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  1. #1

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    Default Skins Quotes 1/2/17: Jay Gruden

    January 2, 2017

    Head Coach Jay Gruden

    On the injury report:
    “We have no injury information. We’re still gathering up all the players and their exit physicals. Won’t get that until later.”

    On Offensive Coordinator Sean McVay’s candidacy for head coaching positions:
    “Yeah, he’s done a great job and deserves an opportunity to interview and see what happens. But he’s brought a lot to this football team as far as offensively and done a good job calling plays and utilizing the people that we have. Unfortunately we didn’t get it done yesterday, but that should not affect his ability to get an interview or a job.”

    On if he has plans to change the coaching staff:
    “Well, we’re going to always look at every staff member in-house and that’ll take some time. That won’t happen overnight. We’re going to go through all that – every member of this building, thorough evaluation – and we’ll go from there.”

    On if he believes there is a chance that QB Kirk Cousins will not return:
    “I mean, there’s… he’s a free agent, so, I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to the negotiators in our building, Eric Schaffer, Dan [Snyder] and obviously Scot [McCloughan]. We all have to come to a conclusion of how we want to pursue this thing. So that’s going to come. We’re going to have player evaluations for the next couple of weeks here with our staff and general manager and Bruce [Allen]. We’ll go from there.”

    On players saying guys were playing ‘not to lose’ and if that was a factor in the slow start:
    “That could be. If they said it, they’re the players, they would know more than I would. I would hope that’s not the case but we did seem to lack aggression for whatever reason. But I think the guys, when you watch the tape, the guys played hard. They played with great effort, especially on defense, did some good things. Offensively we just failed to make plays in critical times. Whether they were tight, afraid to make a bad play, or what, I can’t put a finger on it but we just didn’t make the plays. The Giants did.”

    On his assessment of the season:
    “Well, 8-7-1 is just barely above average, and that’s kind of the way you look at it. We had some good situations, some good games, some fun times, some not so fun times. Any time you end the season after your 17th week, there’s a lot of work to do and it’s not good enough. The standards are set high around here. We didn’t reach any of them other than getting a winning season, which is one of our goals that we wanted. Other than that, we failed on a lot of accounts. We’ve got to coach better, we’ve got to play better, and turn the page and try to do some better things.”

    On assessing coaching vs. talent on defense:
    “I think you have to assess both, and that’s what we’re going to do here for the next couple of weeks. I think we got a lot out of the players that we had. The players played hard. We had some injuries to key players back there – guys fought and battled -- but we still have to evaluate everybody, player and coach alike.”

    On if they are where they want to be in terms of building through the draft:
    “We’re getting there, but we’ve had, what, two first-round picks since I’ve been here? One of them hasn’t played a down – or played one game – and the other one is a guard. We have got to utilize our picks. We have got to make sure we do well in the draft the next year or two and make sure that we continue to add to the talent that we have. We’ve had some good drafts, but we have to add to it, obviously. I think we are in sync. We have a very good view of what we look for in a football player – very similar – and that won’t change. I have a lot of respect for the work that he [Scot McCloughan] puts in, and he does also. I think together we’ll come up with a plan and get the right players in here.”

    On if he has talked with Owner Dan Snyder:
    “I have not. I just talked to him briefly after the game, and we both didn’t have a lot to say. We’re both very disappointed, obviously, but I’ll get a chance to talk to him this week.”

    On how he feels about the current process for shaping the roster:
    “I feel fine. I feel good about it. I think we make Redskin decisions around here of what’s best for this football team. I don’t think it’s Scot, I don’t think it’s Bruce [Allen], I don’t think it’s just me. I think together we make decisions and I feel really good about that. I think he listens to my input and I listen to his. Ultimately, who has the final say really doesn’t matter because we’re all on the same page for the most part. Any time you have a lot of people making decisions, it’s very important to be on the same page and be together. When the decisions are made, it doesn’t matter who makes them – we’re all in and have got to do the best we can with them.”

    On what he would like to improve next year:
    “Well, consistency in the running game is important. Obviously, situational football we have got to get better at. Red zone offense, I mentioned yesterday, third down defense, I mentioned red zone defense, two-minute offense and defense we have got to be more productive. But there was a lot of very good things, a lot of positive things – offensively especially – that we did. The running game had its moments. It wasn’t as consistent as you would like, but it’s not easy to run the ball for 150 yards a game in this league. The passing game had its flashes of brilliance, but then we struggled in key situations and key times in the red zone and big games. Defensively, Ryan Kerrigan had double-digit sacks, [Trent] Murphy almost had double-digit sacks, Preston [Smith] came on late. We have got to get more pressure on the quarterback, and then obviously we have got to be in the same page in the secondary. There’s some issues that we know that are out there that we have to correct, which is good and we can correct, but we have to go out and do it.”

    On if there is a certain percentage of the salary cap that quarterbacks should earn:
    “In my view? I have my own ideas and all that stuff. I’m not going to go into negotiations right up here. We’ll get through all of that. The time will come for all that with Kirk [Cousins] and with the rest of the free agents; we have other ones also. We have I think 13 or 14 free agents on our roster that we have to talk about and take very seriously, not just the quarterback. A couple receivers, some defensive linemen, a long snapper – I mean, we have a lot of guys out there who need to be talked about.”

    On potential areas of improvement for Cousins:
    “He’s done a lot of great things, there’s no question about it. Any time that you throw for almost 5,000 yards in an NFL season, there’s a lot of positives there. He didn’t take a lot of sacks. He did a much better job of protecting the football up until last night, he threw a couple errant interceptions. I think from Kirk’s standpoint, what can he improve on? I think just overall understanding of the game – scheme, protections – and that’s going to come with time. This is his second full year playing and he’s learned a lot, but he’s got a lot more to learn, both from a mental side and then from a physical side, maybe the ability to create some plays once in a while would be good – like he did against Chicago. A couple scramble first downs, some off-schedule plays that you see some of these guys make. Athletically, he’s not like Russell Wilson, or some of those guys, but still, maybe if he can buy time in the pocket a little bit, something he can continue to work on, get a feel for [and] take his game to the next level. He’s already at a very high level.”

    On the importance of retaining WRs DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon and what the offense might look like if they do not return:
    “Well, it would be important, but we have players in house that I like. Obviously Josh Doctson is a little… we’re not quite sure. Hopefully his Achilles is better for OTAs. When you finish a season in the National Football League, you’re probably dreaming if you think you’re going to have the exact same roster back as you had a year ago. We’re going to have a draft with new players. We’re going to have free agents. We’re going to lose some of our free agents. It’s our job to make sure we target the ones we definitely want back that really have an impact on this football team, not only from a talent standpoint but from a leadership standpoint. Both of those areas are very important to me, almost more so as a leadership standpoint. A lot of these guys have talent, but we have got to make sure we keep the great leaders in this building.”

    On the status of WR Josh Doctson:
    “I hope he has ramped it up a little by now. This is a unique deal. I can’t even guess for what’s going on with his Achilles, I really can’t. And I think it’s both of them. But the trainers are with him. I’m sure he has his own trainers [and] his own doctors, we have got doctors. Hopefully he can ramp it up, like you say, here in the next couple weeks and start running and moving, because he’s going to be a big part of our plans next year if he’s healthy.”

    On how much say he has over the retention of Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry and the coaching staff:
    “How much say would I have? Hopefully a lot. I was the main reason we brought him in here and, you know, so ultimately I would think it is my call – our call. Bruce [Allen] will have some input, Dan [Snyder] will have some input, Scot [McCloughan] will have some input, but from a staff standpoint, I like to think I have a lot of pull on that one.”

    On how he would evaluate himself this season:
    “Well, you evaluate yourself wins and losses and playoffs and Super Bowls and I think, you know, going 9-7 and winning the division last year, 9-8 after losing the playoff game to 8-7-1, you know, we’re kind of stuck right here. You know, we’re stuck. We have been a little bit. We haven’t been able to get over the hump as far as winning those close games consistently and it’s not easy but we’re going to keep working at it. I have a lot of room for improvement, as do the majority of the people in this building, so as long as we all realize that and understand that and recognize that, there is room and we can do it.”

    On what this team is building toward:
    “Yeah, I think from a core standpoint, we have a good core of players. You know, offensive line I feel great about, really. Those guys are all war daddies. They play hard, they’re physical, they’re well-coached. You know, we have a great tight end. Keep him healthy, he’s an excellent tight end. Our specialists, I think Tress [Way] and Hop [Dustin Hopkins] and [Nick] Sundberg is a free agent but those two guys are good at what they do. Defensively we have core group of guys that I feel good about. We have to add to the… obviously in the draft and maybe free agency, but I think we have a group of guys that work. You have [Ryan] Kerrigan, you have two Pro Bowlers in Kerrigan and Josh [Norman]. We have [Bashaud] Breeland, who is a young player. You have obviously Trent [Murphy] and Preston [Smith], who are good, young football players. [Kendall] Fuller is going to get a lot better from year one to year two. [Quinton] Dunbar is continuing to get better as a corner, only playing it for a year and half now. He’s going to get better. You have a good core group of guys that we feel good about now we just have to continue to build around them.”

    On his timeline for the offseason:
    “Yeah, the next couple weeks we are going to do talent evaluations on our team. We’re going to go through them very closely each player from a play standpoint, from an off-the-field standpoint, leadership standpoint, weight room standpoint, all of those, training room and really do a good job, thorough evaluation more so than has ever been done. And then schematic, we’re going to get our scheme broken down, make our cut-ups for the next couple weeks, take a little bit of time off and go from there.”

    On when the coaching assessments will take place:
    “They’ll be going on the next couple weeks.”

    On if coaching assessments will be concurrent with player assessments:

    On if he believes RB Robert Kelley will be the featured back next season:
    “I do, I do. I think he played the last couple of games a little bit banged up. And he’s one of the guys that I’m sure will probably have a scope when he’s done at the end of the season. I think great, great year for him as far as a rookie coming in as a free agent, being thrown into the fire like he was and performing like he did. I think there’s a lot of improvement that’ll be made with Robert. He’s going to get stronger, even get in more better shape. He’s going to understand the 16-game season, what it entails, how demanding it is on his body. He’s going to get himself ready to go. But he’s shown great vision, great toughness in the hole, great ball security. I think that’s a good starting point. And I like what Mack Brown did. And we still have Matt Jones here, who is young, and obviously Chris Thompson who had an excellent season as far as the third down back is concerned.”

    On what Kelley potentially starting at running back next season means for RB Matt Jones:
    “He’s got to come back and compete. That’s what it means. You know, we have depth charts. But, like I said, they’re all written in pencil. We have an eraser. We can erase it and change it. If he comes out and outperforms him, it’ll be his job. But he’s got to work at it and prove to us that he’s the guy for the job.”

    On if he agrees with players that mentioned a need for additional leadership:
    “If they said it, they’re the ones in there. You’d like to say that we good, strong leadership down there, but if that’s starting to creep up in the conversation then maybe we do need to address it. You know, we have some very good football players that may not be great leaders as far as vocal leaders. Like Kirk [Cousins] is not exactly a vocal leader, Ryan Kerrigan is not exactly a vocal leader. Maybe we need a couple more of those. But I like the way we work. That’s the most important thing. Are these guys working hard? Are they training hard? Are they working out in the weight room hard? For the most part I feel good about that. You can never have too many good, strong leaders in your locker room and we’re always looking to add to those.”

    On if he has concerns about Cousins’ desire to return:
    “I don’t know, really. That’s something for Kirk, and I think he’s really improved his game a lot in the last couple years. And a lot of it has to do with Matt Cavanaugh and Sean McVay and the players around him, the offensive line around him. So I’m sure he’s got to have some goodwill towards this organization because they’ve put him in some good situations to succeed. But as far as what he’s feeling as far as negotiations are concerned, I’m sure he’s going to leave it up to his agent. That’s what most people do. And if they come up with a deal, if we feel like it’s fair and they feel like it’s fair, and we come up to one that’d be great. If not, then we’ll see what happens.”

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  2. #2
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    I love all these wagging tongues that are now starting to say 'well, the 2017 draft has no quarterbacks of value in it, so we need to give Cousins whatever he asks for', etc or the organization will fall into an abyss it will take 20 years to crawl out of.

    I doubt those same people had Russell Wilson or Dak Prescott penciled in those drafts as starting NFL quarterbacks.

    Just because there isn't a consensus Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning upper-classman coming out, doesn't mean there aren't value picks to be had.

    I am not suggesting that we just move on from Cousins and hope to find a 22 year old replacement.

    But the idea that we have to pay him a league high tender at $23-24M over 5-6 years or write off the team until the 2020's is BS as well.

    Gruden, though, is going to go down with the ship arguing he has to have Cousins or he's going to quit or the team is going to fail, etc.

    He isn't a coach that seems well-versed with the cap and how 'cap-onomics' work.

    The one thing you don't want to do under the cap is give out the big killer contract with millions in guarantees that comes back and bites you.

    That' why Belichick trades so many players one year before they become free agents. He determines their market value and whether he wants to pay that and if not then he looks to move on, confident in his ability to find replacements in free agency, the draft, or via other deals.

    Pro bowlers like Richard Seymour, Logan Mankins, Chandler Jones, were all traded when talks of contract value and term went beyond what was reasonable to the team based on the player's age, health and position on the team.

    This may be Cousins' second season of starting in the NFL but he is already going to be 29 years old during the 2017 season. He is no longer a 'young' player.

    One of my real concerns is that Gruden has tunnel vision and doesn't really understand how a milestone contract for a guy that falls a level or two below that pay grade as the contract years pass necessarily means fewer impact players at other positions on his team.

    One need look no further than Green Bay to see how this has worked itself out. The Packers gave Aaron Rodgers a contract that to some degree affects their ability to sign other players at other positions. They are a 'draft heavy' team so that hurts them less than another team that may be less successful in finding players in April and has to sign at least some free agents.

    But in the end Rodgers validates the contract because he adds enough surplus value over the other quarterbacks he faces on a regular basis that competitive advantage Green Bay enjoys at the quarterback position allows them to wind up with some serious injuries on defense and some poor performances as well (like the Redskins in 2016) and STILL WIN THE DIVISION AND MAKE THE PLAYOFFS.

    I really don't see Cousins at 30 or 31 after another 1-2 years of starting adding that kind of value to the equation. To me what you see now is perhaps 98% of what you are going to see from him going forward.
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  3. #3
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    Maybe after laying it out against Dallas and not getting the win Cousins just lost the edge. Granted the defense is to blame for all loses but the last three Kirk really did not play well in at all.
    Against NY - 1 TD and 2 Ints. Plus he took 4 sacks. He had very good protection the first 15 games (19 sacks). Really can't blame the D for this one, they only gave up 13.
    Against Car - 315 yds/0 TD/1 Int & 15 points. Panthers scored 26 (they average 23) so bad on the D. But 15 points? At home? And throwing for 300+? Really there was something to play for here.
    Against Az - 1 INT and a Fumble. 56% completion rate, average is about 65%, Kirk's about 70%. 56% is unacceptable. Of course it might just mean that all of the receivers dropped all of those incompletions.

    Blame the defense (they deserve it) but Cousins certainly didn't do all he could do at the end. He had 12 Int's on the year - 5 in the last 5 games. 25 TD's on the season and again 5 in the last 5 games. 2 & 3 record in the last 5 games with two of those losses at home and in crunch time. The 5 games before that? 11 TDs/ 1 Int and a 2-2-1 record. This team doesn't win any more or less no matter how well he personally is playing. But his curve definitely took a nose dive at the end.

    Aaron got to sit behind one of the greatest QB's while he was waiting for his turn. Kirk got to sit behind one of the biggest QB busts. Dalton's the same age and was picked by Jay (even though he was just the OC) in Cinncy. 5 playoff losses in a row for carrot top and the Bengals will be spared of yet another one & done this season because they aren't in the WC round this year. Has Jay ever won in the NFL playoffs or does everything he touches melt in the post-season? Kirk's worth more than Dalton but Dalton is massively overpaid and might get dumped clearing $11M or so in cap in 2017 for the Bengals. But that's about Cousins' market value - $13M:$15M.

    On how much say he has over the retention of Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry and the coaching staff:
    Well he said he hopes to have a lot of say. He did not commit to saying he wanted Barry back.
    Last edited by JohnssBass; 01-02-17 at 10:20 PM.
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