Skins Quotes 9/13/19: Gruden, O’Connell

One of many experimental iterations ...


Staff member
Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC

Marine Corps Virginia

September 13, 2019
Head Coach Jay Gruden

Opening statement:
“Out will be [DL Jonathan] Allen, knee, [DL Caleb] Brantley, foot, [QB Colt] McCoy, fibula, [TE Jordan] Reed, concussion. Questionable will be [CB Quinton] Dunbar. Doubtful will be [CB Fabian] Moreau, ankle. And [RB Derrius] Guice will be out as well.”

On if something happened today that caused Reed to be declared out for Sunday:
“It just didn't work out this week as far as feeling 100 percent to play in a game.”

On how the corner situation will look if Dunbar and Moreau can't play in Week 2:
“We have the guys on the depth chart, that's who is going to play. We'll have to line them up accordingly depending on who is in there and how we decide to do it. So, the depth chart is up there and we'll have to figure out how to line them up.”

On Dunbar's knee:
“It's got a few issues in there. I don't know, I didn't read the report. You're asking the wrong guy, you'd have to get our trainer up here and find out what he said. I just know that he's questionable for this game and hopefully some of the soreness goes away by tomorrow. So, we'll have to find out tomorrow.”

On if CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will play in Dunbar's place in Week 2:
“Most likely, yeah.”

On what he saw from Rodgers-Cromartie in Week 1:
“He didn't play a whole lot, he played a little bit. [Rodgers-Cromartie] DRC is a vet, he's seen every coverage, played every coverage, played a lot of great players in his day – man to man, zone so he's a veteran guy. It's the reason why he's here, really, just in case something like this were to happen. We feel pretty good that DRC can play and play at a pretty good level.”

On what exactly happened to Dunbar:
“Wednesday at practice his knee swelled up a little bit and was giving him some discomfort, so we went and got it checked out and we're hoping the discomfort goes away and he'll be alright.”

On game planning challenges with the uncertainty of Reed playing:
“It's always a challenge, especially with him because he's a special guy that if he's in the game, you have to design a few plays for him. Those plays just got ‘red-penned', got axed. At the end of the day we have a lot of good players, lot of good weapons that we can attack the defense. We're not worried about that. The main thing is we're worried about Jordan getting well and hopefully that'll be next week for Chicago.”

On if they will promote another tight end:
“We're going to decide that later on. We'll promote possibility a couple guys or figure that out here after practice.”

On if he is considering moving some players to injured reserve:
“Definitely a consideration for some of these guys if we have to open up a roster spot that could happen as soon as today, it could.”

On if they brought up WR Robert Davis from the practice squad:
“We're going to sign Robert Davis, yes. Possibly, we'll see.”

On if he thinks DL T.Y. McGill and DL Treyvon Hester can handle the workload after just being recently signed:
“It's a test, that'll be a test. [Treyvon] Hester has played some ball at Philadelphia. He came in, in great shape. [T.Y.] McGill also kinda got a little bit of familiarity of the system. He can do a little bit of different things, but it's a matter of if they're out there, can they do the right things and be in the right spot. I think they can. Both smart guys, both physical guys so that's good. Good players, we're happy to get them. But being in the right spot with all those stunts and things that they do, that's going to be the challenge, but I think [Defensive Line] Coach [Jim] Tomsula will get them up to speed.”

Offensive Coordinator Kevin O'Connell

On game planning change with TE Jordan Reed's injury status:
“Yeah you look at it when we're putting some of those things in, you think about alternative options whether maybe even in game sometimes we've run that play and we want to get another look at it with maybe [RB Chris Thompson] or [TE] Vernon [Davis] or [WR] Trey [Quinn] or any of our other guys – [WR] Terry [McLaurin], [WR] Paul [Richardson Jr.] – we can move things around. That's the beauty of this system. We've got every formation we can possibly need and if don't have it, we make it up and figure out a name to call it. So, from the standpoint of my role as far as putting together a plan and figuring out who is going to do what when [Head Coach] Jay [Gruden] and I sit down and we kind of put it together. We talk about those contingency plans, especially when a guy maybe out practicing, but he's not fully 100 percent yet. That's really on Jay [Gruden] and the medical staff to determine all that. But yeah I'm constantly trying to evaluate where we can maybe have a backup option if it's something we really want to run.”

On what QB Case Keenum can do differently to combat the stunts Dallas runs:
“I thought last week against Philadelphia he did a great job of being really aggressive with his feet, really discipline with his eyes so when something was there, if number one or number two, we worked really hard to try to get those guys open for them so when those guys are there, he can be aggressive with his feet and his eyes. He's so talented as a passer when he's confident in what he's looking at. That's what we're trying to replicate and duplicate, but we worked a lot on the movement and the stunts up front. We can do somethings with our protection and make sure we're aware of maybe some of the weaknesses that we may have schematically that taken advanced of in the past, that's on us as coaches. At the end of the day, we feel confident about the group. We're playing a great front again like we did last week. I thought they played their rear ends off last week. They just have to do it again, this time at home. We get to use some cadence, so it'll be a positive for us.”

On what losing RB Derrius Guice does to the offense:
“I think that's the beauty of having [RB] Adrian [Peterson] and our whole group of running backs that we have. I think we talked about this last week, just the idea of we can run a lot of the same runs with those guys because they are so versatile. I think a lot has been made with Adrian in the I [formation] or in the ‘dot' or all that stuff, we just think about what are the best schemes against that defense and how do we continue to find ways to run those and [Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Line Coach] Bill [Callahan] does a great job with that. We try to get together a make it all look the same and have a lot of sameness and likeness to our offense. So, on first and second down, we can dictate not only tempo, but dictate, hopefully, the best parts of our system can be on display on Sundays. As far as who's in there and who's not, like I said whether it's Jordan [Reed] or Derrius [Guice], I'm just focusing on the Xs and Os side of it then making sure we're sound there. I feel really good about the roster we've put together offensively of fitting multiple pieces into those roles."

On finding balance of variety and being good at a few things:
“Let's not be afraid to give the other side credit sometimes. If we could the same four or five things and get really good at them against everybody we play, we would do that Sunday and keep running it until people stopped them. But we play some really good defenses, tough at the point of attack sometimes, on the edge, on the perimeter, all those different things that go into runs. It's a good conversation to have, but at the end of the day we're going to continue to try to do things that we feel have the best chance to give us success in the pass game, run game, situationally, whatever it maybe. As far as too much or too little, we'll continue to evaluate that.”

On G Ereck Flowers Jr. first start:
“I thought he played really well. Throughout camp we tried to give him as many reps as we could at that left guard spot. He played a little tackle here or there depending on what day down there in Richmond, [Va]. As far as his first game, on the road, hostile environment, crowd noise, that first group in there for the first time playing real football together, we were really happy with that group, Especially Ereck, [he] competed and played with physicality. As the game wore on, it was a hot day, played a lot of snaps, maybe not in the third quarter, but there were a lot of snaps. Those guys maintained their first step and physicality and all those things. So, we're looking for those guys to just build on that performance, not only on the left side, but the right side with [T] Morgan [Moses] and [G] Brandon [Scherff]."

On if Keenum met O'Connell's expectations:
“He did. I've got high expectations for Case [Keenum]. I've got high expectations for all of our quarterbacks, as hard as we work at it as a group. Not only as a system and as an offense, we feel strong about our plan going into every game. Hopefully, my job is to make those guys feel as strongly as I do about the plan when we hit the field on Sundays. Case does an unbelievable job from a preparation standpoint, leading the group throughout the week and also individually. We put a lot on his plate. He gets us into the good plays and makes sure we try to limit some of those negative plays that jump up sometimes by putting it on the quarterback's plate. I think he handles all of that well. He's tremendous in and out of the huddle, he's tremendous tempo on game day, getting to line of scrimmage, trying to use his cadence to get the defense to uncover any of their disguises they have. That all leads to him playing aggressive with his feet and really discipline with his eyes and he's got plenty of arm talent to make all the throws. That's normally a pretty good formula.”

On the second half of Week 1:
“First and foremost, the 18-play drive to finish, I told the offense on Monday, that's not easy to do. It's a double-digit lead at that point and the Eagles weren't going to give up much in a two-minute drive, but for us to get 18 plays, execute our two-minute offense, some dinking and dunking there, but they're forcing it to happen. We had some negative plays that we overcame in that drive – second and long, third and long, converted a fourth down – so there was some positives. Just the lack of quit in our guys. They continued to battle up front, the guys on the perimeter and Case [Keenum] continuing to play smart but also push us down the field. That was obviously a positive. But as far as the third quarter goes, going back and watching it, to me it comes down to about six plays there. The first drive, ok. You come out of the half and we end up in a not a very conducive third down situation after a couple plays. But really those next sequences, we missed Terry [McLaurin] deep there, we have a chance to make a conversion on kind of an RPO style play, if we just execute just a little bit better, any one of those three plays move the chains then maybe who knows. When we get rolling on drives, every completion, every positive play does tend to have negative affect on the defense over the course of a drive. We just got to get rolling, got to get started, limit those negative plays and the positive momentum builds with our group. Not only up front, but the quarterback position, the skill players and that normally leads to a lot of success for us so that's kind of the way we look at it. We're continuing every drive as its own. Every play, how many times can we line up all 11 and execute to the best of our ability to leading to quality on the field."

On playing with new pieces on offense:
“I think it's just continuing to evaluate how much of the game plan, how much can they handle from a volume standpoint and then can our detail be where we want it to be on Sundays and I thought the guys across the board from the guys up front to some of the young players or veteran players in the receiver room, Vernon [Davis] with a lot of snaps on his plate, obviously [TE Jeremy] Sprinkle and then the running backs and Case [Keenum], I felt like top to bottom we may carry a lot of volume, but they handle the details involved in those plays that are critical for success. So we'll just keep evaluating that. We feel like we wouldn't be playing those guys if didn't feel like they could handle, not only the volume, but the detail that goes into giving yourself a chance for success.”

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