Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Quotes: Jay Gruden (11.02.15)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

Opening statement:

"We have no injury update until Wednesday. Today was just a bonus day. We went out and had a nice, little sweat."

On G Brandon Scherff and NT Terrance Knighton:

"They both missed for personal reasons."

On if they noticed anything to fix in the running game during the bye week:

"Yeah, we did. You know, it's just going to be game-plan specific, mostly, but mainly it's trying to do a better job of sticking with it and just performing better, executing better with everybody — execution with everybody. It's not one person who we can really isolate, 'Honestly, we have to fix his technique,' it's everybody. Sometimes they're great, sometimes it's one person, but altogether, like I've said, it's all about being in concert together with one another and that's what we're going to continue to focus on."

On if there is a change to the depth chart at running back:

"No, no. We'll keep them both. I think you're both going to see them play a lot. I think, you know, they're both going to get their touches."

On if he emphasizes staying 'mentally strong' when it comes to playing New England this week:

"Well, I think you have to be mentally strong when you play everybody in the NFL — that's not a change. There are great coaches across the board in the National Football League. Obviously, Coach [Bill] Belichick is at the top of the list. He'll have his team mentally ready, mentally prepared. They're very well coached — offense, defense, special teams. It's going to take a great performance by us, not only physically, but mentally, like you say. It's a great challenge to go into Foxborough — not many teams have since Tom Brady has been the quarterback and beaten them up there. It's going to take a great performance by everybody involved."

On the importance of having a solid group of defensive backs against New England:

"Yeah, very important. Hopefully we get a full cast of characters back there. It'd be nice. We'll have to wait and see Wednesday who can do what, but we're getting positive results from the guys in rehab and it's looking good. We're concerned about [Bashaud] Breeland. Obviously [Chris] Culliver, D-Hall, they're still on the fence a little bit. We'll have to wait and see. Whoever is back there, they're going to have to play their butt off because obviously the passing attack of the Patriots is one of the best."

On if he is using WR Jamison Crowder to simulate WR Danny Amendola and WR Julian Edelman:

"Well, yeah, other guys are going to have to do that. Jamison is going to focus on our offense. But, obviously, the route running of Amendola and [Edelman], both of them are excellent route runners. They're all good route runners. They're disciplined in what they do. Edelman is outstanding as far as setting people up and exploding out of cuts and making the tough catches on crossing routes, option routes, but to get the good look, it's going to be hard to emulate that. We've done a lot of that ourselves against our defense throughout training camp with our slot guys, Andre [Roberts] and Jamison. They've had a lot of looks at it. The pace and the route tree is a little bit different than what they'll see on Sunday."

On how difficult it is to have the success that New England has had:

"It's very difficult. You look at the other 31 teams, everybody is trying to emulate the success that they have. There's no question about it. They've been consistently good and that's obviously the goal of this franchise here, to get back to being consistent, being relevant consistently, year in and year out. It's easier said than done. It takes good drafts. It takes being sound in your free agency, your spending. Key positions staying healthy and playing for a long time and obviously great coaching, which they have. It is a challenge for every football team to try to be consistent like that but it is very, very difficult obviously but that is our intent."

On if he is surprised by New England QB Tom Brady's record-breaking pace this season:

"There are records he hasn't broke? I don't know what they are [laughter]. No, none of that surprises me. He is one of the quarterbacks you look at — as being a young coach when I [was] coming up through the ranks, he is usually the guy that I put on first to learn about the quarterback position. His mechanics in the pocket are perfect. His reads, his leadership, his accuracy, he's got great touch on the football when he needs it, his pocket presence is outstanding, but there is really not anything you can say negative about the guy. Obviously, we're going to have to get him off his spot. We're going to have to rush the passer in order to have a chance, somehow, some way."

On what stands out about New England's defense:

"The physicality of their defense. Their linebackers are downhill. They have a good pass rush. Then, their secondary is physical. They get your hands on you. They re-route you and they give their pass rush time to get home. They have good safety help, good safety play. They're sound against run. They're just very good all around. Not a lot of weaknesses on defense. They've done it with a lot of different people, different years. Last year, they had [Darrelle] Revis back there, they lose Revis and they put Malcolm Butler in there — he's doing an excellent job. Then, the pass rush, linebacker play is outstanding."

On if the Patriots' defensive approach changes week-to-week:

"Not really. I think it depends on what they think is your strong suit. They try to take that away. They do an excellent job of not letting the best players beat them. Luckily for us we have players that we think can make plays. We have multiple players that can make plays, Pierre [Garçon] and obviously Jamison [Crowder]. If we get DeSean back, great. Jordan Reed is obviously a factor. Our running game has got to be able to be the big balancing force for us."

On the team's presumed identity as a team that runs the ball and stops the run and if having a team identity matters:

"It does matter a lot. It matters. It matters in this division. It matters later on in the season. When the weather gets bad, it matters, and that's something that we really have to talk about and focus on. Our run defense has not been very good the last three weeks and our run offense has not been very good. That's going to cost us football games later on in the season, so it's a focal point. Some teams quite frankly, you're going to give up maybe a player in the box and maybe give up a few more running yards than you would against other teams. But, that's just game-plan specific. Our offense, we should always focus on getting better run looks than we have the last three weeks."

On what the team gains from having an extra day of practice:

"I think just getting everybody back in here, having them playing catch, working on their craft and getting a good sweat. That's all it was and making sure everyone was in the building safe, healthy and ready to roll. Then they get a day off tomorrow and then obviously come Wednesday, it has got to be our best week of preparation, no question. Hands down, it has got to be our best week of preparation physically and mentally."

On if the team worked on anything game-plan specific today:

"No. Today was just a competitive day against one another, just get their competitive juices flying."

On the importance of using the running game to limit the Patriots' offensive possessions:

"I think that's going to be an important part is not only in the running game but converting third downs and eliminating the three-and-outs. The more possessions they get, obviously the more times they'll have a chance to make you pay and he [Brady] will. So, it's very important for us to convert our third downs and keep our drives alive, keep our defense fresh. Otherwise, it'll be rough day. I have good confidence. Our third down percentages are pretty good right now. Our running game has got to get better, but that is the intent come Sunday."

On if he looked into any potential lineup changes during the bye week:

"Well, I think we looked at all our positions. Mainly we looked at the self-scout of what we've done in all situations. Key football situations, red zone and third down by personnel groups, all that stuff, then how we can make our team better – if it is a substitution change or not. Maybe moving people around defensively. Offensively, same thing getting other people involved more, fixing the running game. But we're always looking at that, trying to get the best players on matchups that we can exploit."

On if the team uses people saying this game will be a 'romp' for the Patriots as motivation:

"You know, on paper, it looks like it, you know, but that's motivation for us, obviously. Really anytime you have a chance to play a football game on Sunday in Foxborough, you've got to be ready to play, mentally and physically obviously. Their record with Tom Brady starting at Foxborough is 76-15 or something outrageous like that. We know what's at stake. We know how good they are, how well-coached they are, how well-prepared they are. We just have to be as prepared as they are and play harder and make some things happen, protect the football. They put on their pants just like we do. We're going to go out there and compete our butts off and play."

On what he saw during the self-scouting period:

"You're always going to see things that you don't like. You're never going to be satisfied as a coach, even when you're undefeated, that'll be the case hopefully someday. We're always looking to improve our football team, making sure that we don't have any of the tendencies out there that teams can really exploit on us. We are the ones that want to do the exploiting, not get exploited. The last couple weeks we've been exploited, our defense a little bit. Offensively, in the running game we haven't been very successful obviously. Really we're just looking at things that we can do to put our players in better positions to succeed."

On if coaches can get in a rut trying to go to concepts they use frequently and if that is reason to change:

"Yeah, a little bit of both, but sometimes that can work against you. Sometimes you're looking to change so much that you don't do what you're good at. You look at some of the very successful defenses in the NFL, they don't do a whole lot – they do what they do good. I think it's a matter of doing what we do better, playing a little bit harder maybe and then also maybe changing up just a little bit. For the most part, we just want to execute better, get our guys in the best position possible to succeed and then it's up to them ultimately."

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.