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Quotes: Head Coach Jay Gruden (07-28-2016)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On how LB Will Compton makes the entire defense better:

"Well, he's a great communicator, number one. Studier of the position, [he's] got natural instincts and he helps the people around him. And he communicates, that's the biggest thing. He gets the calls out, he anticipates plays, he studies formations, he studies the game plan and gets people in the right spot and lined up. A lot of times it can become chaotic out there with all the no-huddle teams that there are, so communication is at a premium and Will's excellent at it and he made our defense better once he was inserted in the starting lineup."

On LB Preston Smith gaining confidence since last season:

"I think he just gained a little bit more confidence in how to rush and the speed of the game. I think sometimes he was feeling his way through a little bit early – not quite sure – but I think once he gained confidence of where he's supposed to be, he was able to fire off the line and make some plays with his length. I think he's still just tapping his skill set. You know, he's got a ton of ability and it's our job to get more out of him. He's bigger, he's stronger, he's faster this year. I think he's going to be a heck of a pass-rusher for us for a long time. You know, out here is going to be very important for him getting better."

On if the improvement in Smith's work ethic is noticeable:

"Yeah, no question… You know, that's the good thing about having good veterans like Ryan Kerrigan. You watch Ryan Kerrigan, who's an established NFL football player and how hard he works, he rubs off on the young guys like Preston. You know, those guys don't stand for loafs, and Joe Barry does an excellent job of preaching hustling to the ball and getting off and finishing plays and Preston's bought in. We haven't had an issue with him as far as loafs are concerned."

On WR Josh Doctson:

"Yeah, we weren't very satisfied with the way his Achilles was coming along. He still had a lot of soreness in the morning when he'd wake up. We just want to try to get another treatment. That's something [Head Athletic Trainer] Larry Hess will have to tell you exactly what it was. We're going to keep him down for a little bit until we feel like he's good to go 100 percent. I don't think he's very far away. We're being probably more cautious right now because it is a significant deal. The Achilles for a wide receiver with his explosion, we want it to be 100 percent. We don't want it to re-occur, so we're trying to nip it in the bud right now."

On if Doctson had surgery:

"No. It wasn't a surgery, no."

On what he says to keep a player like Doctson patient:

"'Be patient, but hurry up.' [Laughter] That's exactly what it is. He's frustrated; he wants to be out there. He's a great competitor. He wants to compete like the rest of the receivers are, but we have to be patient. That's the way it is with these injuries, whether it's hamstring, Achilles, a shoulder, whatever it is. Injuries play a major part in this game. We need him for 16 games. We've got to get him ready and being patient right now is the way to go.

"On his concerns for G Shawn Lauvao:

"I don't have a lot of concerns with him. I think right now it's important for him to get back on the field with the trainers and move around and make sure he's exploding and feeling confident in his ability to change direction, push off of it, come out of his stance. I think he's really, really close. I'd be shocked if he wasn't ready by Saturday or as early as Monday. But we're still going to put him through the drills. Coach [Bill] Callahan could possibly keep him after practice and work with him and make sure he's ready to go. We just want to make sure that he's solid and sound before he goes back out there, but he's got to be very, very close."

On the prognosis for LB Perry Riley Jr.:

"Same thing, same thing. I think Perry – I saw Perry today in the hallway – he feels like we're holding him back. He wants to practice. Again, we want to put him through the drills, look at him running around, make sure he can do it a couple days in a row before we put him out there in pads so he can really run. That's really his strength, his ability to run laterally and side-to-side and all that. We want to make sure he's 100 percent. He's close."

On if he has anything fun planned for team bonding:

"Fun? Nothing planned yet. We will probably see a movie here pretty soon but right now it's about getting our schedule out to these guys, getting a routine as far as meetings in the morning, walkthrough, practice in the afternoon, watching the practice film. When you get all that, you talk about all those hours, we don't have a lot of time for fun, you know? So I think once we get later into camp we'll talk about some teambuilding exercises so to speak, but right now it's all about X's and O's and getting our bodies in shape and getting ready."

On T Trent Williams saying he's in the best shape of his career in his seventh training camp:

"Seventh camp? He's said that [laughter]… He showed me a video yesterday – that Hogs 2.0 deal. He brought all the linemen down to his facility and worked a three-day workout, and that's just something that he's really taken the leadership role to a new level. You know, when you're as athletic and as gifted as he is naturally from a genetic standpoint, the work that he puts in as far as the weight room and getting his body in shape really says a lot to him as a football player and as a person. So, when you see that type of guy, if you're not as athletic and big as him and you see him working that hard… holy cow. Brandon Scherff and Spencer Long and these young kids, they better keep up with him. It rubs off on 'em. He's a great leader and a great player, obviously. Great shape, 320 pounds, and he can run. He could probably play defensive end if we asked him to or tight end. He's been asking for tight end for a long time, but he's obviously one of the key components of our football team and a great leader."

On if there is a difference in QB Kirk Cousins this camp after his play last year:

"Not just him, I just think the whole team rallying around him and knowing who the quarterback is is very important. His confidence level obviously is at an all-time high, but he also understands he's got a lot of work to do and he's not afraid to put the work in. He's always in the meetings, he's on time, he's wanting to do extra work, he's studying the film, he's a gym rat, he's a film rat. That's just what you need to be a successful quarterback in this league. The great quarterbacks are that way in their first year and in their 15th year, that's the way you have to be at the position, and he's got the mental makeup to be a great one. Now we just have got to make sure he continues to study and continues to get better."

On his thoughts of Cousins at this point last year:

"I think this time last year when we reported to camp, we'd had our OTAs and Kirk was obviously throwing the ball very well at that time and really had everybody on notice as far as, 'Wow, this guy is really picking up steam.' We still had competition out here at the quarterback position. It was Robert's team at this time last year, but circumstances happened the way they happened and Kirk took full advantage of his opportunities when he got the chance. We made a decision to go with Kirk because of all of the things we saw at OTAs and all of the things we saw at training camp and in the preseason games. We did a lot of work on it and we made a decision and Kirk, we felt like, earned that role."

On how Lauvao's injury impacts the reps for G Spencer Long and G Arie Kouandjio:

"He [Lauvao] has been out for a while now so those guys have gotten all those reps – especially Spencer. Spencer has really taken advantage of them. He's got probably 14 or 15 games under his belt as far as a starter is concerned, and he's taken full advantage of them and is playing with a lot more confidence – as are all of the young guys that have gotten significant playing time, Preston Smith and all the other guys. When Shawn comes back, the job is not going to be handed to him. He's going to have to come out and earn it. It'll be a good battle."

On if he saw CB Josh Norman kicking a soccer ball around prior to walkthrough:

"No, I did not. I missed that – is it on YouTube or something? [Laughter] He's a great athlete and we're excited to have him, no question. When you go out and land a free agent of his caliber with the success that he had in Carolina and with the playmaking ability that he has and the leadership qualities that he has – it's only going to help your football team. I'm anxious to see him against Pierre [Garçon], DeSean [Jackson], Jamison Crowder and we'll see what happens out there – Ryan Grant. It will be great competition but he's going to make our team better without a doubt."

On DE Chris Baker saying he loses eight to 10 pounds per day during camp and how the staff prepares players for the heat:

"He could use it [laughter] – no, I'm just kidding. The biggest thing is to hydrate. We've got to take care of them and keep a close eye on them. It's going to be hot out there today. It's hot everywhere in the country right now. Whether you practice at 10:30 or 3:00, right now the temperatures are going to be hot. I have to do a good job of keeping an eye on them and making sure I don't wear them out. If they do lose weight – eight to 10 pounds – we have a plan for them. We're going to keep a close eye. We weigh them before practice [and] after practice and have plenty of fluids for them and we'll take care of them."

On what Cousins needs to do this season to convince him he's worth a long-term contract extension:

"He doesn't have to do a whole lot to get me. He's just got to show the continued progress because the quarterback position, it's about consistency. Great, he had one year – there have been a lot of quarterbacks in the history of the league that have had good, solid, one-year seasons. But it's about having two, three, four years. Luckily for us, we're in a position to look at him another year and he's in a position to really put a stamp on himself as a quarterback in the National Football League, so really it's a win-win situation. We want to keep Kirk, there's no doubt about it. He wants to prove himself. I think it's hats off to him and we'll get something done, but we fully anticipate him improving in a big way this year."

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