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Quotes: Jay Gruden (1.9.14)

Executive Vice President/General Manager Bruce Allen


On the hiring of Head Coach Jay Gruden:
"Good afternoon. [It's an] exciting day for the Washington Redskins, a very important day for our upcoming season and our future. As we talked about 10 or 11 days ago, we were going to take this selection process very seriously in analyzing everything that we have done as an organization in order to improve it, and the first step was finding the right coach for this team. The best way we could find the new leadership was searching the coaches. As you know and it's been well-documented, we met with several coaches in person and talked to dozens other on the telephone. The NFL is a special fraternity and these coaches that came in – we got to hear new ideas, new plans and really a new attitude. But this fraternity that Jay belongs to is really the references – the people they work with – who would call at all hours of the evening to tell us how great a particular candidate was.

"It was a wonderful experience dealing with these men, because the NFL, at the end of the day, is no different than it's always been – it's about the players, the coaches and the fans. This league is very fortunate to have coaches on the sideline of the integrity that we met during this process and have talked to on the phone. But as I said at that press conference about 10 or 11 days ago, we were looking for a new leader, somebody who can inspire our football team. We knew it was more than just X's and O's. It was about finding the right person to build the team chemistry that we needed. We needed someone who would be a good teammate to the coaches, the organization and the players in the locker room, and through this search, we kept looking for that leader and teacher.

"Fortunately for us, the San Diego Chargers beat the Cincinnati Bengals [laughter], and we were able to bring Jay in and he got to interview with the people here – [Director of Player Personnel] Scott Campbell, [Director of Pro Personnel] Morocco Brown, [Vice President of Football Administration/General Counsel] Eric Schaffer and of course, also, he met with [owner] Dan Snyder. So what we found is the guy that – I really come back to one of the greatest quotes I know in sports or life that former Washington Redskins coach Marv Levy, who is in the Hall of Fame, who said, 'Where would you rather be than right here, right now?' And that quote really is what we are looking for – someone who had the fire in his belly to come and lead the Washington Redskins this season. I'd like to introduce to everybody the new head coach of the Washington Redskins, Mr. Jay Gruden."

Head Coach Jay Gruden

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On being hired as the Redskins' new head coach:

"Thank you. First off, I'd like to thank my family. My wife, Sherry, is in the audience; my sons – Joey and Jack – they're in the audience; my other son, J.J., couldn't be here. My mother, Kathy Gruden, the toughest Gruden of them all – she's at home watching I'm sure. My dad, Jim Gruden – a football coach, a football man, a football person – really instilled passion, commitment and loyalty to me at a very young age in the game of football. My brother Jim, who taught me there are things other than football that are important; and of course, my brother Jon, who I wouldn't be sitting here today without learning everything that I know about football from him. What a great brother. What a great person. What a great football coach. Thank you to them.

"I'd like to thank Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis for giving me the opportunity to be an offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. They took a chance on me and we had some great seasons there. Unfortunately, we didn't win the playoffs, but we had some great seasons there. It was a great opportunity for me. I'd like to thank the Bengal coaching staff and of course the Bengal players for their commitment to coming to work every day and their commitment to excellence and trying to get better every day. They provided us with a great spark and a great group to coach and a lot of fun.

"I'd like to thank Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen, obviously. This opportunity is a once-in-a-lifetime deal. I will do my best to make sure that I put a competitive football team on the field each and every day. Really, it's not about me though. This is about the Washington Redskins. This is about the fans. This is about the workers at FedExField. This is about the players. This is about the coaches. This is about a commitment to being a consistently great franchise and we want to provide everybody with the proud sense that we're going to come to work every day and do the best we can to put a competitive football team on the field every day. I look forward to the chance to interview and talking to many coaches that have the players' best interests at heart, that will motivate, will teach and provide them with every opportunity to be great. I look forward to the challenge and thank you again to Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen for this opportunity."

Q&A Session


On the drama of last season and what convinced Gruden things will be different in his tenure:

GRUDEN: "Well, I don't know what happened last year. I know that interviewing with Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen and everybody here that the passion for excellence is there. All they want do is win and they're going to provide me with every avenue to win. I don't know what happened last year and I don't care what happened last year. All I care about next year is moving forward. I am going to provide the players with every avenue, like I said, for them to succeed and be great. So moving forward, we're going to forget about the past and look forward to the future every day."

On if he did not see reports at the end of the season about dysfunction in Washington:

GRUDEN: "I hear, but I don't really believe all the reports that you guys report. I wasn't in the locker room, so I was worried about my season and my team at the time, and when I'm with the Washington Redskins I'm not going to read about the Philadelphia Eagles or the Dallas Cowboys. I'm going to worry about the Washington Redskins' locker room and making sure we're one team with one goal and every intention of winning as many games as we can. "

On reviewing last year's team:

GRUDEN: "We will review all the plays and the players from last year and the year before. We will find out the best players that we have that we want to keep moving forward, the free agents that are available that we want to re-sign, the things that we can help each player improve upon in their game – the corners, the safeties, the running backs, the offensive line, defensive line, so there's a lot of work to do. When you're 3-13, there's not one particular player or reason, there's a lot of reasons and there's a lot of things that need to be fixed, no question."

On which assistant coaches he plans to retain:

GRUDEN: "I'm going to wait and see. I'm going to interview a lot of coaches. Like I said, I'm going to look at each coach that's been retained by Bruce here and interview everybody. I know there's a lot of coaches here that can coach and there's a lot of good football people that are here that can coach. There's also good football people across the country right now looking to work and looking to work for the Washington Redskins. This opportunity is a one in a lifetime deal and I've already had about 350 texts of people, great coaches, looking to coach and it's going to keep coming.  I don't think finding a great coach and coaching staff is going to be difficult. It's finding the right ones that fit what I want to do and what the players want to do."

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On what role Bruce Allen played in choosing to accept the position:

GRUDEN: "A big role. I know Bruce. I have a history with Bruce. I know his passion for football. I know he loves the Washington Redskins and he wants to provide the head coach with every opportunity to win. And I know Bruce – it's not about Bruce and I know Bruce knows it's not about Jay. We know it's about us, and moving forward it's about the Washington Redskins, the fans, the players, the equipment men, the staff, and we're going to do it together. It's going to be a difficult task, but I know working together with Dan and Bruce and the coaches, we can accomplish a lot."

On how much quarterback Robert Griffin III affected his decision:

GRUDEN: "Robert's a great quarterback and it's very exciting. Anytime you want to move forward with a franchise that's a very important position, as we well know. He's a great player and I look forward to the chance of coaching him."

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On what made Allen say Gruden was his guy:

ALLEN: "Well, you know, it's really how the playoffs played out. I joked about Jay, the Bengals, losing that game. We had met with several coaches and we had decided that when we found the right person for this time, we would propose to him. Through the long day of yesterday and the whole interview process, it was clear to everybody here that that Jay was the right man for us right now."

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On what Gruden wants Griffin III to improve upon:

GRUDEN: "I have not really studied him on that type of foundation yet. You know I have to go back and watch him on tape, but I've seen him on highlights and I've seen some of the games that we carry over and studied other teams. I see a ton of talent. I see a guy that can run, I see a guy that can maneuver in the pocket, I see accuracy, I see long ball accuracy, I see toughness, I see a guy that wants to win and I see a strong leader. I see every trait that a quarterback has to have to be successful. I see Robert having all of those, so why wouldn't you want to coach a guy like that? So I'm excited to coach him and hopefully he's excited to play here."

On what makes him believe he's ready for a head coaching role in the NFL:

GRUDEN: "That's everybody's opinion – they can say I'm not ready or whatever they want, but I've had to deal with players my whole life. Whatever level you're coaching, whether it's Arena League or the UFL you still have to motivate and coach and teach players to compete and motivate different types of players – good guys, bad guys. You have to weather storms, losing streaks, fumbles, interception, losing in the playoffs, losing three games in a row, winning three games in a row, there's a lot of things that you can learn from whatever league you coach to get yourself ready. My strength, I believe, is dealing with players, motivating players, keeping players excited to come to work and plan and not letting them get too high or too low but keeping them even keel and letting them understand that, honestly, as a head coach, I have their best interest at heart. My only thing is to make them and provide them with every resource that they can get better and win games and compete every week. And I think as a football player they'll appreciate that. That's really at the end of the day all they want. They want to be coached, and they want to play well and we're going to provide them with every resource to do that."

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On what he envisions for the team defensively:

GRUDEN: "Well, this team is built for the 34. They've been a 34 for a while and I love the 34. I actually hate the 34 as an offensive coordinator, so I think with the players in place here, I would love to stay a 34. That'll be evaluated, you know I just got the job here, but I know that when we played against the Washington Redskins, I know it's very difficult to run against them. There were some issues with the back end here and there but there is a core foundation in place. They're well-coached on defense and I'm excited to have a chance to talk to all the candidates to still instill a 3-4 defense."

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On his history with McVay, Raheem Morris and Jim Haslett and if they made the move attractive:

GRUDEN: "Yes, you know it really did. But still there's a lot of other candidates that I know that I want to talk to. I understand that they know football and they love football, so hopefully when I go through the interview process of all the coaches that I know and need jobs and are good coaches that I feel can take this team to the next level, if they emerge, great. If not, we'll see what happens, but there are good people and coaches in this building, yes."

On the first thing he hopes to accomplish as head coach:

GRUDEN: "There's a lot you want to accomplish, but I want a sense of confidence instilled in the players right away. I want the players to come in and know that they're going to come into work and they're going to get the best – the best ownership, the best general manager, the best assistant coaches, the best head coach, the best training staff, the best equipment managers. I want them to feel a sense of confidence and a sense of pride. If we can instill that in them right away, the sooner the better, then we'll have a chance to succeed at a rapid rate."

On how he will build trust with Griffin III:

GRUDEN: "It's got to be genuine. He's got to believe it. I'm going to let him know that I'm a trustworthy guy. He's also got to understand that I expect a lot from the starting quarterback. I expect him to come in and prepare and work hard and I expect him to take the blame on some throws. I expect him to be a great leader. I expect him to do extra things to be great. As long as he's working his butt off, I will provide him with everything he needs to be successful and I will give him every avenue – if he doesn't like a play, I'm not going to call the play. I want to make sure that he's going to be comfortable with everything we're doing so he goes out on game day and he can succeed."

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On his offensive philosophy and if he favors the zone blocking scheme:

GRUDEN: "I like them all, man. I've never found a play I haven't liked that works. The one thing you really want to do is – during my process here the next few days, I want to really study the offensive personnel that we have in place. They've done some good things here offensively in years past. I think they're in the top 10 the last couple years, so they have a system in place that's very good. They're an outside zone blocking team that can do inside zone. I like the power plays. I like the gap blocking plays. So there's a little bit of everything. I don't think any offense in the NFL anymore is just, 'We are this.' I think we have to adhere to what we have offensively, talent-wise. We can do the read option. We can do naked bootlegs. We can run outside zone. We can run bubble screens. We can run deep balls. We can do play-action deep things. I think the whole idea to be a successful offense is to be diverse and be good at a lot of different things and not just one."

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On a report that Tight Ends Coach Sean McVay will be elevated to offensive coordinator and if he has made a decision on that position:

GRUDEN: "Nice, good for Sean [laughter]… I have not. I do like Sean. He's a heck of a guy, a heck of a coach. But we'll go through the process and hopefully – there's a lot of great coaches, like I said, out there, and he's a great person and a great coach."

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On if he has spoken with Griffin III:

GRUDEN: "I have not talked to Robert. I look forward to it, though."

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On what makes him believe he can be successful with this organization:

GRUDEN: "Well, just talking to Mr. Snyder – Dan Snyder – and Bruce. I just have a firm belief everything they were saying and their passion for the team and the city, the fan base, is legitimate. I'm a pretty good reader of people and I can tell when I'm being lied to and I could honestly tell you this: Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen have the fans' best interests at heart and the players' best interests at heart and all they want to do is field a winning team. They're giving me an opportunity to take this team to a great level and I'm going to do everything I can to prove them right."

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On if Allen and the personnel department will make personnel decisions, as opposed to Gruden:

ALLEN: "What's great about where Jay came from, Cincinnati, is the coaches were really involved with the personnel process. We're going to make our selections based on the Redskins' choices. The scouting department will give us the players and the lists and we're going to work through the coaches and analyze it. At the end of the day, every one of the players will be chosen by the Redskins as a group. Jay and I talked about how we want to do it and it really is going to be a group effort."

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On if Allen will have final say over personnel:

ALLEN:* *"At the end of the day, it would be my responsibility."

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On Gruden's expectations and if he believes he must reverse a culture of losing:

GRUDEN: "I think every head coach in the National Football League has great expectations. Otherwise, they wouldn't be hired. We have great expectations here. We expect to win soon. The culture here – there's a great history here for the Washington Redskins and there's a lot of pride here. The fans are unbelievable here – I think 40 straight seasons of sellouts. They expect a winner. They want a winner. They don't expect anything else. Anything that's happened in the past – we learn from past history, but we have to move forward and all the players, they want to forget about last year and quickly move into this year. You can see it in the history of other teams that have had poor seasons. They've been able to bounce back if the players believe and they come in and work hard quickly. We just have to instill that faith that we're going to get them to do that quickly. The history of this organization is something that we can all be proud of and anytime we put on a Redskin jersey, these players have to have a lot of pride and be excited to play. It will be a great atmosphere."

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On when the reality that he is an NFL head coach sank in:

GRUDEN: "Yeah, right about now [laughter]. It has been a whirlwind, you're right. I was fortunate enough to interview for a few teams last year and go with the Tennessee Titans a couple days ago, but when I got here and interviewed with Bruce and Dan and the Washington Redskins' staff, it started to sink in. At Dan's house last night and meeting the other owners, his wife – it's an unbelievable feeling. It makes you nervous. It makes you excited.  A lot of different emotions are knifing through. You want to get started right now, but there's so much to do before you can get started. But you're right, it is very exciting and I'm thrilled for the opportunity."

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On if he had an emotional moment with his family after being hired:

GRUDEN: "Yeah, I called them all. I called my family and Jack told his basketball coach and he put it on Twitter [laughter]. They're all excited. It's really a great experience and my mom and dad, they're obviously very proud, my brother was very proud, my other brother was very proud. We have a very tight family, so being able to share that news with them was a great experience."

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On the read option:

GRUDEN: "I love it. We ran some with Cincinnati with [Bengals quarterback] Andy [Dalton] and I think it's part of football now. It's something that you have to get your defense prepared for. It's something that has a place in the National Football League."

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On if he will call offensive plays and what role he will have in personnel decisions:

GRUDEN: "I will call plays, yes, and I will be involved in personnel decisions. It's going to be a lot about a lot of different people involved in it. We're not all going to agree all the time, but the big thing is to make sure we hear each other out in a calm, cool fashion, and as long as everybody has the team's best interests at heart, like I said, we will come to an agreement on personnel decisions. That won't be an issue."

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