Head Coach Jay Gruden
*On WR Andre Roberts:*
"Andre had a personal deal he had to take care of."
On which injured players he expects to return after the bye:
"I don't like to project and guess. I just want to see these guys get with the trainers and progress at their rate that they're going to progress, but expectation-wise, I have high hopes for the majority of them, really, other than the ones that are on IR, so we'll just have to wait and see."
On the priority for the offense over the bye week:
"I think fixing the running game, trying to get the running game back on track is a main priority for us obviously. Three weeks, it hadn't been very good. We've got to get the yards per carry up, have some more confidence in it and just keep working on that. But really, there's room for all of us to improve everywhere, like you said — you know, the passing game, protections, everything. Just take a good look at ourselves, see what we're doing and see how we can improve."
On upon what the team can build:
"I like the fact that our offensive line has done a good job despite not playing a lot together. I think the right side of our line with Brandon [Scherff] and Morgan [Moses] has been excellent as far as their growth process is concerned. The centers have done some good things obviously. Kory [Lichtensteiger] being hurt but Josh [LeRibeus] stepped in and has done some good things. [Ty] Nsekhe got some playing time for Trent [Williams]. Spencer [Long] has come in for Shawn [Lauvao] and done a good job at left guard. I think we have a lot to build off of up front. We've just got to get better in the running game."
On his message to the team for the bye week:
"I think the big thing is get their bodies healthy. I want to get them physically and mentally healthy, get some time off, spend it with their families, but really come back focused. New England plays Thursday night. I want them all to tune in, watch that game, get themselves mentally ready to go. The second half of our season, we've got nine games left. It's going to be a grind. I think it's going to be important for them just to get away — four, five days and get some rest and come back fresh and ready to roll because it's going to be a tough nine-game stretch."
On if he still wants to see RB Matt Jones lower his pad level and what he wants to see out of him:
"Same thing. He's just got to continue to work on the pad level. Sometimes his patience, sometimes he cuts things back a little bit too quick wants to get north a little bit quicker than the play allows. But I like the way he runs. He runs hard. He runs physical. He can run through arm tackles. Just a matter of keeping him healthy, always working on ball security and getting him more looks."
On if he envisioned this much impact from the rookie class beyond Jones and G Brandon Scherff:
"Well, [Jamison] Crowder obviously has emerged as a top slot receiver for us. He can even play outside. Preston Smith has done some good things in his action. He's played about 35 percent of the snaps and done some good things. He's got to continue to work. Who else we got? Obviously, Kyshoen [Jarrett] has been outstanding, you know, in a role that we didn't expect him to be in. He's produced — made some big plays. He gave up a couple plays in that game. He gave up that wheel route on the sideline for a touchdown and a big third-down conversion but for the most part he's playing a position that's brand new to him and done well."
On what it says about DB Kyshoen Jarrett that he is playing a new position:
"It says a lot about him, not only as an athlete, but as a smart football player. To be able to come in and learn both safety spots as a rookie isn't easy. Then, to get thrown in there at nickel, at a spot he's never played, I think just talks about what type of football player he is. When you're drafting players, you want to draft good football players, number one, and all those guys have shown that they're all good football players and love it. They're asked to produce right now and they have."
On how the pass rush can improve:
"Well, we had some good pass rush. I think we missed three or four sack opportunities. Again, when we get back there we've got to wrap the quarterback up. I think Ricky Jean [Francois] missed a couple, Trent [Murphy] missed one. We missed a couple the week before. [Jason] Hatcher missed one the week before. These guys are rushing hard. I think we have the people in here that can rush, we've just got to do a better job of finishing plays with a sack or the forced fumble. We're just going to keep working with them. Trent and Preston and obviously [Jackson] Jeffcoat will have to step up their game. On the inside, you've got [Stephen] Paea, you've got Hatcher, you've got Ricky Jean. We've got to make sure he gets going and let these guys go."
On if they emphasized the fundamentals of tackling at today's practice:
"They do that every day in individual – work on the fundamentals. There's drills that they do – KO [Linebackers Coach Kirk Olivadotti] at the linebackers and the safeties – work on getting the ball out and then obviously wrapping up. We weren't in pads today so we couldn't do a whole lot. It was just a quick hour practice. When we come back, we'll continue to focus on it. We always do."
On if the coaching staff will have some days off:
"Yeah, staff will get some days off. I don't know what I'm going to do yet. The big thing is watch this team and try to figure out ways we can get better and get ready for New England. It doesn't get any easier from here on out, that's for sure. You've got New England and then New Orleans. Still play Carolina, you've got Dallas twice, Philly and the Giants. We've got a really tough stretch and it's a chance for me to get ahead a little bit on the schedule coming up."
On how the defense can improve:
"I think, like I said, tackling. We missed way too many tackles. I like the effort that they're playing with. There's a lot of things we can build off of. The main thing is just tackling and finishing plays and running to the ball. I always preach on hustle plays and the fundamentals of tackling, trying to get the ball out, turnovers. Those are things that we're going to continue to work and work and work."
On if late-addition free agents TE Derek Carrier and CB Will Blackmon have performed well:
"They have. It's not easy to come in here – you miss all of training camp and all of OTAs, all the mental gymnastics we go through to get guys ready to play. They come in late, they have to pick up the system in a hurry. Both of them have done that. You can't say enough about our kicker, [Dustin] Hopkins. I mean what he's done is taken over for an established kicker here. We've had some guys come in off the streets that have produced. We've needed them to. It's going to help our depth later on down the road when we do get our players back. So it's going to be exciting when our players get healthy and these guys will provide us with great depth. They've shown they can play."
On how much of the bye week will be spent on self-evaluation as opposed to focusing on upcoming opponents:
"I think yesterday and today is mainly about self-evaluation. This afternoon and tonight and tomorrow we're going to really start to hone in on New England. When we get back, we'll get back a little bit early and start to work on a plan for New England. They've got one more game on Thursday night so we'll get another game to break down. Really want to take a good look at ourselves, number one. We try to make it about us in this building and how we can make our team better. Eliminate any of the tendencies that we might have and go from there."