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Quotes: Jay Gruden (8.15.14)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On if his plan for playing the starters on Monday night:

"I'm shooting for at least a quarter, see how it goes. "

On if any players have been ruled out:

"Maybe [Brandon] Meriweather. I think he took the day off today. He just got his toe drained a little bit, but he's got a chance to play. We'll wait and see."

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On if defensive end Jason Hatcher will not play:

"Yes. Hatcher's out also, yes."

On how the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge felt:

"It was nice. It's cold [laughs]. It's for a good cause, so it's good."

On what he thought of Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel on film:

"I haven't watched him yet. I'm going to start that today, tomorrow we're going to start really trying to game plan. I know Coach [Jim] Haslett's watched him. I've been studying the other side of the ball a little bit more. So I'll check him out today, but I saw him on television and obviously studying him coming out and know he's a very talented kid, lot of mobility – no question about it – and very exciting player."

On his observations of quarterback Kirk Cousins' preparation and work ethic:

"He's done great. You know, Kirk's handled it like a pro. He understands the situation here. He understands it's Robert's job to lose right now but he's still coming in here, competing and battling every day. And, that's what a quarterback does. Whether you're the starter or not, you have to take advantage of the reps you get and they are few and far between sometimes, but I think he's done an excellent job. Him and Colt [McCoy] both have been great in the quarterback room. There's been no controversy whatsoever. It's just been business as usual and they're all trying to get better and master this system and he'll be ready when his time comes. "

On Cousins' value:

"He's a good quarterback and you don't want to let quarterbacks out of your building if you don't have to. Obviously there's circumstances that could change that but right now we're happy with the quarterbacks that we have and there's no reason to change."

On quarterback Colt McCoy:

"He's handled it excellent also. You know, he gets less reps than Kirk obviously, but he does a good job. He's got great command of the game. He's a very smart quarterback, very fundamentally sound. He's had great coaching throughout his career obviously and he's got a great wealth of experience as far as some of the plays that we're running. He's had some success in some – he's seen some of them obviously when he's played before. So he's a good tutor for Robert [Griffin III] also. So to have a veteran quarterback like Colt who's gone through it, even though he's still 27, he's started some games and been through some ups and downs in his career. To offer any insight is also very good, but I also know if need be, some teams have had to go to their third quarterback throughout the season and I feel good about Colt  if he had to come in and play."

On if the Browns' pass rush is an ideal test for quarterback Robert Griffin III and the offense:

"Yes, it is. I'm familiar with Cleveland's personnel on defense, coming from Cincinnati, and then next week we get to play Baltimore who I'm familiar with, so it's going to be two great tests for us from an offensive standpoint. Obviously defensively there's some elements that we also have to work out and be ready for which is a good test for them too. Every team in the NFL gives you different problems, but Cleveland's defensive personnel is obviously very good with Joe Haden, Buster Skrine and all those guys and then Baltimore the following week. So we'll get a good taste the next two weeks, see where we are and how far we have to go. "

On if he has a relationship with Browns Head Coach Mike Pettine:

"I talked to him at the Combine and [we're] just kind of acquaintances. I wouldn't say we're great friends but I do know him and have a lot of respect for what he did at Buffalo and in his career, no question with the Jets. So very familiar with him as a coach."

On if he asked his brother, ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, to go easy on him during Monday's broadcast:

"No. He called a couple of my games last year in Cincy. Jon is Jon. He's going to be positive if he can but if I do something that's out-of-line ignorant, I'm sure he'll call me on it."

On if Jon will meet with him the way other analysts do:

"Yeah, I think he's coming in Saturday. He'll be out here for practice Saturday and we'll be able to hopefully go out to dinner maybe Saturday night, or I might be tied up, but I'll be able to see him Saturday."

On if Jon tells him what he says about him after games:

"No... I don't know, yeah, no, he wouldn't. Jon is obviously very good at what he does and he won't jeopardize what he does for my feelings. That's for sure. He never has."

On Griffin III building on the last game:

"It's more about the offense and our flow and what we do. If certain situations come up, we've got to handle them – third-and-long, third-and-short, whatever they might be, red zone, goal line short yardage. All those are very important for us to try to get a test on moving forward to the regular season, but if they don't come up, they don't come up. Hopefully we'll get him in the third game, but we're getting a lot of them out here at practice. We had a lot of those situations come up today. In the game with the substitutions, snap count like I said yesterday, all those things are very important for the flow of the offense and hopefully we'll get a lot of good looks from Cleveland and Robert will get some challenging plays. I know he will."

On cornerback David Amerson's elevated level of comfort with the defense this year and if he can see a difference on film:

"I notice. Well, I obviously wasn't here, but watching him on tape I see a different player. There's no question, and that happens a lot of times. You hope that happens with the rookies who are forced to play that struggle, that the second year they come into their own a little bit and play with a little bit of confidence. When you have more knowledge with the system, more knowledge of the situations and who you're going against, the more confident you are at corner. I feel that's what David's coming to now. He's just got to translate it on the field. We'll see how he does, but he's definitely got all of the tools of being a great corner. Now it's a matter of going out and doing it, but you do see a different swag about him, like I said before. He looks good to me right now."

On live tackling drills:

"Preseason games will take care of it. Our live tackling days are done – in practice anyway. We'll still wear shoulder pads, which is important for the offensive line, defensive line to get some of their stunts and blocking things picked up, but overall the tackling days are over until the games start."

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On everything the quarterbacks need to learn to run an offense and how he teaches it:

"You build it gradually. You don't throw everything out there at once, but you build certain situations, certain tempos from day one to day two to day three. You start to add a little bit more. We're to a point now that we feel good about where we are as far as installation. Now we can start to tinker with different tempos, different snap counts, different formations, things of that nature and just continue to grow your offense. You just can't throw it all at them day one. otherwise everybody will be swimming and nobody will know what to do. You try to install it gradually and as they master something, you challenge them again with something else. It's all about moving forward and seeing how much they learn, but also how much they can retain. You don't want to add a lot of new things if they haven't retained the old stuff, so we kind of taper off depending on where we think they are mentally. Luckily for us, we have got obviously good coaches, but the players have all done an excellent job of studying. We've had very few mental mistakes, so we're able to continue to add things. That's a tribute to the players for picking everything up."

On what running back Chris Thompson sitting out represents for the other running backs on the roster:

"It gives them an opportunity, it really does. Every rep that he doesn't take, somebody is going to take it. Unfortunately for him, his ankle, it's a sprain. It's a high ankle, low ankle, I don't know where it is but it's holding him out. It's unfortunate for him because he was doing a great job, but it does open up a window for other guys that perform and we'll see what they do with it."

On how his second string, third string and rookies have responded in practice this week:

"I have been very pleased. The tempo has been outstanding and their attention to detail has been very good. Like I said, very few mental mistakes. It looks sharp out there – the weather has something to do with it too, but overall I'm very happy with where we're going, both offensively and defensively, and then obviously the special teams are doing an excellent job, but we have to sort some things out there. But it's all about installing your offense and defense and special teams and also finding ways to evaluate the people that you have and right now all the players are making it very difficult on us because they're all performing pretty well. The competition has been excellent."

On the offensive line's depth:

"We feel good about the depth. We have got a lot of players to choose from, which is good. Now, the starters, we've got to go out and perform. That was one of the Achilles heels so to speak last year from what I heard about coming in from what you see on tape. You see some pressure, but I think Coach [Chris] Foerster has done a great job with them and they've done a pretty good job. They've given up some pressure every now and then. We've got some good pass rushers on the other side. We don't expect a clean pocket on every time we throw, but we do expect them to do a good job. We've got good veteran leadership up there with Tyler [Polumbus] and Chris [Chester], and obviously Trent Williams is a Pro Bowl left tackle, and Kory [Lichtensteiger] has done a good job moving into center, so I feel good about where they are."

On whether or not an early practice affect preparations for late games:

"No, I don't think so. I could be wrong – there are some people who think that you should practice at night if you play at night – but most of our games are going to be at 1:00 anyway. We'll be practicing in the afternoon later on once we start our normal schedule. We'll start practicing in the afternoon to get used to that. I don't know. I don't think it will be a difference – I hope. If we lose, I'm sure you'll point to that [laughter]."

On what has surprised him about Offensive Coordinator Sean McVay and Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett:

"Well, nothing really because part of the reason they were brought back is because I know about them. I know about what Sean brings to the table. He's got a great knowledge of the offense and what defenses we're going against – the personnel of our team and not to mention the NFC East. He's very familiar with it so nothing has really surprised me with Sean. He's a very bright guy and works his tail off. He beats me in every morning and does a great job. And Coach Haslett – I don't really have a lot of negative things to say about him. I feel good about where he's at. He's been shaken a little bit the past couple of years, his defense hasn't been ranked as high as I'm sure he would like, but my job was to get him some more horses over there that he could work with and free him up and let him do his own thing and see where it goes. I feel good about where he is, I feel good about his leadership he has with the defense, about how players respond to his coaching. You can see it out there. The guys are flying around and they're buying into his system, so come game day, it's just a matter of rolling the ball out there and letting our guys play and see where it goes.

On if he has determined any discipline for cornerback Bashaud Breeland:

"No, we talked about it with Bashaud. Really, he feels bad about it and we just have got to move forward from that deal. We already have – you just reminded me about it but we move forward from it. He'll take care of his obligations with the law and we'll move on."

On the NFL's new rules and points of emphasis and how they affected the first preseason game:

"We had a couple called against us – I think we had three called against us – one was a PI [pass interference], and I think one was illegal contact from [Will] Compton, and those are great to show. Obviously the emphasis of the illegal contact and we just have to continue to preach it out here and we try to show our guys in practice when it happens and just to be aware. They've been so engraved in their minds to try to jostle guys off and move receivers off their line and try to get them off their spot that we have to be careful. It's something we have to continue to coach and watch, because I know the NFL is watching, the referees are watching, and there are a ton of penalties I noticed in Week 1 of the preseason games – not in our game, but the other games – so you've just got to watch it."

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