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Quotes: Jay Gruden (11.09.15)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

*Opening statement:*

"Injuries, in-game, we just had normal bumps and bruises. Everybody who had one really returned, other than [Dashon] Goldson — Dashon Goldson. He had a hamstring. We'll see Wednesday how he's doing. Kory [Lichtensteiger] is still being evaluated. D-Hall is going to progress and we'll see on Wednesday what he can do. Then, Terrance Knighton, if his symptoms allow, he could be back Wednesday."

On if watching the film today changed his perspective about the offense's performance on Sunday:

"Nothing really changed. We had some opportunities we didn't convert on. Defense did a good job. New England did a good job. They had a good plan, but there were some plays there for making; we just didn't make them. It was a combination of a lot of things — the running game, some blocking issues, some back issues — same as we've been talking about for the last four weeks. Passing game, Kirk [Cousins] did some good things, but there are some plays I'm sure he wished he had back and I'm sure the receivers wished they had back. It's a combination of everybody as far as the offense's struggles."

On if the message he gave to the players last night was that everything is still in their grasp:

"Well, clearly, we're disappointed with the outcome of the game but I think it's important that we move onto New Orleans. And where we are in the division, we're 3-5, obviously, after the first half of the season. Things are in our grasp, but we have to play better. If we don't play better, then nothing is in our grasp. We've got to make sure that we turn up the heat a little bit, challenge these guys, try to get more out of them as coaches. Hopefully we play better because we are right in the thick of things as far as the division is concerned."

On how he can coach players about dropped passes:

"I don't know. I just chalk it up as — I don't know. This is very uncharacteristic of the guys that dropped them. You know, Matt Jones had a drop, that can happen from time to time for the running back out of the backfield, can't see over the linemen sometimes. But for the other guys, it doesn't really happen very often. We're going to keep throwing it and they're going to keep catching it, just hopefully we got them all out of our system yesterday."

On if he feels the team will be able to be physical down the stretch of a 16-game season:

"I think they are. You know, we do have to just focus our sights on New Orleans, obviously, but I feel like from a mental standpoint, I feel like these guys are in the right place. We understand we didn't play very well yesterday, but I don't feel like we're backing down. I feel like we're playing tough at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Our offensive line played very well in the passing game — protected again — against a pretty good pass rushing team. Defensive line had some pressure, did some decent things. We're going to stand up. We're going to compete. That's what we are going to do, for sure, for 16 weeks."

On if the issues in the running game are the result of doing the same thing:

"We're not doing the same thing, and maybe that's the problem – maybe we should do the same thing over and over again and we'll get better at the same thing. There might be some merit to that. But, like I've said, when you say 'the same thing,' it's not the same thing. It's somebody different all the time. It might be the center, it might be the left guard, might be the right guard, might be the tight end. [Derek] Carrier missed on one. Center missed on one. Morgan Moses missed on one. The back missed a cut or two. We're, quite frankly, at running back, we've got to do a better job of if the hole is not there, we've got to make one. We've got to run through some tackles from time to time. It's a combination of a lot of things. Four weeks in a row now, we're not very good. We haven't been very good and we have to improve. We have to try to improve, somehow, some way."

On if other defenses are playing the run differently in the last four weeks:

"No, you have to understand a little bit, too, we have a center that just started playing. We have a right guard that's a rookie and a right tackle who just started playing, too. We have some young people. We have a left guard that just started playing. This is his second year, but really his first year playing at left guard. We have a rookie running back. We have a tight end that just got here five or six weeks ago and Jordan Reed who is more of a pass-catching tight end. We aren't exactly, you know, one cohesive unit, a finished product yet. We're working towards that. We're going to get to that, but we still have some things we're going to work out from a youth standpoint, working together, playing together and they will work on that. [Offensive Line] Coach [Bill] Callahan is working diligently with these guys. These guys are working hard. We're just not quite a finished product yet. I don't anticipate us being a finished product for a little while but we're going to keep grinding it and good things will happen."

On if there are opportunities for QB Kirk Cousins to be more aggressive:

"Yeah, there could be. There could be. Sometimes, Kirk overthinks some things, there's no question. He's always going to work on his decision making. You have to at the quarterback position. Every week, every game, every play, your decision making is what makes the play. He cannot take that for granted or take that lightly. When the game is over, when the play is over, we'll correct him and work on his decision making, help him along the way, but ultimately, he's got the ball in his hands. He's the one that has to make those final decisions. He's got to be decisive and live with the decisions that he makes. Hopefully, they're the right ones. He's doing a better job. He's also not quite there yet, either. He's got a long way to go, obviously, as we all do — working together to progress."

On at what point he decides to focus on the passing game when facing a large deficit:

"We had the ball one play in the first quarter and threw an interception, it was dropped and intercepted. I think we only had five or six plays in the first quarter, so it wasn't like our game plan could get off and running. You never want to abort the run quickly because we feel like when we are good, our run game is good, but it also opens up our play-action passing game which we haven't been able to tap into being down 17-0 this week and 24-0 two weeks before against Tampa. The bulk of our offense and our big plays is not allowed because we're trailing too early. So we need to do a better job coming out of the gate both offensively and defensively to keep the game close, which helps us with the running game, helps us with our play-actions where our chunk plays can come in."

On the urgency of the game against New Orleans this week:

"They're all urgent right now. There's no question about it. This is a big game for us. It's a home game. We always stress our home games, but we have to come out faster. We're playing another future Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees, an excellent coach – Sean Payton. It's going to be a great challenge for these guys and we have to come out faster. We can't keep digging ourselves into 17-0 holes and expect to have a successful season or games. So, we've got to make sure we do a better job of coming out of the tunnel and strapping up, being ready to play quicker, play faster and start faster so we can implement our game plan and we can play with a lead and play to our strengths."

On if LB Will Compton's playing time was a coaches' decision:

"It was a coaches' decision pretty much and Perry [Riley, Jr.] is still working through that calf [injury]. I think he's feeling better, but Compton's done well in his time playing too. I think they both deserve to play. They're both good linebackers and Compton played very well yesterday."

On WR DeSean Jackson's comments and performance:

"Well, he's not the one calling the plays and he's not the one throwing the ball to himself, so he is correct with his comment [laughter]. We respect DeSean a lot and what he brings to this football team, but the problem is DeSean wasn't here in OTAs and he missed a lot of training camp and he missed the first eight games. So to have cohesiveness with the quarterback coming right out of the shoot would probably be a little bit wishful thinking. You know, we do have high expectations for DeSean when he's rolling, and we'll get him rolling again. Yesterday wasn't his day, it wasn't our day as an offense, but hopefully next week we'll see more balls flying his way and he can go get 'em."

On if he has given thought to starting Compton this Sunday:

"You know, there's thought to everything. We're going to look at the film. We're going to evaluate all of the tape with our defensive staff here at 4:00 and go from there. We like Perry [Riley, Jr.] a lot. We like Will a lot. I think they're both good linebackers. Obviously, Keenan [Robinson] has done some good things, had a big interception. The three of those guys, I think, complement each other very well. And Mason Foster, I think, has some merit, too, to playing."

On if he saw what he wanted to see in the run game in the final drive of the first half:

"Yeah, we did. We had some nice hits in there. I think the longest run of the day though was 10 yards. Jones had a 10-yard run. He had some downhill runs, was able to carry some people and get four or five yards. That's the most important thing is getting the four or five, six, seven-yarders instead of the ones and twos. I think we had 14 carries for 29 yards but we had the one 10- yarder. The success of the running game, it doesn't have to be 25 carries for 250 yards, man. I just need 25 carries for 100. I'd like to get four yards a carry, four yards a pop if we can, four-and-a-half and then pop one every now and then. But for us to stick with it trailing like we were the last couple weeks, trailing like we were against the Giants, against the Jets there late in the third quarter, fourth quarter, it's very difficult."

On if he is concerned nose tackle Terrance Knighton's headaches could be a long-term issue:

"I don't know. He's had a history of them, a little bit of a history of them. But it is a concern when you're talking about migraine headaches. I don't know the answer to that. I think we're hoping that we get them under control and he is able to play again. That's something that I don't think anybody can predict."

On if the ability to audible and venture away from the script is a process a young quarterback like Cousins has to go through:

"Yeah, no question. He's got to understand that he is the guy with the ball. He's the ultimate decision maker. Not me on the sideline, not Sean [McVay]. If I need a timeout, I'll call it, but if he sees something he doesn't like, he can call it too. We do like to save our timeouts, especially in the second half, we don't like to waste them. We like to think we have the answers in a lot of our pass plays. He has that ability and that's something he's going to grow through. He had a couple good audibles in the game yesterday, a couple audibles that he could have done better. He's coming along and he's continuing to make progress as far as that decision – leadership-type role that he needs to have to be like the others."

On S Jeron Johnson:

"He's a consistent performer. He's a smart kid and a good tackler. We thought he deserved the right to play and he played pretty well for the time that he did play."

On the run defense:

"The run defense, very similar to the run offense. It's a group effort, number one. As a group, we haven't been very good. You can't put it all on the defensive line although they want to take all of the blame. Can't put it on the linebackers, they want the blame. The good thing is they all feel accountable for it. They're all going to work toward it. Sometimes it's going to get pushed to the safety's gap or the corner's gap and he's got to make a tackle and they don't make the tackle. It's a team effort defensively. From a schematics standpoint, I feel like we're in the right places, we've just got to finish some plays. We've just got to hustle to the ball and wrap up. That's a couple weeks in a row, three or four weeks in a row. We'll keep working. We've had some banged up people in key spots but that's no excuse. We just have to continue to work and run to the ball, wrap up and gang tackle."

On how long it takes for a quarterback to develop enough familiarity to change plays at the line of scrimmage:

"He [Cousins] is doing that, some of it. We have options for him, formations where he can call a play at the line of scrimmage, no question about it, if he sees a look. That happened five or six times – I don't know – in the game yesterday. There will be more of that for him. It's a matter of what the defense is giving you, too. There hasn't been a lot of reason… New England didn't give us a lot of reason to audible out of a lot of plays or bad looks. They kind of played how we thought they were going to play they just played it very well."

On RB Matt Jones' fumble:

"Randy Jordan, the running back coach, says if a back touches it, it's his – it's his responsibility, it's on him. That was a bang-bang play. He got the ball and I think it was [Alan] Branch made a nice play. Got his arm in there right simultaneously. You'd like to see him hang on to that, no question about it, but it was a heck of a play by Branch. It was poorly blocked."

On the kickoff returns:

"I think we brought two out. One, Chris Thompson probably should have taken a knee. The other one I think was a wobbler that Andre dropped, and that's why he was backed up. We did anticipate [Stephen] Gostkowski kicking the majority of them out of the end zone. That's part of the reason we had [Rashad] Ross down and we needed Andre [Roberts] up just because it was DeSean's first game back and I wanted to make sure he could finish the game. I needed the depth at wide receiver and Andre can play multiple spots. That's the only reason. Chris probably should have taken a knee. Andre just dropped his."

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