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Quotes: Scot McCloughan (01.27.16)

On thoughts on his first season as the Washington Redskins' General Manager:

"The main thing, the positives were the fact that the team got better and better as the season went on. The coaches did an excellent job, the players did an excellent job just competing, battling. You know, we had a lot of roster moves made because of IR stuff, but I was proud of the way it ended with four in a row, three on the road, two in division, and I think it's kind of setting the culture. We have a ways to go still and we all know that, and that's why we use the all-star games, the Combine, free agency and the Draft. But I think the culture is going in the right direction and I think the coaches and players, especially being the second year for a lot of these offensive guys, being in that system for a second year is more confidence. I think you saw with Kirk, and I think you saw guys play better and better as the season went on."

On if he feels the team is ahead of schedule:

"You know, I wouldn't say ahead of schedule, I think it's going in the right direction. I think, like I said, the culture is so important to me, and to Jay [Gruden], and to Bruce [Allen], and to Dan [Snyder] that listen, we can play with anybody. I think as the season went on you saw the confidence build and you saw guys making plays and you saw guys competing. Even in games we got beat in, they were still battling."

On his assessment of QB Kirk Cousins:

"Well, first of all, I thought Kirk did a really nice job, you know, but it wasn't all about him, too. It was about the ten guys around him on offense, but the defense playing well, special teams playing well, getting turnovers, getting in certain positions on the field where we could score. But, I saw improvement as the season went on. From the standpoint of going forward, of course you'd like to have him around. Philosophy with me and the organization is we won't talk contract stuff with the media, but I want him to be part of the Redskins."

On if the Redskins would use the franchise tag on QB Kirk Cousins:

"Well it's an option, of course you'd rather not, you'd rather get a long term deal done, but we have a lot of options we're dealing with right now and that's one of them."

On the team's plan with QB Robert Griffin III:

"Well you know what, the thing is, and I'm looking forward to getting back because we had the playoff game, of course, then you had the loss. I had that week where I met with the staff as a whole on that Monday, we went over the game, you know, the tape and all that, and then they had that week to self-scout their own guys and I got the book right before I went to Florida last week for the East-West Shrine Game, and then of course I came here. So, I'm looking forward to getting back there after the Super Bowl and meeting with each coach individually and going over every player."

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On if he can see a scenario with QB Robert Griffin III:

"Certainly, the thing that's good about what we have right now is that we have until March 9th, and that's why I want to sit down with the coaches. Not just the coordinators, the position coach, but everybody individually and just get a feel for it. He is a good football player, he's a really good person, and he's under contract. That's where we're at right now."

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On determining the status of players facing free agency:

"Same thing that I was talking about with Robert [Griffin III], I need to sit down with these folks individually. I have my own assumptions right now, but what's so important to me right now with the organization is that we're all communicating. It's not about me, it's not about them; it's about us making a decision together."

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On if he was frustrated with the run game in 2015:

"You know what; I pride myself on having tough guys, big guys, physical guys. And again, this my first year here I'm still trying to make some changes going forward, but, I thought we started off very well. You know with (Offensive Line) Coach [Bill] Callahan, you know, (Offensive Coordinator) Sean [McVay], (Head Coach) Jay [Gruden]. We did a lot of good things early, then all of a sudden we kind of hit the wall. We need to be a better run team, we know that, and we will be. We need to be more physical. I think, as the season went on, especially with the pass protection it was excellent. Excellent. The amount of sacks we gave up and Kirk [Cousins] getting the ball out. But we do need to be able to run the football."

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On what hurt the team the most in the run game:

"I don't know, it's hard to tell because, we had some injuries, of course the center and had some different guys playing but majority of the time we had the same guards, the same tackles and we had success. Then for some reason, we didn't have the same success. All of a sudden, sometimes the game plays into that, all of a sudden we're down. All of a sudden we start pass protecting so well and Kirk [Cousins] started hitting it to where that was the best attribute of our offense."

On if it's tough to balance the team with players heading into free agency at the end of the season:

"It is, but that's every off-season. You have to do what's best for the organization. I think it's very important especially if I'm going to come in here and put my stamp on this team from philosophy stand point or culture stand point. I knew all those guys I brought in, personally. I either drafted or I was around organizations with. Leadership is very important, and guys that have been in big games with Jeron Johnson, with Dashon Goldson, guys that have been around big time football games, and I think that is part of the culture. It wears off with young guys that come in like listen guys, relax, we're gonna be okay. And going forward we're always going to try and find leaders. But the big thing for me is we need to draft those guys and build them in our own culture."

On how much has QB Kirk Cousins helped settle the quarterback situation going into the Draft:

"Well the thing about it is there's nothing dead set at that position. What I'm doing here [Senior Bowl] is… quarterback, O-line, safety, corner, doesn't matter. I'm looking for the best football players. It would be nice to have everything locked in place going forward but we don't, and no team really does completely. So it's always about building, no matter what."

On how much confidence does he have in DB Chris Culliver and the cornerback position:

"He's ahead of schedule. He's working his tail off getting after it, but always when you have injuries, especially at a skill position; it's an ACL, it's a movement part. It makes you a bit nervous. But also I can see him coming back, making a full recovery. But we're always going to try to get better at corner, we're going to try to get better at every position."

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On how does his approach to building the team change going into next season:

"The really good thing about it is, and I said it at my first press conference, was the fact to know the guys. There were a lot of questions at the last conference about the quarter back, and I understand that but I have to get to know them. But I get to know all of these guys. Even the guys we brought in draft, and the guys we brought in during the season free agency, you start to get a feel for the vibe—who they are and what they are, and what you want around."

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General Manager Scot McCloughan

On if there is confirmation or clarity on if DT Jason Hatcher is retiring:

"No. I talked to him too and I said, 'Listen, you do what's best for you and your family. You've had a really good career and we'd love to have you back.' He's one of those big time leaders, but he's got to do what's best for him."

On DB Kyshoen Jarrett moving forward:

"You saw him play this year, you saw him at the corner, you saw him play safety; you saw him play some corner. He's got some team ability as well. He's a really good football player, so yeah it helps out a lot because now you don't have to just pin point him as a one position guy. He's got the versatility, and intelligence, and instincts to play those positions."

On if DB Kyshoen Jarret's development helps with free agency and evaluating the combine:

"It plays into it, especially in free agency. You know… It's nice, but I need more of those guys. But, that's how you build a team. He's not the biggest. He's not the fastest, but he's a football player and it showed up. You know, he's a mature guy for a rookie. He did a lot of nice things for us."

On the current status of DB Kyshoen Jarrett's injury after going on IR at the end of the season:

"He's getting better. It takes a little time. You know… a little shoulder injury.

On if DB Kyshoen Jarrett's injury is nerve related:

"They really couldn't tell. You know, but, they said it's going to take a little time just for him to recover. But, they see him making a 100-percent recovery."

On injury updates on other players:

"I don't want to talk about that. We got a great staff – you know, trainers and doctors and they're going in the right direction. They're a lot of guys still around the building, you know, rehabbing. It just shows it's coming (together)… family. It's coming. It's important to them to be who they want to be."

On DB DeAngelo Hall's transition to safety:

"Yeah, I thought it was excellent. You know, you kind of look back at some other guys, like a Charles Woodson type guy, and stuff like that. Where…they're exceptional corners in their prime, but, they're so instinctive, and they're football players. The thing that impressed me about him so much, the change is tough no matter what. Because now, you're not playing a quarter, you're playing the middle of the field. But, to see how physical he was and how important it was to him to be physical, and make plays, and see him work at practice, and asking questions all the time; he's a good football player. I'm glad he's with us."

On if he noticed if the transition to safety reinvigorated DB DeAngelo Hall:

"Not really because he's a good football player. I've always respected him. He's one of those guys whose like an Energizer Bunny… he just keeps going, and going, and going. But, a good thing about him, not just the fact about being a good football player, but as a person he is, and what he brings to that locker room. What he brings to the young guys because that's so important. Coaches can only do some much in the meeting room. You know, in the off season stuff, guys like that make us better, just because of who they are and what they are."

On making possible changes to the team's scouting staff:

"Not right now; nope. We're going forward."

On what he liked about the scouting staff and how they helped the team:

"You know, it's hard, because, you know, you come in, and I have my own vision of what I want a player to look like. And it's not easy for them to pick that up right away. You know, in college, going through the draft, they start getting it. And then during the season with the pro guys, I think you saw the amount of guys we hit on, and that's because of them that are football players. I don't need the biggest, the fastest, the prettiest – I want a football player. And I think this year, going through the draft process – which we're going to start in two weeks with all the college scouts again – they'll get another four weeks before the combine with me of knowing exactly what a Redskin is supposed to look like."

On how he feels about the team's scouting staff:

"I feel really good. They work hard. You know it's important to them. They're willing to listen, they're willing to learn and they're willing to give me feedback – in a negative or a positive way – and that's what I want."

On the importance of going all-in to make improvements in 2015:

"The thing about it is with any NFL team, but especially with us, these players, this is their profession. And they've had success in their life, and that's why they are where they are. We approach every day as getting better, you know, and we're not going to sit back and say, 'OK, we'll rebuild for two years.' Absolutely not. Each day we're trying to get better; each week we're trying to get better. And that's the way we approached it, and that's why I thought the coaches did a really, really good job, especially the second half of the season, and the players, because they kept fighting and fighting and we got on a roll."

On TE Jordan Reed going into a contract year and if he envisions signing him to a long-term deal:

"Again, I'm not going to talk contract stuff with the media, but I want him around. He's a good football player. You know what – he's a competitive guy, and he changes games for us."

On his relationship with Head Coach Jay Gruden and his evaluation of Gruden in 2015:

"Excellent, you know, and we meet daily. The passion he has for the position – the head coach – and how he makes the coaches coach the players, how important it is to him to be successful and be a competitive team – I loved it. It was a great year. It was one of the best years I've had with a coach. You know, it's one of those things where it's tough for a head coach going into his second year and coming off a four-win record, and to see how he competed and battled every day, and how he made those coaches better and those players better."

On if he was surprised that he got on the same page with Coach Gruden so quickly:

"No… not at all. Similar background, he comes from a football family, I come from a football family. It's sad, but that's all we know. But, he's got a great personality and like I said, I just love the fact that the passion he has to be a head coach and help us win."

On if having veteran assistant coaches around helped the transition:

"A lot, because you know you're going to have tough days, you're going to have tough weeks in the NFL, especially as long as our season is. And to have a [offensive line coach Bill] Callahan who's been a head coach, to have a [quarterbacks coach Matt] Cavanaugh who's been around so long as a quarterback coach for Jay [Gruden] to lean on them. And he does. It's not all about Jay, it's about all of us, and we all lean on each other."

On bringing in Greg Manusky as outside linebackers coach:

"He's a great guy, he's half crazy, he's perfect for the position. No, you know what, I was very lucky to be with him for a couple years in San Fran as a D-Coordinator. He had success in Indy before he came to us. Another football guy… another guy that's gonna every day show up and help guys become better football players and better men."

On OLB Preston Smith's growth:

"Well I think just as a rookie, just figuring it out. It's not easy for those guys and all of a sudden…a lot of stuff with him is technique work. Being able to have a coach that can work with him – especially that we hired Manusky now – that he's just I think going to keep going and going. I think it shows that's the good thing about our coaching staff this year is guys were improving as the season went on they weren't falling off they were going forward. Especially for a young guy, as a rookie, because they hit the wall usually at Week 10, Week 12 because they're not used to playing more; they were all getting better."

On what he envisions the Redskins doing with the No. 21-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft:

"There's going to be a good football player there [at No. 21 overall] no matter what. Like I said last year, in every round we pick there's going to be a good football player. That's the way the draft works, that's what you make of it. But it's not saying we would never move. I can't see us ever going up but maybe going back. But I feel very confident that at 21, we'll get a good football player, a really good football player come in his first year and help us."

On the team's needs going into the 2016 NFL Draft:

"Well I don't want to get into that because it's just not my style. Like I said, we just need to keep adding good football players. Good people, high character football players that want to come in here and be a Redskin."

On what he hopes to gain from attending the Senior Bowl this year:

"A lot, a lot. Because everybody says, 'You go watch the game, don't you?' Well, I get the game taped, I see that. But just seeing them out here and how each day the guys respond, the competition. Because it's not easy, and these are the best of the best. They're beating each other up each day and to see who can come back the next day and respond, that starts showing character, that starts showing the stuff I'm looking for in toughness."

On how the Senior Bowl differs from the annual scouting combine:

"Definitely, it's T-shirts and shorts at the combine, here its football pads. You know, you got two NFL football staffs coaching them and it's live action the bullets start flying right away and it says a lot because the first day, the second day, third day it's gonna show character. 'Cause I mean these guys are the best and they're fighting each other and guys back down and guys step up and it's very important to see that."

On if WRs DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon are pieces that they need:

"They're both really good football players and I want them on this team. But still like I said, we got a process to go through, but yeah, they both helped us win games this year. I know DeSean missed some time with the injury, but Pierre had a heck of a year for us. They're both football players and I respect that."

On what he saw from the team's pass rush in 2015:

"Yeah, you know, again, it's the same thing – it's one of those things in my first year kind of figuring out peoples make up, figuring out what was going on, what coaches were looking for. Because we started good on our run defense beginning of the season, you know then towards the end of the season we started to rushing the passer better. But again it's a process; everyone's kind of getting to know each other and it's a new defensive staff pretty much, a second-year head coach and it's just getting to know who can do what and not do what. You know, just put them a situation, which the coaches did, to have them be successful, and that's what good coaches do."

On his goals for the upcoming draft, and if he has a specific number of picks he wants this year:

"The more the merrier. Give me 15 if I can have them. Yeah, I want more than less definitely, definitely. You guys are well aware. I think the Draft is the lifeline for the organization going forward and being consistent you have to add youth each year, but not just youth, football players. I know I keep reiterating on it but high-character football players; that are tough guys. That understands that it's about the sum of parts not the individual."

On if he's ever had a NFL Draft class perform in Year 1 like the Redskins' class did in 2015:

"I don't know – we had some good drafts in San Fran and Seattle. I don't know – it was a good crop.  Again what was important is the college guys and the coaches through the whole draft process we identified, the guys we wanted in our building, it's not so much ability all the time it's the person they are, you know, because it's a battle and I want 53 guys fighting for each other and ten practice squad guys fighting for each other. Once you get that going your bad days are lesser."

On what midseason acquisitions like ILB Mason Foster and DB Will Blackmon can bring to a team:

"Every year's that way. The thing I was lucky with was I always liked Mason when he came out. He was a football player through and through; a tough guy, big guy, smart guy. And I knew Will in Seattle and I knew what he brought not just the standpoint on the field but the leadership stuff. Sometimes it's a crapshoot because they're getting older, you worry about injury, that kind of stuff, but the thing that's good about me being around this so long now, even these guys have been out five to eight, 10 years out of college, I still know them, remember their make up like Mason Foster. I knew exactly what he was."

On what he believes the keys are to guarding against satisfaction and improving in 2016 and beyond:

"I'm never satisfied. Not in this league; it can change in one play. Injuries, trade, anything could happen. I'm always striving forward and everyone in that building is. From the ownership that's been great to me since I've been there, to Bruce [Allen], to Jay [Gruden] – we're all gonna keep fighting. We know we have to get better. You know, going to the playoffs and winning the division is great, don't get me wrong, but we have a long ways to go, long ways."

On what he feels is the gap between the Washington Redskins and other perennial contenders:

"I don't know about the gap. I think it's just staying healthy – you know, getting a little bit lucky there – but you've got to build a foundation. And we've started that. And it started before I got here. I mean, look how Spencer Long did this year; look how Morgan Moses did. These guys were already here, and they were Draft picks, you know? Jordan Reed. So I just need to make sure me and my staff keep adding to it."

On if players like G Spencer Long or OLB Trent Murphy are facing any possible position changes:

"Right now I don't know. Again, that's when I meet with the coaches, and that'll be OTA stuff and offseason stuff. The thing that's nice – a couple guys with some versatility and we're going to find a way to get our best 11 on the field."

On how active he envisions the Washington Redskins being in free agency this offseason:

"Hard to answer. I think we'll have a little bit of money, but it's going to be similar [to 2015]. We're not going to be big players. You know, I don't believe in that. I think we, like I said, we just need to add legit football guys that understand it's about the [Washington] Redskins and it's not about themselves. That you're going to come in here, 'This is what we're going to be.' And you're going to be in or out – one or the other."

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