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Quotes: Jay Gruden (09-19-2016)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On injuries:

"The only injury of note is Kedric Golston. He is going to be put on IR – hamstring."

On who will fill NT Kedric Golston's spot on the roster:

"We'll call Matt Ioannidis up."

On his biggest takeaway from Sunday after watching the film:

"Well, there's a lot of takeaways from it. When you watch offense, defense and special teams, there's some good things, and obviously there's a lot of things we can correct – both sides of the ball – without a doubt. It's something we're going to continue to strive to do. Stay positive with these guys, understand we still have 14 games left. All our goals are still reachable but we do have a lot of work to do and a lot of corrections to make. We need to play better, we need to coach better."

On the depth of the defensive line moving forward with injuries to Golston and DE Kendall Reyes:

"Yeah, you know, Kendall's injury, hopefully we'll find out a little bit more about his this week. We brought in Cullen Jenkins back, and he filled the void there and played pretty well for his first game. And Matt [Ioannidis] has been here, and he played well in preseason. We hope that he can also fill that void. And [Chris] Baker should be OK and obviously Ricky [Jean Francois] and the rest of the guys will be fine."

On his message to QB Kirk Cousins following the game:

"Yeah, I think with Kirk, we just have to stay positive, you know? He's not going to be perfect every week, that's for sure. And no quarterbacks are. It's just a matter of handling his business, going into work the next day and continuing to get better. Keep his head up and stay confident, stay poised, and take on a new challenge this week which is the New York Giants, which is a darn good football team, especially on defense. So he's going to have some great challenges ahead of him and it won't be the first time he has a couple of throws that he misses, but we've just got to all bounce back from it and recover and figure out ways to win the next game."

On what he learned about Cousins from his struggles in 2014:

"I think sometimes he puts a lot on himself. He puts a lot of pressure on himself. He wants to be great, there's no question about it. Sometimes if he feels like he isn't playing to the standards that we all have set for him, he feels like he's letting everybody down. He's got to understand, man, it's is a tough position. He's going to make some mistakes – everybody does – and you just have got to bounce back and just continue to play with the great confidence that's made him the quarterback that he is. We have total faith that he will turn the corner, play better, but we have to play better around him. We have to play better defense around him, our running game has got to get better, we all have to play better. We have to coach better."

On if he is surprised that Cousins' success last season didn't change that confidence:

"I don't know. I think that he is just a great competitor without a doubt. At the quarterback position sometimes, if you don't get victories, you feel like – everybody feels like – it's the quarterback's fault. Everybody's writing headlines on the quarterback, but there are a lot of issues that we have that we have to correct and he's part of it, I'm part of it, the coordinators are part of it, and then the rest of the players are part of it. It all fits in the equation. We all have to understand that we have some issues in the building that we have to correct playing-wise and coaching-wise. We have plenty of time to get it done."

On the red zone struggles:

"I think that there has been some good defensive play. We missed some throws that we normally make and some plays, quite frankly, the defense has done a good job of taking a play away and we might have to throw it away. The third-down-and-six is a great example. They had a four-man rush, we had it protected, outstanding, great protection. Sometimes down there you have to run around, you have to find a window, scramble, maybe slide, kick a field goal – it's not the end of the word. A turnover there was really tough. Other issues, the fade balls, we could have handed them off, we could have thrown them, thrown a better ball, got a better release, what have you. A lot of things could have been done different. We have to do a better job of getting plays in there and executing better."

On if a lack of confidence is to blame for the low number of red zone rushing attempts:

"No, it's not a lack of confidence. Sometimes it's a numbers issue as far as how many guys are in the box – we decide to throw it. Sometimes it feels like we have great weapons on the outside and you want to give them an opportunity. Jordan Reed, Josh Doctson, Pierre [Garçon] obviously, DeSean [Jackson] – these guys are good options on the outside also. A lot of it is dictated on the count of people in the box, we decide to throw it. But I think obviously in the future we'll have to address trying to pound it in there a little bit more often, for sure."

On if he views this as a run-first team and if he is satisfied with the run-pass balance:

"No, we're not happy with the run-pass balance. I think based on the numbers we're obviously not a run-first team. I'd be standing up here looking like a fool if I said we're a 'pound the rock' type team right now. First two games, the proof is in the pudding, the numbers. We've only run the ball a handful of times compared to the amount of times that we've thrown it. Now, a lot of our quick passes and a lot of our bootlegs are an extension of the running game, which are good, but we have not given the running game really an ample opportunity to flourish. That's something we have to look at."

On throwing multiple fades in the red zone:

"Well, hindsight, we wish we wouldn't have tried as many. We have pretty good fade-route runners down there. Back shoulder fades, fades, high-point-type throws – unfortunately we didn't get very good releases on those and the balls were thrown a little bit too quick and too flat to give them an opportunity. Not quite the ideal look – a couple of them – that we wanted to throw those. Hindsight, I wish we wouldn't have tried as many, but we'll throw more fades. They've been very successful to us in the past. It is a good benefit to have those type of guys that can win the one-on-ones, we just didn't win them yesterday. You know, you see Dallas, they tried a couple to Dez [Bryant]. [Bashaud] Breeland did a nice job on them. Teams are going to try to utilize their big receivers down there on red zone fades. It's simple pass-and-catch, we just didn't get it done. They did a good job in the secondary."

On his biggest concern for this team:

"Consistency. I think communication and consistency. I think we've just got to do a better job communicating on defense, making sure we're in the right spot, getting the calls out to the defensive backs, linebackers, defensive line. Offensively, making sure we know exactly where to go with the ball, when to go to it and just do a better job of letting the players know what we're trying to accomplish with each play call both offense and defense. The players have got to understand what we're doing and do it to the best of their ability."

On the play of S David Bruton Jr. and what S Duke Ihenacho needs to do to earn more playing time:

"Duke and Will Blackmon, also… Will Blackmon's done some great things toward the end of camp and in the preseason, so that's something we have to address, try to get those other guys out there a little bit more often. But Bruton understands the defense and had a good training camp. You know, we thought he earned his right to give it an opportunity to be a starter and he's done some good things without a doubt but those other guys have played well behind him too. Just a matter of you've got to go out there and try to get some kind of rhythm with the people, you want the people in there making the calls and giving them an opportunity to see what they can do and that's what we've done so far with those guys."

On allowing long third-down conversions:

"Yeah, that's been an issue. In the first half, they had two – third and eight and a third and nine – in the first drive of the game they converted. You know, it's something different, a lot. Sometimes it's a lack of pass rush, sometimes the hook dropper not getting where he's supposed to be, sometimes it's the rotation was wrong, what have you. Like I said, it goes back to the communication and we have got to do a better job of communicating. Players have got to be where they're supposed to be and we've got to do a better job of getting after the quarterback."

On if they made in-game adjustments for Cowboys WR Dez Bryant:

"There was some, yeah. We made some adjustments in that regard but the fact of the matter is we've just got to, you know, defensively in the second half we came out and played a little bit more aggressive I think. Got after them, got a turnover, almost had another turnover they recovered. Had some unfortunate calls there late in the game, but I think the defense competed the rest of the game. They played hard. Dallas made some big plays in key situations, very similar to Pittsburgh, and we have to do a better job of getting off the field."

On how the secondary played when CB Josh Norman started covering Bryant:

"They did OK. I think, for the most part, I don't think anybody can walk out of that game and say 'Heck, I played pretty good.' Josh played really well, but for the most part I think as a whole our defense has a lot of work to do without a doubt. And I think they'll understand that. It's not so much about adjustments, it's about doing what they're supposed to do, being where they're supposed to be, and then making the play. And we have total faith these guys can do it. It's a very good offense, you know? Three Pro Bowlers on the offensive line, a [fourth] pick in the draft at running back, Dez Bryant, [Jason] Witten's a heck of a tight end. They have really good players over there in Dallas and [Dak] Prescott's playing at a very high level, so they're going to make their share of plays. We feel like our defense should be playing at a little bit higher level than they are right now."

On Dallas having success on play-action bootlegs:

"They did, they had some good plays, some good designs. You know, the fourth and one was a man coverage, we just lost track of the tight end sifting back across the formation for the big play. The one coming out of our own end zone was a big play. Our safety rotation got all fouled up with the motion, just another one of those communication issues. So those are things that we can get ironed out and they should be ironed out by now, but it is something that we really have to take a look at and make sure that we are on top of our game mentally and physically. Physically, these guys are playing hard. I appreciate the way they are playing; Mentally, we are just doing some things that are not very sound right now and that's something that we've got to get cleaned up."

On the importance of offensive players having faith in Cousins:

"They have to, they have got to go out and do their job and everything else will take care of itself… Kirk's game will take care of itself. We have total faith that Kirk will get it done and he will get it done. He has proven that he can be a successful quarterback in this league. He can make all the throws without a doubt. Guys have got to just continue to run hard for him, block hard for him and good things will happen. We have a very skilled offensive group, we really do. We have a tough offensive line that is protecting their butts off and can block. We have all of the makings to be a great offense, but right now we are not great. But we'll continue to push them and get better and I think the guys will have faith that Kirk will get it turned around, our offense will get it turned around, as long as everybody does their job."

On how teams have defended TE Jordan Reed in the red zone:

"Yeah, they do a good job. Sometimes they bang him around off the release, sometimes they double him. Sometimes they have a free linebacker in man-to-man playing right there in the middle and really tight outside leverage on him and give him the inside release and they end up doubling him. So, there is a lot of things defenses do down there that make the windows very tight, very small. That's why anticipation, accuracy, decision making are at a premium down there in the red zone and we've got to win as receivers on some of those releases. And that hasn't happened yet so far. Not to mention you have a lot of Cover Zeros you have got to deal with, you have to have drop eights you have to deal with, so you have to make good, quick decisions, get the ball out, and then guys have got to win."

On if he would consider taking over play calling from Offensive Coordinator Sean McVay:

"No, no, we're OK. We are fine and I am talking to Sean before every play, before every series, what we are going to get to, so the communication there is fine. We've got to do a better job of calling plays quite frankly. We've got to make it more comfortable for Kirk and that's our job – to get the most out of our players, to make our players as comfortable as can be, including the quarterback and if he's not comfortable, that's our fault, so we have do a better job of making sure that we call plays that he's good with and then at the end of the day, guys have got to go out and perform and we've got to perform better."

On how he can keep players' frustrations from affecting them this week:

"Yeah, it's difficult. You know, these guys are great competitors. They want to win and they know that we have a very talented football team and to be 0-2 at home, losing to the Cowboys, losing to the Steelers, is kind of a shock to everybody. We expected great things this year; we still do. So frustrations will be seen and that's just pro football. That's just the competitive nature of these guys and I appreciate the way they are competing and the way they're playing, but we have to understand that we have a long way to go. We can't lose faith in one another, can't point fingers, can't blame anybody. We'll  all have to point at ourselves and get ourselves out of this rut, and like I said before, I have total faith these guys will do it. We've got a professional group, a talented group. We just have got to coach and play better."

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