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    • Skins Quotes 5/24/17: Jay Gruden, Kirk Cousins

      May 24, 2017

      Head Coach Jay Gruden

      On his overall impressions:
      “I feel good. I think there’s an adjustment period for everybody, not just for the new guys, but for the guys who have been here playing with the new guys. So I think that’s the most important thing, getting everybody on the same page, figuring out everybody’s strengths and weaknesses and get things corrected and go from there. I feel good with the energy level that these guys have, their ability to learn and their desire to work hard. It’s been good.”

      On the absences of T Trent Williams, RB Matt Jones and TE Jordan Reed:
      “Jordan [Reed] is down in Miami training. He’s got a personal trainer down there. He’s working extremely hard. Trent [Williams], I believe, is in Oklahoma somewhere training and Matt Jones was absent today.”

      On his impressions of WR Josh Doctson:
      “He’s been impressive. I think the big thing for him is the confidence in his Achilles and I think he’s got that right now. I saw him out there today and yesterday, the last two days he’s looked better and better. It looks like he can run down the field. He made a good catch down the sideline today and [he has] strong hands, we know that about him. Now we’ve just got to continue to put one day after another after another. If he does have soreness, we have got to taper off for him, but right now, so far, so good. I like the way he looks, like the way he runs and love the way he catches.”

      On QB Kirk Cousins adjusting to throwing to a receiver the size of WR Terrelle Pryor Sr.:
      “That process would be evolving, I would think. That’s something we have got to get used to. Kirk [Cousins] has to get used to Terrelle [Pryor] and Terrelle has to get used to Kirk. First and foremost, we have to get the system of plays that we’re running and get Terrelle up to speed and how we want things run split-wise, depth-wise, how we want him coming out of breaks, and then are there are certain throws down the field that we have to get adjusted to – some of the back-shoulder fades, the opportunity balls that Terrelle really makes look easy that are harder to throw if you haven’t thrown them before. That’s an adjustment period we’ll have to go through. We’ll keep pushing the envelope out here at practice and try to get good at everything. Terrelle is a different target and gives us some different options down the field, but we do have to get him squared away on some of the fundamental route concepts that we have.”

      On if he has talked to Jones:
      “I talked to him before he left, yes.”

      On the reason for Jones’ absence:
      “That’s a good question, something that Matt Jones will have to answer. This is a voluntary deal, as we all know, and I can’t force the issue on anybody. So if he’s disgruntled in any way, shape or form, it’s news to me. I imagine like Jordan Reed and Trent Williams, I’m sure Matt is working out and staying in good shape.”

      On if he expects Jones to return:
      “I would hope so. When it’s mandatory [minicamp], he better.”

      On what kind of impact he sees S D.J. Swearinger having:
      “Wow, you know what? Watching him the first two days really excites me. He just looks like a safety back there. No offense to the previous safeties we’ve had before, but I just think D.J. is to a level in his career right now where he’s got a lot of confidence. He has got a lot of talent. We know that he’s a physical guy, but as far as coverages and breaking up things, he’s got a lot of confidence and I think he’s going to really, really emerge as a top safety not only for this team but in this league.”

      On if he sees progress from Cousins and the receivers, particularly Pryor:
      “I think the big thing when we’re talking about quarterback-receiver continuity is communication. They have no trouble communicating. Terrelle is not set in his ways. Kirk is not set in his ways. They’re always talking and communicating, ‘How you want to do this? This is how we want it done.’ And then I’ll jump in there, ‘No, this is…’ There’s always communication and it’s good. Terrelle being an ex-quarterback has a great idea of how routes should be run, but sometimes he sees things that the quarterback doesn’t see or he’s too quick to break when he should stem it up a little bit deeper. There’s just some things that we have to get coached up a little bit, but he was coached by a good coach, Hue Jackson, last year. He’s only been playing receiver for a couple of years, so there’s some things we’ve have got to get caught up, but he’s got a great skill set. He’s long, he can run, [has] a great catch radius and he’s been a pleasure to coach so far.”

      On if LB Junior Galette is doing more than he anticipated:
      “Yeah, I wasn’t expecting to see Junior a whole lot this time of year, really. We’re trying to get him healthy. But he’s been out there working and he’s done a nice job. He knows he’s got a little ways to go, but you can still see that he’s got the quick twitch, which you really need off the edge. He can bend, and now as far as stamina goes, he’s going to continue to work to get in shape. But knowing Junior, the way he works and the way he trains and prepares, he’ll get himself into shape. The big thing is feeling confident in those Achilles, getting that burst back, which it looks like he’s got a lot of it back. It’s just a matter of maintaining that burst for a long period of time.”

      On the NFL shortening overtime to 10 minutes:
      “Who cares? [Laughter]”

      On changes to the celebration rules:
      “You know what, whatever rules they send down, we just try to coach them up. The celebration thing, if it is fun for the fans and the fans really want it, this is a fan league and that’s great just as long as it doesn’t become so much about the player as it is about the team.”

      On two players now being allowed to return from IR:
      “Oh, that’s a good rule [laughter]. These IR rules are tough, man. These players, it’s hard, especially when you have a lot of guys with nagging injuries that aren’t able to play on Sunday but they are not hurt enough to go on IR. You need a little bit of flexibility there. It’s been very, very important. We’ve had a couple instances before that’ve been here. [Martrell] Spaight, my first year or two years ago had that concussion, and we were torn to put them on the IR and we weren’t able to get him back and lost him for the year. And we had some other instances last year where you just don’t know so it’s important to have that flexibility to have another guy that you can bring back.”

      On the defense getting the better of the offense on the first day:
      “I told them not to celebrate on Day 1. The defense had a great day yesterday. The offense made some big plays today. We’re just trying to install plays, get our system taught, challenge our defense, push our defense, make some throws and let our receivers make some plays. They did yesterday. Josh [Norman] had a great pick down the sideline. [Quinton] Dunbar had a pick down the sideline today. We made the plays that we didn’t make yesterday. That’s the way it’s going to be. When you have a talented group, a competitive group, plays will be made, one side or the other. Good thing being head coach, I can celebrate both ways… or I could be angry both ways, you know? [Laughter] ‘Don’t throw picks… Great job getting the pick.’ But it’s very competitive. Guys are really working hard. It’s good so far.”

      On DL Jonathan Allen:
      “I think he wants to be coached. I think he likes football and obviously he competes. We’re just starting him out. These rookies, we’re trying to just get them baby steps. We don’t want to just throw them out in the fire. We’ve got some veteran guys in front of him like Ziggy Hood that are showing him the ropes. Matt [Ioannidis] has got some years under his belt. Obviously Terrell McClain, Stacy McGee, these guys – a little bit veteran-type guys – showing him the way a little bit. He’s going to progress at a fast rate. You can see the talent that he has. He’s just going to get better and better. First things first, let’s get his feet wet a little bit, and then we’ll throw him in there. But he’s doing a great job.”

      On S Su’a Cravens:
      “I’ve only seen one practice on tape, so I’ll go back. Yesterday, he looked good. He looked like he was fluid, looked like he has some range. You can’t see any physicality but you know he can tackle, which is a good thing. Today we’ll see what happened on some of these deep balls over their head. But I like the way he’s bought into the safety position. I think he’s fired up about it. That’s half the battle. I think he knows after two days, I think he feels like he belongs out there. I think the confidence is going to grow the more he understands the system and plays within the system, I think he’ll be fine. I think he still has a ways to go, but I think he has got a great chance to be a very good safety because he can play in the box and if he shows us the range that we think he might have, he can be very versatile. And D.J. [Swearinger] can come down, he can play back, whatever, so it’s a good mix.”

      On Defensive Line Coach Jim Tomsula:
      “I like how he coaches his guys, man. He demands greatness from them all the time. That’s the way it’s got to be. He’s going to coach them up fundamentally, number one, and obviously challenge them in the effort department all the time. He’s going to push the envelope with them, like I say. He’s a great coach, great motivator and understands the game not just from a defensive line standpoint, like a lot of defensive line coaches are just ‘in the box.’ This guy understands the entire defense – coverages, linebacker play, fronts, all that stuff. So he’s a very good add for Coach Manusky. They work well together, they bounce things off of each other. It’s a good team.”

      On the shape “Fat Rob” Kelley is in currently:
      “That was just a nickname, he wasn’t actually fat [laughter]… I think when you’re a 22-year-old kid, 21-year-old guy out of Tulane and you understand the wear and tear that the NFL is going to give you, you better get yourself into shape if you want to maintain a career in the NFL as a running back. Running backs’ careers are already tough to carry on for a long period of time as it is, but if you’re overweight or out of shape, you have no chance. He’s getting his body in shape, he works hard. He’s a very strong, physical runner. The way he runs, he better be in shape. He better be strong, work in the weight room, if he wants to maintain the skillset that he has. And he has. He’s done a good job.”

      QB Kirk Cousins

      On the offense:
      “We’re excited. Feel good about the players we have on our offense. It has been fun to get to know some of the new receivers and just continue to work and gain experience and try to build chemistry with the players around us.”

      On his comfort level and relationship with WRs Josh Doctson and Terrelle Pryor Sr.:
      “Well, I feel really good about it. I like playing with those guys. It’s just in-process. It is a really good thing we have OTAs and minicamps and training camp and preseason games to get ready for Week 1 so we are building to when it really matters. I just feel good about the raw ability that they have and now it’s just a matter of getting to understand one another and getting to learn the offense as well as we can such that we can execute at a high level and there is no drop-off. If anything, we take another step forward as an offense.”

      On adjusting to new starters:
      “Obviously there is a little bit of an adjustment, but we spread the ball around so much. Chris Thompson catches quite a few balls, even Rob Kelley gets involved, we get the tight ends involved. I remember two years ago we lost DeSean [Jackson] for half the season. Derek Carrier played a bigger role when Jordan Reed was out. So you kind of expect a revolving door on offense at a lot of the skill positions and you just start to run plays, and regardless who is out there, you just go where your reads take you. If it’s Cover 2, you read that corner and you throw where he isn’t. Whether is Derek Carrier, Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, you still need to throw the ball accurately and they go catch it and make a play. Obviously, when you start playing teams that play man coverage, you need someone who is faster than the guy guarding them so personnel does come into play and you want to get great players, but at the same time, we’re used to whoever is up, hey, we expect you to go get the job done and to make the play happen. I think Bruce and Jay and our scouting staff did a really good job this offseason of bringing in a talented player like Terrelle Pryor and getting Vernon Davis back. Now it is just a matter of spending time in practice to develop our rapport.”

      On adjusting to bigger receivers:
      “I think it’s an advantage in the sense that you have a larger catch radius. When a guy is quote-unquote covered, hopefully he is still open because you can throw him to a spot where maybe the defensive back can’t quite make a play. It is a little new for me, haven’t had a ton of experience making throws like that, so it is one of the many things we will emphasize, work on and try to get a better feel for as we go through the offseason program. And as a quarterback it is exciting because we think that adds another wrinkle or element to our offense that hopefully can make us better and help us take a step forward.”

      On the rule changes for celebrations:
      “I haven’t thought about anything special, although I could get pretty creative and go back to maybe some of the high school days to try to think of some good ideas. I remember just the penalties last year. Josh Norman’s against the Browns and Vernon Davis’ against the Eagles, I just think it got to a point where I didn’t see the harm in it, and yet the effect it had on the game was significant and I think to our commissioner’s credit, he listened to the players and I think there is not a single faction of the NFL that doesn’t want to see the players celebrate and enjoy it. I think the fans want to see it. I think we as teammates and even opponents don’t mind seeing it. I say go ahead, celebrate, have a good time and if you heard me mic’ed up against the Packers, I was the one running into the end zone yelling, ‘Celebrate, celebrate!’ Hey, I think it is important to celebrate performance and doing good things. We work so hard. When good things happen, go celebrate it and let people know that that needs to happen again.”

      On contract negotiations:
      “You’re the guy. You’re the guy today [laughter]. Good question. I talk about as a quarterback getting experience and getting reps. I feel like when it comes to the contract, I have gotten reps now. I am getting used to answering questions and going through this now the second time through so I am not a rookie anymore when it comes to this stuff. It is a similar deal here too. It has been very positive. I have had really positive conversations with everybody involved throughout the process this offseason. I feel like everybody is on the same page and I really have nothing further to add to what has already been said. So I feel good about where I am at, where this team is at, where my teammates are at. And so it is just a matter of trying to move forward and we will see what happens come July 15. It will be a telling date as it was last summer.”

      On if the team can add more wrinkles to the offense now that he is in his third year as a starter:
      “Good question, Chris. I think the balance will always be, ‘Let’s not re-invent the wheel. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ We moved the ball last year so let’s just do more of what we’ve done, while also saying, ‘How can I be better? How can I be better?’ I think if you want to be a great player, a great offense, you are always looking for how to improve. You never want to get too cute and try to re-invent the wheel but at the same time we are always looking for little ways to improve our game. I think in our offense, it is, ‘Can we complete a little more 50/50 balls, back shoulders, when guys are covered, still throwing them open? Are there are ways to play off-schedule to make some scramble plays happen?’ I don’t know that I will ever be Michael Vick or Aaron Rodgers, but can we do that a little more? Are there times I can use my legs? I think there is more athleticism there than I give myself credit for. Can I run for a first down here or there more often? There are little things. I don’t think I am going to try and turn into a zone-read quarterback but there are times in the game where you say, hey, maybe you could emphasize this more, that more. That’s where the third year, the fourth year, the fifth year, you start to fine tune. That is where it gets fun because the game slows down. You’re not just fighting for a roster spot anymore. You’re fighting to become one of the best players in this league. You know, that is the goal now and one of the best offenses in this league more importantly. I am excited and looking forward to that challenge and now I am being held to an even higher standard.”

      On WRs DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon signing with new teams in free agency:
      “I was really happy for them. I thought to myself – I think I said it last year at training camp – that I take pride in seeing guys that I play with get paid well in this league. I think it’s a reflection that our offense was able to help them succeed, so that was an important thing to me. Even last training camp, I wanted to make sure that when free agency comes around this past year that whether it was DeSean or Pierre or Vernon [Davis] or whoever that these guys get a contract that pays them well because it means we helped them have success. I was thrilled from that standpoint. I felt like they were well-compensated for what they had done for us as an offense and that was a great thing to see. It’s a reality in the NFL. We’re constantly dealing with that. Terrelle Pryor is on a one-year deal, so it just is part of the deal. You have a good year and you go back to the drawing board and look at what can you get in the draft, what does the free agent market look like. That is the NFL and it’s always going to be that way, so you learn to deal with it. And even the Super Bowl champions, you saw them making all kind of moves this offseason, so welcome to this league.”

      On his stress level:
      “Playing quarterback in the NFL is a stressful job, so if it was easy, anybody could do it. I think the spring, the offseason, the stress is certainly not at the level that it’s at during the season, but it does help you to take a step back and just enjoy football. It feels a little bit more like going out to recess in elementary school than it does getting ready for a big, big game, so there’s a little bit more laid-back, fun approach this spring. But make no mistake, that’s not reality come the fall. So I do try to remind myself of the intensity that it does require come the fall, and we practice with that intensity and I think you guys saw that today. It’s a process.”

      On the stress of contract negotiations:
      “Again, with the contract, this just isn’t my first time through it, so I’ve just kind of learned from previous experiences and if you know my story going back to high school, I played my senior year of high school with no scholarship offers, in fact there was a coach here from Northwestern today who was my recruiting coach at Northwestern, he’s still the running backs coach 10 years later at Northwestern and I was getting recruited by Northwestern, wanted a scholarship, they didn’t offer me, and it was just a reminder that you never know what’s going to happen. He was here today and I shook his hand and said hello and remembered them well and remembered Coach [Pat] Fitzgerald there well, but you realize that, hey, they made a decision, they went in a different direction and that’s fine and you play with that. You’re just always trying to go out there, prove yourself, learn. Senior year of college, much the same way, trying to get drafted, you just go and play and see where the chips will land and try not to let it get to you.”

      On expecting his first child:
      “The baby is due in mid-September. It was supposed to be Week 2, but we got the 20-week ultrasound and they moved it up a week, so we’re looking for around Week 1, between Week 1 and Week 2, so we’re praying it’ll come on a day where it doesn’t conflict with any important football matters. So we’re excited. Julie has been great. She’s just been outstanding the whole time and she’s already told me that she’s going to carry the weight the first few months so that I can focus on football and she’s going to be a big help, so we’re looking forward to that. Lots to look forward to right now. I’m in a good place.”

      On how Pryor being a former quarterback helps with their connection:
      “I love that you asked that question because it’s even caught me by surprise. I worked with a receiver, Keith Nichol, in college who was a former quarterback, but Terrelle having been a college quarterback and a pro quarterback takes it to even another level. He’s going to hold me accountable because he knows where the ball should go. If it’s Cover 2 and he on Cover 2, if the read is over here, ‘I played quarterback, I know that.’ He’s going to hold me accountable. I like it because I’ve never had a conversation with a receiver like I’ve had with him where he said, ‘Yeah, it was two-invert, so I took it to the post. It was quarters on the backside.’ He really can see it and he’s going to hold me accountable, so you take the good with the bad. I love it. He’s an enthusiastic guy. He’s always wanting to run another route. ‘Let’s try it again, let’s do it again,’ just a positive attitude and he’s been a joy to work with thus far. I’m really looking forward to trying to get him as many touches as possible and allow him to impact our team in any way he can.”

      On the difference in contract negotiations this summer:
      “I don’t know that it’s been different, I just think that it’s been good communication, just keeping the lines of communication open and we’ll see where it goes from here.”

      On members of the military attending today’s practice:
      “It’s a good reminder why it’s such a benefit to play here in Washington. It just feels like it’s that much more real with Andrews Air Force Base here and so many soldiers here. There’s something special about playing for the city of Washington, D.C. and driving 30 minutes into the city and going by the White House and the Pentagon and the monuments. I love history and just last night went to a documentary in the movie theater about the Middle East and what's going on there and [I’m] just so grateful for living in this country and understanding that that came at a price and I just want to say thank you. If it means signing a few autographs after practice, what a cool way to do that and just more motivation. You say ‘Man, I want to give these soldiers, these fans something to cheer about and make them excited and bring this city together. Hopefully winning football games can do that. What a great thing. That’s the vision we’re chasing. Hopefully we can get it done this season.”

      On the progress made in contract negotiations:
      “It’s a process. If nothing happens right now… As one person has told me, deadlines do deals. That’s just kind of a rule in negotiating, so why would something happen way before a deadline? It just doesn’t make sense. I’m not in a hurry, they’re not in a hurry, so we’ll just see how things go. I’m being patient.”

      On the chemistry between him and Head Coach Jay Gruden as a play caller:
      “It’s been a good thing to have Jay right next to me every practice calling the plays. It’s good to be in constant communication with the head coach. It’s a little different because I’m used to having Sean McVay in that role, but I’ve enjoyed being that much closer to Jay and hearing it from his perspective. He’s kind of a natural. The game comes naturally to him. He understands it really well. When you talk ball with him, he can go up there and make the game make sense and I’m just trying to glean from him all that I can. Now that he’s more close to me in terms of calling the plays, being in the meetings on a day-to-day basis, it gives me greater access to do that and I look forward to seeing the game even more from his perspective being that he’s going to be so involved this year in the play calling and in the game plan design.”

      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
      This article was originally published in forum thread: Skins Quotes 5/24/17: Jay Gruden started by Boone View original post
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