Head Coach Jay Gruden
* The following is a transcript of Gruden's conference call with local reporters this afternoon. Audio of this call may be accessed by *clicking this link*.*
On the results of tackle Trent Williams' MRI:
"Actually, he didn't even have to have an MRI. He came in today and he just had patella inflammation. There was no instability, no swelling, and he should gradually improve and he should be OK. It was actually good news on Trent… That's a relief, yes"
On tight end Niles Paul:
"Niles Paul's got a concussion. He's just got to go through his normal protocol as far as what the NFL has in store for him, what we have in store for him with the trainers, and that's a day-to-day type thing. If they clear him, he should be able to go next week, but you've got to go through all the protocols. "
On the 'most disturbing' part of yesterday's game:
"I think the most disturbing thing was – obviously, the outcome was disturbing – but I just think, obviously offensively, when you have six turnovers and the penalties, that's very disturbing. Defensively, our inability to get pressure on the quarterback, get off the field on third down and really just pose any kind of physical threat to the Giant offense was disturbing. We're running to the ball, we're trying hard, they just had our number. For whatever reason, we were lacking the ability to contest short throws and we've got to do better job of that. There's a lot of disturbing things in that game, unfortunately it didn't go the way we wanted, but we will learn from it and move on."
On how to go about correcting quarterback Kirk Cousins' interceptions:
"You hit the nail on the head. He's a young guy playing the position, and young guys playing that position at this level will tend to make mistakes from time to time. We've just got to make sure he sees the throws a little bit better and his eyes are in the right spot. There's a couple of them that he stared down the receiver and the safety just came over and made an easy pick. One of them he just had bad location on the ball to Ryan Grant, and another one he threw a blind one to the out route when he was throwing to Andre Roberts and the nickel was sitting right there. He never saw him, which you have to see those throws. You've got to get his eyes in the right spot, got to calm in down, and then we've got to help him out as play callers to get him more comfortable. And then the game itself – we can't get down 17 points and then expect him to be prolific throwing the football. We've got to do a better job of keeping the game in check where we have all phases of our offense intact in the fourth quarter."
On if Cousins' performance on Thursday was worrisome after his performances the previous two weeks:
"It's worrisome – you have to take the game for what it is. We lost the game, he didn't play very well, he threw four picks, we understand that, and a fumble, but he didn't have a lot of help, either. There weren't a lot of people – the defense didn't help him out, the offensive line didn't help him out, the receivers didn't help him out. There's a lot of other factors that we could have had better game, a better outing, if other people were helping more. It's not just Kirk. Kirk, his mistakes are magnified obviously, but there are other guys who had mistakes that were equally important and devastating to the football game. We just have to continue to work to get better, and we will, but we're not going to hold Kirk's head under the water right now. We're going to keep him composed and getting better, and he's going to be fine next week."
On the effect injuries had on the pass rush last night:
"I think that was a big factor, really. You could see [Jason] Hatcher didn't have the same pop off the line of scrimmage as he normally has. I don't think he really trusted his hamstring. You could see that. [Brian] Orakpo, 'It's just a finger,' you say, but for a pass rusher, to be able to use that left hand or use his hands quite a bit, to not be able to use them, you could see it affect his pass rush. So those are two very glaring reasons why the pass rush wasn't there. Also, there wasn't a lot of great pass rush opportunities. I think they were only in third-and-long a handful of times and they got those balls out quick. So we've got to do a better job on first and second down, like I said before. We've got to do a much better job contesting throws on the outside as far as playing bump and run, knocking receivers off their [routes], getting off the line of scrimmage, not letting them have free releases and making easy, uncontested throws. We've got to do a better job of contesting throws."
On if the defensive backs were not trying to jam the Giants' receivers:
"No, they were trying to. We asked them to do it. If you're in bump and run, it's called 'bump' and run for a reason and we just weren't getting a good piece of them. And hats off to the Giants' receivers for doing a good job of being patient at the line of scrimmage and working their releases and getting off cleanly, but we've got to do a better job as defensive backs and linebackers when we're out there playing bump and run – get hands on them and reroute the guys. That wasn't happening, and when you reroute them, it gives your defensive linemen that extra count to get home. Since we weren't rerouting them, receivers were getting off clean and Eli [Manning] was throwing everything on rhythm and didn't really have to pull the ball down at all to go to his second or third receiver. He was pretty efficient on who he wanted to go to and was able to get it out quick and didn't really let our defensive line get a chance to pressure him."
On how he will approach the team the next few days:
"I'm giving them a couple days off to recuperate, get their minds and bodies right. We need them healthy, both mentally and physically. We are going to challenge them to come back and learn from this and make sure they do everything in their power to not do this again, especially in front of our home crowd. We're obviously very disappointed in how we played in front of our home crowd. But the big thing is we've got to get out bodies healthy, we've got to get our minds healthy and we've got to make sure our commitment is in the right spot- and we come back committed to turning this thing around. The first quarter is over of the season, we are 1-3, so we still have three quarters left and we can still do a lot of damage and still achieve all our goals. We've just got to get this thing turned around quickly if our frame of mind is right and we get out guys healthy."
On how to instill discipline to avoid excessive penalties that could be the reason for losing games:
"You're right, penalties, they could be the reason. There is a couple times we give the guys 15 more yards or give them a extra down. Heck, they had third down and goal at the two-yard line and we get a stop and they call illegal holding or something on Perry Riley, which was really a shaky call anyway. We have to do a better job. We try to talk about penalties, we show penalties, we have done everything we can, we've just got to continue to focus on them. Defensively, offensively we had some more holding calls last night, Logan [Paulsen] had one, Trent [Williams] had one, we had a false start on Trent. All these become very magnified in close games and we are going have a lot of close games. We don't have the personnel right now to line up and beat anybody handily. So we have to make sure we protect the football and eliminate the penalties for us to win the way we need to win."
On linebacker Keenan Robinson's car accident following the game:
"He was just going home after the game and there was some traffic and somebody tried to squeeze past him I guess and hit him. But he is OK, no injuries."
On special teams penalties:
"The penalty on the extra point? Well, you had the one offsides on Tracy Porter which was uncalled for, that was just being lazy. The other one was [Clifton] Geathers. He tried to jump over the offensive lineman and we know that is illegal. I've heard Coach [Ben] Kotwica say you can't do that. We have shown tape of not being able to do that but Geathers tried to do it anyway and got caught for it. That's part of being accountable and that is something we just have to continue to preach to our team. All those penalties, man, they become very magnified when you lose, but they are also going to keep you down from winning games in the future. We play Seattle, we play Dallas twice, we still play the Giants again and Philly. We have a great schedule ahead of us. And these penalties, like you guys are saying, are going to cost us dearly. We have to address them as a staff, but ultimately it is up to the players being accountable for what they are doing and we just cannot allow it."
On if he tries to get quarterbacks into a rhythm before changing play calling to assist them:
"Well, you try to get them into the rhythm. Obviously, that's the entire goal, and getting him into that rhythm is the short-passing game, maybe, maybe taking a shot or something like that that you feel really good about – the look you're going to get and the protection you're going to have. Obviously, getting the running game involved, and then as the game goes on we have a sack-fumble, we start to throw the interceptions and that's when you've got to try to limit your damage. That's when you might have to take some pressure off of him – maybe hand the ball off, try some screens or something of that nature. We were down by a couple scores and we chose to really still try to press the ball down the field a little bit to try and get back into the game because I never felt like we were out of the game until we were down 24 there at the end. The mistakes kept mounting, so we'll just have to do a good job in the future of trying to keep the game close, No.1, so we can run the ball and punt and throw the screen every now and then I don't have to worry about it. But last night was a little bit of a different deal. We were down 10, then 17, then 24, so we were forced to kind of throw it."
On if Cousins and tackle Tyler Polumbus share blame on the sack-fumble:
"Well, that was probably on Polumbus. Kirk was looking to the left – we had a three-man route combination route to the left. They actually covered it pretty good so Kirk, since his eyes were to the left, he never saw [Mathias] Kiwanuka coming around the corner. He beat him clean. It was a great pass rush by him but we have got to do a better job of being competitive there at right tackle on those tough downs – those third-down-and-eights where you're trying to get the ball and drive it past the sticks. They're going to take a little extra time letting those route combinations develop. For a quarterback to make his reads, we've got to do a better job protecting him. They had a good pass rush. That's why staying out of third-and-eights and third-and-nine is crucial for any offense to be successful – especially this one."
On if the penalties on tackle Trent Williams are disappointing given his role as a captain:
"Yeah, it's unfortunate because other than those two penalties he really played well. You never even heard [Jason] Pierre-Paul's name. He really did a great job all night in pass protection and in the run game, but he did have the unfortunate hold. He was on them and they both went to the ground and usually when both the defensive linemen and offensive linemen go to the ground, they'll call it on the offensive lineman. Then he had the false start, which he got a little too ahead of himself. Overall, when you play 60-plus play and you have two negative plays, you know penalties, you want to eliminate the penalties but he still played pretty good, I think."
On cornerback Tracy Porter:
"He played the second half. He was a little rusty. He came out a little bit sore. But, I think it was good for him to get out there and get back in the action a little bit. He came out OK as far as health is concerned."
On if he worries about the players' mental state after last night:
"I don't. I think we have a good group of guys, man, character-wise. And I'm hoping this is a wakeup call. You know, it's like I said last night, a slap in the face that 'Hey, you're not as good as you think you are. You have a lot more work to do than you think you do.' And hopefully they'll get it done and realize that. Both coaches are players realize that we have to put in the extra time, we have to put in the extra work, we have to put in the extra preparation, we have to stay focused for longer and work harder for us to be successful because we can't just put our uniform on and jog onto the field and act like we're going to beat peoples' butt without working. We have to work a little bit harder than the next guy and if we have that mentality coming back then we're going to be competitive in all our games. If not, if we're feeling sorry for ourselves or giving up on each other, then we have no chance. But, I feel very strongly that the group of guys that we have and coaches will get the most out of them and get the most out of this season."
On defensive end Jarvis Jenkins and safety Trenton Robinson:
"Yes, Trenton Robinson is [on the injury list]. He has some soreness, weakness, he's on crutches. He might miss a few weeks here and there, we're not sure, but he has a high ankle sprain. That's probably the biggest concern we have is Trenton... Jarvis had a rib, looks like he's day-to-day, but it's not bad news on him, he's just sore right now."
On why this team would need 'a slap in the face':
"That's a good question. We've had some success a little bit. We went to Philadelphia, they played hard, lost 37-34. We had a lot of things go wrong as far as some unfortunate mistakes. But, you know, I just think that sometimes you need a beating like this to let people know that you have a lot of work to do. When you're in close games like that and you win 41-10 with 10 sacks on defense and you have 500 yards of offense the next week, people tend to think that they might be a little bit better than they are and coaches included. So, despite being -2, I just think that now that we're 1-3, reality check has come in full force and we don't have a choice now. There's no wasted reps now. We have to take advantage of all our reps and all of our time together to get this thing turned around because we have dug ourselves into a hole so to speak and we've got to get out of it quickly."
On if he will take a more active role with the defense either schematically or with its intensity:
"The guys are playing hard, there's no doubt about it. We just failed to make some plays. We have a couple of young corners. Losing DeAngelo Hall and Bashaud [Breeland] had to play a lot of minutes early in the game at corner for the first time after not getting any live reps in practice that week because of the short week. [It] had a little bit of impact on him. And then, of course, the soreness and the injuries to Hatcher and Orakpo hurt our pass rush a little bit in my opinion. And we lost Jarvis Jenkins early, so he was down. I don't think schematically was really the issue, I just think we failed to make some plays. There's some things we could do schematically a little bit different, and I will go in and see what's going on and if I can help in any way and put my two cents in and change a few things we will, but I don't really think it's really schematic-related. I think more so it was just guys not making plays and finishing tackles and competing when the ball was in the air. And not to mention, it was Eli Manning making some dynamic throws and being very efficient. He showed why he's won two Super Bowls. He came in and was efficient and made some good plays."
On tight end Jordan Reed:
"He's still got the hamstring and he's rehabbing as hard as he can go right now. We're very hopeful that he can get back sooner than later. But like I said before, those hamstrings are all different. His was a bad one when he did it, but he is coming along at a good pace right now."
On if Reed could play against Seattle:
"There is a chance, yes… 'So you're saying there's a chance.' [Laughter]"