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Game 12 - Philly. No biggie. Just a season in the balance ...

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    Default Skins Quotes 10/19/17: Gruden, Cousins, Pederson, Wentz



    October 19, 2017

    Head Coach Jay Gruden

    On injuries:
    “Obviously, you heard on injured reserve is [Dustin] Hopkins with his hip flexor strain [and] Jonathan Allen with his Lisfranc surgery. Did not practice today was Trent Williams and Ty Nsekhe. Limited were Josh Norman, rib; [Bashaud] Breeland, knee; [Deshazor] Everett, hamstring; [Rob] Kelley, ankle; [Ryan] Anderson, back; [Stefan] McClure, knee; [Tyler] Catalina is in concussion evaluation right now. Full were [Montae] Nicholson, [Fabian] Moreau and [Mason] Foster.”

    On if there is a chance K Dustin Hopkins or DL Jonathan Allen could return this season:
    “Well, there is a chance, yeah. We have the opportunity to bring two back, so we will put them on IR and see how they do and rehab them and see where they go.”

    On if he envisions a scenario in which Allen could return:
    “Absolutely, yeah. Definitely.”

    On how CB Josh Norman looked at practice:
    “He just did individual today. He didn’t do any team stuff, but he ran around and looked fine to me. But that’s up to his pain tolerance and what the trainers say.”

    On if they got better news about Allen’s injury after the surgery:
    “Yeah, I think that is the case. We got better news after the surgery that it wouldn’t be as lengthy as some of these surgeries typically are. So that’s good news, but we still have to rehab it. He is a big man and sometimes bigger guys take a little bit longer but we will wait and see. We will just play it by ear and hopefully we see him again, but it is up to the rehab.”

    On CB Bashaud Breeland:
    “He started out in individual and did some one-on-ones there at the beginning then we took him out. He looked OK.”

    On roster moves:
    “[A.J.] Francis will be on the 53 [-man roster]. [Ondre] Pipkins will be the 10th practice squad guy, who was here in training camp also.”

    On DL Anthony Lanier II and A.J. Francis:
    “Lanier is a different animal. He’s a good pass rusher, still young. Francis provides us some more depth as far as the interior, as far as nose guard is concerned. I don’t know which combination we will use come Monday, but it is good to get A.J. back here. We liked him a lot. We let him go numbers-wise and then we are fortunate that he was on the streets so [we] brought him back.”

    On if Allen’s injury was a break or a sprain:
    “I just know it is a Lisfranc. I didn’t pass that class [laughter].”

    On the biggest difference in his team since Week 1:
    “What’s the biggest difference? Well, I think every week we are getting better. There is more continuity on defense. Offensively, I think we are playing better as a group. I think just all together – offense, defense, special teams – we are getting to where we want to be. We are not there yet, but we are a lot further along now than we were Week 1. They are too. They are much improved. It is going to be a heck of a game, as it always is against Philadelphia.”

    On what they liked about K Nick Rose:
    “We had a workout here – four kickers – and Nick kicked the best. He had the most pop on his kicks, kickoffs and field goals. He didn’t miss any so we thought we’d give him an opportunity. [We] get to let him practice out here today and tomorrow and hopefully he’ll be the guy for us and we plan on it.”

    On the importance of this game:
    “Yeah, it’s a big game. The NFC East – they’re in the lead. They’re 5-1 and we’re 3-2. I mean, just do the math. If you look at 3-3 and 6-1 and we’ve lost twice to them, that’s a big difference. 4-2 and 5-2 and we’re right there in the thick of things as far as the NFC East is concerned. Right now if you look around the NFL, not just the NFC, but in the NFL, everybody’s kind of hovering around it. There’s only two teams with one loss. Everybody else has two, three or four, so it’s really a tight battle. Every game is very, very important. Division games have added importance. Road games – obviously you’re playing a division leader. Rivalry teams, they’re big but going to Philadelphia’s always huge no matter what.”

    On how to keep chemistry going despite the injuries:
    “Yeah, you rely on the core group. We have a core group of guys that are still here and healthy and those are the guys that are going to lead the way. We have good, strong leadership in place and those are the guys who are going to get the guys who are younger or haven’t played a lot … they’re going to get them ready to play. It’s up to the coaches to get them ready mentally, and physically these guys have got to get themselves ready. I feel confident that the guys that have been here like [Anthony] Lanier, T.J. Clemmings if he had to play, some of these other guys, Mack Brown if he had to play more reps – I mean these guys are ready to play because they’ve been taught and they’ve worked extremely hard and they’re just waiting for an opportunity.”

    On if there was any hesitation about Rose because he hasn’t yet kicked in an NFL game:
    “Yeah, that’s the issue. We’ll see when the lights cut on. Sometimes you just don’t know until they cut on but we’re going to find out. I’m hoping that he takes advantage of this great opportunity that he has in front of him. He’s got a powerful leg and let’s see what he does.”

    On how surprised he is at how well Quinton Dunbar has done in his move from receiver to cornerback:
    “Yes, I am, quite frankly because he was a terrible wide receiver [laughter]. It just so happened that at the time we were scrimmaging the Texans and we were short defensive backs. I think D-Hall [DeAngelo Hall] went down and we had a couple other injuries in the secondary and we needed some people in one-on-ones over there. I saw Dunbar playing on punt – cover team – and he was blocking the flyers and doing extremely well. He was long so I threw him out there and put a jersey on him and he did pretty well. We kept him out over there and he’s developed. Coach [Perry] Fewell initially started with him, did a great job with him, and then obviously the guys here. Coach [James] Rowe and Torrian Gray have done a great job with him. He’s long and fast. Like I said the other day, he’s just got a very short memory. He’s got a defensive mentality and he’s got a very short memory. He runs and covers.”

    On if Dunbar’s understanding of offenses has impacted his performance:
    “Yeah, all these guys. The more they see, the more they… we have a lot of meetings, a lot of meeting time for them to study film and study their opponent during the season, offseason, all that stuff. When you’re just studying your craft, you’re going to get a chance to really study and hone in on it from a mental standpoint as long as you’re paying attention. The coaches do a great job of breaking down film for them and showing them what to look at, how to study film. Being an ex-wide receiver, I’m sure that’s helped him a little bit as far as route concepts are concerned, so he’s picked it up quick, a lot quicker than I thought he would.”

    On G Brandon Scherff’s development this year:
    “Yeah, I think every week he does something on tape where you scratch your head and are you’re like, ‘Wow.’ Every week. He’s been very impressive since he walked in the building with his work ethic, his athleticism, his strength, his power. Now he’s really getting comfortable. He’s reacting. He’s anticipating. He’s pulling. He’s pass-blocking. He’s run-blocking. He’s double teaming. He’s doing everything you want him to do out in screens, out in space. He’s the best guard out in space by far in this league. It’s fun to watch him. He had a penalty the other day which wasn’t a penalty, but that was fun to watch also. I enjoy watching him. He got another game ball this past week so he’s just continuing to get better and better.”

    On the time table for S DeAngelo Hall:
    “He’s got 21 days [to practice]. We have to make a decision to either keep him on IR or put him on the 53. I think the work that he’s put in with Chad [Englehart] and obviously the trainers and D-Hall saying he feels 100 percent – it was a green light to get him out there. He looked good today. A little rusty but I think he’s got a chance.”

    On RB Rob Kelley’s progress:
    “He looked good today. It was a limited basis, but he took some reps in some team periods and moved around pretty well.”

    On if Hall will remain at safety:
    “Yeah. Oh, yeah. For sure.”

    QB Kirk Cousins

    On his rapport with WR Terrelle Pryor Sr.:
    “I think we are coming along pretty well. I think if you look at last week’s game, there is a possibility that if I throw that red zone play to Terrelle and hit him accurately that he scores early in the game on a touchdown. Late in the game down the sideline in the front pylon there is a chance he scores. So he could have very easily – with two more accurate throws – had two touchdowns. That’s how fragile it is. If he is coming away with two touchdowns in that game, now we are saying we were on the same page and we have improved so much since April. But that is where it can be a little fickle and fragile but I think he is doing a really good job and he is working really hard. I think we have made great strides.”

    On if he is happy about the way the offense is functioning:
    “I think it starts, ultimately, with Monday on our off day when our coaches get together and game plan. They have to devise a plan that will work and that will put us in a position to be successful. They have to factor in injuries and the scheme and what we are doing well. It’s a moving target because they may start to say, ‘Hey, we are better at this phase of our offense than we thought we would be, but we are not as strong in another phase. So let’s adjust on the fly and start to create some plays and formations that accent that better.’ I am very pleased with the way our coaches have worked really hard to create game plans that put us in a position to be successful. Ultimately we just have to go out then and execute well. It was great to see Trent Williams be able to play through an injury and play well. The more we can protect well and get open, then that’s when I can just be a distributor and throw accurately. Next thing you know we move the football and score points.”

    On having his son at the game on Sunday:
    “Well, it was a thrill and I think it all goes back to when you win it makes it for a great memory. We had a lot of fun in the players’ parking lot afterwards. I was able to just hold him and kind of take in the moment. When we had that rushing touchdown at the end of the game, I kept the ball and put that in his nursery. So we have got that there and now my wife now wants it to get painted up to say ‘Cooper’s game ball.’ So we will see what we can do there. Hopefully there will be many more games like it and I told my wife that I would like to play long enough to where he can come to a game and remember it and have that memory. So hopefully I can play long enough where he can see me play and remember it.”

    On the speed of his progressions:
    “I think progressions and processing quickly has always been a strength of my game. I think standing here, I’m not in the NFL because I’m 6-5, 240, throw the ball 75 yards, people fall off me when you try to tackle me. I mean, that’s not why I am here. So it is going to have to be accuracy, decision making, quick processing, leadership, toughness, a lot of things that they don’t have a test for at the combine but end up being the difference in quarterbacking in this league. Progressing quickly is very important. You either take a lot of sacks or you throw a lot of incompletions if you don’t progress quickly. But like the touchdown to Samaje [Perine], that’s really the fifth guy in the progression, but going back to the coaches scheming plays and putting a plan together, I am not getting to my fifth guy very often because our coaches know what they are doing. They are trying to make sure number one and number two are getting open. So by their good design, progressions usually don’t have to be exhausted fully.”

    On the run game and what it does for him:
    “I like to think that when you continue to run the football it does open up your play action. It does give a legitimacy to your run fakes, whether they are bootlegs or passes. The defensive line has to respect that. It’s not as easy to just tee off on the pass rush and on the quarterback. I think it also… it just puts a lot of stress on your passing game and on your quarterback if you’re throwing the ball 45 times a game to be very, very efficient in doing that. I think when you can stay balanced, it certainly can help, but I’ll be the first one to say that it doesn’t do you much good if you run a bunch of plays and you’re running the ball but you are not gaining yards and you’re not putting yourselves in a positive position. So it is always a balance. We will go week-to-week in terms of if we feel like it is a good matchup and if running the ball is the way to go and what specific runs are going to work. Sometimes you feel it out throughout the game. Against the 49ers, we had a bit of a jet sweep action that we were using that was working well and then you go to the well one too many times and the defensive end and the outside linebacker have now gotten a feel for it and they are lining in a way to stop it. We went to it a couple more times and got stuffed. Even good play design – if you go back to it too many times – can end up, the well goes dry, and then you have to have other answers and other ways to mix it up. That goes back to plan and then the execution.”

    On if he notices his records on certain nights:
    “I’ve learned that this league is only what it is because people can talk about it and go to the water cooler at work and discuss things, and a stat like, ‘Hey, he is 0-5 on Monday Night Football,’ I mean, that is something to talk about. It’s something you can put on a ticker and it creates viewership and I think ultimately I guess for the league, that kind of thing is a good thing. I mean, that’s what you want, is people talking about the game and finding those kinds of facts and stats that hopefully can tell a story. But I would be the first one to say that, yeah, I don’t know if that tells the whole story. If you go back and look at what did we do in those games and how did it go, I think if you have got a whole narrative of what really took place, I think that’s a misleading indication of what’s going on. With that being said, I would love to be 1-5 on Monday Night Football after Monday night. So that is certainly the goal and hopefully over the years we can get that record up. It’s prime time and we want to play well in a big game.”

    On being able to get the offense back in rhythm when he needs to:
    “It’s very fragile. I remember, we got in a third-and-one and we handed it off to Mack Brown and we got stuffed. If we get that first down, maybe now we’re rolling, maybe we’ve got a first down, we’re at midfield and the whole feel of that drive and of our momentum continues to go in the right direction. The difference between, ‘Oh, we stubbed our toe middle of the game and allowed them to get back into it’ and ‘We kept our foot on the gas pedal and ended up having a blowout,’ it can be very small. That’s why every single play, we have to be locked in because one play can turn the tide. You’re also very aware of every single play – a sack-fumble, a turnover – can get a team right back in it. So when you do have a lead, you start to be aware of what are the ways that we can get them back in it quickly and how can we avoid that by playing smart and protecting the football and avoiding the critical error.”

    On his approach to big games:
    “In college, when we played like Ohio State or Wisconsin, it truly felt like a bigger game. It felt like there’s a little more attention on it. In the NFL, I feel like while it is a big game, they’re all big. And I don’t know of a single game that I go to and feel like, ‘This one is not quite as charged.’ Again, it’s fun to talk about, fun to hype up, I get that. But for me, like you said, we’ve got the Cowboys the next week. That will be a big game. Win or lose this week, that’s a big game. That’s the beauty of the NFL is every single week, we’re getting tested and it feels like Ohio State or Wisconsin or Michigan every single week for me. That’s the great thing about this league.”

    On if he believes in signature wins:
    “Again, I think that it wouldn’t be a signature win if we lost the rest of them, you know, and finish the season. It just doesn’t… let’s let the dust settle and see where we are at Week 17. That’s my approach. We really do take the cliché mindset of one game at a time, one day at a time and let’s see where we are when the dust settles. You’re only as good as your last game. I’m sure that a win on the road against the Eagles would get our fans very excited and people would be riding the roller coaster and they would be on the height of the roller coaster at that point. We try not to ride it. We try to stay steady right through it and I think that serves us well. I remember being 3-5 and playing the Patriots. We went to 3-5 in 2015 and next thing you know we won the division. I remember going to Carolina a couple weeks later and getting blown out, and then we won the division. So I just go back to, ‘Let’s just play this whole thing out and see where it ends,’ and then hopefully have a signature season. That’s really the goal.”

    Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson

    On if he’s noticed a difference in the Redskins since Week 1:
    “Yeah, I think one of the things that you’re seeing more is the skill guys on offense a little more in rhythm, a little more in-tune than when we played them the first time. I think Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson – I think Samaje Perine is playing really good behind that offensive line. I think he’s playing extremely well. Defensively, I think their front is very active, very good. I think [Ryan] Kerrigan and [Preston] Smith are both guys that have put a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks and those are two guys you definitely have to account for. They’re big in the middle, obviously. I know they’re nicked in the back-end – in the secondary – but I just think overall they’re playing with a little more consistency. [They’re] playing fast as a group and it’s paying off for them.”

    On what’s been working so well for them with the Wide-Nine scheme this year:
    “Well, I just think the vertical push with the Wide-Nine – it’s all about getting off the ball and rolling upfield and getting vertical push. Schematically, it’s not a traditional two-gap scheme. These guys are penetrating gaps and our linebackers are playing a little bit better the last couple of weeks, being able to make some plays. It does put a little bit of pressure on your linebackers though to make those plays and like I said, they’re playing a little bit better. Again, we’re getting some guys healthy. Fletcher Cox played Thursday night. He’s getting healthy again, so it makes a big difference with him in the lineup.”

    On how DT Fletcher Cox was able to make an impact against the Redskins’ offensive line in Week 1:
    “He’s such a dominant player. Any of those defensive tackles in the NFL that can move around like he does and explode off the ball – any time you can get an edge on a single block is an advantage. A lot of teams will slide protection that way. Maybe a guard and a center or a guard and a tackle, depending on protection, can put four hands on a guy like Fletcher but that’s the only thing in the first game. That’s the first game of the season – a lot of energy early on and can also aid and assist in that. But, he’s just a good player and you see it from a lot of tackles from around the league. Good players are just hard to block.”

    On WR Terrelle Pryor Sr. and WR Josh Doctson:
    “You have to account for them. I mean, these are two good athletes, two good receivers and you can’t go to sleep on either one of them. I know Terrelle – when he was in Cleveland – had a really good season a year ago. And listen, it’s no different than even with Alshon Jeffery with us. It just takes time. It takes time to get on the same page and just a rhythm with your quarterback. That’s the things you’re seeing now as we get closer to the middle of year. You’re starting to see that rhythm and timing with quarterbacks and receivers. [Jamison] Crowder is just a guy that can be moved all over the field. He’s quick, explosive with the ball in his hand and definitely have got to account for both of those guys.”

    On matching up with running backs like RB Chris Thompson and Darren Sproles:
    “Yeah, definitely in both cases, just the matchups that runner – Chris Thompson or Darren Sproles – on a linebacker, that’s advantage offense, I think. You just have got to… the run or the pass depending on the down and distance becomes important. We know that those guys are going to make their plays. They’re going to get their plays and we just have got to do the best we can to defend and try to corral. When you put a guy like Chris Thompson out in space, it is definitely an advantage or a matchup that you want offensively. The Redskins I think do a great job of moving him around a little bit.”

    On how much growth he has seen from QB Kirk Cousins:
    “Quite a bit. Here’s a guy that’s not going to hurt you with the turnover, has the ability to stretch the field, big-play capability and, listen, he runs better than people think. He can extend plays with his legs. Again, you can’t fall asleep on him because he can run. You’re just seeing a little more consistency now in the offense and it obviously starts with the quarterback. He has done really nice job of staying on the field whether it be a third down conversion or just utilizing his personnel. I feel like that has been his strength. He’s not the one that has had to put the team necessarily on his shoulders. He can spread the ball around. There is a lot of weapons on offense and they are doing a much better job of that from Week 1.”

    On the growth of QB Carson Wentz:
    “He is definitely one that’s… the added personnel has obviously helped him, ball down the field, and then you are seeing him – he is strong in the pocket and usually the first guy – arm-tackle guy – can’t bring him down. He usually sheds that block and can escape. One of the things that he does – and really Kirk does the same thing – is their eyes are constantly down the field and they are looking for that, especially out of the pocket, looking for that big play down the field. The weapons that we’ve acquired with Alshon [Jeffery] and Torrey [Smith]. Nelson [Agholor] now in the slot and even [Zach] Ertz working scramble drills and things of that nature… Then just his overall ability to run, I think that is one thing that he has done a better job this year of is just extending plays with his legs.”

    Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz

    On what’s different about the Redskins since Week 1:
    “You know, they’re not too different. They’re pretty much the same. They’re a good team. They’re a solid defense. They fly around. They present some challenges with some of their different blitz looks and different coverage looks. Again, I think our game plan will be similar as far as how we attack them. In games like this, when two teams – divisional opponents like we are – know each other so well, it ultimately just comes down to who’s going to make the most plays. That’s what it’s going to come down to and hopefully that’s us on Monday night.”

    On the speed of S D.J. Swearinger and LB Zach Brown and if it has changed the Redskins’ defense:
    “Yeah. Those two fly around. It’s evident on tape. They’re honestly probably the first two that jump out at you because they’re just always around the football. They’re aggressive. They fly around. They make plays. It’s something that you’ve just got to be cognizant of where those two are at at all times, especially in the run game with a guy like Zach Brown. I mean, he shoots the gap as well as anybody on tape. We’ve just got to use that, to some extent, to our advantage and just know where they’re at at all times.”

    On the impact of CBs Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland in the secondary:
    “Players like Josh and Breeland, I mean, they’re both great players. It’s one of those things though, whenever you’re talking about injuries, you can’t dwell on it. When it comes to preparation, we’re going to prepare the same regardless if those two are playing or not and then at the end of the day, if they’re out there on game days, we just have to be aware of who’s out there. Again, it will still come down to who makes the most plays. But again, a lot of respect for both those players. They’re solid corners, but if they’re healthy, they’re healthy. Our game plan should stay pretty similar.”

    On working with his receiving corps:
    “Yeah, it’s been great. It’s been great. We’ve been developing our chemistry, shoot, going back to OTAs already. We got to work right away and then this summer, the receivers came out to North Dakota and we got some good work in and training camp and everything. We’ve just been… I feel like we’re gelling pretty well and I think the biggest thing about our offensive attack is it’s never really one guy. We spread the ball around as good as anybody and I think that just makes us tough to defend. That’s just credit to our players – our skill players. Anybody can make the play and get the job done when their number gets called and we just have a handful of selfless players. All they care about is winning, so that’s just, again, what I think makes us tough to defend and makes us really dynamic.”

    On how hard it was to convince those players to come to North Dakota:
    “A lot easier than you’d think. I think they were all pretty excited. They’d never been out to North Dakota so I think they enjoyed it and I’m sure we’ll do it again.”

    On if he’s surprised that he’s still able to shed tacklers at the NFL level:
    “I guess, I don’t know. Surprised? Hard to say. I just know that that’s kind of always been my personality – my personality on the field. I just always feel like there’s a play to be made and I never like to go down. I never like to go down with the ball in my hand, so that’s just part of my game and this offense is a game that I think we can extend plays that really makes us tough to defend as well.”

    On coaching points Head Coach Doug Pederson preaches to him in those situations:
    “I mean, the biggest thing – every single play is different. It’s all situationally different. The biggest thing is just be smart. Avoid the hits when you can. Make the play when it’s there. Don’t force anything. Those are all things that we talk about that I definitely take to heart right away. It’s something – mistakes are going to be made, all the time. You’re not going to be perfect with it, but we feel like the positives are going to far outweigh the negatives in those situations and I’ve just got to know when to be smart and when to take those shots.”

    On TE Zach Ertz:
    “I think with a guy like Zach, I mean, him and I are really close off the field. We’re almost in each other’s heads at the line of scrimmage. He knows when I might be looking to change his routes. He sees coverage. He reacts so well. So to have a guy that’s that smart… And he plays fast and he just knows how to create separation and he plays on time. Those are things that as a quarterback that you’re really looking for in your guy. So to have a guy like him, I think it’s really developed for him and I just over really this last year and now where we’re at this year. We put in the time. We talk about things all the time in the film room. We bring things to each other’s attention. Having a guy like that can really kind of make teams hone in on him as well because he has been such a dynamic weapon for us and really open up things potentially down the field for guys like Torrey [Smith], Nelson [Agholor] and A.J. [Alshon Jeffery].”





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    Default Re: Skins Quotes 10/19/17: Gruden, Cousins, Pederson, Wentz

    We need more out of the receivers but it starts with Crowder. He has been in this offense for 3 years with Kirk. They should have an immediate repoire while Pryor and Doctson take longer.

    But none of them seem to really be ready to emerge.

    Can't depend upon Thompson and Davis for everything.
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