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Quotes: Head Coach Jay Gruden (08-13-2016)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On injuries:

"Kory [Lichtensteiger], just a little sore on his arm. And Trent [Williams] is very, very close. I think he's going to go tomorrow, so we'll see himtomorrow. Niles Paul just tweaked his knee a little bit. I think he'll be ready to go tomorrow… [Ty] Nsekhe just tweaked his knee a little bit there at the end but it looked like he walked off and is OK. Maurice Harris tweaked his knee, I think, and he'll be OK. Nothing serious, so it's good."

On if there have been fewer 11-on-11 reps during practice this year:

"I don't know if there's been less. I think it's been pretty close to the same, really. We track all the reps. Sometimes it could be heat-related, like you said. But for the most part, we're getting the same amount of plays each period that we have the last couple of years. I've shortened some of the periods because of the heat. I've taken away a couple drills because of the heat, but for the most part they're getting the same amount of reps."

On the penalties and the run game against the Falcons:

"Yeah, penalties are an issue, man. It's a very important part of the game – offense, defense, special teams and penalties, man, and turning the ball over. We looked at them extensively today and make sure we get them corrected because those things—you can be as skilled as you want to, be as prepared as you want to, but if you commit penalties, you've got no chance. So, it's a direct reflection on coaching, too, so we've got to make sure we get these guys coached up to let them know what you can and can't do, quite frankly. The running game, you know, disappointing. Like I said in the first press conference, Atlanta played a good defense, but we've got to get better looks for our running backs and our running backs have got to make some people miss. Combination of everything."

On T Morgan Moses:

"I think he's OK – probably a little heat."

On how the team practiced today:

"I thought they were OK today. We were a little sluggish today, coming off a game a couple of days ago. A lot of those guys played a lot of reps – the twos and threes – so they're a little sluggish today, which is as expected, and the ones battling the heat. We got the work done. We had some key situations that I wanted to hit. So we got that accomplished. Moving forward, we have a couple of days left. We have just got to finish strong and get ready for out next game."

If any separation is starting to show for the 53-man roster:

"I think you're starting to see a little bit, but there is still a lot of ball left to be played. We still have some good practice work to do and then obviously the two games that are going to be very important for a lot of these guys. There are some tight battles, but we got to see a lot of them in the game against Atlanta and then we'll see some more in the next two games against Buffalo and the Jets and I'll make our determination."

On the defense forcing turnovers on consecutive plays in practice today:

"I like that – 'turnovers' – so I could be a negative guy and say, 'Our offense was awful,' or I can be positive and say, 'Wow, what a defense!' I chose to be 'What a defense!'… Wasn't good enough by our offense today, by any stretch. We had some issues in protection today. Defense really got after us, offensively. Don't like to ever see turnovers, but in practice we like to see our defense get turnovers. That's what we're trying to preach – getting your hands on the balls and turning the ball over, so I'm happy in that regard. That's just a matter of how you look at it; is the glass half full? I'm going to be positive. Our defense played well today."

On if Fan Appreciation Day is special for the team:

"It is, man. These guys come out here in the heat and they really support the team. It's awesome to watch. It gives them a little extra motivation when they come out here and play in front of the fans. They'll spend an extra 20 or 25 minutes with them, get some autographs – it's fun for them – and thank them. We really do appreciate the support. It's fun coming down here to Richmond."

On eliminating penalties:

"Four of them were just alignment penalties by our defensive ends. [They] were lined up in the neutral zone. That's easily corrected and that's partly my fault for letting that go on during practice. So we'll get that corrected easy. The holding call on Morgan [Moses], the holding call on [Takoby] Cofield, we've just got to keep our hands inside, we'll keep working that. Those things will happen from time to time. The PI on Dunny [Quinton Dunbar] that got called back, he just got there a little early. The special teams penalty is really what we've got to address. We've got to work on those; those are very, very important. We should never have a holding call on a pooch punt, for goodness sakes. Those are big yards, those 10-yarders that back us up. Instead of getting the ball at the 20, [we get it] at the 10. Those are big. So we're going to coach them up. We're going to work on it and make sure we do our best not to let it happen again."

On DE Ziggy Hood's versatility:

"He's moved a little bit everywhere on the line – he's done good. He's really showed up. He really caught our eye initially in one-on-one pass-rushing drills. He comes from Pittsburgh, ran a lot of two-gap systems back there when he played for the Steelers when he was very effective there, so we weren't really sure how he was with the up-the-field rushes there, but he's been very effective. The ability for him with the size and strength that he has to play all three spots is exciting. Ziggy has definitely showed up. He's been one of the brightest spots in camp."

On if the running game looked better during practice today:

"We worked on it good today. I think we had 12 straight runs today in a period but we're going to keep working on it. We're not going to panic after the first preseason game, but we also understand that these games, you are what you are based on what you put on the tape. We have got to make sure we continue to work on it and get better at it – that's all you can do. Our backs have got to continue to see it, but we have got to give them more opportunities. With Matt [Jones], it would be nice to get him two, three, four carries in a row to get a rhythm going and see how he does then. That will be our intent next week – to try to get him going – and see how he does."

On the defense chanting during practice today:

"The defense, they always think I'm against them. They think I'm an offensive coach, so they're always thinking I'm messing with the spots and all that stuff, but they really do support each other. They play with a lot of energy and that starts with the coordinators and the coaches. They coach with a lot of energy, the players have a lot of energy. It's a lot easier when you have a lot of success like they had today. They kept the momentum going and kept pouring it on the offense. It was a great job by the defense and they had fun doing it."

On the rookies' performance in their first preseason game:

"Yeah, you know, some of them showed up and some of them struggle a little bit like they do. We had some issues, little deer-in-the-headlights-type thing for some of them. A couple of them got settled in and played very well. Su'a [Cravens] played well for the most part, had a couple of assignment errors. But for the most part these guys came out and they competed. They're going to make their mistakes, you know? It's not an easy thing to do, to play professional football with a new system, new teammates, on the road. The fun thing about it is to just watch their gradual progress and just keep coaching them. There's a lot of skill there for us to work with and that's our job to get it out of them, their job to study and get their bodies ready to go and they're going to be fun to watch."

On what stood out about S Su'a Cravens' performance:

"Just being around the football. When he's around the football, he makes plays. He's batting balls down and on a punt play, the guy cuts it back, one man to miss and he upends him. He makes his presence known. When you're on the sideline with all the stuff going on, guys flash and pop out at you and Su'a is one of them. He's all over the place. We've just got to keep coaching him up. Sometimes he's out of place, but he's out of place with great effort. That's for sure."

On mistakes in the running game in Atlanta:

"There's one run in particular – we mis-targeted it. We left 10 men on the line of scrimmage free. That's a tough down for the back. A couple times we ran a draw into a loaded box and it's one guy that's unblocked and the guy made the tackle for a gain of three. There's a couple issues where we mis-targeted our runs and that's a tough deal. Atlanta gave us a different defense and, quite frankly, we didn't spend a whole lot of time game-planning. Still no excuse. We've seen enough of this stuff where we should be able to count in our sleep who we're going to. We just mis-targeted and backs might have missed a cut. Like I said before, many, many times, the running game takes all 10 guys, 11 guys for this to be successful. Quarterbacks have got to get us in the right run, number one. We've got to get it counted out right and we've got to stay on our blocks. If one guy misses a block or lose a block or we miss a cut, this looks like a bad running team. We're going to keep with it, man. I feel very positive that we are going to have a very successful running team."

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