Skins Quotes 9/19/19: Gruden, Manusky, Nagy

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Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC

Marine Corps Virginia

September 19, 2019

Head Coach Jay Gruden

Opening statement:
“Did not participate were [CB Quinton] Dunbar, knee, [DL Jonathan] Allen, knee, [TE Jordan] Reed, concussion, [QB Colt] McCoy, leg, [LB] Cassanova McKinzy, hip. Limited were [T Morgan] Moses, knee and [CB Fabian] Moreau, ankle.”

On if Allen suffered a setback during his recovery process:
“No, no setback. Just thought it was better for him to stay in today and rest it and see how it is tomorrow.”

On Reed's status:
“This is all a part of the process of recovering from this ordeal. We're just taking it very slowly, making sure he goes through the right process to make sure it's right, before he goes back on the field.”

On if Allen had the day off because the team is playing on Monday night:
“No, he had a significant injury. We're making sure he's going to be O.K. before he starts individual drills in practice. We thought today, another day of rest for him would be better suited for him than going out and practicing.”

On his impressions of Chicago's offense:
“They're versatile. You go back to last year and they're very effective in what they did. They have some good playmakers on the outside. [WR] Allen Robinson obviously and then they have [WR] Cordarrelle [Patterson] who is a very explosive guys, can line him up in the back field with jet sweeps. Obviously, [RB] Tarik Cohen is a heck of a player. The quarterback can move, run zone reads. [RB David] Montgomery is a heck of a rookie from Iowa State. Very solid football team. They can hit you in a lot of different ways. That's why they are effective.”

On if CB Aaron Colvin will play in CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's place:
“Could be, yeah. We're hoping Fabian [Moreau] can get better and be a part of that as well.”

On who will play the outside cornerback position opposite Norman:
“Fabian [Moreau] most likely, we'll see. [CB] Jimmy [Moreland] played outside as well last week.”

On Moreau's growth:
“We think he's ready, he played a lot last year as a starter. He did a good job. We think he's a developing prospect, got a great skill set. He can run, he's physical, he's learning the defense. I think he's more comfortable with terminology and the adjustments that we have to make, but the most important thing is [that] he can get in your face and can run with you. It's hard to find that type of player. He's got a lot of confidence, just got to get his ankle healthy and hopefully it'll be ready Monday night. If not it'll be ready the following week.”

On Moreau's time table:
“No, nope. No long-term. Just limited today.”

On what stands out about Chicago's defense:
“I think they're the total package. I think their base defense is solid, they are big up the middle, speed on the outside and obviously their linebackers can really run and like I mentioned before, their safeties are pretty good as well. They don't really have any glaring weakness. You can't just say, ‘Oh let's go attack this.' [You can] throw the ball down field, but you have to have time and they have great pass rushers. They held Green Bay to one touchdown on a free play where [QB] Aaron [Rodgers] just kinda threw it up for grabs because they knew [Chicago] had 12 guys on the field. Basically just threw a Hail Mary to [TE Jimmy] Graham and scores a touchdown. Last week against the Broncos they played some pretty good defense as well. So we'll go out and challenge them for sure and see how we do.”

On how LB Noah Spence looks:
“We've put him out there on scout team a little bit, done some one-on-ones with him. He can rush the passer for sure and now it's a matter of, can we find package for him if ‘Cass' [Cassanova McKinzy] can't go. We'll find a package for him on third down possibly. He does have skill as a pass rusher without a doubt, he was a first rounder, I believe, in Tampa or a low second, late first. He definitely has a skillset to rush the passer and now it's a matter of, can we get him in on first or second down at times? Can we teach him a role on special teams? Just find a good role for him where he can feel good about playing on Monday night.”

On Spence's playing time being dependent on McKinzy:
“Pretty much, yeah.”

On how the Bears defensive scheme impacts the offensive game plan:
“I think we have to still try to do what we do, without a doubt. Our plan will be altered a little bit based on who they have up front and on the outside, but still we have some run concepts that we like and we're comfortable with, and we're going to try and get by with them.”

On getting more out of WR Steve Sims Jr.:
“A little bit more, for sure. He's an explosive guy. The problem is you take [WR] Trey Quinn out and Trey's playing very well in the slot as well. You can put him outside at Z a little bit, but you've got [WR] Paul [Richardson Jr.] and [WR Kelvin] Harmon out there, you put him at X and you've got [WR] Terry [McLaurin] out there. So we don't want to overload him right now. I think this is going to be a building process for him. Each week I think we'll try and give him a little bit more and more, see how much he can learn as far as position flex. But right now I think you'll see him staggered in and out of there.”

On Sims returning punts:
“Not right now, no. Yeah, he can do it.”

On if Dunbar will practice this week:
“I don't know. That's up to [Quinton] Dunbar and the trainers.”

Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky

On the defensive struggles in the first two weeks:
“We're coming out good and playing good and then all of a sudden we lag off. We need to play better each and every week. I think we have a lot of young players and I think, overall, just playing together is the biggest thing. We've got to coach better, we've got to play better and I think that's the best thing that I could say.”

On what he can do as a coach to improve pressure:
“I think we have to get after the quarterback better, of course, with a 4-man rush, a 5-man rush, or a zero. From my standpoint, I think overall we've got to get into positions where we're able to rush the quarterback in third down situations, especially third-and-seven-plus. We've got to get in those situations. It's hard in third-and-one and third-and-twos to call a pressure because the ball is coming out so quick. So, across the board we've got to do a better job of getting after the passer with a little bit of pressure here and there and then ultimately trying to sack the quarterback.”

On issues concerning the cutback lanes in the run defense:
“I just think the linebackers have got to wobble a little bit back and forth. From our standpoint, we've got to coach it better and we've got to play it better because we knew what they were doing.”

On DL Jonathan Allen's injury:
“It was a big loss. One of our starters, the captain of basically the defense, as well with [LB] Ryan Kerrigan. A guy that's out there every day giving all his might every single play, playing hard. Even this past Sunday, I know we had three starters out, but I'm just saying we've got to play with the guys that we have. So, it's important that we get him back and hopefully we will this week.”

On if he is surprised by the drop off without Allen:
“He is a big player from Alabama that has played in a lot of games and hopefully he's up this week.”

On if having a lot of rookies and new players on the defense has limited his scheme:
“Overall, I think going through training camp, going through OTAs and going through all those periods that we went through and especially during practices for the first couple of weeks, we're trying to get them in the basic defenses that we normally play. But then we throw a couple things that you actually want to get to and some of those guys are new, then all of a sudden they have to be put in a position where they actually have to play. So you have to cut back a little bit.”

On LB Montez Sweat:
“With [DL] Montez [Sweat], I think any young guy that comes into the league, they're used to offensive tackles – they're not used to Pro Bowl tackles. From that standpoint, he's got to get off the ball, he's got to make sure that he has a great angle to the quarterback and then try to defeat the tackles that he has. Overall, he's got to get better, I've got to coach him better, [Outside Linebackers Coach] Chad [Grimm] has to coach him better, so we'll see where it goes.”

On whether there's anything specific Sweat can improve on:
"I think that's the most important thing, getting off the ball. See the ball snap and then let it fly."

On whether S Landon Collins' skillset is more instinctual versus coachable:
"I think more than anything, Landon's an instinctual guy. He knows exactly where things are going, he has a feel for the game which is outstanding. I've got to put him into positions where he excels. I think across the board, I have not. I think we have to do a little bit of a job of trying to get him in those positions to excel."

On whether Collins' skillset is teachable to other players:
"Yeah, of course.”

On if he's surprised by the performance of defense in the second half of the first two games:
"Yeah, I think we start off good and then all of the sudden we kind of taper off. Each week it's always a different game. I always tell the guys we gotta play 60 minutes. It's not 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, it's 60 minutes and that's the way we've got to play. From the start to the finish, we've got to play that way."

Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy

On what gives him the confidence that QB Mitch Trubisky will get on track this week:
"I put it on our whole offense. I don't think it's about one person. We all need to play better. We need to coach better. That's just how we do things around here; it's about us. When we win, it's about us and when we lose, it's about us. He'll be fine. We're in a good spot and we're happy to be 1-1 right now."

On what catches his eye about the Redskins offense:
"First of all, I'm well aware of [QB] Case Keenum and what he can do. I've been around some other teams that have played him. He's obviously having a good year right now. Statically he's protecting the football. He's very, very football smart. So his football IQ is high. He gets the ball out. I think you match him up with the different style running backs with [RB Chris] Thompson and [RB] Adrian Peterson and then those wide receivers with [WR Paul] Richardson [Jr.] and [WR Terry] McLaurin. Then all of the sudden, you throw in [TE] Jordan Reed, who I think is one of the better tight ends in the game. There's weapons there and they're getting off to fast starts. I think that's going to be the big thing, [that] we match them early on and then we play our game. They're playing well right now on that side. I like what I see.”

On the benefit of having a former head coach on your staff:
"It wasn't a necessity; it was definitely up there. Number one did he fit our culture as a person and that was a 100 percent yes. Then you see the experience he's had coaching in this league for a long, long time and then he goes on and then is a head coach. So many reasons as to why, [former Defensive Coordinator] Vic Fangio, why I felt very comfortable the year before, is that you have a guy that been there done that. They can really take that side of the ball and run with it. I just kind of oversee it and I'm just kind of there to oversee it and help out in any way. The person and the coach of [Defensive Coordinator] Chuck Pagano is what I was looking for.”

On the Redskins pass defense:
"Number one, they play super hard. Those guys on the front line, they get after you regardless of numbers, they're penetrating, they're getting after you. They're making you play your A-game on that offensive line side. I think that's the number one thing that flashes to me when I watch tape, that I see that defensive line. They play hard and they get after you."

On the Redskins run defense:
“There's some shots in there where you see that they're in there making plays. They're guys that can stop the run and then, if there's a big play, they hit on them – that's a part of football. But overall, I just look at that defense and, I know they've had some injuries on the back end, but they play hard. And there's just so much parity in this league, records mean nothing and it's all about how you're playing right now. We just have a lot of respect for that defense and I know going against some of those same players a few years ago in Kansas City, they got after us pretty good.”

On the level of comfort provided by Pagano running the defensive side of the team:
“Absolutely because you have experience, so there's that trust. You've seen a body of work throughout his career. The only way it works is, as a person, can you work in this culture? Are you a good guy? Are you a good person? If you're a bad person, but you're a really good defensive coordinator, you're not going to be on this staff. He's a slam dunk human being and he matches that as a defensive coordinator. Then you say, ‘O.K, he has six years as a head coach in the NFL, what is there not to like?' So now he goes in and jumps in with our players and I know what type of players we have and it ends up being a great match.”

On whether having another former head coach on the staff feels like a threat:
“To me, it's all about what kind of confidence you have in yourself as a coach. If I don't have better coaches than me on a staff, then I'm not a good coach. You need to surround yourself with better coaches than what you are. They go ahead and strengthen my weaknesses and I strengthen their weaknesses, and that's just how you roll. If you're worried about somebody taking your job then you're not focused on what you need to do. Until you just asked me that question, that's the last thing I thought of.”

On coaching in a city with a passionate fan base:
“Well there's just more people, so that's the pressure part, but I want that. These are the ones that you want to be able to be a part of because you know that there's that accountability of holding yourself to a higher standard of winning championships. So there's a process to it no matter what market you're in. We all want the same thing, but there's just a lot more people in the city of Chicago and there's a lot more people that care about their team because of that. That creates the expectations, but I want that.”

On pulling out the win against the Broncos in Week 2:
“It was really big in the fact that – a couple things – we went through a similar deal last year at the beginning of the season and they didn't know who I was, they didn't how I coached, I didn't know who they were, I didn't know how they played and we learned throughout the year in different waves of the season who we were as people and who we were as teammates and who we were as coaches. So, we've used that the whole offseason to figure out, ‘O.K., how do we get better than what we did last year?' Well, if you [prepare] them and tell them there's going to be some adverse times, how do you handle it? You're going to get chances, well when does that come? Ours was Week 2 on the road against a team that has won 17-out-of-18 games as a home opener in the last 18 years. The point is, it's not going to be easy. We're leading the whole game, they score at the end, go for two, get it, 31 seconds to go. Two days earlier, we just get done watching a situation with the Saints and Texans on how to handle needing a field goal to win the game with one timeout. You can't make that up and our guys executed it. So, a win like that on the road and believing in each other, I think, can really help you out for later games down the road.”


The All-Time Great
Jul 19, 2009
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Bethesda Md

Sweat it appears wasn't properly prepared (ie pushed enough) in camp and the preseason to be ready to face NFL linemen.

More than one commentator from Doc Walker to Chris Cooley and scrimmage partners like the Patriots in 2016 noted the easy practices and lack of contact going on.

Brian Mitchell asked the question how a team goes 1-4 (now 1-5) in the opener and doesn't figure out their preparation methods could stand some scrutiny.

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