Sunday, August 2, 2015

Redskins Coach Jay Gruden comments on Day 4 of Redskins Training Camp by Redskins PR

August 2, 2015
Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center – Richmond, Va.

Head Coach Jay Gruden

Redskins Coach Jay Gruden   James Murphy/CCS
On the injury report:

“On the injuries real quick, Tevin Mitchel has a shoulder [injury], he is going to undergo further evaluation. We’ll know more this afternoon. Willie Smith is going to take another day or two with his Achilles strain. And Jeron Johnson tweaked his hamstring but it looks like he is going to try to go today. We have a couple guys that we’re holding out of practice today just because it’s a rest day – guys that are coming off injuries, we don’t want to overwork them this early.”

On if players like tight end Jordan Reed and running back Chris Thompson can “learn” to stay healthy:

“Well, a lot of it is luck but a lot of it is also what you’re doing in the weight room to get yourself ready and how you’re taking care of your body off the field. A lot of it is just dumb luck. Jordan has had a couple unfortunate injuries, and same with Chris. They’re both tough guys, I like to think. And knock on wood, they look excellent out there right now. But some of those guys we have got to make sure they get treatment before and after practice even if they don’t have any injuries. They have got to take care of their bodies, they’ve got to ice their bodies down and do what the trainers tell them. And so far, those guys are on the right path.”

On getting bigger along the offensive and defensive lines:

“We definitely got bigger, that’s for sure. In addition to Brandon [Scherff] and Arie [Kouandjio] and Spencer Long moving into the right side – the right guard – we’re bigger, and you can feel them, especially on some of the runs we’re trying to do – the different runs we’re doing. So far, so good. We are still working on our identity, so to speak, in the running game. We are trying to challenge our guys with different run-type schemes. It’s looking good so far, but we have a long way to go.”

On if he is concerned about not having much youth on the defensive line:

“You always want to have some young guys that develop in-house, but I think they still have a lot of football left in them – all those guys. And you throw in Frank Kearse who played some minutes for us last year, he’s a younger guy, so to speak. So we have a couple of young guys and plenty we’re going to look at and gauge. But to have a veteran group on the defensive line is not a bad thing. You had [Kedric] Golston in there also. He’s a veteran. But they can all still play. Eventually we’ll have to probably get a younger guy in here to develop but right now we feel good about the depth of our defensive line. And that’s the good thing about it is they might be a little bit older but the amount of guys that we have in there that can rotate, we should keep them fairly fresh.”

On defensive end Stephen Paea:

“I’ve seen he’s probably our strongest player. That’s for sure. He is very good in the weight room. He and Mike Clark go back there -- were together in Chicago -- and exceptional in the weight room. And it carries over on the field. He’s got great work ethic and he plays very hard. So to add him in the mix as a rotational guy with [Jason] Hatcher and Terrance [Knighton] and [Chris] Baker and [Kedric] Golston and all those guys – and Ricky Jean [Francois] – should give us a lot of depth and should keep us fresh.”

On if his relationship with the defensive coaching staff has changed with the change at those positions:

“I sat in on all the offseason meetings with Coach [Perry] Fewell and studying what they’re doing in the secondary. I always like to learn more about the defenses and how they attack and how they react to certain things and how they adjust to certain formations. I’ve been more of a listener and asking questions and ‘What if this, what if we give you this when you’re playing this?’ and challenging them a little bit with formations and questions and all that stuff. But its Joe [Barry]’s baby right now. Joe and Perry have been a lot of places and have a lot of experience, and I trust what they’re doing right now.”

On if he would hesitate to start a rookie over a veteran:

“No, that’s not my M.O. If you look at the track record, you know in Cincinnati we had a ton of rookies playing for us and I don’t have any problem with a rookie if he’s playing well. Right now, Brandon is taking the first-string reps Arie is making a strong move there at left guard, he’s doing a great job. [Jamison] Crowder is making plays all over the field. Preston [Smith] is doing a good job on defense. Kyshoen Jarrett is doing an excellent job at safety. We’re going to let them guys keep competing and if they outplay a guy right in front of them, that’s what competition is all about. We’ll play the best guy."

On if the changes to the coaching staff this offseason were the right ones:

“Oh, absolutely. I have nothing but respect for the guys that worked for me before; they’re all good football coaches. A lot of times in this business you need to make changes and we felt like we had to do that as an organization. The changes that we made, we feel very good about them. The results will speak for themselves once we get going. Right now, I like their energy, I like their knowledge of the game, and I like the way they coach these players. I’ve said it a million times. The bottom line is we need coaches here to develop the young guys and get the most out of the veterans. I feel good about where we are with those guys.”

On “the knocks” on running back Matt Jones and how Jones has progressed since OTAs:

“I don’t know who was knocking him, I don’t remember ever knocking him. Coming out of Florida, I think he’s a big kid and he’s got great feet in the hole and he’s showing great vision out here so far. The only people I’ve seen him run into are safeties so far. I’ve been impressed with Matt. It’s a tough position to play. You think you just get the ball from the quarterback and you run through a hole and all is good, but there is a lot more to it to playing running back. So far he’s picking up the nuisances of the protections and the footwork of entering the hole and obviously catching the ball out of the backfield is something a little bit new to him. I’ve been impressed with his progress thus far. Randy Jordan is an excellent running backs coach and he takes these guys under his wing and does a great job of developing these guys. Matt, we have high hopes for obviously with his size and power running the football.”

On the defense taking away the deep ball in practice and if that is also good practice for the quarterbacks to check down:

“Oh, no question, it’s great. You get excited when you throw deep balls in practice when you’re an offensive guy, but if you’re the Head Coach or a defensive guy, you don’t want to see any of those over the top of your defense. We gave up a lot of those in the past and we’re trying to really make offenses work for every yard that they get. Every blade of grass they have to work for. If the quarterback has to check it down, we’re going to rally all eyes on the ball and make good sound tackles, fundamental tackles and try and get the ball out. It is a great test for our quarterbacks to be patient. Get the ball out of your hands, let the running backs or receivers on the checkdowns do the work for you. We have taken a few shots and hit some, but overall I think our defense has done a great job at taking away the deep ones. “

On General Manager Scot McCloughan and their relationship in building the roster:

“It’s a collaboration, no question about it. That’s the one thing that I really feel comfortable with Scot moving forward with – he takes input from everybody. Obviously, ultimately he has the final call on who he wants to select. It never really came down to ‘I want this,’ ‘No, but I want this’. Together we always came up with a choice that we felt good about the team. He understands what football is all about, he understands what offenses are all about and defenses and what it takes to win in this league. He believes in big people obviously in the front, as do I. We made the necessary adjustments and picks, and we’re going to get better from here on out. Together – if you’re asking, we collaborated together, but he ultimately had the final call.”

On running back Alfred Morris and if free agency will affect Gruden’s view of him:

“No, not at all. We anticipate Alfred being here for a while – knock on wood, hopefully. Alfred, sometimes he’s not big-name guy – I guess because you’ve got DeSean and Robert obviously gets a lot of publicity – Alfred just goes about his business every day. He’s been excellent with blitz pickups. He’s catching the ball out of the backfield so much better. He doesn’t say a peep. He just comes to work every day and you love to have guys like that. At the running back position, that’s pretty rare for a running back not to complain about getting the ball – sometimes he probably should. Overall, man, I just love what Alfred is all about both on and off the field. I’m very happy to have him.”

On if he is having more fun this year:

“Yeah, well, I try to have fun all the time – it doesn’t look like it. I am having fun actually. You have got to love this sport. You love the competition, you love the guys out here coming to work, the coaching staff that we have, the people in the front office, everybody is working with one goal in mind and that’s to turn this thing around and get ourselves back to winning a Super Bowl, a Super Bowl caliber team as quick as possible. You can see us all working and putting it in. You don’t have to be a miserable guy to do that. You can still have fun with the guys and get a lot out of them and that’s what we try to do.”

On if the roster has been built based on the NFC East:

“Well, we are building our roster to just field the best 53 guys, number one, but we are also very aware of what our division opponents are all about – the Cowboys, the Eagles and Giants. It’s no secret you want to protect your quarterback and run the ball. Obviously on defense you have got to stop the run and get after the quarterback when it’s third down and we’re trying to do our best to build our team to appease that. Overall, you look and see what your competition is all about, but we also have the other games out of the division that we have to worry about. We’re trying to build our team so teams have to worry about us, and not us worry about them.”

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