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    2015 BGO Tailgate

    • Skins Quotes 12/8/15: Jay Gruden

      December 8, 2015
      Redskins Park

      Head Coach Jay Gruden

      On if the limited number of carries for RB Alfred Morris were related to a rib injury or a lack of effectiveness:
      “I don’t think it was his ribs, no. I don’t think it had a lot to do with being effective, I just think it’s the way the game played. Like I told you guys before, we don’t really have a specific plan on how many carries we want each guy to get. We try to go with the flow of the game and go from there. It just so happened that Matt Jones had a couple good hits in the game and we chose to play Matt a little bit more than Alfred. But moving forward, Alfred is still our No. 1 back and we’ll go from there.”

      On what he tells the team to make sure it remains resilient:
      “Well, I think there’s a lot to tell our team. There’s a lot of situational things that happened in that game that we have to do better at. There’s a lot of things offensively that we can correct without a doubt. Taking advantage of opportunities that we failed to do, we failed to capitalize on some key opportunities that we had, especially on offense. And then of course finishing the game. We just did a poor job of executing at the end in crucial situations. But I think overall, you look at the makeup of our football team, I love the way they competed. I really do. Our defense really played their tails off. Mason Foster, Will Compton, they played extremely hard up there. The defensive linemen were flying around. The safeties were playing hard. D-Hall had some big hits. It’s just unfortunate we didn’t get it done. But I think there’s still a lot to be positive about, like I said. You can look at it two different ways. You can be negative or you can have a positive outlook. We want to have a positive outlook for these last four games. I think we’ve done a lot in these first 12 games, both good and bad, but we’re in a position where we can be very successful at the end of the year and that’s what we’re looking at.”

      On what determines the rotation at running back:
      “I think it’s game-dependent, series-dependent, play-dependent. A lot of times there’s certain runs that we feel like Alfred [Morris] has more success at than Matt [Jones] and there’s certain runs we feel Matt is better at than Alfred. And some of the runs we had were of the outside variety, and maybe we want a little bit more speed in there and Matt was the choice or Chris Thompson. It’s play-dependent, series-dependent and of course game-dependent, and last night, for whatever reason, Alfred didn’t get as many touches as Matt. We started out with every intention of giving Matt or Alfred the ball. He [Morris] had six carries early, I believe, and we just didn’t get back to him.”

      On if the team had the success he wanted from the tackle-eligible packages:
      “No, not really. We didn’t get what we wanted out of any package in the game, really. We weren’t effective. Anyway, hats off to Coach [Rod] Marinelli and the Cowboy defense. They had a lot of movement up front, brought their nickels from time to time. Their safeties, time to time, were disruptive in the run game and made it hard for us. As far as the ‘Giant’ package we had with [Ty] Nsekhe and [Tom] Compton and Jordan Reed, and then we had a big package with two tight ends and Tom Compton, we had one tight end and Tom Compton, so we had a lot of different packages. None of them were really overly effective. We have to really explore what we want to feature these last four weeks and how to attack defenses. We were kind of hodge-podge last night with the substitutions and the amount of people we had with the tight end injury situation we had. So we didn’t really get in the flow of the game. So nothing was really effective.”

      On the common thread when the team is not capitalizing on takeaways:
      “I think consistency, really, amongst everybody. Unfortunately it’s not one thing that we can pinpoint. It might one time was schematically. We run into a horrible look that you’re not going to get success no matter how you block it. It might be we miss a throw or miss a read or miss a progression. It might be a protection we blow or have a miscommunication on a route concept. There’s a lot of things offensively that we’re not doing from a consistent standpoint that we should be doing by Week 13. We should be better and we just haven’t been for whatever reason, and capitalizing on turnovers is a major, major issue. Last night, the defense put us in great situations to be successful offensively and we didn’t take care of business.”

      On if the offense is fully leveraging wide receiver DeSean Jackson’s explosiveness:
      “Well, I think we had a couple other opportunities to hit him deep , too; we just didn’t throw the ball. You know, no. When we score one touchdown in the football game in four quarters in the amount of opportunities that we had to make big plays and not hit them, yeah, it’s frustrating. But there are also times in the game where he’s not in there, where we’re trying to feature big packages and run the ball and keep our offense where we’re balanced and pound the ball a little bit and let out offensive line come off the ball firing and he’s not a part of some of those running game plays, some of those big packages where we have to block. But when he is out there, he’s a threat on every play. He’s part of every pass pattern that we run whether it’s a short ball or a deep ball. It’s just a matter of sometimes they play safety over the top of them. Sometimes the corners bail and play off of him or somebody is underneath him. Coverage dictates where the ball goes and they did a good job taking him away for the most part.”

      On injuries sustained during the game:
      “I’ll just read the injury report real quick. [DE Jason] Hatcher had a stinger and he’s got an MRI. He also had an ankle sprain. [DE Stephen] Paea had turf toe – plantar plate injury. We think it’s a Grade 2. Jeron Johnson had a hamstring, he’ll be day to day. Chris Thompson had a shoulder sprain. He had an MRI. And Will Compton has a shoulder sprain. And then [Derek] Carrier we expect to take more reps this week.”

      On the severity of LB Will Compton’s injury:
      “I don’t know. I’m sure it’s going to give him some kind of pain here and there but Will Compton is one of those guys that if he makes it on the injury report, I wouldn’t look too far into it because he’s probably going to fight through it. He’s a tough guy and I think this is something he can deal with but we’ll see. We’re going to give him tomorrow. We’re going to have a walkthrough tomorrow. We’ll see how he is and come back to practice on and Friday and Thursday and hopefully [inaudible] a little bit.”

      On if he felt the team should have taken more shots to capitalize on the momentum from turnovers:
      “Yeah, there’s no question. You know, every time as a play caller when you have one touchdown and you have the opportunities that we had in the strike zone — right across midfield there — you’d like to take more shots. If you don’t take them, it’s frustrating at times. You know, we had a plan going in to run the ball a little bit better than we did. I think we had 20-something carries for 70 yards and we averaged about three-point-something yards a clip, which isn’t good enough running the football. Throwing the ball, we had some shots available. We just didn’t convert on some of the shots that we had. If you put the film on, you’ll see guys, we took some shots, just we didn’t take them, whether it was pressure forced us into throwing a check-down or what have you, the quarterback couldn’t see it. There were some shots to be had out there. We just didn’t convert.”

      On if he feels a need to be more conservative late in close games:
      “Well, I think we still have a fairly… We’re in Week 12 or Week 13 and still a fairly young football team and we’re trying to find our way, really. And we’re trying to make sure that we stay balanced. We have two good backs. We’re trying to get them involved. We’re trying to get DeSean [Jackson] involved obviously, Pierre [Garçon] has to get involved. We try to spread the ball around to all our weapons and keep everybody involved in the offense. Last night, for whatever reason — [Jamison] Crowder had a couple catches, Jordan Reed had a couple, Pierre had five or six, DeSean had five or six — so I think guys were get the ball, we just didn’t make any big plays unfortunately until DeSean got the one. We’ve just got to keep grinding what we’re doing, keep preparing and protect better, throw better, run better routes, block better in the running game, run harder, you know, all those things. I just think it’ll come. We’ve just got to stick with what we’re doing.”

      On his message to the team tomorrow and if he is worried the loss will linger:
      “All losses linger, really. We’ve had, unfortunately, seven of them and none of them have sat well with us whether you lose by one point, two points or 30 like we did against Carolina. They all are very difficult to swallow. It is very important… This team has proven that we can bounce back. We have proven to be a resilient group and that’s one thing we’re going to focus on. You know, at the end of the day, you look at the end of the standings and look at where we’re at, we’re still in a good position, but we also have to understand that we have to play better, we have to coach better and we have to make sure we execute better without question.”

      On FB Darrel Young not playing on offense:
      “We had a couple packages for DY, obviously. However, I think we chose, you know, with Derek Carrier out, we chose to use the bigger tight ends and use more of the two- and three-tight-end sets as opposed to the one-tight-end-and-one-fullback set, basically was the choice that we had. Basically, we had a couple ready to roll, but really we featured the two tight ends — the big tight end, the little tight end, the one back and three tight ends, two tight ends and one big guy, ---- three big guys we were trying to feature more so and we just didn’t get DY involved.”

      On if they will consider changes in the running game:
      “Yeah, no question. We have to look at what we’re doing. But, it’s going to be hard — as a play caller — to call run plays if you’re averaging two yards a carry. Like you said, it hasn’t been pretty for – what’d you say – seven out of our last eight, six out of our last seven? I think we’re going to have to probably going to err on the side of throwing the ball. That means throwing quick game, maybe throwing more screens on early downs, trying to get positive down and distances — like you said — to throw it on first down, second and five. Maybe try to get in some pass situations and throw some draws in there. But we have to look at what we’re doing, we have to execute better obviously, but we also have to look at when we’re calling plays and how we’re calling plays and put our guys in better positions to succeed and get the ball to our playmakers’ hands and figure out who those guys are and get them the ball.”

      On WR DeSean Jackson’s fumble:
      “Yeah, it was close. The fact of the matter is he needs to protect the ball and he tried to make a big play, and unfortunately it backfired on him. But, you know, I think it was very close. We’ll get an answer from the league. There was a lot of close calls that I didn’t particularly agree with — a couple of the offensive PIs [pass interference calls], things of that nature that we’ll get an answer on that took us out of drives. We had first and 10 on the 20-yard line one time and instead they call offensive PI on Pierre [Garçon], which he was just running a route. Instead, we have to have third down and long and throw a dump pass and kick a field goal. There were a lot of plays in there that hurt us a little bit as far as our momentum went on offense but [that’s] something we’ve got to deal with.”

      On if he plans to use Jackson on future punt returns:
      “Oh, yeah. He’ll be up and ready to go. You know, [Jamison] Crowder is doing a fine job back there but we’ll see how he’s doing and any time we think there’s a spark to be had, we’ll put him back there. Crowder is still our feature punt returner but DeSean always has the ability to go back there.”

      On if he is concerned with the play of the special teams unit:
      “They’ve been playing pretty good up until last night we had a couple big plays that went against us. We obviously missed a field goal, the fumble on the punt return obviously and then we gave up the big kick return at the end of the game which was crucial — critical. We didn’t get off blocks very well. We had a couple key players of our kick-cover team that were down. We had a couple new players in there, you know, that didn’t perform extremely well on that play but we feel good about our special teams and we’ll make adjustments come next week.”

      On special teams:
      “I thought they were playing pretty good up until last night, we had a couple big plays that went against us. We obviously missed a field goal, the fumble on the punt return obviously and then the big kick return we gave up at the end of the game, which was crucial, critical. We didn’t get off blocks very well. We had a couple key players on our kick cover team that were down, had some new players in there that didn’t perform extremely well on that play. We feel good about our special teams and we’ll make adjustments come next week.”

      On QB Kirk Cousins’ effectiveness on bootleg plays:
      “I think he gets out on the perimeter and certain teams, those bootlegs are better manned than other teams. I think against Dallas, a 4-3 defense, some of the bootlegs we’d get out on the perimeter and he can see the field, has a couple options. One time he kept it for a five- or six-yard gain, another time he hit the down flat, another time he hit Jamison Crowder on a cross. He’s got a lot of options out there and he’s pretty good at them. The key is to be able to keep the integrity of the run. That’s why it’s important some times to stick with the run despite getting a couple yards a carry because some of those bootlegs and play-actions off of them are pretty darn good. But like I said, we just didn’t get any momentum, didn’t get any flow last night. We had a couple spurts here and there of being pretty good but overall it just was a struggle for us. But Kirk is good on those.”

      On if he saw resolve from the team despite calls going against them:
      “I thought so. I didn’t feel like any point in the game that guys’ heads were hanging. I know guys were frustrated offensively, obviously so, they should have been. For the most part, I think our defense competed their tails off for the whole game, 60 minutes. It was a battle. Even the plays that Dez Bryant made late, they were very contested, they were good throws, good catches. They had second down and two, third and two, fourth and two and they made a 54-yard field goal to beat us. Overall I think our defense really competed. I think offensively our guys were competing, we just weren’t very productive.”

      On allowing interior pressure:
      “We had a few of them unfortunately. One was a really good pick stunt between their linebacker and their three-technique, they picked the guard off. Got Spencer Long one time, a stunt we worked on quite a bit. A couple times, one was a T-E stunt, it was an excellent job by their three-technique and defensive end hitting it pretty hard. Early in the game, we just didn’t slide our center far enough over to his gap and we lost the integrity and the protection. So there’s a couple things where they really got us with some stunts and some great movement with good speed. Did a nice job defensively that we didn’t adjust to very well. I think that had a lot to do with, you talk about taking shots and all that stuff down the field, well if you have pressure coming up the A-gap and pressure in the quarterback’s face, it’s hard for him to see down the field and throw dimes 50-60 yards down the field. So we have to do a better job of protection and making sure we’re going to the right people and stout inside so we can give our quarterback vision down the field."

      On if they considered letting Dallas score late in the game:
      “Yeah, we had two timeouts left and they had second down-and-two, I believe it was, at the six. Since he [Cowboys RB Darren McFadden] did run out of bounds, I had every intent that we were going to stop them on second down and third down, use our two timeouts and make them kick a field goal. We’d still have right around 55 seconds to go to kick a field goal and tie. Had they got the first down on second and two, I would have used my timeout and then we would have talked about letting them score on first and goal at the three. We would have had one timeout left and about 50 seconds to go down and score. As it turned out, with him running out of bounds, he scored on the next play so it didn’t come up."

      On if other teams attacked the Redskins’ interior like the Cowboys did:
      “Oh yeah, we’ve seen those stunts. We’ve actually blocked them pretty well for the most part. We just didn’t do as good a job last night for whatever reason. It’s something that we’re going to have to continue to work on because more and more teams are doing that, the backers in the A-gaps and the pick stunts and the T-E stunts and E-T stunts that everybody does. They just were very effective last night in key situations.”

      On combating that interior pressure:
      “We practice those all the time. One thing would be beneficial to stay out of third down and long. For the most part, we’ve just got to keep working on them, keep repping them with our guards and tackles passing them off or sliding our center to the right side or left side depending on where we think it might be coming. There’s a lot of things we can do. Coach [Bill] Callahan drills these guys to death on T-E stunts and E-T stunts, pick stunts and all that stuff. They’re well prepared. It’s just being prepared and having to execute against it on game day with a guy blasting through the A-gap is different sometimes. We’ve just got to keep adjusting with our young offensive line.”

      On the final kickoff return by Dallas:
      “We just didn’t get off blocks. They did a nice job on our No. 1 guy out there, Chris Thompson, he ran out there and got blocked pretty good. Preston Smith got doubled and didn’t get off the blocks. [Je’Ron] Hamm got blocked outside one time. They had a nice hole up there. They did a nice job of blocking, staying on their blocks and their returner did an excellent job of hitting it. We have to do a better job of running down there and getting off blocks, getting in our lanes and staying in our lanes. We didn’t do a good job on that one."

      On emphasizing the importance of avoiding penalties:
      "Yeah, we talk about them all the time and it's frustrating because I don't if some of them were penalties. That's the problem. You know the offensive PI [pass interference] to Pierre Garcon, he's running a route. I don't know what to tell Pierre. Shoot, that's the route that he was supposed to run. He did exactly what he was supposed to do. We run a flat route to DeSean Jackson to get a first down and they call offensive PI. I have no idea what we're supposed to tell Pierre to do there. That's what we coached him to do. And then the offensive PI they called on Jordan Reed, it was a bang-bang call. They said that he blocking before the ball was caught. It might have been a half-a-second, timing-wise. I mean, it was really, really close. That type of play is run five or six times a game. Every team in the league runs them and they're not called once every 10 plays, maybe. The defensive PI they called on [Quinton] Dunbar, you know, he's playing bump-and-run. I thought he played it pretty good. Then the PI on [Bashaud] Breeland, I thought he played that pretty good. We’ve just got to continue to coach them up and find out from the league exactly why they called it, get the answers from them and then coach our players accordingly."

      On if they tell the players that they were doing what they were coached to do despite the penalties:
      "Yeah, some of it, and you know obviously as a defensive back there comes a point and time where you’ve got to get your hands off of the receiver obviously after five yards. I think [Dez] Bryant and [Quinton] Dunbar were kind of tugging at each other. The ball was in the air and unfortunately I think Dunbar can probably do a better job of getting his hands off there at the end. Same with [Bashuad] Breeland, I guess, if he had his hands on him before he brought his left arm across to break the ball up. But we’ve just got to keep drilling them, man, and keep working on them and getting their hands clean of the receiver after five yards."

      On the possible timeline for return for DE Stephen Paea:
      "We're not exactly sure. I think had a similar one in Chicago. It was a couple of weeks and we'll have more about the injury here later in the week. But I would expect to him to miss at least one or two weeks minimum."

      On the team’s identity:
      "We know what we want to be. We want to be a physical football team, no question about it. Unfortunately we just didn't have much success last night with the physicality of our offense. We had some good hits on some of our runs up the gut. Matt Jones had a few. It's not like he was total dud in the running game or our running was game totally worthless. We had some good hits in there, but we’ve just got to try to keep sticking with what we are doing. Game plan specific the runs that we have and continue to work on getting up on the right people and being physical about it and our tracks with our backs and running into good looks and all that staff. Then obviously the play-actions and the passes off of them are very important. So we feel like we have a very good system in place. We just have to execute better, put our players in better position to succeed as play callers. I think everybody will be fine. We don't need to panic, but we do have to have a sense of urgency about us, get everybody on the right page and keep playing."

      On LB Keenan Robinson being active but not appearing in the game:
      "Well, he's coming off the injury. He hasn't had a lot of practice time in the last few weeks and Mason Foster and Will Compton have been playing very well. I think it's a chance that Keenan really stuck it out for us to dress in the first place. He's still not quite 100 percent, but we needed him as a depth if something happened to Will or Mason. He was ready to go if need be, but I think with another week of recovery I think Keenan could get some more action next week."

      On if LB Mason Foster played well enough to remain the starter:
      "We'll see, but I think Mason played extremely well. He was physical at the point of attack and did some really good things. Him and Will both played very, very well against a very physical Dallas Cowboy offensive line. I think both those guys really stood up and played really well. I think everybody on defense played well in their time out there. We had some plays we can clean up obviously, but I was pleased with the way our defense flew around to the ball, forced turnovers. They did some good things."

      On Foster:
      "Like I said, I think he played well. I really do. I think he was stout at the point of attack, like I said. He was getting off blocks and he was playing hard, man. Both him and Will both played very well at the linebacker position. I think our entire defense for the most part played very good against a very good offensive line, a good offensive football team in Dallas. They competed. They got off blocks and they played well. They held them to one touchdown and that was a very, very short field at the end of the game. So I'm pleased with the way they played. They competed."
      This article was originally published in forum thread: Skins Quotes 12/8/15: Jay Gruden started by Boone View original post
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