News | Washington Commanders -

Quotes: Jay Gruden, Greg Manusky 10-25-18

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On injuries:

"Alright did not participate were [Jamison] Crowder, ankle; [Zach] Brown, illness/oblique; [Quinton] Dunbar, shin. Limited were [Shawn] Lauvao, calf; [Adrian] Peterson, ankle/shoulder; [Paul] Richardson, shoulder/knee; [Brandon] Scherff, knee; [Chris] Thompson, knee/rib; [Morgan] Moses, elbow and Fabian Moreau, ankle."

On LB Zach Brown's status for Sunday:

"Not really. We'll see how he does tomorrow but he's just been sick. He's had flu-like symptoms."

On CB Quinton Dunbar:

"Yeah, Dunbar ran a little bit today and I'll talk to the trainers afterwards. I just came off practice, so I didn't hear how he did. But, he was out there in practice watching and did some work with the trainers on the side."

On RB Chris Thompson's workload this week in comparison to last week:

"Well, we're playing it by ear. We've game planned as if he's going to play like we have the last couple weeks but we'll get a better feel tomorrow for red zone day and Saturday morning. But, we're hopeful, fingers crossed. But ultimately, it's going to be up to him and Larry [Head Athletic Trainer Larry Hess]."

On New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley:

"You know, he's a great player no doubt about it. Heisman Trophy [finalist], the second pick in the draft, you know, he can jump cut. He can run you over. He can catch. I don't know what else you want a back to be, but he has all the intangibles to be a great back for a very long time. He has the great lower body strength, explosion, [he can] stop on a dime. He's shifty and powerful, which is hard to find that combination. Usually big guys, they can't jump cut like he can. He can do it all."

On if Barkley is a generational running back:

"It looks that way. I mean there's a lot to prove. I mean he has all the tools to be that. Those guys, you have to do it over time and consistently and all that stuff. I think with the ability that he has, I don't see why that won't be the case."

On limiting Barkley's explosive runs:

"I think the teams that he had those runs against they had their eye out on him. It's just hard. He's a great player. All the great backs in the history of the league, they've always been accounted for. They just make people miss in the hole. Sometimes free hitters, you have the gaps covered and he cuts it back and if one free player has to make that tackle but he jumps cuts out of you. He runs you over. He stiff arms you and then all hell breaks loose. So, we have to do a great job of wrapping him up, hold him up and then like I said, always you have to pursue to the football."

On New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr:

"He has a great feel for the game. You can tell he's very aware of his surroundings – man, zone, leverages. He's just a good route runner. You know teams have rolled up to him quite a bit and doubled him but he still finds a way to get open from time to time. Obviously, when the ball is in the air, that's where his gift comes into play. He can catch it all kinds of different…he's like Gumby. He can catch it wherever the ball is outside the framework of his body. He's unbelievable, so we have to have a plan for him. Those are two dynamic players on offense."

On if the recent trades the Giants made presents a challenge:

"Not really, not really. I know they have good players. They lost a couple good players but they have good players behind them. Like I said yesterday, they've had a lot of guys playing a lot on defense, different guys. You know, I think [John] Jenkins will take over for Snacks [Damon Harrison] over there, so I think they'll be OK there. Then obviously, they have a bunch of corners. B.W. Webb will probably move outside and they'll move [another player], I think in the nickel. But all those guys have played a little bit so it's not like they are brand new to the system or plan. I'm sure they have it covered. They have a method for their madness and they'll be fine."

On playing a team with a 1-6 record:

"It's the New York Giants and they're a good football team. We just mentioned two players that are possible Pro Bowl players – Saquon and obviously Odell. Then, they have a quarterback that's a Hall of Fame quarterback. They're very talented. Defensively, they're learning a new system. They're starting to play well together. They've been in some close games, lost some close games. You look at the NFL season and teams that are 1-6 and teams that are 4-2, a play here a play here. We could be 1-6. They could be… you never know. We know how competitive they are. We know how tough it is to play at that stadium. We've learned the hard way. Anytime you play in the NFC East on the road, it's going to be a tough game. You don't even look at the records."

On WR Paul Richardson Jr. playing this week:

"Yeah, he worked yesterday and today, which is good. He's got some good work in and so we are hopeful that he will be ready to go. But again, he's the type of guy we have to really keep a close eye on the day after a good days work and make sure he's good to go. He's a tough guy really, really tough. He wants to play all the time but we have to do what we think is right for him and obviously for this football team."

On QB Alex Smith creating plays outside the pocket:

"He's done a great job of that in his career. He has a great feel for that. You know, there are times he's probably escaped early or maybe should've escaped when… that's always going to be the case playing quarterback. But, he has the intangibles to be a very good pocket awareness quarterback and he can escape. He's done a good job keeping plays alive and getting out of trouble. You really don't coach that. The day after when you have the clicker and you freeze it, 'Oh you could have stepped up here or you could've done this.' It's easier said than done. So, you kind of just let them [instinctually] take over when the pocket breaks down, let him do his thing. But we just try to talk through the progressions and the reads and what other options he could have had on that particular play and then move on to the next one."

On moving CB Fabian Moreau outside:

"Moving him? Yeah. Yeah we did in base last week. He played outside corner in base and in sub he played nickel."

On if that impacts where CB Josh Norman lines up:

"I don't know yet, we'll have to wait and see. It's going to be exciting to see, hopefully we'll have a plan for Odell, but our corners are going to have to strap up and play. We can't triple him or double him every time. If you start doing that, you are lighting the box for Saquon Barkley so it's pick your poison. We're going to have to have a plan, guys are going to have to strap it up and play and compete and we'll do the best we can."

On taking a running back second in the NFL Draft like the Giants did:

"I know that they made a great pick. He's a great player. He's going to be a great player for a long time so you can't be critical of that pick in my opinion. I was hoping he would go earlier, not to the Giants [Laughter]. It is what it is, everybody has their scouts and their staff and their reasons for doing what they are doing. I just know that you pick Saquon at one, two or three, you had a great player so I think everybody is happy."

On CB Danny Johnson's role aside from his injury and how it affects CB Greg Stroman:

"No, Stroman is good, Danny is, and they are in good spots where they are. They are both getting good experience and are very promising rookies for us. 'Stro' is going to have to step it up a little bit. He's going to get some more action probably this week if Dunny [Quinton Dunbar] can't go. The good thing about Stroman is he's definitely not afraid. He's going to go out there and compete. He might get beat a couple of times but he'll come back, strap it up and make some plays. That's what you love about him."

On opposing teams challenging Stroman:

"Yeah, he's been challenged throughout training camp and the preseason and obviously he's gotten challenged a couple of times, once at New Orleans, twice at New Orleans and once last week. He's going to continue to get challenged. Quarterbacks aren't stupid. They are going to go after the young buck and he's going to have plenty of opportunities to make some plays."

On which NFC East stadium is the worst to coach in:

"I hate them all [Laughter]. I don't like any of them. But, no I don't have a preference really. It's just really any away stadium, you are on the road and it's an us against them mentality and no matter where you play, it's usually difficult, it's loud, you've got to handle the noise and do the best you can."

Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky

On balancing coverage of NY Giants RB Saquon Barkley and WR Odell Beckham Jr.:

"It's always that pressure between the tight end and the wide receivers and the running backs, I mean it's never ending. The last couple of weeks, we've faced pretty good running backs, quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends. It's a balance that you've got to kind of choose between. Going up against a receiver in number 13 (Odell Beckham Jr.), a good football player and then a good back in 26 (Saquon Barkley) that does a great job of hitting the lane, sidelines, making the guys miss, you can put him up or you can put him down. He's a good running back, but you've got to tie it back and forth and hopefully pick and choose."

On the offensive time of possession and how it affects the defense:

"I think that's huge in the National Football League. Time of possession for an offense, it wears down other defenses too. I've been in the other form where I was on that defense where the offense wasn't out there as much and for our offense to lead in time of possession, to have their defense out there a decent amount of time, that's better for us of course. I've been on vice versa, on both sides of it and it's good that we are keeping the ball, keeping possession of it, and driving it down the field."

On getting a chance to make adjustments when the offense is out there for so long:

"Oh yeah, definitely on the sidelines and stuff and sometimes when I've been with offenses that go three-and-out, three-and-out, and three-and-out, it's hard to even go over them. You might have 10 plays, 15 plays, so to go through that series at least when our offense is out there with the time of possession, to have the guys talk about changes that we might make or we do make, at least from up front."

On DL Daron Payne and DL Caleb Brantley jumping early on the Dallas Cowboys field goal attempt:

"But the penalty was on them though, right?"

On what he is teaching guys on the defensive line and how to jump quickly:

"I think you watch the ball. That's the biggest thing that we teach, is to watch the ball and if that ball moves, that's when you go. From our standpoint, we've been teaching that since we've been here; when the ball moves, you move. That's what they did, I guess the ball moved and they moved and they (Dallas Cowboys) got the penalty."

On the leadership of DL Daron Payne and DE Jonathan Allen:

"I told you last week that Jonathan Allen is stepping up as a leader. Across the board, you get those guys that have been in that situation. They've been in the national championship. It's not a big forum for them and for this guy to step up from a defensive line standpoint, even Payne, he's a little bit quiet, but I think as a second-year player, you start to build. Jonathan only had four games last year, I think, and he's building a repertoire so I'm excited for him."

On putting a special emphasis on running to the ball and group tackling:

"I always tell them, I could get a drunk off the street to come and run to the ball [Laughter]. That's the biggest thing I used to say to them every training camp. I mean I could get a guy off the street to run to the ball just for one or two plays. I can even do that, maybe, I don't know, I've got a bad hip [Laughter]. Overall, I think it's important, even this week facing this running back. I mean this guy; do not assume that he's down. He's a good running back, so we've got to make sure we chase the ball and make sure we get after it."