October 17, 2016

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On the injury report:
“We have just the normal bumps and bruises. I’ll update it on Wednesday, but nothing significant. Jordan Reed will see the independent doctor tomorrow, and then [Su’a] Cravens, we’re going to increase his practice reps this week and see where he’s at.”

On the offensive line’s performance yesterday:
“They were great. They were great, protecting the quarterback and in the running game. They’ve been great all season, quite honestly. They’re playing well, they’re coming off the ball, they’re moving people. They’re getting up to the next level. They’re pulling. They’re doing everything you want them to do. They’re very athletic, they’re very big, and it’s a great group.”

On if Spencer Long would continue starting at center even if Kory Lichtensteiger was healthy:
“We’ll see. You know, Spencer’s doing a great job. He had his best day yesterday. So we’ll see what happens when that happens. I’m not going to worry about that until later.”

On if S Su’a Cravens has been cleared out of the concussion protocol:
“It just means he can increase his work and then he’ll continue to get tested and go from there.”

On what he saw out of QB Kirk Cousins yesterday:
“I thought he had a really good game, really. He anticipated throws and threw with touch and accuracy. He moved in the pocket, created plays. We had some plays that just weren’t there – there was nothing there for him to go to. He threw it away when he had to. [He] made great decisions with the ball. The pick-six was a great play by Malcolm [Jenkins] and he never saw him. It was a naked boot and we didn’t have the end blocked, so he tried to get rid of it and make a great play, but didn’t see Malcolm. But other than that he played a very good game.”

On Cousins coming in with more confidence:
“I think he’s been confident. I just think he needs to continue to go out and prove it to himself and everybody, and he’s doing that. At the quarterback position, I don’t think you can ever lack confidence. He has got to be confident in himself and the players around him. He’s just gaining momentum as the season goes on.”

On if the offense was called differently for the running backs without TE Jordan Reed available:
“We didn’t really call it differently. We had our standard runs. We had a couple more down-down, pull-around schemes maybe in that game than we have had in the past because of all the man coverage. But for the most part, we called our game. Sean [McVay] did a nice job. It was a good flow, good job mixing the run and the pass and the play-action. It was very effective for the most part.”

On the balance of the offense:
“It’s important. We got down against Pittsburgh and it was more of a pass-first game plan. But to have the balance is important. I was just talking to Kirk in there watching film and it’s important. It takes pressure off of him and enables him to get a breather and use the snap count and get us into good runs – which he did a good job of yesterday. It lets the linemen come off and compete and play with great pad level like they did yesterday. It benefits everybody when we have good balance, that’s for sure.”

On if he has avenues for appealing penalties such as TE Vernon Davis’ excessive celebration penalty:
“Yeah, we send in plays every week to the officials. And yeah, we can do that. The rule is you can’t use the ball as a prop. So that was his reason for throwing a flag. The ball was a prop – a basketball, I guess.”

On how he feels about players showing excitement:
“It’s an emotional game and a fun game. I wish they could do a little bit more. But the rules are the rules and we have to abide by them. It was a big penalty and a costly penalty – they returned the next kick for a touchdown. But they are what they are. I don’t agree with all the rules. Nothing I can do about it.”

On the split playing time between S Duke Ihenacho and S Donte Whitner Sr.:
“I think it’s like the running backs [where] I think you start with Matt Jones. You start with Duke and Donte is going to play a lot. It might depend on the package. It might be more nickel for Donte, it might be more base for Duke, or what have you. That’s something that we’ll decide on a week-by-week basis and a game-by-game basis depending on who we’re playing, what personnel groups they’re featuring and go from there. Donte has really come in and picked up the [defense] extremely well. Duke played well again yesterday. [Will] Blackmon had some good plays. I think the safety position is getting stronger.”

On Whitner earning more snaps:
“Yeah, Whitner has played well. He’s a good player. He’s a darn good football player and he’s earned the reps being out here. We like what he does – his knowledge of the game and his ability to play zone and man coverage. He’s just an all-around good safety.”

On WR Pierre Garçon’s play:
“He played good. He competes and ran well after the catch. [He] made some strong, physical catches across the middle, which Pierre does a great job of. He’s fearless across the middle and he makes those tough catches. He’s just a great weapon to have, especially like you said with Jordan [Reed] being out, we had to work on the corners a little bit – man coverage – able to free up and make some big time plays for us.”

On having faith in K Dustin Hopkins on the 50-yard attempt:
“Yeah, it was great. We were just going to call a simple play and try to get five – get half of it back – on third down and make it a chip shot – make it not a chip shot, make it a little shorter – but unfortunately they came with a blitz and blanketed our receivers and Kirk [Cousins] threw it away. But, that is well within his range. And I have total faith in Dustin and he’ll knock the majority of those through. He’s just been a great kicker for us all year and it’d be silly not to try it there.”

On how TE Niles Paul has handled his role as the third-string tight end:
“He’s handled it like a pro. You know, he was voted special teams captain. He’s done great on special teams and he’s handled his play. I know he’s frustrated a little bit. He wants to play, there’s no question about it. He’s good enough to play, just has a very strong and very fast tight end in Vernon Davis that is playing Y for us and then obviously a freak-of-nature in Jordan Reed doing our U stuff and our Y stuff. So, there’s two, three very good tight ends in our building and we like all three of them but obviously can’t use them all at the same time… We have but you can’t do it every time [laughter].”

On if there was a concerted effort to get the ball to WR DeSean Jackson early in the game:
“Yeah, there was and I think knowing some of the looks we’d get, some of the single-high looks, whether it was three-deep or man-to-man, we knew there would be some opportunities to get him the ball. You know, so he took advantage of them early, ran a great short comeback route on third down. It was a great throw, great catch. Ran a stop route, and then ran across face on the safety using his speed to get away from the corner and beat the safety across his face. So, we got him involved early and then I think he got dinged up a little bit but we got another opportunity to get him on a go ball that just went through his fingertips, but happy the way he played and competed but it was an effort to try and get him the ball early.”

On the confidence level of this team:
“I think adversity is our middle name and our guys have learned to deal with it. You have to learn to deal with it here. You know, we’ve had a lot of it here and they’ve overcome it so far and they do a great job of staying together, that’s the most important thing and nobody is throwing helmets over there and kicking tables and dumping water bottles over. They’re all in line and they’re all ready for the next play and that’s what it’s all about. It’s always on to the next one with us. The past is the past. Learn from it but move on to the next play and our guys do a great job of that.”

On potentially being added to the injury report after being lifted by DE Ricky Jean Francois in the postgame celebration:
“Yeah [laughter]. Yeah, my stress level is a little high, my blood pressure is high.”

On the NFC East:
“I think our division was good last year. Our division – there were a lot of close games that didn’t go our way. I think now that we’re starting to win some of the close games, but there’s a lot of talent in the NFL, there’s a lot of talent in the NFC East, that’s for sure. You know, you look at the Giants, and Eagles and Cowboys. Look at the Redskins, and you know, I think you can see it starting to flex its muscles a little bit. Big, physical offensive line in Dallas, and here, big offensive line. The Giants upgraded their defense and Eli Manning. And obviously the Eagles with a good, young quarterback and good, strong defense. It’s a competitive division and it will be for years to come. Always is.”

On his assessment of Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry’s performance the last two weeks:
“We haven’t given up a touchdown in six [seven] quarters, so I say he’s doing pretty good. I think Joe’s doing a great job. Perry [Fewell] and Robb [Akey] and Greg [Manusky], those guys are doing an excellent job coaching those guys up. But the players are making plays and that’s what it’s about. They’re getting off blocks and they’re making the tackles when they have to make the tackles. With a few exceptions in that game, it was an excellent day of tackling for our guys. And they’re pursuing to the football, they’re playing hard, they’re playing with confidence, but they’re making plays.”

On the improved rushing attack:
“Yeah, we’d love to rush for a couple of hundred yards a game, you know? We try. But we’ve just got to keep sticking with it and each plan will be different, like I said. Detroit, we’ll get our teeth into Detroit’s game plan and see where it leads us. But we love that recipe, man. It’s been good to us when we can run the ball as much as we throw it, usually we’re pretty good.”

On why the running game has improved:
“I think our backs are hitting it, number one. I think our line is playing together. We had a lot of changes on the offensive line last year. I think this is the most continuity we’ve had week-in and week-out, week-in and week-out. You know, the same starting line-up with the exception of [Shawn] Lauvao missing a game, and then Kory [Lichtensteiger] obviously. But now with Spencer [Long] entrenched in there at center and Lauvao back, Morgan [Moses] and Brandon [Scherff] playing together on the same side again for another year with more experience, and of course the all-world guy at left tackle [Trent Williams], makes them better. Not to mention Vernon Davis coming in here. He’s a great blocker, he really is. He’s helped out tremendously and the backs are running hard.”

On if Cousins “is holding his own” compared to other quarterbacks around the league:
“Oh, no question, no question about it. You know, we’re on a four-game win streak. He has his shares of ups and downs but every quarterback if you look at their numbers does throw an interception from time to time or get sacked or what have you. But he’s bounced back and continued to compete and put us in position to win the last four games. And really we were in position against Dallas, it was an unfortunate interception there in the red zone. But I think he’s played extremely well. He continues to compete, work hard, not satisfied with his performance by any stretch. He’s willing to get better, and that’s the makings of a great quarterback.”

On if the Reserve/Injured list is a possibility for WR Josh Doctson:
“Yeah, I’d say it’s a possibility, we’ll see. I think we’ll send him to another doctor, get another opinion and I think the plan right now is to probably immobilize him for a little bit, just to take completely the stress off of it for a little bit of time and then see where that leads us. IR maybe, maybe not, we don’t know yet.”

On if they will assess the plan for Doctson after the bye week:
“I think that’s probably safe to say.”

On how frustrating the Doctson situation has been:
“I’m frustrated for him. I feel bad for him. He wants to play in the worst way. This is the most unique injury that people have seen, you know? Can’t put a finger on why he’s having pain, but he’s having pain. And he wants to play. And he’s not the same guy when you can’t push off because your Achilles is bothering you. So we’ve got to get to the bottom of it and give him a little bit of time hopefully and try to get to the bottom of it, but we’re more concerned about longevity right now. We want to make sure he gets well.”

On hosting the All-Star Survivors Celebration for breast cancer survivors today:
“It was great, you know? I got to meet a lot of the survivors today in my office. They came on by, got to sign some autographs, get some pictures with them. It’s just… it’s a great day, man. They did it last year and the players got involved, they were wearing wigs, and putting on makeup, doing all kinds of stuff. They’re really ugly [laughter]. But I’m so happy that we’re able to help out in the community this way and see these people that are survivors and hopefully it does some good for a lot of people.”




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