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    Default Skins Quotes 10/11/17: Gruden, Shanahan, Cousins

    October 11, 2017

    Head Coach Jay Gruden

    On injuries:
    “Did not participate today was Josh Norman, rib; Zach Brown, illness; Ty Nsekhe, his core muscle; Deshazor Everett, hamstring; Rob Kelley, ankle; Trent Williams, knee. Limited was D.J. Swearinger with a hamstring. Full were [Josh] Doctson, [Montae] Nicholson and [Mason] Foster.”
    On T Trent Williams:
    “I think he can possibly play, but we’ll wait and see. He’s a little sore right now but it’s all on how he progresses throughout the week.”
    On what it will take for Williams to play this week:
    “He’s just going to have to get more work tomorrow out there with the trainers, maybe get limited basis in team, and we’ll see where he is Friday and Saturday.”

    On LB Zach Brown’s illness:
    “It’s a lingering bug.”
    On if he expects Brown to play Sunday:
    “I hope so. Hopefully it doesn’t linger that long.”
    On RB Rob Kelley:
    “For Rob, it’s probably a long shot this week. I think he’s going to have to make major strides, which, it’s already Wednesday so it’s not looking great. But Rob is a tough guy, we’ll have to wait and see.”
    On RB Samaje Perine:
    “He’s been progressing fine. He has. He’s doing a good job, he’s running physical still. This will be a great week for him if Rob can’t go. So he’ll get a majority of the carries, with [Mack] Brown and obviously Chris Thompson sprinkled in there.”
    On QB Kirk Cousins’ progression:
    “His entire game is evolving. He’s a young quarterback. So that’s not going to change at the quarterback position. He’s just going to continue to see things and adjust to the different defenses and the fronts and the coverage that he sees, understand different concepts are good for different coverages, and then sometimes you’re going to have to ad-lib, like he did against Kansas City a few times and he’s getting better at that. Playing quarterback is all about experiences, learning from your mistakes, moving forward and continuing to compete at a high level – on a consistent high level. And that’s what he’s so far doing.”
    On if it’s human nature to underprepare for a winless team:
    “Well, I hope not. We’re 2-2, it’s not like we’re defending Super Bowl champs or anything. We still have a lot to prove ourselves. They have a lot of good players over there, I’ve made it known – today in the meeting, in team meeting today – that they’re four plays away from being 4-1, without a doubt. A lot of first-rounders there on defense, lot of skill on defense. Offensively they have a lot of speed, a physical runner and a nice offensive line. So it’s a competitive football team and if you take anybody for granted in the league, you’re an idiot. That won’t happen here.”
    On CB Fabian Moreau:
    “Well, he has speed. It helps… [Quinton] Dunbar and Fabian both are very, very fast and that helps when you’re playing against a world-class sprinter like Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick [Robinson]. They’re both very, very fast. So it’s very important we try to match some speed with speed and those guys can both run, but still it’s a great challenge. But their skill set is coming along. Fabian has not played a lot of pro football, has not gotten a lot of reps in game situations, but he might have to be thrown into the fire. We’re trying to get him more and more reps as the season goes on. Dunbar will take over the starting reps right now while Josh [Norman] is out, and we feel good about where he’s at.”
    On Perine’s success in the shotgun compared to Kelley’s success with the quarterback under center:
    “I don’t know. That’s a good question. I didn’t know that was the case, but maybe it is. Samaje is a power runner. He should be good under center or in a shotgun with the insides, tracks and all that stuff, he reads them out pretty good. I think maybe some of the runs from under center, some of the outside zones and stuff, he’s still feeling his way through some of those cuts and staying on course. And that happens to a lot of young backs. A lot of them are so anxious to cut back up into the hole, they don’t read them out all the way. When you’re in the gun, you just press the line of scrimmage and make one cut and go. I think, under center, he’s just got to be a little more patient with his reads.”
    On CB Josh Norman:
    “Same thing, just a fractured rib. So it’s just going to take time to heal.’
    On WR Terrelle Pryor Sr.’s progress:
    “Like I’ve said before, he’s still evolving as a wide receiver. A year and a half of playing wide receiver or whatever it is, he’s going to still… there’s still some growing pains there. But you see a skill set there that we like – his height, obviously, his speed, his length. But there are some things that we just have to continue to clean up. He’s all for it. He’s a very coachable guy. Kirk [Cousins] loves working with him. The guys behind him are doing well. [Josh] Doctson is getting better, obviously Ryan Grant, [Jamison] Crowder. So we have a good group of wide receivers that kind of help out. We spread the ball around here. We don’t need to feature one guy in this offense. We have a lot of guys that can get the ball, get open in man-to-man coverages, and when it’s zone, we can read it out and throw it to the guys.”
    On who is continuing to help Quinton Dunbar’s transition from receiver to cornerback:
    “James Rowe, our assistant defensive backs coach, does a great job. He’s getting coached and he’s come a long way. He’s probably one of the guys, obviously that have come the longest way from obviously the college days of being a wide receiver to being a starting defensive back in the NFL in just over a year. It’s a great story and a great tribute to him and how hard he works, and how natural of a… how great his length is and how fast he is and how natural of an athlete he is. I’m excited to see him play on a longer basis, see what he can do because he can bump and run. He’s got long arms and he can run, see how he does out in space. But we’re excited to see him.”

    On if his reputation in Cincinnati for passing too much was true:
    “No, I don’t think it’s ever been true, really. But, if the play doesn’t work and you throw it, then you should’ve run it. If the play doesn’t work when you run it, you should’ve thrown it. That’s just the way it is. But we had very good skill people in Cincinnati. We had [Jermaine] Gresham, [Tyler] Eifert, Giovani Bernard, A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Mo Sanu, and that was the strength of our football team, quite frankly. Our strength wasn’t running the football, but we still ran the ball I thought. We like to be balanced, and that’s the key to pro football in my opinion, to be balanced. It helps the quarterback, it helps the whole entire team. Offensive lineman perform better, produce better, because they’re not always in a pass stance, working on stunts and blitzes and all that stuff. You can put your hand on the ground and knock some people off the ball. It’s a key component to pro football, being balanced, but you also have to understand who your players are and get the ball to your playmakers. And there are extensions of the running game – screens, bubble screens and that nature – that don’t count as runs but really they are runs that you don’t get credit for. Try to be balanced. It’s always a key.”
    On Dunbar:
    “Dunbar is a unique person. [Smiling] I don’t think he’s really smart enough to know the magnitude of the situation he’s in [laughing], you know? He just goes out and plays. He just loves playing football, he loves to compete. Man, he thinks he can cover anybody, anytime, anywhere. And that’s a great mentality to have as a corner and that’s the way he feels. He’s been out here at practice covering DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon last year, and this year with all these other guys. He’s just, ‘Line ‘em up,’ he’s just bump and run. That’s the mindset that he has and that’s a great mindset to have. He’s got a short memory. If he does get beat, he’ll come right back up and play bump and run and cover you. We’re excited to watch him play.”

    On Dunbar’s performance last year:
    “He did good. He did good. Yeah, no problems.”

    On if injuries have affected WR Jamison Crowder’s performance:
    “I think a little bit, possibly. I think you’ll see more of Jamison Crowder hopefully. He is one of our best skill players. We have got to get him more involved in the offense. That is partly my fault, to get more balls targeted for him. Whether it’s quick game, whether it’s getting the ball out in space somehow, bubble screen, whatever it might be, I have got to get the ball to him in space more often and get him in the flow early. Jordan Reed is the same way. Those are two of our key playmakers. Fortunately for us, we have quite the dilemma. Chris Thompson has been obviously performing quite well. We like to run the ball with our backs and obviously Terrelle Pryor, we just mentioned, and Josh Doctson also. We have a number of guys that we need to get the ball to, but it is key for us to just be patient, spread the ball and get the ball to the open guy.”

    On if he has talked to Cousins about getting those players involved early:
    “Yeah, it’s the offense. The offense – the ball has to go to the open guy, the guy that the progression... It’s a pure progression-based offense most of the time. Sometimes we read the coverage. Sometimes we read people, but for the most part we are going to get the ball to the open guy hopefully, whether it’s Crowder on the underneath route or Doctson on a deep dig or whatever it might be. People just have to be patient and stay within the offense and the balls will come.”

    On inserting a player like T T.J. Clemmings into an experienced offensive line:
    “Well, it’s tough because we have a very good offensive line. When your depth becomes an issue, you know like Ty Nsekhe even though he doesn’t play a lot, he is our core backup tackle, now all of a sudden you are to your fourth. We just picked up T.J. and now he is our third, he could be our second. That’s just the way it is in pro football and that’s why it is important we continue to work with our practice squad guys, our seventh and eighth offensive linemen, make sure they get the reps so when their number is called, they can perform. But when you’re talking about possibly taking Trent Williams out of the lineup, I don’t care who you put in there, you’re going to have a drop-off. That’s just the way it is because he’s the best in the league. But, we expect him to step up and play well and do the job.”

    QB Kirk Cousins

    On facing 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan and WR Pierre Garçon:
    “I’m used to going against Kyle from a preseason game when he was in Cleveland and then he was in Atlanta a couple years ago and we played down there. Pierre will be different because it has been five years and all I’ve known in the NFL in the past has been Pierre on the Washington Redskins, so it will be interesting having him on the other side – especially at FedExField. It will be a different experience but I guess that’s the way the league works. As we’ve said, people move on. Change happens. I’m rooting for both those guys as we go forward but hopefully we get the job done on Sunday.”

    On his son, Cooper:
    “He’s doing well. It’s been a good first couple of weeks and Julie’s done a great job. We’re sleeping pretty well, so all things considered, it hasn’t been too bad. I’ve heard horror stories or people warning me about how tough it is, and knock on wood, that hasn’t happened yet. So it’s been a positive first couple of weeks.”

    On what’s evolved in his game since he played for Shanahan:
    “Well, I’ve developed every area of my game from the end of year two to now in the middle of year six. Everything from protections, audibles, understanding the run game, reads, coverage recognition, blitz recognition, just how to handle a 16-game season and how to win in this league, how to play on the road. There’s so many elements of being a quarterback that as I’ve played, I’ve picked them all up and I feel like every year I take another step.”

    On if the bye week came at the right time:
    “I think we were fortunate with the timing of our baby’s arrival that the bye week came when it did, but it’s always tough when it’s so early. You prefer a bye week later in the year when it’s really a halftime of the season, but we’ll take what we can get. Earlier in the year, I guess, like I said, we had the benefit with our baby and when you go back and look at the start of training camp and how long we’ve been going at it, it probably is about halfway now. We’ll take advantage of the time we rested and got recharged and we’re ready to go now.”

    On his “dad swag”:
    “I felt like I had dad swag before I was a dad. I’m the kind of guy in high school who would wear a braided belt and cargo shorts, white socks that came up half way up my ankles. I was probably one step away from Velcro shoes and a visor and an oversized polo tucked in, maybe even a Palm Pilot on my belt. Actually Kyle Shanahan of all people used to tell me when he saw me in my game uniform, he said, ‘Kirk, your swag is having no swag.’ That’s kind of always been my vibe and I guess I’ll stick with it. But, yeah, I guess I fit the dad vibe for the most part.”

    On if he has seen a change in himself since the birth of his son:
    “I think perspective is the thing that I’ve learned. When you throw a few interceptions and come home from a tough loss, I think it’s going to eat at you a little less. I think when you’re on top of the world after a big win you’re going to come home and realize that you’re not as big of a deal as you think you are. I think that’s a healthy thing. I remember reading in Drew Brees’ book, he talked about how after having his first son that his time management was better at work because he wanted to get home and be with his son and so he wanted to maximize his time at work and be efficient, and I think all those things come into play. Hopefully it makes me a better player. Ray Wright, our old strength coach who’s now in San Francisco, when I got married said, ‘I believe you’re not your best self as a player until you’re married. A lot of times guys play better once they’re married.’ And I’d maybe even say the same thing about having a son. I think you could maybe even become a better football player after that happens.”

    On what stands out about Shanahan as a coach:
    “I’ve been fortunate – not every player in the league can say this – to have been surrounded by so many good coaches. I don’t know that every player… I think most of us need to have great people around us to be successful – maybe not the case with every player, but most of us do – and I’m no different. I’ve been so fortunate to have Mike Shanahan, Kyle Shanahan, Matt LaFleur, those people leading me my first few years. And then to have Sean McVay, Jay Gruden, Matt Cavanaugh, I’ve felt like has had a big impact on my career, and now Kevin O’Connell. I really feel like that’s seven coaches that I would really – if I was ever head coach, I would want to hire all of them to be on my staff because I think so highly of them. [I’m] very fortunate. Kyle stands out looking back just because the information we have now, we didn’t have then. No one knew what was going to happen and Kyle believed in me when it was just potential. There was no production. I hadn’t done anything to earn his belief and he believed in me, and Mike did too, and Matt LaFleur for that matter. I think that’s when I look back and say, ‘Wow, those guys knew what they were talking about because I hadn’t done anything and they told me I had a lot of potential and could do something.’ I think that’s when I look back and then respect their knowledge of the quarterback position and what it takes to play well in this league.”

    On the process of communicating with his receivers:
    “It’s an ongoing process but there’s no doubt that every game we come out of it and say, ‘Hey, I need you to be a little deeper there. Get your depth.’ The route may change versus a certain coverage and we’re trying to recognize that same coverage so that we’re on the same page. There’s a lot of precision with these routes – the spacing and the timing and the depth and the motions, and all that comes with reps and experience. I’ve been encouraged just because everybody in our offense wants to be on the details. Occasionally you can get with guys who don’t care about the details and you want them to do a certain thing but you can tell deep down they don’t care. That’s not the case with our guys. We really care about the details and want to do it right and so it’s fun then to work with them and coach them up and vice versa. I respect them when they have something for me because I understand they’re trying to do it the right way.”

    On if those conversations are mostly 1-on-1 or if they involve coaches:
    “It varies. It could be any of those. I could be passing Ike [Hilliard] in the hall and say, ‘Hey, tell Josh [Doctson] on his thunder to get his shoulders down,’ or it could be me passing Josh in the hall and saying the same thing. It could be us in a meeting with Jay saying, ‘Hey, why are we doing it this way? Did we tell Terrelle [Pryor Sr.] that already?’ So it’s an ongoing conversation throughout the day, and because we all love football, we all are junkies and kind of eat it up and want to talk ball throughout the entire day.”

    On what it meant to him when Shanahan said he had potential:
    “Some guys come into the league really having a lot of confidence and believing, ‘I’m going to be a Pro-Bowler someday. I’m going to be a Hall of Famer. It’s just a matter of time.’ That really wasn’t my mindset. My mindset was, ‘I’ve got to make the team and I’ve got to find a way to stay in this league,’ and I never felt like next year was promised. Hearing that belief from Mike, from Kyle, from Matt right away, gave me a chance to set my sights a little higher and to expect a little more out of myself and to work for more. It certainly is a shot in the arm when someone believes in you and that was the case, and like I said, I’ve been fortunate to have that really all the way through my career.”

    San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

    On what stood out about QB Kirk Cousins and why he had a strong belief in him:
    “I mean, we could see it on tape. We were excited from what we saw in his college film and that’s what we liked the most about him and that’s why we wanted him. What we saw on tape, he was everything the same in practice and the more you are around the guy you became even more impressed of how special of a person he is.”

    On Cousins’ development:
    “I feel like he looks like the same guy I’ve always seen. Obviously the more you play, the more opportunities you get, the better you get with reps. But he looks exactly like the guy I remember from practices out there and I know he will be a tough challenge for our defense.”

    On what he saw from Cousins’ qualities on the field:
    “I have to be careful talking too much. Like all these pocket passers, guys who can hang in the pocket, deliver the ball, who are accurate, don’t watch the rush, very tough and can go through a progression very easily.”

    On if he has talked to WR Pierre Garçon to calm his emotions in his return to Washington:
    “No, I think Pierre plays at his best when he is a little – a little more angry. He really gets to that spot, really every week. I think it would be hard for him to get much higher or much worse. That’s just his style of play and that’s what makes him who he is. That’s one of the reasons I’ve always loved Pierre and really wanted him to be a Niner. I know that it’s exciting for him to go back, especially a place that he had such a good history with – with the Redskins – but that’s not something I’m ever trying to calm down because I think that is what separates Pierre from everyone else.”

    On what gave him the belief to sign Garçon at 31 years old:
    “Just from watching him on tape. You never know when you’re away from a guy, and as they do get older you can’t just look at stats and look at numbers. You have got to see it with your own eyes and when I watched him on tape I thought he looked like the same guy. I didn’t think he had changed at all in the four years. I know Pierre works. I know he takes care of his body and I know he plays the game the right way. When we studied him, looking at all the free agents that were available, Pierre was right there at the top of the list. It reminded me of just how he was about five years before that when we studied him and we thought he was at the top of the list when we were at Washington.”

    On if he signed Garçon to help change the culture in San Francisco:
    “It definitely helps but my first thing was to look at all the receivers available and to see who I thought was the best and who could help us the most. Then when you look into that and you stack them up versus everyone, I thought Pierre was right up there with one of the best guys available and when it’s a guy that you know and you know what he brings to the table, that even adds more. That’s why he was so important for me to get. Pierre adds a mentality to an offense where it’s hard to have a receiver add a mentality of the offense that makes your offense a physical offense. Pierre is one of those special types of people who can do that. He plays so tough. He doesn’t turn anything down. He plays every play whether it’s a run or a pass play and that’s what I expect. We try to hold everyone accountable to that and when you give guys money to come places, I want to make sure that you give money to the people who are going to do things the right way and are going to play the way that you demand. Pierre is a perfect example of that.”

    On Vice President Mike Pence leaving their game last week in Indianapolis:
    “I found out after the game and I respect his opinion to feel that way. I can understand his opinion to feel that way just like I understand and respect the players that are kneeling and why they’re doing it. I think everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respect both sides, but I also know I am not going to sit here and have an opinion on other peoples’ opinions. I think people do what they think is right and I can understand both aspects.”

    On if anything has changed in his team’s policy since the memo issued by Commissioner Roger Goodell:
    “I haven’t seen the memo yet. I deal with our players and it really hasn’t been too big of a deal to our players. It’s not something I hear them talking about. It’s not something that they’re planning or anything. If I hear them talking about it more and they want to do something then I will always talk to them about anything, but really right now I am so prepared to try to get our first win in and looking at all that stuff that it hasn’t been talked about in our building.”

    On if it is hard to stay focused after losing close games:
    “It’s a challenge. I mean, it’s not a challenge because of the guys, but it is a challenge when you put so much into something and you come that close. I think there are two teams in NFL history that have lost four games in a row by three points or less and we are one of them. So that is tough. It does wear on you. You take a couple days to recover. The players came back in today and you go back to work. You have got to focus on getting better. Yeah, we were close in a bunch of those games, but we still lost. You have to sit there and figure out why and how you can figure out how to do better longer. It’s nice to be in these games and have a chance to win, but we have got to get over that hump and find a way to finish one. It’s come down to really the last play here four weeks in a row and we can’t sit here and feel sorry for ourselves or it will only get worse. I know it is going to get worse or it’s going to get better and we have got to make sure we just keep working and if we keep working, I think good things will happen.”

    On lessons he learned in Washington that are helping him as a head coach:
    “Just to be yourself. I went through a lot of different situations in Washington. Especially prior to getting there, things had been pretty easy for the two years I was a coordinator in Houston with some of the talent we had. Going to Washington and trying to do the same things and trying to have to adjust year in and year out to just different personnel, I thought I learned a lot from a coordinator’s standpoint on different things you could do and different ways you could win even when not everything was ideal and how you wanted it schematically from a personnel standpoint. But more from a head coach standpoint too, I thought I got extremely battle-tested in Washington. To be in a place like the market they had, to have the same last name as the head coach, to where every time someone talks about the team they say ‘the Shanahans’ and add an ‘S’ to the end. So I think I went through some stuff as a coordinator that most people don’t go through until they become a head coach. And I watched some head coaches go through things for the first time and I can see it bothers them, and I’m like, ‘Man, I’ve been going through this for a long time.’ So now I’ve become a head coach and I just feel more battle-tested. I feel like I had to go through a bunch of stuff that wasn’t always fun, but it’s something that I never regret and wouldn’t take it back for anything because I think it has made me a better person, a better coach and prepared me more to be good where I am at.”
    Last edited by Boone; 10-11-17 at 06:19 PM.
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