Head Coach Jay Gruden
On the injury report:
"Did not participate: [Chris] Baker, ankle; [Will] Blackmon, concussion, thumb; [Anthony] Lanier, shin; [Shawn] Lauvao, groin; [Spencer] Long, concussion; and [Ty] Nsekhe, ankle. Limited were Ricky Jean Francois, foot and knee; [Donte] Whitner, illness; [Derek] Carrier, knee; [Will] Compton, hip; [Jordan] Reed, shoulder; [Brandon] Scherff, ankle; [Preston] Smith… I think it was groin, yeah. And that's it. Full were [Bashaud] Breeland and [Jamsion] Crowder."
On if this week could be a chance for G Arie Kouandjio to prove himself:
"Yeah, I think he's played one game, he played OK, yeah. So I think he has another great opportunity for him. He's waited his turn, done what's asked of him. Practiced hard, played hard, and it's a great opportunity."
On the development he's seen in Kouandjio:
"Yeah, it's grown. You know, we've tinkered with him a lot of different positions. He's played right guard, left guard, left tackle, right tackle. We've tried to get him to be a jack of all trades, so to speak, just in case, because when you're the seventh, eighth, ninth lineman, in a pinch you might have to play all those spots. So I think Coach [Bill] Callahan's worked with him at a lot of different spots. But his natural position is guard, so we feel good about him right now in his development."
On how TE Jordan Reed looked today:
"Yeah, he looked good today, but we'll see. He's still a little sore. Right now I have absolutely no idea. But it is good to see him out there running and catching the ball."
On if the contact or limited range of motion is limiting Reed:
"Yeah, a little bit of both. I think we just have to… I think, number one, from an individual standpoint, he has to feel good about it. And we can't predict that or guess how he actually feels come game time or Saturday afternoon, and ultimately it'll be his call. He'll get the advice from the trainers and the doctors but ultimately it'll be his call. I mean, it'll be the doctors' call but it'll be his call too."
On if roster moves will be made if C Spencer Long, T Ty Nsekhe and G Shawn Lauvao are out Sunday:
"No, I don't think so, because we still have [Vinston] Painter. We'd have Kory [Lichtensteiger] back up. We've got Arie [Kouandjio]. So I think we'd be OK."
On if there is a specific spot in which they have struggled the last couple of weeks:
"Turnovers the last couple of weeks have been down and red zone. Those are two big time areas of concern – three – third down, red zone, turnovers. Those are the key facets of winning football games and playing winning defense. We've been lacking in all three of those categories as of late, but we feel confident we can turn a corner and do a better job in all three."
On if there are goals for turnovers and red zone efficiency each week:
"Well, we obviously want to be on the plus end of each game, and that's easier said than done. We always want to be plus-2 on each game is the goal for us. Red zone efficiency – we don't have an actual percentage, but right around 62 percent, probably right around there would be good."
On forcing and recovering fumbles:
"Yeah, I think we do a good job of stripping it, especially Josh [Norman] and [Bashaud] Breeland got a strip last week. Sometimes the ball bounces a funny way, and sometimes we have got to make sure that we are all flying to the football whether you think you can make a play or not because when that ball does come out, you can be the guy to recover it. I think flying to the ball helps. Gang-tackling helps a lot. Those are the two areas that we have to make sure we continue to really preach."
On Offensive Line Coach Bill Callahan:
"Well, he's done a great job. I knew what we were adding when we hired Bill. I have got a background with him and obviously he worked for my brother, so I've known him for quite a while. We what type of worker he is and what he brings to the table as far as a coach is concerned. His work ethic is outstanding. And he gets players better. He develops young players and you can see that with your eyes right here with what he's done with the young guys that we've had – how far Brandon Scherff has come, how far Morgan Moses has come, Spencer Long moving positions, Ty Nsekhe developing into a strong offensive lineman, you'll see Arie Kouandjio – hopefully his progression – this week. I think that's what he's best at is developing young talent and working them."
On WR DeSean Jackson's three years in Washington:
"He's been here three years? I'll be darned [laughter]. You know, I'll tell you what, DeSean is quite the competitor. He's been a good, solid teammate. And what he brings to this football team, he brings something that not a lot of people can bring, and that's obviously the speed and the big play ability. When you're averaging 17, 18, 19 yards a catch in the National Football League, that is quite a feat. I think a lot of people think that we haven't utilized his speed quite like we should, but I think he has had a major impact on this football team – whether he catches three balls for 80 yards or one ball for 69. He doesn't have to be a guy that catches 10 balls for 90 yards to have an impact on this team. His deep threat has an impact on the defense. It opens up areas for Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder and the backs sometimes. He's been a major influence for this football team in a good way."
On Jackson as a teammate in Washington:
"Well, I'm not his teammate, I'm his coach, but, yeah, we haven't had any issues with him. He's been fine. I think people like him, and that's all I can say, really. I haven't really had any issues with him. He's been fine."
Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry
On the third-down defense:
"Yeah, it was frustrating last week, it really was. I think even more than the third downs, because when you really go back, because we go back and analyze everything, we nitpick it and pull it apart. When Trent Murphy got that sack on third down – it was third-and-12, I think – they were like 60 percent. I think they were 7-of-12, which 60 percent… our goal every game is to be 35 percent. They were 60 percent. So that was—it was bad. But the thing about is when that happened they, you know, we knocked them a little bit further back, they missed the field goal. They had 10 points on the scoreboard with four minutes left. And we talk about being situational masters, we talk about mastering every situation, which third down is one of the crucial situations. But, you know, the No. 1 statistic that we preach and that I'm really ultimately concerned with, the only stat that matters is the scoreboard. And as long as we hold our opponent to one point less than we score, that's the only stat that matters. So even more than the third down, the thing that was a little disheartening was their last 10 plays of the game, they scored on a 30-yard touchdown where we had three guys and [No.] 31 [David Johnson] made them miss and went down the sideline. And then we gave up the ball over our head for 50 yards. So I think those were two of Carson's [Palmer] last seven passes. So that was the thing that was frustrating even more so than the third down. And the thing that I preach to our guys… they're playing their tails off. They're playing hard, they're giving great effort. It's just in those crucial situations, and third down, every single third down. Whether it's the first third down of the game or the last third down of the game, those are crucial. And you've got to win the matchup and right now we're not. They're winning more than we're winning and that's not good."
On weekly goals he has for the defense:
"You know, we have – I won't get into every single one of them – but we have specific game goals that we go into every week, whether it be percentage in red zone, whether it be percentage on third down, whether it be number of points, whether it be sacks, yards rushing, all those things. We have game goals that the ultimate goal obviously every week is to meet those goals."
On how many goals have been accomplished in the past two weeks:
"Well again, and I'll refer back… I'm not going to get into every goal, but the bottom line, Master, is points. That's the No. 1 goal that was not reached. And that's the thing that I will continue to preach to our guys and we've got to make sure we understand because every game's different. You get into slugfest and there's not a lot of points being scored. You get into shootouts and there's a ton of points being scored. Every flow of every game is different. And again, even though we preach specific goals for every specific situation, again like I said, the No. 1 goal, the No. 1 statistic is make sure when you look up when it's 0:00 on the clock that they have one less point than we have. And that hasn't been good enough for the last two weeks because we've lost."
On what they are working on with LB Preston Smith:
"Same things we've worked on from Week 1 when he got here. Again, the National Football League – you've heard me say it up here a hundred times – it's consistency. Consistency is the truest measure of performance. You have got to show up every single week. You can't have a stretch or a week where you're good and then a stretch or a week where you're bad. You have got to show up week in and week out – that's what the National Football League is all about. Preston is giving great effort, he's trying. He just has got to show up in the statistic column. That's what this league's about, it's about making plays. But he's working, he's grinding, [and] doing everything he's always done. He just has got to keep working and keep grinding."
On moving personnel around last week:
"Yeah, I think it was great. I think any time that you can… Offenses, if you ask them, they're kind of dead-set on jersey numbers, 'This jersey number is always in *this *position vs. this formation.' When you flip the script on them a little bit, it messes with them, whether it be from a protection standpoint or whether it be from attacking a certain coverage standpoint. We did that a little bit last week with moving different guys in the slot position – putting Josh [Norman] in the slot quite often, just as a change-up. It really factored in in the protection standpoint, because we had a bunch of free runners at the quarterback, which was good."
On why they chose to start moving the defensive personnel around in recent weeks:
"Well, a lot of it is that we matched Josh [Norman] on Larry [Fitzgerald] last week quite a bit – which we've been doing the last, I would say, probably five or six weeks. Again, we've had a bunch of moving parts in the secondary, so to be able to do that, there has to be an overall comfort level with the system, with the scheme, with what you're doing because as I've told you guys before, when you do match a certain player on a certain player, it's easy for that one defensive player. The other guys – the moving parts around him – they have to get lined up. In this day and age, when you have elite wide receivers that don't just line up in one spot, they line up in every position – 'Z', 'X', 'W,' all over the place – again, it's easy for the one guy. It's difficult for the other guys. Guys, for the most part, did a really nice job [Sunday] and it affected them, especially like I said, from a pressure standpoint."
On LB Ryan Kerrigan getting sacks and if he is making enough 'game-changing plays':
"I mean, John, you know we talk about fumbles and taking the ball away. It is something we preach on a daily basis. We have. If you look, I think we're third or fourth in the NFL in caused fumbles. But it's one thing to cause them, we have to recover them. That's where we're pretty middle of the road as far as – I think we have six recovered fumbles. But specifically with Ryan, I think it's hard in this league. You look at the league-wide stat leaders, it's hard year-in and year-out to get 10 sacks, so Ryan's productive. I guess if you want to gauge the impact level, I think anytime you get a sack, it's impactful. But, no, we're always – and Ryan would stand up here and tell you – he always wants to impact the game. I think with rushers, unfortunately, the only time you're truly impactful is when you make a huge sack to end the game. Again, I think any sack that you get is huge and Ryan is doing a great job for us."
On what he sees differently in Eagles QB Carson Wentz since Week 6:
"We played him relatively [early], the first quarter of the season the first time. But I still think he's someone that you have to deal with just because he's the type of quarterback that can make all the throws. He can stand in the pocket and make all the throws. But with any quarterback that can create when things around him break down, that's what makes him special. They've done a great job with him. They've not held back with him at all, they've turned it over to him and he's running the show. [He's a] very good player and a guy that's something to deal with – both in the passing game with his arm and then obviously with creating with his feet."
On what he uses to measure the progress of the defense:
"Well, I think, you know, those things you don't really dive into until the offseason but you've heard… You know, I use the word up here – consistency. I think that's the key thing when you're building something and you realize that you've built it and you've made it over the hump. I think week-in, week-out, when you have consistent good play, I think you're somewhat there from a standpoint of rebuilding. But that's the thing that I think we're always striving for. I really think every offense, every defense in the NFL week-in and week-out is always looking for consistency, not the roller coaster, not the play great one week, play average the next week. It's all about consistency. And I say it to you guys, I say it to the players, consistency is the truest measure of performance, and what that means is if you show up every single week and you're consistent, that means you're performing. You're performing at a high level – individually, as a unit, whatever. That's the key think I think we're always striving for is just really good, consistent play week-in and week-out."
On what led to the success of defending Wentz in Week 6:
"Yeah, you know, again we were consistent from start to finish. We played well. I think we gave up two field goals defensively. We played the run well, we rushed the quarterback well. I think when you do those things throughout the course of a ballgame, that's what you're looking for from a consistency standpoint. So, it was a good day for us all the way around, and, you know, we didn't really do anything special. We just played hard. We made plays. When guys were in one-on-one situations, they cashed in and that's what it's all about."'
On if he and the defense were surprised by the Cardinals opting to go for it on fourth down:
"Honestly, honestly, very much. But I think that's when – and hats off to a guy, Coach [Bruce] Arians, because fourth-and-1 with the ball on the 34-yard line with a one-point lead with four minutes left, you wouldn't think that would be a situation where they went for it. But they did and when that does happen, in those situations, Liz, as far as me on the headset, the biggest thing that we're telling our guys or I'm telling Comp [Will Compton] to relay to the guys is, 'Hey, they're probably going to hard count us here,' meaning that the quarterback is probably going to get us to jump offsides. 'Watch the ball, don't jump offsides, let's not give them a first down.' But obviously when they go ahead and execute the play, we have to execute."
On if he felt the defense was prepared for that play:
"I think on both sides from the sideline and from on the field, I think everyone was a little shocked that the ball actually was snapped and they ran a play, but that's football. The center's hand is on the ball, ball is ready, the ball can be snapped, we have got to be ready to execute and we didn't, which is unfortunate because that was a huge part even though as I mentioned before we had another third down after that where we got a crucial penalty called on us and then we gave up the ball being thrown over our head ultimately four or five plays later. But, yeah, the fourth-and-1 play was huge."
Offensive Coordinator Sean McVay
On the Eagles' ability to bring pressure:
"Yeah, they do an excellent job. They rotate a bunch of guys in and out of the lineup but they all play really hard. Coach [Jim] Schwartz's defenses have been notorious for being excellent upfront in terms of the energy and effort that they play with and that's what you are seeing from these guys week-in and week-out. Obviously we know what Fletcher Cox brings to the table. I think [Brandon] Graham is playing excellent football right now. I've always had a lot of respect for [Connor] Barwin and [Vinny] Curry, so there's a bunch of good players and they rotate. They've got some depth so it's a great challenge for us."
On how they will approach the Eagles' pressure given the injuries on the offensive line:
"Well, you know, we have confidence in the guys that if some of those guys that are backups need to step up and be ready to roll, you obviously want to be smart with what you are doing in terms of some of the protection schemes that we'll utilize and which matchups we would try and emphasize and how we want to go about that, but the flow of the game always dictates kind of the response that we have. And hopefully we'll stay in some manageable down and distances and looking to get more of the run game going, which is some of that balance like we've talked about."
On his takeaways from the Cardinals' Cover 0 defense on the final two plays last week:
"I think every game presents great learning opportunities for us and anytime that you get into crunch time situations, you know, it will often times dictate that response from a defensive coordinator, especially once you get into that kind of fringe area. We were right inside the 35-yard line, and credit to the Arizona defense and Coach [James] Bettcher. They did a great job executing their calls and they ended up making the plays, but what you learn from that is at the end of the game, especially in those situations where they're going to overload you with a zero pressure, you always have to be protection audible-ready, especially if the tight end and your back are ready to go with that and then whatever your route combinations are, you have certain ones that the quarterback and the receivers are in tune with that are built in that have good answers versus that zero blitz and then some that don't. We had a play on there that you feel good about that but you definitely have to get the protection changed there and that's something that we'll all learn from as coaches and players moving forward."
On the play of C John Sullivan last week:
"I think you saw exactly what you would expect from a veteran center. I thought he was extremely poised, handled all the calls with a nice, calm demeanor and he executed exactly like you would expect a veteran player to do. He's done a great job coming in. He's almost like a coach when you talk to him, his big picture understanding and from the experiences that he's able to draw on as a player in some different schemes, he's very aware, very smart, been really a pleasure to be around. And I thought he did a great job picking up some of the things that Coach [Bill] Callahan has asked him to do within the framework of our system, handled the calls against a really good front excellent. He did a nice job and we expect the same from him moving forward."
On if he saw any rust in Sullivan's game:
"You know, you'd have to ask him about that. It certainly did not show up on the tape. I thought it was a seamless transition for him but the above the neck thing is what really impressed me the most – his ability to come in, handle the cadence, some of the silent cadences that you have to operate with on the road, being able to handle the different calls in both the run game and in protections and it seemed pretty seamless for him and we were very pleased with what John did."
On how the team is helping QB Kirk Cousins deal with the pressure and stay in the moment:
"Well, I think it's just like you said, Rich, you try to stay in the moment. You just make sure that what we're focused on is having a great day today, continuing with our preparation, how we implement the game plan, and then just being that one play at a time mindset during the game. You know, he certainly does have a lot on his plate, but I think the important thing for us as coaches and as teammates is everybody does their job to the best of their ability, then it makes Kirk's job easier as well. And then we can all execute collectively as an offense."
On if he has seen areas in which they needed to stick with the run more:
"Absolutely, John. Looking back on that game, I think you look at it over the last couple weeks, I thought the Dallas game dictated a little bit different response just based on being in a couple of two-minute situations both at the end of the game and at the end of the half where your run-pass balance is going to be off. Looking back at Arizona with some of the plays that Rob Kelley was able to make, I definitely feel like I could've been more patient on some of those early down and distances where you get a little bit pass-heavy. And that's something that as a decision-maker and as a coordinator, I have to do a better job for players being able to keep that balance when you do a good job running the football. He had a couple plus-10-yard runs and then we ended up going three passes and out. And those are situations where I have to look at myself critically and make sure that I'm aware of that and we do a better job, and most importantly, I do a better job for our offense moving forward."
On Cousins' success against the Eagles throughout his career:
"Well, the Eagles are an excellent defense. I think he's been fortunate to play good football. I have a lot of respect. They've had some different schemes, and things like that over the last couple of years, but they've always had excellent players. I think when you saw these guys earlier in the year, they were playing great football. They might not be… These guys are still a very good defense. I think what you see out there can definitely be a misconception. When you flip on the tape, this is an excellent defense that presents a lot of challenges for us on all three levels. They've got good players up front, great backers that can run and hit, and I have a lot of respect for a bunch of players in their secondary. We know that we better be ready to roll because they are an excellent team – especially at home. I think they're 4-1 this year at home and they've done a really good job using that home field advantage, and you can see it show up in the tape."