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    • Skins Quotes 10/7/15: Gruden, Cousins, Quinn, Ryan

      October 7, 2015
      Redskins Park

      Head Coach Jay Gruden

      Opening statement:
      “Did not participate: [Chris] Culliver, knee; [DeAngelo] Hall, toe; Jordan Reed, he’s in the concussion protocol. Limited was DeSean Jackson and Perry Riley. And then, full were [Ryan] Kerrigan, [Kory] Lichtensteiger, [Spencer] Long, [Pierre] Garçon, [Trent] Murphy, [Kedric] Golston and [Josh] LeRibeus.”

      On his level of optimism for WR DeSean Jackson’s chances of playing this Sunday:
      “Well, we know how much he means to our offense. It would definitely help, but it’s also something that we have to see. You know, it’s something that we can’t rush him back because we don’t want this thing to be a reoccurring, reoccurring incident. He got a little bit of work today. He’s in the weight room right now working and we’ll just have to see tomorrow what he can do.”

      On his level of optimism for LB Perry Riley, Jr.:
      “I feel pretty good. You know, I think he’s going to get a couple good days at practice then we’ll gauge it from there. But I think that today, he looked good [in] the limited work that he did. Tomorrow, he’ll get more reps, and then of course Friday and then we’ll make a decision. But I think he felt pretty good on it so we’re very optimistic with Perry.”

      On the difference in the team’s efficiency on third down this season:
      “On offense, we’re making obviously protection, number one. Number two, we’re staying in makeable — we’re not having as many third-down-and-12s and 11s. We’ve had about 16 of them, I think, this year in four games. A lot of them were penalty related. We finally converted two third-and-longs last week, but we’ve been very effective on third-and-mediums, and that’s good route distribution, good protection and obviously good throws. And defensively, I think it’s same thing. I think it’s a combination of pass rush and coverage. It’s not really one thing when you’re talking about a conversion on offense or a conversion on defense. It’s 11 guys doing what they’re supposed to do and being where they’re supposed to be.”

      On how important time of possession is this Sunday:
      “Yeah, they’re obviously controlling the clock also. They do a nice job of mixing it up with their running game. [Devonta] Freeman is playing extremely well. The passing game is what it is with Matt Ryan and they do a good job possessing the football. That’s been our strength other than the Giants game, so I think that’ll be a big difference. You know, the team that can get the other team off the field on third down and the team that can stay on the field on third down will have a big advantage in this ballgame.”

      On the status of both TE Jordan Reed's legs and concussion:
      “Legs, he came back and played with the legs. He sprained his knee a little bit and his ankle, I think it was… He came back and played. He did that at the end of the first half — came back and played. That’s not that big of a concern. He’s still getting treatment on it. The concussion thing and the protocol, our hands are really tied on that. That’s going to be totally up to the independent doctors, our doctors, Jordan, how he’s feeling. Each day, you just have to gauge and find out what type of symptoms he has. Obviously, it’s safety first with the player. We want to make sure he’s right and go from there.”

      On if he calls series a particular way against teams who share his desire to control the clock:
      “Not really. No, we kind of let it play out the way it plays out. If a team is playing, you know, loose zones and we have to check the ball down and have some long 15-14-play drives, so be it. If we’re able to take some shots down the field, shoot, I’d love to have two-play drives for 80 yards. We just haven’t had many, you know? But, as long as we get in the end zone, I don’t care if it’s 15 plays and nine minutes or one play and 30 seconds. It’s just play dependent and defense dependent.”

      On the team being stronger at home under Gruden and if they are doing anything different on the road or just generally trying to play better:
      “I think just generally trying to play better. I don’t what the reason is, to be honest with you. We’ve just been outplayed on the road for whatever reason. I guess the only game we’ve won was Dallas on Monday night. I don’t really have a reason for it. I don’t have an answer. We just have to come out of the tunnel and start fast and try to get some momentum on our side and take the crowd out of it. A lot of times, we go on the road, like the Giants game for instance, we weren’t able to maintain the momentum and quiet the crowd. We’ve got to try to figure out ways to do that. That’s forcing turnovers. That’s obviously protecting the football and making some plays on special teams.”

      On how the challenge of not playing a game with a full secondary so far this season gets compounded against a team like the Falcons:
      “It’s a challenge every week. I’m telling you, every team has good receivers, but obviously, Atlanta has a special one in Julio [Jones] and obviously Roddy [White] still can play. [Leonard] Hankerson is doing some good things, who we had here. They’re a very impressive group, but Julio is a different human being and it’ll be a great challenge for us. He’s a guy that can take over a game by himself. There are not many like that in the league. There’s a few – Brandon Marshall, obviously, A.J. [Green], and a couple others, but it’ll be a great test for them. Whether [Chris] Culliver plays or not, you know [Bashaud] Breeland is going to have to step up. Will [Blackmon] is going to have to step up, whoever it is, our safety is going to have to be aware of where he is. We’re going to have to get great pass rush. It’s going to take a team effort. It’s not going to be one guy that takes Julio away. It’s going to be pass rush, the linebackers taking their proper drops, obviously Joe Barry mixing in the coverages here and there and trying to give Matt [Ryan] some different looks and make it as uncomfortable as possible for him, but definitely great arsenal of weapons over there.”

      On if CB Chris Culliver missing practice was a function of his same injury from last week:
      “Yeah, same thing.”

      On if Culliver did any additional damage last week:
      “He just played and it was uncomfortable for him in the game. It’s a concern. He relies obviously on his obvious flexibility and his speed. It didn’t feel right for him throughout the whole game. I think he just feels like he didn’t play up to his capabilities in that ballgame and he wants to get it checked out. We want to get it checked out. We want to make sure it’s healthy. He wants to be 100 percent, no question, so we’ll continue to get it rehabbed and get him an MRI today and see where it’s at and see what he can do, hopefully at the end of the week.”

      On being able to throw the ball to the flat consistently:
      "Well, it's a great comfort level out there to have that. It's a chance to flip it out there, not worry about the pass rush, not worry about anything. Just get it out there and get a positive gain. Sometimes he [Pierre Garcon] will break them. You know, last year against Tennessee, we threw a little five-yard hitch to him and he took it 70 yards for a touchdown. It's a great luxury. He's a great player obviously. I think he had nine targets. He two plays called back, two catches called back. He would've had nine catches for well over 100 yards, but we'll keep figuring out ways to get him the ball. He's a heck of player and great runner after the catch."

      On the secondary:
      "I think the big thing is, everybody's got to do their job, like I said. Whether it's a corner, whether it's a safety getting his proper depth, I think it's everybody involved and we’ve just got to do a good job of taking our drops, playing our keys and doing what they're supposed to do. Sometimes they see too much or they don't see enough, so we’ve just got to continue to coach them. Trenton [Robinson] is playing good, D-Gold [Dashon Goldson] is playing good, our corners are playing good. We’ve just got to make sure we limit the big plays over the top and make teams earn every yard. We've done a pretty good job of that with the exception of three or four plays. They are going to happen throughout the course of the season. We don't want them to happen. We'll coach the heck out of guys up, but obviously we'd much rather have them try to move the ball and get them off the field another way. I think overall we've done a good job – just a couple of instances."

      On if he has heard from the league about the penalties called on S Trenton Robinson last week:
      "Yeah, we always send in plays throughout the week and we get answers back. The big thing is we want to make sure we're clear on what we're teaching, and if it is a penalty, we want to know about it so we can teach the proper fundamentals. If it’s not a penalty then we can let the player know he wasn't at fault. We got that information and we talked to Trenton about it and we're all good. Those are, like I said, bang-bang plays and sometimes officials think it's head-to-head and it might not have been. I don't think Trenton was at fault in those instances."

      On if the league concurred:
      “He was not at fault in those instances. No.”

      On if his concern for Reed is changed by Reed’s history:
      "I don't know how much you take into account the past concussions. That's the whole thing. I think each one has got to be its own entity and we have to just figure it out how's he feeling. The severity of it, I don't know. That's the one thing you can never tell with these things nor can I project. I don't even want to get in that business. We'll leave it up to the independent doctor and Jordan. The big thing is what symptoms does he have each day. Is he having headaches? It is whatever it is. And that's something he's got to communicate to the doctors, so that they can take the proper steps to get him better. But, I don't have any clue as far as past concussions and how they affect future concussions. That’s up to the doctors."

      On TE Derek Carrier:
      "Derek has been another one of our pleasant surprises. We got him late obviously and he's done a great job of learning the system, number one, because it's not easy. Really when you talk about offensive football, other than the quarterback, the tight end is the most difficult position to play and learn because of the running game, all of the combination blocks in the running game, the formations, the motions and then of course all of the pass concepts that we have – and it’s a lot. We have a lot of personnel groupings. Heck, when we're playing two tight ends, he could play the Y or U. When we're in three receivers, he's the Y, but when we're in three tight ends he could be the V, the Y or the U. That's a lot to learn for a guy and he's done a excellent job. Wes [Phillips] has done a great job of teaching those guys – he and [Anthony] McCoy. They'll both be ready to go and if have to use [Tom] Compton a little bit we could possibly. But, I feel good about the two we have if Jordan can't go."

      On what RB Matt Jones has to do to earn back Gruden’s trust:
      "Well, he's never lost my trust. A couple of weeks ago, it was ‘Alfred [Morris] is in my doghouse,’ and he's not. It's just the way it works out with the handoffs and the carries. I like both of those guys. I could hand it to them... If I call an outside zone, whether Alfred's in there or Matt's in there, I'm fine just as long they continue to work on protecting the football. They're both excellent players and we're going to split them up the best way we can. But, Alfred should still [get] 17-18 carries a game and Matt should get about 10-12 hopefully, maybe 13. Maybe some games it'll be skewed a little bit one way or the other but [he’s] not in my doghouse at all."

      On if there are lingering concerns about Jones’ ball security:
      "No, Randy [Jordan] will take care of that in his room, that's for sure [laughter]."

      On if the former members of the Redskins currently in Atlanta factor into the game plan:
      "It doesn't factor into it at all really. There's some carryover. The good thing is what we've done offensively and we've kept from the Shanahan era. We've kept some terminology, we've kept some scheme things that we're doing here so they’ve gone against some of the similar bootlegs and some of the similar running game schemes all throughout training camp. That's probably where it stops. As far as knowing when they're going to call it and how they're going to call it is two different things. Kyle [Shanahan] does an excellent job of mixing it up with the run and the pass and taking shots. But, other than the fact that we're a little bit similar in how we approach things offensively, it stops there really."

      On where he has seen the most improvement from QB Kirk Cousins:
      "Poise and confidence, really. I think poise mostly. I think his ability to go back and scan the field and go to his first, second and third progression, throw the ball away when he has to, overcoming a bad series or a bad game is what we are hoping to see him continue to progress with."

      On upon what Cousins can improve:
      “I just need to see is him continue to get better. That's all. The more he sees at quarterback, the better he's going to get. It's a firm belief that repetition is king. The more reps he's going to get, quarterbacks are either going to take the next step or they're not and we want to make sure he continues taking positive steps towards getting better and doing what we think he can do."

      On if Spencer Long has secured the starting spot at left guard:
      “Yeah, he played a good game. He really did. We have competition. Arie [Kouandjio] is actually practicing very well also. Those two guys are good, solid offensive guards for us. But Spencer is right now the starting left guard. We’ll go from there. It’s his job to keep it and I have every intent that he will.”

      On to what he attributes to LB Ryan Kerrigan's missed sacks last week:
      “I don’t know. I think he’s still pretty effective in the running game and I still think he is playing very good at the position that he’s playing — outside backer and the defensive end in nickel. He hasn’t gotten the numbers that some other guys have around the league but I think he’s got the disruption and that’s half the battle as far as making the quarterback step up. Making the quarterback feel the rush is important, making him feel like he’s got to get it out, without having to hold the ball. I promise you that Ryan wants more and we want more from Ryan. But to say that he’s disappointing is not the case. We’re absolutely happy with the effort that he plays with and what he brings to our football team, which is a lot.”

      On coaching the team on how to win following a victory:
      “Yeah, we do have to learn how to win, have to play after a win. We’ve only had back-to-back wins once since I’ve been here. We beat Dallas on a Monday night. That was a back-to-back win for us. After that, we beat St. Louis, we laid an egg against the Giants. So, it’s sometimes equally as important to coach your team after a win than after a loss. After a loss, everybody is eager to get back on the field and they’re ticked off and they want to compete again. After a win, sometimes, ‘Ah, we don’t need to do this, we don’t need to do this, we’re good.’ But I don’t think our locker room is like that. I feel like we had a good day at practice today. We’re all working hard. We know we’re 2-2. We’re tied for first in our division. We’re playing against an excellent 4-0 football team. I think they’re ready to continue to show that we’re getting better.”

      Quarterback Kirk Cousins

      On the growth he has seen in himself since the last time he played the Falcons:
      “I’ve seen a lot of growth. I feel like I’m a much improved player. Every week is a new week. You certainly try and draw on past experiences to help make you that much better going into the next experience but at the same time you’ve got to prove yourself each and every week.”

      On what stood out from that game:
      “Well, I’m glad I had the experience. I think the fact that I’ve played there before and have been there, that familiarity I think can only help. I remember it was a game where we were able to move the football. There were certainly some plays you wanted back like in any game. It came down to the final drive, the final play and we came up short. It was a tough loss, one that was frustrating. We felt like we left some plays out there. It was a great game and hopefully we can do a lot of good things on offense this week as well."

      On the deep passes to Rashad Ross and Jamison Crowder:
      “Explosive plays are very critical to winning football games, so any time we can get big plays in the run game or the pass game it’s going to make a big difference in our ability to get wins. That’s always going to be a point of emphasis. We need guys who can go down the field or who can make the tough catch or who can turn a shorter completion into a big gain. When you have to go down the field, although we’ve been able to have good time of possession and have some long drives with a lot of plays, when you can score quickly and be explosive, it goes a long ways towards winning football games.”

      On his time with Falcons Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan:
      “I came in and I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I was pretty clueless. I felt like I was fortunate enough to have great coaches in Coach [Mike] Shanahan, Kyle, Matt LaFleur who were able to help develop me, develop me quickly and get me ready for what is a very challenging league. I will always be grateful for the way they were able to develop me and the way they believed in me. It’s been good to see them have success elsewhere. It’ll be a good challenge this week.”

      On what Shanahan did to help him learn:
      “Well, it was everything from spending a lot of time watching cut-ups to going out and drilling, whether it was very basic drills or team drills. I always felt like Matt LaFleur, who is the QB coach now in Atlanta, did a great job of just spending time with me, staying after practice, working hard to make sure that I was as prepared as I could possibly be. Sometimes I wonder at other places if rookies, especially rookie quarterbacks who are third or fourth string guys, can get forgotten about a little bit. I felt like when I came in as a rookie I was given a lot of attention and time and energy and was really developed quickly as a result of the focus they put on me and on Robert [Griffin III].”

      On balancing time of possession and scoring points:
      “I think it’s important to score points, so whether you get them quickly or whether you get them on a long 15-play drive that eats the clock, you’ve got to come away with points. I would agree with you that too many times we probably haven’t come away with touchdowns when we need to in the red zone. That will be a point of emphasis going forward – how can we get six instead of three? Certainly time of possession is important. When your defense isn’t out there and exhausting themselves, it can make a difference in their ability to be productive when they are out there.”

      On what has been the biggest difference on third downs this season:
      “I think it is a combination of things, I don’t think there is one area that stands out. I do believe another year in the system, familiarity with the concepts. I’ve always believed that you get what you emphasize and I think our coaches went back and looked at last year and said ‘we need to be better on third down, lets emphasize that.’ So staring in April when we came back it was a point of emphasis. When you work on something enough and emphasize it, you get the results. I think that’s happened with third downs but it’s still early, we want to be able to continue this as we now go into the second quarter of the season, if you will. Make sure that it can continue.

      On what has changed when it comes to practicing third downs:
      “I think it’s detailing concepts, being more familiar with what’s being called, really owning the plays. Making sure that when calls come in and we’re in a situation of third down every one - offensive line, receivers, running backs, quarterbacks – knows exactly what to do. There’s never coming back and saying ‘Oh I thought I was supposed to do this, I was confused as to how to handle that.’ That we can really own and detail our work.”

      On the details they want to take care of to be able to communicate properly on the road:
      “You detail your snap count. You detail your communication in the huddle. You detail the play clock. Making sure that when the play call comes in you just have all the words right and make sure communication is as strong as it can be. As long as everyone is on the same page and has good preparation with practicing with noise this week I think it’s something that we will be ready to handle."

      On if there are times in the huddle where it is hard for his teammates to hear the play call:
      “Yeah, there are times in the huddle and the line of scrimmage where I am literally yelling as loud as I possibly can. That’s part of playing football and quarterback in the NFL.”

      On how his usage of hard counts and pump fakes has evolved:
      “I think it’s something that comes with time. When you first get into the league there are layers of learning. You can’t be detailing your snap count if you don’t even know the play. You’ve got to handle first things first. That’s one of the points where I make, when you have continuity, when you have experience in a system, you can go to the next layer. It ends up being the difference between winning and losing a lot of times in games because of the parity of talent within the league. So it’s so important to have that continuity where you can build another layer each year, each offseason and expand upon what you’ve learned. That’s where experience and playing and learning things, whether it goes good or badly for you, having that experience makes a difference. Whether it is the snap count or progressing in your reads, movement in the pocket, all of that stuff improves when you go out there and play and learn from what needs to be done better."

      On how young players stepping up makes his job easier:
      “I’ve always felt like as quarterback I’m just a distributor. As a result I’m as good as the guys around me. If I’ve got great time to throw and guys are getting open and making plays, I’m going to look good. I certainly feel like I’ve just had great production around me this year. I feel like our offensive line has played really well both in the run game and the pass game. I feel like the receivers have done an outstanding job and the running backs as well. As a result it makes my job that much easier. I hope that we have depth all season long and hopefully as we get DeSean [Jackson] back and other things like that. Guys stay healthy and the more weapons we have, the better a distributor I can be the more games we will be able to win.”

      On what each running back brings to the team;
      “I feel like we try to look at the differences, they are probably more similar than they are different. They all run hard. They’re all smart guys. They’re all great teammates. They can all catch the ball. They can all pass protect. They really have more in common than they do differences. They are all from Florida from what I understand. So there you go, there’s another similarity. They’re all good football players, guys I want in the huddle with me. I’ve always felt like Chris Thompson, who has come on in the last couple weeks, I’ve always felt like he could play. It was a matter of getting out there and showing it. I’ve said to him time and again, we need to get him the football more. We put him in there on third down and he has to stick his face on linebackers and pass protect. He can be pretty good in the passing game, so, it’s my job to make sure he can get the football and show people what he can do once the ball is in his hands. Alfred [Morris] had a catch last week, Matt Jones certainly can do that as well. I’m excited about whoever is in there at running back. More than anything you want a guy who goes in there and he’s a pro and he details his work. You know that when you call the play you can count on him to do his job. All three of those guys do their job at a high level and that’s what comforts me.”

      Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn

      On the key to installing his style of football:
      “Well, I think coming into the offseason we really were just trying to say, ‘Can we have the best offseason you’ve ever had?’ New schemes for players, here’s a couple technique things we think you can improve upon. That was kind of the challenge that we issued to all of the players and to all the coaches as well. Can we just have the best camp we’ve ever had? One of the things I was hoping would jump off on tape was just the effort in terms of guys coming off the ball on both sides of the line of scrimmage. I was hoping the toughness would show up on tape and our ability to finish. Those were kind of three of the things we were hoping to get accomplished in our style, our effort, our toughness and our finish and having that be demonstrated as often as we could.”

      On having Kyle Shanahan, Raheem Morris and other former members of the Redskins in Atlanta:
      “No doubt, we definitely have a bunch. Chris Morgan, Mike McDaniel, we definitely have a big crew, Chris Chester, a couple guys, Bobby Turner. So, yeah, definitely some familiarity. Why don’t we deal with Kyle first. Just the detail that he has in the game planning, the detail that he goes into in how to attack, that’s one of the things that I’ve been most impressed about. I know the system and what he has done has been hard to defend through the years – the pass game, the keepers, the run game. We’re just trying like crazy to have a really balanced attack that’s tough as can be. Raheem for me has brought a lot of stuff. Not just the help that he adds on defense from the pass game but also a guy that has been a former head coach and understands some of the challenges that goes on, so he’s been a terrific help to me moving forward as well. He and I have a long history together. He was actually playing at Hofstra when I was coaching there, so I’ve known Rah for years and he is doing a great job."

      On how his relationship with Shanahan developed:
      “Like a lot of relationships, we had mutual friends. That’s how we first kind of got connected. It might have been through Raheem from years ago, maybe all the way back from when he was at Tampa. Through the years, you just have this respect of a style and I thought, ‘All right, if I ever had a chance to get going, I’d like to do it in a system that he does where you can feature the run game, where he knows how to use the players in their best capabilities and then having the ability for him to have all the different routes and the keepers that come off of it.’ And I thought it’d be a great fit for both of us. So I tried to explain to him that we were going to run a style defensively that I was familiar with and give him the freedom and creativity to do his thing on offense. I think that’s probably why he and I have been such a good fit together.”

      On what he has seen from Redskins QB Kirk Cousins:
      “I think one of the things that jumps out to me is the accuracy. I’m not sure but I think it’s close to 70 percent in terms of the decisions, and that’s not all just quick game, so it’s the shots down the field, the quick game, the keepers that come out of it. I thought just from a guy who has real knowledge of where to go with the ball, the decisions to make with it, those are things that probably jumped out to me the most.”

      On WR Leonard Hankerson:
      “Every once in a while you get a chance to take a shot on somebody that has maybe been banged up. I thought that was totally worth it with Hank here. I think it’s the catching radius that he has. There could be a ball that’s way up high, he can go up to get it, or it's out of bounds and he has the length to extend to go get it. He’s been a real factor for us on third down as well. He’s off to a great start with us. He worked extremely hard to come back, as you guys know, from all the injuries. He’s just off to a terrific start with us. He’s gained the respect of the people here by the style and the attitude that he plays with.”

      On the challenges of coaching a team that was perceived as underachieving last year:
      “I really just tried to stay exactly true to the style that we wanted to play with. When I came here I just wanted to partner up with Thomas Dimitroff and do it in a style together. We didn’t spend a lot of time talking about what had been. We just really spent the most time that we could on, ‘This is the style and the attitude that we want to play with.’ That’s really where I geared my attention of moving forward. I looked at obviously all the players that we had and how we could best feature them. Honestly, it was just full steam ahead in terms of the style and the attitude that we wanted to play with."

      On why the Redskins have been so effective on third downs on both sides of the ball:
      “I think from the offensive side first, I don’t know where they’re at numbers-wise, but it certainly doesn't seem like there’s tons of third-and-longs. So there’s a lot of third-and-two, three, four, five and six. I think anytime you’re in those neighborhoods, the odds are going to be so with you. I think the run game has been a real factor. I’ve got tons of respect for Bill Callahan and the job that he’s done through the years. I’ve coached against him for years and I’ve coached with him. Somebody that I regard highly. Defensively, we just know the style that Joe Barry is going to bring – the toughness, the attitude that goes along with it. When you see the guys play and you see how hard they’re playing, it’s no surprise that third down they’ve been playing really well.”

      On if any Redskins rookies have caught his eye:
      “Well, a number of them have, I’ll kind of talk a little bit about each of them. [Brandon] Scherff, just inside you feel the toughness, you feel the quickness that he has off the ball. When you’re trying to identify, ‘OK, here are some ways, whether it’s in pass protection, that he may have got beat,’ there’s just not many pictures of those there. That’s a pretty good sign for a young guy who is coming in where his technique and detail is already down. You know, he came from a spot that has the tradition of really good offensive linemen and then to be partnered up there with Bill I thought was a pretty unique spot. Matt [Jones] I had a chance to know. I actually worked at Florida when Matt was there. So I know the competitor that he is and for those of us that know him we’re thrilled that he’s off to a great start. Lastly with [Jamison] Crowder, somebody that we looked at really hard in the draft and had a lot of respect for, not just from the production but what he did with it after the catch and then his return ability. I think it’s no surprise that the guys they selected are playing so well.”

      On what attracted the Falcons to LB Vic Beasley:
      “I think it was the pass rush ability. It was more than just the speed. He put I think it was back-to-back-to-back years of multiple sacks. It was that ability to finish that we were really looking for in a rusher. We know we wanted to add more speed to the team so he has that. Then we’re teaching him and he’s developing really well in terms of the finish of the pass rush. You guys have got some good pass rushers yourselves, so you know part of it is not just the first move but it’s the finish that really sets you apart. I think that’s the spot that he’s making the most progress in. So after the first four games, lots of stuff to improve on but the mindset and the attitude is there for sure."

      On how tough if it is to defend WR Julio Jones when he moves around formations so much:
      “I think that speaks to the volume of how bright Julio is. He’s got a terrific football mind. He can play outside, he can play inside. I think it’s unique the relationship with he and Kyle that, ‘OK, we’re going to move you all over the place.’ He studies and works at it hard enough to know, 'Hey, wherever I’ve got to go, I’m going to be inside, I’ll be outside, I’ll be on the left, I’ll be on the right.’ He’s just that type of guy. I love the attitude and style. You guys don’t get a chance to see him practice, but the OTAs, the training camp, the practices during the week, he makes everybody better just by how hard he goes. I love that part of his game.”

      On both teams’ success in time of possession and what he focuses on as a result:
      “I think usually for us it comes down to the ball in terms of making great decisions offensively and then defensively all the shots and the opportunities that we go after to go get it. It’s really the area of emphasis that we talk about every week, not just specific to a game that has two offenses that really know how to take care of it. That’s it for us, it’s about the ball. So if we can take care of it and really guard it offensively and go after it like crazy defensively to keep giving the offense the opportunities, that’s when we’re at our best.”

      On if it changes when playing a team that holds the ball 36 minutes per game:
      “Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. If you can disrupt some of those drives with a turnover, that’s where the real change occurs."

      On what he asked Shanahan about his previous experiences:
      “Well, I did get a chance to talk to him about his past and the experiences he had, and all of those experiences help us grow, myself included. The times that I’ve spent back in college, back in Seattle, what did we learn from experiences as we go through. And I think for him he totally has learned from ones to say, 'OK, how can I do this better or this different.’ He’s such a unique guy and I thought for both of us to partner up together where he could use his creativity on the offensive side where I wasn’t going to be over the top and trying to say ‘Let’s do this or let’s do that.’ I thought that would be a unique spot for him. It was more just that I stressed the opportunity that we would have together not as much about what he had done in the past.”

      On what he has learned about being a head coach:
      “No doubt, I don’t know if we have enough time to cover it all. What I can tell you is that the things I knew I had to spend a lot of time on were clock management and managing some of the game scenarios. With my defensive background, that was one of the things I went through in the offseason as hard as I could to help prepare so I could be at my best for the team as well. We just want to be known as a great finishing team, so we spent a lot of time working two-minute at the half, two-minute at the game, the end of the game scenarios or end of the half scenarios so we can just be at our best. Early on I knew I had some good advice to say, ‘Hey, make sure you stay true to your own style and be yourself,’ so I tried to listen to that advice in all the opportunities that I’ve gotten. Just make sure it comes across in my own style and doing things in my own way without trying to think, ‘This is how it ought to be done. This is what I ought to say.’ I’d rather do it my own way.”

      On if he has taken things from each of his previous stops:
      “I definitely have. I’ve been really, really fortunate in that way. I first started in the league with Steve Mariucci, who – for you guys that known Mooch – has got an electric personality and can connect with just about everybody. I went to the Miami Dolphins and I learned under Nick Saban a great deal. It was like going into a football lab – all the scheme, all the X’s and O’s. I wouldn’t trade my time with him for anything. I grew as a coach tremendously. And then after that I went and spent two years with Eric Mangini, and then out with Coach [Pete] Carroll in Seattle. So I think all those experiences, I’ve learned that ‘OK, what are the things that connected with me the most?’ Developing my own philosophy, which was probably the No. 1 thing that came out of those experiences, was ‘OK, if you’re going to do it, how would it come across?’”

      Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Matt Ryan

      On to what he attributes the Falcons ‘hot start’:
      “You know, I think early on, the first couple of weeks, we’ve had to finish games really well. That’s kind of one of the things that has been the reason we’ve been successful. All sides of the ball – offense, defense and special teams – we’ve found ways to get it done in the fourth quarter. And then, this past week, it was a little different than the first three weeks, but I really liked the way that we finished games and we need to continue that in order to be successful moving forward.”

      On Falcons Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s impact:
      “It’s been great working with Kyle. You know, obviously, he’s a guy I had a lot of respect for before just having watched him play and having gone against him. You know, obviously, knew he was very good in terms of getting the run game going and being creative. I’ve learned a lot from him in a short amount of time. I think he’s done a great job through the first four weeks of the season.”

      On what he has learned about the offense from Shanahan:
      “I think, certainly, the run game has been really different from what I’ve done in the past. You know, just trying to get as up to speed as I can in a short amount of time, in terms of the checks, in terms of how we want to operate, getting us into the right look. I think that’s probably been the biggest difference. In the pass game, there has been similar stuff to what we have done in the past, so I think that part’s been a little bit easier. But I’ve certainly learned a lot and continue to learn every day that I come into the facility.”

      On if Shanahan is more hands-on with him than Falcons Quarterbacks Coach Matt LaFleur:
      “Yeah, no, I think it’s a combination of both. I think Kyle and Matt have been great to work with. Both of those guys, as you well know, do a great job. But, Kyle is very involved in the quarterback room and Matt has cut-ups and all those kinds of things and helps us a ton, but Kyle is very involved.”

      On if Shanahan does things differently than other coordinators he’s been around:
      “Sure. I think every coordinator is different. Obviously, the third coordinator that I’ve played for. I started with Mike Mularkey and then Dirk Koetter and now Kyle Shanahan, and so everyone’s different. What they believed in is a little bit different. You know, I’ve learned a lot from all three of them and I certainly feel like I’m a better playing having played for all three of them.”

      On when he got a sense that Falcons WR Leonard Hankerson would have the role that he has now:
      “I think Hank has done a great job. He is a guy that’s been super professional every day that he’s showed up. I mean, he works really hard. He’s a guy that’s helped other guys because of his experience within the system and that’s been beneficial for us. But early on, I knew Hank was going to be a solid player for us because he showcased it during OTAs and during training camp. I mean, he made a lot of plays during that time. I think it’s translated into early success for him this season, so I knew kind of right when we got him here and had a chance to work with him just a little bit, I knew he was going to help us out.”

      On maintaining offensive balance and resisting the urge to go deep:
      "That's one of those things you’ve got to strike the balance as an offense. You know, we want to play aggressive all the time, but that doesn't always mean just throwing it deep every time too. So, I think we'll have a great game plan. We've got a lot of work to do this week, but it'll be important for us to really execute our game plan at a high level. Whether that be taking shots down the field or running the football or throwing outside quick, whatever it is we feel like we need to do, I think we'll do that."

      On the Redskins' third down defense:
      "I really think their pass rush has done a great job. I think they have got something like nine sacks on the year and a lot of it is from internal push. They play relentless up front. It's sacks that they just collapse the pocket really well and that's one of those things we’re going to have to be ready for."

      On how the Redskins make things difficult for quarterbacks on third down:
      "Obviously when there is not a great pocket, it's tough to convert in the passing game and I think that's one of the reasons they've been successful."

      On former Redskins G Chris Chester:
      "Chris has been awesome. He's a guy that has played for a long time, has had a lot of success. He's a guy that knows the system inside-and-out and has really helped the other guys on the offensive line and myself in terms of pass protection. I'm fired up we have him here. He's done a great job the first four weeks and he's been a great teammate."

      On being able to get WR Julio Jones the ball despite the attention he receives from defenses:
      "Even when he gets double covered, he's able to get open. But, I think Kyle has done a great job of moving him around to different spots and making it a little bit more difficult for defenses to key on where he's going to be. I think that's one of the reasons he has continued to be successful."

      On if there is a way to stop Jones:
      "He's a great player. He really is. He's a great player and he's so consistent week-to-week. He's so unselfish too. When guys around him are making plays, he's just as fired up. They have to account for where he's at. Whether or not you can stop him, we always feel like he's going to make plays for us."

      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
      This article was originally published in forum thread: Skins Quotes 10/7/15: Gruden, Cousins, Quinn, Ryan started by Boone View original post
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