News | Washington Commanders -

Quotes: Jay Gruden (07-26-2017)

On what he wants to see from a young player on the roster bubble both on and off the field:

"Yeah, obviously it starts off the field, with how attentive he is in meetings, and how much he learns and translates what he learns, how he prepares on the field and taking advantage of opportunities and making sure he knows what to do and then perform at a very high level and compete. Learning from mistakes, there's a lot to look at. Some of these young guys will get a lot of reps and some of them won't, so it's a matter of the ones that won't, take advantage of opportunities to get more and more as camp progresses and then preseason games and all that. So, preparation, practice, finishing plays and continuing to get better."

On if the PUP list is complete:

"Not yet, no."

On if he expects players other than S DeAngelo Hall and LB Houston Bates to be added to PUP list:

"Yes, probably a couple more."

On if CB Fabian Moreau will be on the list:

"No, he won't be on that list. I think he'll be limited. He'll do some individual stuff, then some walkthrough and we want to get him out there and do some individual, him and Montae [Nicholson] both. Neither one will be on it but they will be limited as far as practice and contact is concerned."

On recent reports about the NFL and long-term health:

"Unfortunately I have not seen that report until just now. I just heard about it. I know that it's an issue that the NFL is taking very seriously. There's been a lot of advances, I know, as far as how we handle concussions and preventing concussions with the rules of the game, the treatment of the concussions. I know that we're headed in the right direction as far as treatment is concerned. As far as the articles, I didn't read it but I am satisfied the way it is going as far as treatment and prevention of concussions with the league rules and the doctors that we have and the knowledge that we have now.

On getting new coaches on the same page:

"I think that's what the offseason was for, .for the new coaches to get acclimated to how we do things, how we practice, how we prepare, acclimated to the system and meetings with the coordinators and all that good stuff. I feel good that all the coaches are up to speed and confident in what they can do. We have got a great staff, great new additions I feel good about, now it's just a matter of getting the most out of the players, and that's our job as coaches."

On if his approach to training camp has evolved:

"I think so. I think having a good understanding of the players that we have who have been in the building for a long time, and some of the new guys I think have a pretty good understanding of how to practice, how to work them, how to take off, maybe take extra days off here and there. Mainly it's a feel. Each year is different and each player is different from year to year. We've got a new rookie class, we've got some new free agents, we've got some free agents from other teams, so I've got to take a look and see how guys are acclimated to the heat and practice and all that good stuff. Every year is going to be different, but every year you do learn and you feel more comfortable in your approach." 

On how he will use training camp to prepare to call plays this season:

"I think early on we're going to have scripted practices, and once we get going, get our main core of plays in there, I think we'll have a lot of unscripted practices where I can call plays. So I think that's the most important thing, the unscripted practice. Whether it's two -minute, whether it's drives down the field, whether it's third downs, all that good stuff, do a lot of unscripted work, red zone and go from there, but I feel pretty comfortable already."

On what he is looking to find out about his players during training camp:

"I want to see how they compete, really. This is what it's all about. We have great competition at every position, we really do, more so than any time I've been here. So the ones that compete and want to sustain that competition level at a very high level day in and day out throughout the grind of training camp are going to be ones you're going to rely on on Sunday. We've got great camp battles, like I said. We'll roll the ball out there, let them compete and see who can come through it."

On QB Kirk Cousins playing on a one-year deal again this year:

"He was fine last year; I thought he competed every day and did everything right. That's the thing about Kirk is you're never worried about his preparation. It's not going to vary from day in to day out. He's not going to come in and be a different guy every day. He's the same guy every day. [He's] a great competitor, wants to get better. [He] understands he has a lot of room for improvement and he wants to be coached and it's fun to coach him. The contract status will take care of itself eventually, hopefully, but right now it is what it is and we're happy to have him for 2017."

On DL Jonathan Allen and the defensive line:

"I think Jonathan is obviously a very talented kid. We loved him in college, now it's translating it to the pro game and handling our system and terminology, sustaining the level of competition that he's going to go against. Going against Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao and Arie Kouandjio and the rest of the big fellas up front, see how he handles it, handles the double teams, handles the outside zones, handles the pass rush on third down. There's a lot to like about him. Then watching [Terrell] McClain and [Stacy] McGee, new guys that we got in free agency, how they compete and then Ziggy Hood and Matt Ioannidis and Anthony Lanier and see how much they've improved from last year to this year. We have a good stable of young guys, then we've got some veteran guys I think can play. Now it's a matter of finding the right combination of guys in certain situations – base first down, third down nickel, base nickel, whatever it is, getting guys in the right spot and see who can perform the best."

On his expectations of the young players when they are not practicing:

"Well, we want them focusing on football. That is what training camp is all about. It should be a 17-, 16-, 15-hour grind, and then when they're not in football they should be getting their rest and sleeping. They should eat drink and sleep football during training camp at the hotel and they should try to soak up as much knowledge as they can from their coordinator and position coach and just continue to get better and take care of their bodies. That's the biggest thing, you've got to understand that every day is a new day, so there is going be a great challenge. It's going to be hard on your body and you have to do a great job taking care of what they eat, how much they sleep, and how they prepare mentally and physically come out here and maintain a great, competitive edge day in and day out. A lot of them have been through it. The University of Alabama I think worked them pretty hard and they have a good understanding of how to… those first two rounders. And then obviously Fabian [Moreau] getting back into shape after the injury, and Montae [Nicholson] after his injury, slowing getting them ready. The majority of guys we drafted, we drafted for a reason. They're high character guys and have great work ethic and it showed on tape. So far, nothing has given us any indication it would be different."

On how adding play-calling responsibilities will change the way he coaches:

"It changes a little bit, a little bit more on my plate… But I think as a staff last year, myself and Sean [McVay] and Matt [Cavanaugh] and Coach [Bill] Callahan, we put together the list early throughout the week and Thursday and Friday we're stilling adding plays for special situations. Now it's just a matter of putting them all on paper come game day and feeling comfortable about the plays that we have in, along with Kirk [Cousins] and Colt [McCoy] and making sure that we are all on the same page. But I am still going to think about the same stuff trying to get the team ready and getting them in the best position to win."

On the balance of delegating and taking charge of certain responsibilities:

"Yeah, that'll be the trick. How well I handle that will be how successful I will probably be as a coordinator calling plays and as a coach. I feel good about the staff that I have around me. Coach [Greg] Manusky and Jim Tomsula and Torrian Gray on the defensive side of the ball, I don't think I have to worry so much about that, Ben Kotwica, Bret Munsey on the special teams. The big thing is I have got to be involved in the football game, make sure I'm ready for the red flag tosses and all that good stuff, but for the most part I have confidence in the defense and special team coaches and players. I can really focus on the offense on game day but also have a good general understanding of what's going on on defense and special teams. Being in my fourth year I feel confident that I can handle that."

On WR Josh Doctson's health:

"Josh [Doctson] looks very good, knock on wood. He's doing a good job. It's one day of conditioning but throughout the OTA practices and the mandatory minicamp, he was running around good and had no issues so hopefully it's all gone by now and we won't have any issues but we'll see how it goes."

On if LB Junior Galette is "on his own to do everything" or if he will be limited:

"He's on his own to do everything right now. He looked good in the OTAs and mandatory camp and he's light right now. He's in great shape. He really looks good. He's got great energy out there. He's fired up. He missed the last two years. He has a lot to prove for himself as well do a lot of guys on this roster and coaches and I'm excited to see him play. Once we get the pads on, we'll see an explosive athlete. I think he's got the quick twitch still. He showed that in camp and now it's maintaining that day in and day out. But if he does need a day off, he needs to let us know and we'll take care of him." 

On his initial impression of the offense:

"I have every reason to be excited and fired up. There's no reason why we can't be equally as productive or more productive. I'm expecting us to get better. That's what we have to do. We have to be better, especially in the red zone. Adding Josh Doctson's size and Terrelle Pryor's size will help that. Having Jordan Reed healthy will help that also. Vernon Davis is a great threat at tight end also and Chris [Thompson] out of the backfield and our strong running game should be a great benefit, but I feel good, man. Any time you can put together the same offensive line from one year to the next, same tight ends, same backs, I think that's your nucleus right there. Receivers, we've got guys that can get open with Jamison [Crowder], Ryan [Grant], Terrelle, obviously Josh, Mo Harris, I feel good about that, Chris Thompson out of the backfield. We have a lot of reasons to be excited. Now we have got to go out and perform."

On the defense and his desire to have them play on the same page:

"I think you just have to continue to push that on the defense, it's all about playing together as one on defense and playing hard and running to the football. Not saying our guys didn't do that last year, we just have to continue to focus on that and handle situational football. You know, third downs we weren't very good and that's something we have to do a much better job of third downs and red zone on both sides of the ball and pursuing to the football. I think adding D.J. Swearinger at safety is going to help in that matter and I think Su'a Cravens' energy at safety will help with that. Obviously Josh Norman, [Bashaud] Breeland coming back, adding Zach Brown as a linebacker who can really run will help, some defensive linemen, Jonathan Allen obviously. I think that we have the pieces in place to be very effective, now it's about them coming together, playing together, and always playing hard and running." 

On depth:

"We feel good about our depth. Like I said, it's the best I've felt about our depth this year in training camp, at every position. Now tight ends, I mean, running backs, offensive line, defensive line, safeties, linebackers, all of them – I feel great about our depth. You know, the challenge is going to be to get everybody the reps, let them all compete to find out the best 53, that's the most important thing. We have got to utilize the time out here on the practice fields and in the preseason games, we have to really manage playing time effectively to give these guys opportunities to show what they can do so we pick the right 53 for Philly."

On injured players:

"Well, I think the injured guys are injured guys. We're never going to change how we treat them. It's the trainers' job to tell us when they can go. I'm not going to keep a guy out of practice just because I think he might be injured. It's up to the trainers and up to that player to let me know whether they can go or not. But like you said, we do have a luxury of having 88 or 87 healthy bodies where we can practice and function without somebody who is injured. That's the trainers' job."

On the growth of RB Rob Kelley in his second season:

" I think with all second-year players I expect major improvement, I really do, especially him, because this time of year last year he was probably the sixth-string running back and he didn't get many reps at all and every time he did, 'Who the heck is that guy, number 22?' He'd make a big play and then just continue to get more and more reps and I think that with the reps that he got and the experience he got playing on Sundays will help him tremendously – in pass protection, routes, footwork, aiming points, all that good stuff, I expect him to really make a major step forward. He's in better shape I think this year, not that he was in bad shape last year. I know his name is Fat Rob but he's in very good shape. He's had his chance of being in the weight room for a full year with Chad [Englehart] and he's in tip top shape. I expect improvement." 

On if the team feels the appreciation of the fans in Richmond:

"They love coming down here and practicing in front of a crowd, and there's a lot of good energy at practice. Sometimes it helps us through the tough times, you know the monotony of training camp after the sixth or seventh day. You come out here and there's little kids out there and there's people cheering for you, that makes you go a little harder sometimes. So we really appreciate the fan support when they do come out and the energy they pass along to the players. These guys play hard, they work hard, they're grinding out there but the energy of the fans they give us helps out a lot."

On if he believes he has installed his culture since arriving in 2014:

"You try to, you'd like to think so and that's something that you have to continue to preach and work on. You know, it's not something you can just sweep under the rug and say our culture is set. You have to continue to preach what you want and get it out of them day in and day out because we do have new players. You've got rookies coming in, you've got free agents from other teams, you have to show them along the way. But I think the best part about our football team now is the core group of veterans that we have that have been here lead by example. You know the Trent Williamses of the world, the Kirk Cousinses, the Will Comptons. All these guys that have been here three and four years, they're great leaders and they lead by example. And the guys work and they follow them and then adding the free agents like Josh Norman, who is one of the hardest working guys on our team and watching how D.J. Swearinger works and Terrell McClain... Adding some free agents that also love to work has been a great benefit for us. The character of this football team is the strongest it's ever been, I believe. They get along great in the locker room, they work extremely hard on the practice field and hopefully that continues throughout the long process of training camp and preseason."

On the NFC East:

"I think it's always tough. It's the experts who said it's not tough, but I'd like them to put a football team together and try to beat a team in the NFC East. You know what, I think it's very good. It's great competition. Each team has different types of ways to attack you and hurt you. You know, Philadelphia with some new additions and obviously Dallas with their big strong offensive line and their running game and Dak [Prescott] playing as well as he did as a rookie, and the Giants with Eli [Manning] who seems like he's been there for 40 years, just consistent all the time, and Odell [Beckham Jr.] and great defense. Every team possesses a great challenge and that's what we have to understand. It's going to be about the team who makes plays in crucial situations, stays away from penalties and protects the football and gets the football out. So that's what our focus is in training camp."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.