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Quotes: Head Coach Jay Gruden, Quarterback Kirk Cousins (10-05-2016)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On the injury report:

"Did not participate today were [Bashaud] Breeland, ankle; [Su'a] Cravens, concussion; [Josh] Doctson, Achilles; and [Dashaun] Phillips, hamstring. Limited were [Ryan] Kerrigan, elbow; [Shawn] Lauvao, ankle; [Chris] Baker, toe and elbow; [Trent] Williams, knee. Full were [Josh] Norman, hand; [Trent] Murphy, shoulder; and Rob Kelley, finger."

On placing S David Bruton Jr. on the Reserve/Injured list and signing two other safeties:

"Unfortunately, David had a concussion or is in the concussion protocol. We don't have the luxury of having a lot of spots right now, and we had to make a decision. Not knowing how long he was going to be out, we had to make a decision to get another safety in here to play. We chose to bring two of them in here. Obviously we made a move with Kendall [Reyes] also to make room for those two safeties – Josh Evans and obviously Donte Whitner. Josh is a young, talented player. [He] got some starts at Jacksonville. Obviously Donte's résumé speaks for itself. He brings some veteran leadership and knowledge of the position and we're hoping that he can fill in quickly."

On if there is a difference in the severity of the concussions for Bruton and S Su'a Cravens:

"No, I can't even get into the severity of the concussion, we just had to make a decision. They're in the protocol and one could be longer than the other. We have no way of knowing."

On what did not work out for DE Kendall Reyes:

"I don't know, we just had to make the decision, like I said, to get a couple safeties on board. We're short at the safety position. We felt like the guys in-house at the defensive line position were adequate and playing good enough and it was a spot that was expendable, basically. It wasn't anything that he did poorly. It was just a decision that had to be made upstairs. Unfortunately, this time of year when you have some guys like [Bashaud] Breeland and some of these guys – [Dashaun] Phillips and [Josh] Doctson – who are on your 53 [man roster] that are not on IR, they're taking up spots and we don't have a lot of spots to fill some voids. We have a void at safety right now with Bruton's injury and obviously D-Hall [DeAngelo Hall] going down."

On if there is a need to add players on the defensive line:

"I didn't mean adequate in a bad way, I just meant they're playing the way they're playing. But, no, not right now. This is a team thing and obviously from a defensive rank standpoint, we want to be better, and we're going to strive to be better. But we're not blaming the defensive line, we're not blaming the safety position or the linebacker position. I think everybody, in general, needs to be playing better and that's a challenge for all of them."

On if there is a chance Cravens could play this week:

"I have no idea. We've had bad experiences with the concussions. It's up to the independent doctor, so we have no way of knowing. We'll see how he does tomorrow and Thursday and we'll go from there."

 On if he liked the play of CB Kendall Fuller and if he likes him in that role going forward:

"I do, I do. We will see when [Bashaud] Breeland comes back what we're going to do with Breeland and we have some things we could work out as far as who's playing where, but I like the way Kendall played and competed in his first game. It wasn't too big for him. He made some plays and I think he's going to get better and better."

On if CB Bashaud Breeland could play on Sunday:

"Oh, yeah, there's a chance. He's close."

On tackling:

"We have to do better, without a doubt. You know, if you're going to look at a positive, we have held the last two opponents in our two victories to zero touchdowns in the second half in our last two games and got two victories. So, I saw some improvement in the second half, but obviously the holes are what they are. You know, we've given up some splash runs, some big runs that we need to shore up our tackling. I think as you get later in the season, if we're continuing to give up these plays, it'll be a tough year for us without a doubt. But, I have faith that the safeties and the linebackers and defensive line, we're going to get better and do a much better job moving forward. That's all we can do."

On if there is a common thread that has led to struggles on the defensive line:

"Well, I don't think you put it all on the defensive line, number one. I think it's outside backers, inside backers, safeties. Everybody has had their hand on it. Defensive coordinator, head coach, we've all had our hand in it. You know, it's a team game, it's a team defense and when the defense is playing well, it's not because of the corners, it's because the entire team defense is playing well. Everybody is working in unison and playing together and right now for whatever reason, we have somebody either out of the gap or missing a tackle or what have you and we're just not quite hitting on all cylinders. But, we can get there. I think if everybody has faith in the system and can work, we'll get to where we want to be."

On if the team's routine will change with the game in Baltimore:

"We're going to stay at the same hotel."

On if there is extra motivation because of the proximity of the teams:

"I wouldn't say extra. I think it's a great challenge. You know, when you're playing a franchise like the Baltimore Ravens that have been consistently good and competitive year-in and year-out and have good players, I think it's always a great challenge. It's where we want to get to be at their level of consistency. So it's going to be a great challenge. I have a ton of respect for Coach [John] Harbaugh and what he's done with that team for so many years in a row. So I think the players know they're No. 1-ranked in defense, they're very good on special teams. Offensively, Joe Flacco and Steve Smith and [Mike] Wallace, and a good young running back in [Terrance] West, and a good offensive line with [Marshal] Yanda. I mean, they have good players. So we understand it's going to be a great challenge and they're close proximity to us so I think everybody will have a little extra motivation."

On if his exchange of words with Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh during last year's preseason game will come up this Sunday:

"No, I don't think so. It was a misunderstanding. It was, you know, a little chippy. I have a ton of respect for him as a football coach and what he's done, without a doubt. And, you know, that happened. It's over."

On the atmosphere in M&T Bank Stadium:

"Well, I expect a tough, hard-fought game. The thing that they've done consistently over the years, is they've been a very tough, physical football team. They have a great fan base. Obviously it's a great place to play. It can be intimidating at times, but if you match physicality with them, which we're going to have to do, you have a chance. If you let them get in your head, you have no chance. And that's what they've done for so many years with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed and the consistency of that program. But I think I feel good about where we are and I feel like we can compete and we've done well on the road in the last few road trips that we've been on to Chicago and obviously to New York. So I feel like our team has grown a lot and we can play."

On improvements by RB Matt Jones:

"I just think his decisiveness is key. You know, when he's decisive in his runs, whether he's right or not, he's still hard to tackle. And when he's trying to tip-toe in the hole and try to find the perfect cut, that's when he becomes easier to tackle. When he is decisive and gets his pads down, he's a tough guy to tackle, whatever decision he makes. I think that's the big thing with him. If fe continues to be decisive and have confidence in his reads, he's going to be a productive back for us for a while."

On if he's said anything to Jones about the decisiveness of his runs:

"We do some coaching around here, contrary to belief [laughter]. We coach them up. Randy [Jordan] does a great job with him. They watch every run in detail, man. They coach them up on every run, every blitz pickup. Everything that he does he's getting coached on and talked to. So, yes, we do." 

QB Kirk Cousins

On wearing an Indiana sweatshirt to his press conference:

"Nate Sudfeld obviously being an Indiana graduate, Michigan State played Indiana last weekend and [we] made a little friendly wager. Indiana got the better of the Spartans, but it was all good. We did something a little unique. I said if Michigan State wins, you've got to give a donation to my youth football camp back in Michigan for next summer. But if Indiana wins, I'll give to the ministry that he supports which is Assist International that does a lot of work in developing countries. We based it on a percentage of salary, so Assist International is going to get a good check [laughter]. Happy to do it. It's a good thing. So I'm rocking the sweatshirt with pride and going to make that donation."

On how he is feeling about the season at 2-2:

"I guess as you'd expect. Like you said, some good, some bad. I think it's good to be 2-2, better than 1-3 or 0-4. But certainly feel like we also could be better. We just keep chugging along. We don't live in the past. We try to learn from the past and move forward and control what we can control going forward. Just keep working and stay at it."

On his observations of Offensive Coordinator Sean McVay calling plays from the booth:

"I really just have one observation, I don't want to make it more complicated than it is. It's just that I noticed in the Giants' game that it is a little more sterile – would be the word I would use – with Sean. When he's in the box, he doesn't have to yell over the crowd noise. I don't hear the ancillary noise coming through his mic, so the play comes in in a very calm, sterile way. I thought that can't hurt. The original intent was to have Coach [Wes] Phillips down with the tight ends on the sidelines to help them through all their adjustments and personnels and blocking assignments and routes throughout the game. We'll probably just stay with it for now and just stay the course."

On if it is tougher to get feedback with McVay in the booth:

"I just hop on Coach [Matt] Cavanaugh's headset if I need to talk to Sean. Coach Cav does a good job and obviously Jay [Gruden] will help as well with what he sees. Whatever needs to get communicated, gets communicated – one way or another."

On what he liked in the red zone:

"Each situation is different, each play is different. Obviously on the initial, the first touchdown, as we said after the game, Jordan [Reed] was one-on-one, he did a great job winning. There was a window there, made the throw. The second one, nothing was open in rhythm, but we were able off-schedule to find something. You don't really draw that one up; you just have to play and react. We were able to pound one in running the football. Another one we were able to just catch them off-guard with a quick count. Each play has its own reason for why it was successful, but it's great to see us get down in the red zone and then be able to finish those drives. It certainly does make a big difference in the final outcome of the game."

On if he's starting to play the way he wants in all facets:

"I just think it's week to week, it's day to day. I don't know that you ever say, 'I'm starting to play well now' or 'I wasn't playing well then.' I mean, it's just, who knows. You can win two games in a row, if you lose this week, now it's, 'Cousins isn't playing well and doesn't know what he's doing.' So I just take it one game at a time and do the best I can one play at a time. The old adage, those three words: Do your job. I just try to do my job and I think that gives me the best chance to try to play successfully."

On WR Pierre Garçon:

"He's a phenomenal player, one of our best athletes. Hard worker, he's very intelligent. He has those characteristics that lend themselves well to having a long, productive career, to having a consistent career, to being a winner. He deserves every accolade or accomplishment that he receives. He's been a great teammate and he's a great example for younger players as we bring in younger receivers. So we're trying to look for players like him in all positions because of the way he approaches the game. I'd love to be able to play with him for a long time. He's certainly helped me as a player and made me a much better quarterback being on the receiving end of my passes."

On changes in the passing game when the running game is working well:

"First of all, that's a great hat. I really like that [laughter]. Secondly, Matt Jones running the football helps. I mean, I think he went for like 117 yards and that does open up things and it keeps us in manageable down and distances. I think on the first drive we really didn't have a third down that we had to convert. You just, first down, second down, oh, it's first down again. We may have been in a third-and-one, but we don't see that as a need to drop back and spread them out and throw the ball down the field to convert. Boy, it helps to be able to stay in those situations and then if we can just stay out of penalties, it gives you more and more opportunities to run the football. Anytime we can do that, good things happen for our offense. And I think we saw that in the first two drives of what we can be when we're firing on all cylinders."

On if he will continue to extend plays or look to get rid of the ball to avoid sacks:

"Anytime I get sacked I'm going to look at how could I have avoided it. So there's no doubt on one of those plays the other day I could have avoided it by just throwing it away. And then one of the sacks I took was not so much a hanging on as it was pre-snap being able to just recognize a pressure and adjust the protection accordingly, so each play can be different as to what the reason is."

On Ravens QB Joe Flacco:

"Well, he's got a ring, so that's about all you need to say. And obviously he's done a lot more than that. But, when you've won a lot of playoff games against some very good teams and played at a high level in those games, I think that says everything you need to say. I think he's got a great arm. I enjoy studying quarterbacks around the league and he would be one of them. I've said it to him after a preseason game, I think he's got one of the best natural arms in the league. Talented player and a guy that I like to study along with a few other guys in the league."

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