Redskins’ Jay Gruden: “When It Rains, It Pours”

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden spoke to the media after Wednesday’s OTAs.

On wide receiver DeSean Jackson:
“DeSean has a minor tweak, I guess, but all hamstrings are different, and he’s rehabbing with [Head Athletic Trainer] Larry [Hess] and hopefully he’ll be back next week starting the final week of the OTA.”

On bringing in safety Ryan Clark at his age after facing him twice a year in the AFC North:
“I wanted him here so I wouldn’t have to see him ever again, you know except on gameday on our sideline. He’s a great player, I always had a ton of respect for all the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive players – going against them two times a year. And he’s the leader over there. The free safety, he can obviously make great tackles in the box, a free safety and he can cover some ground and he’s a good communicator back there. He’s been a part of a system very similar to what we’re running, so it was a natural fit for him to come in here and we have some young safeties that we want develop and learn from Ryan Clark. I think it’s a great chance for these young guys to learn from a veteran who’s been there done that and see how it’s done.”

On if the Redskins were more talented than their 3-13 record last season:
“Well, I’ve said it before, when you’re 3-13, it’s hard to point to one area. There’s a lot of things that go wrong and sometimes when it rains it pours. It just keeps adding on. Sometimes it’s the offense, sometimes it’s the defense, sometimes it’s the special teams, sometimes it’s a combination of all three. You can see the talent level’s there, you see explosive playmakers on offense, you see the offense moving the ball from time to time, you see the defense getting stops in key situations, but for whatever the reason, offense, defense and special teams were never able to put it together on the same afternoon and it cost them a lot of games. In the NFL, there’s so much parity nowadays that you have to be consistent in all three phases to have a chance. If one of your phases fails you on a given day, it’s going to be a long afternoon for you, and that seems to be the case with the Redskins last year.”

On center Kory Lichtensteiger and his shotgun snaps:
“I’ve not seen any issue. Kory’s done a great job at center. He’s coming, it’s a natural transition for him. He’s great in the run game, he gets up to the second level with ease and in the pass protection with the calls that he’s making already, he’s done a great job already. We’re excited about what he brings to the table, both in the run game and in the pass game.”

On quarterback Robert Griffin III’s work on fundamentals compared to what he saw on tape:
“I had never really witnessed his fundamentals as far as the offseason work was concerned, just on game day and last year. There wasn’t a whole lot of true dropback situations for him, so I didn’t really judge him that heavily. I wanted to get a chance to see him hands on and these sessions right here and his workouts and go from there and try to develop him. But I think he’s got a good fundamental base. He’s played for the Shanahans and they understand what the quarterback position’s all about and he got to work with Terry Shea, worked at Baylor and he’s got a good base and a good sound fundamental skillset, now it’s just a matter of perfecting some things and changing a few things up – tweaking some things and where he’s comfortable, he doesn’t have to think about it when he’s going back to pass. He can naturally do it.”

On linebacker Keenan Robinson and his recovery:
“He’s a lot further ahead than we anticipated, stamina-wise, mentally. He’s doing a great job, obviously, but the linebacker position is hard to judge in shorts. But it is exciting to see him run around, he’s a very fluid athlete. Like I said last week, I think he’s active in the passing game and his run fits have been outstanding. [Inside Linebackers] Coach [Kirk] Olivadotti’s done a great job with all the new linebackers we’ve brought in and it’s going to be a great competition come training camp. We’re pleased with where all those linebackers are, especially Keenan’s progress.”

On tackle Morgan Moses playing on both sides:
“He needs to know both tackle spots. Right now, we have him at the right. He’s obviously more comfortable on the left side right now because that’s what he’s been doing the last few years in college. You can see the right side he struggled a little bit and then went back to the left side, he was a lot more natural. But he’s going to have to learn both and that’s what rookie tackles have to do. He’s not a penciled-in starting left tackle, we have one of those. He needs to learn the right side and if he’s eventually, to get playing time, if something happens to Trent [Williams] or something happens to [Tyler] Polumbus, then he’s going to have to fill in on either side, quite possibly. He’s battling with [Tom] Compton for that spot and [Maurice] Hurt, so we have some good competition there. But Morgan does have natural left tackle ability, it’s just a matter of now getting him back on the right side and make him feel comfortable.”

On the impact of Outside Linebackers Coach Brian Baker and Inside Linebackers Coach Kirk Olivadotti:
“I don’t know what went on here last year, I can’t comment on that, but I can tell you the energy level and the accountability that these coaches are holding for these players, I can see it. I can sense it and they can feel the players have bought into the system. Every play there’s coaching being done and you can see them working in the film room and the players working hard, and that’s exciting. Having [Ryan] Kerrigan and [Brian] Orakpo and Trent Murphy and Rob Jackson working with a pass rusher guy on every play and being held accountable on every snap, I think it’s important and same thing with the linebackers. I feel like if ever I’m going to pat myself on the back it’s because of the people that we initially hired, and I feel like we have a great staff in place here, both in front office-wise to the coaching staff and hopefully that’ll translate into success on the field.”

On the receiving corps and how he plans to utilize it:
“You know we’ll see. We’re just going to keep implementing our system and we have to move people around and make sure everybody can play more than one spot because you never know who’s going to get injured or not be available from a game-to-game basis, so it’s important for people to be in multiple positions and the guys mentally who can handle it will have the edge up. Obviously you want to look into the physical skill set of each player, but right now it’s a great competition. It always is this time of year in shorts. When you put the pads on, you enter the preseason games, you throw special teams in there, it will start to clear up very fast.”

On wide receiver Santana Moss:
“Santana, he’s had an excellent offseason program, man. He’s fun to be around, he’s fun to watch, he knows every position, he’s making big plays out there. He looks like a young kid, he’s got energy, he’s a great leader. If he drops a pass, he holds himself accountable. If the quarterback misses him, he’s like, ‘Let’s get onto the next one, man’ He’s a great guy to have for these young guys to learn from at the receiver position, and every position for that matter. He’s working out hard. He’s the first one out there today again, I like having guys like that, veteran guys who are great examples for rookies and also can help you win in big games. You know the game’s not too big for them because they’ve been there and done that. He’s another one that’s going to help this team out.”

On depth on the offensive line:
“Depth is very important at every position, but probably none more important than the offensive line because offensive line people get dinged up quite a bit. You have to have guys able to play left tackle, right tackle, center, right guard, left guard and that’s why we kind of brought the people in that we brought in. It’s very important for each position to not just know one spot, but to be able to move around because throughout the season you see injuries happen and the guys have to fill in at spots they’re not used to playing. We feel like we’ve done a good job of addressing offensive line depth situation. Now it’s just a matter of getting the guys who are playing to perform at a higher level and I know Coach [Chris] Foerster is working hard to do that.”

On the offense’s biggest threat:
“About our offense? Hopefully it’s diversity – the ability to be able to run the ball effectively and have a quick passing game, have some bootlegs, having some deep passing threats, not knowing exactly what is going to happen. You have to be able to prepare for the zone read obviously with Robert Griffin. You have to prepare for him getting out of the pocket. Alfred Morris you have to prepare for, for sure, I would think. Obviously we have a great tight end, good two young tight ends, obviously Pierre Garçon on one side and you have DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts and then the other receivers, Santana, [Aldrick] Robinson and the young Ryan Grant. We have a lot of playmakers, it’s just a matter of what do you plan to come in and stop? Are you going to try to stop the run and worry about us stretching the field? Or you going to try to stay back and worry about and let Alfred Morris beat you? So hopefully the ability for us to do a little bit of everything is our biggest advantage right now. Now it’s just a matter of doing them good.”

On the relationship between Griffin III and Doug Williams:
“I think Doug and Robert, whatever the relationship is, it’s great to have a quarterback who’s been through a lot of things similar to what Robert’s going to go through with the publicity, both negative and positive. For Robert to have a guy that he can maybe bounce some problems off of and Doug can help him out, it’d be great. Doug can have some of his past experiences he can share with Robert. Sometimes to talk to a player who has been through similar situations and how they handled it is beneficial to a young kid and hopefully that’ll take place and I’m sure it has already to some extent. Robert, he’s grown beyond his years. He’s mature beyond his years already. He’s obviously got a lot more maturing to do, but as far as his work ethic is concerned, about how he handles himself on and off the field, I don’t think that’s going to be that big of an issue. It’s just a matter of how you handle the media scrutiny sometimes. Like I said, last week I think it was, he’s a perfectionist. He doesn’t like negative publicity. He doesn’t like negative plays to happen. He wants everything to be right. He wants everybody to love Robert and that’s not going to be the case at the quarterback position. So having a guy like Doug who has been through it and a lot of guys on staff here that’s been through it is going to be beneficial to him in his growing process.”

On Lichtensteiger and other options at center:
“Kory is obviously very athletic. We talked about that earlier. Snaps have been outstanding. Done a good job at center. Mike McGlynn is here. We brought him in from Indianapolis. He was with me in Cincinnati. He can play center, both guards. [Offensive lineman] Ronald [Tevita] Stevens had a great couple days in OTAs. He competing with them at center-guard. [Guard] Chris Chester can play center also, so there’s competition there, I promise you that. And just, Kory, right now is doing the best out of anybody and he’s had a very good camp.”

On having so many pass rushers and what that does to an offense:
“I think the big thing is if you get pressure with four guys, you have a much better chance. You saw the success Seattle had – they had a very seldom blitz. They just got pressure with their four guys. They were able to mix their coverages up, play good sound defense. That starts right there. We have the ability, I feel like – with four, five guys that we have being able to rush the passer, keeping them fresh – that we can get pressure. Throw [defensive end] Jason Hatcher in the mix and that’s a sound pretty formidable pass rush without having to blitz. And then you can throw in the blitz packages by moving people around and it makes it even more dangerous, so it’s a combination. Obviously having a good back end helps also, so it’s important for [cornerback David] Amerson to get himself going and D-Hall [cornerback DeAngelo Hall] to continue at a high level, obviously get [cornerback Bashaud] Breeland going and [cornerback E.J.] Biggers and [safety Brandon] Meriweather and [safety Ryan] Clark and all those guys to be sound on the back end so we get the quarterback to hold the ball for a count and get the pressure. It works hand-in-hand but I feel like with the diversity we have with the defensive linemen and the players that we have, the more explosive we can be as far as rushing the passer is concerned.”

On if the offensive line is where he’d like it to be:
“Yeah you know we’ll see on gameday. We’re in shorts right now so it’s hard to see. We’re going to judge people based on what happens on Sundays, so we’ll see from there. I feel good with the progress we’re making even though we are not in pads but it’s a process and we’ll see. Some guys are going to perform better with pads on than they do with pads off. Some guys are going to perform worse with pads on, those are the guys we’ve got to find out. I like the way they are working, I like the way they are being coached and that’s a start. So we’ll see on gameday how we handle everything.”

On actor Matthew McConaughey attending practice and several players not knowing the movie ‘Dazed and Confused’:
“I don’t know if I know that one. I’m a big movie guy too… I don’t remember that one. That’s terrible.”

On if he could name a McConaughey movie:
“Yes. ‘Dallas Buyers Club.’ The movie he was just in, ‘Wolf of Wall Street.’ There’s a bunch of them. I can name a lot of them. I’ve got to think of that movie now. I’m going to Google that one when I get done.”

SOURCE: Washington Redskins Media

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