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Quotes: Head Coach Jay Gruden (08-07-2016)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On WR Reggie Diggs:

"Diggs just came out. He had a little soreness in his knee, same knee that he had. I don't think it's anything serious."

On T Trent Williams:

"Trent went through individual, did a little bit more today. We'll gradually progress him until he's ready to roll, which is very, very close."

On the development of CBs Kendall Fuller and Dashaun Phillips:

"That's exactly right. They are going at it. Both of them are doing some good things. They're learning the system. It's a good matchup. Fuller's come in – coming off of the injury in college – and we didn't expect to see him this quick, especially in OTAs when we saw him. We gradually progressed him and he's making a run for it. Phillips is using last year as an advantage and a springboard to gain more confidence and learn the system, and he's got a great skillset. It's a good battle and we'll see in preseason how they tackle and all that stuff."

On if QB Kirk Cousins is loose and having more fun:

"Yeah, he is having more fun. Of course, it helps when your offensive line has provided him with pretty good protection like they did today and I think that's why we had a lot of success. When he can scan the field and get to his first, second, third and sometimes fourth option, he's pretty darn good. Fortunately, our offensive line gave him some time to scan the field and get the throws in there. But he is more comfortable. He's always had fun playing. I mean, that's never been an issue with him. I've never seen him come out here – whether he's a backup quarterback, a third-string quarterback, whatever it was – since I've known Kirk, he's always had fun playing and that's part of the joy of being around him."

On WR Jamison Crowder:

"He just has a hamstring issue, and he's going to be close to Atlanta. And if not Atlanta, maybe the following week, but he's not far away."

On areas in which Fuller has made a jump:

"All these young guys, they better continue to make jumps because they're so raw when they come in here. He was a good football player coming in here but this is a whole different deal here. Different system, different terminology, and he makes jumps every day that are fun to watch, really. And it's fun coaching these rookies – especially Kendall, who comes in and works so hard and is very conscientious of what he's doing mentally – to watch them progress. You know, how far he can progress and how fast we can get him ready is to be determined, but he's progressing in every facet that I've seen."

On how TE Jordan Reed can take his game to the next level:

"Well, he's almost there already. There's another level for Jordan. I think he's stronger. He was a puppy when he came in here physically; now he's filling out and he's a bigger guy. He's playing with a ton of confidence. Now he's been in the same system with the same route tree. We can move him around and do a lot of different things with him. He's a smart player. He can see coverages, he can work off leverage of the defenders, he's got big strong hands and he's excellent after the catch. Really, the sky is the limit for Jordan. I have all of the confidence in the world that when the ball is thrown to him, he's going to be in the right spot and make the catch. And he can beat a lot of people. He's getting better and better, more and more confident and he's blocking better, too. He's a heck of a player, no doubt."

On LB Preston Smith:

"He missed a couple of days, but for the most part he's coming along. I think we just have got to keep challenging him and he's got to keep rushing and keep pushing himself. It's hard to tell when quarterbacks have those yellow jerseys how effective his rushes are. In one-on-ones, he's getting better. In team periods, he's been sound against the run, but we just have got to see more explosion. Keep working on his get-offs on the passing plays, but like I said when those quarterbacks have yellow jerseys on, a lot of times they don't finish their rushes because they want to stay off of him. So we'll see how he does in the preseason games, but I like where he is physically and I like where his head is at right now."

On if practice intensity has increased because it is game week:

"Yeah, a little bit, I think so. I think everybody still feeling their way… especially the young guys trying to make their mark and learn the system, so I don't think it will sink in really until Tuesday. We don't start talking about the Falcons or the first preseason game until close to the game time. This isn't like a typical game week. We don't do a whole lot of preparation for the Falcons until probably Tuesday or sometimes even Wednesday. We'll give them a good plan. We'll try to have something ready for them so they can shine and play to the best of their abilities. It will be simple and basic so they can all perform at a high level and we can get a look at them."

On if RB Matt Jones is taking his responsibility more seriously this season:

"I didn't really think he wasn't taking it serious last year. I thought he took it serious last year. If he wasn't, then that was beyond me. Like I said, when you're a rookie, playing at the University of Florida and then you're coming out here and playing on Sundays in the NFL as a true rookie, there's a lot of things that are different. The speed of the game, the system, your footwork, how you're hitting the hole, lining up in the I-formation every time… You know, Florida's in the gun darn near every snap; he's hardly ever in the dot. So there's a lot of nuances to this game – the speed of the game, what type of shape you've got to be in, staying healthy for all that time and he wasn't. So, I think he's more healthy this year. I think he's more confident and he's stronger."

On if the second-year jump accounts for Jones' development:

"Yeah, it's a big deal. It really is just because they get a year with Coach [Mike] Clark in your weight room, and that has a lot to do with it. They know how to prepare, they know what type of schedule it is, and they understand the system. They're more confident when they go out, and they know who to block, the holes, the footwork without having to think about it. 'Am I open? Crossover roll? Am I drop-step? What am I doing here?' Now they just go out and play and they should make a big jump."

On Cousins' growth in the two-minute drill:

"He did good in that drive. He does a good job of taking what the defense gives him. We just harp on that. He hit some check-downs, some underneath routes, and guys got up the field and got lined up and we can run off a lot of plays in that situation. As long as we don't have any negative plays, we can move the ball and be quick and efficient and he was efficient today. But he's just getting more and more comfortable; like I said before, the line gave him great protection today. The other day wasn't such a great day for anybody on offense but today, they improved, and Kirk improved."

On TE Logan Paulsen:

"Like I said, same with Niles [Paul], he's coming off that injury, too. And Logan's a big, strong, physical tight end that you love to have on your football team. He helps you on some special teams, kickoff return and does some things. He can line up at 'Y,' 'U' or 'Trey' position. He could probably play fullback if we asked him to. He does all the dirty work. He's a tough guy to let go because he knows the system as good as our coaching staff does. Great guy. So I think he's doing a fine job and I don't really think about who's going to make the team right now. I don't even look at the depth chart right now. All I'm trying to do right now is look at all these players and I'll make a decision when I absolutely have to make a decision. But I like to let these guys come out here and compete and then we'll worry about that later."

On how he evaluates the running backs in camp:

"Running backs, all you're looking for – well, number one – you're looking for how they pick it up mentally, their footwork and obviously the pass protection. We take very seriously our pass protection around here. But as far as running the football, we're going to see that on game day. You know, some guys I've seen in shorts, running backs like, 'Holy cow, this guy can't be tackled,' and then he gets into a game and then he gets into a game and he gets tackled and runs backwards the wrong way. So we'll see how it works out. But I really am excited to watch these guys run. Robert Kelley has been very impressive. Mack Brown's been hitting some holes extremely well. I've seen Chris [Thompson], and Matt [Jones] is exploding through there. So we have some interesting guys to choose from and it will be fun to watch." 

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