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Quotes: Jay Gruden (10.05.15)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

Opening statement:

"Jordan Reed had a right knee MCL sprain and an ankle sprain. Also, he's in the concussion protocol. [Ryan] Kerrigan had a hip pointer. He should be OK. [Trent] Murphy, glute contusion. He came back and played. [Pierre] Garcon had a knee mild sprain and inflammation, looks to be OK. [Chris] Culliver managed his knee inflammation OK, still a little sore. And then DeSean [Jackson] we'll try to get a little bit more out of him this week, see what he can do. He'll be day-to-day. And [DeAngelo] Hall is in the early rehab stages of his toe. And [Perry] Riley we're hoping to see back in practice Wednesday."

On his level of concern for TE Jordan Reed's knee injury:

"About his knee? I don't think his knee is… He hurt his knee in the end of the first half, came back and played with his knee."

On his level of concern with Reed's concussion:

"Well, it's a concern. The level – these things are all different. Each player and the magnitude of the concussions, you just don't know until they go through the protocol and get tested and go through the necessary steps to make sure they're OK. And I don't know the severity of it at all."

On his decision to not use the no-huddle offense early on the final drive:

"Oh, we ran to the line once or twice. We had plenty of time. We got the ball with I think five-and-a-half minutes to go in the game and we had a 15-play, 90-yard drive. We ate up all the clock. There was a time we went to the no-huddle there at the end when we were behind on the clock a little bit. But, for the most part I think we had plenty of time, kept our poise, quarterback made some good decisions and we made some big plays. I think it was managed properly by everybody involved."

On the receiving corps:

"We're encouraged obviously, but we are obviously concerned a little bit with Jordan's health status and obviously not having DeSean around. These are two of our top weapons going into the season. But, I think Derek Carrier has made some plays at tight end. He's done a nice job coming in here and learning the system. He's going to get more and more opportunities. Obviously Ryan Grant played well. Jamison Crowder is playing well. Pierre [Garçon] is still Pierre. We've got Andre Roberts, who still can play. And [Rashad] Ross made a big play in the game. So, I think we've got the position covered. We'd like to have our full arsenal of weapons healthy one time this year, but I'm happy with the guys who are playing and the way they're playing."

On if it is "overstepping" to say WR Jamison Crowder has won the slot receiver role:

"No, that's not overstepping. It was clear in the game, I think [laughter]. Yeah, he's definitely our slot receiver right now and Andre [Roberts] is a pro. And he can step in and play X and Z and Zebra, our three-receiver positions. He's going to be a valuable player for us as the season goes on. Obviously, with the injuries that take place, he's going to be needed again."

On the message it sends when a coach names a new starter for performance reasons:

"I think we've had to make these decisions with a lot of different positions, not just at receiver – you know, offensive line and defensive line. [Chris] Baker got the nod starting for the first time this game and responded with a couple sacks. You know, you try to play the best player and I think the players understand that and they appreciate that and they understand that every day they have to earn the right to be a starter on this football team. Every game they have to perform to keep their job. That's the only way it can be. That's the only way it should be in pro football and I don't think this is the only place that handles it like that. I think every football team, every baseball team, basketball team does the same thing. It's a performance-based business. In order to keep your job, you have got to perform at a high level. That's what we're expecting from all our guys."

On the decision to switch Trent Murphy and Ryan Kerrigan on the last drive:

"Just something different. I think  they're both effective on both sides. They responded with some big plays. You know, Kerrigan had a couple sack opportunities that he missed that he'll make nine times out of 10 – or eight times out of 10, I should say, because he missed two [laughter] – but those guys are very versatile where they line up. You saw Kerrigan rushing A-gap one time and Murphy can go up inside and they're very effective."

On if he was pleased with the pass rush on Sunday:

"I was pleased, no question. You know, Preston [Smith] got one. [Chris] Baker got two. [Ryan] Kerrigan got one. [Trent] Murphy got one and a half, I think, so I don't know who else got one. But, it was an impressive performance by those guys. They have to keep working. They have to keep rushing and flying around to the football. There were some times where you were a little frustrated because it felt [Sam] Bradford had all day and he diced us a couple times. But I like their effort, that's number one, and for four quarters to be able to come like that – that hard, that often – I think was a great testament for their character and how hard they're working."

On if LB Preston Smith will receive more playing time than Murphy:

"I think they're going to sub… they're just going to sub equally, probably 50-50, right around there. But Murphy's our starter and he's playing well. He's a very good first and second down run player. He showed the ability to pass rush yesterday so we like both of them and they're in the developmental stages of their career. They're both getting stronger every day in the weight room. They're both learning from the experience that they have on game day. The more experience they get, the better they're both going to be. I don't care who's in there between those two. I like them both and they're both going to be good for us for a long time."

On if he expected the contributions he's getting from rookies:

"Well, you expect it when you draft them. You draft them for a reason. You hope that they can come in here and not only pick up the system, but  match their talents with the other professional football players in the league. They have obviously done that. [Kyshoen] Jarrett, really, is a surprise to me because he's not doing it at safety. He's doing it at nickel. We had no idea that that would be the case. We had him penciled as competing for safety, being a special team player year one but he came in here and really surprised us with his versatility – being able to play nickel, being able to play safety, the smart football player that's very tough. [Jamison] Crowder, we kind of had a pretty good feel. The way he played in college is the way he's playing now. He's just a football player that you can see, loves it — tough, quick, explosive. We had a feeling about him and a good return guy. We had a penciled-in punt returner job for him, but for him to win the starting inside slot receiver is a testament to him and how quickly he picked it up and his production. When you draft guys, you have high hopes for them, but you never expect them to be this much of a factor this early, especially fourth-fifth rounders."

On if defenses change schemes because of WR Rashad Ross:

"No, they didn't. They were bump and run both times that we took shots with him. One was in the slot. It was a little slot combination. So, I think people are going to play the way they play. It's the same thing with DeSean [Jackson]. You like to think people are going to back way off DeSean when he's in there, but they don't. They their defenses whether it's single-high or two-high. Whatever their defensive scheme is, they play it. So, we just have to make sure we get him more and more involved and he will be as the season goes on. But, he's definitely got the speed and he's starting to become more comfortable in the offense."

On if they asked CB Chris Culliver if he was OK during the second half:

"No, we didn't ask him at all. He's a great competitor and played well. One, he was in a three-deep zone and really we should have had safety help and Trenton [Robinson] didn't get back far enough. I think it was a great throw, great route, good catch. The other one was a quarters-type coverage and he was right there – bang-bang, great catch by [Nelson] Agholor, a one-handed catch by Agholor. Those things are going to happen from time to time. He's a very tough, competitive guy. I'm just happy that he came out of this game healthy, and I'm glad he played. He fought through some pain. He wasn't 100 percent, no doubt. But I never questioned his ability at all, even though he looked like he got beat but he didn't."

On how he can reduce the number of penalties:

"I don't know. I haven't figured it out yet because our numbers are still pretty high. I think we've just got to keep preaching the fundamentals, like I said yesterday. Some of those penalties were bang-bang calls but we've just got to get our pads down. We had a late hit on the quarterback. One week we go too low, one week we go too high. We've just got to keep coaching it up and showing them examples and work on the fundamentals in practice."

On what he saw from QB Kirk Cousins on the final drive that he might not have seen last year:

"I think poise. I think confidence. He got off his first progression a couple of times and he read defenses and stood in the pocket. I think a lot of it, I think the confidence that he's starting to get… The offensive line is playing outstanding. The pockets that they're giving him, they're giving him the ability to scan the defense and get off his first read and get to his second or third progression, which makes life a lot easier for a quarterback. When you have that feeling as a quarterback, you can get off your first and go to your second and third, you start to build momentum confidence-wise and you can see him starting to feel good about the offense and his comfort level in the scheme. The more reps he gets in practice, the more experience that he has on game day coming from behind like that, the better it's going to make him."

On what he liked about Kyshoen Jarrett as the nickel as opposed to other options:

"We didn't have any options when we started trying him at nickel. We had so many injuries in the secondary in training camp, he just kind of raised his hand, 'Hey, I can play nickel,' so we put him in there. He's taken advantage of it and done a good job. We lost [Bashaud] Breeland there for a while in training camp. [DeAngelo] Hall was banged up there in training camp. I think we had a couple other injuries in training camp. So he was forced in there, and when he went in there, he took advantage of his reps and played well where we kept him in there."

On his assessment of the team at 2-2:

"You know, there's a lot of things we can improve on. Obviously the penalties are an issue. Still the turnover margin is minus-four. We've got to try to fix that. But there's a lot of progress I think being made. You look back at the games you lost and you try to [say], 'Dang it, if we would have done this or this or this, there's a chance to be 4-0. If you look at the games we won, if a couple things could have happened, we could be 0-4.' That's the way pro football is right now. But I like the fact that we're competing. I like the fact that our guys are giving great effort, and I think the way they're preparing – the coaches are preparing – is going to pay dividends for us in the long run. Being 2-2, it's not 4-0, but we're tied for first in the division after the first quarter and we're happy about that."

On if the team's time of possession philosophy gave them an advantage in the last few series:

"You'd like to think so. It may or may not, some coaches don't believe it. I believe that the longer we hold the ball the better we are, obviously. We're fresher on defense obviously and then offensively we feel like we can wear people down. I think it showed in a couple of the games this year. I think it showed in the St. Louis game and I think it showed there in the fourth quarter against Philadelphia. Long drives are created when you can convert on third downs. We've been pretty good on third downs this year. I think we're at 47 percent, which is our biggest improvement I think from last year offensively is the third down conversion rate and obviously the sack total. As long as we keep converting these third downs at a 50 percent clip, we'll have these long drives and wear people down. That's a big, strong belief in this offense and what we want to do in the fourth quarter and that's run the ball. Get Alfred [Morris] more carries, get obviously Matt [Jones] some more carries. He didn't get as many yesterday, but he'll get more as the season goes on."

On the importance of Cousins finishing that final drive:

"It's important, especially for future games to give him and give the team confidence that, 'Hey, we can do this, we're not out of it.' This isn't a 'Here we go again.' This is, 'Let's go do it.' It's great to have that experience and to now back it up with some history. To show that he's taken a team 90 yards in 15 plays to beat a division rival, I think it's awesome for him and his confidence – the offense, the team in general. Never give up and always feel like we have a chance to come back. That's a huge thing to have in the back of your mind as a football player."

On if he sees a leap in confidence in quarterbacks after a game like that:

"Yeah, you do. Like I said before, instead of 'Oh, my gosh,' and pressing too much like, 'Oh, I've got to do it this time, this time I've got to do it,' you have that feeling already of accomplishment. You've already done it so you have a little bit more poise about you when you go out there and have to do it again. That's what we're hoping carries over, that 'Hey, this is no big deal. I've got to come back again. I've done it before and I'll do it again.'

On the message actor Matthew McConaughey gave the team on Saturday and jokingly being asked if he'll fly him in to speak to the team in Atlanta this week:

"[Laughter] If he wants to come… He's acting right now. He's doing a movie role, he looks a little bit different. I don't know what his message was, man. I just know that everybody was looking at him in awe. He's a heck of a guy, a big Redskins fan. He got the team fired up and if we have to fly him in, we will. That's up to Dan."

On guard Spencer Long:

"He played great. He really did. I was happy about the way Spencer played. He competed. He was great in the passing game. He did some good things in the running game. Morgan [Moses] had another solid performance. Those guys are playing well. To throw the ball that many times against a pretty good Eagles pass rush and not give up a sack really, I think it was an impressive outing for all of them. I think we had 400-plus yards of offense and the line deserves a lot of that credit."

On if RB Chris Thompson's expanded role was related to RB Matt Jones' fumbles:

"No, no. A couple of the runs he got were third down and then he got a couple of first-down specialty runs we had for Chris. We are going to use all three of those backs and some days it'll be different. We always want to get all three of them involved obviously, but there's only one ball. So, we do the best we can of spreading it out to all three backs, all the receivers and tight ends. So, we'll figure it out on game day who has got the hot hand."

On the advantage of having players who played for Atlanta Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan:

"The only advantage we have is if Kyle decides to play. He's doing a great job in Atlanta. He's got a great cast over there that he is coaching. Matt Ryan is one of the top quarterbacks in the league. Julio [Jones] is unbelievable. [Devonta] Freeman is running the ball extremely hard. He's got a great plan for those guys. It'll be a great challenge for us, especially at their place. It's a fast surface up there. They play fast, their defense plays fast. It'll be a great challenge for us."

On how McConaughey spoke to the team:

"He was in town for a charity event and he's good friends with Dan. He was in the hotel and we just had him come over. It wasn't planned or anything like that. He was there, so we just invited him over. Huge Redskins fan, had a good talk to all of our guys and got them fired up. That's it."

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