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    • Skins Quotes 11/4/15: Gruden, Cousins, Belichick

      Head Coach Jay Gruden

      Opening statement:
      “Did not participate today was [Bashaud] Breeland, hamstring; [Kory] Lichtensteiger, neck; [Jason] Hatcher, rest day/knee; [Anthony] McCoy was personal. Limited participation was DeSean [Jackson]; [Ryan] Kerrigan with his hand, he will see the doctor probably tomorrow; D-Hall, toe; [Chris] Culliver, knee.”

      On if he’s hopeful CB Chris Culliver will return:
      “I’m hopeful. I’m always hopeful. So we’ll see. He looked good out there, man. He wore his cool outfit and had a good day of practice for when he did practice. We’ll just have to see how he feels tomorrow when he practices a full day on it. He’ll do more tomorrow I hope and we’ll go from there.”

      On if he regrets playing Culliver against Philadelphia:
      “I think playing in that Eagle game, I don’t think it made it worse. I just think he realized that it wasn’t 100 percent when he had to turn and run on it a couple times and he felt it. He didn’t feel like himself. I think he just wanted to get back to 100 percent. He felt like he didn’t play his best game, didn’t feel right. So we’re trying to get him back to 100 percent where he has the pain not there anymore. I think he’s getting better. He’s done everything he can to get better. He’s done everything with the trainers; treatment, been on time, done everything right. He’s got a positive mindset, just a matter of going out here and practicing and then seeing how it feels after practice and the next day and the next day. We’re confident about it, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

      On if Culliver’s competitive nature at practice today can be attributed to playing the Patriots:
      “No, that’s just Chris. We missed him out there, that’s the way he is. He brings a competitive fire to practice and it rubs off on everybody. You need that at practice, especially against the team that we’re getting ready to play. He’s got a great competitive spirit about him and when he’s out there he plays hard. It’s good to have him back out there as a welcomed addition to practice for the limited time he was out there.”

      On CB DeAngelo Hall’s toe:
      “That’s the whole thing about it is what they have to do as far as backpedal, planting and driving. It’s probably the worst position to have that type of injury. That’s going to be totally his call – how he feels, how much he feels like he’s in pain and how much he can play with it. That’s going to be up to him ultimately. We’ll just have to wait and see. He did some things out there today a little bit that gave us reason for hope. I think he’s still playing with a little bit of pain.”

      On C Kory Lichtensteiger’s strength:
      “He’s at 61 [percent] right now [laughter]. I came up with that number. Nobody knows where I came up with that number, somebody gave me that number. I don’t know where he’s at exactly. He’s working really hard, this is a sensitive issue that he has right now. It’s something that he’s doing everything he can to get his strength back but it’s just not quite there yet. Just a matter of determining how much can he play with the lack of it. That’s something will have to decide later on. I don’t know if he’ll be full strength or not. We’ll have to wait and see. I think there’s a chance he can get there but this thing takes some time. We just don’t know how long because it’s new to a lot of people.”

      On the challenge of defending TE Rob Gronkowski with all of the Patriots’ other targets:
      “That is a great challenge. You take away Gronkowski, great. Then who is on [Julian] Edelman? He’ll be one-on-one. Dion Lewis has proven to be a force out of the backfield. Obviously [Danny] Amendola is a heck of a player. They have got positive matchups all across the board. Tom [Brady] does an excellent job of finding the singles. He feels confident that those who are singled will win and they have been winning for him. It’s a great challenge. I think you just have to try and mix up the looks. Whether you play man-to-man, double somebody, you have to change up your intent, have good disguises. Ultimately it comes down to pass rush. You have to get after them. Whether it’s a four-man rush, three-man rush, five-man rush– whatever it is -- but if you’re vanilla against him, he will make it a long afternoon.”

      On DL Chris Baker’s growth:
      “I think he’s been our most disruptive lineman, which is good. He’s been good in the pass rush, and obviously in the run game he gets great penetration. The great challenge for him is can he do it on a consistent basis? I tell all our guys, you take one play off against these guys, man, and you’ll be trying to get ready to block the extra point. It’s going to be a matter of getting these guys consistently coming out of their stances with great pad level, getting after the quarterback, getting off blocks. Chris has done an outstanding job of that so far. We need it more consistent to move forward.”

      On today’s practice:
      “They had a good day today. Great weather out there, number one. I think guys came in and paid attention in meetings, listened to the things that we’re doing, our game plan. We’ll add more to it tomorrow obviously. I think they’re focused and ready to go.”

      On if LB Ryan Kerrigan could play and be effective Sunday:
      “Yeah, that’s what we’ll have to figure out. He’ll see the doctor today. He’ll get it casted up or whatever he’s going to do for game day tomorrow, see how he can practice and see how he feels with the pain and if he’s effective using that hand. I think him at 90 percent is probably pretty good. We’ll hope that he can figure out a way to get it played. But if not Preston [Smith], obviously Trent [Murphy], [Jackson] Jeffcoat, they’ll have to step up.”

      On how he would evaluate the coaching staff’s success in game management this year:
      “Well, that would be me evaluating myself, so I feel pretty good about that evaluation [laughter]. You’re right, I am always aware of those game situations. Those are very important. Delay of games, how many penalties your team has, how you are using your timeouts… Obviously clock management at the end of games is very important. Luckily for us we haven’t run into things where I’ve felt like I’ve cost the team a game. That’s what you’re always trying – to give your team a chance to win a football game late. We’ve had that opportunity, so, so far so good. That’s a great challenge every week though – clock management, managing timeouts, replays. One-for-one this year which is pretty impressive. We’re always looking for improvement, no matter where we are.”

      On the importance of getting the running game going this week:
      “It’s important every week, really. We’ve had the issues in the secondary with the injuries and all that stuff, but you always want to try to run the ball. We just haven’t had success the last three weeks. It is a goal for us and a major emphasis for us going into each game plan. Like I said, the Jets did an outstanding job of taking away the run with their fronts and their big guys up front. Last week we just couldn’t get much going. We had to come from behind so we didn’t get the running game going. I think this year the intent going into every game plan is to have a good, solid running game package, something we can rely on and use late in the game to wear down opponents and keep our defense fresh.”

      On how difficult it is to practice tackling:
      “Yeah, it’s hard. Fundamentals are great, man, but there are some great running backs and wide receivers that are making you miss sometimes in the hole. Doug Martin is a heck of a running back. Chris Ivory has obviously proven that he’s one of the top running backs in the league. Each week, [Devonta] Freeman is obviously an up and coming running back who does a lot of good things in the hole. This week is no different. They have obviously Blount, who is a big, massive man, and Dion Lewis, who is a very good, elusive back. But getting in position, breaking down and making fundamental tackles are important or at least giving your other guys time to come to the party. So it’s not so much about the one guy missing the tackle, it’s maybe the pursuit angles aren’t as good by the other guy. So there’s a lot of things we can clean up that we work on, but for the most part, I like our effort, our pursuit, all that stuff. But there are things that every coach in the league will think they can clean up defensively as far as tackling and fundamentals, and we always work on it.”

      On balancing when to pressure Brady:
      “That’s why he’s the best is because he has a clock in his head. He knows when you’re bringing too many, he gets rid of it quick. If you’re only bringing three, he’ll wait for his guys to get open and uncover. He does a great job of pocket awareness, knowing where his guys are, knowing how much time he exactly has in the pocket, and he gets rid of the ball. It’s a great challenge. I think the big thing is when he does get rid of the ball, we have to be sound tacklers and we have to figure out some way to force some turnovers. He’s not going to throw it to us, I wouldn’t think. I think it’s going to be important to get our hands on some balls somehow. When he does throw it and they catch it, we’ve got to make sure we rally and make some hard tackles and try to get the ball out.”

      On if Gronkowski has changed how tight ends are used around the league:
      “Well, he has. You can see the difference with us with Jordan Reed just how more effective our offense is when he’s in the game because of the matchup problems and the ability to run the ball with a big guy like that. Certain guys have tight ends that are great, athletic guys who can catch but they aren’t as good in the core. Gronk is the best because he’s excellent obviously in the pass routes – big, strong guy after the catch – but he’s also good blocking. That combination of being a good blocker and a great pass receiver and can split outside and win one-on-one matchups is a special quality to have at tight end. That’s why he’s the best. It’s a nightmare for a defense to have to deal with, but we’re going to deal with it. We’re going to have somebody out there on him. We’re going to cover him and he’s going to have to make a great catch. If he does, he does, but we’re going to compete against him, go for the ball and play.”

      On his expectations for QB Kirk Cousins this week:
      “Progress, preparation, that’s all that we can do, man, is control what we can control. He can control his progress, how he prepares for this game and his preparation. He’s had a good day so far. He’ll have a good day tomorrow. He’ll get ready, get himself ready to go and then we’ll call a game and go. See what happens. I expect him to be poised, just a little bit more poised every week. Get a little bit better every week with his decision making and play.”

      On if practicing with the Patriots in training camp last year can help with preparation:
      “Well, yeah, I mean a little bit. They’re very similar in how they play defense, their attacking style of defense, and of course watching Tom Brady operate first-hand in the team periods and two-minute and all that stuff. It was entertaining, to say the least [laughter]. So we learned a lot for the guys that were here; a lot of guys weren’t here though. But we did learn a lot with the tempo, the aggressive style that they play with on defense and how well-coached they are.”

      Quarterback Kirk Cousins

      On if the bye week came at a perfect time to help get injured players healthy:
      “Yeah, it helps to get guys healthy. It’s an important part and I don’t know if it came at a perfect time or not. I think it definitely was helpful to have. It will be important to not only get these guys healthy but then to keep them healthy and keep them on the field. That will always be the challenge as we go for these last nine weeks.”

      On his rapport with WR DeSean Jackson and what they can accomplish before Sunday:
      “I think we can get a lot done. I think in a perfect world you would have had 10 years working with a guy. We haven’t had that luxury but at the same time we have been able to work through last season. This is now year two having him on the team with us. I think we have much more experience than maybe we had last year, and that’s a positive. We did a lot of good things last year with him on the field. We do need to continue to build that rapport but we’ll do the best we can with the time we have. At the end of the day he’s a great talent and that will help a lot.”

      On what the Patriots’ defense does well:
      “I think it starts with the fact that they’re really well-coached. You can tell that they’re disciplined, they’re smart. A big part of playing at this level is intelligence and experience, knowing what to do and playing fast. I see their ability to do that. That goes a long ways. I think they lead the NFL in sacks so they do have a great pass rush. Chandler Jones, I think, is the sack leader in the NFL. So I’m sure he’s going to be a name that if people don’t know him now they will soon. They do have some very dynamic players.”

      On if Jackson’s presence opens up space on intermediate routes:
      “I don’t think it’s a drastic difference. I think teams are still going to play their coverages and play them honestly. I think in one-on-one, man-on-man coverage, man-to-man coverage, that sometimes how somebody gets defended will be influenced by the threat they may pose vertically or in different ways. It’s probably not so much the safeties as it is the individual coverage. Certainly safeties, based on what the coach wants to do, can be told to play over top somebody or to have an eye on that guy more often. That varies week-to-week in the coaches’ opinion.”

      On studying Patriots QB Tom Brady:
      “I think he’s the GOAT – he’s the greatest of all time. He’s done it for a reason. I have really only talked to him once but I did tell him the one time I talked to him, ‘I study you, you do it at the highest level.’ So he’s kind of set the standard for all of us to follow. It’s a high standard to meet. That’s the goal, certainly, every year, every offseason, to work and to prepare to try and play at the level he does week-in and week-out.”

      On how the game plan changes with Jackson in the lineup:
      “It’s a great help to have another weapon. We do feel like we’ve had a lot of play makers in Jordan [Reed], Pierre [Garçon], [Jamison] Crowder, Andre [Roberts] and Derek Carrier. The list goes on and on – the tailbacks we have. Adding DeSean does bring another element, another piece to the puzzle, another guy you’ve got to cover. As a quarterback you want options and that’s what he gives us.”

      On winning NFC Offensive Player of the Week and if ‘he liked that’:
      “The player of the week [award] was great. I mean, it’s better than not getting it, I guess. It wasn’t like we threw a party or anything. Cool honor and hopefully we can bring more of those. Hopefully guys on our offense can make plays like that so we can continue to have awards like that come our way to this team. Yeah, the whole, ‘You like that’ thing has been really funny. It’s amazing, it’s just a lesson in how fast things can take off with social media and the world we live in today. So it was a cool way to capitalize on it and bring some awareness to a charity that I’ve been involved with. We’ve been trying to think of ways we can bring awareness to them and then this one kind of fell in our lap. IJM is a great charity that’s done a lot of good and it’s good to get them on the map.”

      On the reaction to his fire in the ‘You like that’ video:
      “What’s consistent is that I have continued to stay out of the loop, so I don’t know the reaction. I just was told that this is getting a lot of traffic and this opportunity or that opportunity. As far as the reaction, I didn’t know about it. If people don’t know that I play with passion, it’s understandable. They don’t see me every day. I’m a guy who, if anything, has to try to calm myself down and stay relaxed because I do get excited and want to play with passion. I think that can be, when channeled and when used probably, can be a real good piece to bring fire to the team.”

      On how hard it is to balance his emotions:
      “I think the balance, whatever we do, finding that balance is so important. I think that’s a constant learning process as I play to say, ‘OK, where do I operate best?’ It takes experience and time. There’s a level of wanting to bring that fire and that passion because hopefully it can raise the level of play of the guys around you too. Then also you want to stay poised and stay collected, operate like a CEO. It’s a combination of both and that balance I think is what we’re all trying to find, the perfect balance.”

      On CB Chris Culliver and his teammates bringing passion and intensity to practice:
      “You want guys who want to compete and who are excited to be out there, treat every day of practice like a great opportunity and something they’re excited about as opposed to just going out there and going through the motions. I like to see it and love having it. I think that’s something that we definitely encourage and want more of.”

      On if he is able to study other players during a game:
      “I don’t know that during the game I have the time or the freedom to do that. I would say that it is more of an offseason thing, more of a ‘When you get other stuff done at the end of the day, if you want to go put on some film and study some things,’ so probably more of a film and from a distance than live and in person just because of all that we’ve got to handle. Great opportunity to go up against a guy of that caliber.”

      On his evaluation of the team’s game management thus far:
      “That’s a good question. I haven’t looked at where we rank or how many specific penalties, that kind of thing. So I really can’t give you the hard numbers there. We’ve probably taken a few too many delay of games. I think we started off the year with far too many penalties and I think we’ve reigned that back in, which has been a positive. I think overall game management, I think we’ve done a pretty good job in terms of the way we’ve been able to convert third downs and be sharper in the red zone and that kind of a thing. There’s no doubt that there is some room for improvement. That’s something that you want to continue to tighten up and you want to get to the end of the season and feel really good about the unforced errors and that kind of thing. That we were a group that was working as one and very much on the same page and well prepared. That we weren’t beating ourselves, that’s so important.”

      On the mentality of the team despite being underdogs:
      "In all these games, whether we're favored or an underdog or it's too close to call, I think we just go out there and we know the job at hand. No matter who it is in the NFL, you're going to get a really tough challenge. It's going to take your best effort. It's going to take a well-prepared football team to be able to win. When you factor in going on the road, whether it's New England or any other team on the road, it's tough to win. We have to be well-prepared, we have to be focused no matter who it is. Whether it's the defending world champions or any other team, it takes our best effort and we understand that. That's why this league is so tough. You have to be on the details at all times."

      On if the positive feelings associated with the comeback victory have subsided this week:
      "Anytime we can comeback, make sure plays at the end and show some resolve, I think it's going to give us a boost, give us confidence, give our team a sense of belief and identity. Those are all important. But at the same time, every game counts as one. You can only go 1-0. You can't start to forecast wins that are going to then do more for your team going forward. So, I guess time will tell what that win did for us, but now we're focused on New England and getting ready for them. You know, we'll see which direction this season goes from here but it certainly was big win and we need to have more of those going forward."

      On there is pressure on the offense to score against New England:
      "It’ll be very important. We've talked about it this week, as an offense… we can't beat ourselves. If you try to beat yourselves and the Patriots, you're going to be in for a long day. The unforced errors have to be eliminated. That's why the attention to detail and the preparation has to be so sharp. We need to be that locked in on Sunday. You can't turn the football over. We have to stay on the field and move the chains, all that. So, is it important to not beat ourselves? Yes and then also like you said, we also can't force it. We can't press too much. We can't put too much pressure on ourselves and that goes back to the balance thing of finding that right balance of not asking too much of yourself but also knowing that we've got a job to do and we need to be effective."

      PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
      CONFERENCE CALL WITH WASHINGTON MEDIA
      November 4, 2015

      Q: Does anything Tom Brady does anymore surprise you?

      BB: You know, Tom's been very consistent. He works hard, prepares hard, takes care of himself, spends a lot of extra time doing things for recovery and training and so forth. He’s always been pretty good like that, been very consistent every day, all year long. He’s been a model of consistency that way.

      Q: Is there anything that Tom Brady does now that’s better than he did several years ago?

      BB: I think everybody improves every year. You learn things, you go through experiences, and you learn the things that … There’s always something that’s a little bit new or a little bit different in every game and every week of preparation and so forth. I think we're always learning. I’m sure he is, too. Tom’s very astute. He studies hard. He pays attention to details and the game is always changing and evolving. Situations come up and sometimes the rules are a little bit different or the situation is a little bit different than another one that’s similar to it and it requires some type of adjustment or change, so yeah, I think he always works hard to stay on top of it.

      Q: Do you still some strength in the Redskins running game despite them struggling the past few weeks?

      BB: Yeah, absolutely. They have great backs. Coach [Bill] Callahan and Coach [Jay] Gruden have a long history of a lot of success in the running game scheme-wise, and techniques, so I think they do a great job of that and it’s very, very challenging. They have good zone plays, good scheme plays, good backs, good blockers on the edge, good blockers inside. Their passing game complements their running game with the play action so it’s a lot to stop. If you’re stopping one run you may not be stopping the complementary run or you’re not stopping the play action that goes with it and then they end up hurting you on that. They do a good job. They’re really well coached. They have excellent backs. Those guys make a lot of yards on their own.

      Q: How has the Patriots approach to the draft and developing players helped the team as opposed to building through free agency, and was that a philosophy you've always had dating back to your years as a younger coach?

      BB: Well, I think we're all in the business of developing players. I mean nobody plays forever. You always have to restock your team with talent, plus you have the NFL system that’s set up in such a way that you can’t keep everybody and there’s turnover on every team with free agency and so forth. I think, yeah, that’s always been important, developing players is definitely important. I think in Cleveland prior to free agency you were able to keep players so a lot of times your team pretty much stayed the same from year to year. Trades were infrequent and it was just the developing of the players that you brought in – draft choices, free agents that made your team in the 70’s and 80’s. Over the last couple decades, developing players from Plan B to free agency and with fewer rounds in the draft now – we're not into those 12 round drafts that we had back in ‘91 or ‘92, whatever it was – those undrafted players and just the overall opportunity to work with guys and try to develop them, it’s been important in the NFL. We did a decent job of that in Cleveland with guys like Wally Williams and Orlando Brown and some of those offensive lineman, Bob Dahl, you know, guys like that that went on to have good careers and Pro Bowls and all that that nobody even heard of, Herman Arvie, when they came out of college, and other positions as well but some of those guys in particular. So I'd say yeah that’s always been important. But you can build your roster in a lot of different ways. Every day is an opportunity and some days provide more opportunities than others, like final cut down day when there are hundreds of players available or the draft when you can select from hundreds of players or even after the draft there are a lot of players to be signed. Those opportunities are really there, some more frequent than others, but you're kind of always working to develop and improve your roster. Practice squad positions, those 10 spots are opportunities for that as well, so I think that’s all part of team building.

      Q: What were your conversations like with Jay Gruden during the joint practices last year and how have you seen him develop as a head coach since then?

      BB: Well, that was a really productive week for us. I thought we got a lot done. Coach Gruden and his staff were great to work with. I thought the padded practices were very beneficial for our football team, the competition, the opportunity to play against schemes that were different from ours and obviously compete against good players that we didn't see on the practice field every day. Then they handled us pretty easily in the game. It was never really very competitive. We had a couple red-area stops to kind of keep the score close but we were really never in that game, or not in it for very long. We learned a lot from that, too. I thought it was good to work with him and his staff. They're obviously a well-coached team and a team that is very competitive in every game.

      Q: How do you get a team to improve their tackling and how difficult is that now due to the practice restrictions?

      BB: It's hard to practice it, there's no doubt about that. It's hard to practice it. Whatever the restrictions are, they are. There's nothing we can do about those. You just try and do the best you can to coach everything, whatever the techniques or coaching points are that you need to get across – blocking, tackling, running, catching, throwing, kicking, and so forth. I think it’s something that is a skill that’s probably practiced less at lower levels – high school, college – than it was in previous years or decades maybe. Therefore that's kind of rolled into the next level. And again, the amount of time we have and the amount of opportunities really to do that, sometimes the risk of doing live tackling, there’s definitely a risk to that. You've got to try and balance all that out. I'm sure every team in the league is having the same conversations. How do we improve our tackling, how do we practice it without taking too much risk. I know we've had a lot of those conversations, and like I said, I'm sure every team in the league has had them.

      Q: Where have you seen the most growth from Rob Gronkowski in becoming a complete tight end?

      BB: Well you know, Rob's come a long way. He barely played in college. He didn't play much as a freshman and then rotated a little bit. Then his sophomore year he played a lot and had a good year his sophomore year. Then he was injured and missed his junior year so he basically had one year of college football. He needed everything – needed snaps, needed just to see things, experience them, running game, passing game, pass protection, you name it. And of course tight end, as we all know, is kind of right in the middle of every play. There's no kind of plays off for that position. They have a key block or they're in pass protection or they're in the middle of the pass route somewhere. There's a lot for him or any tight end to experience. I'd say it’s been a cumulative effect for Rob. I don't think there's any one day or one week, but just over time Rob works hard. He trains hard. He practices very hard on the field. He's very competitive. He still gets better every day and there are things that he knows he can improve on and he works hard to do it. I think we've seen a lot of strong components of his game, but he's still working to improve all those on a regular basis.

      Q: What signs do you look for when you are developing a quarterback to make sure he is going in the right direction?

      BB: Well, I think that's a question that, you know, the coach has to answer because only you as a coach, the quarterback coach, the offensive coordinator, the head coach, whoever it is, knows what you're telling the guy to do and what his reads are on certain plays, what he should check to, if he should change a play, if he should stay with it, what his read progression is and so forth. Sometimes there are things that happen on film that if you're just not part of those meetings you don't know if there was a mistake in protection or if a receiver ran the wrong route or if he ran the right route and the quarterback made the wrong read. You just don't know those things unless you're part of it. As I said, the Redskins have a very good and experienced coaching staff. They definitely know what they're doing. It's what we all do. We all try to do that. We try to give the players a plan or system to work in, let them do it, watch them improve, evaluate their performance, but there are a lot of things within that that if you're not really a part of it then it’s hard to tell exactly, particularly at that position, how much the quarterback is right, how much somebody else is right, what are some things that are happening that he can't control and what can he control. There's a subjective evaluation there that's really only the person that's working with them have a good opportunity to make.

      Q: What growth have you seen in Kirk Cousin's game?

      BB: Good, efficient. He's got good quickness in the pocket. He's a hard guy to get back there. He doesn't get sacked very often, gets rid of the ball on time. He does a good job of spreading the ball around, all the receivers and tight ends and backs. They all handle the ball, so he does a good job of utilizing multiple receivers. It's not like he just locks in on one guy all the time, anything like that. He hasn't broken off a lot of long runs, I'm not saying that, but his ability to move and avoid people in the pocket, get the ball out, find receivers, utilize again all the receivers that he has. He's smart. It looks like the plays that they have to audible to and check based on the defensive look, I'd say just looking at it from our side of it, he usually gets the team in a good play. They go away from the strength of the defense and into the weakness where you would expect them to go, things like that. I think all those things, I've been impressed with all those things on film.





      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
      This article was originally published in forum thread: Skins Quotes 11/4/15: Gruden, Cousins, Belichick started by Boone View original post
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