September 6, 2017

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On injuries:
“Limited were Ryan Anderson, stinger/neck; Spencer Long, knee. Full participation was Junior Galette, hamstring; Josh Doctson, hamstring; and Montae Nicholson, shoulder.”

On how the chemistry is progressing between QB Kirk Cousins and WR Josh Doctson:
“They’re still in process. I think they’re in good shape. Josh is such a smooth route runner and a natural wide receiver that it makes it easy for quarterbacks. Not a concern there, just the longevity of it, make sure Josh’s stamina is up to par, which I think it is. He’s in great shape and he’s looked good the last couple days.”

On having a fully healthy offense:
“We’re excited. It’s always good to have your guys healthy and ready to go. It was good to get Jordan [Reed] back in there full-time and Josh [Doctson] and all the guys. Jamison [Crowder] is full-go, offensive line is in great shape, Spencer [Long] had a decent day today. He’s working toward it, being full-strength. They look good. They’re crisp and running around well.”

On his expectations of LB Junior Galette:
“I think what I expect and what Junior expects are pretty similar. We expect him to come out and play well, be a great pass rusher for us. He’s hungry. He’s been dying to get back on the field. He’s excited to play. So I’m excited to watch him play. Hopefully we get them in some third-and-longs to get him an opportunity to rush. That’ll be the key for us. Let him get his hand on the ground and come around the corner like he does so well.”

On the growth in RB Rob Kelley from last year until now:
“I just think from a general overall knowledge of the game, he’s a lot better equipped, I guess. He knows protections, running lanes, the steps, the footwork and all that stuff. He’s a lot more comfortable or more natural where now he can get the ball in his hands and do his thing. Been impressed with how he’s progressed from his rookie year to now, but games are starting, so we’ll see how they do.”

On Doctson being a “natural wide receiver” and how much that can help speed up chemistry-building:
“As you know, this offense is built on timing and anticipation, so it’s very important to have receivers that you know. Unfortunately they haven’t worked a lot together, he or Terrelle [Pryor Sr.]. So we’ll see. The jury is still out, but like I said, he is a very natural route runner, very friendly quarterback target. He runs and gets in and out of his breaks smooth. He gets his head around. He’s at the right depth. He understands the route tree very well. He knows how to run everything. There’s not a route that he can’t run. We’ll see how it goes, but I feel very good about where he is as far as mentally and his approach to running routes at receiver.”

On the evolution of Cousins’ preparation in his third season as a starter:
“He’s always going to prepare himself. That’s not the issue. That’s the one thing that you have to be consistent about at the quarterback position. That can’t vary, whether it’s Monday Night Football, Super Bowl or Week 1 of the preseason. You know, you have to continue to prepare yourself, and he’s very good about that. We do have to have a sense of urgency. This is a division game, it’s a home game, so it is an important game for us. So hopefully everybody understands the importance of this game. I think we do have to take it very seriously, which we are.”

On if a sense of urgency was lacking in the preseason:
“I think that’s always the case in the preseason. I think a lot of guys who have been in the league for some time may not have quite the same approach to a preseason game as they would a regular season game. But, you know, this is different. It always is.”

On Doctson’s confidence level:
“Ask him… He looks fine. He looks good. Josh has never lacked confidence. He just hasn’t been 100 percent healthy. He’s a very confident player. He was the top receiver in the draft, we thought. He made a huge impact in college football when he played at TCU. So I think confidence is not an issue with Josh.”

On how important it is to rush Eagles QB Carson Wentz:
“It’s always important, it’s always important. Like I said earlier, the important thing is stopping LeGarrette Blount and the running game, and they have a good running game with him. When they bring in [Darren] Sproles and [Wendell] Smallwood and all those guys, we have to somehow figure out how to get them third-and-long, try to make them one-dimensional. When we’re at our worst offensively is when we’re one-dimensional. That’s the case for the majority of offenses in pro football, so we have to try to get them some third-and-longs and put our hand in the dirt and let Ryan Kerrigan and Junior Galette and all the rest of the guys rush.”

On if C Chase Roullier would be the backup guard as well:
“Yeah, we’d probably make a two-man switch if that happened. Hopefully it doesn’t happen. If Spencer [Long] is our starter and he went down… Did you say if Chase was the starter?... If we needed a guard? Yes, we’d probably make Spencer the guard and Chase the center.”

On QB Alek Torgersen:
“You know, I studied Alek a lot. I think at Penn he had a good career, and then I watched every throw that he had in the East-West Shrine game and I thought he had a good, quick arm and an accurate arm. We actually thought about trying to get him here as a free agent but I didn’t really want to go four quarterbacks, you know I needed that spot for somewhere else, so we just went with three quarterbacks. He became available and we lost Nate [Sudfeld] so we decided to grab him.”

On Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery:
“Alshon makes a difference in any offense. He’s a big guy that can run the entire route tree very similar to what I’m talking about with Josh [Doctson]; Josh hasn’t done it yet. But he can go up and get the ball, he can run, and obviously he’s very good after the catch. He’s one of the star receivers in this league and he’ll be a big impact for them.”

On the matchup between Jeffery and CB Josh Norman:
“What was good about it? Well, it was a very competitive matchup, they both made some plays for sure. When you have a great corner like Josh and a great receiver like Alshon, Alshon’s going to make his share of plays and hopefully Josh can make his share or [Bashaud] Breeland if he’s on him or whoever, so we’ll just have to compete.”

On Philadelphia’s defense:
“Well, they harass you. They have a very active front is what they do. Their defensive ends are very strong, they line up and use wide nines and they get up the field and hurry. They have two internal players that are excellent, Fletcher Cox and [Tim] Jernigan and last year they had a couple other guys that were very good. They have blitzes that are unique and effective, and their defensive backs, they do a good job of playing good man coverage and they mix in their zones every now and again. They’re just a harass… they move their front a lot and make it hard to run against and then when you do have to get in third-and-long, they have a good blitz package and they can get home with four guys. [Vinny] Curry’s a heck of a rusher off the edge, Brandon Graham’s a good rusher, I talked about Fletcher Cox, they’ve got [Chris] Long that can come in the game, they’ve got the first-round draft pick [Derek] Barnett, who’s a very good pass rusher. The key for us is to, like I said, stay multi-dimensional. One-dimensional and we’ll be in trouble.”

On the mindset of the team going into Week 1:
“Yeah, we’re very hungry. I think Wednesday doesn’t really give you an indication of what they’re going to be like on game day, it’s more teaching them and installing the game plan. Thursday’s will be very similar. We’re going to do more third down, really focus on that part of the game and then Friday’s we’re going to focus on red zone and short yardage and all that stuff. So, really, this is learning and trying to get our people in the right position so come Saturday, Friday afternoon and Saturday, they feel good about the plan, they can play fast on Sunday. I think you’ll see Thursday afternoon and Friday they’ll start to rev it up a little bit. They’ll be ready.”

On Cousins’ nook/office:
“Don’t know what you’re talking about [laughter]. Oh, the one here? I thought you meant at his house. But yeah, he’s got it. We’ve got him all set up.”

On if Cousins had been bugging him for a space like that:
“Yeah, he wants somewhere to watch film in private. He’s a very private person. He makes his own notes, he’s a unique individual when it comes to that – very detailed. That’s a good thing … sometimes [laughter].”

On any player/position decisions that stand out on the depth chart:
“As far as depth chart? Yeah, I mean, they’re all not easy. They all take a lot of thought and all the things we’ve done in OTAs and training camp try to weigh in and in the preseason games and you try to come up with the best solution. Free agency – we’re excited about the guys we’ve got, especially D.J. [Swearinger]. I think D.J. was an excellent pickup for us. He’s a great leader of the defense obviously. He was voted captain after just being here. I’m excited to see Jonathan Allen play. We haven’t had an interior pass rusher like that, or an impact-type player like that in a long time and I feel good about what he can do. So we’re excited about those guys. Offensively, we’ll see what Terrelle [Pryor Sr.] can do and I’m excited to see Josh, but as far as our 53-man roster, we feel good where we’re at. We feel good about the depth, but that will be in flux from time to time throughout the course of the season. We’re trying to get the right match of players and just continue to play hard and get better.”

QB Kirk Cousins

On his feelings going into the season after feeling “burnt out” from over-preparation this time last year:
“I would say I’ve done a better job managing it. I feel that each year I’m going to get better at handling my role and how to be best prepared each week. It’s been a good offseason, I’m ready to go. Feel like the last six weeks, through training camp and through preseason games, it’s never been perfect but it’s been a good six weeks. We’ve done all we can to be ready for this first game.”

On having all of his weapons available:
“It’s great to have everybody healthy, at least for this week. We’ll see from there. Around the league, because the margin for error, the difference in talent from team to team is so small, injuries do play a major role in the outcome of seasons and division races. If we can stay healthy, it’s going to give us a major advantage later in the year. We work for that, train for that and we do have some depth, that’s going to be an advantage for us hopefully down the road. I’d like to think we can get all of our guys going, spread the ball around, let them all show what they can do and give us a lot that the defense has to focus on.”

On the plan if his first child arrives on a game day:
“I think the plan is to not have a plan in the sense that if I can be there, I’m going to be there. If I can’t, I can’t. I’m going to get there as fast as I can, whenever my commitment is over. Obviously the biggest commitment is the game, but we’ve talked about how it’s going to look and we’re just going to react accordingly whenever it happens.”

On his chemistry and timing with WR Josh Doctson:
“I feel pretty good because Josh is a natural receiver and has done it a long time. He was able to watch last year and sit in on meetings and learn our offense. He knows what it should look like. He watched some really good players, some veteran players do it last year. It doesn’t take a lot of time to get him going. We just do need him out there for him to be able to show what he can do and really make a difference for our team and for our offense. I’m excited for that just like I’m sure the fan base is to see what he’s got in the tank. We’ve had a good week of practice here. We’ve just got to continue to give him opportunities.”

On what Doctson does well to be a “natural receiver”:
“Natural hands, tracks the ball well. He’s got good speed, he jumps well, great size, long arms. Smart player, laid-back personality, doesn’t take things too seriously in the sense that he just goes out there and enjoys the game and plays. He tracks the ball really well in the air, which is a tough skill to be able to have.”

On what challenges the Eagles’ wide-nine defensive front presents:
“I could say a lot of things about the Eagles’ defense. I’ve always respected their pass rush, not only their players they have – which they have great pass rushers – but also the scheme. I’ve always respected Coach Schwartz and their defense and the way they come after you. Just constantly put pressure on you, even sometimes with only three or four rushers, you still feel them. I’ve always respected Malcolm Jenkins as a safety and really the entire unit. I think Jordan Hicks is a very good Mike linebacker. He’s a smart player, you can tell he’s a good leader for them. Mychal Kendricks has always been a guy who plays fast, plays downhill. He’ll strike you. Just a lot of respect all the way around. Very versatile players who can do multiple things. It’s going to be a good challenge."

On his previous success against the Eagles and what has worked well against them:
“Well, we found ways to win last year but it certainly wasn’t perfect – and it never is. When you go back and look at it, there are plenty of plays that you want back. And if you go back and look at our production against them, they kept us in check quite a bit. We’re going to have our hands full. They do have a good scheme. Then when you think about the fact that it’s now their second year in this scheme, that gives their team ability to get the personnel catered to what they want and to have more experience. It’s going to be a really good challenge, and it’s what you expect. Week 1, Redskins-Eagles. I think it’ll live up to how intense you expect it to be.”

On QB Alek Torgersen and transitioning him into the system:
“I asked him today, I said, ‘Is your head spinning, or how do you feel?’ He’s handling it well. It is a lot to pick up. He does a good job of understanding a lot of the big terms and techniques. He really has picked it up quickly. The challenge is in all the little nuances. That takes sometimes years. Having been in Atlanta, there’s some carryover. He was around a really good offense this past offseason through training camp. I’m even asking him questions, trying to learn about what Atlanta has done that’s worked. It’ll be great to have him there in our room. I’m always enjoying meeting new people, collecting new people to be able to have those relationships and hear their story and learn from them.”

On his comfort level with this offense:
“I like to think I am pretty comfortable, but we are going to find out as the season goes here how much production we have. Every year I have been taking a step. I feel like every session I take a step, from OTAs to training camp through the preseason games. There is greater mastery, and there always will be, but it has got to turn into production. Unless it is leading to points and touchdowns and yards and completions and good decision making, then it doesn’t mean much to say, ‘I’ve really mastered the offense.’ So, we have got to turn it into a lot of production.”

On his new QB nook/office:
“I’m thrilled to talk about it. You know, in college we had a quarterback meeting room, but here we have always just had an offensive staff room which the quarterbacks use to meet. When the offensive staff is meeting – like Monday morning after a game, they get together to watch the tape of the game – that room is not available so I am kind of homeless. So I go to the tight end room if it is open or I go to the O-line room, just try to find an empty room and watch film. Sometimes it is the team room. I like a place to kind of leave my stuff and have notes and a white board and thoughts that I can have organized, old binders that I have kept and just have them stockpiled up. There really wasn’t a place to do that, that I could have access to it at all times. We found an old nook is the best word I can think of. It’s really not an office, but it works for me. Ms. BJ, our secretary, did a good job of getting it dressed up for me and we have talked about maybe putting saloon doors on it because there are no doors right now. We were told we won’t be able to put a door on it, so maybe saloon doors or maybe hippie beads coming down from the ceiling, I don’t know. We have talked about it, but it’s great. I go in there and I’ve got a quote on the wall. I’ve got my laptop and the video guys put a monitor in there for me. I’ve got my Jeff Foxworthy ‘You might be a redneck’ peel-off calendar every day. So I got some of those fun office knick knacks. Some of the stuff from Michael Scott’s desk from The Office I put on there to be funny. We are kind of playing up the whole office thing and it’s a good place to go to work now.”

On the quote on his white board:
“It’s an old quote from Muhammad Ali that I learned in college that says – essentially it says – the fight is won or lost long before I dance under the lights. That is what he used to say, so I put that there just as a reminder when I’m in there that often times the game can be won or lost right here when you see something or you find a tip or a piece of information that can make a difference. So, it is just a good reminder, I thought it was a fitting quote for what that room should be about.”

On what he did with his notes before having his own office:
“Yeah, I have a big bin in my basement in our townhouse where I keep all of my old stuff going back to my rookie year and really college. So I have binders stacked up. I didn’t want to lose them because some day if I coach or help out at a high school, I want to have all that information. I have got it all saved up, I’ve got game plans from previous seasons and notes on D-coordinators and stuff so it is nice now to have it all in a place.”

On his emotions in season openers and the challenge of winning the opener:
“There certainly isn’t a better way to start the season than with a win. There are a lot of emotions in Week 1. It is always a balance of not revving too much, but also not falling asleep, and you have got to find that balance. And certainly Week 1, I think a tendency for me tends to be that you’re a little too revved up. So, just try to find a way to stay calm, process, not get too excited or worked up to still be able to be accurate and go through my reads and not rush anything. That is always a challenge the first couple weeks of the year. I think you’re still finding your way and figuring out what kind of team you have and what your identity is going to be. Hopefully we can hit the ground running here right away on Sunday.”

On QB Nate Sudfeld signing with the Eagles and if he has to change his approach as a result:
“Sure, I am going to try to say a lot answering this question without saying anything. It’s a fair question. It certainly goes on. It is smart of them to do that and we are going to do the best we can to plan accordingly. At the end of the day, they’re going to have a plan and we are going to have a plan and it’s all about execution on both sides of the ball.”

On the third-down duo of RB Chris Thompson and TE Jordan Reed:
“I haven’t done a study around the league to know who would be ranked higher but I’m certainly pleased. I don’t feel a need to go look elsewhere to find somebody in those two roles. Both are very natural, great players. I’m sure it helps to have other guys who complement them. Chris Thompson, outside with Terrelle [Pryor Sr.] and Josh Doctson and Ryan Grant and on and on, Vernon Davis. When you can have other guys thrown into the mix, it hopefully keeps defenses guessing, opens up lanes for Jamison [Crowder] and Jordan. They’re a big help to our offense. They show up in big moments. That’s what great players do. We’re going to need them to do that on Sunday.”

Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson

On how RB Darren Sproles’ role will change with the signing of LeGarrette Blount:
“I think it won’t be affected that much. What I mean by that is, you know, you go into a game plan and obviously there’s specific runners even with Wendell Smallwood and you just design your run and your pass game around the guys you have. Darren has a big impact, obviously, on our offense. He will continue to maintain that role this season.”

On how they plan to use WR Alshon Jeffery this year:
“Well, he definitely gives us some experience out there. He is a big target, still runs well. Just really excited, obviously excited back in OTAs and through camp and watching he and Carson [Wentz] work. He is going to have a significant role. He is a big part of our offense, it’s the reason why we brought him in. Each week we will have a certain set of plays designed as we do with all our playmakers, and again most teams game plan that way for their playmakers. He is no different with us and Carson has to understand that we don’t force balls, but at the same time, we just let it unfold and hopefully we can get him some touches this weekend.”

On the growth and development of QB Carson Wentz:
“Well, the biggest I think is just his role on the team, his leadership on the team. Guys have embraced him, obviously as the starter. Went back to obviously a year ago when I named him the starter Week 1. I’d probably say that not everyone was on board with that. Now, he is and guys have really embraced that. You see that leadership role on and off the football field. On the football field, how he handles situational football, that’s where he’s grown tremendously, I feel – in the situational part – whether it be third down or in the red zone. And just knowing the situation is where he’s shown the most growth.”

On the signing of QB Nate Sudfeld to the practice squad:
“Nate, we obviously liked him when he came out. He was definitely on our list. Big, tall kid. Good arm, smart, all the things that you can measure definitely you can see. Obviously now getting to know him, those things really hold true. Great kid, great person, and someone that we feel gives us more depth now at the quarterback position – even behind Nick [Foles]. Just looking forward to getting him caught up and getting him in a position where, if need be, he can step in and play a little bit.”

On how the Redskins have been able to win five consecutive games against the Eagles:
“Number one, I think they obviously play extremely well, they play great team defense. They had some tremendous playmakers last year that took advantage of some situations in the game with DeSean [Jackson] and some of the play-action passes, two great tight ends down there. Great running game. And then defensively, [Ryan] Kerrigan, as we know, can definitely put pressure on the quarterback, which he did last year against us in both games. Josh Norman is an outstanding corner that has had really good – sort of the quiet game – but he’s kind of taken away our receivers. You got to give him his respect. We just have to learn to finish. We’ve got to execute. All part of coming to Washington is how well do teams… how well can we handle crowd noise, how well can we execute our offense and defense in the game plan. Just try to keep it simple, keep it small, focus on the details. It’s got to obviously be a great week of preparation for us and another great challenge this weekend.”

On game planning for a receiver like Josh Doctson without much film:
“Yeah, you know, it’s tough. It’s tough when there’s not a lot of tape on somebody. It’s kind of like coordinators – offense and defense – when there’s not a lot of film to really study or new head coaches, things of that nature. You just have to execute your game plan and obviously know where their playmakers are lined up and just focus on your own detail and your own assignment. That’s really all you can do. Just trust your gut, trust your instinct, and let the defense or offense unfold in those cases.”

On what kind of player he sees Doctson as:
“Again, I think he’s going to have a role. I think there’s going to be an opportunity for him to be an impact on that team and that’s something where the staff will have plays specifically for him. Whether it’s a Josh Norman or a Doctson, or in our case, Alshon [Jeffrey], or a secondary – Malcolm Jenkins or whatever – I mean there’s going to be opportunities for these guys to make plays. Again, it does take 11 guys, we know that. But, at the same time, these guys are going to be impact players on their teams.”

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