October 19, 2016

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On the injury report:
“Did not participate: [Josh] Doctson, Achilles; DeSean Jackson, shoulder. Limited were [Su’a] Cravens and [Jordan] Reed, concussion; [Spencer] Long with a knee; [Trent] Murphy, shoulder, knee; [Trent] Williams, knee; [Chris] Baker, knee and toe. Full were [Josh] Norman, wrist; [Martrell] Spaight, shoulder; [Dashaun] Phillips, hamstring.”

On the status of TE Jordan Reed and what the doctors have told him:
“Yeah, he is going to see our team doctor today. He did a little bit more today and then Friday he’ll see the independent doctor. We’ll know more really after Friday. We’ve just got to continue to progress him along and see how he’s feeling after more of a workload.”

On if it is “pretty unlikely” Reed plays on Sunday;
“No, not at all. It just means we have to wait and see what the independent doctor says and see how he does going through some work outside, you know, on a limited basis.”

On S Su’a Cravens:
“Same thing, same thing. He’s probably a little bit further along but he still has to… This is just increasing his workload and he’ll see our team doctor today and then he’ll see the independent guy Friday.”

On carrying WR Josh Doctson on the roster at the start of the season despite his injury:
“Well, he was a first-round draft pick and he’s very talented, number one. Number two, we wouldn’t have activated him if we didn’t think he was good enough to play or healthy enough to play and I think he felt good enough at that time where he could maybe fight through it, fight through some of the issues that he was having. After thinking about it, maybe we should have shut him down sooner, but being it that we had the MRIs and the X-rays and we really didn’t have any physical evidence or any evidence to say this is going to do more damage to your Achilles, we tried to see if he could fight through it or maybe it was going to get better. We just didn’t know. We still don’t know. But we’re going to rest him for a little while and hopefully that’ll help.”

On WR DeSean Jackson’s shoulder:
“I think he’s sore. We kept him out of practice today and he was in the whirlpool and the swimming pool. But I think he’ll be OK, I hope.”

On the team’s confidence post-game and players responding to media criticism on social media:
“Yeah, you’re not looking for negative publicity, obviously. I think after a game when you’re by your locker room, guys were a little excited. They played their tails off against a good Philadelphia team and sometimes some things are said that get caught on tape, but it is what it is. We beat a very good Philadelphia team and I think Baker’s quotes was a little out of line when he said what he said, but I like our guys being confident. I like them being upbeat and excited about winning football games. As far as being NFC East champs, defending champs, we are. You know, I’m proud of that and our guys are proud of that. It’s something that we have to defend. And it is an honor to be an… NFC East Champion. We have a longer way to go. We want more from our football team than that. But, I really don’t want people to get in bickering matches with the media. You can’t win. Just can’t win. But, I know Stephen does a good job with what he does, but he doesn’t know our team. He doesn’t know our coaches. He doesn’t know our fan base. And for him to call us all losers is out of line by him because he doesn’t know Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed, Morgan Moses, Brandon Scherff and Will Blackmon and Ryan Kerrigan. He doesn’t know the type of work these guys put in, the type of players they are, the type of people they are, the coaching staff that we have. You know, hopefully we’ll put an end to it here shortly and it’ll all blow over like most of these media things do.”

On how he keeps Doctson positive:
“I think it’s important for him… You know, it’s important for him to get well and I think he understands that. I think there’s a bigger picture here with Josh, and the bigger picture is ‘Let’s get him well, 100 percent. Figure out how.’ And if it’s immobilizing him for a little bit of time, maybe that’ll give him some relief to get to the bottom of this, then so be it, let’s do it. So we’ll have to wait and see what we’re going to do with him from a long-term perspective, but short-term, let him get off of it for a while and see where that takes us.”

On K Dustin Hopkins’ play so far this season:
“Yeah, knock-on-wood, he’s been outstanding. He’s been a great weapon for us. And a great example was we were up by seven there and had a 50-yarder and we don’t blink sending him out there. You know, it was a risky call maybe, but he just knocked it right down the middle. Never a doubt. He’s just been extremely accurate. He’s been a great weapon on kickoffs. A great example of that is six seconds to go in the half, do you squib it when you have a kicker like that who we know is going to kick it out of the end zone. They take a knee and we get out of there at halftime up seven. So, he’s been outstanding in all phases – kickoff, kicking field goals, extra points, all that. He’s missed one extra point I think and one field goal and that was against the wind, a 58-yarder, which I probably should have not tried. So can’t say enough good things about Hop, man. He’s been pressure, he’s been great.”

On who gets credit for finding Hopkins:
“Me [laughter]. No, it’s funny, we weren’t really necessarily looking to make a change at the kicker spot. We liked Kai [Forbath]. We liked Kai a lot, but when we saw this guy workout, we heard the explosion off his foot kicking the ball. You know, it was a little tricky there. You hate to lose a consistent guy like Kai, but you also hate to lose a guy that might get picked up next week by somebody else. So we decided to take a chance, Scot [McCloughan] did, and it’s worked out for us.”

On the defense’s performance the last two games despite not recording a lot of takeaways:
“Yeah, it’s been good. The first two victories we got a lot of takeaways, but gave up a lot of yards. Last two weeks, we haven’t given up a lot of yards but haven’t gotten any takeaways. So imagine what we could do if we don’t give up yards and get takeaways, we’d be pretty good. But, I’m happy the way they’re playing. I’m happy that they’re playing sound football, number one. We’re not giving up any big plays, gashes. We are giving up plays, good offenses are going to come in here get some yards on us, but we’re not giving up the big plays and the touchdowns and the momentum-swinging-type plays. We’re making good fundamentally sound tackles and we’re gap-secure and our coverage has been outstanding, both in man and zone, so we’ve got to keep it up. The challenges only get greater and greater. This week’s no different. You’ve got Golden Tate, Matthew Stafford, my man Marvin Jones, Andre Roberts, Anquan Boldin, Theo Riddick if he plays. Very dangerous offense there, so we’re going to have to strap it up again.”

On what challenges Lions QB Matthew Stafford presents to defenses:
“I’ll tell you what, you can tell he’s a great competitor. He’s got the arm to make all the throws – the touch throws, the launch throws, drive it between two-three defender-type throws, the touch throws, like I said. But really he’s doing a great job of the off-schedule plays. He’s a great competitor. He doesn’t like to let a play get away from him. He’s going to try to buy time in the pocket, scramble around, and he can rip it across his body or down the sideline or what have you. He’s been great. He’s got a great corps of receivers around him that are playing very well. He’s a very dangerous guy. At any given time, the thing about him is he can hurt you. He’s got great vision down the field.”

On what Doctson will bring to the offense when he returns:
“I don’t know. He hasn’t practiced a lot with us. He hasn’t played a lot with us. But I’ll tell you what, the little bit that he has played, he’s an exciting guy. He’s big, long, and can really go up and get it. We’ll worry about that when that comes. The most important thing right now with Josh is getting him healthy – both mentally and physically.”

On if he addresses the team when they are criticized in the media:
“Well, I think they’re going to have a reaction a little bit, obviously. They’re competitors and they’ve done some good things. But we do take it personally – you have to if people call you out like that. But you also have to understand that when someone calls you out like that and they don’t know anything about what we’ve done and what we’ve been through together and the work that they’ve put in, you don’t really take too much account in it. It bothers me because he’s calling my guys that. If he wants to call me that, that’s fine. But when he starts talking about the players and the staff and the ownership, all the people who work so hard in this building, it bothers you.”

On the improvement of Lions WR Marvin Jones his time with Gruden in Cincinnati:
“Man, I’m fired up for Marvin. I’m proud of him. He’s one of those guys that came in as a rookie and really performed. He works hard. He runs every route the same – 100 percent. Great, great, great, great kid. I’m happy-as-heck that he got a contract that he was worthy of and he’s starting to live up to the expectations of being a No. 1 receiver over there. Hopefully he doesn’t have a good game against us. It will be a great challenge for Josh [Norman] and Bree [Bashaud Breeland] and [Greg] Toler and [Quinton] Dunbar. But I’m happy for Marvin and the success that he’s had.”

On if criticism affects QB Kirk Cousins:
“I don’t think it’s necessarily right. I think maybe it was more ‘could be getting to him, possibly’ because there’s a lot of it. But I don’t think it has. I think he’s proven that it hasn’t. I think a normal human being when you read all those criticisms over and over, it could get to you. But I think talking to Kirk, he doesn’t read it at all, so it doesn’t really get to him. I don’t think there’s really a lot to that either. When you play quarterback in the National Football League, unless you’re one of the greatest of all-time – like Tom Brady or somebody – you’re going to have some negative criticism. That’s just the nature of the position. That’s what you signed up for and that’s going to happen year-in and year-out, game-in and game-out. That’s why really the only substitute and the only antidote is winning football games.”

QB Kirk Cousins

On his performance against the Eagles:
“I think we did well. I think we had 500 yards of total offense. If we do that every week, we’ll be a pretty good offense. There’s always going to be plays you want back, but I think it was a pretty good offensive outing. A few more plays would have been even better, but you’re never going to be perfect. We were pleased with what we did as a whole unit. And [we’ll] try to continue to take steps forward now each week.”

On returning to his home state of Michigan:
“Yeah, there will be a lot of people from my hometown coming over, I would guess – a lot of Michigan State people may be at the game hopefully. All of my friends growing up in Michigan were Lions fans and followed the team closely. That was the team growing up around my hometown. There should be a lot of familiar faces there in the stands on Sunday.”

On if he ever attended Lions games:
“The big thing for me was that the high school state championship was played at Ford Field. And so we always talked as high school football players and as kids, playing at Ford Field in high school. [We] never even considered being able to do it as a professional player. [I] didn’t even come close to playing there in high school – we lost in the first round – but to get to go back and play there now as a professional is a pretty cool experience. I did play there one time in college. We actually played Alfred Morris and Florida Atlantic at Ford Field, so I have only played there one other time before.”

On reports that media criticism affects his play:
“No, that’s not accurate. I don’t even know what you guys are saying. If I did, I probably wouldn’t be as friendly up here [laughter]. I’m pretty ignorant, so I like to keep it that way. I have no idea what you guys are saying.”

On his ability to extend plays last Sunday:
“There’s no formula for it, it just happens. You just play and guys come open. The movement in the pocket is just a part of the pass rush, feeling like it’s affecting and you have got to get out. If guys are open in rhythm and the pocket is clean, you just don’t have to do that. If it doesn’t feel like guys are getting open, or the pocket starts to breakdown, that’s where you have to play off-schedule. It was good to be able to do that a couple times and have some productive plays. But you never go looking for that. You just try to play and allow your instincts to lead you into those.”

On being “in the zone”:
“It’s just one play at a time. You can feel like you’re in a rut and then suddenly you can hit a 60-yard touchdown pass and you can feel like you’re in the zone and suddenly you throw a pick-six. It’s one play at a time. You never try to get too high or too low, just be locked in at all times and never lose focus for one play.”

On if how they played Sunday is how they always want to play:
“If we can put up 500 yards of offense 16 times, we’d be a pretty good offense. So I guess you could say that. Like I said earlier, there’s always going to be plays that you feel like we could have had 600 yards of offense or 700 yards of offense. That’s what you’re always going to do. We did some good things. We ran the ball well, we made the plays we had to make to win, but we’re always going to go back and say, ‘How can we be better?’”

On how he keeps players positive:
“I just go about my business. I don’t walk into huddle and say ‘OK, guys, we’re going to stay poised. Nobody panic.’ We just go about our business. I haven’t been around this league forever, but in five years I’ve learned that things can change pretty quickly. You never try to get too high or too low, and just don’t ride the rollercoaster and be mature about it. Be a professional and trust that if you do that, good things will happen in the long run. But we just go about our business. There’s plenty of guys that do the same in the locker room. We just keep taking it week-to-week.”

On if there’s something that helps a team win close games:
“There’s a lot of parity in the NFL as to why you would succeed in those moments or not. It could be a variety of different reasons. Obviously over the long, long haul, several seasons you could run a study and see if you’re able to out-perform the league in those situations. I don’t know that there’s any special way to prepare for it or any special fix. If there was, every team would be doing it constantly. But, the margin for error is so small in this league. I’ve said it before, the difference between 5-11 and 11-5 can be pretty small because of how many times these games come down to one or two throws, or one or two penalties, or whatever it may be. But, there’s no doubt that the guys who can make those plays at the end of the game are the ones that get remembered and the ones that get a lot of the credit.”

On the offensive line’s growth:
“We had a pretty good offense last year, a pretty good offensive line. I mean, we only allowed 20-some sacks and I thought we ran the ball effectively last year and did some good things. So I don’t know that they suddenly just are playing so much better because they set a good standard last year as well. But, we said it at training camp, we thought we had good offensive linemen. We knew they had to stay healthy. Guys have stepped up and played well and it’s no surprise because they’re talented players. They’re professionals. They work hard at it. They’re well-coached. They come out here every day and they want to get better and they look at what they can improve upon. But there’s no doubt we have a good group of guys up front and they’re a big part of why as a team we were able to win the last four games.”

On how WR Josh Doctson has handled his injury:
“Yeah, I mean welcome to the NFL in terms of the fact that, yes, he’s upset, frustrated, disappointed that he can’t help the team as a competitor and a person. He wants to help us. But he also knows that he’s got to get himself healthy and his best chance to help us is to be out right now and to be getting healthy. So I try to tell him to just stay patient. In the long scheme of things, which I’ve said many, many times standing here, it’s a marathon not a sprint. It’s not necessarily about this week or this year. This team wants you for the long haul. So do everything you can to be healthy for the long haul, not just for this week or this year, and that’s what he’s doing.”

On CB Josh Norman saying the offense is getting closer to a 40- or 50-point performance:
“Forty or 50 points? Yeah, I’d love for the other team to score zero. You know, it’d be cool. Maybe we could combine it and win 50-0. But as we alluded to earlier, there’s a lot of parity in the NFL and that usually isn’t the way things happen. But I guess he and I both are looking forward to that game. If everything goes right, I’m sure it can happen.”

On having Offensive Coordinator Sean McVay in the booth and how that’s helped the offense:
“It’s been going well. We’ve won four games, so the final result has been positive. He’s handling it well. I think he’s able to see things well from up there. You do lose something in sideline communication a little bit in the sense that he’s not sitting right next to you at all times. But you take the good with the bad because there have been positives as well. So we’ll stay the course and keep trying to put up yards and put up points.”

On Lions QB Matt Stafford:
“He’s playing at a very high level right now. It’s impressive. He’s had some impressive years in the past. [He] is one of the best pure passers in the league in terms of what he can do in his arm strength and his accuracy. And watching his tape against the Eagles last week, I was very impressed with the plays that he made off-schedule. Some of the throws that he’s able to complete are high-level of difficulty throws. He’s had a phenomenal career up until this point and he’s got a lot of good years ahead of him. Our defense has a big challenge this week going against him with all the plays he can make, and we as an offense also view it as a challenge because we know we’ve got to put up points to be able to try to give us a chance against their offense.”

Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell

On being on the coaching staff of the 1985 Louisville team that featured Jay Gruden at quarterback:
“I was the Defensive Backfield Coach at that time on Howard Schnellenberger’s staff. I just remember him – obviously much like you see today – he was very sharp and was athletic and could play the position. I was only there one year, and obviously he went on to have a really, really fine career. But yeah, he and I, we go way back – that was a while back. I was a young man then – a younger man I should say.”

On having so many close games this season:
“I think it’s kind of the norm in the league, for the most part. Just take a look at it. It’s been that way ever since I’ve been in the league – it’s my 16th year coming up – that the great majority of the games, there is a team with the ball in their hands, they’re either trying to drive it down the field and score to tie it up or go ahead, or you’re on the other side of that coin. But they’re always close. Typically it’s a one-score game, for the most part. They’ve all been tight. I just think that’s just because of the way the salary cap is structured. There’s a lot of parity in our league. There may be a couple teams that end up with a two-score lead, or maybe you see one week when there’s a blowout of some sort. But for the most part, it’s going to be nip-and-tuck all the way through. Matter of fact, one year when I was at Indy [Indianapolis] in 2009, we came from behind – we were 14-0 to start off the season – we came from behind seven times in the fourth quarter to win. So I would say it’s the norm.”

On what separates teams in close games and if it can be attributed to randomness:
“No, not random. Teams make plays. They make plays down the stretch that make a difference. We’ve been able to squeak a couple out that way. But that’s why you want your team to be able to perform and handle tough situations. But you’d like a little bit more breathing room, but we certainly haven’t been able to get much.”

On what gives teams an advantage in close games:
“You know, I think it varies. I think it varies – just like you said – week in and week out. It changes but, you know, certainly it’s a matter of teams have been in that situation before, which most of the teams in our league have been and it’s just a matter of who makes the plays and it doesn’t necessarily end up being in one category or the other in terms of who comes out on top. “

On the changes on the Redskins offensive line since moving Spencer Long to center:
“Well, you know, all I notice is that it’s one of the finest groups in the front that there is in our league. You know, Trent Williams without question is an unbelievable athlete, does a tremendous job. He’s fun to watch but not fun to play against. And I see [Morgan] Moses moving around, big guys that can move and athletic and obviously Brandon [Scherff] who’s an old Iowa guy as well plays extremely well in their guard so I think overall it’s just a heck of a group. They’ve been doing extremely well and they’ve been running the ball well.”

On protecting QB Matthew Stafford:
“You know, it’s going to be a battle. I mean, obviously [Ryan] Kerrigan on the outside, that’s putting pressure on quarterbacks and [Trent] Murphy comes in and does the same. I mean, all across the board they are very, very good upfront and we have to do – just like we do every week – just go out and fight and try to keep our quarterback as clean as we possibly can. We haven’t been able to do so consistently but our guys are I think growing and developing and getting a little bit better week-by-week.”

Detroit Lions WR Marvin Jones

On playing for Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden in Cincinnati:
“Yeah, I love Coach. It was never a dull moment when we’re in those meetings. He definitely kept it fresh and entertaining. Yeah, it was good, it was real good. He knows his stuff. He puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback to make sure he knows everything, all the checks, and really give him the freedom to get everybody in the right play. Yeah, so it was good.”

On lining up against Redskins CBs Bashaud Breeland and Josh Norman:
“It’s going to be great, you know. They’re a hard working bunch and obviously Norman’s one of the best in the league, so as a receiver, trying to be great and having high expectations, you want to go against one of the top DBs. And it’s going to be a good battle.”

On what stands out to him about Norman:
“Well, he has great instincts, has great instincts and is very confident in his ability to cover and to know different concepts and routes. And, yeah, he’s just a great all-around player. This is somebody that you want to go against every game. You want to have games like this where you can go against that caliber player.”

On how Lions WR Golden Tate’s return has affected the offense:
“Oh, it’s been great, obviously. We all knew the day would come when he was going to light it up and that’s what he does. You know, every day he’s out there in practice and that’s what we all do, and that’s what we want to become. And, yeah, it was a great day. He’s excellent obviously with the ball in his hands and it was good for him, and it was good for us.”

On Tate’s touchdown celebration with the Lions’ cheerleaders:
“Oh, it’s funny, I didn’t even see that until after the game. I think I’d seen his Instagram or whatever. It was pretty funny, pretty funny. Pretty entertaining.”

On every Lions game being decided by a touchdown or less this season:
“You know, there were some games where we started in the low and ended up fighting back. Most importantly, this is the NFL, so we played against some good teams and you never know what you’re going to get. That’s why you have to… us as a team, we have to put our best foot forward right off the bat and for four quarters. So, we’ve been in some tough matches and it showed how resilient we can be when we put everything together and go through those battles. And I think it’ll help us in the long run.”

On if close games are good for the NFL:
“I think it’s definitely great for the league because those are nail-biters. Those are games people are going to want to watch. But, obviously our goal is to not have it close, but that’s how it is. But in terms of ratings and stuff like that, I’m pretty sure the fans appreciate it because they sit on pins and needles. But, yeah, our job is to win by as big of a margin as we can, but like I said, it’s the NFL and we go against some good teams and some good defenses and good offenses with great schemes, and that’s just how it ends up.”




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