Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Washington Redskins Head Coach Jay Grudens press conference from Redskins PR

June 16, 2015
Redskins Park

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On Defensive Backs Coach Perry Fewell and safety Dashon Goldson:
“Coach Fewell brings great experience with him on his résumé. 1) He’s a great person – very loyal guy – and 2) he’s been productive where he’s been. He’s been in the division. He knows the division. He knows the opponents, knows the Giants, obviously. Great wealth of knowledge. Any time you have a guy with experience as a defensive coordinator… You know, we have a young defensive coordinator, you add a guy like Perry Fewell to help in that transition process, a guy that understands his role, understands football, it was a great addition for us. A lot of respect for him going against him the last couple years. He’s a great addition. And then of course Goldson, he’s an experienced guy. He’s tough. He had some great seasons at San Francisco, went to Tampa Bay, might have been a little disappointing down there, I don’t know. But based on his tape and his career production, we thought it was worth it to go try to get him. Scot McCloughan did a great job to get the deal done and we’re glad we got him. Brings more experience, toughness to the secondary that we need.”

Redskins Coach Jay Gruden   Photo by James Murphy
On wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon:
“I’m impressed especially with Pierre. Pierre has been here every day, working his tail off, doing a great job. DeSean has missed some time with some personal things and things he had to do, but he came out here today and looked sharp. He looked fresh, looked focused, he knew what to do and he looked fast and he finished practice without any hiccups. It was good to see. Those guys are two great players on our offensive football team and we’re going to demand a lot from them. Are they where we want them to be at this point? Close, but we’re always striving to get better, everybody is, and those guys really work extremely hard at practice, especially Pierre. He does a great job.”

On what coaches can gain from minicamp:
“Well, you’re looking for fundamentally sound football, both sides of the ball. Defensively, you’re looking for your gap security, you’re looking for people running to the football, knowing where they’re supposed to be, not giving up any big plays, obviously, and no penalties – no foolish penalties. There’s a lot that you can look at. Obviously the pump, the thud, the shed and all that – the tackling -- you can’t see, but you can emulate it. You can get your body in the right position, all those things you need to do from the pursuit angle standpoint, from breaking on the football, you can do all that, there’s a lot you can look at. Offensively, it’s the same thing. You can’t really drive the defender off the ball, but you can get your pads down, you can get your feet moving in the right direction, getting up to the next level in the running game, receivers blocking the right people, and, of course, route concepts – reading routes versus coverage – you can get a lot out of.”

On what positions the coaches can learn most about during minicamp:
“I think skill guys: receivers, defensive backs, safeties, especially in the passing game you can see a lot. Unfortunately, offensive line, defensive line and the trenches, you know we’re telling them to come off the ball but it’s more of a thud-ish type thing and you can’t really finish blocks, you can’t really shed people like you want to based on the rules of the CBA. It’s difficult for them, but still, the pursuit angles are important, getting in the right gaps, combination blocks by our offensive line, they’re still good to see. But really, you can still tell a lot in the passing game with the receivers, defensive backs, tight ends, backs.”

On improving play in the red zone:
“Red zone has been a struggle a little bit. It’s something that we continue to focus on. Every practice, we’ll have some version of red zone in working on it, but obviously, running the ball more effectively will be very helpful. The play-actions off of that will be very helpful. There’s a lot of plays that you can run if you stay in positive downs and distances. You get in third down in the red zone, it’s difficult. You get all out pressure or you get people dropping eight, very difficult. So, it’s important for our quarterbacks to see throws and anticipate. Throwing windows are going to be tight, and then if they drop eight, keep the plays alive and move around. All that comes with experience, reps, and the more we get… Coach [Joe] Barry is doing a great job with mixing up his coverages down there and his intent. We’re getting great looks and great work, it just takes a lot of practice and we’re going through the process right now.”

On quarterback Robert Griffin III’s progress:
“Every day he is doing something a little bit better, and that’s all we can ask, man. We’re just taking baby steps right now. We’re all getting better together. You can see that I’m starting to have confidence in the pocket and going through his progressions. That’s got to be a consistent theme with him, and not always is that possible with the pocket the way it is, but for the most part, he’s coming along at a good rate right now. He’s doing a great job of exhausting all of his progressions, playing the quarterback position with good fundamentals and getting better, that’s all we can do.” 

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On the decision to hold training camp walkthroughs in the morning and practice in the afternoon:
“We have two practices: one walkthrough and one practice in pads that you can do in training camp. Whether you do one in the morning and one in the afternoon, that’s really up to us as a staff and what we decided was… to install in the morning in meetings, walk through the installation, practice in the afternoon, watch the practice tape, and do it all over again as opposed to trying to install in the evening and practice in the morning. When you install in the evening, sometimes guys are so tired and rundown that you don’t get their attention. We’re hoping that when they wake up bright and early, get a cup of coffee and a good breakfast, we’ll install our stuff, go out to the walkthrough, we walkthrough what we just installed, and then we practice it. I think that transition will be better and more learning-conducive for the players. The reason I didn’t do it last year, quite frankly, is I worried about the rain in the afternoon. But after going through it, I think we would’ve only missed one, maybe two days. If it is a chance of rain or something in the afternoon, we can always flip-flop the practices depending on it. From a learning standpoint, for the players, I think meeting, walkthrough, practice, watch tape is the best way to do it.”

On his goals for minicamp:
“I think what we’re trying to do is finish out our OTAs in a positive way, A) coming out here and establishing a tempo that we want to establish in training camp, show them what is going to be like at training camp, how we’re going to walkthrough in the morning and practice in the afternoon in the heat – let them know what it’s going to be like, what we’re going to do after practice, how we’re going to get ready before practice. All those things to get their minds right so that when they take off and go on vacation for these next four or five weeks that they know exactly what their getting into when they come back. And then just always trying to throw in another key situation at them. Today we had them backed up at the minus-one-yard line coming out, you know what I mean? So there are certain situations that we try to maintain and hit every day, something different. Main thing is just the consistency, what to expect when they come back.”

On if his approach to training camp is different in his second year:
“Yeah, we’re working on doing things a lot differently. There’s certain things in football that you have to stay consistent with –your preparation, you want to try to prepare and you want to practice with great intensity. As far as schedule is concerned, we’re going to tinker with some things throughout the season that hopefully will be more conducive to the players. Like I said, it’s all about getting the most out of your players and that’s all we’re trying to do during the season. How we’re going to approach that schedule, during training camp how we’re going to approach their off days, all that comes into play. We’re working through that. We added Coach [Mike] Clark, who gives me great feedback. Coach [Bill] Callahan has been in the league a long time, he’s been a head coach. Coach [Matt] Cavanaugh has been a player, coach. So all these guys bring… Coach Fewell obviously has come from a Super Bowl-winning team. These guys bring a wealth of experience and I’m tapping into all of it.”

On players rehabbing from injury:
“Those guys who haven’t been practicing, they’re not going to practice these next couple of days. It’s just a matter of continuing the rehab process, making sure we get a good program for them in their time off – they take care of themselves so when they get there they’re ready to go. D-Hall, Jordan Reed, Trent Williams, Silas Redd had a little minor injury today, he’ll probably kept out tomorrow, but those are the main guys… He [Redd] just turned his ankle a little bit. Very, very, very minor. He might practice tomorrow. I don’t know yet.”

On minimizing mental mistakes during minicamp:
“It’s important. The self-inflicted wounds, we learned the hard way last year. There was too many of them. When you’re a team trying to get yourself out of the bottom half of the division or bottom of the division, those self-inflicted wounds cost you. We have no chance if we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot. We’re trying to maintain a high standard here like we always have. But jumping offsides, having false starts, we have no chance if we do that.”

On what he likes about Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry:
“I like his energy. You can see him out there every day, he’s the same guy every day. He’s not up one day, down the next day, happy, sad. He’s a consistent upbeat, positive influence on our team and he’s always coaching and that’s why I like him. X’s and O’s wise, I feel very confident in his knowledge of the game of football. But really, a lot of coaches you can interview are very knowledgeable. They can draw up defenses on a chalkboard. It’s a matter of getting the players to execute and motivating the players and developing the players. That’s what we’re all about here. We’ve got some young talented players in this building and we’re all about trying to develop our football team, this franchise, to be a consistent winner franchise for a long time and I think Joe Barry is the perfect guy to do that with our defense.”

On tackle Brandon Scherff:
“You know, we saw him at the rookie camp and were excited to see him play for the first time. We moved him over to right tackle and he had some struggles, but the thing about Brandon that I’ve noticed already is he takes coaching extremely well. He learns. If he has a mistake, he’s going to try to fix it and that’s important for an offensive lineman to study the game and learn from your mistakes. Because you’re going to get beat a couple times by some top-level pass rushers. You might lose a block on a running scheme or what have you. The good thing about Brandon is he’s strong, he has great feet and he really cares about the success of a football play. With all that in mind, size, strength, takes coaching well, has a great coach working with him. I think he’s going to be fine.”

On if Griffin has a higher level of confidence in his second year in the system:
“I hope so. You know, that comes. He’s got to continue to just play the position, and the more he plays, the more success he has, the more confidence he’s going to build as a player and the more confidence this whole offense is going to be with him under center. That comes with reps and that comes with time. I don’t think anybody lacks confidence with him as a quarterback. I think the transition for him into a new system last season was a little bit rocky for all of us. But when you have the same system going in for Year 2, I think he’s going to get better. You can see the progress every day that he makes and it’s exciting to watch – it really is – with all three quarterbacks, actually. Robert especially is doing an excellent job every day. He’s not perfect, nobody is. I’m not perfect. But he is really striving to be perfect and he’s doing a great job of working.”

On if he has any update on Jamison Crowder:
"Nope. Nothing."

On if he can get a feel for Griffin's pocket presence in practice:
"It's something that is hard to tell when you're not getting tackled and you have a yellow jersey on. But that again, just his feet in the pocket, [Quarterbacks] Coach Cavanaugh and [Offensive Coordinator Sean] McVay and myself, we’re always talking about the feet and the footwork and getting the good base and all that good stuff. But the pocket presence – when they're live in the preseason will tell a lot, but I feel good about where he is going. The big thing is: We're trying to get the ball out of his hands. Let him get the ball to our playmakers. We've got some playmakers on offense. If he can anticipate some throws, get the ball out of his hands, his footwork sound, I think everything will be fine with him."

On how he analyzes what is a good decision for Griffin:
"Yeah, every situation is different for the quarterback. There’s some plays where they scramble out of the pocket and you would say he should have stayed in the pocket. For the most of the part, it's playing the position, and doing what he feels is natural and a lot of those things you can't coach. He's a very gifted quarterback – we know that. I'm not going to criticize him forever for aborting a play and getting out of the pocket and trying to make a big play. The big thing is we're just trying to work on: Here're the fundamentals, here's these fundamental plays that match these concepts. Let's learn from there. But once the pocket breaks down, Robert's going to be Robert and do the best he can to make the play work."

On how important it is for the rookies and for players on the bubble to leave a strong impression during the next three days before heading into a six-week break:
"They have left a strong impression. They really have. They've come in and worked very hard. All the rookies have. The free agents and the draft picks have done a great job. So I think the big this is it starts with good veteran leadership, number one. I think some of the veterans who are working extremely hard showing them the way – how to practice, how to prepare – is what's helping. Some of the new guys we added. They know what to expect when they come back and they've done a good job."

On how important it is to practice well during these three days:
"All of these days, really. We've practiced the last couple of weeks. We're doing the same things. It's just now we're trying to extend the day. We have more time with them in the building. We can meet more. We can do a walkthrough, but just to show them what it's going to be like when they come back for two-a-days so they're not overwhelmed. We're trying to throw a lot at them, make sure they have something they can take with them on vacation to study so when they come back, they’ve got a good fundamental, sound approach and knowledge of our system when they come back so everything's not, 'Oh God, what does Cover 3 mean?' But we feel good about where they are from a developmental standpoint, what they need to know now moving into the break and then coming back to training camp."

On the chemistry between Griffin and the receivers compared to this point last year:
"Well, first of all, everybody's running a little bit different system. There are some similar concepts we had. This year is still a little bit different. We're doing some different things. DeSean’s missed a little bit, but I think when you have another year working with the same receivers in the same system… Last year, DeSean was new for Robert. Andre Roberts was new for Robert. Ryan Grant was new for Robert. So we had some new guys who were running routes for them. Everybody was kind of learning the system. This year, we still have some new players but we have some guys coming back that are doing the same thing, which that helps. When you have the same people doing the same thing for two years in a row, it's beneficial to everybody. There's more consistency. There's more knowledge. There's more confidence in where you're going, where you're supposed to go, where the ball is supposed to go. So it should be hopefully a lot smoother process."

On cornerback DeAngelo Hall and other veterans whose leadership has stood out:
"D-Hall, you can tell he's champing at the bit to play, man. He's out on the sidelines. He's trying to participate anyway he can. He's doing a great job out there. He's one of those guys that has showed up every day, been to every meeting and done an excellent job. A lot of the new guys I've mentioned before, [Terrance] Knighton and [Dashon] Goldson – those guys have done an excellent job coming in here. Some of the guys that we've got in the building – Alfred Morris is a quiet guy, but he just goes about his business the right way every day. He comes to meeting on time. He lifts weights extremely hard. Niles Paul is the same way. DY [Darrel Young] is the same way. Those guys are coming in here. When you've got guys in here like that, that have been here, that have worked that hard in the weight room, and are very punctual, and they come out to practice and they practice hard with a purpose, it only can rub off in a positive way to your younger players."

On Assistant Strength & Conditioning/Skill Development Coach Joe Kim:
"It's all about trying to develop our pass rush. He's also helping in the strength room. He's also got a wealth of knowledge. He's worked with [Kansas City Chiefs] Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. He's worked with Stephen Paea last year in Chicago. I think his résumé speaks for itself as far as development of pass rushers."

On how much time he has with the players in the offseason:
"Well, it's all in the CBA. We are following that. Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3 – they're all different set of rules as far as going out on the field and how much meeting time you can have with them. Right now, we're in a mandatory minicamp so this is the most time we can have with them. We can spend – I believe it's from 8 a.m. until 4 or 5 p.m. – I'm not sure of the exact time. All of the rules are given to us by the CBA. Our Director of Football Operations, Paul Kelly, has it mapped out. We can't go over a minute. There is some limitations that frustrate us a little bit. But I think in a way, they're getting all the work I think they need. We'd like to have them longer, but we're doing what everybody else has to do."

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