Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Quotes: Jay Gruden And Kirk Cousins (10.14.15)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

Opening statement:

"Did not participate, DeAngelo Hall, great big toe; Jordan Reed, concussion; Jason Hatcher, we rested him. Limited was [Bashaud] Breeland, shoulder; [Chris] Culliver, knee; Matt Jones, big toe; DeSean Jackson, hamstring; Kory Lichtensteiger, shoulder and finger; Stephen Paea, low back; Trent Williams, spine. Full were Perry Riley, [Kedric] Golston, [Pierre] Garcon, Spencer Long and Chris Thompson."

On if he has seen progress in WR DeSean Jackson:

"Yeah, that's what we're seeing. We're slowly starting to give him more and more reps. He's taking them and is looking pretty good. Like I said, with a hamstring you've got to work it and then you've got to recover, rehab it. Come out again tomorrow and see if he improves, see if he has any negative effects from the work today and we'll go from there. If not, then we'll keep progressing him."

On Jackson's rehab process:

"He's been with the trainers. They do a lot of ultrasound, a lot of rehab, a lot of getting back on the field, working and running. All kinds of treatments that they do down there. Larry [Hess] does a good job, the doctors do a good job. DeSean has actually been pretty good as far as coming in on time and doing his work. He wants to get on the field. He's put in the work to get back out on the field. Hamstrings just take time. There's a lot of guys throughout the league you see that have hamstring issues, that just takes time."

On TE Jordan Reed being able to attend and observe practice:

"It's very a positive step. To get him back out here and let him come to meetings is the first step back to recovery. It's a process and we just have to wait and see. It's out of our hands as far as how he's feeling. It's up to Jordan and the doctor when he gets cleared."

On if the team feels it is close to being very good:

"I hope so, I think so. That's the intent. I think people can see that we do have the talent. We're competing obviously on a play-by-play basis, on a daily basis. You can see it on tape. When you watch other teams play, you feel like you're as good. We should be performing better as far as results are concerned. We are making progress in my opinion as far as our effort, our desire to win, our preparation. All that stuff I feel like we're doing pretty good we just have got to get better results. We're close but we just have got to keep working."

On the "peaks and valleys" of the quarterback position:

"You learn. Every rep that you get is a learning experience in my opinion – positive reps and negative reps. It's important for him [QB Kirk Cousins] to take everything in and learn from it and understand that what happened against Atlanta, if we call the same play against the Jets, something totally different could happen. We've just got to make sure that we take each play for each entity and make sure we just learn from all of our decisions, all the plays that we have, all the reads, all the progressions, all our drops, footwork, fundamentals. It's a learning process. The New York Jets are going to give you a totally defense than the Atlanta Falcons. It's a totally different way to attack. We just have to continue to prepare and learn from everything we've done. He's done a good job of that."

On if the team can wait until Jackson is 100 percent:

"We need him at 100 percent. The way he plays, he needs to be 100 percent. He's not good to us at 65 percent. And he knows that. I've told him that many, many times. It's getting closer. You can see him running. He ran some deep balls today. But he hadn't really turned on the absolute gas that he has. We'll have to wait and see. Hopefully we'll get a couple tomorrow, maybe Friday, and see where he is. But I feel like the progression is good. I feel like he is very, very close. If it's not this Sunday, then it'd definitely be next weekend."

On balancing which players should play through injury as opposed to waiting until they're full-strength:

"Well, certain guys can play with certain injuries. But if you're a sprinter, if you're a fast runner, it's hard to play with a hamstring. That's what he gets paid to do is run fast. If he's not 100 percent and he's not running fast, then he's not effective for us. We've got other guys that can run faster when he's not at full strength. Offensive lineman, Kory is playing with a broken finger, messed up shoulder. All of our guys are playing with some kind of injuries and dings that they can play through. It depends on the injury, depends on the position. Quarterbacks can't play with a busted up arm. It's just the way football is. He'll be ready and I feel like he's working and when he is ready, he'll go."

On emphasizing points off turnovers:

"It's important to try and keep the momentum, like you say. Too many times we've not taken the momentum over and when we do get a little bit of momentum we don't keep it. That's part of growing up as a football team. As coaches, we've got to do a good job of making sure that we put the pedal down too, give these guys opportunities to really put our foot to the gas and keep our foot on their necks. Maybe we were a little bit too conservative with our play calling after turnovers and we have to look at that. I think we're doing a good job, we got three turnovers, but offensively we're not doing enough to capitalize. That's something that we do have to work on and we will."

On his level of concern with the secondary:

"Well, the good thing is we've had so many guys banged up that a lot of guys have gotten a lot of reps back there. They've gotten a lot of work so we feel pretty good. Will Blackmon played an outstanding game, so if one of those two guys can't go, we feel good about Will back there. If they both can go, obviously it'll be a great benefit, finally. I just have to wait and see. I think we have enough guys back there where we're OK right now. I think Breeland is going to be fine. It's different, a little sore shoulder for a DB than your knee. I feel good about Breeland where he is at, I think he'll go. We'll have to wait and see on Chris."

On if there were miscommunications in the passing game last week:

"I don't think we had any miscommunication. I think we had answers versus zone and man. All of our plays are built that way where if we call a zone play and they play man it's not like we're dead. I think we have man elements in all of our pass patterns that we call. It's just a matter of winning versus man-to-man and the quarterback getting out and throwing an accurate ball, the receivers getting the right depth and separating. It's going to be a great challenge this week because the New York Jets will play a lot of man and they have great corners, safeties, their nickel back is as good as any nickel in the league – Buster [Skrine]. They do sprinkle in zones. Every team you're going to have to beat man-to-man at certain times and you're going to have to beat zone and the quarterback is going to have to read it. It's just the communication process and the process of the quarterback going through his progressions and making the right reads and guys separating."

On if his young receivers are making the proper identifications:

"Yeah, for the most part. We could be better, there's no question about it but I don't think we're having any guys running, 'Oh god, that was the wrong route.' I think sometimes the depth issue might be there. Instead of running 12-14 yards, maybe they're breaking off a little too quick. I think that's the biggest issue we have right now. We've just got to push up and make sure we get all of our depth. For the most part, I think we don't have a lot of mental breakdowns, if that's what you're asking."

On if RBs Matt Jones and Alfred Morris can't get into rhythm if they're being rotated:

"I don't know. There probably is some validity to it, but there's also some validity to keeping them fresh and having a package of plays for each back that we feel good about. There are certain things that Matt Jones does better than Alfred. There are certain things that Alfred does better than Matt Jones. There are certain things that Chris Thompson does better than those other two guys. We try and mix and match our system to the best personnel that we have at that time on that play call. Obviously we'd love to have a hot guy and bust off some long runs and keep him in the game. But you bust off some long runs and he gets a little winded, it's nice to bring in Matt and really press the issue. Unfortunately for us, we didn't get any of those long runs. We were stuck in a lot of second-and-eight, second-and-nines, a lot of passing situations. That's why Chris was in there probably a little bit more and Matt Jones. We're not going to give up on the run but we'll try to get Alfred more involved."

On if it takes time for teams to settle back into rhythm after a bye week:

"Yeah, sometimes. You have to give them mandatory days off and then they get back and just getting back in football shape… It's amazing how much people forget in that amount of time. You've got to almost start over, refresh your memory and go back to the very beginning sometimes. I think most of these guys are pros. They just take the time off and recover a little bit, see their families and get away from football and then when they come back, they're ready to go. So it's not that big of an issue that I've seen."

On the challenge of facing Jets CB Darrelle Revis:

"Well, it's a great challenge. Every route you have to be perfect. He's very patient, he can run. There's really not a negative thing you can say about the guy. You'd like to say, 'Well, he's weak in the slot. He's not very good outside versus this move or this release or this size guy or this quick guy.' He's good versus everything. You've got to be on top of your game to get separation and even then the throw has got to be perfect because he's still going to be right there. You don't see a lot much major, major separation when he is in the game. But he's been beat before. Very good routes, we've got to be disciplined. We have got to be on time with the ball, very accurate. But we do have to take some shots if we can."

On T Trent Williams:

"He's in a little discomfort. He is in discomfort. We wanted to get him out there in individual, he went through all the meetings and all that. He's still participating from a mental standpoint. Just physically, we want to make sure he's right. We don't want to have an unnecessary guy hit him in the neck area or have somebody trip and have him fall and injure himself. He's such a big part of our offense that we want to make sure that he is right. He'll let us know when he is ready. I think he'll be OK."

On where the Jets' defensive line ranks:

"Yeah, you know, they stack up there. You can see their numbers defensively, I think they're No. 2 in the league in total defense. They're No. 1 against the pass, I believe. They've given up few rushing yards, but I don't know how. They really do a good job. They cover up both guards, the center and they're very strong at the point of attack. They pursue outstanding. Their linebackers are fast flow-ers. They play tight man-to-man. They get an extra guy in the box a lot of times. Very, very difficult defense to have a lot of success in and teams have tried to do a lot of things but haven't had much success so it'll be a great challenge for us. Very active defensive line, strong outside linebackers that force everything back into those guys and fast-flowing linebackers and corners that can cover, so they're really not a lot of weaknesses that they have defensively."

On Jets rookie DL Leonard Williams:

"He's a big athletic guy, you know what I mean? He can play nose guard. He can play 3-technique. Very athletic. They've got a great substitution pattern. All their guys, really, when they come in there, they're fresh and they're active and they're strong and they all bring something different to the table. Their coaches do an excellent job of substituting guys, keeping them fresh and making life miserable for offensive linemen."

Quarterback Kirk Cousins

On what he has learned from the past two games:

"Well, I think what I take from the experience is that this is a league that's going to test you. This is a league that you've got to bring it every week. It's a short memory. You're only as good as your last game. You've got to be consistent week-in and week-out and you can never get too high and you can never get too low. I try not to ride that emotion roller coaster, so we'll just keep going, stay consistent and try to learn from what didn't go well on Sunday and try to not have it repeat itself." 

On how difficult it is for young players to control emotions:

"I don't know if it matters if you're young or old, I just think it's human nature to have emotion take over and be a part of the way you process things. You have to able to detach that a little bit, just learn from things, focus on the process and get back to work. If you're going to provide emotion, provide positive emotion, energy and juice when you come back to work. Again, this isn't my first time going through a challenge, an adversity, a big game or whatever, so you just go back to what you've always done and trust that it'll handle itself."

On Jets CB Darrelle Revis:

"My only experience with him personally is in training camp last season when he was with the Patriots. I haven't played him since I've been in the league in an actual game, but I would think he ranks right up there with anybody if not the best. He'll be a great challenge for us and he's certainly earned the respect that we give him."

On if it is difficult to be patient with reads against the Jets' pressure:

"I think you've just got to stick to your rules, play by your rules, trust your rules and not deviate from what you're being coached to do and what your rules tell you to do. You know, the blitz can create a lot of big plays and you've got to avoid the negative plays – the sacks, the fumbles, the turnovers and those kind of things. When you do that, you give yourself a chance and you stay in it. Again, I think it's more on the receivers to make the plays and I think it's my job to get them the football. So, I'll try to be a distributor and get them the ball and then once the ball is in their hands, it's on them to turn it into big plays, explosive plays."

On if he would like to take more shots down the field:

"Yeah, I think you have to have a good understanding of when to take them. You want to be calculated when you do it and scheme it properly. And I think Jay [Gruden] would tell you he'd like to take more shots too. The opportunities will come. That's not something that I am too concerned about…I think that's week-to-week, the game plan, the personnel, the scheme, coaches decisions and the timing of it. But I think those shots will come, and when they do come, the key is for me is to make sure we hit them. Make sure the ball is thrown accurately on time and the give the guy a chance to make a play."

On WR DeSean Jackson's presence:

"DeSean certainly provides an element downfield that is unique and it is a strength of his to go down the field and track the football. Having him back will make a difference. The key will be just giving him a chance, letting him go make plays, putting the ball in his hands and then from there it's on him to do some special stuff, which he has proven he can do."

On G Brandon Scherff and T Morgan Moses:

"I really can't say enough good things about the two of them. I feel like overall our offensive line has done a really good job. Morgan and Brandon, especially being such young players, the pass protection, the run game, the mental side of the game, the work ethic, the approach day in and day out, just guys who bring a positive attitude to work. There's a humility there. They're guys that you just enjoy playing with. I think Redskins fans have a lot to be excited about with those two for a long time."

On what Jackson can bring to the table offensively:

"DeSean, you can't take a shot every play. You can't just send him deep all the time. You've got to have some variety and you've got to have the threat of him doing a lot of different things. It's not just going to be down the field. I think they key is to just give him opportunities and see if we can put the ball in his hands and give him opportunities to make plays. The key will be for me to make my reads honest and not force the ball to him, not predetermine things but read it out honestly. If the read tells me to go to him, go to him. But if not, progress and move on."

On if Jackson gives the team the ability to be more balanced on first down:

"I think any time your best players are on the field, you have a great chance as a play caller, as a quarterback, to do some special things. Getting DeSean back gives us that opportunity. I still think we're going to have the same plays in our playbook and it's just a matter of what we want to emphasize and when we want to call different things."

On if it is difficult to adjust to Jackson's speed:

"Great question. I don't know that it is too hard to adjust. I think we'll be able to get back at it quickly. We ran a route today that I felt like that he had been out there for the last several weeks. It worked well. He snapped it down and caught the ball well. It was on rhythm. I told him afterwards, 'You know, it feels like you've been here all along.' So I was encouraged by that. Certainly, there's a level of building chemistry with receivers and it takes time and that sort of a thing, but I think that part of the reason is that he's been here now for over a year and we've been able to work with him for a while. You know what he can do and the juice he has and it's pretty hard to overthrow him, so I'll put the ball out there for him and let him go get it. "

On if RB Alfred Morris' demeanor has changed this year:

"He's been very consistent and that's the mark of a great professional is a guy who comes to work every day, doesn't go up or down, is just consistent. When he's been very successful going to Pro Bowls, he's been the same guy. So, no matter what's going on around him, he's going to work really, really hard and have a humble attitude and do whatever he's told to do. That's why he's a guy you want in the huddle with you and why he's a guy you can count on and why he's so consistent is because he approaches the game and he approaches life that way." 

On if he can adjust throws for receivers running at different depths:

"Yeah, I think it's a combination. You know, it's an imperfect game. We talk about a receiver's got to take this many steps and he's got to get this yard-mark, and there is something to that. I think we have to be on the details and it's very important. To be a powerful offense, we've got to be on those and have attention made to them. But, at the same time, it's an imperfect game and you're going to have steps that are off, you're going to have times where things are not as you draw them up and you've got to be able to react. So, it's a balance, it's a little bit of both. It's, 'We'd love to have your steps be there, but Kirk, if he's not there, let's make the adjustment and put the ball in a different spot.' That ability to react on the move and say, 'OK, it was drawn up to look like this, but now, in the heat of battle, it doesn't,' that ability to react is something that I think comes with time and something that I want to get better at and improve upon to be able to improvise — if you will — off-schedule and react to what I'm seeing off-script. I think that's something I can improve upon."

On the importance of scoring points off turnovers:

"Couldn't agree more, especially when you're in the red zone. You want to finish those drives with touchdowns. You know, they're a lot of areas where we can improve but that would certainly be one where we're looking at ourselves and saying, 'How can we be better?'"

On if he evaluates each off-target incompletion to see what he can do differently:

"Yeah, certainly. We are going to go back and look critically at ourselves and how we can make sure that what was an incompletion in the future is a completion. I consider myself to be an accurate passer. If I miss, I go back and look at, 'OK, what did I do? Was it I over-strided? Did I expect him to somewhere else? Was there something with protection that caused my mechanics to be off?' Whatever it may be, you have got to go back and look at it and have the correct review. But then make the fix, move on and wipe it and say, "OK, we're good. I'll make the throw next time.' I think going forward we'll be fine in that area."

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.