of grown men that have played football our whole lives, and you just need to come together. If everyone does their job when everyone leads by example, everyone is personally accountable, I think the team will be successful. I don’t think it’s really… Maybe the difference between the team that wins and loses the Super Bowl is a great leader that just brings something to the table, but the difference between being 3-6 and the playoffs is not speeches. It’s not having somebody to look at that you consider a leader. It’s really about individuals doing their job better. So we need to start there, and once we get over that hump and once we start winning games, we’ll worry about all those things that I think are just kind of intangibles that come in down the road. We really need to focus on football, play better each snap, focus on the Xs and Os, be better in the meeting room, and I think that’ll help our team.”

      On when he would have been healthy enough to play if not for the rules governing his return:
      “Honestly, I used all eight games and the bye week. When I realized that I was put on that list, it allows you to plan to use the whole time. Realistically, it was a beast, especially with the groin surgery and the ankle – it’s like you can’t attack either one because you have to be cognizant of both. So realistically, it was the right thing for the team to do. I used every single day. The rehab was perfect and I feel great now.”

      On the difference in the defense between the Dallas and Minnesota games:
      “It’s really hard to put into words. There’s really no easy way to summarize it. We just made big plays. You come out of the Dallas game and you talk about [Bashaud] Breeland and you talk about [David] Amerson, you talk about the guys just making these huge plays that stick out in your mind. And then you look at the Minnesota game and it’s just they [the big plays] weren’t there. Collectively, you need everyone to come together and you need each individual to do his job and just make big plays. It’s really hard to quantify it a lot of times. It’s just the things that good teams do. When you watch a good team win a game, you can pick out plays in the game where that guy made a great play, that guy made a great play, and they don’t make mistakes. Sometimes great plays can cover up mistakes, and when you’re making mistakes, that’s a killer. I guess the biggest thing I can point out is not what we didn’t do, it’s what we did do against Minnesota – we made mistakes. The things that you do are not always positive; they can be negative. The mistakes we made, we just couldn’t get out of that hole and we didn’t make as many mistakes against Dallas, and on top of that we made big plays and that’s why we were able to beat a really good team.”

      On watching the reports about the team:
      “It’s tough. It’s something that when you’re losing, it follows you. When you’re losing in a big market, a team that has a lot of tradition, a team that draws a lot of attention, it’s tough. That’s to be expected. I experienced it in New York when we were struggling. And a lot of it is just people looking for answers. When you’re a professional and you get paid a lot of money, you put a lot of time into it and you don’t really have answers, you know, people are going to look for answers wherever they are. It’s definitely tough when you’re not able to help. That’s why I didn’t really speak to the media while I was injured because I couldn’t help the team. I didn’t feel it was my place to really criticize or really speak on the problems because only the guys out there can fix it. That’s why I talk about accountability and leading by example. When I’m not out there, I can’t lead by example, so I kind of like to step back. I’ll talk to certain guys, certain vets, that I can trust to kind of take my message and go spread it to the team. Realistically, some things only winning cures, and that’s really how I feel, especially in this league. I feel like if we get some wins, then a lot of the other stuff will dissipate and everyone will be happy and we’ll go forward and things will be fine. All the little things that pop up when you’re struggling, I think those things will fall back.”

      On the young players on the defense:
      “Honestly, I’ve seen a lot of growth. I’ve seen those guys make a lot of plays and really stand up in big moments and play like vets. Speaks well for the future. At some point, you’ve got to have guys that you feel that are going to be there two, three years down the road, leading the team by example, playing well and carrying the team on into the future. Those guys have definitely grown. When you get to a certain point in the season, I know when I was a rookie, they told me quick that you’re not a rookie anymore. The first time you get knocked on your butt, the first time the coach curses you out, the first time you make a big play, once you run the gamut and experience everything the NFL has to offer, you’re not a rookie anymore. You’ve seen it and you’re expected to prepare a certain way and you’re a pro and you have those type of expectations. Those guys are talented enough to do the job. If they weren’t, you’d have an understanding. So they’re talented enough to do the job. They’ve experienced everything now, so they’re no longer rookies. They may not be as old as me. I won’t call it a vet – I’m just old. They may not be as old, but they’ve experience enough that we count on them every week and I feel like they can meet the challenge.”

      Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Lovie Smith

      On preparing for quarterback Robert Griffin III:
      “Well, I’ve seen him, being from Texas and all I’ve seen him play quite a bit, of course in the league too. I know he’s coming back, but in the last game that he played, it didn’t seem like he had missed an awful lot. The type of plays they were running with him and seeing the effects, I didn’t see any aftereffects, really, from the injury. The same Robert Griffin is what we saw – a guy that’s mobile, that can make all the throws, and it really causes problems for the defense.”

      On blitzing against Griffin III:
      “You know, teams have blitzes each week that you feel good about. We do like everyone else. But, I think you have to do more than just come in and blitz, blitz, blitz. For us, we’re going to run our package, what we believe in. As I said, blitzes are a part of that, but you need to mix it in quite a bit and not let the quarterback have the same look. That’s normally how you have to play great quarterbacks.”

      On if the preseason matchup helps with game planning:
      “Oh, it helps personnel-wise, to see those colors on the other side of us of the field. But, yeah, that was a long time ago. I don’t know how much that will really benefit either team. We didn’t play our guys an awful lot –
      neither team did back then. But, there’s a lot of great video for us to see right now to really tell both teams what the other is doing.”

      On wide receiver Mike Evans:
      “I just think [he’s] a great football player. I know he’s young, I know he’s a rookie and he’s made rookie mistakes through the year. But, he didn’t make the same mistakes and we’ve seen him improve. Seems like weekly he’s making improvements. But, great hands, good athletic ability, speed. He’s got the total package. He’ll block. It’s just becoming a force, somebody we can really rely on but hasn’t been playing like a rookie lately. I’m just really pleased with what he’s been doing.”

      On building a special teams unit in today’s NFL:
      “I think it’s harder than it used to be. Not just special teams, but putting together a good offensive and defensive team, too. We have struggled earlier in the year. We played pretty good special teams ball this past week though. You’ve got to love that from our returner. So, yeah, it’s harder, but it can be done still.”

      On increasing turnovers on defense:
      “Well, I guess if you take that approach and you concentrate on ‘turnovers,’ it has to be luck, when you just kind of just rely on an offense to turn the ball over. But our approach has normally been it’s about ‘takeaways’ on the defensive side, and you creating those by being aggressive. We haven’t been able to do that. Yes, it does irk me quite a bit. I didn’t know exactly what the numbers were. I tried to get that out of my mind right now. That’s not enough. If you look each week in the league on what determines the wins and losses, it’s based on that turnover ratio. Defensively, we have to be able to take the ball away a lot more.”

      On turning back to quarterback Josh McCown:
      “Well, Josh McCown was our starter going into the season, similar to, you know, how Washington looked at Robert Griffin. He got hurt, and Mike [Glennon] came in. Josh became healthy again, and we moved him back in. So, it’s not going back. Josh was our guy starting off. He’s healthy now. He came back strong. I think he played pretty good ball for us last week. Kind of simple as that.”

      On defensive tackle Gerald McCoy saying the team is undisciplined:
      “I don’t get hung up an awful lot on comments that guys make when they’re disappointed about where we are right now as a football team. We have had too many penalties. I definitely agree with that. We’ve had some fourth quarter leads, and we haven’t been able to hold on. But, the most undisciplined? I wouldn’t say that. I say it’s a football team that hasn’t figured out how to win consistently yet. We’re just making progress and eventually we’ll be a good football team. That’s what I’ve been concentrating as much as than anything.”

      On the importance of finishing strong for a first-year head coach:
      “First-year, six-year, fifth-year, I think you just kind of… It’s not about evaluation. You evaluate early on. It’s just about trying to figure out a way to win football games consistently. Normally it’s harder to do that your first year until you really establish what you want to be. It’s taken us longer. I don’t know an awful lot about what’s going on in Washington, I just know here’s it’s taken us a little bit longer, but you have to just stay the course and really highlight some of the things you think you’re doing well as you’re changing the culture a little bit. So that’s how we look at it.”

      Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy

      On facing the Redskins’ offense:
      “Well, it's a very dynamic offense, man. I think, personally, they have three dynamic receivers, a Pro Bowl running back, a stout O-Line. When they're all playing together, they move well as a unit. And then as far as RGIII [quarterback Robert Griffin III], man, he’s scary with how athletic he is and how big his arm is. If you give him time, he can hurt you and he is great at extending plays. But not only that, he can kill you with his legs, so I think we’ve got a tough one ahead of us.”

      On the differences in quarterback Robert Griffin III’s game from his rookie season to this season:
      “Well, he’s surveying the field more. I believe his rookie year we played against you guys. I think he was just getting his one read and making that throw. I think now he is starting to survey the field more and the great quarterbacks, they always take those chances and try to make that throw and I think he is starting to do that a little more. I think he played a little safe his rookie year, which was effective for him, but I think as he is maturing he’s starting to recognize different reads and scan the field and make the right throws.”

      On the mood in Tampa Bay’s locker room:
      “Well, we know we are – you know, we are not looking in the past – but what we do know is we are playing a tough Washington Redskins team. Just like us, you guys have been in a ton of close games. They just haven’t gone your way in the end, but you guys haven’t been getting run out of the stadium, so we know we’re facing a really good team that we have to prepare our best for and that’s really all we are focusing on. Guys know that they have to bring it this week, going on the road in a hostile environment with a team that is starting to get all their guys back, so it’s going to be a tough one for us.”

      On if playing the Redskins in the past helps the team prepare for the game:
      “It does. You just kind of know the basis of what the opposite team is trying to do. Of course, in-season game plans change according to lineups and the things that have been working against the opposing team. But you kind of just get kind of a basis on what the other team is trying to do, so it can be an advantage at times.”

      On playing against tackle Trent Williams:
      “Well, I personally believe that Trent is not just one of the best left tackles, but one of the best overall linemen in the NFL on both sides of the ball. Even though I think he weighed in at 318 [lbs.], 320 [lbs.] or something like that and ran a 4.81 [40-yard dash], I mean that’s rare athleticism and he is stronger than people think and he is a very smart guy. So when you face him, you know you’ve got to bring it all game because he can hurt you in many ways. I’ve watched him since college when we went [to college] together [at Oklahoma]. I mean he played center, guard and tackle, so with a guy with experience like that, he can definitely be scary for an opposing defensive lineman.”

      On his best Trent Williams story:
      “First time I found out Trent was faster than me, we were all freshman and Trent was a bigger guy before he started losing weight and I didn’t know he could run like that. So all the linemen got out there – all the smaller guys did a little race, it was quick, like 20 yards – so all the lineman got out there and Trent beat everybody and everybody was like, ‘Come on, man.’ And I kept on like, ‘No, no, y’all are cheating me.” And then we got out there and did it again and he won again and I was like, ‘Man, maybe this dude is fast.’ Then we ran our 40s and his time was faster than mine. I said, ‘Yeah, he just can run.” He is one of those rare athletic big guys from Texas and that’s what his trademark is – his speed.”

      On what he did with Williams’ jersey after they exchanged during the preseason game:
      “I have it. I am bringing it down to the game so he can sign it then I am going to frame his.”

      On how a team can fix discipline issues so late in the season:
      “We’ve just got to be professionals, realize you can’t win being undisciplined, starting from me all the way down to the lowest guy. You know, we just have to be more professional and know that there is very simple things we are doing that we can’t do if we want to win, so it’s just kind of everybody just manning up and realizing this is the NFL and we have to be more professional than we’ve been.”

      On if that is a topic a veteran leader must address in a meeting:
      “Yeah, it can be. Coach [Lovie Smith] has addressed it then the vets reiterate it as we go throughout the week. But it’s been addressed and I think guys are focusing on that this week – being more disciplined.”

      On how often he collects jerseys and if he asks players for their jerseys after games:
      “Not really. I trade when guys want to. I never really ask for anybody’s [jersey]. Me and Trent, we wanted to trade because we have been buddies since college and, you know, I think he is awesome so I had to have his jersey. But for the most part, I just trade when guys ask but I keep all of them. I definitely do. I don’t auction them off or nothing. I keep them.”
      This article was originally published in forum thread: Skins Quotes 11/12: Jay Gruden started by Boone View original post
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