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Game 12 - Philly. No biggie. Just a season in the balance ...

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  1. #1

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    Default Skins Quotes 12/6/16: Gruden, Cousins, Pederson, Cox

    December 7, 2016

    Head Coach Jay Gruden

    On the injury report:
    “OK, this will be a while. Spencer Long and [Will] Blackmon are both in the concussion protocol. Did not participate was [Chris] Baker, ankle; Ricky Jean Francois, knee, foot; [Anthony] Lanier, lower leg; [Shawn] Lauvao, groin; [Ty] Nsekhe, ankle; [Donte] Whitner was ill. Limited were [Jordan] Reed, shoulder; Preston Smith, groin; Will Compton, hip; Brandon Scherff, ankle; Derek Carrier, knee. Full: [Jamison] Crowder, hip and [Bashaud] Breeland, ankle.”

    On his concern this week with the list of injuries:
    “Yeah, we have a lot of concern but hopefully these guys have some time to get some treatment and the majority of these guys will be up and running hopefully tomorrow or Friday or Saturday. But we’ll have to wait and see.”

    On G Shawn Lauvao’s injury:
    “We didn’t know about it. He didn’t give us that information until after the game. He said he tweaked it and came in for treatment the following day.”

    On if TE Jordan Reed is still day-to-day:
    “Yeah, it’s still day-to-day and he’ll see another doctor today or tomorrow, I think, after practice. And we’ll just go from there.”

    On if Reed’s range of motion has improved:
    “It’s progressing. Yeah, there’s no doubt he’s progressing, but it’s obviously not where he wants it – where he needs it to be. But we’ll see how he does tomorrow.”

    On the importance of having T Trent Williams back considering the number of injuries:
    “Well, it’s important to have him back regardless of the injuries or not because he’s one of our best players on the football team. So it’s great to have him back. He’s in great shape and ready to roll.”

    On the challenges of having a practice with so many injured players:
    “Yeah, it was a challenge. Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday. So, you know, that’s part of the deal. This late in the season a lot of times that has to happen with these injuries. You can’t wear them down even more. So sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part of it will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a little bit.”

    On options at guard:
    “Yeah, you know, Arie Kouandjio. He took the majority of the reps today.”

    On how Williams looked today after missing the last four games:
    “Well, we didn’t do a whole lot today, but Trent always looks good. He’s, like I said, in great shape. He’s big, strong, fast, physical. That’s how he looked.”

    On if he felt like he needed to say anything to Williams before practice:
    “We welcomed him back, but no. He knows the importance of these last four games and how much he means to this football team. And he’s ready to come in and compete.”

    On the decision to designate C Kory Lichtensteiger to return:
    “I think we have to get him back up and running, very important. I think his calf is in a position where he can move around a lot better. He’s a lot more comfortable. With Spencer’s status unknown, I think it’s important to have another center in here to back up Sully [John Sullivan]. So Kory’s obviously played a lot of football around here. He can play center and both guards. He’s got to get back in the flow. He hasn’t taken a lot of reps here in the last seven, eight weeks. But he’s a veteran guy, he knows the system, and he’s a guy that we can count on if need be.”

    On if Lichtensteiger could be counted on as the emergency center this week:
    “Yeah, yeah; we have got to make sure he’s OK. He’s going to go through practice today and tomorrow. He looked OK today, so that’s a good sign.”

    On what WR Pierre Garçon brings when he is on the field and what the offense loses when he is not:
    “He has been on the field all the time, so I’ve never had that issue with him not being on the field. That’s the best thing about Pierre is his durability and availability – he’s always there. He can run every route in the route tree. He’s a tough guy that can catch balls across the middle, strong [and] physical hands, and then after the catch is really where he makes his hay. He’s a physical runner and runs through arm tackles. He’s an all-around good, solid receiver for the NFL and for us.”

    On his level of concern for the injured players:
    “All of those guys are concerns, quite frankly. I think especially the ones who did not participate. But if they are on the injury report, something is ailing them and they have to get better. Some of these guys obviously will be able to play a little bit banged-up. Hopefully they’ll be a little less banged-up come Sunday, that’s the intent, but there is concern with every one of them.”

    On if going for fourth-and-shorts is a spontaneous decision or part of his philosophy:
    “I think it’s confidence in the offense, number one, and, quite frankly, the defense if you don’t get it, that if you do give away a short field that they’ll get the ball back for us. But mainly, it’s confidence in the offense. We have a big, physical offensive line, we have got a big [running] back, and we have a quarterback where if we want to do a bootleg or if we want to drop back and throw it, we have confidence that he can make an accurate throw. Confidence in the offensive line that can get movement, we can get a foot or a yard or two yards, and confidence in the quarterback to get it done.”

    On if the defensive line injuries will require corresponding roster moves:
    “I don’t know yet. I’m not intending to right now. [Anthony] Lanier is probably the biggest question mark of that group with his lower leg injury. We’re hoping that [Chris] Baker or Ricky [Jean Francois] become available, but we have A.J. Francis, we still have Cullen [Jenkins], we still have Ziggy [Hood – they’re all in good health. So we should have enough bodies there.”

    On the defense allowing third down conversions:
    “It was not good enough. You look at it two ways – A) they made the plays, and B) we didn’t. We had some opportunities in man coverage to make plays. We just lost our leverage for whatever reason. In the zones, we had chances to get interceptions or tipped balls and we didn’t break on the ball like we normally do. We had a couple good pressures that got home and made Carson [Palmer] throw it a little bit quicker than he wanted to, but the coverage wasn’t tight or sometimes the coverage was tight but he bought time until somebody got open. It’s a combination of things that’s been addressed and been talked about and been corrected. Hopefully we move on from it, learn from it, and obviously get better because we’re going to have to in order to compete the way we want to.”

    On if there was any fallout from Sunday’s game:
    “No, no fallout whatsoever. I think everybody understands that it’s an emotional game, it’s a physical game, and we didn’t get the job done. People react differently and it’s my job to coach, it’s their job to play. Sometimes that coaching style will change from time-to-time, but these guys are grown men. They understand what happened Sunday. It’s all and gone right now. We learn from it and now we’re moving on to Philly.”

    On if DL Matt Ioannidis could fill in with the injuries:
    “Yeah, he played a little bit last week and we like where Matt is going. He’s come a long way from training camp to now. He’s a little bit stronger and I think played about seven or eight plays but that could be a lot… that could increase this week obviously with the injuries.”

    On if there is disappointment knowing that WR Josh Doctson will not return this year:
    “Yeah, I think that’s a big thing. It is disappointing for all of us. You know, we had high hopes for him coming out of TCU and the talent that he has and he’s disappointed but these things happen. There’s been a lot – if you look around the league, there’s a lot of first-rounders that didn’t get up and running this year for whatever reason and a lot of draft picks. So he’s just one of the guys that we have to take good care of. We have to make sure we get to the bottom of his injury and hopefully this gives his mental state of mind some peace that he can go out and rehab it and get it well for OTAs.”

    On if it makes it tougher knowing they have multiple wide receivers with expiring contracts:
    “I think when the season is over we start talking about that. That does make it tougher but we’re not worried about that. I think right now it’s all about trying to get the guys that we have to play well and play hard and get us to where we want to go. When the season is over, we’ll address all the free agents, the receivers and all of them in general, so that time will come.”

    QB Kirk Cousins

    On the return of T Trent Williams:
    “Yeah, I think you said it well. It’s great to get Trent back under any circumstances, but when so many people are banged up, it’s a real needed shot in the arm. So, glad to have one of our best players back and I know he’s ready to go and love to see his urgency and excitement coming back.”

    On C John Sullivan’s performance in place of C Spencer Long:
    “Well, it helps because John is so experienced and has played for so long in this league and played at a high level on some winning teams. So thankfully because of John it’s a pretty seamless transition and he’s done a great job all season, but in the game and this week getting ready , he’ll be ready to go if needed. If not needed, then we’ll go with Spencer and we also have Kory [Lichtensteiger] ready in a pinch as well.”

    On why he’s had success against the Eagles:
    “I think every game is its own entity and I don’t know that the sample size is large enough really to say there’s a correlation. I just think that each game you see what can happen and you never know. So I think there’s starting to become a familiarity from both sides. I think they’re starting to figure me out and I’m starting to learn more about them as individual players. So that always counts for something as you get more familiar and that will be a challenge as they start to learn my play better and better.”

    On the importance of depth on the offensive line:
    “Yeah, depth is important in this league and that goes back to the OTAs, training camp, developing players, our scouting department continuing to bring in talented players, scouring around the league for the best players available. So it takes a lot of different people and it takes coaches – specifically on the offensive line, Coach [Bill] Callahan – getting guys ready on such short notice. So it’s a big part of the game, especially when you’re going against a front-four like we are against the Eagles that can really rush the passer, that really don’t have a weakness. You need five guys, and preferably six or seven, who can really play. And that’s part of the reason I think we’ve been able to weather the storm of losing Trent [William] and losing Kory [Lichtensteiger] is because of that – having that depth.”

    On Williams staying involved and staying around team during his suspension:
    “Yeah, I think this is year seven now for Trent, so he’s a seasoned veteran and he understands what it takes to win. And chemistry and leadership are a big part of NFL locker rooms and having success because the talent difference between teams is very small. So he understands the example he sets on a daily basis and the importance that it carries. He did a great job of staying engaged and cheering guys on and it’s great to have him back.”

    On how he handles pressure late in the season:
    “I just go about my business. I think you take it one game at a time, that’s the best way to manage it, and just enjoy the process. We’ll see where we are in a few weeks but I can’t play the game today, I can’t play next week’s game today. All I can do today is prepare and go to practice and have a great practice, and I thought today I had a great practice and that’s a good step. So I just try to manage it one day at a time and trust that if I do that, good things will happen. But there’s no doubt that it’s an important four-week stretch here.”

    On if he could field another question about the offensive line:
    “Sure – I love raising offensive line awareness [laughter]. This is great. They deserve to have a whole press conference devoted to them.”

    On the offensive line’s ability to be effective despite the injuries:
    “Unfortunately, you guys have to leave during practice, but if you could stay, you would see the work they’re doing in one-on-ones and the work they’re doing just with Coach [Bill] Callahan practicing picking up different fronts and pressures and stunts. I mean, they are down there working really hard. Coach Callahan has a drill for just about everything that could come up in the course of a season. There’s a great deal of hard work. Being well-coached makes a difference. All those guys have bought into what Coach Callahan is teaching them, and there’s a good culture in there. They support one another, they work hard. Obviously having great leadership at the top with Trent [Williams] helps. Everybody is working really hard. They just have got a positive attitude, they want to win and compete. No surprise when you do all of those things, good things tend to happen. I think Sean McVay does a good job of calling plays where he’s trying to put them in a position to be successful.”

    On Arizona running Cover 0 in the final two plays last week:
    “Every team has different philosophies in different situations. But, no, that’s a big part of critical plays. When we were in London playing the Bengals, on third-and-13 just across the 50 on the last drive of the fourth quarter, they brought a Cover 0 in a crucial moment – we were able to hit it and get the first down. But that is something that happens in crucial situations – many defensive coordinators will choose to bring Cover 0 and make you get the ball out of your hand and see if they can force an errant throw. It’s not something that happens all the time, but it can be a pretty common philosophy around the league. It certainly showed up there in the game. We practice it so many times to be successful in those situations that the frustration was not coming away with the play there that we needed. It goes back to a lot of mechanics and not getting the protection where it needed to go, and you put yourself in a disadvantage to try to make the throw.”

    On building up rapport with the wide receivers against Cover 0:
    “You know, we talk about experience and banking reps and building chemistry – that’s an example of that greater theme. But, no, it really doesn’t matter as much on the route as it does the mechanics of our cadence, being able to undress what they’re doing, and then the protection – needing to make that audible – and if you make that audible, things are different. There’s a lot of moving parts and we weren’t able to make the play there.”

    On what he learned about himself during his stretch last December:
    “Just that it can be done. I really view every game and every season as its own entity. I don’t like to believe that, ‘Well, we did this, so I’m confident that it’s going to work out.’ I really feel you have to go back and earn it from the jump all over again. We were able to finish the season strong last year. It can be done again, but by no means do I feel any type of calm or comfort drawing on last year’s finish. I think we have to do it all over again, and last year really has no bearing on whether or not we deliver this year.”

    On the consistency of WR Pierre Garçon and what they would miss without him:
    “Well, I love Pierre’s versatility because he can do it all. You’ve seen him catch the deep ball and run by people. You’ve seen him catch intermediate routes. You see him catch screens. You see him block in the run game. You see him make contested catches. You see him run over people once he catches the ball. There’s a versatility there where, OK, now you may now have his replacements have certain specialties; Pierre has the ability to just step out there and, OK, he can cover it all. That helps as a quarterback, that helps as a play-caller. But his consistency is not to be taken lightly. It’s a great comfort to me. He’s just a phenomenal competitor. He works really hard, prepares really hard. He’s a difference maker on our team. He has been now for several years. He’s a guy that you’re glad he’s been able to stay healthy and continue to contribute.”

    On the crowd in Philadelphia:
    “Historic franchise, a great fan base. The entire NFC East really is unique in that sense of how many historic teams and fan bases you have. No place on the road in the NFL is easy, but Philly is right up there with anyone. That’s why our communication, our preparation, our chemistry has to be really sharp and tight, because if it’s not, usually when you’re playing on the road, you get exposed.”

    Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson

    On how the return of T Trent Williams changes the Redskins’ offense:
    “Well, obviously any time you can get one of your premier offensive linemen back, it helps. You know, it’s going to be like us in a couple of weeks when we get Lane Johnson back. It’s just going to give you more added depth and is going to help you out. You get that body in there, so I think it’s going to be a big benefit to that offense.”

    On the development of Eagles QB Carson Wentz:
    “I think he’s right on track. I think he’s right on track to where he needs to be and where he’s going. You know, there’s things that we’re working on obviously in practice but we’re asking him to do quite a few things with our system and he’s managed it extremely well and he’s made some outstanding throws and kind of those throws that when you put the film on you kind of sit back and go ‘wow’ from the way he can rifle the ball. But, you know, it’s a growth process. He’s learning the game, but overall he’s doing a nice job.”

    On handling the expectations and emotions of his players this season:
    “Well the beauty of it is I just keep my messaging the same. I keep the process the same. We have a plan, we have a process in place and we trust it. I have got great leadership on this football team. They take everything to heart. They don’t waver, they’re all in, very supportive. It’s obviously a tough stretch and we haven’t played as well as we’d like to, but at the same time, these guys are working hard every single day in practice and getting themselves ready to play on game day.”

    On his growth as a head coach:
    “Well, I’ve definitely… You know, I’ve learned quite a bit, from managing the game – not only from calling plays offensively but also being on the defensive side and you know special teams and managing the game that way – and so it’s been a learning experience for me obviously and one that I’ve gotten better at as the year has gone on. And it just makes us all… it makes myself better as a coach, makes me that more in tune to what we’re doing in all three phases of the game, but, you know, are there mistakes that were made? Yeah, there were some things earlier in the season that I would do differently, but those were all learning experiences for the first time.”

    On QB Kirk Cousins:
    “I’ll tell you what, of course it goes back to college, I really liked working him out. I had a private workout with him and had a great day up there, spending it with him, so I really liked him coming out of college. Sharp kid, knows exactly where to go with the ball, utilizes his personnel extremely well. They protect him there. He’s really beginning to come into his own as quarterback and he’s obviously taking care of the ball, but sharp kid and got that offense. He’s managing that offense extremely well. You saw it not only on – I know it was a loss –
    but Thanksgiving Day against the Cowboys and just how well he handles those situations. He’s tough, he gets the ball out of his hands, he’s smart, he knows exactly where to go. He’s playing extremely well.”

    On preparing for TE Jordan Reed:
    “Well, he’s definitely a big, explosive player for them and we went into the first game obviously prepared if he were going to play and we’ve got to do the same thing this week. They’re so many great assets and weapons on that offense that, you know, if you’re going to try to take one person away, there’s two or three other guys that can definitely hurt you. But his presence is definitely felt. I think even in his absence though I think that Vernon Davis has played well. You see the speed coming back with him. [Pierre] Garçon is playing extremely well, DeSean [Jackson] is playing well, so they’ve got some guys that are very explosive other than Jordan.”

    Philadelphia Eagles DT Fletcher Cox

    On how they can regroup after losing the last three games:
    “You know, overall, I think we just need to get back to what we were doing the first half of the season. That’s just everybody running around, having a lot of fun and it’s just minimizing mistakes and just go out and play football, you know? Get everybody back and relaxed and playing the game that they love.”

    On his takeaways from the last time they played the Redskins:
    “Well, I think that they were two-dimensional in that game. They had a lot of success running the football and throwing the football, and I think when a team, when they’ve got that type of balance, it’s kind of hard to manage it. I think they did a really good job of running the football and they’ve got a bunch of great players over there.”

    On the growth of QB Kirk Cousins in the last few seasons:
    “Well, I think as of now he’s making a lot of quick decisions. He’s not taking a lot of sacks. He’s getting rid of the ball. He’s taking what the defense is giving him, and when a guy is doing that, I mean, you’re not taking a lot of sacks. I think he’s been sacked like 12 or 13 times this year, and that means he’s getting the ball off and they’re doing a great job up front blocking for him.”

    On their struggles to record sacks in recent weeks:
    “You’ve just got to keep going. I mean, a bunch of teams… Like I said the other day, it’s a copycat league. I mean, when teams see what they’re doing is just getting the ball out quick or when they’re not getting the ball out quick… they know we’re only rushing four. A lot of it is keeping seven in and get a quarterback time, get the routes to develop and get the ball down the field. But we have to do a better job when they do give us those chances, you know, if it’s a five-man protection of getting to the quarterback and getting him on the ground.”

    On if Cousins’ quick decision making changes the way he approaches the game:
    “No, absolutely not. I think at one point, at one point at some point he has to hold the ball and whenever you hold the ball, we’ve got to get there. We’ve got to keep it contained. We know the guys in the back do a great job of making them hold the ball, making them hitch you know two or three times, to let the pass rush get there and when that happens it’s all good things”

    On if there is a ‘revenge’ factor in this game after the last two seasons:
    “I mean, I think our main focus is to make this game about us on Sunday. I think we have to go out and play our best game because we know they’re going to do the same thing. We just have to go out and execute each play, eliminate the mistakes and eliminate the penalties that as a defense that we have been doing on third down, just stuff that’s been shooting us in the foot. We have to eliminate those things to win the game on Sunday.”

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    I don't care what Gruden says it's what he does that matters.

    And with a defense ranked #30 in third down efficiency the clear answer is to run the ball more, control the clock and limit the number of opponent reps on offense over 60 minutes.

    That's how Dallas has managed to go 11-1 despite having a secondary with some glaring holes.
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    On the defense allowing third down conversions:

    It's plenty bad. Being at the bottom in allowing Red Zone TDs doesn't help. Being at the bottom in scoring anything in the Red Zone really sucks.
    Considering how close the final scores have been in their losses, even a minor improvement in either category would have yielded at least 2 or 3 more wins.
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