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    Default Skins Quotes 9/18/17: Jay Gruden

    September 18, 2017

    Head Coach Jay Gruden


    On injuries:
    “Rob Kelley has a rib cartilage injury, he’ll be day-to-day. Jordan Reed has a chest/sternum contusion, he’ll be day-to-day. Josh Norman has an AC joint sprain, day-to-day. [Montae] Nicholson, AC joint sprain, day-to-day. Mason Foster has a shoulder dislocation and the labrum, he’ll be day-to-day; [Deshazor] Everett, knee sprain/MCL, day-to-day; [Morgan] Moses, ankle sprain/shoulder strain, he’ll be day-to-day. Those are the big ones.”

    On what he told the offense late in the fourth quarter:
    “Well, just play with poise. I challenged Kirk [Cousins] a little bit and, you know, we had six minutes to go so we weren’t really in a hurry-up mode. It was important for us to continue with our plan, mix in some runs and the passes and when we had to throw, convert a big third down to Jamison Crowder – that was huge. And obviously the pass to Ryan Grant was big. But just stick with the plan. The guys had a lot of poise and made the plays.”

    On “challenging” Cousins:
    “I didn’t really, just, ‘It’s the fourth quarter, man.’ It’s his time. It’s time for him to make the plays that he’s going to make. We had a lot of confidence in him and he had a lot of confidence walking out there and performed well.”

    On what has changed in terms of being able to stop the run this year:
    “I just think overall the team defense, I think we’re better personnel-wise, quite frankly. I think that helps. I think when you add Jonathan Allen… I think Matt Ioannidis had a heck of a game and you bring in Ziggy Hood, who is playing good nose guard football. Our linebackers are playing well, our safeties are tackling well, our corners are coming in and making tackles. You know, it’s a physical group. All our secondary guys are good tacklers, our linebackers are… with Zach Brown, we added some speed. But our defensive line with [Terrell] McClain, Hood, [Stacy] McGee, Ioannidis, obviously Jonathan Allen and then our outside backers are setting a good edge.”

    On if any injuries are particularly concerning heading into Sunday night’s game:
    “Well, I think we’ll just have to wait and see. You know, I gave them today off obviously and then tomorrow will be another good treatment day for them. We’ll start practice on Wednesday so I’ll get a good look at them Wednesday when we see them. Tomorrow will be another good day of treatment and then we’ll see where we are Wednesday. We’ll put the pads on and practice Wednesday and see how many guys can participate and go from there. But, you know, obviously Rob Kelley’s a tough guy. I think he’ll try to play with that thing, but you never know how much pain he’s in. We’ll see how that rib feels. Same with Jordan, same with Josh, same with Montae, same with Mason, same with Deshazor, same with Morgan. So they’re all a concern, but they’re all tough guys and hopefully we’ll have them.”

    On if there’s a certain position that needs to be addressed if one of the injured players can’t play:
    “Luckily we have Mack Brown ready to go. He’s on our 53-man roster. And if Deshazor and Montae are both banged up a little bit, we’ll have to think about getting Fish [Smithson] up. We’ll just have to wait and see. But let’s hold on until Wednesday and Thursday and see how these guys are.”

    On the improvements he saw from RB Samaje Perine:
    “I saw him stay… I think he did a nice job, really. I think I felt him run with a lot of power. Even after his 10th, 12th, 15th carry, I still think he had power left in the tank, which was good to see. A lot of times you don’t know how their stamina is going to be when they get more than 10-12 carries, but I think his stamina was outstanding and he ran with great pad level and got the tough, physical yards we needed.”

    On particular areas of improvement that helped the run game:
    “I just think they came off the ball. I mean, every run scheme that we had had some kind of success. Obviously they stopped some runs there in the third quarter. They did better against the run in the third quarter for a little while, but for the most part I think we were hitting on all cylinders as far as guys were finishing blocks, getting up on the right people, we were… The box count was done correctly by Spencer Long and guys were finishing plays – not just the offensive lineman. Like you said, the tight ends, Jordan Reed had a great day blocking, Vernon Davis was outstanding, Niles Paul did a great job. It was fun to watch those guys play. Last week, we just had a couple breakdowns here and there against Philadelphia. This week, we had very few.”

    On if there is an update regarding S Su’a Cravens:
    “No, I haven’t heard anything from Su’a or about Su’a.”

    On RB Chris Thompson and if there is a possibility he could receive an expanded role:
    “Oh, yeah, that’s a possibility, without a doubt. And if Rob Kelley can’t go, we’ll get Mack Brown up and ready to go and he’ll get some carries too. Still, Chris has got such a defined role for this offense and it could be expanded, but he’s so important to us on third down we just have to be careful. He’s not the biggest guy in the world. We don’t want him to get 20-25 carries a game and get a lot of pounding on that body. He’s definitely needed in pass protection and the routes and all that stuff on third down and red zone. So we’ll try to expand his role a little bit, but we don’t want to go too crazy with him.”

    On the roles of WRs Josh Doctson and Ryan Grant moving forward:
    “We’re going to continue to expand on Josh’s role. The more he practices, the more he’s going to get a chance to play. Last week, we didn’t get a lot of opportunity balls to the wide receivers. Terrelle [Pryor Sr.] made a couple plays, Ryan Grant made a big one at the end of the game. [Jamison] Crowder made a few. Their day will come. Just a matter of what defenses we’re playing, how we’re going to attack. I think yesterday was more about tight ends and backs against their linebackers and safeties. This week could be different. We could attack their corners, we’ll see.”

    On conversations he’s had with Cravens:
    “I haven’t had one. The last time I talked to him was when he informed me that he was leaving. So that’s all I know.”

    On CB Kendall Fuller’s development:
    “I think he’s done a good job. I think he’s playing physical football. Number one [thing] you look for in a nickel, you’ve got to have a tough guy in there. He can make tackles in the running game and obviously made a couple big tackles in the passing game to stop the Rams short of some third down conversions. On a crossing route he came up and made a big hit. So I like where Kendall’s at, man. I think he’s getting better and better. The more he plays, the better he’s going to get. He’s a very smart football player, very cerebral. And he can do a lot of things for us – he can cover, he can tackle. He’s going to get better and better, the more he sees, the more he plays.”

    On how to consistently run the ball well:
    “Yeah, it takes a lot of continuity in the offensive line. We’re going to play different fronts, different challenges each week. The Raiders will pose a different front, different type of challenges with Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin and some of the big guys they have, the rookie [Eddie] Vanderdoes from UCLA. So it’ll be a great challenge for us. We just have to identify the right people, get on the right people, finish blocks, stay away from the holding calls and the missed assignments and just let our backs hit the hole and finish runs.”

    On the importance of football intelligence and versatility:
    “Yeah, it’s critical, it really is. You downplay the importance of intelligence sometimes. You look at the athletic skills of a player, but intelligence this day and age in pro football plays a great role. Guys are going to have to play nickel, corner and safety. They’re going to have to play inside – both inside backers, they are going to have to play both outside backers, maybe even some defensive line. The defensive linemen are have to play nose, three, and five. The tight ends are going to have to play Y, U and sometimes a little fullback. The receivers are going to have to play three positions. That’s why guys like Ryan Grant, [Josh] Doctson and Jamison Crowder are very important. The defensive linemen we all have are very versatile. The corners and the safeties are doing a great job of learning what they’re supposed to do. We have [Will] Compton and he can play both linebacker spots and Mason [Foster] can play both linebacker spots. So having smart football players is a necessary deal here in the NFL and fortunately we have quite a few of them.”

    On if they will change the schedule at all with the game being on Sunday night:
    “The only thing I did is I gave them Monday and Tuesday off. Everything else will be the same.”

    On QB Kirk Cousins’ statistics and if there’s anything he isn’t doing right:
    “Not doing right? No, I think there are a lot of things involved in his completion percentage. We have taken more shots. We haven’t done as many of the quick passing game that really get your stats up to around 70 percent. I think those will come. I think the quick passes will come and I think we will hit some more shots down the field. I think we haven’t hit as many big plays, but for the most part I think he has been efficient. There is a lot we can improve on in the passing game, from Kirk to the routes to the protection. It’s a work in progress, but we will get there. We have total faith that we will get it done and his numbers will get better.”

    On S Montae Nicholson:
    “I think he has just progressed. We started him in training camp – obviously he wasn’t on PUP, but he was unable to practice, but he was getting all the walkthrough reps, so he was getting all the mental reps, which is important for him. Then when he was able to practice, he just got in there and made some plays. He is a big, physical guy that can run and we are excited about his prospects. Nothing against [Deshazor] Everett, we are just trying to get him out there and get him some reps. We know how important that position is. The last couple years, we have had a lot of injuries so we are trying to get all our guys ready to play. Montae has all the traits to be a great safety, we just have got to get him in there and get him some experience and the more experience he gets, the better he will get.”

    On what he learned from the team in the last five minutes of the game:
    “They are a resilient group, man. I think you have a tough loss at home against the Eagles, one that we really wanted to come out and start fast on. Unfortunately we didn’t get it done, but for them to bounce back shows their mental toughness. Then obviously with the injuries a lot of these guys played with shows their physical toughness. That’s a mark of a good football team. We just have to keep building on our performance last week, correct the mistakes that we made and move forward on to Oakland. I have got a great group of guys, man. They all work hard, they practice hard and obviously they are showing their mental and physical toughness, which is critical this day in age in pro football.”

    On why the team is so good when their backs are against the wall:
    “I think we try to keep the same consistent approach to every game. I think we try to have a sense of urgency every week. You only get 16 cracks at these things and just because we lose a game doesn’t mean we didn’t have any sense of urgency. I think sometimes the team that we played just played better than us that day. But it shows the signs that we are a mentally tough team and we don’t let a bad performance identify us as a bad team. We have to bounce back and our guys did bounce back and got a big win on the road in California. It’s not easy to travel to the West Coast and get a win against a team like the Rams, a very talented football team. But we are a mentally tough team, we have been, and that’s the type of guys we try to target in the draft and free agency – guys that are going to deal through adversity and rise above it.”

    On how close the passing game is to where he wants it to be:
    “Very close. Very, very, very close, but close isn’t good enough. Close doesn’t win you any games, obviously. We have had some plays out there that I expect us to make and I think we will make here in the near future. So we’re just going to keep sticking with the plan, getting these guys open the best way we can and hopefully we give Kirk the protection and he sees the throws and makes the throws. But we’re right there, really. I like the group that we have – the receiving group, the tight end group, the running back group, our offensive line in protection. So we’re not far away. And then with the added running game, if we can continue with the running game, it will open up everything.”

    On if anything changed that caused the passing game to click on the last drive:
    “No, not really. We stuck with the plan. Unfortunately we had a big first-and-20; I think we had a holding call on a little naked that we called to Terrelle Pryor called, so we had first-and-20. But luckily Samaje hit a trap play to get us to I think it was third down and six or whatever, and then Crowder made a big completion on a third down play for the first down. We stuck with the plan, stuck with our inventory of plays on third down and our dropbacks. The big play in the red zone was a play we worked and Ryan did a great job executing, so did Kirk.”

    On Nicholson:
    “I was impressed with Montae, the way he runs around. He had a big hit, unfortunately hurt his shoulder and his game got cut a little short. But he’s done a good job on special teams and the bit that he played in the game, he did a good job.”

    On the differences between Nicholson and S Deshazor Everett:
    “They’re different players, really. I think Montae covers a lot of ground. He’s very long and very fast and Montae is a good hitter too. Deshazor is still doing a good job at safety and on special teams. He was dinged up a little bit, too, but both of them are good football players and we plan to use them both. I think they’re both going to help us.”

    On LB Preston Smith:
    “I think he’s doing good. I think he’s doing good against the run, number one. That’s what we have to do. He’s got to set the point. You’ve got to set the point of attack, and he’s done a good job of that. And then when he’s asked to rush some, he’s done fine. I think he and Junior [Galette] had some good rushes. Junior got that critical holding call that pushed them back out of the red zone and forcing them into a field goal and obviously [Ryan] Kerrigan is doing his thing, so all three of those guys are doing a great job as far as giving a chance of pace. Preston is doing a good job. He can go inside, he can use his bull [rush] and he’s working on his get off. So I think he’s getting better and better.”

    On if he’s happy with LB Junior Galette’s role at the moment:
    “Oh, yeah, we’re happy with where he’s at. We’ll try to get him more and more in there, but with Kerrigan and Preston, we’re trying to get all three of them on the field from time to time. But I like where Junior is at. He’s getting better and better. He showed some explosiveness again in the game yesterday and I think he’s just going to get better and better as the season goes on.”

    On the Raiders:
    “I just started watching their defense. I know all about their offense. I know [Derek] Carr is playing at a very, very high level. He’s got some great receivers and the line is giving him good protection. But he can throw it in the tightest of windows. He believes in his receivers and they’re making plays for him. And then obviously the Beast Mode [Marshawn Lynch] and adding Cordarrelle Patterson as a specialty guy in reverses and the running game is a dangerous, dangerous proposition for us. They can run the ball equally as well as they can pass it. So they’ve got great balance, they’ve got a great scheme and obviously great players to boot.”





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