News | Washington Commanders -

Quotes: Jay Gruden 7-27-2018

On LB Zach Brown:

"Zach Brown just tweaked his quad a little bit yesterday. He's going to do a little bit more today."

On if the team atmosphere is different from previous years:

"We've only been here a day (laughter). We're just trying to get our stuff installed and watch these guys play. We got a lot of new guys here we're trying to take a look at, a lot of rookies trying to get them acclimated to how we get things done here. This is the first day of training camp. I do sense, you know, a bit of a confidence level in these guys and feel good about where they are physically and mentally, but haven't played it down yet so we will wait and see."

On the safeties and if their particular skill-set complements the position group:

"No doubt, I think Montae's [Nicholson] injury hurt a little more than people anticipated. He's such an all-around great athlete, great speed and he does complement DJ [Swearinger Sr.] quite well. Deshazor [Everett] does a good job when he comes in there. He can get in the box; he can play different spots also. [Troy] Apke shown some flashes of being really fast and good. [Kenny] Ladler has done some good things. The safety position we feel good about but from a starting point, you're looking at DJ, Montae, they do complement each other very well. DJ is very multi-talented. Also he can do different things. He can cover tight-ends, he can cover backs, he can play in the post also. Those two guys are good. We just have to continue with the communication process. Montae was a rookie last year, he missed a lot of time. DJ was new to the defense so, hopefully this year it all comes together for them."

On analyzing a player's personality before making a pick in the Draft:

"We try to make sure that their personality fits into what we want in a football player, it's very important you know, and I think the type of character fit is important to a football team. If you go to the University of Alabama odds are you are going to buy into playing hard nose football and that's a part of our draw too looking at Alabama guys look at Ryan Anderson and Jonathan [Allen] and obviously Daron [Payne] hard-nose football players that love football. So, not to mention that Alabama usually gets the cream of the crop of the high school kids so they are obviously very talented but Jonathan is starting to come out of his shell a little bit and I'm sure Daron will do the same thing but Ryan [Anderson] is - all of these guys - Shaun Dion [Hamilton] love football they are well trained and good players."

On DB Joshua Holsey injury:

"I don't know, he's in a boot right now and I think that I'll start him on the P-U-P like we have. We don't know; you know I don't know, he severed his big toe and we'll have to wait and see."

On if DL Stacy McGee will miss regular season:

"Yeah, there is a chance for sure. We'll wait and see, he's doing a great job at working to get back into shape but a big body like that it might take a little bit more time, but I can't say cause Stacy has had a couple injuries in the past and done a great job of rehabbing and he looks in good spirits and good shape already but that's just a time will tell kind of thing and depending on where we are on the roster and all that stuff."

On LB Preston Smith:

"I think he needs to be a dominant edge setter really, to go along with Ryan Kerrigan. It's a time for him to step up, he's got all the tools in the world and he's proved he can be an excellent pass rusher, he's very good against the run and he's long, tough, and strong – motor. He's got a good motor, so basically great things from Preston. Watching these guys on the edge, Ryan, we were putting on our outside zone yesterday and it's a pain in the rear trying to get out there with Ryan and Preston setting the edge and obviously Ryan Anderson also. I expect great things from Preston and I know he does of himself. It's a big year for him."

On QB Alex Smith's improvements throughout his career:

"I don't know, I think the quarterback position is all about a comfort level with the people around you and the system, and I think he's found a really get down with Coach [Andy] Reid and he's got some great players around him and he's knows how to distribute the ball extremely well, keep plays alive and doesn't make many mistakes. But, I think it's all about some of these guys of taking what's given to them and let the playmakers make plays for him and he did a great job of that. I anticipate him to do the same thing once we get all of our guys healthy, letting Chris Thompson, throwing a check wide for about 15 yards. He's a great distributor of the football and that's what he's been in his whole career, he just continues to elevate that level of play based on experience."

On Alex Smith's ability to adjust to different offensive coordinators:

"Yea that's hard, you know every year you work on learning new terminology. At the end of the day it's the quarterback's responsibility to learn whatever it is the coach teaches you. You got a lot of time you know between the offseason, training camp, preseason games, you have a lot more time, so it's the quarterback's responsibility; really there is no excuse in my opinion ever for a quarterback to say I didn't know that play or concept – I wasn't quite sure. Maybe a rookie from time to time, but a 15-year vet like Alex who knows how to prepare himself day in and day out to make sure when he steps on the field he knows exactly what the play is, what the protection and possessions calls are, where to go with the football and this coverage against that coverage. That's what being a quarterback is all about and there is nobody better at that then Alex in the last five years."

On the development of WR Josh Doctson and his catch yesterday:

"That was luck (laughter). He never saw that ball. He does have great mitts there is no doubt about it. There's no taking it away, he has great strong hands. That particular play, there is no way you can tell me that was skill (laughter)."

On QB Colt McCoy extension:

"Why? Cause Colt's a great player to have here. He's a great back-up quarterback, he's a great quarterback in general and if something happens to Alex - knock on wood - that I know that our team is in good hands and that position you don't want to mess around with."

On the status of TE Jordan Reed:

"Yeah, I'm very hopeful without a doubt, I have to be. He's one of our best, most explosive players on offense and it's hard to find a guy like that, that can really stretch the field work in a slot, work the option routes and still be a factor in the running game. I think he's one of the top tight ends in the National Football League when healthy. Last year, he tried to fight through a couple of those injuries in the off season - he got them fixed, so hopefully we'll put an end to all those foot and toe injury things, and ankle. So, Jordan feels extremely - he feels great right now, very optimistic about the way his body feels and now it's our job to make sure we just progress him along at a good rate and hopefully get him in there in a preseason game or two and get him ready for the [Arizona] Cardinals."

On CB Josh Norman:

"Well I think Josh is always going to be who he is, which we don't know who that person is from day on to day out (laughter). I like Josh, Josh is a steady main-state guy here at corner and does a lot of good things for us in coverage and tackling. I just want to see him continue to work with the young guys, work with himself and continue to get better. That's all you can do as a cornerback and study the game, study the people you're going to cover, study our system, our techniques, our coverages and have a good plan of attack every Sunday."

On the running back group:

"Yeah I think, that's a great benefit that we have here. We have a different style of backs. It's tough, you know you talk about first, second down backs, we got three to four of those guys. We have guys that can come out of the backfield and protect, we have three of those guys. We got a couple guys who can do a little bit of everything. So, it's very interesting group and very exciting group to me. They're all great kids, they all work extremely hard but at the end of the day it's going to be about the guy who protects the football, the guy who can protect the quarterback and makes the tough runs, runs after contact, and we'll let it play out and go from there."

On the talent on offense:

"Yeah. Every year you're very optimistic. But this year when you talk about getting Chris Thompson back who has really shown that he's one of the top third-down backs in the league. You get Jordan Reed back who has shown he is one of the best tight ends in this league as far as route running and blocking. You add a guy like Derrius Guice into a pretty crowded running back group. Then at receiver, we added the speed-like Paul Richardson to go along with Josh Doctson – Jamison Crowder in the slot – we can do a lot of different things. You have a veteran quarterback like Alex [Smith] and Colt [McCoy]. Then offensive lineman, when you watch these guys run, first day out here and you see Trent Williams, Ty Nsekhe and Moses Morgan standing next to each other you sleep good at night thinking they might play on Sunday. Now the trick is to get them all out there on Sunday healthy and ready to go. Yeah. I feel very good about the group that we have and we should. We put a lot in to getting the people that we want. Now it's a matter of coaching them up and putting them in the right spots and letting these guys play on Sunday."

On the versatility of the running back group backing up Chris Thompson:

"Without a doubt, without a doubt, the good thing is Kapri Bibbs is very good out of the backfield and Byron Marshall has shown things that he could be a very explosive player for this football team, out of the backfield and running the football between the tackles and outside. So, I think we have that spot covered. Without a doubt, without a doubt, yes, fortunately last year when Chris did get hurt - Kapri we went to Bryon [Marshall] and then he got hurt, he pulled his hami [hamstring] and then Kapri did some good things so that is an important spot in pro football eventually you're going to get to third down four or five and that back [running back] is either going to have to protect or get open on the linebackers and all three of those guys have shown they can do that."

On different era of running back talent and value:

"Yeah, I think it all depends on where you're talking about and who you are talking about taking. Like the first rounder is this guy like a Todd Gurley then sure you'd want to take him in the first. You know, if you have bigger needs or there's other good players in other positions then you want to you know, look for a great defensive tackle that you will never get in the second or third round. There might not be a lot of defensive tackles later in the draft and you'll have to take a tackle. So it all depends and I don't think anybody has ever discounted the importance of a running back in pro football. Really, I really don't. I think that there's so many other positions now a days in pro football that are hard to find based on the way college football is playing sometimes you have to invest in either a defensive lineman, maybe an offensive lineman now because there aren't a lot in that particular year that you might be able to find more of a talented back in the third or fourth round that can come in like Kareem Hunt who did for Kansas City and there are guys like that. But, you know, every year is different, every player is different and if you have a guy that you think is a franchiser changer than you'll take him in the first."

On what impresses him about LB Ryan Kerrigan:

"Definitely not his golf game, wow is he bad. What I think people just don't understand about Ryan is Ryan has never said two words about anything negative around here. He's always been an upbeat, positive guy, he's never missed a day of practice. He practices just like he plays, hard. He's just a no nonsense, work your tail off, playmaking guy. You love guys like that, really. He's a great example for the young guys, he's a great example for the veteran guys on how you want to maintain a career and have you want to have a great career. He does things right, when he gets treatment, he's never late to a meeting. If you are going to dial up a professional football player, how you want him to act off the field, on the field, on game day, production, Ryan Kerrigan is really a starting point."