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Quotes: Jay Gruden And Matt Cavanaugh (06-07-2017)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On if he has an injury update on T Kevin Bowen:

"No, he's getting an X-ray right now… Leg or ankle, we're not sure. They're getting it checked out."

On LB Martrell Spaight's injury:

"Same injury as last year [shoulder]."

On if he had any concerns about S D.J. Swearinger before signing him:

"No concerns whatsoever. D.J. has been great. He's been to every meeting, every practice and practices hard. He's got a great attitude for the position. You can tell he's got a mindset to play safety. He can do a little bit of everything. He's improved. He's playing with a lot of confidence. He's a smart football player. I think you're going to see more of D.J. Swearinger when the pads come on and he's tackling more so than you are now. But I think he's been great. I have no questions about his character."

On CB Bashaud Breeland:

"Same thing. I think he's grown up a lot just from his rookie year to now. I think last year we had some ups and downs, so to speak, in the whole defensive secondary and everywhere on defense – really the whole team in general. I think he's grown from what he's learned. He's becoming more confident in his abilities also. You can see that. We are installing some new coverages that are new to him that he hasn't played before. He's getting more and more comfortable but he's working on his technique. Torrian Gray is doing a nice job with him. I think he's ready for a big year."

On what he told Breeland to take away from last year:

"I think everybody has to face adversity at some point, but I think as an individual standpoint, I think there are certain things that he might take more out of than anybody else. But we had those private talks and I think he's learned from them."

On if he expects a roster battle between WRs Ryan Grant and Josh Doctson:

"They're both good receivers. They're both going to play. All three of them. They can play X, Z. The good thing about Ryan is that he can play all over the place. We're mainly focusing on Josh at Z right now, see how he does. But Ryan can play all three spots, very good blocker, can do a little bit of everything."

 On Doctson sitting out team drills last week but returning today:

"Nothing to it [last week]. Just a little rest."

 On comparing C Spencer Long from last year to this year:

"I think anytime you play center for the first time in your career and it's in the National Football League, you're going to have some rough spots, but I think the more confidence he gets, especially just snapping the ball to the quarterback, that was new to him – shotgun snaps. Then you talk about the cadence, that's all new to him and then all of a sudden he's got to make all of the line calls for protection and the run game and that's new to him, so I think he's really becoming very sure of himself in that regard as far as making the calls, making the right calls, snap counts, his snaps are a lot better than they were this time last year and just like all of these guys, when you get a year under your belt, you're going to be a lot more confident coming into these OTAs and your improvement will be seen and noticed."

On Plan B at center if Chase Roullier isn't ready:

"We hope he can get there, but we have some other players playing at center right now. Ronald Patrick is playing center, he is doing a good job. Those [Long, Roullier and Patrick] are our three right now and we'll see how it goes, but obviously we'll start to work some other guys at center also because you never know. When it rains, it pours sometimes. We'll get injuries on the offensive line so we're going to have to have guys play in multiple spots."

On if he would consider adding a veteran to help out on the offensive line:

"We're a long way from that. We feel pretty good about Ronald's progress. And obviously Chase, we drafted him for a reason. We think he can handle it mentally. Obviously he's a big kid, he can handle it physically. Now it's just a matter of seeing him do it out at training camp and in the preseason games."

On Gruden assuming play-calling duties and the role of Offensive Coordinator Matt Cavanaugh:

"We're all a part of it together. I feel confident in doing it, I just need to get back into the flow of doing it, trying to do some unscripted work out there forces me to call plays on the fly in different situations – third down, red zone, all of that stuff, two-minute, just trying to get in the flow of it, trying to make sure I'm on the same page with Kirk [Cousins] and Kirk's on the same page with me, that's the big thing. Matt's role won't change. Matt will call some plays too. I'm sure we'll have some recommendations in between series. Bill Callahan will be involved. At the end of the day, I'll end up calling them." 

On if WR Josh Doctson will stay at Z for now:

"Yeah, he can play both, but right now we're trying to start him at Z and see how it goes. That would be the plan."

On the benefit of CB Josh Norman potentially playing more off-man coverage this year:

"He can see the quarterback. Josh is very good when he can see the quarterback. He is a route-reading machine, so there are different coverages where he can play off and see the quarterback and he can break on the ball as good as anybody. And he can get up and press also. There's also a lot to it where he can play off and see the quarterback, have vision… He can still play man from off. You can play two-deep, you can play three-deep, you can play quarters, you can play every coverage off, you know?"

On the importance of DL Ziggy Hood:

"One of our hardest working guys. He's a great leader for that defensive line room. I think guys follow him and you see the progress of all of the defensive linemen in the strength room and it starts with Ziggy. He's the guy who works the hardest. We're happy to have him. He's a great leader for us."

On if his reaction to reports about negotiations between the team and QB Kirk Cousins:

"I was just alerted of the report. I don't have a reaction. I'm not in the negotiations, unfortunately. I'm going to let everybody handle that. I think Bruce [Allen], Eric Schaffer, they'll do a fine job and obviously Kirk's agent will do his work and hopefully something gets done."

On his relationship with Cousins and if it has changed since assuming play-calling duties:

"It's the same. I have a lot of respect for Kirk and what he's done and what he's accomplished in a short period of time. I'm very happy that he's our quarterback. He's improved greatly. He's got great command of the offense and he's getting better. He's a young football player, so that's where we are. We've got him here for another year. I'm going to coach the heck out of him. Love coaching him, I think he likes playing here in this system for this football team and this franchise, so we'll see what happens."

On comparing Terrelle Pryor Sr. and Josh Docston to DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon and how that will impact play calling:

"That's a good question. I'm think I'm still learning what they can and can't do. Jordan [Reed] hasn't been here and he's obviously a big part of what we do offensively. Once Jordan gets back here next week, we'll start to implement him more in the game plan. Vernon looks good. Obviously, Crowder looks good. We've just got to figure out the best way to utilize Pryor and Josh and obviously Ryan Grant still. We have enough weapons along with the running game. I think we'll be fine. Still, we've got to hone up the details with the new guys."

On WR Jamison Crowder's versatility:

"I've said all along Jamison can play anywhere. He can play outside, inside. He can play running back probably if he wanted to, so we'll utilize Jamison and try to get him more involved, not just in the passing game and the running game. He's an excellent player, dynamic player. He just continues to prove every day why we like him so much. He's great on option routes, he can run vertical stems. He can run just about anything you ask him to run... He gets himself open because he's got a great feel. He's got quickness in and out of his breaks. He plays a lot longer than his size. He has got really long arms. He goes up and gets balls. Sometime he plays bigger than a taller receiver because he uses his height [and] he's got great jumping ability and times the jumps extremely well. Some tall guys you see, they misjudge it and they don't jump. But Jamison, he times them perfect and makes big plays."

On S Su'a Cravens' progress:

"I think he's progressing along pretty well. He's playing different spots. He's playing half the field, he's playing a third of the field, he's playing in the box, he's blitzing, he's playing different packages. He's doing a great job. We're happy with his progress. I think just the more he plays, the better he's going to get. The more he can just go practice and watch himself on tape and watch his eye progression and his angles, that's just going to be huge for him because he continues to develop. I think this time is very, very important for guys like that. Obviously training camp, he will continue to grow, and then hopefully the preseason games he'll start to really feel confident leading up into Philly [in Week 1]."

On T Morgan Moses' growth both on the field and as a leader:

"Yeah, Morgan's been a treat to coach since he got here. I think when he first got here, we tried to move him to right tackle. We had a need at right tackle, but he played left tackle his last two years at Virginia and very little right tackle. He had some growing pains. The stance is different. Everything was different, being right-handed as opposed to being a left tackle. His growth with Coach [Bill] Callahan has been out of this world. He is one of the top right tackles, I think, in the league, quite honestly. He plays with great length. He's very knowledgeable for the game. He works extremely hard on and off the field. He's a great leader for the rest of the guys. That whole offensive line room, I can't speak highly enough of all of them, really. Shawn Lauvao, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, all those guys, Arie Kouandijo, those guys work their tails off. You see them in every period practicing with Coach Callahan, and not one of them bitched or moan about anything. They just continue to work and better and Morgan's part of that."

On Crowder saying he needs to build his confidence:

"I don't believe that. I think he just couldn't think of anything to say so he said that [laughter]. Jamison has never lacked confidence in my mind. I think as a young football player, though, you're going to have some indecision here and there. I think the more you do something, the better you're going to get at it. But I think as far as him lining up, thinking he can beat any defender over him, I think he's confident in that regard. It's just some of the route concepts, some of the stems, some of the option routes that we run, I think the more he sees, the more comfortable he's going to be. That's probably what he's talking about, just his comfort level and the formations, the personnel groups, where he lines up and then the route stems and the details of every route – the depths."

On DL Anthony Lanier II's progress:

"I think he's another guy who has to progress. All these guys, these second-year players, we look for major progression from. He's one of them. He was like a newborn horse, a colt. He just comes out, he's all over the place, long legs just falling all over the place. But he has great talent. He's got great get-off, he's got great speed. He still has a lot to learn as far as playing the run, staying in his gaps, using his hands, transitioning to a pass rush when it's a playaction pass. But when we know it's third down, he lines up as the three-technique, he's pretty darn good. But there's first and second down that he has to continue to get better at. But he does have a niche as far as being a third-down rusher, inside rusher that we need. So he's continuing to get better. He's always in here lifting. He's getting stronger. I think he's 290 pounds already. He came in about 270. That's not fat, it's all muscle. We love his progress and we think he's got a great future."

On overhauling the defensive line:

"All we can work on right now is the work ethic and how they're picking up the system, where they're fitting, where they're getting their hands on people. But as far as shedding and rushing, it's really hard. It's hard to go out here and coach team drills and say 'OK, we're competing but don't compete because we're not live and we can't hit anybody.' It's a fine line. It's hard to coach that. So I think we'll see more once we get the pads on, do some one-on-one pass rush, do some third-down drills where we're live. We'll get a better understanding, but you can see in individual drills and some of the other drills their fluidity and how they change direction and how they use their hands and all that, where they put their hands and their pad level. You can see a little bit of that. More will be determined once we get them [pads] on."

On if the team could possibly host another team for joint practices at training camp:

"No, I don't think it's a possibility now, unfortunately. But we'll make do, like we did last year without having one. We'll do the best we can without one."

On what changes he expects from OTAs to minicamp:

"Not much, other than Trent [Williams] and Jordan [Reed] will be here. We're going to continue to practice. We'll meet, have a walkthrough, practice and go from there. But these guys have put in a lot of good work, man. I'm really happy with the progress they've made. Mandatory minicamp is going to be the last couple of days we have, then we're off for about five/six weeks. So, big thing is to get as much out of them as we can the next couple of days at mandatory minicamp and then send them off in the right frame of mind, still willing to work during their downtime."* *

Offensive Coordinator Matt Cavanaugh

On if he is looking for one running back to earn most of the carries:

"I don't think there's any issue having a lot of good backs, and I feel like we've got a lot of good backs. Rob {Kelley] obviously has earned the starting job, and I think really it's a game-to-game evaluation, an in-game evaluation of how well he's doing and how winded he is – 'Does he need a blow?' We just feel like we've got depth at that position now with a lot of similar-type players: stocky, quick-footed, strong, smart guys that can sub in for each other. I wouldn't put a pitch count on any of them, but obviously if a guy's got a hot hand and he's feeling good and he's not gassed, we'll keep him on the field. Ideally, maybe have some third-down reps too. Historically here, Chris [Thompson] has been our third-down back, but there's no reason why can't play him on first and second down. But just rotating the backs, keeping them fresh, we've got confidence in all of them."

On if he expects RB Matt Jones to return next week:

"I don't know, to be honest with you. I wasn't privy to him leaving the building and I'm not privy to if he's deciding to come back or not. I think management can best answer that."

On his role:

"So far it's been helping… obviously, Jay [Gruden] is going to do the play calling, but as we've worked in the past couple years even when Sean [McVay] was calling plays, we feel like it's a group effort putting a game plan together. Between Jay, myself, all the other offensive coaches, we've all got input into what goes into the game plan. When I was in Baltimore, we used to have a saying, 'Anybody can call the game.' That's a bit of an exaggeration, but the point there is if everybody understands the game plan so well, what plays are in, why they're in, what looks we want to run them again, you really could have anybody call the game. And I'm not discounting Jay's expertise in that field, but we're going to help game plan not only during the week but with in-game adjustments, things that myself or other coaches see, give him information and let him make the calls."

On his role in meetings now:

"It's a mix. I'm doing some of the installation, Jay is doing some of the installation. Jay is running the film, I'm running the film. He's got other duties, obviously, as the head coach, and if he gets pulled out of a meeting and can't be there, then I'll take over and fill the void."

On the most important part of QB Nate Sudfeld's development:

"Well, it'll sound like a cliché, but just reps. He really needs reps. I mean, when you're the third guy, particularly once the season starts, you're really getting no work. So we've got OTAs, we've got training camp, minicamp next week and that's the time that he's got to get as many reps as he can. And then obviously the preseason games, ideally that fourth preseason game when everybody holds their starters back, he gets to play pretty much the whole game. So those are the opportunities he's going to get. The improvement I'm looking for is just continuing to quicken his decision making, be fundamentally sound, make the good decision, know when to throw a ball away, not take a sack, find an open receiver no matter where he's at in your progression and move the offense. He's got those abilities. He's a talented young man. He's got good size. He's got a lot of the intangibles. He just needs work on the field in live situations. Like I said, he's not going to have a lot of opportunities in the preseason, but training camp will be big for him."

On if it is difficult for backup quarterbacks to learn to develop despite receiving so few reps:

"Absolutely, it is, yeah. We call them mental reps. That really doesn't satisfy a guy who wants to be under center taking snaps making those decisions. So he's got to stand back, he's got to watch Kirk [Cousins], he's got to watch Colt [McCoy]. He's got to simulate that he's taking that snap and what he would be doing with the ball. Is the play good? Do we have to get out of the play? Does he have to change the protection? Where would he go with the ball? Where's certain coverages? All of that is a mental rep that really is invaluable because at some point, you're going to get that rep and you're going to get that same look and hopefully you've experienced it – at least visually, if not physically. So there's a lot that he can get done even though he's not taking snaps, but nothing replaces being under center."

On the challenge of a quarterback getting on the same page with new receivers:

"It's a good question. Obviously it's a change. We let two receivers go that were very productive for us last year, over the last couple of years, but we feel confident with the people that we brought in and we've already got in-house some really good receivers. So he [Cousins] is aware of that, and I think he's put his focus on getting as much individual work with some of the new receivers that we've got, and it's really just a feel thing. It's nothing that's going to happen overnight. It takes time. But I think he's starting to understand what abilities each receiver has, where a ball needs to be placed for them to be able to make a play on it, what kind of tempo he runs with, what kind of second gear he's got. If he throws the ball out in front of a receiver, so I think all of those things just take time. But I'm not going to discount at all the fact that we've got already in-house some really good receivers, some who haven't gotten as much playing time because of Pierre [Garçon] and because of DeSean [Jackson]. They're ready to go and they've been having good OTA sessions, so I think that part of our team is pretty bright."

On the success of the receivers this season and how he will determine overall success for the offense:

"[If] we have more wins. And I don't mean to be flippant, but more wins is what our goal is. And as much as I love the receivers, I love the tight ends, the running backs, the quarterbacks, it doesn't matter to me how we get those wins. If we have to throw it, then we'll throw it and we'll be productive. If we have to run it, we'll run it and be productive. But I'm not going to measure us by one position's contribution. I really just think that we've got to score more points than the other team and get more wins because our goal is to get in the playoffs and win playoff games and get to a Super Bowl. You do that by everybody playing for the same goal, not necessarily how many catches I have or how many yards rushing I have, how many touchdown passes I threw. We've got to win games."

On the red zone offense:

"We obviously took a big step backwards from the previous year. In '15, we were very successful in the red zone. I think we were in the Top 10 if not the Top 7 or 6 in touchdown percentage. We fell off drastically. That's really execution. It's giving our receivers a chance, giving our running game a chance, quarterbacks being more accurate, guys catching balls more consistently, protections being better. It's a group effort. I'm not going to stand here and say that the only way to get better in the red zone is for us to throw it all the time to bigger receivers, which we've obviously got now. But that will be a part of it. We're going to have more size on the perimeter. But we've got some talented people. We've spent a lot of time this offseason studying everybody in the league and some of their red zone concepts. Many we already have in our playbook, a couple that we've added. So now we've got to go out and execute over the next three months and get ready for the season to start and hopefully we have that consistency with a good mix of run and pass down there and just make more plays, quite honestly."

On TEs Niles Paul and Jeremy Sprinkle behind Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis:

"And Derek Carrier. We've got three other guys behind [Reed and Davis], and Manasseh Garner came in as a free agent, so we've got a bevy of tight ends. As you say, we obviously know what we've got in Jordan. We know what we've got in Vernon. I'm real pleased with the way Niles has bounced back. He seems to be where he was before he got hurt. He's playing with explosion. He's quick, he's making good decisions, he's catching the ball well. Derek Carrier is having a very good OTA doing all the same things. He's battled injuries in the past but he seems to be healthy and doing a lot of good things. And then you add in Manasseh, who has got some abilities and is kind of feeling his way through the offense. He's got a lot to learn. And Jeremy is a good-sized tight end with some growth potential who is going to get bigger and stronger. He seems to be absorbing things very well. He's a good learner. So there's some good depth there and I don't know that we're going to be able to carry six tight ends when the season starts, but we'll have some decisions to make and hopefully they become real clear. But right now they're all competing and all contributing and we're excited about that."

On the offensive line:

"They're such a cohesive unit, and they're so well-led by Bill Callahan. Sometimes I just look at them as one being. They all know what they're supposed to do. They communicate extremely well. They're very smart. They work very hard. The results are that you protect the quarterback well and you run the ball well. That's what the objective is. They're a huge part of what we do, if not the most important part. We all put our focus on the skill positions, watching the quarterback throw, [watching] guys catch, guys run, but none of that happens if you're not a cohesive unit up front. They've displayed now for the two years that I've been here – two-plus – they get that and they know that everything goes through them and they take a lot of pride in that. There are some quiet leaders in that group. And as you mentioned, Trent [Williams] is not even here yet. He'll obviously come back and fit right back in, but we've got some quality players. We're working on depth at the offensive line, because inevitably you're going to have to substitute somebody in at some point, but we're very confident in their abilities and in their leadership."

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