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Quotes: Jay Gruden, Greg Manusky 05-30-18

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On his impressions of RB Rob Kelley accepting the challenge of more competition this offseason:

"It's been a positive impression for sure. You know, Rob's never been an issue as far as work ethic is concerned. He's always gone out and done his job and been very engaging in the meetings, comes out here and takes what he learned in the meeting room and accepts the challenge and plays well. So Rob's doing a good job. It's good to have him healthy, watch him run around. [He] got a haircut. No more dreads on him, so he looks a little different. I think he's lost a little bit of weight. He looks lighter. But nothing's changed with the way he's played. He's accepted the challenge, like you say, and done some really good things… It's early, we're not live, but I like where he's at."

On the next step in Kelley's development:

"Consistency in all phases. I think he's getting better in the passing game, without a doubt. The vision points in pass protection, his routes are more crisp, without a doubt, and obviously we just keep tracking these runs and being decisive with his cuts, that's all we do right now. Obviously ball security, he's doing fine with that, so I think just mastering all phases of the game is what he's got to continue to do and he'll have to continue to do throughout his whole career, not just this year."

On how much he has started to think about which running backs he will keep:

"None. I haven't thought about it at all. I'll let the guys play it out and see how it goes. We have more practices here in the offseason, then we start training camp, we have four preseason games, we have the Jets coming to town. We're looking for the total package. Obviously each guy will have their own role, but for the most part, we'll just play the best player. And at some point, special teams could play a role also. They're all great kids. They're all working extremely hard. It's going to be a tough decision when that happens, but I'm not going to think about that now. I want to be fair to all of them, let them all have an opportunity."

On how nice it was to have TE Jordan Reed present today:

"Oh, it's nice. He's been here. You know, he's been working hard with the trainers now. He might not have been out on the field every day that you guys have been here, but he's been here. His attendance has been excellent. His rehab schedule is on track to being ready, and I like where he's at. His upper body strength is great. I think he's on track to be there for training camp. We'll wait and see."

On his impressions of the offense today:

"We're trying to get some continuity there on offense a little bit. We've got some line people moving in and out there, but for the most part, did some good things. I like the way our defense is flying around and making plays. We got a couple turnovers yesterday, had some more today, so that's good to see. And then offensively, like you said, we're going to make our share of plays, defense is going to make their share of plays. That's what we're looking for, really. We're looking for good, sound competition. And at the end of the day, we're all just trying to get better."

On if he's pleased with the improvement of the defense this offseason:

"I mean, we're on our way to being what we want to be, without a doubt. It starts with the personnel and then making sure everybody buys into what Coach [Greg] Manusky is teaching and the rest of the coaches. So right now we're just at the entry stages and we're teaching defense, but from a personnel standpoint, there's a lot to be excited about, especially when you add Daron Payne to the mix, Jonathan Allen is back healthy and at linebacker you add Shaun Dion Hamilton for some depth, [Troy] Apke at safety, and obviously getting Montae Nicholson back full-time, and [D.J.] Swearinger with another year under his belt, and having veterans like Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan on the edges. There's a lot to be excited about, without a doubt, but now it's about them playing together, staying healthy and learning."

On QB Alex Smith giving his receivers opportunities to make plays:

"That's just him trying to get to know his receivers, you know? At the end of the day, we don't know if these guys can come down with the ball unless we give them some opportunities. And it's the same with the defensive backs. I want them… sometimes I'll tell them to take a shot whether they want to or not because I have got to see the defensive backs play the ball in the air and I want to see the receivers play the ball in the air. We've had our share of plays down the field. Josh [Doctson] had a great catch today. [Brian] Quick had a couple. Robert Davis had a nice catch today. And then defensively, we had some great pass breakups. That's what I'm looking for. I know we're not supposed to be in this one-on-one combat. We have got to taper off a little bit, but we still can play football and we're giving these guys the opportunity to make plays."

On LB Zach Brown:

"He wasn't here today."

On if Brown's absence was related to his moving:

"I guess so. I don't ask when they're not… it's not mandatory. I'm just worried about the guys that are here and we've got a pretty good group of guys that are here. There's only a couple that aren't here, and the guys that are here have bought in and are working extremely hard to get better."

On WR Josh Doctson saying he notices a difference after entering the offseason fully healthy and if Gruden has noticed that difference in Doctson:

"Oh, yeah. You know, the more experience you get… The first year was a wash for him. Last year was really his first year here. And then this year is just a matter of reps and getting to know Alex and just being precise in what he does and without hesitation. You can see that confidence in the routes that he's running. And every day we're going to get different looks. We're going to get cloud tech, we're going to get bump-and-run, we're going to get outside leverage, inside leverage, boxes and all that good stuff. But for him to just continue to see different coverages, different looks, different techniques with the routes that we have called, he'll be a much better player."

On if he's noticed a change in Doctson's confidence:

"Doctson's always been a confident player. He's not a very vocal guy. He's very confident guy in what he does. It's just a matter of getting that rapport with Alex. So I'm not worried about his confidence. We just continue to teach him and coach him and continue and get better and better, see the looks like I said, but he's an ultra-talented kid, without a doubt. His ball skills are top-notch and we've just got to find ways to get him the ball in those situations."

On how much this offseason has helped S Montae Nicholson:

"Critical for a guy of his age and his lack of experience. You know, last year was a great test for him. We just got to sprinkle it in and saw him play and what we have thoughts for his athletic ability, and now it's a matter of him learning the system and communicating. The comfort level you see from guys year one to year two, especially the safety position because so many things change – trying to disguise and coming down, playing a hole, playing post, playing box, whatever it is – there's so many different nuances to your technique that you have to learn, and the more he gets comfortable, his athleticism is as good as there is a safety in the NFL. So mentally, once he gets it down, we have great faith that he's going to be an excellent player for us for years to come."

Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky

On what he's seen from the rookies so far:

"Just overall, I think they have been doing a great job. I mean, we have been throwing a lot of stuff at them from week-to-week that they have been here, and they have really progressed across the board. [Daron] Payne is doing a great job. He's trying to get acclimated to some of the calls, hasn't had a lot of mental errors. He's done a great job. Physical player. Impressed with Shaun Dion [Hamilton]. He's learning the calls, he's getting in there. We are kind of protecting him a little bit with the injury he had in college but he's looking good. So we are happy with what we see."

On how DL Jonathan Allen is looking in his return from injury:

"Oh, very good. I think he did a great job of rehabbing in the offseason. We were kind of a little bit hesitant early on when he was here just taking reps and stuff, but looks like he's just keeps on progressing from where he kind of left off last year and the sky's the limit for him."

On S Montae Nicholson:

"For the most part, you can see his speed, you can see his reaction to the balls and just playing great overall coverage. From a communication [standpoint], that second year, those guys usually start to, 'OK, I understand what I'm doing,' then all of the sudden they have got to understand what exactly the offense is trying to do against him. He's been doing a great job. Across the board, I think the communication has been great. I think I'm the proudest of those guys putting in the time in the meeting rooms and going out there and actually successfully making us better as a football team."

On his expectations for the run defense:

"We're in the process. You know, just over time, last year was the first year coming together as a group with the calls and stuff like that, and I think this year, with everybody kind of having their mesh together, I think that's what we're trying to do out there right now. It looks good now, but hopefully in the future it'll pay off its dividends."

On if he envisions CB Orlando Scandrick playing inside or outside:

"I mean, he's doing both right now. He's playing outside as a corner, and he's playing as a nickel back inside. He kind of did that in Dallas over the years that he was there. Smart football player, understands quarters, threes, all that kind of stuff, so from my standpoint, [he is] a veteran guy that can come in and have success."

On his time with QB Alex Smith in San Francisco and how he looks now:

"Just [having] been around a lot of quarterbacks in my league as a player and as a coach, I can tell you one thing, when I was with Rich Gannon actually when I was in Kansas City, it was unbelievable the amount of time and effort that he spent in the offseason, and Alex kind of reminds of Rich in that standpoint – spending a lot of time in the office, trying to get the offense down, just an excellent human being that will perform at a high fashion. He beat us when we were out there in Kansas City last year, and he was the main cause of it. I'm excited to have him here."

On the leaps taken by Allen and Nicholson:

"Well, I think for Jonathan, that's a big one for him. It's usually that second year, even with Nicholson on the back-end, that second year, most guys come in and they are just trying to figure out what they are trying to do from, 'OK, this is what I'm 'supposed to do,' and then the second year, they try to figure out, 'OK, I understand all the stuff that's going around me,' and trying to learn exactly how the offense is trying to attack him. I think those two players are going to have a successful year."

On the chemistry between Allen and DL Daron Payne and the play of the defensive line:

"I see that with all the players that we have. I think playing a year with somebody, and then all of the sudden Jonathan getting hurt, even Matt Ioannidis and Ziggy [Hood] are having good practices. So it's just good upfront to have those guys understand how Jimmy [Defensive Line Coach Jim Tomsula] is teaching it and how we're trying to relate it to them in that fashion up in the classroom. They are actually doing it out on the field, which is a great thing."

On getting a chance to look at other inside linebackers in LB Zach Brown's absence:

"I think it's always important and it's always a thing for those backup players with [Josh] Harvey-Clemons getting those reps for him. I want Zach to be here. He's not, but from my standpoint, with those players that are here that are working, those young bucks, I'm excited for them to make an advance as well."

On the growth in CB Fabian Moreau and LB Ryan Anderson in their second years:

"I think both of them, I think Anderson from his steps out of his stance – his first and second steps – have grown dramatically over the time that he's had. And then with Fabian, just doing a great job of just understanding and recognizing splits, understanding when he can take his chances and he has. And he's done a great job. Both of those guys have."

On Nicholson's versatility:

"We're trying to move him around sometimes. It's just great to see him back to the form that he was when he left last year. So I'm excited for him. I'm excited for all the guys. I compliment every one of them because the stuff that we're throwing at them right now is a lot and they are really comprehending it and getting it down, so I'm excited."