September 28, 2017

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On injuries:
“Did not participate was Ty Nsekhe. He had a core muscle surgery on Tuesday. Limited were Jordan Reed with his rib/sternum; Rob Kelley, rib; Mason Foster, shoulder; Matt Ioannidis, shoulder. Then full was everybody else – Josh Norman, [Samaje] Perine and [Montae] Nicholson were all full.”

On how long T Ty Nsekhe will be out:
“I think three to six [weeks] probably.”

On if the injury occurred when Nsekhe played on offense last week:

On if T T.J. Clemmings is the next player up after Nsekhe’s injury:
“Yeah, T.J. will be the third tackle.”

On Clemmings:
“Well, he played a lot in Minnesota. Two years in Minnesota, played some tackle and guard, so he has got some experience, which is good. Now just making sure he is up to speed with our terminology and our protection calls and our runs. That’s the key, but he is a good athlete and obviously it’s good to have that type of experience in NFL games to be a third guy.”

On if the percentage of TE Jordan Reed’s health has increased:
“I don’t know. We will see. He felt better today, did more team stuff today. But we will have to wait and see. So I don’t know.”

On if the upcoming bye week factors into the decision with Reed in the hopes of giving him three weeks to recover:
“Yeah, that or you play him and he gets two weeks rest, right? So, either way. We have a bye week [laughter].”

On what makes Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt difficult to stop:
“I think he has great vision, number one. I mentioned the contact balance that he has and obviously he has got the speed to run through holes. He has done very good. They have a great scheme over there. They keep you off-balance. They have got the zone reads going. They have got the jet sweeps. They have a lot of things that you don’t see every day in pro football. Coach [Andy] Reid does an excellent job with his offense and disguising his intent, using a lot of different guys to touch the ball, a lot of skill. You worry about the running back and [Travis] Kelce hits you. You have got [Chris] Conley with a lot of speed out at wide receiver. So a lot of weapons and they utilize them extremely well.”

On what he has seen from WR Josh Doctson in practice that can help carry his momentum forward:
“We have seen that in practice. It was good to see it in a game finally. Now it is a matter of continuing to work on his route tree. We know he can run a go-ball, now we have got to work on his other stuff and the timing. He has shown that he can do everything. I think it is just a matter of putting day after day together and game after game together. He is on the right track without a doubt. We are excited to get him more reps and more balls.”

On if the tight ends working with the offense tackles is common:
“Yeah, we have been doing that all the time. That is part of the deal. They work on their combination blocks and outside zones, insides zones and duos and all of that stuff. So they have been doing that since I have been here.”

On Chiefs QB Alex Smith:
“He is one of those guys that can avoid trouble and hurt you with his legs. You can have everybody covered downfield, but he can rush for the first downs on third-and-eight, third-and-10, whatever it is. So he’s a guy we have to really contain in the pocket, and when he does get outside, we have to make sure we stick on the receivers. Our plaster drills become very, very important. They have great speed, so he does an excellent job in the pocket buying time and then running for key first downs.”

On what S D.J. Swearinger has added to the team:
“Attitude and leadership. That’s what he has brought. And he brings a skill level. Being able to play multiple spots, he is not just a box player, he is not just a hole player. He can do everything and he can cover. He is a very diverse safety, which is key in this day in age when you have to cover guys like Kelce or you have to cover a running back like Darren Sproles or whoever out of the backfield. So he can do a little bit of everything. Two-deep, three-deep, quarters, cover people, blitz. He has been very effective, but really the thing you like the most about him is his attitude and what he brings to the defense.”

On what exactly Swearinger’s attitude brings to the team:
“It’s one thing being a vocal guy, but you have to back it up with production and sound play and know what you are talking about. I’ve had guys before that are talkers that don’t know what they are doing, but he brings both. He brings an edge to him that rubs off on people. Not to say we didn’t have that before, but it is just an added dimension with him being here. He also has a great knowledge of our system already and he can communicate that well with the other safeties, young safeties, the linebackers and what have you and the corners. Communication is key on defense, especially when you play a team like Kansas City too with all the multiple formations and the zone reads and the jet sweeps and all that stuff. It’s going to be crucial and he is a big part of that.”

On if he is impressed by how quickly the new additions on defense have jelled:
“I am very impressed. The good thing is that they all played. Stacy [McGee] missed some time with his injury last year at Oakland, but Terrell McClain played a lot at Dallas. Obviously Zach Brown played a lot at Buffalo. He was a Pro Bowler and D.J. played a lot at Arizona. Those guys aren’t like they are brand new guys who haven’t played a lot of football. These guys have played a lot of football. It is just a matter of getting together with the terminology and playing well with your teammates. What drew us to those guys – Jonathan Allen, obviously – was their work ethic, how hard they played. They all seemed like smart guys and they fit in well.”

On if having an player like WR Tyreek Hill makes Hunt more dangerous:
“Yeah, both. They fake the jet sweep and hand it to Hunt, and they give the jet sweep to a guy that runs a 4.1 40 [yard dash]. So a very difficult offense to defend and then the quarterback can keep it and flip it to Kelce on a little shovel pass. They do a lot of good things and it’s just something that we have got to be gap sound. We have got to make sure we are keeping our leverages and not giving up the big play. These guys have scored a touchdown of 50-plus yards in nine games in a row. They are a big play team and if we can limit the big plays and try to make them methodically move the ball down the field, I think we can have some success. We just have got to figure out a way to eliminate the big plays with Tyreek and Hunt and Kelce and Smith and Conley and all of them. But I think we will be up to the challenge and the guys are ready for it.”

On when DL Matt Ioannidis sustained his injury and if DL Anthony Lanier II is the next player up:
“During the game, rotator cuff sprain. [His] shoulder… Yeah, he [Lanier] is the next guy up if something happens, but we are hoping that… he [Ioannidis] practiced a little bit today on a limited basis. We are hoping that he gets stronger and feels good and he should be fine, I hope. We will see.”

Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky

On S D.J. Swearinger’s presence:
“Well, I remember him back in the day being in Houston from being in Indy all those years. [He’s] just a fiery guy – a guy that knows football across the board and I love that. I love his spirit and he gets guys around him to rally behind him and [he’s] taking us where we need to be. We’re not there right now, but we’re getting there.”

On why he feels the unit ‘isn’t there’ yet:
“We’ve just got to put a couple games back-to-back. I think, you know, we played good the other night but I’m just saying we could get better. I think, overall, we’re pulling together as a defense. It’s going to take a little bit of time but we’re getting better.”

On if he learned lessons from the unit’s success last week that he can carry forward:
“Yeah, you know, it’s great to get a lot of reps of seeing these guys playing together. Sometimes when you’re coming out of the preseason and stuff, some guys get 10 reps, 15 reps or 20 reps – it’s hard to get a good judge on what they can do and what they can’t do. Overall, we’ve been pretty successful in the last couple of weeks. From the players’ perspective, they’re doing a good job. I think they’re building camaraderie amongst themselves and we’re playing together and good things happen.”

On how the defense has been able to coalesce so easily this year:
“Well, you know, a guy like D.J. and [Kendall] Fuller pulling these guys together from a back-end standpoint. With Zach [Brown] and with Comp [Will Compton] and Mase [Mason Foster] and then the defensive line, you know, with Ziggy Hood and the guys we have up front… You know, just pulling and rallying behind each other and we’re playing as one. That’s the biggest thing.”

On how quality safety play helps cornerbacks:
“Well, I think communication-wise, based upon what he sees out in the field and what the safety sees, I think communication between the corners and the safeties is vital whenever you play, and same thing with the linebackers. It’s that communication. And I always tell the guys, ‘I really don’t care what call... I don’t have a magical crystal ball, and as long as you guys are on the same page, we’ll have success.’ That’s what we had the other night. Some calls were different than what I called, but it didn’t really matter [laughter]; they at least played the same call, you know, which was good and we had success at it.”

On the challenge of slowing down Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt:
“I think [he’s a] great back, he’s been doing a great job this year. I don’t know, 400-some yards he averages right now, but a good football player. We’ve got to get a lot of hats around him, make sure that we tackle him. He can break tackles, seen him do that many a times. You know, No. 10 [Tyreek Hill] in the backfield and No. 13 [De’Anthony Thomas] in the backfield – two fast guys that can really split you down the middle and also running the ball. [They are] two effective guys that can run to the edge.”

On if it’s different than approaching other backs:
“Yeah, I think they’re different backs. I think No. 10 and No. 13 did… 13 did play a little bit in college as a running back, but I’m just saying overall, I think No. 27 [Hunt] is a bigger cat. He can run through blockers where No. 10 and No. 13 are scooting around them a little bit more, so we’ve got to make sure we have multiple hats there and get there.”

On communicating play calls to the players:
“Sometimes the communication system goes, you know, in some of those games. I was actually calling it in too fast, which was kind of weird, and the clock wasn’t on and he didn’t get the call and it was messed up. It was my mess up.”

On how the play call was executed in those instances:
“They made a call and they played it. So whatever the call was that Zach [Brown] made in the middle, we played it.”

On if Martrell Spaight or Zach Brown called the plays on the field:
“Yeah, Zach was making them. He was making them. And a couple times the headset thing went wiry a little bit but we got back into it.”

Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid

On Redskins RB Chris Thompson and his view of the way the Redskins use him:
“Well, they have got a great coach that knows offensive football, but I’ll tell you what, when you turn on the tape, [No.] 25 jumps out at you. He is doing some really good things out of the backfield. He’s fast, quick, can catch, all of those things. He is a good player, a real good player.”

On how WR Tyreek Hill and RB Kareem Hunt have helped diversify the Chiefs’ offense and expand his play-calling:
“They’re good players. Good players make you a good play caller, right? I mean, that’s how that works, man. Those two are something else. I’m proud of them for – they are two individuals – but I am proud of both of them and how they have handled it. Kareem is just starting off here, but he has done a nice job. Then Tyreek came in a bit under the microscope and has done a nice job of making sure everything is right on the field and off the field. I am proud of him for that.”

On his impression of Redskins Defensive Line Coach Jim Tomsula and his stint as Head Coach in San Francisco:
“I think he is a heck of a football coach. Every situation is different. Some things are out of your hands. That’s just how things work in this league, but if you give him guys to coach, he is going to coach the heck out of them. That D-Line is playing unbelievable football right now. He is a heck of a coach.”

On what makes Tomsula a good coach:
“I think he is a good teacher and then he gets his guys to play hard and fast. He takes the complex and simplifies it for them. You see them playing their hearts out for him.”

On losing S Eric Berry and trying to replace him:
“Eric got hurt and you know you’re not going to replace Eric with an Eric Berry. I mean, he is a rarity in this league and he is at the top of his game. When he got hurt there, he was at the top of his game. So that’s not what I am asking the guys to do. I am asking them to go in and be themselves and to play. Between [Daniel] Sorensen and [Eric] Murray, they have done a nice job at that position and played good football for us. So that’s how I look at that.”

On if he has any concerns about keeping his team united:
“Not at all. We have a great locker room. This is what is great about America. We all get to do our thing. You get to write what you want to write. You get to say what you want to say as Americans here and you get to express yourself. So nobody is being hurt. That’s not what’s happening right now. It’s people expressing themselves and I have got a great locker room and I haven’t sensed any of that at all. They are as together as anybody.”

September 27, 2017

Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith

On the Chiefs’ offense and their formula for success:
“I think for us it has always been about – I think – consistency. I mean, you want to be able to… Every offense is multiple and does a lot of different things. I think you want to be consistent. You want to be able to go out and execute in all those phases and all those different things you try to do. So for us it is that. When we have been good, we’ve done that. We’ve been consistent. I think we have been taking steps forward. I think the times we have struggled, though, have been self-inflicted penalties, getting behind the chains and putting ourselves in tough situations. But like any offense, like I said, I think when you go out and execute and you’re doing consistently the things that you are trying to execute well, you are going to put yourself in a good situations and have a chance at success.”

On the Redskins’ defense and what it did against Oakland:
“Yeah, a dominant game against Oakland and really played really well, I think in the first two games. Really, really well across the board. I think these guys make you prepare for a lot. They played about every front and coverage there is. They are smart and they know what they are doing. They disguise well. They play really, really fast. They are physical. I think their front has played really, really well and set the tone for them. And then on the back end, they’re a veteran group on the back end. Everything is coordinated, you can just tell. You can tell they’re well-coached. You can tell they’re disciplined, play hard, play physical. So it will be a tough, tough challenge for us, but like I said coming off a week – especially like last week against a really good Raider offense –they just felt like they were suffocating.”

On how he goes about preparing for an unfamiliar team like the Redskins:
“Yeah, I mean, I think it’s no different than a lot of these – especially cross-conference games – that you only play once every four years. I mean, we haven’t played them in four years, you know, so you try to familiarize yourself as fast as possible. You try to watch a lot of tape and that’s kind of the name of the game on a weekly basis, but like I said, especially with these cross-conference games, you’ve got to get on it quick. Certainly the extra day helps, but like I said, they’ve got an extra day as well. But, yeah, you’ve got to watch a lot of film fast and play catch-up.”

On his familiarity with TE Vernon Davis:
“Yeah, Vernon and I played a lot of years together so he’s someone I still obviously follow and keep in touch with and am always happy for. [I’m] happy for his success and how he’s doing, happy for him obviously going back home and playing there with the success he’s had. So it’ll be fun to see him.”

On last week’s demonstrations and what to expect in coming weeks:
“I think it was an emotional weekend for a lot of guys that have a lot of pride in the NFL and the kind of fraternity and brotherhood in the NFL. I think you saw that. I’m not sure what it’ll be moving forward, I guess we’ll find out. I’m certainly in no position to try to forecast that.”
On RB Kareem Hunt:
“I mean, he’s stepped up into a big role. It hurt when Spencer Ware went down in the preseason and we had a big void there. Kareem has, obviously, in these first three weeks, really stepped up into that. And for a young back to come in and play the way he has and handled all this stuff, not just physically but mentally, certainly says a lot – not only about him as a player, but his preparation as well.”

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