November 17, 2014
Redskins Park

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On the injury report:
“OK, injuries… Chris Baker has the SC [sternoclavicular] joint sprain. It’s moderate. He’s sore. He’ll be day-to-day, obviously. Trent Williams has the MCL sprain and the ankle sprain. He did not get the MRI or any X-ray on his ankle. It’s just a sprain, but the MCL is a sprain also and that’ll be day-to-day. We’ll have to see how he’s doing. We’ll check again tomorrow and the next day and see. Questionable will be Shawn Lauvao – he’s going through the concussion protocol – and Jordan Reed with his hamstring sprain. And then Trent Murphy has a PCL partial tear, something he can play with if he can deal with a little bit of the soreness. Everybody else should be OK.”

On if the team has reached a point in the season where he has to recalibrate his goals for this year:
“Yeah, I think you have to reestablish some goals and one thing is our work ethic. It can’t change; it can’t waver, no matter what your record is. We have to continue to work hard and prepare hard because we think that, ultimately, that will pay off in the long run. We have to continue to compete and the biggest thing is we want to make sure we find a way to get better at the end and continue to get better. Right now – yesterday – we took a major step backwards towards regression. We have got to figure out a way to make sure we continue to show some improvement and put yesterday behind us and figure out ways that we can get better so we have something to feel good about as we finish the season.”

On if the plan is to start Robert Griffin III at quarterback on Sunday against San Francisco:
“That’s the plan, yes.”

On if he would consider pulling Griffin III on Sunday if he does not play well:
“Same thing. We don’t anticipate bad. We anticipate good. Bad happens sometimes like it did yesterday. It was not good, but we anticipate him having a bounce back game and playing well, but we’ll take each game for what it is as its own entity and move on from there. We have total faith that Robert can bounce back and make some throws and get us a win.”

On if he feels the players are putting in the necessary effort to win:
“I do. They’re playing H.O.R.S.E. in the locker room when practice is over, yeah, when practice is over, practice is over. When meetings are over, meetings are over. Whether they go home and play Xbox or study tape or have dinner with their wives and kids or have a quick game of H.O.R.S.E. before they leave has no reflection on how they perform on Sunday. Once the meetings and practices are over, they are free to unwind however they see fit.”

On defensive end Jason Hatcher not discussing last week’s practices and if there was any concern with those practice sessions:
“No, I thought guys moved around OK. Jason did some good things early in the week in practice. It was a decent week. I thought the tempo was pretty good. I thought the effort was there. It just didn’t carry over to Sunday for whatever reason. So, we just have got to make sure we continue to monitor our practices – make sure the tempo’s good, make sure the fundamentals are sound, and continue coaching these guys up and not let anything get swept under the rug if things go wrong. Maybe we did that too much last week. I’ll go back and watch it and see.”

On wide receiver DeSean Jackson’s comments online and if it was addressed today:
“Yeah, I addressed a couple of messages today that got turned around a little bit. I don’t know exactly what DeSean meant. I think he was frustrated a little bit with what came out about Robert [Griffin III]. I think one of the headlines was, ‘Robert throws team under the bus,’ was one of the things that I read. Robert, whatever he said after the postgame got twisted around a little bit, and I addressed it today in the meeting room. It’s our job in house as players and coaches to make sure we say the right things and not let your words get twisted by the media or anybody, not give anyone the opportunity to do that. Otherwise, it’ll be ‘He said, she said,’ things and there’ll be Twitter wars, social media events that will get out of control. We’ve got to put a stop to it now.”

On Griffin III’s performance:
“Just from Robert’s perspective – you take everybody else out of the picture – Robert had some fundamental flaws. He did. His footwork was below average. He took three-step drops when he should have taken five. He took a one-step drop when he should have taken three on a couple of occasions. That can’t happen. He stepped up when he didn’t have to step up, stepped into pressure, he read the wrong side of the field a couple of times. So, from his basic performance just critiquing Robert, it was not even close to being good enough to what we expect from that quarterback position.”

On Griffin III’s performance at this stage of his career:
“I think sometimes once the game gets going and the adrenaline starts going, sometimes you see things that maybe aren’t there. You speed things up when you shouldn’t speed things up, and you feel a sense of urgency that isn’t quite there. You just have to play with a little bit greater poise and continue to rep these things out so when you catch a shotgun snap or take a drop from under center, you, that should be the last thing you should think about. That should come natural, and right now for whatever reason, those aren’t coming natural, and that’s on us as a staff. We have got to make sure we make it as natural for him as possible.”

On the second interception:
“Read his eyes, yeah. That particular play he’s got to keep his eyes on the right place. He stared down his receiver too long and the linebacker did a great job of reading it and flowing into the passing lane and made a play. But, he understands in that type of coverage, he’s the free player that he has to control with his eyes and then throw accordingly. But, he stared down Pierre [Garçon] a little bit too long and the linebacker made a play.”

On how receptive Griffin III is to discussing areas for improvement:
“He’s open. He’s absolutely open about it. He understands he didn’t play his best game. He’s very frustrated with the way he played obviously. There’s a lot of things he could have done better to help us win, just talking about Robert. He has to be receptive. It’s just a part of the position. You’ve got to be able to get coached and understand when you make a mistake, you have to learn from it and not do it again.”

On who was responsible for blitzing during Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans’ second touchdown reception:
“Based on the blitz that was drawn up, Perry [Riley, Jr.] was supposed to blitz. There was a little confusion there and Keenan [Robinson] was supposed to cover the deep middle, and we were hoping based on the pressure that Josh [McCown] wouldn’t have had those extra three hitches to drop it deep to Mike Evans.”

On determining which player should blitz:
“From a fundamental formation standpoint, we did it based off of the location of a certain player. There was a little confusion there for whatever reason.”

On why there was a miscommunication on that play:
“I don’t know. We’ll have to ask Perry why there was confusion. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Perry, but there was confusion on that play. There was confusion on a couple plays that we had. There was confusion on Robert’s drops on a couple of plays. Those are equally important as to somebody blitzing who’s not supposed to blitz, which happened another time. Or somebody doing something else. As coaches, we really have to take into account during the week of practice, we have to make sure everybody’s on top of what they’re supposed to do, and we have to continue to grind on them both on the field and in the meeting room so those breakdowns don’t happen. They happen over the course of the game, in every NFL game. But when you lose, they become magnified and being that we’ve lost a lot of games, those plays become magnified and they are huge plays in the course of a game. The defense played extremely well. If we’re on the field for 58 snaps, they played pretty darn well for 53 snaps, but there are four or five snaps in every game that you look at the tape going all the way back that there’s four or five snaps that you have a mental breakdown somewhere and it’s costing us. We’ve got to figure out a way to eliminate those.”

On if he believes Griffin III needs others to be great for him to be great:
“Well, first of all Robert needs to understand he needs to worry about himself, No. 1, and not everybody else. It’s his job to worry about his position, his footwork, his fundamentals, his reads, his progressions, his job at the quarterback position. It’s my job to worry about everybody else. And, yes, everybody else needs to improve. There’s no question about it. But it’s not his place. His place is to talk about himself and he knows that. He just elaborated a little bit too much and, you know, he will learn from it. He is 24 years old and he wants everything to be perfect around him and yesterday was far from perfect. He’s got to improve, the offensive line has to improve, everybody has to improve – myself. I mean, you’re 3-7, if you can point to one person when you are 3-7, that’s easy. But you can’t. Everybody has their hand in it and we’ve got to fight our way out of it. We’ve got to continue to prepare, like I said. We’ve got to be consistent ion our preparation, our work ethic and eventually we will get out of it. But if we start pointing fingers and throwing stones, we have no chance. So we are going to squash all this stuff now and continue to get better and beat San Francisco.”

On if defenses are doing something that has caused wide receiver Pierre Garçon’s targets to decrease: “No, it’s nothing... We tried to get Pierre involved early in the game and for whatever reason his targets are down and that’s on us as play callers. There are certain times in that game where the ball should have gone to Pierre and we tried to get to Pierre on the interception and there is a couple other ones we wanted to get the ball to Pierre but we had pressure or what have you and we just didn’t get it to him. And that’s just the way the game goes. As a wide receiver you can’t – as frustrated as you are, as good as you are, like Pierre is as good and frustrated and I know he wants to help this team win, there is nothing he can do about it. All he can do is go out there and run his routes the way he is supposed to run them and hopefully next week and the week after we will get him more touches.”

On the performance of the offensive line in pass protection:
“Well, you want to stay on your man as long as possible but when you have a three-step drop called and expect the ball to be gone and then all of a sudden you don’t know where the ball is at – you’re expecting the ball to be thrown – you go down to make a block downfield, then you just have to try to play football and do the best you can to find a guy and get in his way. But that one was – that sack, that particular sack was all on the quarterback. 1) He should have thrown the ball to the tight end, and 2) he scrambles out of the pocket, and if it’s not there throw it away and we’ve got third and 10 at the 10 instead of third and 20 at the 20. Those are part of playing the position that you can’t allow to happen.”

On if reevaluating his goals means playing younger players to evaluate them for the future:
“No, my goal is just to continue to coach these guys up and find the guys who are going to compete and win the game on Sunday. My only goal every week is try to win the game we are getting ready to play. If you start thinking about 2016 and 2018, you’re never going win the game you’re going to play. So we have to focus in on San Francisco. We have to continue to stay consistent like I said with our approach, how we meet, how we practice and how dedicated we are to getting this thing turned around because, like I said, eventually we will turn it around if we continue to work and prepare the right way.”

On if the team’s record will affect his decision making about tackle Trent Williams’ status:
“No, my only decision will be on the trainers and Trent. If the trainers say he is healthy enough to go and Trent says he can go, he will go. But if he feels not ready then Morgan [Moses] will have to play, and Morgan did a fine job in his absence. We feel good about Morgan, but obviously Trent is one of our captains and one of the best tackles in the NFL. We need him, but if he is not good, we will obviously not play him, but that will come down to the trainers and Trent later in the week.”

On if Griffin III is trying too hard to be ‘great’ instead of just being consistent:
“Yeah, sometimes you don’t need ‘great.’ You don’t need to lead at that position on every snap. He is obviously very competitive, but we just need him to do what he is supposed to do. Take your drops the right way and throw the five-yard stick route when you’re supposed to and do the best you can. Sometimes he worries about a little bit too much but he is a great competitor and we’ve just got to try to get him better. His frame of mind is in the right place, it just doesn’t come out the right way sometimes, but I think he wants to get better. He knows he has a long way to go to get better and if he stays on the right track as far as work ethic and listening and preparing, then he will get there.”

On the performance of tackle Morgan Moses:
“I thought he did pretty good, you know? He had one running play where he forgot to block the end, but overall, he did some good things coming off the bench cold. But you could see that since we got him, he’s a lot more fluid and natural at left tackle. It’s just that we have a Pro Bowl left tackle and we’ve been trying to work him at right tackle to get him to learn that. He did a good job at left tackle in pass protection.”

On the challenge of blitzing frequently:
“Yeah, there are certain issues. You put your corners on an island and sometimes you – when they change strength, you have to change with them and one guy has got to blitz and one guy has got to drop. Sometimes there’s some miscommunication there. But basically, when the offense happens to pick up the blitz and they’re in max protection, then you’re one-on-one with [Bashaud] Breeland or your corners against elite receivers like Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. It puts them on an island. There are risks involved in blitzing, but there are definite rewards also. We just have to find the fine line and do the best we can as far as mixing them up and getting pressure and getting home when we do blitz. Yesterday we blitzed a couple times and we didn’t come close. They did a great job of protection and Josh [McCown] did a great job of getting it out and knowing where his quick receivers were.”

On Griffin III missing Jackson on a couple of deep throws:
“Those are big plays in the game. Usually he hits that. He hits that in practice. He hits it quite often. He just missed him. The difference in that game is Josh McCown hit his and we missed ours. He hits Mike Evans three times for big, huge plays and we missed DeSean three times for big, huge plays. So, [if] you flip them – Josh overthrows Mike and we hit ours – I’m a little happier right now. But like I said, we are not doing a good job of making plays, period, anywhere on offense or on defense – big plays, game-changing plays – and we’ve got to find a way to hit them.”

On getting more interceptions:
“Haslett can’t intercept the ball for the guys. We have to have guys break on the ball and make some plays. We have to have defensive linemen get their hands up in passing lanes and linebackers read the quarterbacks’ eyes and getting their hands up in passing lanes. And we just have to do a good job as a team defense, getting pressure on the quarterback and forcing errant throws. When the quarterback has time to scour the field and read zones, quarterbacks in the NFL nowadays, they’re going to not throw interceptions. But when you get pressure on them and you force them into some mistakes and you get your hands up in the passing lanes and the secondary is able to break on some throws, you have some chance. But overall, secondary/linebacker play in pass coverage hasn’t been quite good enough to get the picks, and obviously it works hand in hand with our pass rush. At times it hasn’t been good enough to get the picks. But hopefully they’ll come. We’ve just got to stick with our plan and just keep trying to rush the passer as best we can and disrupting the quarterback’s rhythm and hopefully they’ll come in bunches. They just have not come.”