News | Washington Commanders -

Quotes: Jay Gruden And Terrelle Pryor Sr. (07-31-2017)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On RB Keith Marshall:

"He will have surgery tomorrow, I believe. He tore his patellar tendon. We signed Kenny Hilliard today, running back from LSU."

On WR Terrelle Pryor Sr. and ways in which his quarterback background is apparent:

"His ability to retain and pick up information in a hurry, really. He's picked up the system effortlessly. He asks good questions, has great logic when he is asking questions, wants to add more stuff for himself, like most quarterbacks would do. He's been outstanding really. I just like the fact that he's a very bright guy, understands coverages, understands where the ball should go and route concepts, which is very big. He is a very smart receiver, now it's just about polishing up the little things and the details of each route and we're working with him on that."

On if Pryor's background can be a help to other receivers:

"It can be, eventually. I think right now Terrelle needs to just focus on his job right now and the different formations and route concepts that we have. I think potentially he could branch off into that role. But really all of our receivers are very, very bright. Ryan Grant, he knows all three [positions]. The Jamison Crowders, they don't need a lot of help. Mo Harris, very smart. Some of the younger guys, maybe Zach Pascal, some of the younger guys, [James] Quick, he might be little bit of help out with. But for the most part he's working on his own craft."

On what a running back has to do to get a coach's attention:

"Well, there's a lot. Number one, you have to be able to protect. And I know that sounds funny and crazy but you have got to be able to pass protect because eventually you're going to be asked in that role. Obviously ball security is very important. And then when you get the ball in your hands, what do you do with it? Can you make people miss? Can you get the tough yards? Sometimes we're not going to block everybody. Can you make the guy miss in the hole? Can you get a positive gain? I think that's really what separated Rob [Kelley] last year is we didn't block certain runs very well but he was always able to get two or three yards and keep us at in manageable down and distances because we didn't lose a lot of yards when he was carrying it. So those are the big factors – protection, ball security, and able to get the tough yards. And durability – durability is also obviously very important."

On if RB Matt Jones has shown him something in camp:

"He has. He's had some tough runs between tackles. Just the other day… The first day in pads, running backs, it's hard to really gauge until you put the pads on. Even now we're not tackling live, but you can see that he's hitting the hole, he's getting got good body lean and he's working hard to compete and that's what we're looking for." 

On Pryor making the transition to receiver look easy:

"Well, it's very hard. Not many people have ever done it before, but he is a big, physical, great athlete. And it helps to be 6-foot-5 and run a 4.3 40 [yard dash]. I think had he made this decision sooner in his career, I think he'd be further along. But being that he just made it not too long ago, he's where he is. I mean, he's still one of the top guys in the league and he just started playing. He's a physical freak. So we're excited to have him and we're going to continue to work with him. We just have to keep working. Kirk [Cousins] and Terrelle just have to get together so they get on the same page, get to know each other not only on the field but off the field."

On how his sense of humor and the music he listens to helps him relate to players, and if those are things he's made a concerted effort to develop:

"I have never made an effort to be funny. That's just the way I've always been. I don't know. I relate to some players better than others, that's just the way it is. But I try to get to know each guy for who they are. I think it's important as a coach to get to know them, see what makes them tick, how to motivate them, so to speak. But, I've listened to the same music since I was little."

On what he's seen from C Spencer Long:

"A lot of growth. You know, I think it's a very difficult position – center – it really is. I don't know if people really understand how hard it is, especially when you've never played it before. Just the snaps and the snap count are hard, then you've got to make all the calls and Coach [Bill] Callahan has a dictionary of calls that you have to make in a split second. I think his comfort level in the system, able to spit out the calls, he's been very, very good. I think he's going to get better and better at the center position. It was great for him to move over there and pick up the slack, and I've been very impressed with the way he works and the way he's learning, the way he's improved."

On what Long can improve:

"I think, like all offensive lineman, they're working their craft all the time, their fundamental technique. I think there's a lot of things that he can do with his footwork and all that stuff that Coach Callahan's working with him continuously, but he's just getting better and better. He's a big, strong kid and wants to develop and wants to learn. For what he's been able to accomplish in just a year and a half or whatever it is since he's been playing center, I think it's very, very impressive — as impressive as anybody on our team, what he's done."

On how boxing helps the players:

"Yeah, Chad [Englehart] and Coach [Jim] Tomsula really brought that to us and you'll have to ask Coach Tomsula if you have about an hour of interview time. If you can get him out here, he'll talk about boxing. I was all for it. They brought it to my attention and said it would be good for them – good for their stamina, good for using their legs and coming out with their hips. A lot of the boxing moves are very similar for what you have to use as a football player and the players really enjoy it. We did it in the OTAs and the group did a great job teaching them, and I think they had fun with it. Really it's a lot of the same movements and like I said, good for their conditioning and good for their strength. Tomsula is the one you want to ask about that, really. He'd be good."

On LB Nico Marley:

"Well, you watch him at Tulane, he made almost every tackle. Then we brought him in here, said, 'Let's just bring this guy in for a workout for the rookie OTAs,' and then at the rookie OTAs, he made almost every tackle and had two interceptions and a forced fumble. And I said if anybody deserves a chance to crack the roster, it's somebody who's that productive. So we brought him in here and he really hasn't disappointed us, man. He's been running around here, making good plays and he's very smart. We will see what happens when we get to live tackling, but he's a fun guy to watch."

On if he owns any Bob Marley songs:

"No, I don't have any… I'll download one today though."

On if he ever Nico about his relationship with his grandfather:

"I did. I have asked him. He [Nico] doesn't sing, number one. I was kind of curious. But I talked to him about his grandfather and his dad was a great football player, too."

On evaluating tackling without live tackling in practice:

"That's a great question. That's a dilemma that we have. How much live contact you want to do, and then when you are in pads, what do you tell them to do with the running back when he comes through the hole? We had a couple issues the other day where guys were getting a little bit too physical with our backs, sticking their face in there. I think the big thing is getting themselves in position, fighting off blocks. We're talking about fundamental footwork and pad level. That's the most important thing for the offensive and defensive lines especially. Linebackers really getting off blocks, running to the football and then tagging off the best way we can. And then of course the same thing with safeties, they have to get in good body position."

On drills to improve tackling:

"We try to do drills with dummies and stuff and mats. I don't know. I don't like to do a whole lot of live tackling because I would never forgive myself if I lost a good player or any player for that matter over a tackling drill. My college coach made me do live tackling drills when I was quarterback and my fingers are still messed up. I try not to do that, but we will have some live periods, but I think we have four preseason games to really get a feel for it. I think this day and age, as much football as these guys have played, if they don't know how to tackle, we'll see it quite clearly on tape. It won't take long for us to realize the guy can't tackle and they won't be here. But for the most part, all these guys we've studied and watched throughout their college career and their pro careers, they can all tackle."

WR Terrelle Pryor Sr.

On his focus entering the year:

"There's like little nuances like in terms of running routes, really staying closer. I really want to keep on getting better at staying closer to the defender and not leaving space, because then leaving space kind of gives the corner an opportunity to guess and judge what your route is going to be and also gives them a chance to push you to the sideline. So I want to stay a little closer and be a little more personal in their personal space and I want to keep working on that. It's hard when you're trying to run by somebody or something like that, but if you can keep your routes the same, that's where I'm trying to be at right now."

On if staying closer has allowed him to create separation:

"I think that, and I just think it's from really working hard in the offseason and working in OTAs on cone drills and just coming around the cones tight. Beating the defender and having better hips, keeping my hips loose. Stretching all the time. Doing late night glute workouts and stuff like that every night. Those things start to add on and it separates from other people or the defenders."

On what he's seen from the group of wide receivers and how he has fit in as a teammate:

"Like I said before, I try to be the best teammate I can be in terms of that because I'm not here to think I'm better than anybody. I'm just here to help and do my side and try to make the Redskins grow and go to the next level. I believe I can do that and I can help. In terms of Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder, Josh, he is one of the best athletes I've seen in terms of just being able to go up and go get the ball — he has a knack for the ball. Jamison is very quick obviously, you know that. He gets in and out of his routes quick and he's a tough cover. But that goes along with all of our wideouts, all 11 guys. I was telling Ike [Hilliard] that the other day, I said, 'You guys are going to have a tough job, man, letting go of five guys or however many guys you're going to let go because all the guys that are here right now, they can play.' Last year I didn't deal with that and I don't know if there's a lot of teams that have that problem, but the Redskins have got a problem – we have some depth."

On his expectations for himself this year:

"I try not to live up to expectations – I mean, I want to live up to expectations – but I try not to put a limit on myself. I just want to go out every day and just become the best person, the best player, best father and best teammate I can be. And that's how I live my life. I work out. You guys see videos I post for fans and stuff. I work out 2-3 times by myself a day. I catch jugs, I catch 400 jugs a day, I catch 400 balls a day. It's just who I am. Vernon Davis came up to me today and said 'Hey man, the reason why you're up here and you're doing so well and you're exploding on the scene is because of how hard you work.' I was like, 'I appreciate that,' and I told him, 'I've been doing this my whole life, and now I think I'm just getting noticed with it.' And that's just who I am, that's how I operate and I just try to bring guys with me. Like today Vernon started doing stuff with me in terms of when we were doing walkthrough and we weren't doing anything, instead of sitting around and talking, why not work on your game, work on catching the ball over your shoulder, work on distraction drills, anything. Because you never know, it might be third-and-long and the defender does this, like Julio Jones did on the Patriots and you make that catch. You've got to keep working on it. Every little thing matters to me, and I think that's the difference between winning and losing, so I want to be the best I can be for the Redskins."

On when he developed that attention to the little things:

"From a receiver standpoint, I didn't really know what the 'little things' were until I started working out with Antonio Brown. When I talk about a freak mind – like a weirdo freak in terms of everything has to be perfect – watching Antonio work out, it just changed my whole mindset of how you're supposed to be as a wideout. It's just the little details. I was telling you guys earlier, he'll do three, four reps in a row and then he'll take a break because that next rep he wants that to be 100 percent and he wants it to be perfect. And that's all you want to do is chase perfection and that's what I'm looking forward to and I'm just going to continue to grow from that standpoint."

On how he made the transition from quarterback to receiver so easily:

"It wasn't easy. You guys see me as this big, 6-5, fast guy running out there, running past people, who's so big and stuff like that. It may seem like it was easy, but I've spent – even from when I was with the Browns I transferred over and I got released from Cincinnati in 2015, I got picked up by the Browns and I only had a month to really train before I really even had the opportunity to go into camp and be ready for wideout, never playing it [the position] in my life. Countless hours… I mean, countless hours. I'm talking about three hours. Tim Cortazzo, my trainer, he spent three, four hours a day, not just outside running routes but also going indoors running around cones because I really didn't know how to handle my body, I didn't know how to adjust my body, I didn't know how to take control of myself. Now I'm at the point where I can control my body, I know where I'm going, I know what I want to do to the defender, I know how to stare at the guy in his eyes and make him think that I'm doing something else and then try to do something else. That's what I continue to get better at, stuff like that."

On what attracted him to Head Coach Jay Gruden and QB Kirk Cousins:

"Jay, funny, funny as hell. And that's from being around his brother Jon, but I just knew, I was with Andrew Hawkins in Cleveland and all he did was rave about Coach Jay Gruden. And then you meet some [people], I had a couple Redskins buddies that I had on the team – not here now – that I talked to about him and they [were] like, 'Man, Jay, he's one of the best coaches I've played for.' And now that I'm here, he's up there in terms of mine. You know, I love talking to the guy. We talk a lot. I love… I just enjoy him. I enjoy being around him. I can't wait to get to meetings to hear him talk because he's just so funny. And, you know, you're tired, your legs are tired, but it's good to have a coach that's amused and he's a team's and a player's coach. You know, it's a blessing to have a coach like that. In terms of Kirk, I just think he's just an exceptional quarterback. I mean, there's nothing much more to say. I mean, the guy, he's been through some tough times as well. He sat a long time, really got to be able to view the game from a different perspective. To see him come out and the way he played, I was always a fan of him. I loved watching him play, even when he was playing for the Redskins. I just enjoyed watching him. So I was like, 'That's the type of guy I want to be around, you know?' And he does that crazy thing 'You like that,' but that's that fire he has. And I want to be around a guy that has fire, a guy that's a leader, a guy that wants guys to be accountable and wants to trust you, but you've got to earn his trust. I like guys like that. That's why I like... I saw Kirk and from that standpoint, I wanted to join him and play with him."

On playing for Cleveland and now playing for a team that is "set at quarterback":

"A lot of people ask me, 'How was Cleveland?' and 'Did you enjoy Cleveland?' I enjoyed Cleveland. I loved Cleveland, just from the standpoint of I loved playing football. It doesn't matter where it's at. It's still a little kids dream. There's no exception, just because you get to the NFL that you should down a team just because the team's not very good or whatever or they don't have many quarterbacks. But I enjoyed that. I tried to make the best out of the situation. I think they are going to be a good team over there. I don't want to down them. They have a great organization, but at the same time, it's good to play with a guy like Kirk, like I was just talking about. A guy that loves the game, a guy that has got fire, a guy that guys trust, a guy that guys look up to and want them to lead. It's just different and when you have a guy set in place like that, there's structure here. I can't wait. It's getting better and we're getting timing down. We're having a great time, a blast, having fun and talking a lot. I'm bothering him in meetings, sitting right beside me. So it's going to be a fun time."

On what he needs to do to earn Cousins' trust:

"I think in terms of trust with Kirk – you guys can probably ask him – but I think I'm on the level of earning his trust. I think I've earned his trust because of the simple fact that I sit by him a lot and I talk to him a lot. In meetings, when coaches are installing plays, I'm always bothering him and always knacking him. We're always having conversations on the side. I just think just the way I work, I try to pride myself in being a loyal guy, so I really want to be there or I really want to talk and communicate. I want to understand you and I want to understand what you like. I ask a lot of questions, so I feel like any time you ask questions of somebody and you know it's trying to benefit yourself, like 'I'm trying to benefit you, Kirk. I'm telling you right here I'm loyal to you, listen!' And I think he sees that. I think it's just being in the right spot. When he throws the ball, don't let the ball get picked obviously. You want guys like that."

On displaying his workouts on social media:

"I do a lot more but I just try to pick a couple pieces out and throw it out there. I mean, people enjoy it, they love it. It's important to me, you know, the way I work and I think it's [that] you're working so hard, why not show some people? Like I said before, when you go and have an excellent season or do some great things, people know why. Little kids know why. Maybe that'll get kids outside to work out more and work hard – people that look up to me, people that I inspire. So I think that's another reason that's a little deeper for me."

On how much his perception has changed because of the prominence of his workouts on social media:

"I just took a little different stance. I talked to you guys a little bit about this. I talked to AB [Brown] and we were like and he said, 'I post my videos because I work so hard. Why not show people?' And I'm also looking at it like, 'You're right. Why not?' And also now I'm taking it a little deeper. There's so many kids in the streets nowadays, and poverty and people that are trying to find a way out. So many kids… I can walk anywhere, anywhere I go, kids come up to me. When people see you on the internet, see you on social media – because that's all there is nowadays,  kids are always on social media and hopefully when they are looking at me, they are like, 'I want to go work hard. That inspires me to go do some great things.' I can pull out my phone and show you my direct messages on Twitter and stuff like that and people just say, 'Man, you inspire me. You posting that video today inspired me.' That's all I want to do. I want to try to do something to make the world better."

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.