August 2, 2017

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On what he has learned about the wide receiver group:
“Well, everybody is just kind of fitting into the system and that’s part of it. I’m trying to see what they’re comfortable with and see how fast they learn and process things. I’ve been impressed so far with all of them. They all bring a different skill set to the table. [Jamison] Crowder has missed the last couple of days but I have a good idea of what he can do. I think [Josh] Doctson is progressing nicely. Obviously Terrelle Pryor has made some splash plays out there and he’s learning the system. The rest of the guys and some of the new guys we’ve got have done a nice job. So we’re just going to keep firing out there, keep throwing the ball – 7-on-7, red zone, third-down drills, and then get them in the game and see how they do.”
On what kind of receiver Josh Doctson can be:
“Well, we drafted him the first round because we thought he could be spectacular. We thought he was the best receiver in the draft and there were some decent receivers in that draft. He’s big, he can run, he judges the ball outstanding, he’s got big strong hands. The big thing is to keep him healthy and hopefully he’ll prove that we made a very good pick last year.”

On how RB Chris Thompson has improved as a runner:
"He’s gotten more opportunities, number one, and he’s stayed healthy. You know, I think that’s the big thing. He’s got very good vision, good patience and then he’s got the burst that you need. He’s also run through some tackles, which is good. Chris’ value obviously is on third down. He’s a great pass protector and he’s very good on the option routes and routes out of the backfield. But when given the opportunity to actually run the ball or get the ball handed off to him, he’s been very productive and it’s not just on outside runs. He’s been good on the inside runs, too. He’s got a low center of gravity, good vision and has great ball security.”

On if there was any hesitancy to stick with LB Junior Galette as he tried to return from two Achilles injuries:
“No, as I hesitate for the answer [laughter]… No, the way he worked to get ready after the first one was pretty impressive. He is ready to go and unfortunately right before training camp he popped the other one. It was just awful for him and to just close the book on him and say goodbye, I just didn’t think would be the right thing to do. Our organization, I think, made a good call and brought him back again and we’re glad we did because he has shown flashes out there, being very explosive and very good."

On how close Galette looks to the player he was before his injuries:
“You’re right, we haven’t seen him a whole lot at full strength. He popped it in the two-minute drill not too long after he was practicing [in 2015]. So unfortunately we haven’t seen him live a whole lot. I remember him in New Orleans, how productive he was and the burst he had and the production that he had. I don’t think he’s that far off quite frankly, I really don’t. I think it’s been quite incredible to see how far he has come in a short period of time with this thing. He’s done an excellent job working. He’s lost a bunch of weight. He’s got a ways to go, he’ll tell you, from a stamina standpoint. You know, he’ll tell you football shape and running on a treadmill and running outside is a little bit different, but he’s getting there and I think he’s going to get there come regular season.”
On how a player considered at the top of his position like T Trent Williams can improve:
“You know what, I don’t know what else he can do. He can always improve. Everybody’s looking to improve. You never stay the same, you either get better or worse and that’s no different for even a great athlete and player like Trent. So you just have got to continue to work and I think the way he works with Coach [Bill] Callahan, he doesn’t take any periods off, he’s always out there with the guys. I think he’s going to get better. He’s lost a little bit of weight and I think he might even be a vegan, whatever that means. The things that he can do with his body and athleticism is incredible. He’s by far I think the best tackle in the league and we’re glad we have him. But it’s also good to see a guy with that type of talent and skill set work as hard as he does. That rubs off on the younger guys, the guys that are up and coming young players. They see a guy like that with much talent, that much production over the years – and Pro Bowls – work that hard, you know, it makes the other guys say, ‘Hey, I better work harder because I’m not as talented as him.’ So it’s great to have him. He’s a great leader and he’s going to keep going.”

On playing Bob Marley songs before walkthrough:
“You guys told me I needed to get some songs on my iPad so I wanted to check it out. I’ve heard some songs before but I just wanted to try to get the team pumped up with a little Bob Marley. I have to turn it off after stretch otherwise Coach Callahan will kill me.”

On dedicating a whole practice to special teams:
“There’s a couple reasons why I want to focus on it. Number one, we can hit all four phases at the same time, and then two, I want to get some of the big guys and skill guys a rest. We went two days in a row pretty hard in pads and very few times do you go three full days in a row in pads. So I thought it was a good time to get some special team work and focus on that. We had a big meeting on special teams last night. Give the big guys a little blow, get them some stretching and let them get a really good lift in there.”

On the chemistry between Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine and the group of running backs:
"Yeah, and Mack Brown too, and obviously we just added [Kenny] Hilliard, so I’ve got a good group and it’s led by Randy Jordan. I think he’s an excellent running back coach. He meshes well with those guys. He’s a great teacher of fundamentals and those guys play hard for him. They’re all very unselfish, really. You see Rob Kelley is the first one to congratulate Chris Thompson when he scores, and same thing with Chris and Samaje. They all root for one another and that’s good to see. A lot of times nowadays it’s, ‘I want the ball, I want this, I want this,’ but all of them are very unselfish and they’re willing to do the little things like block downfield and do all the things that are necessary for a successful back. Unselfish, they’re all durable and they’ve all done a good job, and they’re all competing."
On if a back with Perine’s running style can help in the red zone:
"He can. He’s a powerful guy, and a lot of times in the red zone, you’re going to have some unblocked players whether it’s a safety, you might not be able to get the backside linebacker on some of these runs because everybody is so condensed down there, there’s going to be some unblocked players so you better have a back who can run through them or make them miss. We feel like he can do that. He can move the pile, get the tough yards, along with Rob Kelley, and that’s important down there because numbers don’t add up. When the quarterback hands the ball to the back, you’re going to be one or two short possibly in the running game. So you need a guy that’s a big back that can burrow through there and get the tough yards and Samaje and Rob can both do that."

On C Chase Roullier:
“He got some extra work. Spencer [Long] was sick yesterday, he had a little stomach virus and Chase got a lot of work. He’s done a great job, he really has. For a rookie to come in here and handle all the things he has to handle, it’s been very impressive. Chase has got a ways to go obviously but he’s on the right track. He’s a true center. He might have to play a little bit of guard from time to time. If he’s going to dress on game day, he’s going to have to back up guard and center. So, well get him going, but the starting point is to really find a good center. Ronald Patrick also got some extra reps and he did a good job at center also.”

On TE Jordan Reed’s visit to a specialist in North Carolina:
“Nothing earth shattering came out, just a visit over there and checked him out. Everything looked pretty good. It’s just a matter of taking care of him and getting him the right rest and when he’s fully healthy we will get him going.”

On if his outlook has changed for Reed being prepared for the regular season:
“I try not to make an outlook. I said when I first heard about it, I said a couple of days and I was probably was a little eager to say that. So I’m just going to wait and play it by ear and see how he’s doing. Jordan’s pretty good about his body. He’ll be truthful about it. I don’t want to rush him back and have him twist his ankle or hurt his toe again. So we’ll wait until he’s 100 percent. Hopefully it will be before the first game obviously, but it could be next week. We don’t know yet. We’ll just play it by ear.”

On the team’s rule proposal to have touchbacks on kickoffs through the uprights moved to the 20-yard line:
“Well, there are certain things that we don’t all agree on, and I did not agree on that rule. I thought that was kind of silly [laughter]… I’m OK with that rule not being in place. There’s a lot of things that have been proposed around the league. Somebody said they wanted a point for that, too… The rules are fine. I was kind of against it going to the 25 in the first place. But I wasn’t against that rule changing.”

T Trent Williams

On what he’s seen in his one-on-one practice battles with LB Junior Galette:
“A lot of speed, explosive, elusive. All the same qualities that made him one of the best pass rushers in the league.”

On if Galette has returned to where he was prior to his injuries:
“Yeah, you know, it happened so early. We didn’t really get a chance to go against each other. So I didn’t really get a chance to see him in action two years ago. I mean, speaking on today, yeah, he looks the same.”

On if getting his hands on Galette is the key to neutralizing him:
“I mean, I’m bigger than him. You know, he’s a smaller guy, so that’s the case with most guys. If we can get our hands on them we’re good, but it’s so hard.”
On what makes Galette a good pass rusher:
“He’s an eight-year pro, so he’s smart. He knows the game. He’s been around for a minute, so he knows how to use his rush to his advantage. I mean, he’s just a really good player.”

On practicing against different types of pass rushers:
“It helps me a lot. It’s a changeup. Having Preston [Smith] who’s a bigger body, probably a little stronger, a little longer, two totally polar opposite types of pass rushers. The changeup helps me tremendously.”
On if the offensive line boxes at practice:
“We do. I think Coach [Jim] Tomsula requires the defensive guys to do it a little more, but, yeah, we all do it.”

On if he notices any difference in the defensive line since they’ve been boxing:
“I mean, you can just tell Coach Tomsula has put his mark on all the guys. [They’re] so much more active with their hands and they’re getting off the ball, they’re pressing the point. They’re very strong. He’s teaching them how to use your momentum against you. A lot of things he taught Justin Smith back in San Fran, a lot of things he did well, it’s kind of shedding on the defensive line over here.”

On players standing out on the offensive and defensive lines:
“I mean, all the guys are playing well. They’re competing at a high level. I don’t know if it’s anybody that people don’t know about. Everybody knows how good Junior can be. Everybody knows how good Jonathan Allen can be. I think he’s showing a lot of promise. [Anthony] Lanier, he’s bulked up. I mean, even Preston [Smith] has gotten a lot stronger, a lot more certain in his moves. Joey Mbu came back in great shape. He’s coming off the rock pretty violently. It’s a number of guys up front who I think are having a pretty good camp.

On the first seven years of his career:
“It’s been pretty much a roller coaster. We’ve had some great times, we’ve had some bad times, but the good thing about football is every six months it all recycles and starts over. Everybody’s on a clean slate, everybody is 0-0. We have a lot of talent on this team, and we have a lot of confidence.”

On S D.J. Swearinger’s talk on the field:
"The minute he steps on the field, you can tell he’s a vocal leader, and he lets you know he’s there [laughter]. Everybody, from an offensive standpoint, I mean, he’s backing up what he’s talking, so it ain’t like you can call him out on a lot. It’s quiet out there, no music, sometimes you just get tired of hearing it and you just give him a little chatter back, but I mean for the most part, it’s nice, it’s clean, it’s healthy competitiveness and it’s what we need."

On DL Jonathan Allen:
“He’s really explosive off the rock. He learns quick. A couple moves that I would do and it would take a few times to catch on, with him it only works once and you’ve got to switch it up. He’s extremely strong so you have to be very mindful of playing with a good base when playing against him. He knows not to get past quarterback depth, which a lot of young guys make that mistake. You run them by pretty easy. I was just impressed when he gets to the depth of the pocket he turns his rush back into you. And like I said, he’s pretty strong, so it’s pretty eye opening. He’s making good strides, man, just being a professional for only a few days.”

On the last time he faced a rookie like that:
“I don’t really recall us having any highly touted defensive lineman as a rookie to come in.”

On players similar to Allen around the league:
“I mean, around the league, there are good guys, but you don’t really give them 100 reps in two days against them. They don’t catch on as fast because they don’t have as many times to see it. I think that’s what impressed me the most because he [Allen] didn’t have to see it that many times before he made his changes.”
On Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy calling Williams the best tackle in the game and what Williams can improve upon during training camp:
“I mean, obviously it’s flattering when any one of your peers think enough of you to call you the best at your craft, but to me, I’m grading myself every year. I don’t really lean on outside sources to tell me how well or how bad I’m playing. Every year I’m looking at my film and I’m looking at a way to get better. I’m not really looking at things I did well. I’m looking at things I didn’t do so well. I can always be better technically. You can always play more consistent. That’s one of the things in this league, everybody is so good, it’s kind of hard to play at a high level every play. I’m crazy enough to think that I can do it, so I’m going to keep working until I get there.”

On how much his grueling offseason workouts are a mental test as much as a physical one:
“It’s all a mental test. I think the biggest kicker about it all is you don’t have to be there. So any time they tell me to go up that hill, I had the freedom to walk out anytime I want to. So I think having that heart and the mental toughness to stay there and go through it day in and day out, I think it definitely makes you tougher mentally and it gets you confidence in the work that you put in. It’s probably only maybe one percent of guys who will sit out there and do that on their time off. For me it gives me confidence, and like you said it lets me just focus strictly on football and not having to come in and get in shape or whatnot.”

On stability in the starting five on the offensive line and the next step in the group’s development:
“I think the next step is just running the ball more effectively, continuing to protect Kirk [Cousins] and keep him upright. I think when we can all put our hand in the dirt and move the line of scrimmage and keep the ball going downfield on the ground, I think that makes us more effective as an offense. [When] you can control the game, it takes a lot of pressure off the defense and it breaks your opponent mentally when you pick up first down after first down and you stay in third-and-manageables. It opens up the whole playbook. For us, I think the next step is being more consistent and running the ball.”

On what it takes to run the ball consistently:
“It takes a lot. Running the ball is a lot more than just the five guys up front. But at the end of the day, we are the engine to the car. We can be more consistent. With the experience, with everybody with another year in the offense, the right side is really young and the center – really young – and with the more experience they get, the better they are going to play, which is scary because they are already playing at a really high level. But I know from experience that in this league, the more you play, the better you get. I think it’s going to come with time and hopefully this season is the time to take that next step. That’s about it, man, and some luck – some guys staying healthy. There’s things you can’t control, but if we have the ball bounce our way and have all five guys every game, that will help us out.”





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