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Quotes: Jay Gruden, Kirk Cousins & Trent Williams (11.25.15)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

Opening statement:

"Did not participate was [Jason] Hatcher, knee/rest; Trenton Robinson, hamstring; Deshazor Everett with his hamstring; Chris Culliver, shoulder/knee; Trent Williams, knee. Limited was D-Gold [Dashon Goldson], knee/hamstring/wrist, and Keenan Robinson, shoulder. Everybody else was full."

On the announcement of the team's game(s) in London next season:

"I just heard about that a minute ago and that'll be exciting next year. I really could [not] care less at this time – we're trying to get a victory against a very good New York Giant team in an important game. We'll deal with that in the offseason when it comes."

On T Trent Williams:

"If there's one guy on this team I feel good about playing through an injury, it'd be Trent. I think if it's any way, shape or form, he'll go, but obviously we want to make sure he's able to play at a level that he's used to playing. Even if he's limping around, he's probably better than a lot of tackles in the league. We'll have to wait and see. We're hopeful, very hopeful, but we'll wait."

On if he was surprised that RB Alfred Morris was able to participate fully today:

"A little bit. He just felt a lot of pain there on Sunday, but I guess a lot of it subsided. He got a lot of treatment and he feels a lot better today.  Obviously it's no-contact today, so he was able to do some things."

On Morris' rib:

"I think it's just a bruised rib."

On the difficulty of addressing recurring problems:

"Well, that's our job – [it] is to try to fix what our problems are and we are trying to do that. Whether it's scheme or whether it's personnel, it's our job to figure out what those problems are. And there's some things the players have to fix. Obviously the fundamentals of tackling and protecting the football and things of that nature they have to fix. But we're doing the best we can and we feel good moving forward to put that game behind us last week, try to take the good from our season – a lot of the progress that we've made – but we can't let one game hold us back. We've got to move forward."

On the team's 4-1 home record:

"I think a lot of those games we… With the exception of Tampa, all of the games that we won, we were right there and we had momentum and we were able to do a lot of good things. Obviously the road games, a lot of the road games, we got down early and we weren't able to recover like we did against Tampa. Adversity, we haven't handled adversity very well on the road. That's the big thing. We haven't had to face a lot of adversity in a lot of our home games with exception of the Tampa game where we came back from 24 [points down]. And we played good teams [on the road] and they played better than us in those games. There's a lot of factors that go into not playing well on the road or playing well at home, but we do have to keep the momentum of our home field advantage alive in the next two weeks, especially obviously this week against the Giants, who are in first place."

On if there are changes in his players at home and on the road:

"There shouldn't be, but I don't sense it, no. I feel, at halftime, if they're lackluster, so to speak, they haven't been. It's our job to get them back up. For the most part, I feel like they've been emotionally sound. They've been fine. Just a matter of playing better and getting them in the right position as a staff, getting them in the right position X's- and O's-wise to make some plays. So there's a combination of things we haven't done well on the road, but for the most part, from an attitude [and] from a ready standpoint, I feel like they are mentally, physically ready to go."

On why the team has struggled against the Giants in recent years:

"I don't know. They're well-coached, obviously, and they've played well against us and they've actually played well in most of their games this year. I think four of their losses, they've had the lead in the fourth quarter, so they're a matchup problem for a lot of teams. They're a good football team. That's part of it. And then you throw in the fact of the game at home last year we played them , we had the five turnovers. That doesn't help. The game on the road last year against them, we had the big turnover at the end of the half and Odell Beckham  killed us. In the game at home here last year, the tight end killed us. But overall I think it's just a matter of us playing up to their level of physicality. I feel like they've 'out-physicaled' us the last three times, number one, and it's something we have to make sure that we're ready for. They do a great job – their coaching staff – in getting them ready physically, and that's the one thing we've got to do a good job of  with our team this year. Be ready to match their physicality from snap one to snap 70 and keep it going."

On if the struggles with the Giants gets into the players' heads, particularly QB Kirk Cousins:

"I hope not. I think we have a lot of new players too that haven't been a part of that. Kirk has grown so much from each start that he's had from the last time that he's played the Giants even. It's just a matter of how we adapt to their style this week. We've got a lot of film on them. We're studying them. They've got a lot of film on us. We know them extremely well. We know what type of team they have, how they play. They know how we play. So it's going to be, once we kick the ball off, man, it's man-on-man and we'll just have to go out there and compete."

On if Cousins has struggled against the Giants because of inexperience or their game plan against him:

"A little bit of both. He's thrown some balls that he probably shouldn't have thrown and then they've also made some good plays with the pass rush and hurried him into some throws he wouldn't normally make. So our offensive line I think is getting better. We'll have to do a good job of protecting him. We have to do a good job of mixing it up, for one. We have to make sure that we have the running game rolling. Attempts are the key. We've got to make sure we get the ball handed off and we have to have some production. Last week, for instance, I think we had 17 second downs and most of those were second-and-longs. We have to get out of those."

On WR DeSean Jackson not having as much success in the second half of games in recent weeks:

"I think his legs are fine. It's just a matter of whatever play we called, maybe the coverage dictates us going somewhere else. They might have Cover 2 – a safety over the top of him. Carolina was playing a lot of the read Cover 2 last week where it's hard to get him the ball down the sideline or to the post. So it might be some underneath-type throws and we have other guys that are in those spots. You're right, we have to make sure we try to keep him in the game for four quarters and try to get him some more looks, him and Pierre [Garçon] both. When you're trying to spread it out with the running game and trying to get Jordan Reed involved and Jamison and all that stuff, I think everybody's just got to do what they're supposed to do on each individual play and let Kirk make the decision where the ball goes. Hopefully we'll get DeSean involved for four quarters."

On CB Bashaud Breeland's progress since the most recent game against the Giants:

"I think he's another young player that just benefits from playing and studying people and playing against the same people twice. The thing is when you play corner in the NFL for game after game after game and then season after season, you get to see the same receivers in the same scheme. You remember how Odell Beckham or how Rueben Randle played against you in Week 1 and what beat you and what hurt you, formation sets and all that stuff – maybe hand signals. You can anticipate certain things and that comes with experience. When you're brand new out there, you have got big eyes and you're not sure how Rueben Randle releases as opposed to how Odell Beckham releases. So a different technique for him, I think he's going to be a lot more confident in what he does. He's got a couple monsters out there and they just signed Hakeem Nicks – he could be out there. He's a big physical guy. It'll be a great challenge for Bree but he has grown and he has gotten better."

On CB Chris Culliver:

"He had a MRI on his shoulder. We're waiting on the results. We don't know the prognosis yet."

On moving practice up tomorrow:

"Yeah, we just moved everything up, make sure we've got our proper meeting time. We're still going to have our normal practice, it's just going to be earlier so they can get home around 1:00 and spend a day with their families. We added some time on Friday's meeting times to get our meetings in and normal practice Friday, normal deal Saturday and then play on Sunday."

On RB Matt Jones balancing an emphasis on ball security without changing his running style:

"I think if you're putting the ball on the ground, then something has to change. You better change or you won't be getting the ball. Everybody wants to hand the ball off around here, but if you hand the ball off to a guy who fumbles four times, you know, it's a little scary for a coordinator or coach to call those runs. I think he's got to just continue to protect the ball. Like I said last week, a lot of those are non-contact, where if he makes contact he protects the ball very well. It's when he's out in space and he has non-contact that he can't see, those are the ones that poke him. So he's got to do a good job of protecting the ball at all times, and I think he will, man. He's taken a pretty hard beating from Coach Jordan and everybody else around here about his ball security issues. He's a good kid, he wants to do well, he's running very, very hard.  We love that about him. But we do know that he has to make sure he keeps it high and tight at all times and protects it in traffic."

On his message for the team this week:

"First of all, it's a one-game season for us. If you have the desire, I tell them everybody wants to stay fresh for 16 games and they want to be at their best for a 16-game season. It's not a 16-game [season], it's a one-game season. And if we have any desire at all to play 17, 18 or 19 games, we have to take care of business on Sunday. That's the biggest, most important thing. So we've got to get their best effort, physically and mentally. Practice, coming to meetings on time, working out, it's got to be their best focus week of the season, by far, not even close. I think the guys are revved up. Some of these injuries are a little frustrating to us because we're not sure, but for the most part, the guys who are practicing understand the importance and we'll get a great effort from them."

On what he is most thankful for:

"Family, for sure."

Quarterback Kirk Cousins

On the players putting the Carolina game behind them and getting prepared for this week:

"Yeah, we have an edge to us. I feel like there's a lot we can learn from this past game and it's going to make us better in the long run. In this league every week is a test. Some don't go the way you want. We learn from those and we just keep going. We're going to be mentally, physically and emotionally tough. That's what this game and what this league requires."

On what he learned from the previous game against the Giants:

"We felt like that game got away from us early. It kind of changed our approach. I think we kind of had to scrap much of our game plan because we got into a two-minute mode for much of the second half. Again, a lot of it goes back to turnovers and penalties and some of the same mistakes that are going to hurt you in any of the games that you play and any of our losses this year. Much like any other game it's going to be an emphasis to protect the football, to not beat ourselves, to not have those costly penalties. If we do that, we expect to be right there."

On if there is a change in attitude this week:

"I've said this several times this season, if our attitude or preparation suddenly changes this week, I would be scratching my head wondering what guys were doing previous weeks. I feel like all of these games are important and each game thus far has led to this. If we had won all of our previous games then there wouldn't be such a focus on the necessity of winning this one. I view each game as extremely important. I try to stay constant in my preparation and consistent in my preparation. This week is no different. It should be at a very high level."

On the differences in the team's performance at FedExField:

"When you play at home, it's pretty common knowledge that you're going to play better over the long haul because it's home because you're in a friendly environment, a familiar environment. In addition to that, as you've mentioned or alluded to, we've played some really good teams on the road. Carolina and New England to my knowledge haven't lost yet. So when you're not losing and then you go play them at home – you're playing a tough team and the odds are stacked against you. I think that's part of it as well. But certainly we expect to be better on the road and need to be better going forward to have the kind of year and the kind of years ahead that we want to have."

On the importance of capitalizing on back-to-back home division games:

"We go into every week feeling very important, feeling like each game is make or break in a way and that starts Week 1 and that goes all the way through. So, you know, we see each game as very, very important. It's a divisional game. It's getting out to the latter half — back-part — of the season, so each game carries a lot of significance and this week and next week are no different."

On his mindset this week:

"I think to answer your question, yes, you do want to — at times — have a little more-aggressive mindset, try to take some shots down the field, but you don't want to play stupid either. So there's always a balance with that. You try to take calculated risks. If it's not there, you check it down, you avoid sacks, you avoid those turnovers and I think that's what the thought process needs to be when you start to get behind."

On if there was a particular play from Sunday's game when he could have taken a bigger risk:

"No, I don't think so. The one that I wanted back and the game was out of hand at the time, but we threw a deep ball to DeSean [Jackson] near the very end of the game and I thought that one had a chance of being completed, looking back. But other than that, no, I don't really have a feeling of needing to throw the ball more down the field. I mean, it was good coverage and if I would have done that, I would have thrown more picks and I would be talking about how I throw too many picks. So it kind of varies from game to game what you want to do and how you want to play."

 On why WR DeSean Jackson hasn't been as big of a factor in the second halves of games recently:

"I don't know. I don't think so. I think turnovers definitely shorten your ability to get anybody the football when you don't run many plays. I think we had 21 plays in the first half. It's hard to feed anybody — whether it's DeSean or Matt Jones or Pierre [Garçon], anybody, if you don't have that many plays. You know, we threw a couple screens to him on the outside. We weren't able to get anything out of it but, you know, we're trying to give him an opportunity to give him the football and see what could happen. He caught some quick-game passes as well so we're getting him the football. It's a matter of just being able to control the football, control the clock, stay on the field and that's when the opportunities present themselves."

On the team's game(s) in London next year:

"Yeah, I have zero thoughts on that. I really haven't even had one second of thought about it. It's so far away, and as I've said before, in this league, man, I try to focus on the day, the week. My contract ends after this season, so I'm just focused on right now — here and now — and trying to make the most of it."

Tackle Trent Williams

Opening statement:

"First off, I'm here because as some of you may know, I'm here with the American Diabetes Association and I felt like I had a real good time last year and I think that some of the things that I learned about it as I looked further into diabetes and working with the association, I was able to even upgrade my lifestyle. So I'm all for this second year and I feel like this has a great purpose and I'll be here for many years to come if they allow me to. But the purpose is to get the word out about diabetes and help people who may be going through it and might not have the resources to look up and even know what they're going through. They might be too ashamed to even let people know what they're going through. They might not even have the means to go to the doctor and get checked up. So I'm just here trying to urge people to take their health into their own hands."

On what he's learned as a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association:

"I wouldn't say 'learned,' but I notice… you know, speaking about eating healthy and exercising, I get a lot of exercise obviously with me playing football, but the eating healthy part was a part that I didn't tackle full-surface in my life until actually last year until I realized that with my grandfather dying from diabetes that I might be pre-exposed to it, to have an opportunity to get in that same condition. So I wanted to change my lifestyle also, so I hired a chef full-time, not just in the offseason. It's worked out great, man. I've trimmed down about 30-35 pounds. I feel great."

On the benefits of eating healthier and 'avoiding Whataburger at 2 a.m.,' as he referenced during training camp:

"[Laughter] Unfortunately, Whataburger isn't in Virginia… No, man, losing the excess weight, it helps me in every facet of my life. I'm able to recover quicker. My joints don't ache as much. I'm in the 12th week of the season and opposed to banging my knee on the ground, I feel great. I feel like I move faster. Obviously my wind is a lot better with taking the weight off, so it's helped me tremendously, man."

On if he thinks he will be able to play Sunday:


On the sense of urgency from the team this week:

"Yeah, I think Coach [Gruden] got the message across to the guys that it is a one-game season. Which, it might not be that way, but we have to approach it that way in order to achieve what we want to achieve. Obviously we have a dogfight coming up Sunday – every division game is. The sense of urgency is key, and it has to be there in order for us to do what we want to do and what we set out to do."

On why the team has played so well at home as opposed to its performances on the road:

"It's hard to answer that question. You go into a game, you can't really foreshadow going in and turning the ball over five times and playing as bad as we did. I'm not sure if it's a road thing or it's a home thing, I just think it's hard to win with five turnovers. We've had performances like that at home, so it's not to say that it's just a home or away thing."

On if he has been able to discuss diabetes with his children:

"Not yet. I think my six-year-old, she's getting around to it to be able to comprehend what diseases are and how it affects people. Right now I'm using popsicles as my negotiation tactic to get them to go to sleep or do whatever, [laughter] so I can't say that I am yet."

On if he was concerned he had lost too much weight to play tackle:

"I was concerned a lot, actually. I haven't weighed as little as 312, 311, 315 since maybe my sophomore year in college. So of course I was kind of worried about how stout I could be with losing that much weight. My strength was still there. I haven't lost any strength, but, you know, I was worried but I'm not worried anymore. Obviously I figured out that it was the best choice for me and it was a healthy choice. I think it can help me out when I'm done with football. Now I know how to go about life and how to eat healthy and how to preserve my health."

On if the communication on the offensive line has 'stepped down a level' since the injury to C Kory Lichtensteiger:

"I don't want to say it's 'stepped down a level,' but it is tough with having a guy who isn't a natural center, a guy who just moved over to center from guard. To be a center, you have to be wired a certain way. The miscommunication, it has come back and bit us in the tail a couple times, but, I mean, there's no excuse – we're all grown men. We're all professionals. When you have an assignment, your only job is to get that assignment done."

On the team's game(s) in London next year:

"I guess it's exciting. I don't know. I'm not a big 'out-the-country' guy. We could play all the games here stateside, I would be ecstatic, but we'll see – I'm open to new things."

On if he's been overseas:

"Never been overseas."

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