News | Washington Commanders -

Quotes: Jay Gruden And Joe Barry (9.17.15)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On how the new practice schedule that gives players Monday off is working out:

"It's working out good actually. The players have a mandatory day off. It used to be Tuesdays. We'd bring them in Monday after the game for treatment and a little workout and watch film. We just flipped the days, gave them Monday off – where they could still come in and get their treatment. And now Tuesday they come in, we've graded the film. It gives us some extra time to grade the film. Everybody has cooler heads, watch the film, grade the film, and then we can also introduce our next opponent on Tuesday instead of doing everything on Wednesday. It helps Wednesdays out, it helps Tuesdays out. It's worked out good so far. It's only been one time, so…"

On injuries:

"Obviously DeSean [Jackson] will be out. Terrance Knighton was limited today. Justin Rogers did not participate. [Martrell] Spaight did not participate. [Tom] Compton was limited. Full practice was DeAngelo Hall, Kory Lichtensteiger, Trent Williams, Jackson Jeffcoat, and then Jordan Reed was limited."

On having to continually shuffle around members of the secondary:

"It's not easy. You'd like to have some cohesion back there but unfortunately with injuries and the little suspensions, it's been hard. Even throughout training camp, [Bashaud] Breeland got hurt and then D-Hall had an injury and Jeron [Johnson] got hurt. We had injuries back there so we haven't really been cohesive back there. The guys that have been playing have been doing OK. [David] Amerson has taken advantage, obviously, and now Breeland is coming back. You would like to have some stability back there. Unfortunately last year a similar type thing happened. We had a lot of injuries, playing with guys that just got in our building. Hopefully, knock on wood, once we get [Chris] Culliver back next week we'll get some stability for the rest of the year."

On if there are benefits to all of these defensive backs getting reps during that time:

"That is, that's one good thing. Sometimes when you go into all training camp and you have the same group getting all of the first team reps and the majority of the reps, when somebody does get injured the other guy hasn't had that many reps. But we've been fortunate – not fortunate – but we've had the luxury of letting these other guys get the reps. Trenton Robinson got a ton of reps, Jeron got a ton of reps. Duke [Ihenacho] obviously being out is going to hurt us. Amerson got a ton of reps. Those guys have got the work. [Will] Blackmon obviously hasn't but he's a veteran guy, he knows the system and he shouldn't have any problem."

On how much CB Will Blackmon could be expected to play this week:

"Well, he's pleasantly a very bright man. He knows football. He's played a lot of football in his day. He's picked up this system very fast. He's going to play some, no question about it. How much, I don't know yet. It just depends on what type of packages they're in and we're in at the time."

On if he could shuffle the roster because of LB Martrell Spaight's injury:

"Yeah, we could. We're hoping we get a word on Spaight here pretty soon but we obviously have Terrance [Plummer] on our practice squad and that's an option that we could look at. We want to definitely go into the game with four inside backers, so in order to do that if Spaight can't go, we'd have to bring up Plummer or add somebody else."

On the importance of stretching the field to back up the Rams' defense:

"I think it's important. I don't think it'll matter to them, that's what they do. That's the style that they play with. They feel like their corners can cover in their single-high deal. They do mix up some two-high eventually down the road once you get moving the ball on them. We're going to have to run the ball – eight-man, seven-man, six-man boxes – effectively. Figure out a way but when we do throw it protection is the first priority. They bring a lot of different blitzes. They have got great pass rushers even when they don't blitz. It'll be a great challenge for us. Obviously they took it to us last year, shutting us out. Hopefully we'll be ready for them."

On Rams running backs Todd Gurley and Tre Mason:

"Well, Todd is a special player. He's big, he's strong, he's fast. If you're going to draw up a running back on Xbox, it's probably going to look like Todd Gurley. He's big, strong and fast. We'll have to see. Like I said before, you play their scheme more so than the player. You have to understand when Mason or Gurley are in the game, you have got to wrap up and you better bring some extra people to the party to get them down. You better be pursuing backside, you can't take any plays off. All 11 guys have got to do their job as far as finishing plays. Obviously our sense of urgency has got to be high, on high-alert when Todd gets the ball or Tre or anybody for that matter – [WR] Tavon [Austin] when he's in the backfield or on his bubble screens or jet sweeps. We've got to be on high alert and we've got to really pursue to the football."

On if he uses the shutout last year as motivation:

"We shouldn't need any motivation right now. We've won seven games in two years. So we're motivated to get this thing turned around whoever we play. Obviously you never want to get shutout, but I think our guys are motivated to get our first home win in front of our crowd."

On his response to the Rams' captains last year:

"Well, I don't know who they sent out at captains, I know who we sent out. Coaches have different ways of trying to motivate their team pregame. If their way was to send out guys who they got in that trade, then so be it. I don't know how he motivates his organization, it didn't affect us one iota. What affected us, they played better than us that game. Who they sent out for captains had nothing to do with it. I'm more interested in how we play when the whistles are blown and between the whistles. I don't really care who they send out for a pregame warmup. We'll going to have to strap it up and play our best game Sunday."

On who the No. 2 quarterback will be Sunday:

"We're practicing and we haven't figured out who all of our people are yet. Everybody gets their practice time and reps and they're doing a good job. We'll make that final 46-man roster deal at whatever time – 11:30 on Sunday."

On if TE Jordan Reed's limited status in practice today was planned:

"He just had a little tweak today. I think it's minor. We just held him out of a period or two."

On what Reed tweaked:


On the challenge when the Rams isolate a tight end on a safety like the Redskins do with Reed:

"Yeah, it's a great challenge. If you're in man coverage, your safety has to go out there. Somebody is going to have to strap it up and play. If you're in zone coverage, you'll have a corner out there. It just depends on what the coverage call is. We scored obviously last week with Jordan. We feel like that's a good matchup on a safety as I'm sure they do with their tight ends. Luckily, our guys have seen that look and that formation with Jordan out here a ton. They've gotten some reps at it. Hopefully, we'll be up to it. You've got the quick slants, you've got the back-shoulder fade, you've got the fades. It's a tough down for those guys."

On if TE Anthony McCoy is "up to speed" enough to play Sunday:

"He is. He's picked it up very well. He had a good day at practice today. Like I said, the numbers — as far as how many tight ends we're dressing, how many O-linemen, how many DBs, how many D-linemen — is still up in the air right now. We have a general idea but we have to have another one day, good day at practice. The injury report will have a major effect on whether or not we dress three tight ends or not."

Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry

On the challenge the secondary has faced by not being able to play together consistently this year:

"Yeah, but that's the NFL. It's a challenge each and every week, but the thing that we just keep preaching and keep talking to guys about it is the NFL season is a marathon. It's not a sprint. It's war of attrition and you've got to have the best guys up every week. We kind of have a motto, 'We have starters and we have starters-in-waiting.' So, we don't have a bunch of backups; we have guys that are starters-in-waiting. Every starter-in-waiting is one play away from being that guy getting his number called. So, that's the way you've got to prepare, that's the way you've got to think. Whether it's to go in and finish a game or going and having to be the starter next week for the rest of the season or an extended period of time or one week, that's the mindset that we try to build with them from day one, so next man up, let's roll."

On how CB Bashaud Breeland looks:

"Well, I think all of you guys have gotten to know Bree in the time that he's been here. In the five months that I've been with him, he is – as a competitor – he is one of the best competitors I've ever been around. So, I think Bree is always going to come out there and compete. There's no doubt about that. I think the thing that was good for him is that he got that fourth preseason game in and was able to knock a lot of rust off. The thing that really stinks for Bree is that he not only has this suspension to that he had to deal with last week, but he was out three or four weeks with the knee injury that he got early in camp. So, the good thing was he came back a lot earlier than expected. He practiced the whole week of Baltimore. He practiced the whole week obviously of Jacksonville. He was able to go out and get some game reps. He played almost three quarters, knocked a lot of rust off. So I think anytime you go play your first game, for him his first game is going to be this week, but from a competitor-level standpoint, I don't worry about him going out and competing."

On Breeland's versatility:

"I think it's huge. He can play inside. He can play outside and we will do that with him. We have different packages. Bottom line, I'm fired up for him because a guy that is so passionate about the game, a guy that loves the game so much, it's going to be fun to have [No.] 26 out there with a helmet on."

On how important it is to have a leader like S Dashon Goldson in the secondary:

"No doubt. I think I mentioned it last week. I refer to… Dashon is 'the dude that drives the bus for us.' He's the leader, and to have him back there not only as a player, but just leadership. I think I bragged on him last week on how smart he is, how he calls plays out before they're happening just because of certain formations or certain splits. So when you have a guy like that with his ability and veteran presence, it's awesome."

On S Trenton Robinson saying he is working on alignment issues and understanding his help, and if Barry has seen Robinson working on those things in practice:

"Yeah, sure. That's everything, I think no matter what position you play, but especially playing in the back end. Leverage and knowing where your help is everything. Now obviously the guy that you're covering, they get paid and they practice too. They get paid to beat leverage. But I was proud of Trenton for stepping up in the way he did when Duke [Ihenacho] got hurt. What was it, the eighth play?  To be able to go in and us really not miss a beat with him playing, that's kudos to T-Rob and the way that he's prepared and really the offseason and preseason that he's had. He's improved and that's what we always talk about – daily improvement from phase one to phase two to phase three of the offseason then obviously the training camp, each week playing preseason games. He's steadily gotten better and improved, so he's a great example of a dude taking advantage of his opportunity."

On DE Jason Hatcher playing inside:

"I think in what we do here and what he's really good at it, it's just a system fit. We're going to let Hatch do what he does and that's playing on the edge of people and getting off and using his explosiveness. People also don't realize how good Hatch is on the move. I think it was just a perfect fit in the things that we ask that position to do and the things that he's good at. I bragged on D-Gold last week. Hatch is, when you talk about a veteran leader, it's good when you have veterans that are good players but a veteran that's a good player that does everything right, that studies, that works hard, that comes out and practices every day, that takes notes in every meeting – that's fun. We got that obviously in a guy like D-Gold and D-Hall in the DB room. We've got that in Hatch in the D-Line room, and that's impressive for me to see."

On if there is pressure on the defensive line to create pressure on quarterbacks:

"That's the thing, we refer to it as – it's kind of ironic – it's pressure getting on the quarterback but D-lineman don't look at it as pressure on them to get pressure. Because you ask any D-lineman 'Hey, you want to rush four or you want to come after them? You want to blitz or you want rush four?' They'll be like. 'No. coach let's rush four. Let us do it.' So I think it's a mentality and a mindset that has to be created. We have that here with that room. You'll ask each one of them man-to-man, 'Would you rather them call a blitz or just a four-man rush and drop seven?' Every single one of them would be like. 'Hey, put the rush on us, let us rush four and let's go.' That's fun when you get that mindset and that culture built. But it does, it puts it on them, because again, they're outnumbered. There's five O-linemen, there's four D-linemen. They possibly have a tight end, they possibly have a back. So sometimes you're rushing four against five, six or seven. It's something that they embrace and they love the challenge. They love rushing four."

On how he has had to adjust because of the shuffle at cornerback:

"Again, like we've said before, injuries and guys getting banged up and coming in and out of the lineup, that's part of today's NFL. We never really make a big deal of it. Like I said, it's a next man up mentality. I'm always a glass half-full guy the way I look at things. With some of those injuries that we had in camp – some guys missed five or six days, some guys missed a couple weeks – that was an opportunity for young guys to get reps. They're really going to use that, they're going to refer back to those reps that they were able to get in camp."

On CB David Amerson:

"He got spun around a little bit on the touchdown but that's a tough down for a corner down there. We were in man coverage. We had rotated everything away for him so he was basically zero on the backside. Now, we challenge him to win that. Could have been a little bit better with his technique, could have been better with his eyes that would've helped, but David's a guy that every day just comes to work and shows up and forces him to get better."

On LB Preston Smith:

"I think with Preston, Preston is definitely able and ready to play more. He will play more. You can never set a perfect number when you have rotation. It was the same thing with [DE] Stephen Paea. We got a rotation, it's a series rotation. Well, if one guy's series you go three-and-out and the next guy's series goes eight plays, then the numbers are going to be skewed. But that's a good problem to have when we have depth and we have numbers. Preston, his play numbers will increase every week because he's a good young player. That was a big play that he made. It was a heck of a rush."

On how much more he values Goldson's leadership when he sees the changes in the secondary:

"Like I said, I said it last week, I'll say it this week, I'll probably say it every week. There's nothing better than veteran leadership. There really is. Genuine veteran leadership, a guy that not only talks the talk but he walks the walk. I tell the young guys all the time, when you're fortunate enough to have a guy like that, I mentioned last week I was fortunate enough to be around Derrick Brooks. I told every rookie when they walked in the building, 'If you want to know how to act and be a pro in this league, watch that guy,' and it's the same thing. I've told young guys, 'Watch Dashon Goldson.' Every aspect of his game — whether it's in the weight room, the meeting room, the practice field, game day — that's how a pro should be. It's vital, no question, when you can really have a guy like that and rely on a guy like that."

On LB Ryan Kerrigan's performance last Sunday:

"Well, I mean, he had a half-sack, had a huge fourth-and-one tackle for loss. But Ryan is… Again you guys are asking me about guys that are easy to brag on. It killed Ryan Kerrigan, he was embarrassed that we kept him out of the preseason. And a lot of times, unfortunately in this day and age, you keep a veteran out of a preseason game, they're thanking you as a coach. He was legitimately pissed off because we were keeping him out of games. We weren't playing him. He felt, 'I'm not earning my check. It's a game. I've got to go play.' So I think that's what makes Ryan Kerrigan the type of player that he is. If it's a pass, he thinks he should be getting a sack on every play. If it's a run play, he thinks that he should be defeating his man and making the tackle on every play. That's the way he drives himself and that's the way he thinks. He's one of those guys that it's easy to coach hard because he wants to be coached hard. He wants to be not told, 'Hey Ryan, you did a good job,' because he's looking, 'No, I didn't. I didn't make a play.' He is very, very hard on himself. Most of the really, really good players in this league are very hard on themselves. He's another phenomenal guy to be around."

On if he got a sense from the defense that they were close last week and are ready to get back out there:

"I went around and told each man, 'There's no consolation prizes for losing or for second place. This is a win-or-lose business.' Our job is to hold our opponent to one less point than we score. We didn't do that. We didn't do enough. But, I think the guys were… We came in — it's always a little hairy, you never know how the guys how are going to act when you come back, the first day from a loss — but they came back in, we watched the film, corrected the things that we needed to correct. We left a lot of plays out there. We mentioned we only had one turnover. We left four or five legitimate turnover opportunities out there that we missed. You point those things out. You point the things how we can even play better and improve on. They loved it. They were eager and had a great day at practice yesterday, had a great day at practice today, so it was good."

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.

Related Content