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    Default Skins Quotes 10/26/17: Gruden, Garrett, Cousins, Elliott

    October 26, 2017

    Head Coach Jay Gruden

    On injuries:
    “Did not participate – Spencer Long, knees; Ty Nsekhe, core muscle; Brandon Scherff, knee/back; Trent Williams, knee; Morgan Moses, ankles. Limited were – Preston Smith, groin; [Tyler] Catalina, concussion; [Deshazor] Everett, hamstring; [Mason] Foster, shoulder; [Stefan] McClure, hamstring/knee; [Fabian] Moreau, hamstring; [Josh] Norman, ribs. Full was Zach Brown with his back.”

    On his frustration with the injuries:
    “It’s frustrating, but it’s pro football and it’s something we have to deal with. We just have got to do a good job of taking care of these guys and they’ve got to do a good job of taking care of their bodies when they’re not on the practice field or on game day, and for the most part they do. It’s just unfortunate. They happen in this league and we have to adjust.”

    On the challenge of preparing a game plan given the uncertainty along the offensive line:
    “Yeah, it has its challenges, that’s for sure. You know, you walk out of the tunnel with [Spencer] Long, [Ty] Nsekhe, [Brandon] Scherff, [Trent] Williams and [Morgan] Moses and those guys aren’t practicing, it’s a little bit different when you go in the huddle. Guys have to step up. We signed Tony [Bergstrom] yesterday to help alleviate the need at center. Chase [Roullier] is ready to go at center. We’ve got Tyler Catalina who has been here. Shawn Lauvao’s still healthy. We have some guys in here that are ready to roll if need be.”

    On all of the alternate possibilities along the offensive line:
    “Yeah, I don’t know about all that. We’ll see. Hopefully we’ll get one or two or maybe three of these guys back. We’ll wait and see.”

    On the complications when players can’t practice but may be ready for Sunday:
    “Yeah, it definitely complicates things. It’s not easy, especially when you’re trying to get the reps on the practice field and then flip it over for scout team and then those guys are getting a lot of reps out there. It’s hard, but I think the guys who didn’t practice today – they’re getting their mental reps, they’re getting their treatment and they’re doing everything they can in their power to get themselves ready to play. Whether they play or not, we’ll see what happens later in the week.”

    On the challenge of piecing together an offensive line after typically playing a unit that has been together for a long time:
    “Well, the good thing is these guys have been together for some time now. It’s been a couple years now that [Spencer] Long and [Brandon] Scherff and [Trent] Williams and [Morgan] Moses and [Shawn] Lauvao have been playing together, so a week here or there isn’t the end of the world. You’d love for them to all be healthy and working in unison day after day after day but you don’t always have that luxury, and this is just one of those times. We just have to deal with it and get the other guys ready. The good thing is, we’re getting a lot of good reps for [Tyler] Catalina and obviously Chase [Roullier] so it’s been good in that regard.”

    On the difficulty of working younger players like G Tyler Catalina and C Chase Roullier into the starting unit:
    “Yeah, it’s difficult but it’s something that these guys have to be ready to do. It’s just offensive lineman – it’s defensive lineman, it’s linebackers, safeties, everybody. If you’re on the practice squad, you’re here working. Eventually your number is going to be called and you have to prepare that way. I think our coaches have done a pretty good job of preparing everybody to play on Sunday, whether they know they are or aren’t. So, it’s a matter of when your number is called, be ready to produce.”

    On CB Josh Norman:
    ”He hasn’t been cleared totally. He just was on a limited basis today. [He] did some things, did some good things, is feeling a little bit better so hopefully we’ll get good news.”

    On when Norman is expected to get final clearance:
    “Final clearance?... Hopefully, today he’ll go in and get the final clearance, tomorrow at the latest. It’ll be nice to know.”

    On how LB Preston Smith is feeling:
    “You know, I think he’s feeling a lot better than we expected but we’ll see. Playing that position with a groin [injury] and the change of direction and the leverage that you have to play with, I think you can feel OK but until you really feel the weight of people like Tyron Smith and Zack Martin and Jason Witten on you and having to adjust, that’s a different story. Hopefully we’ll try to get him some more work tomorrow, see how he’s doing and see if he can play with it.”

    On if he might have to take a precautionary approach to Smith’s injury:
    “Yeah, you’re exactly right. That’s the whole problem with these strains and pulls is that they might say they’re OK and can play and then if they do more damage to it, it could be longer-term and we don’t want that to happen. I think if Preston does play, it could be on a limited role and there’s some things that he can do, but we’ll gauge that tomorrow and Saturday.”

    On if C Spencer Long’s injury is the biggest concern on the offensive line:
    “Yeah, I’d say probably that’s accurate. They’re all a concern but I’d say Long is probably the biggest concern. I don’t know how long Long will be out.”

    On the similarities between Eagles QB Carson Wentz and Cowboys QB Dak Prescott:
    “They’re actually almost identical really, if you really break them down. They’re both big, strong, physical guys that can throw on the move extremely well. They both have great pocket presence, a great grasp of their offense despite only being in the league a couple years and they can make all the throws, really. They both have done extremely well in their short careers and they’re only getting better. I don’t really see any weaknesses in Dak’s game. Coming out of college, you weren’t sure how he would adapt to the pro-style game. He did some things in college like that, but he’s adapted extremely well – effortlessly, quite frankly – so he’s one of the top-tier guys, I think.”

    On S D.J Swearinger’s demeanor this week following last week’s game:
    “He’s fine. I think every defensive back has to have a short-term memory. They have to learn from their mistakes and then move forward. He’s still a great leader for us and people look up to him and he’s going to bounce back in a big way. We have no doubt that a couple of those plays that he typically makes, he’ll make this week.”

    On if the team practiced as hard as they would have liked today:
    “Did we go as hard as we would like? Probably yesterday we would have practiced in pads. Today we were just in shells so we didn’t go as hard as we normally would have this time of week during the year, but with all the injuries, I thought it was important for us to try to get as many reps as we could but taper off a little bit from the physical contact. We got a lot of good work in. Saturday, we might have to do a little bit more than a walkthrough. It may have to be more of a jog-through – maybe get some actual reps in and make up for some of the reps we missed on Wednesday.”

    On if there will be any padded practices this week:

    On the “rivalry” between CB Josh Norman and Cowboys WR Dez Bryant:
    “It’s the same rivalry. I don’t think there is any doubt. When you have any Cowboy player against any Redskin player, it is a great rivalry. I don’t care who it is – whether it’s Kendall Fuller against Cole Beasley or whoever, [Bashaud] Breeland against [Terrance] Williams. It doesn’t matter. It’s a great rivalry. I think those are two very competitive guys and their personalities are probably similar. I don’t know Dez, but they seem like they are very similar, very fiery type guys. [They] want to win, want to produce, want to be in the limelight and make plays and they both have done that in their careers and it’s a great matchup always.”

    On if he has noticed any drop-off in Bryant’s game:
    “There is no drop-off to me. I think a lot of people may look at his numbers and say there is some drop-off but the object of the game is to get in the end zone and he is still one of the best end zone targets there is in football, without a doubt. However they get to the end zone, it really doesn’t matter if they hand it to Zeke [Ezekiel Elliot], throw it to Witt [Jason Witten] or whatever. I just think at the end of the day you’ve got to get the ball in the end zone and he is still the biggest threat on their team as far as red zone targets.”

    On the injuries to Long’s knees:
    “He’s got both quads a little bit. So he’s been dealing with a little bit, I think they just really flared up and really bothered him during the game and you could see it throughout the game. He did an unbelievable job of finishing the game for us because we didn’t have anybody else to turn to, but I think right now he is in some pain.”

    QB Kirk Cousins

    On the challenges of practicing without four starters on the offensive line:
    “I think the focus is on getting the new guys ready and making sure they understand the nuances of the position and the nuances of our offense, trying to make sure that as a unit – as 11 guys – we are working as one. When you have new people, that can be harder to do, but that is why the practice time is so valuable. So we focus more on the guys who are in there and making sure that it’s moving smoothly with whoever the 11 are that are in the huddle.”

    On working with C Chase Roullier:
    “Fortunately we got a lot of experience in the preseason. Chase started a game against the Bengals and felt like he got a lot of reps about halfway through the preseason and that helps to lean on right now. Chase did a good job against the Eagles, going against some really good players inside against them. [He] held up well and has shown that he can pass protect well. I mean, he has shown that all the way through OTAs and training camp. So we feel really good about Chase. He’s got a good demeanor about himself. He can anchor well and he is only going to get better as a player. Now as a rookie, is it a challenge? Sure, but we feel good about his potential and we just have got to work through growing pains. I think those of us that are veterans have got to be that much better on game day and really help lead and set a good example and make plays.”

    On if they will have to limit the offensive scheme because of the injuries:
    “I don’t think so. I think in the pros we expect people to be pros. We are going to challenge you. We are going to ask you to do some things. This is the NFL and I don’t think that you can expect to win if you start to dummy stuff down and simplify it. So we are going to say ‘Hey, we expect big things out of you. There are only 53 guys that we chose to be on this team and if you have one of these spots, we are going to ask a lot out of you and ask you to deliver.’”

    On what kind of coaching he does with the receivers:
    “Well, I just do my job. I let the receiver coach do his job, the head coach do his job, and when I am out on the field just make sure guys understand the play call, know where they have got to line up, their split, the snap count, the steps, the depth in the route, how they fit in the concept, where they are in the progression, and make sure the exit angle that they take and all those details are where they need to be. But they’re on the details. They are well-coached and the details matter to them and they pay attention to it. Fortunately we don’t have to have a lot of coaching in between each play.”

    On throwing deep balls to WR Josh Doctson and everything that goes into it:
    “I think it comes down to a variety of factors – play calls, reads, protection. To be able to throw that ball, sometimes you need to be able to see things and stand in there and have time, and other times when you feel rushed, you go look for your check down and just dump it off to avoid a sack. A lot of different things play into why that would happen or wouldn’t happen.”

    On how they have been effective in multiple-tight-end sets:
    “Well, when you have multiple tight ends in the game, you give a greater threat of run and you give a greater threat of the ability to be a little more physical at the point of attack. So, defenses have to match that typically with an additional linebacker or less defensive backs on the field. When you start to put less defensive backs on the field, we feel like that certainly puts us in an advantageous position to have our athletes at the tight end position maybe have an advantage on a linebacker or a safety at that point. At every position on the field, you’re trying to look for favorable matchups and mismatches and sometimes we find that that happens with our three-tight-end or two-tight-end personnel groupings. When you can have your whole offense available to you because of the talent we have at tight end, but stay in those three-tight-end sets, I think it can give defenses a lot of challenges as to, ‘Do we put a bunch of athletes on the field? Do we put a bunch of guys who can stop the run? How do we defend that?’ Week to week, teams are going to have a different approach.”

    On how much freedom he has at the line of scrimmage based on the defense’s personnel:
    “Well, I don’t handle personnel. The coaches are going to handle personnel and who subs in. From there, once the play is called along with the personnel, then at the line of scrimmage certainly Coach gives me freedom to make sure we are running optimum plays. We just don’t want to waste plays. So if we feel like a play is – a run play or a pass play – we are not going to be able to protect it well or the running back is going to run into an unblocked defender then certainly we want to get out of that play and not waste it. But for the most part, if it’s on paper designed to work and it should have a chance, we are not trying to get in the game of just constantly checking plays. When you huddle up and you’re not at the line of scrimmage in a hurry, you also don’t have a lot of time on the play clock to be able to make all these audibles and checks. You would have to be a team that doesn’t huddle, goes to the line of scrimmage with 30-35 seconds and that gives you a lot of time to be able to assess and make those checks and take your time. In our offense it’s more we have answers built in and let’s go through the progressions and find the right answers.”

    On what he takes away from two games against the Cowboys last year:
    “I just take from the last two games just a lot of respect for the Cowboys. I think they’re a good football team. They have really good players, well-coached and they have now built a culture and a success that you kind of have an identity now and a system in place that works for them. I think it starts with their defensive coordinator when I am looking at it from an offense and defense perspective. Coach Marinelli, I think he just gets his players playing hard. There is just great effort from the first snap to the last, all the way through the whistle. All 11 guys play hard and it really stands out on tape as you watch. I still have a lot of respect for Sean Lee. I just feel like when he is healthy that he is as a good of a player that there is that we play all season long. He always challenges us. Then they have DeMarcus Lawrence, who is leading the NFL in sacks. You see a lot of talent and it just seems like every week that’s what we see when we turn on the tape. Every week it’s like ‘Man, they’re such a talented team and what a great challenge and we can’t afford to make mistakes because they will make us pay.’”

    On the biggest difference in Doctson this season other than his health:
    “Well, when you can’t practice and you’ve never played in a game, there is going to be a lot of differences once you’ve practiced and played in games. I think there is just a ‘been there, done that’ approach now that I think helps, as it helps with any player. I think he is only still in the early stages of what he could be as a player and where we want him to be. You also try to find what players do well. What are they successful at doing and let’s let them do that as opposed to asking them to do everything. I think you have to put a guy out there and run him through different situations to learn what it is that he does well and what he can help us with.”

    On the upcoming stretch of games:
    “I think the best mindset in this league – otherwise you’re going to overwhelm yourself and want to take a nap – is to just go 1-0 each week and really 1-0 each day. I feel like I can spin my wheels sometimes looking at all the challenges we have up ahead and there is such small room for error. But if we just focus on, ‘We have to beat the Cowboys on Sunday, let’s just look no further than that,’ and we can’t play the Cowboys until Sunday. So let’s just focus on having a great Thursday practice. I think if we can do that – take it one day at a time – I think that is our best mindset or our best approach to be successful by the end of the season. But, yes, the next several games are going to be a challenge, but not only that, I feel like the first nine games have been a challenge when you look at the whole thing. When you look at the Eagles twice, the Chiefs on the road, the Raiders are a good football team, the Rams have proven to be a good football team – it just keeps going. That’s the NFL. I guess that’s the beauty of it. That’s what makes it so fun for fans, but it certainly makes it a great challenge for us as players.”

    On if he believes the offense is making progress in the red zone:
    “I don't know; I think every week is its own entity. I think it's a critical factor in winning and losing football games. I think last year had we been better at it, we probably would have gone down as one of the better offenses in the last decade because of how much of a difference it makes when you come away with four more points down there. But I do think that we just have to have great play calls, we have to execute them well and we can't waste plays. When you go down there and you handicap yourself with a run that doesn't get any yards, now you're really working with only two plays down there instead of three. So we’ve just got to be productive when we get the chance and execute well. Ultimately, it is a confined space and the defense is going to win some now and then, but if nothing else, we've got to come away with three and play for the next series.”

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    Default Re: Skins Quotes 10/26/17: Gruden, Garrett, Cousins, Elliott

    So, Catalina, the guy who was supposed to help with all our injuries, is also injured himself with a concussion ?
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