Friday, June 19, 2015

Redskins Coach Jay Gruden comments after yesterday's Mini Camp by Redskins PR

June 17, 2015
Redskins Park

Head Coach Jay Gruden

Redskins Coach Jay Gruden
On if he is starting to see the results he was seeking this offseason:
“I am. I was just making mention of that today. Just looking at a lot of the players, they just look like they’re physically in better condition and that’s half the battle. At this time of year, you want to try to make sure that you strengthen your bodies obviously, get them in the best shape possible and obviously strengthen their minds in the meeting rooms. Then, you know, start to slowly implement your system and how you want to go about your business on the field, the habits that you want to start to create. We feel like great practice habits in the weight room will lead to great things and that’s what we’re all about.”

On what pleases him most about the team’s offseason so far:
“I think I feel best about what I just mentioned. I feel like the progress that they’ve made in the weight room, structurally, I feel like their bodies are in better shape than they’ve been since I’ve been here. You see the young guys starting to develop their bodies. Trent Murphy, I made mention of. You see veteran guys like Jason Hatcher, whose lost some fat and gained some more lean mass to him so I think as a whole I think the group is in better shape, which is exciting to me because obviously that is very, very important. But also, the progress they’ve made with Coach [Joe] Barry’s system on defense and then offensively doing the same things over and over again for a second year, you can see the confidence that they have in what they’re doing and it’s paying off.”

On what concerns he has prior to camp:
“Well, maybe Trent Williams’ injury and maybe Jordan Reed, but really I think we did the right thing by making sure they’re held out and making sure they come back full speed next year, but really, this time of year, I don’t have any concerns or anything negative to say about anything. I feel very good about where we are, the way we practice. The attendance rate here was excellent, the tempo was outstanding and I feel like we made major strides already.”

On if he has seen tangible results from having Quarterbacks Coach Matt Cavanaugh on staff:
“Yes. I think just from having a voice there that’s a consistent voice there, a constant one, a guy who’s been there and done that, a guy with a great deal of experience, helping them along the way… He still hears from myself and Sean [McVay] quite a bit, but to have somebody, an individual really strictly work with him on his fundamentals, you know sometimes as a coordinator or the head coach, I’m watching the defensive backs or the linebackers or the line play, Sean is watching the total picture, and now we have a set of eyes strictly on the quarterback. And I think that’s important. Every snap, every handoff, every dropback is being critiqued and making sure we do it the right way, and I think that has been a big benefit for Robert [Griffin III].”

On what Offensive Line Coach Bill Callahan provides:
“I think the way he holds people accountable, number one. He demands a lot from those guys, both on the field and off the field. These guys come and they meet a lot. They practice hard, you can see them. Pre-practice, their routine is pretty strenuous, so I just think the work that is involved with being a player for Coach Callahan is a demanding thing, but I think at the end of the day, he’s going to get the best results out of you because he’s going to demand the most of you. So, I think it’s a great thing to have him around and it’s great for young players to develop with him and even veteran players to learn a new system, a new way about doing things, is a huge benefit for our guys.”

On if it is “getting ahead of things” to consider if Callahan will help call plays:
“No, not at all. Like I said, he’s called plays, he’s called the running game where he’s been in the past and he will have a major impact, influence on the running game, the play calls that we do call. A lot of times, as a play caller, you know I’m looking on to the next play and I’m calling a play but I’m on to the next play and I might ask for ‘Hey, what’s your best run here,’ and Coach Callahan will be the guy that will devise the running game, pretty much game plan-wise, and it wouldn’t surprise me  at all if he’s calling the majority of the runs on game day.”

On how deep into camp he expects to go to determine the second and third quarterbacks:
“Very deeply. You know, we have those four preseason games and that’s really going to tell the tale. We have a great training camp, we’ll get a lot of reps in training camp and when Houston comes we’ll get a great look at them. And then obviously the four preseason games, we’ll get a look at all three in a great, very-close fashion. The second and third quarterback will be decided then.”

On if he will be confident tackle Trent Williams will be ready for camp:
“Yeah, I’ll be confident, I just wish he would’ve got the work with Coach Callahan. It’s a little bit different, but a lot of the same stuff. Trent is a very smart guy and he’s been attentive in all the meetings. I just wish he would’ve got the reps, that’s all, but it’s not really a concern. I was trying to think of a concern. If that’s my only concern going in, it’s very minor, so that’s good.”

On if he has seen a different kind of attitude among the players this offseason:
“I think it started last year with some of the guys we brought in, also, and the veterans that we kept. And then we bring in the new guys and you’re just trying to establish that culture and that fundamental way about doing your business. The accountability factor that we have here I think has been outstanding so far. It’s exciting to see. We’ve just got to see. Hopefully that carries onto the field and gives us positive results, but I’ve always said if you prepare the right way, if you do things the right way on and off the field, good things will happen eventually. We’ve just got to have faith and believe in one another and they will happen. We will turn the corner.”

On running back Matt Jones:
“We drafted him for a reason. He’s a big, physical back and he will take some pressure off of Alfred a little bit. But, you know, in practice when Alfred breaks a long one, usually we put another back in there right away. I wouldn’t read anything into that. Alfred has had as good a camp as anybody in this building and I’ve been very, very impressed with Alfred, as I always am. He comes to work. He’s always on time. He’s always working hard, and at practice he’s always finishing runs and doing a great job in pass protection, so it’s going to be hard to take any reps from him. But when he does get tired or fatigued or what have you, we won’t hesitate at all to put Matt in there. He’s done a good job. There’s still some things he has to clean up, and then once we get the pads on in the live action, we’ll see how he does with his pad level and all that good stuff. But he’s done an excellent job picking up the system.”

On if he has managed to keep Jones from being physical in non-contact practices:
“It’s a fine line, because you never want your back to run straight up and down, you know what I mean? Because they’ll get slaughtered. But when he runs with his pads down, he’s banging into everybody and it’s against the CBA rules – there’s no contact. Today he ran up there straight up and [Adam] Hayward butted him up, so you know, ‘Get your pads down.’ ‘What?’ [Jones replied]. So it’s confusing, but I think once we get the pads on and he gets popped a few times if he’s running too high, he’ll realize to get his pads down, but he’s a big, strong individual. Even when he does run vertically, he has the strength and power to run through tackles, which is interesting. He’s been very impressive to us. His running style is unique. It’s a physical style, but he does have good change of direction – he’s shown that out in space – and good hands.”

On finding new ways to teach fundamentals:
“Yeah, fundamentals are very important and we have come up with some unique ways to teach tackling and fumdamental tackling and how to strip the ball and all those good things that are very, very important. The last thing I want our players to do is walk out to practice and go, ‘Ah, here we go again. The same stuff, different day.’ So we’ve got to change it up and challenge them mentally and keep them involved. I think the coaches have done a great job of that, changing up the way we approach different drills and different fundamentals. It’s been fun and I think it’s paid dividends so far just watching them.”

On making players run laps for jumping offside or getting called for a false start:
“I don’t know – I think the big thing is, like you said and like I said yesterday, it’s all about… When you have third-down-and-3 and you jump offside, the difference in a third-down-and-3, making the conversion rate on third-down-and-8, are pretty significant in the NFL. So it’s important for us  to really hone in mentally when we break the huddle and listen to the snap count. If you do false start, you need to understand that you are really hurting the football team. That’s just a way right now to let the guys know that it’s not acceptable to jump offsides or have a false start. We’ll probably tone it down when it gets hot in Richmond, but I think the guys got the message.”

On what can be done to create a culture change:
“You lean on veteran leadership. That’s the big thing. If you have guys in the building that don’t believe in what you’re doing and they don’t act upon what you’re saying then it’s going to be hard to get the young guys to follow suit. So very important for veterans to teach the rookies. Like I said, the veteran leadership that we have here – the Hatchers, the Golstons, the Kerrigans, Alfred Morris – these guys are outstanding role models for the younger people. When I say something and we go out and do it at practice and the leaders, the veteran guys are the first ones to do it, then the rookie guys fall in and they do it. So I think right now we’ve sent a great message to the young guys. I feel good about it where we’re going, where we’re headed. Got a long way to go obviously but we’re on the right track, I promise you that.”

On he had to set a tone like that as a quarterback during his playing career:
“Yeah, I mean you have to… I don’t know, as a quarterback you want to be a strong leader obviously and we have some in house, but it’s very important sometimes – a lot of people think you have to lead by being a vocal guy, but if you lead by example of working the hardest in here [the weight room], by being the first one in a meeting answering questions, staying off your cell phone in meetings, coming out to practice, being punctual, doing a little bit extra after practice, I think it rubs off on everybody. I think we have a lot of guys doing that, which is excellent.”

On if he is conditioning players to practice in the heat:
“Yeah, very much and we’ll keep a close eye on that. Coach Clark, myself, every position coach, we’re going to keep a close eye on their stamina. We’re not going to try to run anybody into the ground but we are going to try to demand a lot out of them because it is going to be hot. We play the Miami Dolphins Week 1 here and they’re no-huddle. We better get ourselves ready to go quickly, because you get 16 cracks at the season and the last thing you want to do is to be tired and use that as an excuse. I once heard that fatigue makes cowards of us all and we’re not going to ever use that as an excuse or let that be a problem. We can control fatigue and we’re going to work our darndest to make sure that not going to be a reason for a loss. Everything else hopefully will fall into place but we’ll definitely be in shape.”

On if any late-round picks have stood out this offseason:
“Yes, actually. [Kyshoen] Jarrett really has. Kyshoen has done an excellent job, man. He’s fast. He’s flying around. He’s making his presence known on special teams. I mentioned that the late-round picks [are] going to have to make their mark on special teams and Kyshoen has done that. Even [Martrell] Spaight has too. You know, Tevin Mitchel I think at the nickel and playing corner has really done some good things also. He got an interception today you saw in the red zone, which was excellent. So he’s doing some good things. He’s learning a new system and he’s playing two or three different positions, so he’s been very impressive. I’ve been impressed. It’s hard to say just ‘him and him and him,’ and I don’t want to sound overly positive on everybody, but really I don’t have anything negative so say about anybody. Their work—I think their level of improvement from day to day has been outstanding, The young offensive lineman all three of them – the rookies we brought in, even the free agents – have done an excellent job. It’s been an impressive time and I’m very proud of the guys, the way they came in and worked in the voluntary session and the mandatory session, they all came to work and got better and I think it will pay off.”

On if Defensive Line Coach Robb Akey’s energy has been well-received by the players:
“Yeah, he has. You know, that’s a strong room. It really is. With Terrance Knighton and Jason Hatcher and Chris Baker, those guys are excellent players – Stephen [Paea] – those guys are all pros and they want to work and they want to get better. Coach Akey is excellent at delivering the right kind of message on a daily basis, changing it up and getting the most of out of them. They have a lot of respect for him already and and you can see they pay attention. That’s kind of been everybody, every room so far – the DBs with Coach Fewell, the linebackers, all of them have done an excellent job of taking what they’re learning in the classroom and then transitioning to the field and staying active and competitive.”

On wide receiver Ryan Grant’s progress:
“Ryan Grant, he’s awesome, man. He really is. He runs every route exactly like you tell him to run it. He doesn’t make any mental mistakes. He’s got big strong hands. It’s just right now with Pierre, DeSean. Andre, we draft Crowder, it’s a crowded room right now with a lot of skill. But I won’t hesitate one bit whether he’s our starting Z, starting X, starting inside player, what have you. I think as a wide receiver he’s very polished and he’s just waiting his turn. He is ready to go, though. I promise you that. I love Ryan Grant and what he is and what he’s about.”

On Grant’s demeanor:
“He’s been great, works hard. He’s trying to prove that he deserves some reps and every time he gets a rep he takes advantage of it and that’s the one thing we’re trying to get across these guys. You may get 10 reps a day in practice. Make sure you take advantage of those reps, and Ryan is one of those guys who takes advantage of every rep he gets. Even the reps that he doesn’t get the ball thrown to him, you can see he’s working his hardest coming in and out of breaks and getting open and fighting to get off bump and run or what have you. So very, very, very impressed with Ryan and [he’s] done an excellent job, but he has taken advantage of his reps so far.”

On if there is a difference in backup quarterback play from last year to this year:
"I think all three of them really have done some good things as far as just general knowledge of where to put your eyes and your fundamentals, as far as your drops and all that, and your progressions go, man. I think they're all just getting a better understanding of the scheme. When we call a play, what to expect on that play versus this coverage, versus blitz, versus Cover 1, versus Cover 3, what have you. I think all three of them are starting to just gain momentum in that regard. It has been impressive to watch. You see Colt McCoy do some great things today. Kirk did some good things yesterday. Both of them are making their case known. Both of them, like I said before, have had a taste of the starting quarterback job in the NFL and they both want it back real bad. They're doing an excellent job at competing every day. It's killing them on the inside, I know it. They're competing for the backup job right now, but, they are doing an excellent job and you can see them all progressing at a good rate."

On avoiding drama:
"It's important, you know. We want to make it about us, the Washington Redskins football team. We're not trying to make this about one guy, one situation, one event. We want to try to make this about our team getting stronger together and making this franchise a competitive one that's well respected for a long time. That's what we're all about. I think guys are on the right track of doing that. We're not going to worry about the cameras, or the media, or what's written, all that good stuff, man. We're just going to try to stay in our little room, our little bubble, and do the things the right way, compete, get better and go from there."

On returning to Richmond after his first camp there last year:
“Well, it was my first year as head coach in the NFL and going to Richmond was a pretty exciting time for me and this team. It's a great situation. We have everything we need there to succeed, you know. It's good to be at home, but it's also good to get away with your team. You have got a good fan base there that'll come watch you, even during the walkthroughs, fans are coming out and watching walkthroughs. So, it's exciting. It makes practice a little bit more exciting for guys, you know? They're competing their butts off to win a job, a starting job, or, just win a job on the football team. But, when you have people watching, it puts added pressure on them, which is good. It's good to see how they react to pressure situations with people watching. So, it was a great experience all the way around. The facility was excellent. It was clean. Fields were in great shape. Obviously the hotel was excellent and we're glad to be going back.”

On cornerback Justin Rogers:
"Justin Rogers has been a technically sound guy, you know what I mean? He's not a guy that's going to jump out at you, but over the course of the film when you continue to watch it, he's doesn't have any mental mishaps. He's where he's supposed to be and does the right thing. I think once we get the pads on and how he does on special teams will really determine his fate. He's another guy who has taken advantage of his opportunities. Some of these guys that are second or third group rep guys, they really need to stand out on special teams, number one. And then when they do get their opportunities on the field, take advantage of them. Justin has done a good job of that."

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