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Quotes: Head Coach Jay Gruden & Safety DeAngelo Hall (08-01-2016)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On if he has a timeline for WR Josh Doctson's return:

"I don't have any timeline really, or update. He's still in the rehab position and he's trying to get it stronger and we're taking it slow, but I don't have any idea as of now."

On G Shawn Lauvao:

"Lauvao is going to practice today. We're fired up to see ol' Shawny out there again."

On if he will give veterans days off later in camp:

"We had the day off yesterday. We're going today and tomorrow, and then Wednesday will be special teams only, shorts, and that'll be like a day off for a lot of the lineman and big guys, and we'll go Thursday, Friday and they're off Saturday. So really we're going two days off, two days off, so, pretty easy if you ask me. They'll still get some work in… We had one [day off] yesterday. They get a mandatory day off as it is, so I mean I think that's enough. We'll limit some of the veteran guys' reps like [Ryan] Kerrigan and Trent [Williams] and DeAngelo [Hall], some of those older guys that have been here. We might limit some of their reps but not necessarily give them a full day off."

On CB Greg Toler's play in camp despite being a "forgotten man" earlier this offseason:

"He has been the 'forgotten man,' in fact I forgot to mention him the other day when we were talking about corners. He's been outstanding out here. You know, he keeps showing up and making plays. Had a big interception yesterday or two days ago and a veteran guy who knows routes and can run still. Got great burst for the ball and great ball skills so, he's been, I think, one of the bigger surprises. We knew him coming in, played well at Indianapolis, but with the addition of Josh Norman and [Bashaud] Breeland and all that, he kind of got lost in the shuffle a little bit but he's really shown up in a big way. And he's making that defensive back room a lot stronger, a lot more depth in the defensive back room is unlike we've ever had since I've been here obviously so, the more the merrier back there. Throw [Quinton] Dunbar in the mix, that's four pretty good corners. [Jeremy] Harris has done some good things. And then the nickels [Kendall] Fuller and [Dashaun] Phillips, they've been outstanding, so it's a lot of good players back there."

On S Su'a Cravens learning the linebacker position:

"He's learning. He's doing a good job, and we'll see again today – we've got pads on them today – see how he does. He's got a great nose for the ball, great knack for the ball. He forced a fumble, had an interception the other day and that's just the way he is. When the practice is over usually, he'll be responsible for a couple of turnovers, being around the ball, and that's why we got him – because those turnovers are hard to find and he's a turnover machine."

On areas of focus for Cravens:

"Right now we need him to learn the system – his run fits obviously, his pass drops. His man-coverage skills are pretty good but he still can work on that. He's learning. He's a work-in-progress like all these young players are, like everybody is, like I am. So we're just going to keep practicing, that's what we're out here for. He's going to have to develop fast because we're going to count on him."

On if the coaching staff is having to adjust to not holding joint practices this year:

"Yeah, I think so. I liked having other teams come in here. Unfortunately, we couldn't get one this year. But we have to make do with what we have. It was another opportunity for us to grade our players against other players in other situations that weren't planned and scripted. You know, that's why I liked having other teams come in here. But we do have four preseason games that we can judge these guys on. We'll have to use that. I might have a mock game on Sunday or something like that, use more game situations here to try and get some looks at them where it's unscripted deals. It is what it is. We just have to make do with what we have."

On TE Niles Paul:

"Niles is in the tight end room and it's an interesting room. We have Logan [Paulsen] coming back from his injury, Niles from his injury. Niles came back a little quicker than we anticipated. We weren't sure how Niles was going to come back from his injury. We had to protect ourselves and Vernon [Davis] was staring us right in our face and we grabbed him. He's too good of a talent to pass up. We had the ability to get him. Niles comes back, he's 100 percent. Logan's 100 percent. Now we have four pretty good tight ends. Throw Marcel in there, that's five, and then [Derek] Carrier when he comes off his injury that's six. We went from having a very small room to a very plentiful room, so to speak, so we'll just have to use them. Niles can also play fullback, which is good. He can go in motion, do a lot of different things, he can split outside – very versatile. Vernon is more an in-the-core tight end. He can split out. They're all very versatile guys. We've got to figure out how to use them. We have three-tight end sets we can use in the game, two-tight end sets, one tight end, so they'll be used somehow."

On if Paul literally came into Gruden's office to lobby to return:

"Yeah, oh yeah. Niles is not afraid to express his feelings [laughter]."

On if this is the best secondary during his time in Washington:

"I haven't been around very long but obviously of my three years here, it is the best. We have more depth; we have guys that have played a lot more football. Breeland is coming in more experienced, obviously Josh Norman is a Pro Bowler, and then you throw Toler in, who has gotten a lot of starts. DeAngelo, even though he's new to the safety position, has played a lot of football. Will Blackmon has played a lot of football. I think their experience is a lot better. Phillips is young, Fuller is young, but we have a good combination of veteran leadership and young, youthful guys – Dunbar. It's an exciting room. They still have got to go out there and prove it and play against some dynamic offenses, some great quarterbacks. It will be a great test but I feel good about where they are." 

On if the experience of S DeAngelo Hall and other veterans helps the development of younger players:

"It helps. Anytime you have a guy that's been through it – especially that has done so well as DeAngelo – it helps. Even with Josh Norman coming in and helping these young guys – like Breeland and Fuller and Phillips – it's beneficial. D-Hall has got to take a step back now because he's playing safety. He has got to study his position really. I'm sure he'll be a great coach one day and he's very helpful out here on the field with some of the young guys, but he has got to hone in on the safety spot, which he is doing. But not just DeAngelo. Will Blackmon has been there and done that. He's played a lot of football. Obviously [Defensive Backs Coach] Perry Fewell has great experience. That is a great room to be in as a young guy with all that experience back there."

On when he starts thinking about the Week 1 depth chart:

"I don't really, not really. We have to have a first-team and a second-team out here for practice purposes but we try to sub them in and out and get guys equal reps. I do a really good job of keeping track of everybody's reps to make sure guys are getting equal reps and that the competition is there, but I don't really worry about the depth chart until probably about the third preseason game."​

On what he wants to see from the second-year offensive linemen:

"You know, they just have to keep getting better. Being more comfortable in the offense usually means that they are going to get better. The problem with Takoby [Cofield], he is that he's playing right tackle, left tackle, right guard, a little bit of left guard – he's all over the joint. So he's still trying to find his way in his natural position, but as an offensive lineman, you've got to be versatile. Arie [Kouandjio] is playing left guard and right guard, sometimes it's a little bit tougher transition for a younger guy, might take him a little more time, as opposed to Brandon [Scherff], who is just penciled in at right guard. You know what I mean? When you're a back-up and a swing guy, it's a little bit tougher, and those guys are having a little bit more of a tough time, so to speak, than Brandon who is just playing right guard. They're doing a good job and they're going to keep getting better. Arie's a big, strong guy and Cofield's doing a nice job also."

On if having no joint practices affects players fighting for roster spots:

"That's the toughest part. That's the one thing we have to make sure of. That's why I count the reps, to make sure that these young guys are getting ample reps so we can see them. You try not to have any pre-drawn conclusions when we're talking about players. I like to get them out there, let them perform, and prove me right or prove me wrong, one or the other. We're trying to get as many reps as we can out there for the young guys and let them compete, but without having a team come in here, it is a little bit more difficult. That's why the preseason games are going to be even more important for us to let those guys go out there and play and perform. We'll try and get a good evaluation on them."

On Will Blackmon's transition to safety:

"I think he's had a couple really good days, really. I've been really impressed with Will. His reaction time has been outstanding and he's got his hands on some balls. His break ability reading the quarterback has been outstanding. I've been impressed with Will; I just told him that about 10 minutes ago [when] I saw him. I think he's come a long way in a short period of time, if that's what you're asking. Yes."

On sticking by S Duke Ihenacho despite his injuries in the last two years:

"Duke, he can run and he's a physical guy. He's intrigued us, obviously that's why we signed him. But his ability to run, number one. He can rush the quarterback from the safety spot. He's a good, sound tackler and we just want to see him. He's had some unfortunate injuries that cut his season short. We're excited about him and [David] Bruton. They're both physical players. Duke can run a little bit more. But they're both exciting players and they're both trying to find their way. It's going to be an interesting competition. I imagine both of them are going to play a lot, so I'm not really worried about who starts – they're both going to play a lot and they're both good players."

Safety DeAngelo Hall

On tricks to healing during stretches of padded practices in training camp:

"When you're putting together practices like this, and with the tempo we're going at right now, it's kind of hard to trick the system. It's supposed to be a grind. It's supposed to be grueling. It's supposed to be tough. That's kind of part of training camp; we kind of make it harder than it normally is. We'll all do things like cold tub and then getting the extra stretching, get a massage, getting the chiropractor to work on you, acupuncture and things like that. We're all doing those things but you're going to be tired. I'm tired every day I come out here. I think a lot of the guys are kind of tired. Their legs are starting to get a little heavy right now. But we understand it's training camp. We understand it's not going to last forever. Training camp, like I said, is meant to kind of beat you down a little bit. We'll start tapering it back as we keep going along in training camp. Even by the time we get to the first preseason game, last year we tried to taper down a little bit just before that so we could kind of feel a little fresh. But even if you're dragging a little bit for that, it's OK because we all understand that's the nature of the business. We all are dragging. It's not just our team. It's the team we'll face as well."

On the benefit of having multiple players on the defense who can play multiple positions:

"It's always valuable to have that. We suffered a lot of injuries last year and consequently I think a lot of guys were able to move around and kind of get adjusted to different positions. We always joke around in this league and say the more you can do the better. Any time you've got multiple guys who can do multiple things and play multiple positions, it gives you an advantage. For myself, I'll be actually be not playing some corner, but lined up as a kind of corner and covering guys in the slot. It just gives the guys on offense more to think about. 'Is he really playing safety this down or is he playing nickel? Is he playing corner?' Any time you can mix it up and give offenses that little bit of something to think about, it's always good for a defense."

On meeting with the officials:

"We actually haven't met with the refs yet. We'll meet with them, I think, this afternoon, I think maybe after practice. I think y'all guys will get to see them a little before practice to kind of ask them some questions. We'll see them after meetings to see what they emphasize and things like that. For the most part, going back to any time you get refs out here in practice, you just want to work on your craft. Can I get away with this? Is it too much holding? Coaches will tell us one thing, and the refs might see it a different way. It's nice to kind of get it straight from the horse's mouth how much contact they'll allow. If you're in position, is it PI? Is offensive PI? Is it defensive PI? We've got a lot of guys who've been sticky in coverage but a little handsy, so we're always trying to tell them, 'Hey, keep your hands down, keep your hands down.' Hearing it from the ref as opposed to us is going to probably be a lot different."

On CB Kendall Fuller:

"I see a good football player, a kid who was a first-round talent. And, you know, for us to be able to grab him, I think in the third round, he was the top corner going into the draft before he got injured. And so, you know, he just gives us a lot of versatility. He's cut from the same as cloth as Kyshoen Jarrett. Man, those guys are football players. They understand football. They came into this league understanding football. Any time you get a guy who understands football and not just knows how to play a position, they can be real viable into a football team. He's playing at nickel, which I think is one of the hardest positions to come in and play at right away. He's been out there playing some corner. We haven't thrown him back there at safety yet but he's a guy who could even play that position as well. So he's just real versatile right now. I mean, he's a guy, like I said, that can play all over the field. He's out there sometimes with the ones in nickel, getting reps, and he's not making any errors at all, man. He's playing with great technique."

On CB Quinton Dunbar:

"He's doing great. He's a guy who made that switch last year and between playing receiver and corner in this league, it's night and day. So hats off to him, just the amount of dedication and time he put into it last year. But for him to be able to play in football games as a corner last year and make plays for us I think gave him a lot of confidence. Going into the offseason, we told him some things he needed to work on and you know he came back in great shape and he came back understanding that he's a corner now. He's not a guy who's going to go back and forth and he kind of threw his whole offseason into that and been working on drills and things like that. He looks great. So we're looking for him to just keep rising to the occasion."

On what he's seen from S Su'a Cravens in coverage:

"I haven't seen a lot – just whenever he's kind of out there with us or making a play. I saw him make a great pick the other day. It just shows his versatility… We did it for a long time at Virginia Tech. We would bring in safeties and bulk them up a bit and put them at linebacker, bring in linebackers, bulk them up and put them at D-Line. We were always one of the faster defenses. We weren't necessarily the biggest, but our coaches understood that if you were fast then you had a chance to get in your gap and do your responsibility the right way. And, you know, Su'a is one of those guys. He's a tweener but he can bang like a linebacker and he can run like a safety. So right now we're asking him to play a little linebacker for us. Who knows in the future where he might be playing. He might back there playing some safety too."

On the talent in the Redskins' secondary:

"It's the best group I've ever been around. You know, I have said it from Day 1, we had the chance to do that. Just watching guys compete and battle, there's no doubt in my mind this is the most talented group that I've ever been around, I've ever been a part of. We had a pretty good group in Oakland – myself, Nnamdi [Asomugha], Gibril Wilson, Stanford Routt, Chris Johnson. I mean we had some – Tyvon Branch – we had a squad out there. We couldn't quite get it together but we had a squad out there. This group top to bottom is absolutely more talented than that group that I was a part of."

On S Duke Ihenacho's response to missing back-to-back seasons with injuries:

"He hasn't missed a beat. It feels like he hasn't missed a beat. He is still one of the most energetic guys out there, still running around. You know, we just put the pads on one day so there hasn't been a lot of hitting going on, but we look forward to him being the guy he is – that's a physical safety that can come down help our run support out, can make plays in the passing game. Right now, him and Bruton have got a good battle going on right now for that starting strong safety spot. They are just going at it, they are going at it, both competing and they are both trying to win that job."

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