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Quotes: Jay Gruden, Alex Smith 05-23-18

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On his early impressions of QB Alex Smith:

"He's been good. He's got good command of the offense already. Great command in the huddle. He's just getting a feel for the receivers, the players around him, how we call things, but overall, the first two days, I would say I'm very pleased with his quick progression and learning. I knew that wouldn't be an issue with as much as he's played in a similar-style system. So now it's just a matter of him getting used to the players around him."

On the offensive line:

"They were all here, pretty much, other than Trent [Williams]. Trent is rehabbing back home and Morgan [Moses] is still rehabbing. Ty Nsekhe is still rehabbing. T.J. Clemmings is still rehabbing. [Tyler] Catalina had a little tweak yesterday, so he's out. I think everybody else should be here."

On if he is concerned about the offensive line:

"No, not at all. The big thing is getting them healthy. And there's nothing they can do about it. I mean, they're still rehabbing from surgeries. It's not like they're taking time off and fishing, you know? They're rehabbing and I have total faith in those guys and what they're doing – the guys that are here. And I have no problem with Trent. I saw Trent squatting five- or six-hundred pounds the other day, so I think Trent is well on his way to being in good shape. So I think once camp rolls around, I think they'll be ready to roll."

On if G Tyler Catalina suffered a long-term injury:

"No, I don't think so. He just got his feet tangled up in the turf a little bit."

On if he can envision CB Orlando Scandrick starting opposite of CB Josh Norman:

"Yeah, we're trying him out there. Without a doubt, he's got experience there. He's got experience at nickel. You see him at nickel. Having him here is a great benefit, not just for our defense but for Jamison [Crowder] and all out slot receivers working against a nickel with great experience. He brings great experience to the defensive back room, but he also helps the offense in the way he sees things and communicates with us, maybe things we can do better as far as attacking certain coverages."

On CB Quinton Dunbar:

"When you talk about corners, you talk about measurables. He's got the measurables. He's got the length, he's got the speed, now it's just a matter of him getting comfortable with his coverages and obviously his techniques. And he's doing a better job with that. I think James [Rowe] and Torrian [Gray] have done a great job with him, and Dunny has done a good job of really studying the game, not just bump-and-run man-to-man, but different coverages, squat techniques and deep-third techniques. All that stuff, he's doing a much better job, more comfortable in the system."

On if there were any unexpected absences today:

"I don't know. I didn't take roll call today… Zach Brown is moving into the area and I think he was transitioning in that."

On WR Robert Davis:

"He hurt his toe yesterday. He got tangled up in the turf. Again, we want to be outside, but the outside fields don't handle water too well, so we had to go on the turf, and turf always, for whatever reason, results in a couple tweaks here and there with toes and ankles or what have you."

On if he watched Norman on Dancing With The Stars:

"I watched every episode of that, and the more I watched, the more impressed I was with his ability to learn that stuff because I know I have zero rhythm. I would be voted off the first episode. So I think the work ethic he put in, the work he put in to get ready for that show and then also fly back on redeyes and get here for practice or OTAs, I just really have a lot of admiration for what he did and what he accomplished, man, because that's not easy. I thought he should have won the dang thing. I think he got ripped off, to be honest with you."

On if he would complain to officials about Norman finishing as a runner-up:

"Yeah, I should call up there. I didn't have a red flag. I would have thrown it. No, I just think that's a great tribute… I think that just shows what type of competitor he is. Everything he does he tries to be successful at and that showed it on that show."

On how much he has focused on new rules regarding kickoffs and lowering the helmet:

"Yeah, our special teams coach went up there with a couple other special teams coaches and they talked about possible rule changes. I don't know what's been officially set yet, so we've kind of talked about it and tinkered around with it at rookie OTAs – what the rule might possibly be – but I'll wait and see what the official wording is of the rule. We'll adjust. And the lowering of the helmet, I don't know which ones they decided to go with, so we'll see. I know there's been a lot of talk about bull rushes and they're trying to obviously protect the players, but we've just got to be careful."

On if he thinks kick returns might become more prevalent:

"I don't know. That's a good question. I think without the guys getting a running start, number one, it could be. I think it's just something… I have to see it before I can really make any judgments on it. Until I actually see it, I think the type of player on kickoff might change a little bit. You might need more speed obviously if you're going to start from a standing start, but I don't know. The same with kickoff returns. You've got to get back there. I think you'll see less… There won't be any offensive linemen out there. Sometimes you'll have an offensive lineman to help the wedge, but I think for the most part, you're going to see more speed guys. But I've got to wait and see how that impacts.  The good thing about our kickoff team, I think having Hop [Dustin Hopkins] here, our kicker, he can do a lot of different things. He can high-hop, I mean, he can kick it high, he can pin you in a corner, he can kick it out of the end zone, so either way, we'll be good."

On if the team will experiment with the new kickoff rules before training camp:

"Yeah, we'll do it out here first, and then we'll work it against the Jets when they come to training camp. Then we have four preseason games to get a look at it and go from there."

On Josh Doctson and the progress of the wide receivers:

"Josh has done great, man. He's been available for us and he's just getting that work with Alex, but he's done a good job. He looks good. He looks more comfortable as far as his stems and routes and understanding out breaking the huddle, just like that, knowing what to do. He's really never had a problem with that, but he just looks more comfortable. He's got a good feel. Paul [Richardson Jr.] has done an excellent job. You could see his speed out there today. Obviously Jamison had another big day today. He's been outstanding. Rob Davis, until his injury yesterday, had a big-time day. Mo Harris has stepped up still. He's lining up all over the place, doing a great job. We got some young guys stepping up. So it's fun to watch these guys compete. We've got a lot of good guys to choose from."

On the inside linebackers:

"Our depth chart is in flux right now. We're just going to look at guys in different spots, try to get guys reps and get the defense taught, and then we'll start to have the competitions once we get the pads on. The big thing is just to get them taught, lined up, and Josh Harvey [-Clemons] will play in there, Shaun Dion [Hamilton], get him up to speed, [Jerod] Fernandez, free agent from NC State, we'll get him up to speed. Obviously [Zach] Vigil is back, so we've got a lot of guys to choose from. Sometimes when a guy's not here, it opens the door for other guys to get their quality reps and their quality work and we can see what they can do."

On if he's been pleased with DL Jonathan Allen's progress:

"Yeah, we limited his reps today, and yesterday he got very little reps. He's just slowly working back into it, but just watching him in Phase 2, watching him in individual, he looks good. He's 100 percent, but we're still going to try to take care of his reps and monitor how much he's doing to make sure he's full-go for training camp. But I'm very pleased and anxious to see him get more work."

On his assessment of the running backs:

"I'll tell you what, just today in general, you could see the competition. You could see Rob Kelley step up. Samaje Perine's had a couple big days. Byron Marshall, I mean, he had a couple great routes today. He's running the ball between the tackles. [Kapri] Bibbs had some big runs yesterday. Obviously, Derrius Guice has come in here and fueled the fire a little bit. He's done an excellent job picking up what we're trying to do, and Chris Thompson is standing back here with a hat on backwards watching. I feel really good about where our running backs are right now. Competition's great, and it's going to continue to be so. I think that position will be one of strength this year."

QB Alex Smith

On what he looks for in OTAs:

"I think for one, the one thing with this new break, you know an extended time after the season, I think it does really make you appreciate the time together, right, the time back practicing because we're so limited now in practices. So I think every guy these last two days has enjoyed just getting back out there and losing yourself in the game, right? To be limited, it does make you miss it, and I think it makes you appreciate it, so that's been nice. You know, we had two good days of work. You've got to make the most of every day. With that being said, limited time together, so you've got to take a step with condensed time every day. It's been nice. Obviously no pads on, so the premium is on the skilled guys this time of year, which is fine with me as a quarterback."

On the competitiveness of S D.J. Swearinger Sr.:

"I think competition this time of year is the only way… I mean, everybody is doing their own thing, right? You've got 32 teams all on their own with the schedule out, all trying to work towards their goals, and I think competition is the only way you're going to get better this time of year, so you have to have that competitiveness back and forth. I think you've got to make each other better. You've got to slug it out this time of year. I mean, that's what it's all about."

On his development with the wide receivers:

"I think it's been really good. We've had great work. I think we're ready for this. We were ready for OTAs. We got a lot in, Phase 1 and Phase 2, we got a lot of reps in, QBs and receivers working on timing, so I think we were ready to kind of introduce the defense, and this is the next step in our progression. Talking, communicating as we see things together, reacting, thinking the same way, seeing the same thing, so this certainly is the next step for us in that progression."

On if there are certain measuring points he looks for in his offseason transition to a new team:

"No, I don't think you can rely on the fact that, 'Oh, it's the first year here.' Nobody cares. It's not like in the fall, you guys are going to be like, 'Ah, well, this is his first year here. We'll give him a break.' It just doesn't work that way. Executing is executing. Good ball is good ball. I think you know the difference. Playing this long, you feel like you've got a good grasp on it. We've got to go. There has to be a sense of urgency… When we get out there and line up and play, no one's taking it easy on you because you've got some new faces. It's just not how it works, so we've got to get up to speed."

On being in a leadership role:

"I think a lot gets made up of leadership in this league, especially with quarterbacks, and I think leadership isn't just giving speeches and being loud and talking a lot. That's not my definition of a leader. And, you know what, I think everybody has got it in them and everybody has a different style. I'm not just talking about quarterbacks, every guy in that huddle and I think it's really just being yourself. I know guys respect work ethic and they respect the guys that are invested and committed, and for me, it's really just doing that, right? Putting in the time, being myself, getting to know these guys. I think everybody is doing that. That's the same around the league. There's so much turnover year-to-year. Really this time of year, you have got to break those things down, get to know each other."

On the transition to a new team both on and off the field and how new players handle the transition:

"I don't know about anybody else. I can't speak for anybody else, but for me, ball is ball. It's fluid, right? I'm focused on football when I'm out on the football field, there's your release. Ball is ball. I'm going out there and trying to play, trying to execute, and that hasn't changed at all. Certainly there are some moving parts off the field, but I think any good pro can compartmentalize that stuff. It's certainly our job. That's what we're getting paid to do."

On similarities in the offenses he's run:

"It's tough to compare. I don't totally want to get into that. Both from West Coast worlds, so it's kind of like they are all Latin-based languages, you know, but they are not the same. There are some similarities, structure of the playbook, of how we call things, things like that. There are a lot of similarities but it's not the same language. I guess that's the best analogy I can make."

On the new league policy governing the National Anthem:

"It's my first time hearing of it right there out of your mouth. I have no idea. I know it's getting a lot of attention. I've got nothing for you. It would be tough for me to respond at this point."

On if it is difficult having so many offensive tackles missing:

"Can't worry about it. This time of year especially, like I said, this is kind of geared toward the skilled guys on both sides of the ball and so we definitely need to take advantage of this time because we do have the advantage. I mean, this is a next-man-up game. That's the deal, right? These guys have got to get ready in a hurry. You never know. You can't just rely on, 'Oh, when we just get these guys back.' We have got to get these guys up to speed. Next man up and they have to get ready to play."

On what he has done to get on the same page as RB Chris Thompson:

"I've watched a lot of film. Other than that, like I said, we take advantage of these reps with the guys that are out here, right? The schemes don't change. Certainly Chris is a special player. When he gets back, we'll have a chance to kind of dial that in. But conceptually for me, I'm just trying to go out there and execute regardless. The next-guy-in has to go win if coverage dictates that and the concept dictates that, then those guys have got to win and we have got to take advantage of that time right now."

On if he will take chances in practices to get a better feel for what his teammates are capable of:

"I think most of the time you're just trying to be the point guard out there based on the play call and the defense that you're getting, that really dictates where the football goes. Matchups play into that, but certainly this time of year, I think there's something to be said about pushing it a little bit. When we get to camp and real ball, you can kind of rein that in a little. I think this time of year there's something to be said about taking some chances down the field and taking some opportunities."