Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Quotes: Jay Gruden (7.25.14)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On challenging the players and if results were achieved:

"Yeah, I mean, we had to. It wasn't a very good practice offensively, in a lot of respects. The weather had something to do with it – dropped balls – and I just thought the tempo wasn't as clean and sharp as I would like it and had to challenge them. So they responded very well today."

* *

On his relationship with his brother, Jon, and Jon claiming to be a better athlete:

"I'm a better athlete, number one. Let's get that clear. Jon, obviously, was three-and-a-half years older than me. I learned a lot from Jon, so being able to be on a staff – everything I've learned in pro football is from him basically. The core that I know about pro football is from Jon. Jon's got a lot of B.S. to him. We all know that, sitting in here, to be quite honest, so what he says you can't really believe. But obviously we have a great relationship – family relationship – and support one another greatly."

On what type of offense he's trying to run:

"Well, we're still feeling that out, you know? We have a lot of good plays obviously involved and we want to be able to run the ball with Alfred [Morris], no question about it. He's a proven hot commodity and we're a good running football team. We add DeSean Jackson, Jordan Reed is coming back from his injury, and obviously Andre Roberts and Pierre Garçon are here and Robert [Griffin III], so we feel like our passing game can be equally involved. So I think balance is the key to pro football nowadays. Everybody wants to say they're going to run the ball for 250 yards a game, but some defenses are very hard to run against and you might get behind so you've got to have a good balance about you – some quick game passes, some bootlegs and obviously the running game is going to be important so I think balance, diversity is a key for this offense."

On when the installation of the playbook will be finalized:

"We'll probably get the bulk of our playbook in after about the fifth or sixth day here and then we'll continue to tweak it – add some plays, maybe some formations off of the same plays that we're running that we're having success with. You want to make certain plays look the same that are different and that's kind of the way we built our offense."

On if he prefers a feature back or running backs by rotation:

"Alfred [Morris] has proven that he can handle the workload and he's our guy right now. Obviously, different situations are going to call for a different type of back, so I imagine we're going to play two, maybe three backs throughout the season."

On the reason he starts practice sessions with special teams:

"A lot of teams have special teams in practice. It just kind of disrupts the flow. Coach [Ben] Kotwica wanted to get the special teams done first – a big 15-minute period done first where they are focused in on it, they're fresh, everybody's involved in it and it's worked out very well so far. Once we get that period out, we come back, we get into individual, we get into our teamwork and then we have another special teams session in the middle of practice. It's kind of like a halftime. We have three good team sessions, then we have a special team and a walkthrough, and then we have three more good team sessions and we finish sometimes with a field goal or some other aspect of special teams. So it's worked out very well and we've gotten a lot out of the special teams session early."

* *

On having his father, Jim, at training camp:

"It was good to get my dad on a plane. This was the first time he's been on a plane in a long time. He traveled a lot as a scout and a coach over the years and he loves to play golf, so to get him on a plane and off the golf course is a treat. But he's obviously wanted to come up here. It was just a matter of getting him here. Very supportive, no doubt. When I played college football, he was a scout and he never missed one game. So, obviously, there's a lot of family – we're very close obviously and to get him up here is special."

On the number of plays he installs each day:

"We put in probably 50 or 60 last night and we'll probably put in 35 or 40 tonight and then it will probably go down to 20 the next night and 15 and then the special situations will dictate that. Like, we'll put in red zone one night, we'll put in goal line short yardage another night. So different situations – two minute, no huddle – all that will start to come in eventually, but we're putting in the core of our offense here the first three days. By the time the end of the week comes up, Sunday night, hopefully we'll have most of it in."

* *

On the improvement of safeties Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas:

"They're doing well, especially Phillip Thomas. Rambo, you know, he's trying to build on what he did last year. He made his mistakes obviously as a young kid, but they're competing back there. We'll see a lot of that growth start to play itself out once we get in pads and once we get to the preseason games. It's hard to tell right now. But they're all grinding. They're all working hard. You watch practice film today, you can see the defense really flying to the football, pursuing angles are excellent. So all those guys are competing at a high level right now and it's going to be a tough decision there at the safety spot, no question."

* *

On how much wide receiver Andre Roberts' role on offense will determine if he can return kicks:

"That's a good question. He's right now taking the first snaps at punt and kickoff returner, that's not etched in stone right now. We still have a lot of work to do before that becomes finalized. He's proven out there that he can play every position on offense at the receiver spot – X, Z and Zebra man. He's doing a great job. We had every intent of him being the No. 2 receiver – DeSean [Jackson] fell in our lap – so now he is going to play inside, which speaks to his versatility. We though he could be a good Z, now he's going to be a good Zebra and a Z and an X to spell DeSean and Pierre [Garçon] when they get tired. I think the more he plays on offense, I don't think that will really hurt his chances of returning kicks unless something happens to Pierre or DeSean where he's the No. 2 guy or the No. 1 guy. That might change but right now I don't think that will have any effect."

On tackle Trent Williams wanting to become even more of a leader and if Williams can do it:

"I don't think there is anything Trent can't do. Trent's a special player. He's one of the guys that when you watch practice film, he is the first guy I usually watch. He's fun to watch. He's got great feet. He's athletic. He's strong. He's taken over the offensive line. He is a leader. People all look up to him. What he does in the locker room is what he does, I don't know, but if he wants to take that role I'm sure the players will welcome it with open arms. As far as anybody else taking over, we talked about DeAngelo Hall yesterday. When those players get behind closed doors, who the leaders are sometimes you don't know as a coach.  You have a pretty good idea once you get to know them a little bit more throughout the regular season. You see the players that step up. We will see how that plays itself out, but the big thing is that we want all our guys to come in here, practice hard and lead by example, number one. Leadership will take care of itself once we go on."

On the number of playmakers the offense has:

"You want to get people involved. That's what the beauty of this offense hopefully is – being able to spread the ball around. We are able to get the running game involved, we are able to get Andre Roberts, DeSean, and Pierre their touches and Robert [Griffin III] whatever he need to do. Darrel Young, Jordan Reed, even [Logan] Paulsen, we've got to try to get everybody involved. When we call a play, we don't know who the ball is going to. We don't call a play and say, 'Throw it to this guy no matter what,' unless it's a special circumstance. It's up to the quarterback to make the reads. Some days DeSean will have 10 catches for 200 yards. Maybe he will have two catches for eight yards. We don't know how it's going to play out, how the defenses are going to cover us, but the coverage should dictate where the ball goes and hopefully with the weapons that we have, a certain guy can make a defense play depending on how they are playing us"

On using the running backs and tight ends in the passing game:

"It's very important to utilize that. If they want to double team Pierre and DeSean, then you need a back that can create a good matchup on the linebacker, a tight end and the middle. We have Jordan Reed, we have Paulsen, but we need another back to emerge as that third down-type back, pass catching-type back. Silas Redd has done some good things. Chris Thompson looks good out here. We are hoping [Lache] Seastrunk can get better and better every day. We've got guys that are out here competing for that spot and hopefully it'll play out."  

On if he is trying to get a good look at running back Chris Thompson:

"Yes, very much so. He's got the speed. He's got the hands. He's got the quickness. He's got everything you're looking for. We've just got to make sure he stays healthy. He's had a little bit of the injury bug the last couple of years, and – knock on wood – he's been healthy and he's looked good. So he's definitely going to compete for that spot."

* *

On how much he is trying to test the third stringers:

"You've got to test them, see if they're any good. You have got to put them in with the ones, you have got to put them in with the twos. You have got to mix and match, mix and mingle these guys. You can't just put them in threes against threes all the time because then you don't know how good they really are. So we try to get everybody reps and get a good look at everybody. It's only Day 2 coming up so that's going to continually change over the course of this camp. So we need to get a look at everybody. We have some tight races right now for this 53-man roster and in order to make the correct decisions, you have got to see people in different situations and that'll be the key moving forward."

On being better in certain down and distance situations:

"Moving forward, obviously the key down is first down. You want to try to make positive plays on first down. When you get in second-and-long and third-and-long in this league, it's going to be very difficult. I've learned that the hard way with the Cincinnati Bengals. First down is always the key – being diverse. You're so one-dimensional some times. Everybody wants to pound the rock, pound the rock. You get in second-and-nine, sometimes it becomes harder and harder. First down is a key down obviously, keep people off-balance and maintain positive plays on first down to get yourself where your whole playbook is open on second down. So on second-and-medium you can take a shot on second-and-medium, you can run the ball on second-and-medium. You can do everything you want, run a bootleg, if you want on second-and-medium. Then worst-case scenario you'd be in third-and-medium, which is a heck of a lot easier to make than third-and-long. As long as you're keeping the distance to third-down-and-medium or less, you have a chance to convert those a lot greater than you do third-down-and-long. Success rate on third-and-long is miserable."

On how he can be creative with Andre Robert and DeSean Jackson:

"Well, [Offensive Coordinator] Sean [McVay] is working on that. He's working hard, but there's a lot of things you can do. We're trying to do a lot of things right now. We're just starting the process right now, figuring out what these players are good at, what they like – who likes to line up inside, outside, where – and get a good comfort zone for these players running these routes from different locations. Some guys don't like to be inside, so we'll figure out who those guys are and what they're good at and try to feature them the best way we can."

On the importance of flexibility in this offense:

"It's important in every offense, in my opinion, to be able to be flexible, to be able to line up in two or three different positions  and different spots where a defense can't just [say], 'OK, he's just always on the right side, we can roll this way every time.' You might want to put him in the slot or whatever you want, put him in the backfield from time to time. So flexibility is important and with flexibility comes more responsibility for the player to study a little bit harder and Robert to learn the formations and spit them out. So we're in the baby steps process right now. We're just moving forward. We're going to always try to always create an edge some certain way based on personnel, based on formation if we can. Obviously we'd love to line up in one formation and run the ball down people's throats, but we've got to be realistic and might have to change it up from time to time."

On not featuring a fullback often in Cincinnati and his thoughts on fullback Darrel Young:

"I didn't have Darrel Young in Cincinnati – if I had him, I would have used him. So he's a very good fullback. He's very versatile, he can run, he can catch, so we're excited about having him. The personnel groupings will vary. We'll have a fullback, two tight ends. We'll have a fullback, one tight end. We'll have two tight ends, no fullback. So the personnel will vary but DY will be a major part of this offense."

On the short to intermediate passing game: "A lot of times you'll have a shallow cross-type route, but there are routes behind it. Sometimes if the defense takes those deeper routes away, then you need to find the shallow and let the receiver get the yards for you. And that's part of the progressions as a quarterback – of not forcing the ball down the field, of sometimes taking the shorter route, getting the ball out of your hands, making positive plays. Instead of waiting for a big play to develop and get the pressure and take a sack, check it down to your back or find your tight end on a shallow cross. I think he made some good reads today and worked through his progressions, got the ball out of his hands on time and positive plays are good plays. Negative plays we don't want. So we're just trying to get the ball out of his hands and keep drives alive and moving."

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.