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    • Skins Quotes 12/27/15: Jay Gruden

      December 27, 2015
      Redskins Park


      Head Coach Jay Gruden


      On if he got more resolution about the play at the end of the first half:
      "Yeah, I did. You know, there was a little bit of confusion… We were just going to tell them to throw the back shoulder fade to Pierre Garçon. And if it was covered or they rolled to him then we were just going to throw it out of back of the end zone. There was six seconds left in the half and if we kicked the field goal there, there would've been one second left or two seconds left and we’d have to kickoff again. So the objective was we had time to throw one shot and a fade to Pierre would've made sense. Kirk got the ball, didn't like the look and I guess he thought we had timeout. If there was any confusion, the coach has to take full responsibility. That's on me to make sure everybody is understanding what's going on and how many timeouts we have and the objective of the play. If there's any confusion there, I’ve got to take the blame and correct it for next time"

      On the reception at Redskins Park last night:
      "Oh, man, that was awesome. There was a ton of people there. It was a great experience and we are all still riding high. To see our supporters come out like that in hundreds and hundreds, it was a great experience for everybody, man. The young guys, the veterans, I know they felt excited. They had their camera phones out taking pictures and videos. The coaches were too. It was a great experience."

      On if there was particular time when he knew QB Kirk Cousins was capable of leading the team to the playoffs:
      "Well, I think it's a body of work since I got here just watching him from afar and coaching him. I've seen him progress from last year to this year, through OTAs, training camp, minicamps and all that stuff just watching him steadily get better and better every day and then to put it on the field. You know, when we really thought we had a great chance with him was probably the preseason game against Baltimore when he had a really good preseason game. I think he was 20-for-27 in the first half and led us on a big two-minute drive there at the end of the half and that's when I thought we really could build this offense around him and he could be successful. He knew that he had the confidence of the coaches and the players around him. I think he is a guy that will get better."

      On if he has considered how long starters will play next Sunday:
      “You know, not yet. I haven’t gotten the injury report yet, you know, they players had a day off today. They were going to come in and try to go in here with their injuries, but that’s going to be the biggest thing. We have to dress 46 obviously, and seven guys will be inactive and the injuries will be a major part of that, but the guys that play, they have every intent of trying to win this football game. It’s a big game for us to keep our momentum, but we also have to be smart about the guys that are a little bit [inaudible] and get them well for the playoffs.”

      On if there is an argument for resting Cousins next week even though he is not injured:
      “There’s arguments for that, yes, but we’ll have to wait and see and talk about it as a staff and see where the injury report stands with Kirk and see how he’s feeling. But I think he is pretty injury free, but if he is injury free, a lot will depend on who’s playing around him, and go from there. We’ll make a decision on that, yeah.”

      On players maintaining hope throughout the season that a playoff run was possible:
      “You’ve just got to be persistent and work hard and it really helps when the progress is being made and you can see it on the field. We started out kind of slow, we were 2-4 there and the comeback win against Tampa Bay I think, verified, you know, their hard work was starting to pay off. We had a tough loss against New England, obviously, and a bye week and then the second half of the season, I think we just started to get better and better and obviously put ourselves in a position to make a run. But I think just a total belief amongst everybody, the veterans getting the guys up, you can see the rookies progress and getting better and better and as a team, as a group, you can see we have a chance to compete every week, and they took full advantage of it.”

      On when he knew that he had strong veteran leadership:
      “I would say it starts just back in OTAs. First of all, everyone showing up, obviously, but the work that they were putting in down there. That’s where it has to begin. You have to start good habits and practice habits and work habits when the crowd isn’t watching and the reporters aren’t there writing stories. That’s the most important time, and that’s when you could see the guys putting the work in and staying extra and doing what they had to do to get themselves ready for training camp, and then training camp they worked their butts off, obviously, preparing themselves, and that just carries over to the games. But there was no real true one instant where I could see we had strong leadership. I think it was just the beginning and OTAs and the weight room and how hard they worked.”

      On if the offseason program seemed different from last year:
      “Yeah, a little bit. I just think the effort was a little bit more consistent I think, especially with the veteran guys like you said, the Dashon Goldsons who came in here. Obviously we had Adam Hayward in there, we had Niles Paul there, too. They were working extremely hard. Trent Williams obviously came in in great shape. And then the rookie guys we brought in from last year in Breeland’s draft and Murphy and those guys coming in – I just think as a group, I didn’t get one real negative report from Coach [Mike] Clark, the strength coach, about guys loafing or slacking, not showing up or being late or whatever. It was all positive and that’s a testament to the players down there and the leadership that they had.”

      On evaluating himself through his first two seasons:
      “I think I’m just trying to do the best that I can, like I said before, just trying to get everybody around me better and that’s just the ultimate goal. Obviously winning division championships is what we want to get ourselves to be in position to do. Now it is just a matter of taking the next step and also trying to be consistent with our approach and our winning. That’s going to take some time and then we’ll see but I feel like I’m getting better every day as a coach and I’ve got a great staff around me. I’m learning from them, I’m learning from every game that I watch on tape and every situation. The big situation at halftime, we’ll learn from that son of a gun, that’s for sure, and just continue to make sure I get myself better, never feel satisfied in this business because the happiness doesn’t last for very long.”

      On if he was able to enjoy the moment last night:
      “Yeah, a little bit, I did. We had a nice, fun plane ride back and then obviously the fans meeting us at our facility was excellent. After the game I had my family there in the basement of my house and we just sat there and chatted for a little while and had a few drinks and really reflected on the whole situation – laughed about some of the things that went on. But now it’s really get back to work already. But it was a great experience for everybody involved.”

      On if he is surprised by Cousins’ recent success despite the struggles in the running game:
      “Yes, no doubt. Obviously if you look at his numbers and your success, you’d think our running game would be pretty good. Well, our running game struggled a little bit and Kirk’s picked up the slack. However, we do have a presence to the running game, which is very important even though we’re – our yards per carry isn’t where we want it to be – I think the threat of a run is still there and the defense still has to respect it which is good, which opens up some of our play actions and boots of course. I think Kirk, what he’s been able to accomplish is extraordinary under the circumstance, and the offensive line, too. We’ve had some situations where it’s a known pass and we’re getting every stunt and twist known to man up front and they’re holding up -- Morgan [Moses] and Spencer [Long] – and Josh [LeRibeus] filling in – and obviously Brandon [Scherff] and Trent [Williams] they’re doing an excellent job at protection. So it’s a whole team effort. But Kirk’s done an extraordinary job.”

      On if the team will start looking at potential playoff opponents this week:
      “Oh, no question. We’ll start breaking down the possibilities that we have. We’ll start with Seattle, I believe, is probably the most likely opponent. We’ll get our guys starting to break them down, start getting a peek, but we also want to make sure we get our guys ready to play the Dallas Cowboys. That’s the last game of the year at Dallas, and it means a lot to a lot of these players and a lot of these fans here and coaches, to get this win and to keep our winning streak alive and to keep that momentum alive going into the playoffs. I promise you the 46 guys that are going to be dressed are going to be ready to play and, as coaches, we’ll get them ready to play.”

      On his expectations and goals going into this season:
      “We expect to go to the playoffs. That’s what we want to do – our goal is to win the division, no question; take care of our home games, winning the NFC East. No question about it. That’s step one. So that was our goal. We had thought that we could do that. We had a roster we thought could compete with everybody – we’ve shown that. So anything short of that I don’t think is a success in the National Football League.”

      On the trip back to Redskins Park and if he received any congratulatory texts or calls:
      “Yeah, I got a few. It was fun, man. We had a great night, and the players were obviously very excited. I think DeSean Jackson was the only one [asleep] – he was tanked in his chair. His emotions, I think, got the best of him [laughter]. Everybody else was pretty much celebrating, but we had a good time. And I got a lot of good texts – you know, the main ones you talk to – I talked to my brother, my dad and my mom. Those are the best ones. Everybody else, I didn’t hear from them after we lost to Carolina [laughter].”

      On T Morgan Moses playing through injury:
      “I’ll tell you what, I was really concerned. You know, Thursday in practice we did some one-on-one drills, offensive line against defensive line, and he looked bad. He looked really bad. He couldn’t redirect and he was sore. I was like, ‘Morgan, you gonna be alright?’ And he said, ‘I got you, coach. I’ll be alright.’ And I was talking to the trainers, ‘There’s no freaking way he’s going to be alright.’ But he just kept getting treatment, and we took a look at him in pregame, said he was going to be alright – still was a little concerned – and he just went out there and played great – one of his better games that he’s played. So, you know, tough guy, and played his butt off and we’re happy for him, and I’m proud of the fact that he went out and battled through a tough injury.”

      On NT Terrance Knighton:
      “He’s been pretty productive but he’s been making plays that show up. When you watch a game now over the last couple of weeks, you see him showing up a lot more for whatever reason. I think he’s probably getting in better shape here at the end of the year and I think he’s feeling pretty good and pretty confident in the scheme and doing a good job for us. We’re going to need him. He’s doing a great job of stuffing that inside-zone runs and making teams go back and throw it and getting our pass rush available. Terrance has played well the last few weeks.”

      On if C Kory Lichtensteiger has had a role beyond trying to return to action:
      “He’s been in all of the meetings and obviously on the sidelines through his injury, keeping himself mentally ready to go and helping Josh [LeRibeus] any way he can. It’s very important to have a guy that’s been through it and can see and talk through it with Josh a little bit because like I’ve said before, this is new to Josh and Kory has been helping quite a bit and getting himself ready. But now he’s been able to practice and mainly scout team. He’s been doing scout team all last week, and probably this week, we’ll get him ready for Seattle.”

      On if he would be comfortable turning to Lichtensteiger in the playoffs:
      “I think — depending on how healthy he is — yeah, yeah. I think he’s a very good player but we’ll have to wait and see if he gets back to being 100 percent. I don’t think he’s quite there yet but he’s getting closer and closer.”

      On game planning this week without showing too much:
      “Well, we’ve got 15 games on tape, so I think they’ve got enough to study. So we’ll stick with our plan, what we’ve been doing and what we do well. We’ll still figure out ways to best attack the Cowboy defense and our defense find ways to stop the Cowboy offense. It’s still football. It’s not so much X’s and O’s now, it’s about guys making plays and being in the right spot and taking the ball away on defense, protecting the ball on offense.”

      On if he anticipated being able to be this aggressive with the offense at this point of the season:
      “We anticipated it, but you know, I think there’s also other variables. It wasn’t just Kirk [Cousins] we were trying to protect. We had a young offensive line early in the season, too. I remember the first game we were going against [Ndamukong] Suh and [Cameron] Wake and Olivier Vernon. We had a rookie offensive line and a lot of those guys were brand new. We were going to have to drop back and take seven-step drops and let Wake have a field day in his first game. We were just making sure our offensive line gelled also. We had some injuries there, obviously with the [Kory] Lichtensteiger deal and then Shawn Lauvao — we were still mixing and matching guys. That’s part of the reason. You can’t just go back and drill it and drop back seven steps and wait for guys to run 25-yard patterns all day. I think the more confident we got with the offensive line protection and them playing together, the more we could really turn Kirk loose. So, you know, it worked hand in hand.”

      On Cousins being able to trust his protection:
      “It’s huge. It makes all the difference in the world. Comfort level in the pocket and then Kirk having the poise to sit in there and wait for guys, I mean he had a huge third down to Jordan Reed – I think he went from Jordan Reed to his No. 2 then back to Jordan Reed, I think it to back to his fourth or fifth [read] – his progression was excellent. Pierre had the diving third-down-and-12 catch on the deep dagger route where he [Cousins] stepped up and had great patience in the pocket. The line has done an excellent job, they really have. That was a good pass rush that the Eagles have so it was great to see it hold up.”

      On the strength of the pass rush last night and if they were blitzing early:
      “Yeah, a little bit. I think the no-huddle took us a little bit out of it and we got a lead and really we were trying to make them just eat up the clock a little bit and not give up any big plays. We probably got a little bit vanilla there at the end, but it was the smart way to play – keep them in bounds, make tackles, make them go 80 yards in five or six minutes like they did on that one drive. But for the most part, I think our pass rush was pretty good. We’re still working. I think Preston [Smith] had his best game as a Redskin, obviously. [Ryan] Kerrigan continues to get push. Ricky [Jean Francois] had a sack. Obviously [Will] Compton had his first career sack, which is excellent. Bake and Hatch [Chris Baker and Jason Hatcher] did some good things. We’ve just got to continue to turn them loose, and in order to do that, we’ve got to get a lead obviously, and we’ve got to force teams into some third downs, but for the most part, I’m happy with the way they played.”

      On the plan for this week:
      “They [the players] are off tomorrow also. We’ll start Tuesday. We’ll come in on a normal Tuesday later in the afternoon for a walkthrough and then go on with our normal week.”
      This article was originally published in forum thread: Skins Quotes 12/27/15: Jay Gruden started by Boone View original post
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