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Quotes: Jay Gruden (9.14.15)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On WR DeSean Jackson and if his hamstring injury could be related to missing the preseason:

"DeSean has a pulled hamstring, obviously. He'll be out three to four weeks, possibly, could be shorter but you never know with hamstrings. And, I don't know if it had a lot to do with him missing. It could very well have, but we don't know that. He just went for a deep ball and pulled it. But obviously, you'd like to have guys all throughout training camp but the shoulder limited him, but he was still able to do a lot of running in that time, so I don't think it really did. I think it was just one of those things that happens to a wide receiver now and then."

On S Duke Ihenacho:

"Duke is going to have to have surgery on his wrist. It's fracture/dislocation, and we'll have to decide whether to put him on IR or not shortly."

On if Ihenacho would go on IR for the full season or if he could be designated to return:

"We've got to decide that. We're going to talk about that as soon we get done here."

On the depth at safety with Jeron Johnson and Trenton Robinson:

"Trenton came in and played fairly well. Obviously, we have Jeron who is a veteran guy. He was a backup at Seattle and got some playing time here. He missed a lot of camp with his hamstring issues, too, but we're OK there. Obviously, Kyshoen [Jarrett] has moved around playing some free and strong and nickel. We have three other guys in place there that are capable to step up and play and one of them will. Looks like it could be Trenton, could be Kyshoen, could be Jeron. All four of them will probably play including obviously [Dashon] Goldson."

On the decision to waive K Kai Forbath:

"I think Kai was a good kicker for us for a few years now, very accurate obviously inside of 40. But I think moving forward, you look at the total package of what a kicker needs to bring to your football team and we were looking for a little bit of a stronger leg, especially on kickoffs. That's the bottom line. We've got 16 regular season games. We're down 0-1 and we just think for the long haul, we'd like to get some better kickoffs. We think that the new kicker, if he can be close to him in accuracy and field goals, I think the kickoffs will put him over the edge as far as being a little bit better."

On the throw on the play in which Jackson was injured:

"I think it was a great throw. Anytime you can roll to your right and overthrow DeSean Jackson, that's a great throw. I think he did pull up. I think he got a little bit tangled up with [Brent] Grimes. It was a double move. It was a comeback-and-go. I think as he was releasing to go down the sidelines he got a little bit tangled up, which slowed him up and then he saw the ball and took off and that's when he pulled it. Had he not pulled it, would he have caught it? I don't know, but I thought it was an excellent throw."

On if the team will need to make a roster move to clear a spot for CB Bashaud Breeland:

"Yes, we will. That'll take place here shortly."

On the impact of losing Jackson:

"I mentioned that at the postgame conference that any time that you lose a guy of his caliber… He's one of our stars. You hate to lose a star especially with his speed. We feel good about the receivers that take his place but nobody can substitute him for that burning speed that gets downfield and scares safeties and corners to death, backs people up. Teams are able to play a little bit tighter coverage when he's out of the game. Safeties can creep up a little bit. It's a big loss for us. He's a great player, no question about it. But now, we're going to have to ask [Rashad] Ross to come in here and play. Ryan Grant is going to have to step up and Andre [Roberts] and [Jamison] Crowder."

On if he sees how Jackson's play on the field impacts the way opposing defenses play the run:

"Usually, but we only got to see him for about six plays… We had an indication that Miami was going to play a lot of their coverages and roll to DeSean [Jackson], but we didn't get quite that tendency because he played only a few snaps."

On if the shorter passes were a part of the game plan or a function of Jackson's injury:

"It was a little bit of both and they have a great pass rush. We did take some shots down the field. Sometimes, they played back and Kirk [Cousins] had to check it down. It was a combination of a lot of things. We like to take shots throughout the course of a game but when you lose your main shot weapon, it has a little bit of an impact, not to mention Cameron Wake and [Ndamukong] Suh going against our right side who hasn't played together in a full game yet. We wanted to try to protect Kirk, protect our right side, little bit more of a conservative game plan, then we lost DeSean with all our deep-shot plays that had a little bit of an impact, but later on, we did take some shots and it didn't work out."

On QB Kirk Cousins' performance against Miami:

"I think he played well. There's a couple plays I'm sure he wish he had back but I think he was decisive with the ball. He took the one sack, which there was nothing he could do about it, but overall I think he managed the game and moved our team when we needed to. We just didn't make enough plays for him. It was unfortunate. I think our guys played hard in the running game. They competed. I think everybody can play better, we can coach them up a lot better, also, but I feel good about Kirk's first game and where he's going as a pro."

On how he responds to people who are saying Forbath is being made a scapegoat for the loss to Miami:

"That's funny. We're not making Kai a scapegoat. That's insane. All we're trying to do is improve our kickoff cover team and we're trying a young kicker who worked out here extremely well today. That's the only reason."

On if he saw any behavior from Miami DT Ndamukong Suh that should result in disciplinary action:

"No, not really. I think it was a hard-fought game. Coach [Joe] Philbin and Coach [Kevin] Coyle on defense, those guys are good coaches. They don't teach anything dirty. Just sometimes things happen in the course of a football game that look like they're dirty but it's just part of the game. I've got a lot of respect for that football team and that staff. They beat us, so I'm not going to make any accusations or anything today."

On if he can confirm the signing of K Dustin Hopkins:


On if kickoffs had an effect on Forbath's release:

"Yeah, kind of. You look at the preseason games, and, you know, it is what it is. We made the decision already, so I really don't want to talk about Kai. But, we're looking for more consistent kickoffs obviously and give this young kid [Hopkins] a chance that kicked out here very well today. That's the bottom line. We feel like he's a very successful kicker in college. He made the Bills at one time and kicked well for New Orleans in the preseason. Now it's just we want to give him a shot here and see if we can improve our kickoff coverage."
On if Breeland is fully healthy:

"Yes, he's good."

On if Breeland would have played yesterday if not for his suspension:

"Oh, yeah."

On how Breeland's addition will affect the secondary:

"It'll help. It'll help considerably. You know, [Justin] Rogers is going to be questionable. He's got his foot issues, plantar fasciitis. But, Breeland is a versatile guy. You know, he can play corner, he can play nickel and he brings a little level of toughness to our defense. He's a great tackler, plays physical, loves the game and competes his butt off. So he's a welcome addition back there."

On other players who were injured last week:

"D-Hall has some sore ribs. He'll be OK, I think. [Tom] Compton should return and [Jackson] Jeffcoat should be OK."

On how the right side of the offensive line contained Suh and Miami DE Cameron Wake:

"Like I said before, I think we had a pretty good plan going in and to execute the plan, our right side had to step up against two very good players and I think they did that for the most part. So, I was impressed with the way Brandon [Scherff] played, I really was. For his first game, he performed extremely well I think. There's some things that he can improve on obviously, and of course, Morgan [Moses]. I think he had the false start or a holding penalty maybe, but for the most part Morgan played pretty well also. So for those guys being – Morgan in his second year and Brandon in his first year – to go out there and perform in their first game together on the right side against Cameron Wake and Suh, I was impressed. And it's going to have to continue to get better because we play a very good front this week and it's going to be another great challenge for them. Then the following week, we play on Thursday night against the Giants. So, it's just a never ending story for these offensive linemen. They have to continue to step up and get better. I like where they are in their progression."

On the team's ability to stretch the field without Jackson:

"We think the receivers we have – Jamison [Crowder] can run obviously, Ryan Grant can do some things and obviously [Rashad] Ross had an excellent preseason. He's got excellent speed also. We have to utilize them. That's the only option we have. So those guys have got to step up and make some plays. Might have to double move some people as opposed to just running by them. There's a lot of things that you can do but it starts up front. We need the good protection to get those deep shots. We have to feel good about our protection. This will be another great challenge with Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn and the St. Louis Rams defense. We'll have to figure out a way to take some shots because it's very hard against the St. Louis Rams defense to go 15 plays, 80 yards. We're going to have to find ways to get some chunks of yards somehow."

On if he feels comfortable about Breeland's conditioning:

"I feel pretty good. I think he was rusty in that last preseason game, that's why he played. He had a couple plays that he did look rusty. Then he missed all week of practice last week. We've got to get him a good week of practice. Wednesday's going to be a big day for him. Thursday will be a big day and Friday. I think he understands the defense. He feels good about where he is mentally. Just a matter of going out there and playing and running and staying in the game. He might have to play some corner, might have to play some nickel. That's hard on a second-year guy with a new system. We have high expectations for Bree. He's a smart kid and he will compete. Only time will tell if he's rusty or not."

On TE Jordan Reed:

"Jordan played well. There's some plays that Jordan needs to clean up though, without a doubt. But we're happy. Jordan Reed's a great athlete. He's a good mismatch against all safeties and linebackers. We feel like he can beat them all. There's some things he'll clean up and we will continue to utilize Jordan. He's got to stay healthy. He's got to continue to work on his blocking. He's got a chance to be one of the top tight ends in this league if he can continue to play with some consistency and get a little bit better at the point of attack."

On Sunday's penalties:

"We have to clean up the penalties, no question. We can send some into the league that we don't think they were penalties or that were called, whatever, but they were called. That's something we have to clean up. We had way too many first-and-20s, second-and-25s. We had a couple opportunities there to really change field position or get points and we didn't because of the penalties. We've got to clean up our hands at receiver and tight end. We had two by tight ends I believe, one by an offensive lineman. We've just got to continue to clean them up."

On if he saw things on film that reaffirmed his belief that his players didn't hang their heads:

"I did. Nobody is happy when you lose a football game. I'm not going to stand up here and say 'Rah, rah, hey, we lost but we competed.' That's not the goal here. But I do have optimism for where we're going as a football team. I do. I feel like our defense played hard. There's some plays obviously where we might have had a mental [error] here, mental [error] here, a missed tackle here or there. But I feel like they were flying to the football. Offensively, to rush for over 100 yards against Miami was exciting. I think Kirk did some great things. I want to build on the positive. We'll coach the negative, but I want to build on the positive. I think that we have a lot of things to look forward to for this season based on our performance Week 1."

On P Tress Way saying he outkicked his coverage, and if players got out of their lanes in coverage:

"That's going to happen. You can out kick your coverage and Tress probably did that. But we did have a couple of guys out of their lanes. Our gunner got pinned on the outside, he couldn't get off a block. It's just a matter of once the ball is kicked, we have to get off blocks better. We've got to have some good lane integrity. We had neither. We didn't get off blocks, we missed a couple tackles down there. Like I said yesterday, you give [Dolphins WR] Jarvis Landry that much room to work… This week we've got another good one. We've got to make sure we get it cleaned up. [Rams WR] Tavon Austin is probably the best in the league if not Top 5. That's something we have to address. We've got to get better hang time obviously and we have to get off blocks and our flyers have to do a better job also."

On how deflating the special teams miscues were:

"It is deflating. I'm not going to stand up here, you look around the league, a lot of those happened throughout the league that I saw. It's just something we have to continue to work on. We've got to flip that script. We have to get some of those. We have to change the momentum in our favor. Seems like the last couple years, the kickoff returns have gone against us, the punt returns have gone against us, the blocked punts have gone against us. We have to start doing that ourselves, blocking some punts, returning some kicks. It's going to take work and these guys have got to come out and buy into what they're doing on special teams. I think we're coaching them up well. We've got to coach better and we obviously have got to play better. But we have got to do better on special teams."

On how comfortable he is with WR Rashad Ross' skills beyond his speed:

"We'll see. I like Ross' approach. His approach the whole training camp has been good. We had him last year and he was a little bit all over the place, not sure where and who to block, routes were short. He showed great speed and all that stuff. This year he came in with a great mental approach as far as learning the system, where to line up, how to line up, the routes, he was very sharp in all his cuts – in-breaking routes, out-breaking routes, go balls, posts, all that. I was very impressed with him and he's done a better job in the run game. Throwing him out there against the St. Louis Rams, how much, how often, how will he do? We'll see. We have a couple days of practice, see how much we can get out of him. Worst case he can be a good kickoff returner. He's an excellent kickoff returner also for us."

On how close TE Anthony McCoy was to playing last week:

"Very close, we'll get a good two days – Wednesday and Thursday – of practice. Hopefully we'll get him a good package where he can go."

On LB Ryan Kerrigan's comments about being disappointed by his play and shaking off rust:

"Yeah, that's the whole thing about preseason. You say, 'Hey, don't play him because he's a star' or 'Play him because he needs it, he'll be rusty for Week 1.' So that's the dilemma that you have as a coach and as a player. We thought it was important to keep him out coming off that knee injury. We wanted to keep him fresh for Week 1. He probably was a little bit rusty, but he still played with great tenacity, had a couple of good plays, had a half a sack, but Ryan's expectations for himself are very high. Obviously ours for him are very high and he'll never be satisfied. If he has five sacks, he'll want six or seven. We just know that he's a great player for us. He'll get better."

On if Ross could return kicks:

"Yeah, him and Chris [Thompson] both can do it. We like the way Ross does it."

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