Head Coach Jay Gruden
On the injury report:
"Did not practice: Kendall Reyes with his groin. Limited [were] DeSean Jackson, knee and ankle; [Chris] Baker, rib, elbow, knee, toe; Josh Doctson, Achilles; Martrell Spaight, concussion – he was cleared today for full-go tomorrow; Trent Williams, knee; [Kory] Lichtensteiger had a back spasm, he was limited; Ty Nsekhe, foot."
On if WR Josh Doctson being limited is still the result of his same Achilles injury:
On his optimism level for WR DeSean Jackson:
"He went today, so we feel better than yesterday. So we're to a point now where we'll see him tomorrow and make our decision. But he looked pretty good today."
On the level of importance of Sunday's game:
"You know, I don't really consider one game more important than the other. Obviously the playoff game last year and winning the division were big games. Sixteen-game regular season, they all are very big games for us. They're all very important but division games have that extra added importance – home games. This is a big game, no question. You look at our record and you look at their record, there's no secret."
On getting the offense and defense to click at the same time:
"That's a question we're trying to figure out right now. That's a great point, as we've shown flashes on both sides of the ball of being pretty darn good, but the consistency factor that we have talked about just hasn't been there for whatever reason. That's something we always strive to be, consistently good on both sides of the ball. Special teams is easier said than done sometimes, but we have the people to do it. We just have got to get it done."
On if cornerbacks are sometimes disguised in zone coverage when lined up man-to-man:
"Usually they're in man depending on the guy or the DB doing it. Back when I was in Cincinnati, we had A.J. Green, and if Aqib Talib for instance would track him, we kind of knew it was man-to-man."
On potential defensive tips that can be revealed:
"That helps. There's other ways to figure out man or zone, too. We have other ways to try to get tips and some teams try to mask coverages nowadays. It's all game plan [and] team-specific. We try to get as much information as we can pre-snap. Sometimes it's a guy traveling, sometimes it's somebody covering a tight end or back, or what have you. It just depends on the given week. Sometimes you don't get any tips; the team does a really good job of disguising. It just depends on the week and team that we're playing."
On what he's seen from QB Kirk Cousins this week:
"Yeah, Kirk's always the same. That's the good thing about Kirk. He's steady in his approach to football and he comes in and grinds no matter what. Good game or bad game, he's always the same guy and I don't expect that to change. You know, he's in a firestorm right now I guess on the outside world, but in here he's been consistent, we've been consistent and he's getting better and better."
On if the offense will focus specifically on red zone plays or just on executing the offense:
"The good thing is we've been getting down there, so we're moving the ball. The bad thing is we haven't been finishing in the red zone. So, we do need to maybe put some extra time in it, be detailed on it, but we've worked on it. You know, we've spent a lot of time on it in OTAs and training camp. We have a ton of red zone periods and [we] were very good last year. This year's a different year obviously, and we've got to get better. But I expect that to come. We have too many good targets in the red zone to not be successful. Mix in a good running game, I think we'll be OK. Just we've got to get down there and finish the plays that are there and make them. Call better plays."
On if they are closer to decisions on playing time:
"Yeah, we're closer and we're getting closer every day in working with these guys and like I said, all these guys are practicing hard, doing a good job. It's just on game day you have to send 11 out there and we'll decide on that 11 come game day."
On DE Matt Ioannidis' progression and if Gruden would be comfortable playing him:
"I would. You know, he's done a good job. He's come in from Temple and learning a new scheme and playing nose guard and getting banged around a little bit. And he's done a nice job, and I feel comfortable with Matt, no doubt. And we have good depth in there, guys that can play multiple spots. Ziggy [Hood] can play nose, Cullen [Jenkins] can play nose, [Chris] Baker can play nose, Ricky [Jean Francois] can play nose if he has to. And they can all play the three and the five. The good thing about all four of those – all five of those – guys are versatile, and I think Matt will fit right in."
On if Ioannidis is included in that group of versatile linemen:
"Yeah. I kind of want to keep him at the nose, but he can play all of them."
On how he can help coach Cousins to relax at his position:
"Kirk is a very detailed guy, he is. And he wants to know everything about everything, and that's a good thing. That's what you want your quarterback to be. You know, I wasn't trying to say he's in panic mode or anything like that. I just want him to play the position and enjoy himself and not worry about the outside world, you know what I mean? Then I find out he's not even reading it and he doesn't even care. I guess he didn't need to relax [laughter], so I kind of made assumptions that weren't there. Kirk's in good shape. He's in a good place right now. He understands the level of urgency that we have to have. And we're 0-2, and I think the whole team does, and he'll get better."
On Jackson's progression:
"Yeah, he needed a day to recover a little bit. He was sore, but he had a better day today. I didn't see him running full blazing speed but he's running, which is a good sign. And with a sprinter like that, he needs to be full go, and tomorrow we'll give him a few shots to run deep and fast and see how he feels and we'll go from there."
Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry
On if he is becoming less hesitant to have corners shadow certain receivers:
"Again, I haven't down-talked it, it's just we came up with a game plan for the last two weeks, as we've come up with a game plan for Sunday against the Giants. And we're going to feel good with it and we're going to roll with it."
On CB Josh Norman covering Cowboys WR Dez Bryant in the fourth quarter:
"I don't think it was quarters – it wasn't. That was just our plan and we stuck with the plan. That was what we talked about going into the game. There wasn't any real sideline adjustments or anything like that. That's what we had… again, we put a lot of detail, a lot of effort, into every single game plan – as we will this week, no different. So we feel good about a plan and we stick with it and we roll."
On how he keeps CB Bashaud Breeland's spirits up when Norman aligns on top receivers:
"Well, I mean, again, it's planned out. It's detailed during the week. And our guys, every single one of our players are professionals. They really are. And we make sure that they feel absolutely 100 percent good with the plan. And we move forward and we don't look back and we go. So, no matter what the plan is, no matter how we align, no matter what coverage we're going to play, what blitz we're going to do, it's something that's discussed. That's why we spend countless hours in here during the week. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, they're long grind days for the players. But it's to get the plan, feel great about the plan and go execute the plan."
On if they are able to make coverage adjustments on the sideline:
"I think I would love for you guys to be able to experience a game day sideline. You know, that's why they call it sideline adjustments, that's why they call it halftime adjustments, whatever, and you might have to do something that you haven't… I mean, you might have to put in a completely different coverage, a completely different blitz throughout the course of the game. That does happen. So, there's always going to be things in the back end, in the front end with the D-line, obviously the linebackers are in the middle they have got to handle everything. Anytime that you do something as an adjustment, it might be something as, 'Hey, we didn't practice this but this is what we've got to do moving forward. This is what we're going to do the rest of the game.' So, I'd like to say that hopefully doesn't happen a lot, but there are times where you've got to draw something up and put it in together on the sideline and, 'Hey guys, we've never practiced this but this is what we've got to do to survive.'"
On if placing Norman on Bryant was one of those adjustments:
"No, that was discussed and talked about."
On if errors in the pass defense have been related to communication or execution:
"I think it's been a little bit of both, you know. I'm a firm believer, I'll give credit where credit's due. If a team does something and they get us, I'll tip my hat to them. But, the thing that's frustrating for a coach is the self-inflicted wounds, whether it be a communication breakdown, and that could be coach to player, you know, from the sideline to the huddle. It could be player to player on the field. 'Well, I thought it was this; no we're doing this.' That's where football – defensive football – it's 11 men working together. It's 11 guys being on the exact same page. And unfortunately, the last two weeks, you know, we've found a way, especially on third down, when you've got to get off the field – that play more than any other play, you've got to be together all the time – but, that down, that money down, all 11 guys have got to be working together as one. The rush, the coverage, whether – it doesn't matter if you're blitzing or playing coverage, whatever – all 11 guys have got to be on the same page unified to win that down to get off the field. Unfortunately a few times in crucial situations, that wasn't the case. So, and it's a little bit of everything, but, it starts with me, number one. You know, if there's a communication breakdown, if there's a confusion breakdown, that's on the coach to get that done and get it corrected."
On if Breeland's confidence is shaken:
"No. It's funny, Troy Aikman just asked me that. I mean, you guys know Bashaud Breeland. He exudes confidence. And I think to play corner in the National Football League, you have to exude confidence. You're not going to win every single down, you're not going to win every single play, you're not going to walk out of a game and have a guy that hasn't completed at least a hitch on you. So, I think he's obviously frustrated as we all are. We're 0-2. This isn't what we envisioned, but to say that anybody on our entire team has lost confidence, I would challenge that 100 percent."
On where the communication errors have occurred:
"Oh, I mean, if you look at the cycle of a play, there's a lot of things that go into that. But the first thing is giving information and receiving information, and it's the call, it's the defense, that's where it starts. And that's usually where there's a breakdown, that's usually where it takes place. As I said, it's coach to player, but then there's a lot of communication player to player. You know, as a coach, I'm a firm believer you want to try to eliminate as much communication on the field before the ball snaps. You want guys to be able to get lined up and go play, but usually when there's a breakdown, that's where it is. It's somewhere in the line of communication."
On getting LB Preston Smith going:
"Well, you know, I think… the thing I love about Preston, we expect a lot out of him. He carries a big role for us and I think Preston expects a lot out of himself. So, I think we were going into the year, we expected huge things for him going into year two from year one, even when we had Junior [Galette], the potential of having Junior. Without him, I mean, again, I don't think in my mind, Preston's role – what we expect out of Preston – it hasn't changed. You know, he came on and really finished the year in his rookie year on a high note. We expect big things and he expects big things. He's an integral part of our defense."
On how he would rate play of the safeties:
"Well, you know, we're 0-2. I can't say 'these guys' have played good and 'these guys' have played bad. I haven't coached good enough. So, I'm not into ranking positions and ranking players. We're 0-2 and we've got to play better. We got to stop beating ourselves. We got to do a better job with that. So, I'll answer it like that."
On if there is any consideration to making any changes in the secondary:
"Oh, yeah, that's why we go out. We obviously go out and practice to implement the game plan, but it's all about competition. We tell our guys all the time, let's go out and compete and practice. And if you're the best player, you're going to get a helmet on Sunday and you're going to play."