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Jay Gruden Talks OTAs and Who Has Impressed Him So Far

After the Washington Redskins completed OTAs Wednesday, Jay Gruden addressed the media to give updates on how the team is progressing so far.

On what advice he received from his brother, Jon, who attended practice:

Not much, he just in came in to watch how were doing things. Hes still an avid football fan obviously. He likes to stay up-to-date on whats going on around the league. Obviously his sons are close to my sons, so its good to get together with him.

On if his brothers presence caused flashbacks:

Yeah, I mean there are certain things that trigger your memory, you know coaching points that hes had throughout the history of some of these plays that weve run. I can remember and [it] brings back memories, and theyre good, solid, valid points that youd like to bring up to your team and pass them along to the next group of guys doing them. So its always good to have him here. Hes a great presence. Hopefully Ill get him to talk to the team a little bit tomorrow and pick his brain some more here after practice, maybe play a little golf, all that.

On cornerback DeAngelo Halls absence:

He got dinged up a little bit yesterday but hes okay. He just went back to Atlanta for the night. You know hes a cagey veteran. He felt he wanted to be with his family today, so I let him off. Hes a little bit dinged up with his chin, hurt his chin a little bit yesterday, but hell be okay.

On the importance of defensive end Jarvis Jenkins and nose tackle Chris Baker:

Very much so, you know we expect big things out of Chris and Jarvis, and theyre doing a much better job of getting off blocks and transitioning from a run-type of front to a pass rush on the playactions. Everybody down there, from all those defensive tackles, linemen are doing a good job. [Defensive end Kedric] Golstons doing a good job - theyre all rushing the passer a lot better. Theyre still maintaining their run gaps and playing good run defense also at their pad level but transitioning from a run-style stance to a pass rush isnt easy for a lot of people but our guys are doing a good job. And Bakers going to be a major part of our nickel pass rush also, as is Jarvis Jenkins at some point. The more the merrier as far as guys rushing because you want to keep those guys fresh with the no-huddle attacks. The way they are youre going to have to have different defensive linemen in there rotating, you know playing at a high level and all those guys can contribute.

On if nose tackle Barry Cofield is doing more work sooner than anticipated:

Yeah, thats the trainers call. Hes further along than I think he anticipated even, and I think the trainers, I think youre right, but were still going to obviously modify what hes doing and make sure he is full-go before hes ready. Hes champing at the bit to get back out there but we have to probably pull him back a bit and make sure hes 100 percent ready for training camp.

On if he expects Cofield not to practice fully until training camp:

I would say not full-go til camp, yes.

On the safeties:

Ive been impressed with our safety position. Therere some things that they are still working with and [Defensive Backs Coach] Raheem [Morris] is coaching them up on in it. There are some different techniques they are using. Phillip Thomas has done some good things. Obviously hes a young kid. He was hurt last year but hes doing some good things out there. You know we got a couple of other safeties. [Bacarri] Rambo is still continuing to grow. He got some key playing time last year. I think hes learned from what happened last year and hes hoping to build that experience into better play and more stable play. We have some safeties out here that can compete but to have veterans like [Brandon] Meriwether and [Ryan] Clark out there leading the way, its good for these young guys to see and then when they are in there they can progress and learn from them.

On Bacarri Rambos play in practice compared to his play in games last year:

Thats going to happen for young guys. Certain guys handle things differently, but dont expect a Pro Bowler by a rookie safety. Its hard. Very few and far in between as far as that position goes. Its a difficult position. Theres a lot of checks that happen from formation checks, checks in the coverage and all that good stuff in the front, all that, so its a very tough position to come in as a rookie or a young kid and play. It takes a year or two or three sometimes for those guys to pick up everything Coach [Jim] Haslett wants him do or Raheem wants him to do. And the more reps he gets in these OTA sessions and Training Camp and preseason, you build on the experience every week and every year, its going to make him a better player but we have high hopes for him. Hes got great ball skills. Hes not afraid to tackle. Hes got to do a better job tackling. Obviously we missed too many tackles as group last year, not just him but everybody, so we think he is progressing nicely.

On the punting battle between Blake Clingan and Robert Malone:

We feel good with where they are so far. You know this is early, this is OTAs but Coach [Special Teams Coordinator Ben] Kotwica is working with them and he feels confident we have our punter here on our roster right now. But preseason will tell. Youve got game-type situations, nerves get a little bit... Its easy to putt on the practice green, you know what I mean? Sometimes when you get on a real golf course, the three-footers get a little bit tougher. Well see how he does, but we feel really good. Malone is banging them. Both of them are banging them. Malone has hit the roof in the bubble a couple times. Hes got a powerful leg and Blake has done a nice job. So it will be an interesting competition but I do feel strongly that we will find our punter in one of those two guys.

On wide receiver DeSean Jacksons progression and getting a lot of targets in practice today:

He feels good running straight, its just sometimes coming out of cuts a little bit hes still a little bit tentative and were just watching him. But he looked good obviously. We hoped that he could run this week. Thats what our hopes were. Thats why we kept him out last week. It was a minor deal we thought and he thought. Once he got clearance from [Head Athletic Trainer] Larry [Hess] and he felt good about it, he was out there running and its good to see him out there push it a little bit for the team and everybody else. But he did a good job today. Hes still not probably 100 percent, hes probably working through a little bit of pain just a little bit.

On if he has any indication if wide receiver Leonard Hankerson will be ready for training camp:

None whatsoever. I said that last week about that injury. Its totally different. Different guys handle it [differently] at different positions and the rehab could be longer for certain guys, so well wait and see. Hes working very hard, I know that. Hes in there with [Head Athletic Trainer] Larry [Hess] every day and theyre working extremely hard to get right.

On why he chose to use a no-huddle offense during practice:

Tempo, No. 1. Were trying to pick up the tempo. Also, from a communications standpoint, football is a lot about communication nowadays. A lot of teams are running a no-huddle, so from a defensive standpoint, youve got to be able to communicate your calls, get in the right front and talk about it and make sure everybody is on the same page. Offensively, its a good way to dictate tempo and keep defenses from substituting and keep them out of their blitz packages, all that good stuff. Theres a reason for us offensively to utilize it and theres a reason not only from a point of view on gameday, but also getting our defense ready for that kind of attack on Sundays. Obviously, Philadelphia Im reading everywhere that a lot of teams are doing more no-huddle, so its good for our defense to do the work.

On offensive coordinator Sean McVay calling plays in practice:

Theyre scripted. Were [running] scripted plays. Its just who reads them to them [the players] right now. But yesterday, he called an unscripted period or two and its good work for him. Well see where hes at and how comfortable he is calling plays. Theres coming a point in time where hes going to call some plays, too. Were both going to have input in the game and [Offensive Line] Coach [Chris] Foerster jumped in there and called a play today, so were going to have some input. We have some guys that feel very strongly about this offense and know it very well, so the more input the better, but ultimately Ill be calling plays, but Ill obviously listen to a lot of input from those two guys.

On Griffin IIIs chemistry with his receivers:

Im very happy with the way its going. Were not perfect and I dont think anybody is right now. Theres been some out of route too sharp, not sharp enough, maybe a little bit short, maybe a little deep. But I think the more we watch it, the more we rep it, the more comfortable hes going to be of knowing where people are and what depths and how theyre coming out of their cuts. Precision is very important, and accuracy, obviously, in any offense, but especially in the type of offense were running. When we want the ball out of his hands on time, we need the receivers to be precise. [Wide Receivers Coach] Ike Hilliard is doing an outstanding job of getting that taught and so far its progressing at a great pace. I think our receivers are doing an excellent job of being in the right spot and Robert is buying in and able to anticipate throws.

On who initiated the joint practice with the New England Patriots at training camp:

Well, first I heard of it, I think [Patriots Head Coach Bill] Belichick may have called [Director of Football Operations] Paul Kelly, emails Paul or Bruce [Allen] and asked if Id be interested in it. Since I had some experience with it in Cincinnati with Atlanta, I thought it was a great experience for our players and our coaches for that matter so I was open to the opportunity. Its a great change. You get into practice and youre going through the one-a-days, youre going through the walkthroughs in the afternoon and you do that about nine or 10 times and youre like, Gah. This is a great way to change it up a little bit and go against someone else and see where you are with your personnel see their ones against your ones, twos against their twos, threes against their threes and it might juggle the depth chart a little bit after that.

On learning a lot from the joint practice with Atlanta when he was in Cincinnati:

I think from a rep standpoint I was able to get guys reps against other people that wasnt necessarily scripted. You know, a lot of times you script these plays and you kind of know where the defense is, you know what players are going to get, but these are unscripted plays and youre able to see how players react to different types of things. One of the major issues in football is how players adjust and if they cant adjust to different looks, then theyre not going to be very effective. Its a great opportunity for us to see how our players both offensive line, how we pick up different stunts and different fronts and defensive line, different blocking schemes, obviously route combinations against different coverages and different type meets in the secondary. And how people adjust and how our quarterback adjusts and how they see things, so its good for everybody.

On if guards Spencer Long and Josh LeRibeus switched sides during practice to gain versatility:

Thats exactly right. On gameday, we usually dress seven, sometimes eight linemen. Usually seven, so your sixth guy has to play center-guard-guard, your other guy has to play both tackle spots, so its very important for guys to be flexible with what they do.

On LeRibeus:

LeRibeus has done good. He came in and his weight was down. Hes in good shape and hes made some improvements from what I saw last year. You know I dont have a lot of history with him obviously, just what Ive seen this year, but he does look a lot better this time of year this year than he did last year from what I hear, but hes doing well.

On linebacker Keenan Robinson playing a leadership role:

I think as long as hes communicating the calls, thats important, and as long as hes playing hard and doing the right thing, thats leadership enough in a lot of cases. Theres not you dont have to be a Ray Lewis-type of leader to play middle linebacker and be successful. Theres been linebackers who arent quite that vocal that have been very successful. Keenans just one of those guys and Im more about the play than I am about the talk anyway. As long as everybody knows what to do, lets go out and play hard everybody and the leaders will emerge eventually.

SOURCE: Washington Redskins Media



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