Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Washington Redskins Coach Jay Gruden comments at OTA's by Redskins PR

June 9, 2015
Redskins Park

On wide receiver Jamison Crowder:
“I really don’t want to make a comment… We’re aware of it. The NFL is aware of it. We’re just going to go from there.”

On if he has talked with Crowder about it:
“We’ve had conversations, yeah.”

On if he addressed cornerback Chris Culliver’s comments from a couple years ago prior to free agency:
“No, that was a couple years ago. He was on another team at that time, so that’s not an issue.”

Redskins Coach Jay Gruden  Photo by James Murphy
On linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and wide receiver DeSean Jackson:
“Ryan Kerrigan is in the same situation as we were last time. He’s going to continue his rehab process. We’ll get him ready for training camp. DeSean Jackson – he had a personal matter to attend to today. He’ll be back tomorrow.”

On tight end Jordan Reed and tackle Trent Williams:
“Nothing new with Jordan Reed. Trent Williams, same thing.”

On college programs running spread offenses and how it affects preparing a quarterback to play in the NFL:
“When you’re a college football coach, you’re doing whatever you think is necessary to win. That’s what it’s all about. There’s a lot of pressure on them, as well as there is on us. Whatever they think they need to do to win is what they’re going to do. It’s our job as scouts and as personnel evaluators to judge what they’re doing in their situation. Would I like to see them run a conventional offense? Sure, but we still have to judge them no matter what. I’m just happy they’re out there playing football and competing. You can see a lot on the way they compete, the way they handle big-time situations in big games. It’s still all good, man. College football’s still great.”

On how he’s feeling after participating in individual drills:
“A little sore, man. It’s fun. The guys are out here competing. We’re just trying to get better every day. The players are welcoming that. They are competing every day. They’re attentive in the meetings. They’re working out in the weight room extremely well. It’s exciting to be here right now. We’re all fired up about this season and what might come of it.”

On having new players in the secondary and what type of mentality he is trying to instill in the group:
“You know what, we do have some new guys. They’ve played a lot of football. They’ve played some football. Anytime you bring in veterans from outside, it’s important for them to A) buy into the system… But luckily, it’s a new system for everybody right now. You want some guys that come in here that are good leaders that love football. The guys that we did bring in are very good competitors. They mix in well with the guys that we already got. There is great competition at every position right now. The secondary is no different than any other position we have. It’s exciting.”

On LeBron James or Steph Curry:
“Ooh, that’s a tough one. I’m going with Steph… I wouldn’t bet on it, no [laughter]. I like them both. I love basketball, man. It’s going to be a great series. Man, it’s going to be good – it is good.”

On the changes he has seen in cornerback David Amerson from last year to this year:
“What I’ve seen with a lot of guys, Amerson is no different. The reasons why the guys are here that are here right now from last year is they all are committed to winning and they’re committed to getting better. And, that’s what we’re trying to do. As coaches, it’s our job to make them better. And it’s the players’ job to buy in and want to get to better. David is a one of the great examples of coming in every day, learning the new system and competing. We signed Chris Culliver. He could have buried his head. We’ve got [DeAngelo] D-Hall coming back. We’ve got [Bashaud] Breeland who had a great year last year as a rookie. But David has come in here, opened his eyes up, learned a new system and competed just like everybody else has, so I’ve been very impressed with David.”

On how often he talks to his players about doing the right things off the field:
“Well, high character guys are important to us. Luckily, we’ve got some good, high character players and that’s kind of our target in the draft and in free agency. The guys have done well so far off the field. But there is a lot of temptation out there in the world today. There is a lot of social media that they have to be aware of. I’m sure things will come up, but hopefully as men we’ll all handle it the right way and we’ll stay away from the trouble. Luckily, so far, it hasn’t come up and hurt us, but we do have a good group of people, a good group of human beings and they are working extremely hard.”

On the winning pedigrees of Duke Ihenacho and Jeron Johnson:
“It’s important. You’re trying to change the culture and we’re all working very hard to do that. You bring in some people with some great leadership skills and have been at winning programs, it’s important. They know how to win and how to prepare to win. And I feel like the season that we had last year, as rocky as it was, I still feel like we did a good job of preparing. The guys still came in here, focused and tried their butts off to win. We beat Philly in Week 15 or 16 at the end of year. It shows the guys were still committed to preparing. We’re doing everything we can to change around here, and working extremely hard. Having veteran core good leadership is important. We’ve brought some guys in that can help with that. We’ve got some guys in-house that are good leaders. It’s a good group and I’m impressed with all of them.”

On how the players are handling the competition at OTAs:
“They’re handling it fine. Everybody understands in pro football, man, there’s going to be somebody behind you, somebody next to you you’re going to have to compete with every day. In order to keep your job, you’ve got to maintain a high level of excellence. That’s a standard we’re trying to preach around here. If you’re a starter right now, you’ve got to maintain it. Otherwise, somebody is going to be right on your heels. That’s the way it should be. We have great competition at every position. It’s exciting to watch these guys play.”

On how the joint practices with the Houston Texans were scheduled:
“I think [President] Bruce [Allen] first talked to their GM once he found out that New Orleans backed out of the practice sessions. We needed somebody to practice against so we just asked if they wanted to and they were receptive and they came in. I think anytime you get an opportunity to practice against a great organization like Houston – and they’re on the upswing, they’ve got some great personnel and a great coach in Coach [Bill] O’Brien – it’s going to be beneficial to all of us. It’s game situations. It’s something we don’t know is going to happen. It’s unscripted plays. It’s red zone. It’s move the ball. It’s third downs. It’s all the situations you get against an opponent. It’s competitive every day. You get to see our young guys against their young guys, our vets against their vets. It’s going to be a good time and I welcome it.”

On the presence of HBO’s Hard Knocks with the Texans:
“I’m not worried about that. They’ll be focused on them, but I’m sure they’ll sneak a camera shot in on us a little bit. We’ve got a good group of guys, man. I’m not worried about Hard Knocks. We’re going to have some fun with it and practice and compete.”

On hosting joint practices:
“Well, last year, we practiced against New England because we played them Week 1 at home. You know, this year we didn’t have that luxury. So it’s hard to get somebody to fly into Richmond and we couldn’t really go anywhere else because of our commitment to Richmond. Luckily the Texans decided to come here.”

On practicing with the New England Patriots last year:
“I think the big thing that you take away, 1) you’re trying to evaluate your football team’s progress, No. 1. You’re trying to evaluate your team and trying to make the final cuts because cuts are looming right around the corner and you’ve got to make a decision on your 53 guys. You’re trying to put guys in position where they’re going against other guys fighting for their lives in real situations and that’s great to see. You get to see veteran players and a veteran coach that has won a lot of football games, obviously, a head football coach that every football coach looks up to. You get to see how he worked, which is exciting, obviously one of the best quarterbacks of all-time work. Overall I think it was not so much that we were in admiration or trying to figure out how they do things, more so we were trying to find out what we’re doing, how we can do things better and how we can make our team better.”

On shuffling offensive lineman around during practice:
“They’re doing great. I don’t want to sound overly confident or whatever, but our guys are doing extremely well, man. The offensive line – Coach Callahan is doing a good job – and it’s important, you have to be versatile. When you play on game day, you play with seven offensive linemen. You have to be able to play right guard, left guard and center. You have to move around. You have to practice it. That’s why these guys are moving around so much. So on game day it’s, ‘OK, get at left guard… but I’ve never taken a snap,’ you know what I mean? So it’s very important to get their reps. And they’re all welcomed to it. Our line all working very well together. Their communication is excellent and they’re all learning and they’re all getting better and that’s kind of the theme around here.”

On Offensive Coordinator Sean McVay and the plan for play calling this season:
“We’re very close mentally to thinking alike, and that’s the thing – when we put together a game plan and you have your third down situations, you can almost call them together. So it’s very important for us to be on the same page when we install and call plays. But we’ll both have input on game day like we do every game. Whether he calls 50 percent, I call 50 percent, he calls 80 percent or 20 doesn’t matter as long as we agree during the week that ‘This is our plan, this is how we’re going to attack and these are the situations we’re going to call certain plays.’ So I feel very confident in him calling plays and obviously I feel confident in me calling plays.”  

On if McVay’s role has dramatically changed with the hire of Quarterbacks Coach Matt Cavanaugh:
“No, not really. You know, we’re still working very closely with the quarterbacks. Matt’s really working with the fundamental part of the quarterback position. Sean’s still – we’re still – drawing up the plays and going over the plays with the offense, but it’s worked out well.”

On cornerback DeAngelo Hall and individual drills:
“He was doing them the first week of OTAs. This week we’re just trying to make sure he gets that thing at full strength for training camp. We kind of addressed that last time, same with Trent [Williams], same with Jordan Reed, same with Morgan Moses. They’re all in the same boat. Right now it’s about them making sure their rehab goes extremely well, making sure there’s no setbacks so when they do hit training camp, they hit it full speed.”

On Culliver:
“I’ve played against him a little bit, a couple times. I tell you what, you look at his stats, you look at some of these football focus stats and all that stuff, he’s graded out extremely well which is great. But really, when you put on the tape and you watch him, he plays the corner very well. He can play through press, he’s a great bump and run corner, a great man corner, he can play from off, he can play zone, he’s got decent ball skills. But I like the fact that he’s a tough physical corner. So if there is a running back that gets outside and he has to make a tackle, he’s going to make the tackle. You know, all these screens that you see – receiver screens – he does a great job of fighting off receiving blocks and getting off and making tackles. I like tough, physical corners and then to have one that can also cover is a heck of a bonus. We feel very good about him and his progress and his work ethic. It’s been good.”

On the team’s focus on hand placement this offseason:
“That’s Master Joe Kim. He’s part of our strength and conditioning program. He does a good job and works really with hands and feet. He’s a pass rush specialist. He’s good in the weight room with the guys. A lot of it is about hand placement, and as a defensive lineman, working your hands and your feet at the same time and getting hands off you [is] very, very important. He’s a great guy to have. Guys can work on that in the weight room, they can work that out on the field during special teams periods. You see Alfred Morris doing it – our running backs can do it, tight ends can do it. Every position can work hand placement and hand usage at all times and he’s one of the best in the business at doing that.”

On teams using new technology as training tools and if he ever reaches a point to say “enough is enough”:
“We’re considering whatever is possible, man. That’s what we’re trying to do. I’m willing to look at anything to make this team better. There are certain limitations you have as a coach in Phase I and Phase II in some of these periods out here, and if we can make it easier and more conducive to them learning, I’m all for it. I’ve got to take a look at it’s got to be approved by the President, but I’m sure anything that can make our team better we’ll look into. We feel good about our progress in the meeting rooms. We’ve got everything we need to succeed right now and I’m confident about that.”

On punter Tress Way’s leg strength and directional punting:
“Directionals – whatever, man. He boots the crap out of it, that’s all I know. He’s going to break this bubble down before too long. He has really been impressive to me since we got him, not only as a punter but as a kid. His legs get stronger every day. But you’re right, we do need to work on directional. He’s got great hang time on his punts since I’ve seen him. He’s consistent. There are things he needs to work on, but I feel very, very good about that position.”

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