News | Washington Commanders -

Quotes: Jay Gruden And Joe Barry (10.08.15)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

Opening statement:"Chris Culliver did not participate, DeAngelo Hall did not participate, Jordan Reed did not participate. Limited was DeSean [Jackson] and Perry [Riley, Jr.] and everybody else was full."

On CB Chris Culliver's MRI results:

"Yeah, they came back and they were positive. They were positive — good — in a good way for us. No damage, just some things that he's got to deal with from a pain standpoint. We're trying to get it alleviated but we don't know how long that will be."

On if TE Jordan Reed has done any physical activity:

"No, he's in the system right now, protocol system. It's symptom-related. Once he is relieved of his symptoms, then he can come back and participate, but until then we can't see him."

On how he would decide to let Culliver play on Sunday:

"I think a lot of it is on how he feels. You know, I think if he's dealing with a lot of pain then obviously he probably won't go out there. I think it's going to depend tomorrow with how he's feeling. If he can go out there and run around a little bit tomorrow and feel pretty good, then there's a good chance he'll play. If not, then there's a chance we'll have to wait a week — see how he's doing next week. I can only go by what he says. I trust Chris very much so and if he feels like he can't go, he can't go. If he feels like he can go, we'll give him a shot."

On the balance of when to trust a veteran player or when to protect him from himself:

"That's all we have is trust. These guys our pros and they all want to play and compete but they also want to compete at the highest level. If they feel like they can't go out there and give their 100 percent because of injury, then they have to get well."

On if CB DeAngelo Hall had a setback:

"No, he's in a normal rehab. He went out there with the trainers early to try to get some work in. He's slowly progressing. He's actually coming along a lot better than we thought, but we'll have to wait and see on him, too."

On WR DeSean Jackson's progress:

"Yeah, he's making progress…. We'll have to wait and see, you know. Hamstrings, man… I don't know if anybody has ever pulled a hamstring, but you just, you have to really gradually take it day by day and slowly push your limits a little bit more. You can't overdo it right away, otherwise you'll re-pull it, but he's taking the right steps. [Head Athletic Trainer] Larry [Hess] and he are working very hard together and we'll have to wait and see, too."

On the team's ability to receive messages to improve areas that were 'perceived as weaknesses':

"Well, it's important. You always want to strengthen your weaknesses. We feel like we've addressed them. It's up to the players to go out there and actually perform. Then you rely on your captains to really push the younger guys into being in good situations. Then, of course, the coaching staff has done an excellent job of stressing the important things from a fundamental standpoint to a scheme standpoint to an effort standpoint. When you do that the correct way, you'll get good results but we have to maintain that level. We can't play well one quarter and not well the next quarter. We've got to maintain our effort through four quarters, obviously our fundamentals through four quarters, especially against a good team like Atlanta. But the issues are always being addressed and talked about. The effort is always being addressed and talked about, but it's up to the players and the players have done an excellent job of buying in and performing."

On if he has seen consistency from WR Jamison Crowder in practice this week:

"Yes, no question and we've seen that all throughout training camp with him. He'd flash one day and we'd be like, 'Dang, this guy looks pretty good,' then he'd flash the next day and it was a consistent thing with him until he got hurt. And then, obviously, we had to take a step back with him and other players were stepping up in his absence, but when he did come back, he's always performed at a high level. Just when he first got here in the rookie minicamp, you could tell the game wasn't too big for him. He understood football. He's great in and out of his cuts and has strong hands and you can see that he's a tough guy. He'll go up in traffic. I don't have any doubt that he's going to continue to progress as a young player and be a big impact for this football team."

On if the team is doing anything to avoid 'letdowns' after losses:

"We addressed the past a little bit. We're trying to let the past be the past and we're trying to make this a new… we have a lot of new players here, a new group of leaders, obviously. We've had some injuries here and there. New guys have had to step up, but for the most part, I feel good about the way these guys are preparing and working. And as long as they come to work every day and they're trying to improve each and every day, like they did yesterday, like they did today, like they will tomorrow, then when you roll the ball out there, you just hope that they continue with the great effort and let things will happen the way that they will. I don't feel like there's going to be any issues as far as 'letdowns.' I don't think there's any way we can have any letdown based on our past the last few years. I'm excited about the way these guys are going to handle victory. It's going to be good to see how they do, especially on the road, which will be a big test for them."

On preparing a quarterback to play indoors:

"Practicing inside is a dream for a quarterback. You love going inside. You've got the fast turf, you've got the fast track. It's the noise that is the difference. We try to simulate the noise with the loud music and all that where you have to simulate silent counts and different snap counts is the biggest thing you have to adjust. For the most part, throwing the football, you love throwing in a dome as a quarterback. There is no wind, obviously no weather circumstances. You just let it rip. The biggest issue is snap count. Atlanta does an excellent job with their defensive line of getting off on the snap. You can see it at home especially. It is a major advantage when you are on the road for the defensive line mostly, getting off on the snaps. We have to do a good job of snap count and handling that is what we're working on this week."

On his grade on the offensive line:

"I think they've done a good job. I think there are still things we can improve on, no question about it. We're working on that every day. I think we're No. 1 in rushing. I think our third down conversion rate is right around 50 percent, which is excellent. And we've only given up four sacks, four and a half, if you want to say five you can – and we've thrown the ball quite a bit. I think they've been very solid. We lost [Shawn] Lauvao, Spencer Long stepped in and played well. Trent [Williams] has been excellent at left tackle. Kory Lichtensteiger has been solid at center, making all the calls and communicating. Brandon [Scherff] for a rookie and Morgan [Moses] for only his second year and those two guys playing together for the first time, I think have done some excellent things. I feel like those guys are just going to continue to get better and better. We're excited about the way they are playing."

On WR Julio Jones and the Falcons' ability to move him around:

"He's a great player wherever he is. When you line up a great player at one spot, sometimes you can cloud to him, you can do some things to him. When you move him around – you put him in the slot, you put him over here, you put him in motion – that's a little bit more difficult. There's a lot more communication that has to take place. Kyle [Shanahan] does a great job of moving him around, like most coaches do with excellent receivers. It's just somebody you have got to be aware of. I made this reference the other day, I said he's like a great basketball player – he's going to get his touches. He's going to get his points. We've just got to make sure he doesn't hurt us with the over-the-top big plays and make sure when he does get the ball we have a group effort to get him down. His strength isn't just running by you, he's excellent after the catch. He runs through tackles and has got a big strong stiff arm and he's hard to bring down. Safeties, corners, linebackers – we're all going to have to have a great group effort as far as pursuit is concerned to get him on the grass."

Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry

On S Kyshoen Jarrett:

"The thing that's kind of been cool is that we kind of fell into Kyshoen playing nickel back in training camp. It was kind of a blessing in disguise. You know, [Bashaud] Breeland got hurt, so we had to juggle some things around. I can't remember when it was, but it was the first week of training camp and we started training him. He just got better and better and better with it. He played really well against St. Louis and played very well again last week. He's an unbelievable kid. He's still a rookie. He's going to make rookie mistakes, but he just loves football. He's into it. He just one of those mature rookies that really works at it. It was exciting to see."

On Jarrett's skillset and talents that enabled his success in the nickel role:

"It's more of a mentality than anything. Obviously every guy that's on a NFL football field has the skillset, but I just think what he brings to the table is just the bulldog mentality. He's tough. He has got unbelievable work ethic. He's got unbelievable 'want-to.' I think he's one of those guys who was a late round draft pick, so I think he's always working to say, 'Hey, I deserve to be here.' It's exciting when things like that happen for young players."

On if playing young players in the secondary alters his approach:

"No. I kind of talked about last week when Cully [Chris Culliver] was a question mark. We have a 53-man roster. We have starters and starters-in-waiting. When it's unfortunate that a guy can't go, that next man steps up. We're going to keep doing what we do. The train is going to keeping rolling. It's up to that individual to step up and understand that when you're in the huddle as one of the 11, you're a starter."

On his comfort level with CB Quinton Dunbar's lack of experience at corner:

"Well, I'd be lying to you if I sat up here and said, 'Oh, no, I'm good. It's fine.' He's a young kid that doesn't have a lot of game action. Again, the thing that I fall back to is that's the reason you have OTA's, that's the reason you have training camp, that's the reason you play four preseason games. He does have that under his belt, so in that sense his been training and preparing. Four months of training is still relatively new to a new position. But as I mentioned last week, he has got a great skillset. He's long, he can run and those are good places to start."

On if this is the point where they have to mix things up to avoid becoming predictable on defense:

"Yeah, absolutely… We call it self-scout. You've got to self-scout yourself and everybody does it. You self-scout during the preseason. But. yeah, absolutely I think that's something you always have to look at and gauge and make sure that you're not becoming too predictable in what you do. No different on offense. Offense, obviously, offensive coordinators self-scout themselves as well. But we're still a firm believer, too, we're going to do what we do really well. We're going to do what we've practiced in OTAs and what we've practiced in training camp and what we've practiced in eight games — four preseason, four regular season. But, yeah, you've always got to make sure you stay ahead of the curve as far as self-scouting yourself."

On if LB Ryan Kerrigan is still knocking off rust or if he's pressing too much in his first few weeks:

"Maybe, but Ryan's played a ton of football. I don't know how much. I still stand pretty firm on the decision the medical staff made with him not playing in the preseason. I don't know how much Ryan Kerrigan is going to get out of playing in the preseason, still. I still feel good with that. Ryan is playing his butt off. He really is. He's doing a lot of good things for us. As we've talked before, no one is harder on himself than Ryan Kerrigan. Yeah, it would have been good to get those two, but it's like when we're at the rec center playing basketball and you get a breakaway, and you go up and clang a layup and everyone says, 'You can't miss the layup!' He missed a couple layups, so hopefully it doesn't happen again."

On his impressions of the defense's final stop against Philadelphia:

"Well, I think, we talked about the word 'resilient.' Our guys were really [resilient] because we had a brutal third quarter. They hit a couple explosion plays on us, but everyone on the sidelines, everyone through the course of that stayed the course. We got settled down. Then, in the fourth quarter, we had three huge third-down stops – obviously, the one that Kyshoen made the play to get back the ball back to our offense to go on the final drive. Football is a crazy sport. You've got to play 60 minutes. It doesn't matter how well you play the first 30, the next 15, you've got to finish the game and our guys, they really showed a lot of 'resilient' as a team. I thought it was pretty cool to see as a team — offense, defense, special teams. That was a great win for the team."

On facing Atlanta RB Devonta Freeman and the Atlanta receiving corps:

"Kind of like Kyshoen is a great example of taking advantage of an opportunity, 24 [Freeman] for them is the same thing. Taking an opportunity and taking advantage of it. He's played his tail off the last two weeks, not only running the ball but catching the ball also. Obviously No. 2 [QB Matt Ryan], No. 11 [WR Julio Jones] – great players, no doubt about it. They've got a bunch of really good players. I've been going against Roddy White for years. He's a great player. 85 [Leonard Hankerson], who was here, he's I think third in the league in third down receptions right now. They've got a bunch of guys across the board and 24 is no different. That's what's great about this league, when a guy goes down, a guy gets an opportunity. Take advantage of it and the sky's the limit on what you can do. He's taken advantage of his opportunity."

On lining up LBs Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy in different stances:

"I think it's just the simple… that's the nice thing about our system is that we have the ability to go 3-4 and we have the ability to go four-down. Ryan, Trent, Preston [Smith], Jackson [Jeffcoat], all of them obviously, when we're in a base 3-4 mentality, they're stand-up outside backers. When we go into a four-down, they can really line up anywhere. We have the ability to line them up over the guard if we want. It takes a special type of guy and I think all four of those guys have traits to be able to stand up and rush, drop, whatever. Same thing out of a three-point when we get into a four-man-down look. They've got the ability to rush, they've got the ability to drop. It's nice for us because with having that flexibility you are able to do a lot of different things with those guys. They clearly fit the mold of being able to do both."

On if CB Bashaud Breeland's performance against Dez Bryant last year gives him confidence about his potential matchup with Falcons WR Julio Jones this week:

"Absolutely. Bree had a great game in that game last year. The thing about it, you've got to obviously give those great wideouts their due because they obviously deserve it. They're game changers. But also at the point you've got to be able to do what you do and not get completely out of whack. No, I'm glad that we do have a guy like Breeland that has been able to go against top-notch wideouts and perform very well."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.