November 9, 2017

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On injuries:
“Did not participate were Zach Brown, ankle; Matt Ioannidis, hand; Arthur Jones, shoulder; Trent Williams, knee; Niles Paul, concussion. Limited were [Jamison] Crowder, hamstring; [Shawn] Lauvao, stinger; [Spencer] Long, knee; [Morgan] Moses, ankle; [Ty] Nsekhe, core muscle; [Montae] Nicholson, shoulder; [Jordan] Reed, hamstring; [Brian] Quick, concussion; and [Brandon] Scherff, knee. Full were [Bashaud] Breeland, [Fabian] Moreau and [Vernon] Davis.”

On if LB Zach Brown’s injury is a new thing:
“It is a new thing. It just popped up today. [He] had some soreness in his ankle so we kept him out.”

On his concern level about Brown for Sunday:
“This is the first I heard of it but we will get him some treatment today and hopefully he will be better tomorrow.”

On if TE Niles Paul suffered a setback:
“He’s still doing tests right now… He is just in the protocol and did not [practice].”

On if DL Matt Ioannidis still needs medical clearance to play:
“Well, he just had surgery not too long ago. So it is just a matter of when the doctors OK him to play with that cast.”

On if T Trent Williams’ injury is more of a pain tolerance issue:
“Yeah, probably.”

On how much T Ty Nsekhe practiced today:
“He got a little bit of team [drills] today. [He] did some things. We just have to monitor how much he’s doing and then when he does it, make sure he is feeling OK redirecting and handling the weight of other people. We will gauge it here in treatment tomorrow morning and see how he is doing.”

On if he can characterize Williams’ status:
“I can’t characterize that. That’s on Trent and the trainers really. I think he’s obviously in some discomfort and he’s trying to get some work in there with the trainers and see how he can do, see how he’s doing with the movement, change of direction and all that stuff and see how much pain tolerance he can take. We will probably find out if he can play probably tomorrow or Saturday.”

On Vikings QB Case Keenum:
“He is very efficient. He has come in there and obviously replaced Sam [Bradford] and did some really good things. They are playing well offensively. He distributes the ball to different people and does that very well, avoids the rush. He has only been sacked five times, I think, five or six times. He does a good job.”

On if the Vikings changed their offense with Keenum at quarterback:
“No, not really. I don’t think they’ve changed a lot. Coach [Pat] Shurmur does a good job with them offensively and puts them in good situations, gets the ball out of his hands quickly and they do have the ability to do some play-actions and take some shots. They’ve got a good mix on offense.”

On where the run game can improve:
“It’s across the board, without a doubt. Obviously the ability to convert some third downs like we didn’t do early in the game against Seattle, where we have more opportunities to run it. Seattle posed a very unique type front so it is hard to run against them. But across the board really – offensive line, tight ends, backs, receivers. We have to just continue to improve and continue to work on it. Try to stay diligent, work, keep calling them.”

On if he’s been happy with RB Rob Kelley’s ability to make people miss in the backfield and get back to the line of scrimmage:
“You’re never happy with a no-yard gain, but you would like to provide him some holes. That’s what we have to continue to work on. What concepts are we good at? What are we going to continue to work on and go from there? Each front is different. Seattle’s a little bit different than what Minnesota does and so on and so forth. We will see this week if we can get some holes for Chris [Thompson] and Rob and Samaje [Perine].”

On facing tough defenses and if can remember a similar stretch:
“I can’t. Every year seems like it’s the hardest year. It doesn’t get any easier and that’s part of the reason we’ve struggled in the running game, quite frankly. Dallas was good against the run. Philly was very good against the run. Obviously Seattle is good against the run. They hang their hat on that. They take a lot of pride in that. And a lot of movement up front, we just haven’t been able to handle. We have had a lot of moving parts up front with different players playing center, guard, tackle, tight end. It’s not easy. Rob has been dinged up and Samaje is a rookie, so it’s tough, not easy. But we will keep working on it and hopefully when we get some of our starters back like Trent and Brandon and Shawn that we will pave some bigger holes for our guys.”

On his level of concern with the hits that QB Kirk Cousins has been taking:
“Yeah, he has been hit by different people unfortunately. You never want your quarterback to get hit, period, obviously. So we just have to do a better job of trying to keep him clean, whether it’s protection, sometimes we just get beat in one-on-ones. Sometimes a four-man rush, sometimes a five-man rush, sometimes it’s a coverage sack or a coverage hit where he has to hold the ball and wait for a second or third window. We just haven’t had the time like we normally do to go from your first progression to second to third. He’s been getting hit. So we just have got to do a better job protecting him, without a doubt, and then probably call plays that hopefully get the ball out a little quicker.”

On the team’s resilience and where it comes from:
“I think it is a player makeup thing. I think you add some tough-minded guys and guys that we have kept here, the reason they’re here, not only they are talented but they have great makeup for pro football. They’re mentally tough, physically tough so that’s the type of guys we want to keep here. The veteran core leadership guys are here for that reason, and then the guys we added like D.J. [Swearinger] and Zach Brown and Josh Norman a couple years ago, obviously Terrell McClain, those guys have been great adds for us. They fit right in and provide solid leadership also and never quit and never say die type attitude, which is good. You have got to have that in pro football.”

On if Ioannidis could play Sunday after not practicing for a few weeks:
“I mean, we could, but he probably could use some work, yes. We could, yes, to answer your question.”

On if he anticipates Ioannidis playing on Sunday:
“I anticipate him not playing, correct. But if he can show up and do something tomorrow with his hand and cast it up and get a good feel and get some good work in, then there is a possibility.”

On if he has experience with a defensive lineman playing in a cast:
“It’s been done before by defensive linemen. He’s going to have it casted up and have his fingers free so he can still grab and stuff like that. I think that’s the important thing is can he grab without any pain and is it safe to grab right now so close to surgery? I think we want to make sure it’s stable and he can do it without damaging it more.”

Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky

On Vikings WR Stefon Diggs:
“Well, I think the best thing that he does – he’s a vertical threat. The quarterback likes him. He’s got speed to take the top off, so sometimes, you know, sometimes you’ve got to roll to him and make sure you have a safety over the top. He’s a good football player and we’ve got to do the same thing we did last week and try to stop those explosive plays.”

On working with Head Coach Jay Gruden:
“I think situational football is really big with him overall with getting the team together. I think that’s the biggest thing, you know? I believe in that as well. I think as a coach, I think you play for the coach and you play for the other players around you and I think that’s what we’re doing. We’re playing together as a unit and that’s what we’ve got to do and that’s what Jay preaches.”

On the freedom that Gruden gives him as a coach:
“We talk about situational stuff and what we’re going to do in each situation. From a game plan’s perspective, he knows what we’re doing on first and second down and on third downs.”

On if situations like the last minute of the Seattle game are game planned:
“Well, it depends on how much time and how many timeouts they have. Situationally wise, at the end of the game like that, you’ve got to figure out, ‘Are they going to take a chunk play at the end? Are they going to work the sidelines to try to kick a field goal?’ Their kicker wasn’t kicking as well he you wanted to, so in those situations, it always comes down to how much time that they have on the clock and then how many points they’ve got to score and stuff like that. So we go over that every week.”

On if he’ll consider using a wide receiver to defend a Hail Mary:
“Shoot, that ain’t a bad… That’s sometimes what we did – we had Coby Fleener when we were in Indy. So, we’ve talked about it and we’ll see what happens on the next game.”

On how impressed he is with CB Kendall Fuller’s development:
“It’s big. I even told him last year, when you get those knee surgeries, that first year coming back is always hard. I’ve seen a lot of players that have had that microfracture surgery and it just takes them a while. I told him from last year, ‘Just keep on going with it. You’ll actually see the difference between year one and year two.’ And actually he did. He came up during training camp and goes, ‘Boy, this is a lot different than it was last year,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, you have more confidence in your leg and your knee.’ But overall, smart football player. He understands concepts and understands the defense. He does a great job and we’re lucky to have him.”

On if Fuller’s skill set could translate to the outside:
“Oh, definitely. I think from his standpoint, right now he’s playing the nickel position and he’s taking hold hard. I think it’s hard. Sometimes a lot of corners can’t play inside because it just seems like there’s a lot of space. But Kendall does a great job of feeling those route combinations and feeling it with his sight lines and we’re excited. I knew he was going to have a great year. He’s just a smart football [player]. He understands where the ball’s going to be going and he made a great play in the Seattle game.”




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