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Redskins Press Conference: Jay Gruden 9-5-2016

Jay Gruden 7-27-2016

Redskins Press Conference: Jay Gruden 9-5-2016

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden spoke to members of the media on Monday, below is a collection of quotes from the press conference.

On WR Josh Doctson returning to practice:

“Yeah, it was good to get him back out there. He put shoulder pads on today and went through the individual drills and did some team stuff and looked good.”

On if Doctson seems up to speed mentally on the offense:

“It seems like it, but it’s a big difference from standing next to your receiver coach and listening to the play and saying what you’ve got to do than breaking the huddle and actually doing it. So, he had a good day today and we’ll just keep him mounting good days after another and see if we can get him ready to go.”

On the 53-man roster:

“I feel good about it, you know. I consider it a 63-man roster. These practice squad guys are very important, as we learned last year, and we’re fortunate to get a lot of the guys back that we had here on the practice squad. So, tough decisions went into it, but Scot [McCloughan] and the coaching staff did an excellent job of putting together our team.”

On if RB Matt Jones looks like he could be ready for Week 1:

“That’s the intent right now. We’re just bringing him along. It’s going to be interesting to see how he does Wednesday and Thursday. We’ll get another day of pads on one of those two days; I haven’t decided which one yet. But, that’ll tell a lot.”

On Jones wearing a gold non-contact jersey at practice today:

“Yeah, we just didn’t want him [to get] any contact today. We didn’t want anybody banging that shoulder today. He didn’t like it.”

On if the plan was always to keep three quarterbacks:

“I think that was pretty much the plan. You want to have three. Some teams go with two and a practice squad guy. We thought that Nate [Sudfeld] showed enough in the preseason where somebody might give him a chance. I think he’s in a good spot, man. He’s going to develop here on this roster and learn from Kirk [Cousins] and learn from Colt [McCoy] how to be a pro and just continue to develop. Having three is important nowadays.”

On keeping 11 defensive backs and how that affects the 46-man roster:

“That’s what it will come down to – special teams will be huge. We’ll sit down and talk about it. Starting Wednesday we’ll probably start to try to figure out what we’re going to do as far as that 46-man is concerned. We’re starting to preview a little bit assuming that everyone is going to be healthy, and we will have a tough decision there too. We have 11 good defensive backs that can all do something very good and have a skillset that is very beneficial to this team. Odds are we won’t take 11 to the game.”

On keeping six defensive linemen:

“Yeah, fortunately we got to get Matt [Ioannidis] back on the practice squad. We added [Louis] Nix to the practice squad. We have a couple young guys we can look at throughout the season, which is very important. But I feel good about our defensive line. They all work extremely well together. I think they complement each other very well. We have some guys that are maybe a little better against the run, some guys are a little bit better pass rusher, but when you start rotating them around, keeping them fresh, I think they all bring something very positive to this team.”

On keeping DE Anthony Lanier II on the active roster instead of DE Matt Ioannidis:

“It was very close. They’re different players. Lanier really showed throughout training camp and throughout the preseason games… he’s six-foot six, he’s very young, very raw. We didn’t want to risk losing a big defensive lineman that has some pass rush ability. We’re going to try to keep him here to develop him. Matt, we were hoping he wouldn’t get claimed and he didn’t. We were able to bring him back. But, really, we had to choose one. They’re both excellent football players and it was a very close, very hard decision to make. Fortunately we worked out and got them both.”

On the Steelers’ receivers:

“They have got a great quarterback, number one. He makes them all look good. He’d probably make me look good if I ran a route. He’s excellent. But they do a great job in-house scouting and developing their guys and bringing guys into that building. They’ve been good for a long time for a reason. They have a great scouting staff, a great coaching staff, and they’re very dangerous all across the board – receiver, if a running back goes down, they’ve got another one coming up. They just keep refueling and they’re a good football team.”

On if releasing TE Logan Paulsen was a numbers decision:

“Yeah, that was another really tough decision there. Logan has done a lot of good things for this football team. Coming off the injury, he did a great job of getting himself ready to compete. We just chose to go with three tight ends instead of four. We’re probably a little light there, but luckily we added Wes [Saxton] to the practice squad today so we have four in the building. But that was another tough decision. Logan is an excellent football player and Chicago gobbled him up right away.”

On C Austin Reiter:

“He did good. He’s one of those guys that really, I thought, developed. He just continued to get better and better. I think he’s proved his worth. And then with Spencer’s [Spencer Long’s] injury a little bit, we wanted to make sure we had another center in the building. He’s just going to keep on developing, getting better. Having three centers is important, we learned that last year. We were really short last year throughout the season. We brought in a couple guys toward the end of the year. I’d love to just work in-house with the center position instead of having to go on the waiver wire Week 8 and find a new center. That’s hard to do. Hopefully our guy stays healthy – Kory [Lichtensteiger] – and Spencer continues to develop and we’ll have Austin here.”

On preparing for the Steelers’ no-huddle offense:

“Well, I think a lot of teams have some form or version of no-huddle in their toolbox and Pittsburgh’s no different. I think they have the ability to do both, as we do, so it’s just talking about communication. We just have got to continue to work on our communication. They can do it out of a lot of different personnel groupings. We’re not sure which one they’re going to feature, but they can get you a lot of different ways. They’d use three tight ends last year, one back; they’ve used three receivers, one tight end. They can do it a lot of different ways. We have to definitely make sure that we get lined up and get our communication out there. Get the calls in, and [Will] Compton has got to make sure that he relays it to the DBs and do a good job in that regard, otherwise, they’ll get lined up fast and they’ll put a hurting on you. I feel good about the way we worked in training camp and OTAs. We worked a lot of no-huddle situations, so communication shouldn’t be an issue.”

On if Doctson is on the right path:

“Yeah, definitely the right path, but today is the first day we saw him in pads – shoulder pads – ever. So it was good to see him in shoulder pads. We’ll make that determination later. We want to get him back in the flow and get him some reps in team activities, get him some contact when he gets pads on – either Wednesday orThursday – and see how he does. The big thing is the more we push him, we’ve got to see how he recovers the next day. Tomorrow will be a big day for him. They’re off, but we’ll see how he’s doing tomorrow and then we’ll push him again Wednesday and see where he’s at, both physically and mentally, and we’ll make a decision later in the week.”

On if confidence in RB Robert Kelley dictated the decision to keep only three running backs:

“That’s a lot of it. We felt really good about Robert. We felt really good about Mack Brown. That was a tough decision also. We would like to keep all four, but we kept 11 defensive backs, so some other positions had to suffer because of that and that was one of them. That was just our decision. We feel good that the three backs that we have right now are going to be very good and with Mack Brown waiting in the wings, we have four excellent ones in-house.”

On developing Su’a Cravens as a safety on the scout team:

“We take these scout team reps, we try to develop our players on our scout team also. Even though they are doing a card, we can put people in different situations and see how they move around in space and do some things. We can still translate our calls to what the scout team are doing. I think it is good to start him at safety a little bit, maybe put him at nickel some a little bit, but his main focus is going to be on inside linebacker right now, but we are slowly starting to branch him off in different areas.”

On Cravens’ preseason:

“I thought it was good. I think there are some things he can clean up like all rookies, like everyone in the preseason. Really, I like his energy, man. I think you can feel him out there, see him making plays and he’s around the ball a lot which is good to see. We’ve just got to keep coaching him up and he’s going to be a heck of a player for us, especially in those nickel situations. He’s a good blitzer, he can cover and obviously he can tackle.”

On WR Rashad Ross and if he has a preference between attempting kick returns or taking touchbacks:

“That’s something I think every coach is kind of trying to feel out. I think we feel good with our opportunity with him [Ross] returning the ball or Chris Thompson for that matter. If they want to kick it to us at the 5-yard line and pooch it, we feel good about our return team getting a shot at it. On the flip side of that, do we want to pooch it or do we want to kick it deep? So I think there is going to be a lot of conversation here. We’ve already had a lot of conversation on it but we will have to wait and see. With Ross back there, we welcome the returns anytime.”

On Ross’ development as a receiver:

“As a receiver, he has done good. He was a one-trick pony early on in his career. He played one position; now he’s kind of moved over and flipped on the other side. The versatility is getting a lot better, his knowledge of the offense is getting a lot better but the one thing he has that you can’t coach is his speed. He can still run very, very fast.”

On the mission statement to the 53-man roster:

“We’ve already gone over the mission statements and all the goals and all that stuff before but now that we’ve gotten to our 53-man roster, we are focusing on Pittsburgh right now and this is a one-game-at-a-time season right now. We have to really put all of our work and all of our effort into getting better and getting ready for Pittsburgh. They are a very challenging team. They’ve been very good for a very long time and that is what it’s all about.”

On if it feels different only having 53 players on the active roster:

“Yeah, a little bit different, but I think the one thing these guys have to understand, you’ve got to come to work and prove yourself every day. That seat in that room is not guaranteed to you tomorrow. They have to go out and earn their right everyday as Washington Redskins, both on and off the field. We feel really good about the 53 men that we’ve got, really. They are not only good football players but they’re also good people and they’ve worked extremely hard this offseason and training camp and we are excited about their development so far and the skill set that they have that we can go out and compete against anybody. It’s just a matter of staying humble and grinding and studying and working our tails off and getting better.”

On WR DeSean Jackson:

“I think DeSean’s one of the most explosive – if not the most explosive player – in football, really. He’s shown that in practice. He’s worked extremely hard; he’s got a great attitude. And, knock on wood, keep him healthy, he’s a huge, huge, huge weapon for this offense with his speed and his big-play ability. We’re just happy as heck to have him. You know, you put him outside with Jordan [Reed] and obviously Pierre [Garçon] and Jamison [Crowder] and the running game that we have, it’s a dangerous combination. Now we’ve just got to get on the same page and Kirk [Cousins] has got to distribute the ball and not force it and good things will happen. But, I’ve been impressed with DeSean, not just in his big-play ability which he’s always had, but the way he’s come to work and getting himself ready to play.”

On the rotation for the defensive linemen:

“Yeah, I think we’ll have to decide. It depends on the personnel group that Pittsburgh’s in. Depending on who’s in there, we have different ways to utilize all of them. Cullen [Jenkins] had an excellent few days but we didn’t feel like we wanted to move on from the guys that we’ve had in here since day one of OTAs. I think [Kendall] Reyes has done some great things, Ricky [Jean Francois] obviously, [Chris] Baker, Kedric [Golston] has done some really good things, so we wanted to keep those guys intact. So, nickel, third down, first down, big people, little people, it’ll all depends. All of them are going to get a lot of work, and they all have merit as far as being able to rush a passer and play the run, which is good. They’re all versatile.”

On the late push for S Deshazor Everett to earn a roster spot:

“Huge late push. Yeah, he was struggling a little bit at safety, but the last couple of games he played excellent safety and that’s really what helped him. We knew he was a good special teams player, he’s one of our most valuable special teams players last year. We were a little concerned on the safety transition, but the last couple of weeks he’s really, really done a good job. He’s made his presence felt both in the running game hitting people, and the passing game, getting in the passing lane hitting receivers. Special teams, that’s where he makes his money and that’s where he’s the best.”

On the trend of corners moving to the safety position:

“It is interesting and I’m glad we did it because all three of them really, they had to work through it and it’s different. You know, I thought just being more of an offensive guy, just move that guy from corner to safety should be easy. ‘He’s got good ball skills, he can tackle, so it should be an easy transition.’ But there’s a lot more to it than that. And all three of them have had their struggles from time to time but they’ve all welcomed the change and they’ve all worked to get better. Will Blackmon’s done an excellent job, D-Hall [DeAngelo Hall] has and so has [Deshazor] Everett. So they’re still progressing and they’re still getting better but we love how far they’ve come in a short period of time.”

On if he accomplished his goal of getting players to Week 1 healthy:

“Yeah, I do. I think a lot has to go to the individual players for their work and obviously the strength staff for getting them stronger and working with them and then a little bit of luck involved also, obviously. But, these guys have done a great job. These players have bought into the offseason program. Training camp, they continued to work not just on the field but in the weight room, taking care of their bodies off the field in the training room and doing their own stretching and work. So, it’s a tribute to them. Now, our job is to try to keep them that way, but a lot of that has to do with luck. But I feel good about where they all are physically. I think they’re all in good shape. They’re stronger than they were last year, and obviously we’re healthier.”

On keeping 11 defensive backs and if that is indicative of the pass-heavy emphasis around the league:

“Yeah, I mean, pretty much. Yeah, I mean. there’s teams that are still going to try to grind you and run it and we have to identify those teams. Pittsburgh can run the ball with the best of them and Dallas can run the ball with the best of them. There’s still some teams that can grind you, you still have to stop the run in this league. But 11 DBs that are versatile, some of them can play nickel and safety, some of them can play corner and nickel, it’s very, very important. You add the special teams element with your punt team and flyers and kickoff return and all that stuff, so those guys are going to be running a lot and it’s good to have a lot of them. We went through a lot last year.”

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