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Quotes: Head Coach Jay Gruden, Quarterback Kirk Cousins (10-26-2016)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On the injury report:

"Did not participate: Matt Jones, knee; Terence Garvin, hip. Limited: [Jamison] Crowder, groin; [DeSean] Jackson, hamstring, shoulder… [Brandon] Scherff, shoulder; [Trent] Williams, knee; [Jordan] Reed, concussion; [Josh] Norman, concussion; [Spencer] Long, chest; [Bashaud] Breeland, ankle; and Vernon Davis, groin. Full was everybody else."

On the timeline for RB Matt Jones after not hearing about an injury following the game in Detroit:

"Don't know, we didn't either. You know, he just came in I guess today, had some soreness laterally, had some pain cutting. He was OK running straight ahead, so we kept him out today."

On if there are any worries that G Brandon Scherff and T Trent Williams will not play Sunday:

"There's always worries. If they're on the injury report, we're a little concerned. So they're sore, but hopefully in time they'll be OK."

On if this game will be treated differently regarding injuries because of the travel schedule:

"No, we're taking everybody which is a good thing. Everybody's going so if something happens on Friday or Saturday then we'll make adjustments as needed. So the timetable, timeframe won't change."

On if TE Jordan Reed and CB Josh Norman will travel if they pass concussion protocol:

"That's the plan, yeah. Hopefully we'll know by—with those two guys hopefully we'll know before the flight."

On the excitement of playing in London:

"Yeah, it's exciting. It's a great place, great tradition. It's going to be a long trip. It's going to be historical for these players. It's going to be something they'll always remember – which is pretty cool – coaches also. It's the thought of going and flying that far and the time change and all of that is kind of a grind, but I think once we get out there and we see the history and be in London, I think they'll really enjoy it, especially if we find a way to win the game."

On the shortened length of individual drills today:

"Yeah, I shortened the individual period a little bit out of design to get more reps in. We had some guys banged up, so we had to do kind of a slower tempo on the offensive side of the ball because of the amount of injuries we had. Then we can pick it up on defense. Yeah, we're going to try to get as much in as we can before we hit that flight."

On facing the Cincinnati Bengals, for whom he worked from 2011-13:

"I have the utmost respect for Mike Brown and Marvin [Lewis] obviously. They gave me a great opportunity and I had a lot of fun over there. So, yeah, it's going to be special to see those guys again. We did a lot of great things over there, we thought, but come game time it's going to be another game that we have to win. We have got to find a way to win. They're very well-coached, they have a good football team – a lot of talent, both sides of the ball, special teams. It will be a great test for us."

On if he knows Bengals QB Andy Dalton's weaknesses because of their time together:

"Well, I think what makes every quarterback uncomfortable is pressure and putting them in tough situations – third down and long – that's the key. I think if they have some weakness this year it's been their third down conversion rate. So I think to get them in third down and long will be important. And try to get pressure on them and  that's the intent of every offense that we play, not just Andy. But he does a great job of keeping himself out of those situations. Their first down and second down conversion rate is pretty darn good. They're averaging I think eight yards a play and he's throwing for a ton of yards. They've run the ball extremely well here of late with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. The key is to stop the running game and quick passes and try to somehow get them in third and long. That's where we can make them uncomfortable."

On the similarities and differences between developing Dalton and Kirk Cousins:

"I think Andy is a little different story because when we got Andy, we drafted him – we didn't have the OTAs – but we drafted him and he took every first team rep that we had. Kirk was a little bit different. When we got here Robert [Griffin III] was our guy. He had to play second-fiddle until Robert had the injury the first year and then Kirk got some of the first-team reps. But even after that – the second year – Robert still got all the first-team reps, whereas Andy had the first-team reps, all the game reps, every rep known to man every year that I was there. He still has for five years in a row. He's further along right now than Kirk is obviously."

On what Gruden learned from Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis:

"I learned a lot. Not just from Marvin, that whole staff. You know, I had a great offensive staff with me. Kenny Zampese, Hue Jackson was on that staff, Paul Alexander, you know, Kyle Caskey, James Urban. We had a great offensive staff, and then Jonathan Hayes. Not to mention the defensive staff with [Mike] Zimmer and [Paul] Guenther. Those two guys they challenge you every day in practice. If you're not ready with your X's and O's and your pick-ups, they're going to embarrass you in front of your team. And you've got to have the answer, so part of the reason I'm standing up here today is because of the staff members that I had there and obviously the players, but also the defensive guys. But Marvin created an environment that was fun to work in. Got the players that love football and he was just a great football coach."

On how Lewis helped him in his first year as the Redskins' Head Coach:

"Yeah, he's always been supportive, he always will be. He's a great person in that regard. But, you know, those are the type of times you've got to fight through yourself, really. You get a lot of comfort from a lot of different people feeling sorry for you and all that stuff, but it's just a matter of fighting your way out of it. But Marvin's always there for you. You know, you've got your brothers and your family. So you've got people to turn to, but ultimately it's your… you have to fight out of it yourself."

On if players in the concussion protocol can fly to London:

"You know what? I think – and I'm not too sure about this – Thursday they are going to go to the independent doctor and if they're cleared, they'll go on the trip. If they're not cleared, if we're having still some pain and setbacks, at that point we'll make that decision to probably leave them back."

On his comfort level with the coverage of WR A.J. Green if CB Josh Norman is unavailable:

"Well, there's a couple ways to look at it. I feel good about our guys that we have in-house and A.J. has been pretty effective against just about any corner he's ever gone against. And you have to do different things against him. You know, if you think we're going to play Cover 0 with man-to-man the whole time, you're going be really mistaken. We're going to have to change up the coverages, figure out ways to beat him up a little bit at the line of scrimmage, and play a safety over the top from time to time, play a third, play somebody underneath him, and then play some man-to-man. We're going to have to play some man-to-man eventually, whether it's [Quinton] Dunbar, whether it's [Bashaud] Breeland, [Greg] Toler, whoever it is if Norman doesn't go. So, those guys have shown a skillset out here that they can cover some pretty good receivers and they have so far this year. A.J. is a different animal. You know, he is 6-foot-3-and-a-half, 6-foot-4. He's very strong, and he's got the ball tracking ability unlike anybody we've ever seen."

On why the Bengals have produced so many head coaches recently:

"I think we had a lot of success. We went to the playoffs, you know, three years in a row, we went there. Unfortunately we didn't win a game and then they went two more years after I left… and in a very tough division, the AFC North. We had some good players come through that program. I think you start off by drafting the right people, building your football team through the draft, which we did, and then as you win games, I think everybody gets rewarded. Players get rewarded with big contracts, coaches get head coaching jobs. That's the way it works, you know. Marvin Jones left there with a big contract, Mo Sanu got a big contract, Andrew Hawkins got a nice contract, some defensive players left, got good contracts. Success brings a lot of things for a lot of people."

On if RB Chris Thompson could have a bigger role if RB Matt Jones is unavailable:

"I think if something, if Matt has an issue where he can't go it would be Robert [Kelley] in the lead role, more likely. You know, Chris has such an important role as far as third downs and his specialty role that we need him in that role and he's not a very big guy. We don't want to give him the ball 35 times between the tackles, you know? We'd like to have a more physical guy do that. Chris is going to get plenty of touches without a doubt but if Matt can't go it'll be mainly Chris and obviously Robert."

On if S Donte Whitner Sr. could be considered a starter at safety:

"If he played every snap, I guess… Hard for me to say no [laughter]. Yeah."

On if he will "breathe much easier" if Norman can matchup against Green:

"Well, Josh is best corner in the league, so yeah. Yeah, no doubt about it. One of the best, I don't want to start an argument there, whatever you want to say. Anytime your best player is not going to go, it has a concern, but when he does go, you have a comfort level. That's why we signed him for guys like A.J. Green and that matter, but either way we still have to strap it up and play. If he doesn't go we feel good about [Bashaud] Breeland, we feel good about [Quinton] Dunbar and [Greg] Toler, like I said. So we've got a great competitive group. They show no fear back there and they're going to compete."

On if Norman practicing today was a good first step:

"Yeah, it's a good first step. Like I said, I don't ever try to predict. And every day is different for these guys with these concussions. You know, he could wake up tonight and have headaches and symptoms and go back to ground zero. It just depends on how they feel tomorrow. We try to work them. I think the goal is to work them a little bit more every day and if they handle it then there's a chance he's cleared. But if he has symptoms then there's a chance he won't. So we have no idea, just depends on how Josh is doing and how he feels."

On how many players on the roster have previously made the trip to London:

"Let's see, I was talking to a couple – I think we've got a couple. I can't remember who they were exactly. I don't know. Probably three or four… Ten? Three or four… 10 [laughter]." 

QB Kirk Cousins

On if he has ever played overseas:

"Not to my knowledge, I haven't played overseas, no. I had bowl games in college, but I think they were all within the United States."

On if he will take time to sightsee in London:

"To be honest, I won't. I went there this offseason twice and got to see a lot. We're only there for about 48 hours. Between meetings and practices and walkthroughs and bus rides and meals and rest, I don't think there's going to be a whole lot of time to see the sights. It is a business trip – have got to win a football game. Since I did get to see as much as possible this past offseason, just go play a game and head home."

On his offseason trips to London:

"I think the prevailing memory was just being able to meet the fan base over there and talk to them about the game and to hear how much they do follow the league, and the atmosphere in the stadium. I did a fan forum with about 500 fans who were asking questions. There was a good, good group of Redskins fans over there – very supportive, very knowledgeable about the game and the history and the past players of this organization. I was very impressed. I think we'll have a good group in the stadium cheering us on."

On how his sleep adjustment is progressing:

"It's still going. I'm in the middle of it now. The goal was to try to just take steps each day. So I went to bed early last night, got up early this morning and we'll do that again today and tomorrow."

On when he's getting up and going to bed:

"I headed to bed like 7:15 last night and got up at like 5:15 this morning. I'll try to get in bed probably before 7 tonight, maybe even a little after 7, we'll see. And then get up around 5 a.m. Like I said, when I went over there this offseason, I had a hard time adjusting. I was only there for about three days and it was tough. I was sleeping in until noon or 1:00 just because of how tired I was, so I want to make sure that doesn't happen."

On if he has talked to other quarterbacks for tips about playing in London:

"No. I have people who have helped me and kind of coached me through that. Not other quarterbacks – people who know a lot about sleep and the brain and how it operates best."

On how he compares himself to Bengals QB Andy Dalton:

"I think first of all, when Jay [Gruden] first got here, there was understanding that Andy had played very well – gone to playoffs, played at a Pro Bowl level. So there was a desire to glean from Coach Gruden whatever he had taught Andy knowing that he's been able to make a quarterback very successful in this league. Andy's a great player and a great person. I'm always studying quarterbacks around the league and he's included in that. He's done a great job for them as a quarterback, as a leader, and I really admire his game. I certainly want to continue to take steps to play at his level and to do it consistently year-in and year-out, which I think is what the Bengals as a whole have been able to do now for several years."

On the game against Detroit:

"Well, I think not winning the game was upsetting and disappointing but we, once again, moved the football, were productive, were good on first, second, and third down, really. But, as always, if you don't score enough points and you have some turnovers, it's going to hurt you. So the same old things that hurt you in any game reared their head on Sunday."

On he and Dalton wearing rubber wedding rings:

"Yeah, I think Andy was the first guy I saw do that, and so I guess he blazed the trail. But Qalo, a company that makes these rubber rings, they mailed them to us and I started wearing them. And my wife was thrilled. She loved it and honestly after I started wearing it and realized how much my wife was glad that I did, I realized you know I think it's a good thing to promote marriage. I really enjoy being married. It's been a blessing to be married. My wife's been a huge support to me and I want people not to be afraid of marriage but to be excited about it and to be thrilled about that opportunity if God gives them that opportunity. So I thought what better way than to wear it while I'm going through my day and show people that marriage is a good thing and a blessed thing, and I'm fortunate to be married and have a great wife."

On different injuries he's seen T Trent Williams play through:

"He's done a phenomenal job now for several years of playing through injuries and he's been consistently able to go. And I remember against the Bengals my rookie year, he got hurt and was out the rest of the game but  then was back the next week. It's impressive and different guys heal at different rates, but he's continued to just work and make it a priority to be healthy and to do all he can and every year he seems to take another step in his development in terms of finding ways to take care of his body and be on top of it. So whether he can go or not, I don't know, but I know he's going to do everything he can and that's all you can ask for."

On if any other teammates wear the rubber wedding ring:

"Yeah, some guys do. I think the big thing is just that if guys have like a jammed finger or a smashed knuckle, it helps to have the rubber ring because they can fit it over their knuckle as opposed to the normal ones. But I would lose my real one if I wore it every day and took it off for practice and lifts. So for me it's about being able to at least make sure that I don't lose the original one so I just wear this. I've actually been wearing this all season and when the offseason hits I'll probably switch. But it helps me to not lose the original."

On where he got his rubber wedding ring:

"Yeah, Qalo makes them. Qalo ring… They do a good job making a bunch of different sizes. And I've worn them black, white, camo, they've got them all. So check them out online, but I have a bunch in my locker I could give out to guys. I think it's a cool concept… I'm not [a spokesman], but they make a good product. I mean, like I said, I wear it 24/7 and never really know I have it on, so it's been pretty cool. Like I said, happy wife, happy life. And it makes her happy so I'm going to keep wearing it.

On if his wife wears a rubber wedding ring:

"No. She wears her normal one, so that's good. We get good use out of that one."

On if he's worried about RB Matt Jones' fumbles:

"I'm not worried about it. Fumbles happen. If you play this game long enough, the ball's going to get turned over. Guys make mistakes, it's OK. And this isn't the first time he or anybody on this team has faced adversity so we all just keep working and he'll be no different. He's a tough player, tough-minded. I think he'll have a good set of games ahead of him."

On if he looks at the standings at this point of the season:

"You always have an understanding of the competition and where you are. But at the same time, there' s a lot of football left to be played and it's a boring, cliché saying, but it's always going to be one game at a time. That's the best way to approach it and see where we are at the end. So that's the way it'll be. We're trying to go 1-0 this week and go from there."

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