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Quotes: Head Coach Jay Gruden and Linebacker Will Compton (08-03-2016)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On if there is any update on WR Josh Doctson:

"Nothing, he had a good day yesterday. Really, they're trying to work him hard one day and then let him rest the next day and keeping him in the boot is the best option we feel like right now."

On what Doctson is able to do that he couldn't do before:

"I don't know. They're working him in the training room. I didn't get the exact report while we were out at practice. They're working him. That's out of my [purview]."

On if the fullback position will become extinct in the NFL:

"I think there's still a place for it. It depends on your flavor as a coordinator and who you have on your roster. We have a fullback in here that's very intriguing, Joe Kerridge. He's doing an excellent job. From Michigan, he's really turning some heads. Niles Paul can pop in there and play some fullback. Logan [Paulsen] can probably do it. So there's a place for it. We definitely have some runs in our game plan and our playbook that have fullback leading, so we get good play-actions off of them, we get good boots off of them, so it's an important part of our game."

On the specialists saying they've never had a practice dedicated solely to special teams:

"Being that Dustin [Hopkins] has been in the league about a year and Tress has been a year and a half, 'never' is a long time [laughter]. Actually, we did it in Tampa a couple times when I was down there with my brother and it's really a good time to really hone in on special teams, number one, and give the big guys a little rest. We had two pretty good days and it was pretty hot out there, and I felt like we were getting a little leg weary, so I thought it was a good recovery day. We could do some core with the big guys, they could do some stuff on the other field, and then we can hone in on the special team fundamentals and nuances that we can just focus in on special teams. I thought it'd be good."

On the difference in training camp now compared to previous eras:

"I think there was a lot more pounding in the old days, a lot more reps in the old days. We feel like we're handling some of that workload through the walkthroughs. And I know it's not as physical and it's not as 'true football,' but we are going through our assignments and we're getting a lot of mental reps there. In this day and age with the size and the speed of the people playing this game, health is very important. The teams that stay healthy for 16 weeks are usually the teams that have a lot of success, and that's our goal. I don't think we need to pound two-a-days—we're not allowed to—but even if we were I wouldn't do it, because I want to keep Trent [Williams] and I want to keep our defensive line… I want to keep them healthy. We'll do some pounding, some runs, some physical play throughout practice, but when you have four preseason games and 16 regular season games and these guys have played a lot of football in their career, there's a time and place for everything and I think we're doing enough of it."

On if the new 25-yard line touchback rule will affect strategy for kickoffs:

"Yeah, it's going to change a little bit. We're going to experiment. You know, we'll see what Dustin [Hopkins] is good at. You know, we're going to try some of the pooch stuff and try to pin them back. You know, we don't want to just succumb to the 25-yard line. He's got a powerful leg and one of the reasons he's here is because of his leg strength and kicking the ball off through the end zone.  But he can get the height and pin people back to the one if we get them tackled inside the 20. That can be another great option for us. So, we're going to explore all different options. We haven't obviously decided on one yet but that'll be determined later once we see what he can and can't do."

On if the league is phasing out kickoffs:

"I think there's probably some thought to that. I'm sure they're probably discussing that possibility, and you know, that's something everybody's looking at due to the speed of the kickoff and the injuries that might happen on kickoffs, but it's been an exciting part of football for a long time. It'd be unfortunate if it were to be dismissed from football in my opinion. But, my opinion doesn't really matter. I think it's an exciting part of the game and something that's very important to the game."

On his expectations for his return units:

"I think our special teams has shown improvement the last two years and we still have a ways to go especially on punt return. We've got to give [Jamison] Crowder some better looks; that's our No. 1 goal. He's too good of a punt returner to average – I think it was three-point-whatever yards per return – so I think that's something we're really working hard on and getting the right people in those positions to hold up the fliers and to protect and block. So that's very, very important. So we're working hard on that getting the right people and that's what this training camp's all about and these practices are all about and finding the right 53 and the right 46 guys to dress. A lot of those second and third teamers will be the better special teams players, quite frankly, so it's going to be very important for these guys to show up."

On the health of LB Trent Murphy and NT Jerrell Powe:

"Murphy's OK, he just had strep throat; he'll be out here today. Powe, he's going to go down and have a procedure done; he'll probably miss about 7-10 days."

On if WR DeSean Jackson could be part of the return game this year:

"Could be. He had a rough one against Dallas last year but it happens to everybody from time to time. But he's always a dangerous guy and anytime we can get the ball in his hands if we feel like it's necessary then I won't hesitate again. If he's up to it and he comes out and practices it, it will be great."

On the timeline for Powe's return:

"I think it will probably be a max of 10 days. He just has a heart arrhythmia and we're just doing a little procedure to get it corrected."

On if he is frustrated that rookie draft picks are missing time:

"Well, it's not just them. We've got a lot of free agents that are in there, too. So yes, it does get frustrating but that's part of the game. And these guys, I was thinking about it the other day, they work hard. As soon as their senior season is over, they start training. They have a bowl game usually and then they start training for the combine. Then they have got to go to the draft, so they're doing a lot of traveling or working out with their personal trainer and all that stuff. Then they come right into OTAs and training camp and they don't really get a lot of rest. It's quite the grind on these guys, and they're not used to all the physicality of this training camp and they get dinged a little bit. But they're getting used to it and they're going to be fine. We've just got to take care of them."

On how the team can quickly teach rookies how to be professionals:

"We force the issue. We show them how to do it and it's just something a lot of them aren't accustomed to – the grind, you know? You can only do so many hours in college football – 20 hours a week, I think it is. Out here it's quite different. It's a lot more involved than that.  Some of them can handle it quicker than others. It's a process for all rookies. That's why I always say the big jump from year one to year two is dramatic because they get used to the grind and what pro football is all about and the work that has to be put in. They get used to it, and  they improve greatly from year one to year two."

On LB Will Compton:

"You don't know really how good a guy like Will Compton is until you actually put him in games and you see how he communicates the defense to the rest of the guys. You know, out here on the field and in drills and stuff like that, he would probably be our seventh linebacker. But once he gets into the games, he communicates and he anticipates plays, he gets in the passing windows, he's all over the place. And that's what he is. He's just a hard-playing, smart football player. That inside linebacker position is crucial. You've got to be smart and instinctive, and he's both of those."

On the undrafted free agents and what it takes for them to earn a roster spot:

"I think they're trying to find their way. The toughest thing for these guys is they sit in the meeting rooms and they learn and they don't get a lot of reps. We try to grind them in the walkthroughs and we try to get some reps on them in practice, and it's their job to take advantage of the reps. Some of them are doing better than others, but really it's so early to tell. What you're looking for in the rookies, you're looking to see steady progress, consistent progress. You're not looking for perfection. Obviously they're going to make mistakes, but make sure they don't make the same mistakes. They keep improving and keep working and we, as coaches, are patient and we continue to develop them and give them the best opportunity possible in a preseason game to show what they can do. If it's good enough, great, if it's not, we'll wish them the best of luck. But I think they're going to have a great opportunity here really to show what they can do. And I think there will be some surprises."

On the reasoning behind teams not being allowed to dress all 53 players:

"I think a lot of it is you have some injuries. There could not be a level playing field. Some teams would be able to dress 53 one game and some teams would only be able to dress 48 because of injuries. So, they're trying to level the playing field. You know, last year we ran into that situation, I think it was against the Jets, where we only had really 45 healthy bodies. That was the game we dressed three quarterbacks, actually. So, I think that's the reason for it."

Linebacker Will Compton

On the past year and his development from backup to starter:

"Yeah, it's definitely been an uphill battle. You know, last year, being a role player, I'd just come in to work every day being prepared, trying to do within the best of my ability, lead by example, attitude [and] effort every day until kind of growing into the starter role this year. It's a big responsibility. There's some different stresses that come with it, there's some stress that's off my back. You know, I'm excited. I think we have a really good team this year and we have a chance to do a lot of good things."

On how much film he watches and from where his knowledge of the defense comes:

"Yeah, I mean, I watch a lot of film. I would say this time of year you're watching more of practice and training camp than you are game planning for anything. So, really it's about being in the playbook, taking what's in the playbook, putting it on the field. Getting all the communication down, trying to work with everybody, work with the first unit as far as everybody using the right verbiage and getting a feel for each other, what we can do, what we can't do, and kind of learning from it from that aspect. But as we get closer, I don't know how much game planning we'll do for preseason games but we'll start to do that as it gets closer to the regular season. It's a different kind of study right now but we all watch a lot of film and study a lot."

On how his teammates elevate their play when he is playing:

"I have no idea. You know, I guess that's something to ask my teammates. What I do is, you know, I prepare as hard I can. I try to live in the details, so that way I am vocal, I'm loud, I'm confident whenever I see something. I trust what I am looking at, and again, just being loud and trying to have everybody on the same page – a lot of pre-snap communication and adjustments, so that plays a big role as well. If people are ready and anticipating certain formations or certain steps that somebody might take or certain concepts that might be coming out of a certain formation, you know, if we can alert that stuff and be loud about it, everybody gets on the same page and you can see it that much faster and play that much faster."

On his journey and if he gives tips to undrafted players:

"Yeah, man. Last year, I roomed with Houston Bates. This year I have rookies that come talk to me. It's definitely a grind – big-time mentally. There were some days my first year where I was very down in the dumps on myself or just on the situation. It's like, 'Dang, you just want an opportunity.' It's the biggest uphill climb ever. You start at the bottom as fourth-string – not even on special teams sometimes – so you've got to get after it. You have very few and limited reps and chances to show your stuff. My advice – and something that I worked on as a rookie – was just keeping an optimistic and positive mindset because you can't worry about the results of everything. If you do, I know from experience you're going to beat yourself up about it because you want it so bad. You want the coaches to give you a chance. There is some luck involved but what guys need to do until they get their chance is be prepared. I've talked about it before, but one thing I did was game plan the offense just like I do opponents now just so I could get down whatever the quarterbacks are saying and checking – whatever formation, personnel, everything. I was trying to anticipate plays already so that way when I got my couple of reps, I was trying to play as fast as I could and be loud. A couple of comments were like, 'He knows his stuff pretty early. That's pretty good, Comp.' You just have got to be prepared, man, and control what you can control – that's your attitude and effort every day. Stay optimistic because it is going to be a lot of adversity. That's just the truth for everybody down there trying to climb those ranks. You have got to stay positive because it will beat you down a lot, but you've got to be prepared for sure."

On LBs Mason Foster and Perry Riley Jr.:

"They are similar players. Both are very athletic, both can thump. They can get downhill quick and they are easy to communicate with. I don't really have… when somebody else comes in, there is really no real downfall of any of them. When somebody comes in, I've played with both of them. We both communicate well, all of us communicate well. They could probably even play the Mike and play together and communicate well. But, they're both very good players, both very physical. Perry, he can move around pretty well. For Perry, right now, it's getting that rust off and getting back and seeing all the formations, playing fast, trusting his instincts, that sort of thing."

On how beneficial it is to enter camp as the starter:

"It's very beneficial because when you're at the midway point in the year, you're taking over that job, it's a different type of preparation. Now we have OTAs, we have an offseason under our belt, we've had a lot of time to be out there together with the whole first unit as far as communication and everybody kind of trusting everybody around them to be like. 'OK, everybody knows their stuff. When somebody's loud, listen up.' But it's a lot better because you have more experience with each other, and he knows if I say something, now he knows where I'm coming from instead of learning on-the-fly like last year."

On how much fun he and QB Kirk Cousins have countering each other's audibles in practice:

"It's a lot of fun when we win the down. If we would have gotten caught in all that communication, it would have been on me. So it's very important to – again – be loud, be fast, trust what you're seeing and don't second guess yourself. When you're about to make a call just be as loud as you can. But it's a lot of fun when you have the offense and defense going back and forth like that. And guys' mental ability to retain that and adjust on the fly like that… I mean, D-Hall and Brute [DeAngelo Hall and David Bruton Jr.] are running back and forth because we're running completely different things, so for them to be ready and alert like that, it's a testament to what guys have been doing away from the field."

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