News | Washington Commanders -

Quotes: Jay Gruden, Colt McCoy 11-28-18

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On the decision to claim LB Reuben Foster:

"Yes. He was waived by San Francisco and we decided to claim him. Now, he is on the commissioner's exempt list and he has to go through the process of the investigation the NFL does as do we. And then, we'll go from there."

On if the organization should have claimed Foster after the investigation:

"That's a good question. We probably could have done that but we saw an opportunity there to claim him and we chose to do that as an organization."

On if the team has reached out to the victim:

"The victim? No, no, not by myself, no. Like I said, right now, when he hit the waiver wire we decided to claim him. We understand that there are a lot of things that he's gone through and there are some issues there, but we're going to let the NFL take their time and do the right thing with the investigation, as are we. Then, we'll go from there like I said."

On if anyone in the organization reached out to the victim:

"No, I don't know how we would do that."

On why the organization felt confident based on speaking to former Alabama teammates:

"It's not a matter of feeling confident. We're going to let it play out. We're just going to let it play out."

On who was involved in the discussions regarding Foster and if there were dissenting point of views:

"Not really. I think there's some concern without a doubt. You understand what's going on there but at the end of the day we decided to pick up his rights and right now it's not even our rights. He's on the commissioner's exempt list so really he can just come in here on an occasional basis. I met him today for the first time since the combine and his pro day and all that stuff. We'll just let it play out like I said."

On what the discussion was like between him and Foster today:

"Yeah, I'll keep it between myself and Reuben. It was very brief. We have a game to get ready for in Philadelphia. He has a lot of work to do before he even thinks about anything as far as being with the Redskins. Like I said, he has the NFL to deal with. He has law enforcement to deal with. He has us to deal with. We hold our standards very high also. We just want to get to the bottom of what happened and that's it."

On what Foster was involved with today at the facility:

"He just got a physical today, met some of the guys, and that's it."

On how the team is conducting the investigation:

"Yeah, we have our own people there involved and we're going to do our work as is the NFL. They're first – the law enforcement, Tampa, California will do their work and we'll get to the bottom of exactly what happened."

On if the team has been working in conjunction with the NFL in its investigation:

"I don't know about all that. I was game planning for Philadelphia when we claimed him. I don't know what investigation process we have right now but I'm sure we'll get it done."

On if this is a move for the future:

"I don't know. I'm not even going to think about it. We're going to think about the guys that are on our active roster right now. We're catching those guys up. Then what happens with Reuben happens with Reuben. I anticipate it will be a while before anything happens as far as him being able to dress for a game or to get active on our roster. Right now, it's just about coaching our guys up and getting ready for the Eagles."

On if the decision to claim Foster is a distraction:

"Yeah, I don't think…this is the only time I talk about it is right here for 10 minutes in this room. Right now, we're spending a great practice time in walkthroughs and practice and we'll have meetings now getting ready for tomorrow's practice — third down, red zone. We still have a lot of work to do. After this it's not a topic."

On if he was involved with the decision:

"It's a team decision. I think we all had our hand in it. We accept, obviously, the questions, but we want to let the process play out and see what happens and get to the bottom of it. There's no guarantee he's ever going to play here to be honest with you. He has a lot of work to do personally, with the team, with the NFL, with himself, before he even thinks about playing football again."

On what will happen if Foster is not vindicated:

"Yeah, we'll decide that when we get all the information."

On if the team reached out to law enforcement officials about the incident:

"A little bit but we also understand that claiming him and the Commissioner (Goodell) will put him on the Exempt List, we have some time to get the work done. We'll get to the bottom of it, really."

On if the Redskins reached out to team leaders:

"No. I think the players were all honed in on what they're up against, against Philadelphia. We understand what type of team they have. They are defending Super Bowl champions playing on Monday Night Football and this is no distraction whatsoever to these guys. I know we have five or six guys on our team that know him personally and are very good friends with him but also understand that what he did is very wrong and it's a problem and we have to get to the bottom of what happened exactly, so other than that, there is no distraction for anybody."

On if there was concern about the fans' reaction:

"A little bit, yeah I'm sure there was. From Bruce [Allen] and Dan [Snyder] and obviously Doug [Williams], but at the end of the day, we decided to make the move and we'll deal with the outcry so to speak. But, for the most part, this is a young athlete, young person, who got himself into some trouble and we want to find out exactly what happened."

On how much he relied on the pre-draft process to learn about Foster:

"A lot, really, a lot, I spent a lot of time with Coach [Nick] Saban, Reuben, obviously the same year Jonathan Allen came out, Ryan Anderson came out. They had a lot of players that we spent a lot of time with and he was one of them. At that time, he was one of my favorite players in the draft defensively as a player and one of my favorite interviews as a person. What's happened since then, I don't know really a lot about what's happened, but I have just read a little bit about what's happened and it's not good. But, we will get to the bottom of it at the end of the day. Like I said, there is no guarantee he is ever going to set foot on a football field here but we would like to find out more about what happened."

On what plays into making the decision to add players who are facing legal issues:

"Well, I think a lot depends on it and we don't know if he's going to get a second chance. Quite frankly, we don't know. There has got to be a lot of recovery. He's got to go through the process with the league, with the police. Individually, he's going to have to get some help and counseling obviously. This is all before the league gets done with him, so we understand that it's going to be a long process for him. But, he's a young player. He made a mistake or two and at the end of the day we decided to take a chance and [we have to] deal with it."

On what the Redskins will have gained if Foster doesn't succeed in the organization:


On if it's just a football move for Foster:

"Yeah, a person, a human being, yes."

On the influence of Foster's former teammates in the locker room:

"I don't know. It just depends on the whole situation. Right now, we're looking at Reuben based on what we knew about him pre-draft and the football side of it is obviously very, very good. Obviously, the personal side of it, the off the field issues is something that we are concerned with and have to get to the bottom of. Like Doug [Williams] said, there's no guarantee. He's got a lot of work to do, to prove that A – he can function in society and B – that he can function as a Redskin. As does every one of our players and coaches, we all have to live up to very high standards to be Washington Redskins and he's no different."

On why they claimed Foster before the investigation was complete:

"Well, we didn't know who was going to claim him or not claim him. That's kind of the way the waiver wire works. You put the claim in and if somebody claims in front of you, you don't get him."

On injuries:

"Jamison [Crowder] did a little bit today, which was good. Matt Ioannidis didn't practice with his calf-shin. Trey Quinn did not practice, was a little sore on his ankle still. Morgan Moses did not practice, his Achilles and ankle. Zach Brown did not practice, knee-shin area and [Quinton] Dunbar did not practice, same injury [leg]. That's all I can remember. I forgot my sheet."

On if the atmosphere and optimism is still the same compared to when the team held a two-game lead in the division:

"I think any time you lose a couple of games in a row, you lose a little bit of the luster of being in first place or what have you, but I think it's our job to make sure we gain the confidence back and our swagger back, somehow, someway. We're going to start out by having a good practice on Monday, which we did and today, which we did. The big thing is getting our offense comfortable around Colt [McCoy], getting our offensive guards comfortable playing with each other, getting Trent [Williams] back out there in action, eventually getting Morgan [Moses] back out there in action offensively and then defensively, getting Ha Ha [Clinton-Dix] another week of communication with the safeties and getting our linebackers situated and going from there. If we can play together as a good football team, be sound fundamentally, play physical football, that's how we won games then we'll be ok."

On the difference a week of practice makes for QB Colt McCoy:

"I think it does make a difference. I've said it before that repetition is king and he doesn't get any reps. It's a lot different when you're just looking at a card – 'OK throw it to the dot. OK, set, hike, and throw it to the dot.' – when you're calling the plays, making protection adjustments, seeing the route concepts versus cover two, versus cover three, versus man-to-man, sitting your foot in the ground, avoiding the rush. Doing that in practice is very, very important for a quarterback's progression. Hopefully, we'll get him enough looks to feel kind of comfortable but you're never going to get the same looks. You're not going to see Fletcher Cox and [Tim] Jernigan and the rest of the crew, Chris Long and [Michael] Bennett rushing the passer against you but we're going to do the best we can to get them comfortable with the plays that we have for him and the reason we have these plays in. So, I think he will be more comfortable."

On what work QB Mark Sanchez got in this week:

"He got a little bit yesterday or Monday I should say. Then today he did scout team. It's just hard with the amount of reps you have at practice and the amount of bodies that are actually practicing to get your backup quarterback reps, that's why Colt struggled to get reps with the first team. So, he will just have to learn on the fly like most backups do."

QB Colt McCoy

On using the Dallas game to prepare for the Philadelphia Eagles:

"Takeaways from the Cowboys game, whenever you lose, it's always tough. Losing in the division is even tougher, so there was a lot to clean up there but a lot to learn and moving forward to the Eagles now. We've watched that tape, kind of put it to bed and thankful to have a little bit of extra time to prepare for these guys a couple extra days, so I could use it all."

On what he's seen from WR Josh Doctson to project him as a great wide receiver:

"Yeah, I think Josh is doing some really great things. I think I've just got to continue to trust him and get him the ball when I can and let him go make plays. He has battled through some stuff early in his career but he's really been working hard and hadn't missed any practices. He stayed healthy and he's willing and eager to get better and better so I think for us and our team, that's obviously a good thing. We'll definitely try to keep getting him the rock maybe a little bit more and hopefully he can make some more plays."

On if he's talked to the receivers about specific throws:

"Yeah, I think so. I think I also have to be smart about it, but at the same time, I think these guys have the ability to make plays. In our offense and what we do, we need some explosive plays and giving these guys an opportunity down the field – here and there – to come down with the ball on a 50-50 throw. I think we certainly can continue to improve on that, work on that, so yeah we've talked about it."

On if a week of practice helps with timing with receivers:

"I don't know exactly. I think more so for me. I just really need to focus on our game plan and what the Eagles are going to do against us. When those opportunities present themselves, for me, being able to make that split second quick decision of, '…is this a chance I want to take here, or is it not? Do I trust this guy or do I not?' I think throughout this week – I mean it's really short – but hopefully there will be enough times where I can get myself in that position and be able to make a good decision."

On finding the balance between being aggressive and staying cautious:

"I think for me, turnovers are going to lose you games and so being smart with the football – number one – is of the upmost importance. I think going from there, it's an understanding of what we're trying to accomplish. What were we designing on this play? Where is the ball designed to go here, now let's make sure that happens. But if they change up the coverage or do something different, which I'm sure [they will], Coach [Jim] Schwartz is a great coach, great defensive coordinator, I'm sure he's going to throw looks at me that I have probably not seen. So, when those things happen, I just have to be able to be smart and take care of the football."

On the differences between the game and his film review of the game:

"I thought there were certainly areas that I needed to clean up. From an operational standpoint, I was actually kind of pleased; just with how it went, not being out there for four years. There are also some things where I see things pretty quickly and then just being able for me to stay in rhythm, even though I kind of know what's going on already, as opposed to, 'Oh I see it, I want to make it happen right now and just do it.' I think just relaxing, communicating my calls and making the checks, the things I need to do at the line of scrimmage and just executing. Not having to do too much. Hopefully, we can get our run game going, that would be huge, then just understanding our approach to the game this week. What's our philosophy this week? How are we going to handle situations; be good on third downs and take care of the football is key for me."

On how often he can stick with a play versus improvising:

"I think for me, I want to execute like we're supposed to, unless something breaks down. I don't want to just take the snap and go try to make something happen – which I don't think I did that too many times the other night – I 've been here long enough to understand what we want to do and what we're trying to do. I think this week will really help me, really help the receivers get a feel for me, but at the end of the day it's not about me. It's about us. It's our team and it's us as a group going out and executing a game plan against the defending Super Bowl champs. On the road, on Monday night, that's not an easy task. We know them, they are in our division and we've got to be on our P's and Q's if we want to come out like we want. So this week is huge, I think focus is the key for all of us and hopefully we'll have a good week of practice."

On his impressions of WR Trey Quinn:

"Trey is doing great. He's still battling his ankle injury a little bit but he's tough. He's a competitor. He's just real savvy. He plays in the slot so he understands defense and leverages. He's a pretty friendly target, so the more work I can get with him the better."

On if he developed a bond with Quinn from time with the scout team and what jumped out at him:

"Yeah, I did get to work with Trey quite a bit in the offseason as he was the second team slot guy. I would throw with him and work with him and kind of teach him how I see the coverage. Trey does a nice job of not just running the route that's drawn on paper. He does a great job of winning his route and understanding soft spots in zone defenses or how to use his leverage in man coverage. You can just tell that Trey has played a lot inside and he has a pretty good feel for what's going on, a lot like Jamison [Crowder]. My best advice to him early on was, 'Dude you've got one of the best slot guys in the game, why don't you watch him, watch Crowder.' So, he does a pretty good job. Trey always wants to learn. He's eager to get better and I'm thankful that he was able to come back off his injury from earlier in the season."

On if he has been challenged by the coaches:

"Yeah, all the time, I mean, the coaches were challenging me when I was on the practice squad but there's a lot of ways to be better. I think communication. I think my ability to just play comfortable in the pocket and then you've got to see coverage. I've been on the sidelines but we've played Philly a lot and you watch their tape over the last three or four weeks, they can play pretty much anything. They can play man. They can play zone. They can heat you up at times; you've always got to be prepared for that. As a quarterback, this is not an easy week to prepare for a defense that can do it all. They've got really good players up front, so for me, really just being detailed and practices will be important for me and then just going out an executing on Monday night."

On if he knew RB Adrian Peterson at all before this year and what it's been like to work with him:

"I did know AP, but not like on a, 'Hey we're boys kind of thing [Laughter].' He went to OU [Oklahoma] played against him a couple of times there. He is from Texas so I had met him a few times here and there but he's been outstanding. He's also battled through some injuries too. He's a tough guy. Hopefully we can get him going early this week; that would be good for everybody."

On his comfort level with TE Jordan Reed and his overall importance:

"Yeah, he's a huge part of what we do. I mean, he and Vernon [Davis] have really done a nice job in what we've asked them to do. Jordan I think is really good when people try and play him in man coverage and I just have to continue to know where he's at. He helps us out a lot. He's smart. He's sharp in his route running ability and he's a good player. Always knowing that he's out on the field, I think that really helps our offense."

On what RB Chris Thompson will do for the offense when he's back:

"Yeah, I think we all know the amount of plays that C.T. has made last year and throughout his career. He's great in protection, first of all. I just think it would be a boost for everybody. I think if we could get him the ball and get him in space, he can create and do things that a lot of people can't. He would be a big difference maker for us."