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Quotes: Jay Gruden (11.24.14)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

* The following is a transcript of Gruden's conference call with local reporters this afternoon.*

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On the injury report:

"Adam Hayward, the tibial plateau fracture, he's going to have surgery. He will be out for the year. Tracy Porter, AC joint separation, we'll have to take a look at and see how he's doing, but that could be lengthy time, also. E.J. Biggers, concussion, going through the concussion protocol. Jordan Reed, still with the hamstring strain, he'll be day-to-day. Chris Baker, he'll be day-to-day with his SC joint strain. And Silas Redd has a rib contusion and sprain, he should improve during the week. He'll be day-to-day. Trent Williams, hopefully he'll get better and be able to practice slowly but surely, but we'll get a good look at him on Wednesday. And then everybody else – Ryan Clark had the stinger, no issues. [Greg] Ducre had a hip contusion, you know we'll take a look at him. And that's it."

On if Robert Griffin III is the quarterback moving forward and if there is any consideration to making a change at the position:

"Well, we have to look at our offense in general – what the reason is for our lack of production the last two games. You know, we scored 20 points in the last eight quarters, been poor on third down, and we can't attribute it all to Robert. He is the quarterback, though, so we have to look at every avenue and figure out where we can improve… We're still in the process of really evaluating the tape the last couple of weeks with all our players, and we'll make a decision here shortly. But we have every intent that Robert will be the starter this week, yes."

On what the team is trying to accomplish the rest of the season:

"Well, we're just trying to continue to compete and get some wins. You know, we've just got to figure out – try to get some kind of run together so we have something positive going into next year, obviously. We feel good about our effort, we feel good about these guys' work ethic and all these things – we've just got to figure out a way to get that to translate into victories and create good habits for these guys and find out what players are mentally tough, what players are physically tough, what players we can depend on this year, and in future years, which is very, very important. Just moving forward, I think we have got a lot of tough-minded guys in here. [It] showed yesterday in the game with San Francisco – playing out of position, battling against the 49ers. But we've just got to figure out a way to get it to translate to wins, and find the right people to do that."

On how Griffin III gives the team the best chance to win:

"We just got back here at 4 a.m. … We got back at like 4 a.m., we're still in the process of evaluating this tape, like I said, in the last couple of games. We're evaluating all of our guys right now, and our starting lineup is not etched in stone right now for Sunday's game at Indianapolis. We're going to evaluate everybody today and tomorrow, and have a plan moving forward, starting Wednesday."

On if there's a chance after the evaluation period that the Redskins would make a change at quarterback:

"There's a chance at a lot of positions, yes. It's Monday afternoon at 3 o'clock, and right now, we have every intent for Robert [to be the starter], but we'll look at the tape and make our evaluations here shortly."

On having the defense, special teams and running game all perform well:

"It helps, it helps and hopefully we get Trent [Williams] back too and some of our guys back. But special teams did a great job. Tress Way is an outstanding punter and really flipped the field for us a couple times and backed them up and made it tough for the San Francisco offense to go the full length of the field and our defense took full advantage of the field position. So it was a great job by our punting unit. We still had a couple penalties which we've got to eliminate, but overall, Kai Forbath knocked down a couple field goals – special teams very pleased with. Defensively, like I said, they played a solid game. A lot of guys went out, a lot of guys were playing positions they don't normally play. They did a great job other than the last drive. They had fourth down and one and a half at the 35-yard line and a couple guys got knocked out of their gap and we didn't play the fourth and two play very good and they got the first down. Then of course they got the big completion and the penalty and then the other completion and the run up the middle, we got out of a gap. Against Minnesota, we played pretty good defense up until the last couple drives and against San Francisco we played really good defense up until the last drive, but I am pleased with the effort. There are a lot of things that you can really be excited about. Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley both played outstanding. We've still got to get a little bit more pressure from our four-man rush. We've still got to continue to work on those guys, get some more pressure from our four-man rush and keep working with the secondary. But the running game was pretty good. Alfred Morris had over 100 yards which is a tough, tough duty against the San Francisco 49ers, so we are definitely pleased in that regard. Just from a passing game standpoint, we have some issues. We just have to hone in on them and really get with our people here – our coordinators and our line coaches and come up with a plan that is conducive to winning with the quarterback that we feel good about moving forward, but we feel like we have the weapons. Obviously Jordan Reed not playing hurt a little bit, but we still – to have 100 yards or 80 yards passing is unheard of this day and age with the receivers that we have and we have to figure out something."

On running back Alfred Morris saying he has figured out something mentally and if he agrees:

"Yeah, I think so. I don't know what he did, whatever clicked on in his mind, I think something did. I don't know if it's the confidence of really pressing the hole, pressing the line of scrimmage and being decisive with his reads and his cuts. You can see that he's really doing a good job of pressing it and then when he makes a decision to cut it or to bounce it, he is very confident with it and he runs through tackles, which is the Alfred that we really need and love. So we are excited about the running game obviously. You know, when you run the ball, run the ball, eventually you're going to be at third down and five, third down and six sometimes, and that's where we are having our major downfall. We are not converting third down and mediums, third down and long. So that is something we really have got to improve on. But from Alfred's standpoint, ball security like I said last night has been excellent and his decisiveness in the running game has been great and Darrel Young leading for him, tight ends doing a good job and all the linemen did really did a great job in the running game, just the passing game we are very average at a lot of spots."

On how tackle Trent Williams is progressing and on the play of tackle Morgan Moses:

"Trent, first of all, we'll see how he is. He is coming to treatment, was here today. He will be in tomorrow and Wednesday and we will see how he is doing Wednesday. Hopefully we will get him on a limited basis on Wednesday and see how far he can go. So we have high hopes that Trent will be back but if not, you know, we threw Morgan Moses to the wolves, man. It was the San Francisco 49ers and Aldon Smith, one of the better pass rushers. We tried to help him every now and then with a chipper and he did an admirable job for his first time out. Did good in the running game, gave up a sack there at the end, crunch time there, Justin Smith got him, Aldon got him one time, but you know it's tough duty. We knew going in it was going to be a tough day for any left tackle against that group, especially when late in the game you have to get chunks and chunks of yards, you have to take five-step drops out of the gun and three-step drops out of the gun, unfortunately. But we expect better from him, but overall for his first performance, you know, I'm not going to say I was discouraged. I am not going to say it was an A-plus performance, but I think you can see that he is going to be a left tackle/right tackle in this NFL for quite an amount of time – for a long time – because of his big, long body and he will get better."

On if he considered moving Tyler Polumbus to left tackle:

"No, Tyler, he is a right tackle. So no. Like I said, hopefully we get Trent back, but if not, I think Morgan will be fine over there."

On if he will name a new special teams captain following Adam Hayward's injury:

"Yeah I'll talk to Coach [Ben] Kotwica about that – we will get that squared away. Man, it's a tough duty for captains around here. I don't know if anybody wants that title right now [the way] they're going. They're dropping."

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On keeping the wide receivers happy:

"You get paid to play wide receiver. You get paid to catch balls and they're not catching the balls they're accustomed to catching. We've just got to find out ways to get them the ball. You only have one ball. You hand the ball off to Alfred and throw some quick gains. The backs are involved, the tight ends are involved and over the course of the game, sometimes you don't get as many as you would like. There's no reason for the way we played. Hats off to San Fran, they played a great game defensively, obviously, with their pass rush and mix of coverages. They did a great job, first of all, but we've got to do something to get these guys ready, but I think their spirits, they're not down and out. They're a little frustrated, but they are coming to work every day and they're going to push the envelope and try to get us better."

On if the team should have tried running the ball on the second-to-last drive:

"Yeah, probably, I should've snuck in a draw or something like that. We were in kind of a hurry-up mode. We had a long way to go. If you run the ball one time, then you've got to jump into hurry-up offense and we only had a little bit over two minutes to go, I think… So, if you run the ball, you jump into no-huddle, and then you're looking at only maybe getting one or two plays off before the two-minute drill. I was hoping to get three plays off, get a couple completions, get three or four plays off before the two-minute drill, but obviously it didn't work out. We went three and then question then was to go for it and had fourth-and-13 or punt it. I chose to punt it and try to flip the field position, get a stop and get the ball back and unfortunately we got a penalty on the punt return, backed us up and we were in the same spot. Hindsight, I probably could've popped in a draw there or something like that, but I thought we had some easy completions there we could get to get the drive started, but nothing was easy yesterday."

On balancing Griffin III's development with the needs of the offense:

"My whole intent is to play the best people to help us win, period. Obviously Robert the last couple games has struggled a little bit, as has the whole offense. We've struggled – play callers, offense – we just haven't done a good job. So, it's my job to make sure that I'm playing the right people. Everybody's got to be challenged a little bit and if we think that somebody else is better suited to help us get a victory against Indianapolis, we'll make that decision when the time is right, but very important for us to put the best people on the field no matter what and we're going to work very hard to do that. But right now, today at 3:15, we feel like Robert's that guy right now."

On if age makes a difference in the long-term conversation at quarterback:

"No, I think we're just talking about, I mean it could, I guess. I don't know. What we have is what we have. We have a 24-year-old kid who has not had a lot of these concepts thrown at him. You think we have it all sorted it out, but he hasn't seen these concepts against different coverages all the time and he's still in a growing process. He really is. He wasn't perfect in the game. There's some things he could've done a lot better, but there's some things our left tackle could've done better, our center, our right guard, our wide receivers. Everybody has a little bit of hand in the mess in the passing game yesterday, not just the quarterback. Unfortunately, he gets the blunt of the criticism. We've just got to figure out ways to make him comfortable and get this offense going, whoever the quarterback is. We'll get that figured out, but I don't think age really has anything to do with it. We're trying to find the best guy at that position to help us win next week, the week after and moving forward."

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On how the 49ers defended the downfield threats:

"They mixed it up quite a bit. They did a lot of, they clouded DeSean [Jackson] quite a bit. They had a safety over the top of DeSean which is part of the reason we ran the ball pretty well. Their style of play is try to get more of an eight-man front from time to time and try to stop the run, but they chose to keep a safety back over the top of DeSean which is why Alfred had some running lanes some pretty good running lanes in there. Even though DeSean only had two catches, he really helped open up the running game also because he was forcing a safety [to] play over the top of him. That's a good thing. But those shot plays will come. We're going to keep calling them. We called about four or five of them in the game and unfortunately we didn't get them thrown. We had some opportunities, we just didn't convert on any of them and those are the ones we've got to hit for this offense to really excel."

On the way the players responded to criticism last week:

"I don't know how much of a distraction last week was. It was mainly about Robert and, like I said, we're trying to make this more about the team and these guys have been pretty resilient and they're kind of used to it by now. There have been so many articles written about him and all this stuff that these guys just come out and play. They bring their lunch pails to work every day. They work in meetings, they work in practice and they prepare like pros and that's what we're trying to get these guys used to – how to prepare, how to work, how to compete. And like I said, if they're consistent with their approach and they continue to compete, these losses will turn into wins sooner than later. So that's what we're going to continue to preach, we're going to find out the best players to help us to win no matter what the position is and keep coaching, keep being positive and upbeat and keep coaching and correcting and eventually good things are going to happen. We have to have faith in that."

On DeSean Jackson returning punts:

"The situation just presented itself. It was late in the game, we had a chance for a big return so we decided to put DeSean back there. It was nothing against Andre [Roberts], just we've seen DeSean take his one or two punt returns a year and make big things happen. DeSean doesn't want to be the full-time punt returner, but if the situation presents itself where we need a big play or have a chance at a big play, we'll throw him back there from time to time and yesterday it just presented itself and we put him back there. But we have faith in Andre to break them, too, but Desean is just a special guy when it comes to making big plays and we thought we'd try to get his hands on the ball as a punt returner because we couldn't get it to him as a receiver."

On winning his first replay challenge:

"[Laughter] Yeah, that's very exciting, we won a challenge. Good things are happening, man. We're close, we're getting closer. We just have got to keep grinding, but, shoot, it was good to win my first challenge. I asked the referees before the game, I said, 'Have mercy, man, I'm 0-for-8 [0-for-6] or whatever the heck I am, so I think they might have cut me some slack."

On if he hopes to have a starting quarterback established prior to Wednesday's practice:

"We're going to really do some work here this afternoon and tomorrow. And we have to meet with Robert and come up with a plan for Wednesday and hopefully by Wednesday afternoon we'll have a great idea of a good plan for the quarterback position. I'm still in the process of evaluating these guys. I want to talk to the quarterbacks. We haven't had a chance to meet with them yet, so we want find out what they were thinking about on certain plays and find out his injury status, make sure everything is good, but he seems healthy and ready to go. Like I said, we just have a lot of work to do at every position on offense and coaching these guys up."

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On reports of wide receiver Santana Moss serving as an emergency cornerback and if he regrets the decision to deactivate cornerback David Amerson:

"Santana actually played some special teams, which was great to see. He stepped in there and did some things. [I] love Santana, man. He's a team player. If we played him at corner, he probably would have done just fine, but, no, I don't think we were prepping him up unless a couple other guys went down. But if anyone could do it, Santana could do it. I don't have any regrets. We have rules that have to be adhered by, and if you don't adhere by them, we have to discipline accordingly. That's a done deal right now, we're all moved past it and we expect David to be the starter next week and moving forward and hopefully I don't think it'll ever happen again with David. He's a good kid and just made a mistake."

On if he is OK with quarterbacks working with outside coaches like Terry Shea:

"I know Terry is a good quarterback coach, but as far as system is concerned, he doesn't know what we're doing as far as footwork and fundamentals and all that stuff for each given concept of each play, you know what I mean? As far as balance and his lead foot, his arm – where he puts the ball, where he holds the ball, all that stuff that he can work with in the offseason – that's great if he wants a quarterback coach to work with him. I have no problem with him doing  that. But during the season, we have enough coaches in house that can handle his fundamentals and his footwork and his decision making. Sometimes when you have too many voices in your head, you think about too much. Quite frankly, we need to get him to think about less and just play, have some fun playing and be a little more decisive with his reads and his progressions and getting the ball out of his hand and not taking some of these sacks. It's just part of the process. Sometimes you think too much and it makes you less decisive. We've just got to get him to be more comfortable and more decisive and good things will happen."

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On the rotation along the defensive line:

"[Barry] Cofield played nose, Bowen played some end. We might have mixed up a little bit. [Kedric] Golston played some nose and some end. We have a good rotation there, but for the most part, Cofield was our nose guard yesterday."

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