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Quotes: Jay Gruden (9.1.15)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On the status of running back Matt Jones:

"Matt just had some rest, going through some treatment. Obviously, when he gets the ball he runs very, very hard. He just needed a little bit of extra time, a little extra treatment room, but there's no injury there."

On if he has to keep an eye on Jones to maintain his body:

"You do. He had some issues in college a little bit. They're well documented. We're going to take care of him. He's a very integral part of our running game and our success. We want to make sure we have him for 16 weeks and don't burn him out. Taking care of him in the treatment room, on the field, off the field is very, very important. But he also needs to get his reps because he's a rookie. We have to find that happy medium there, get him ready physically, mentally ready to play, but also take care of him."

On if he has any thoughts about revising the offense's emphasis on running the ball:

"No, we want to be well-balanced. There's no question. We have some very good skill players with Pierre [Garçon] and DeSean [Jackson] and Jordan [Reed] and Jamison [Crowder] and Andre [Roberts], Chris Thompson when he comes in, Trey's [Williams] doing some great things. But really it all starts with the running game. We have to make sure we have that presence about us that we can run the ball anytime, anywhere, which opens up the play-actions, the quick game, the deep balls, all that stuff. What got us in trouble last year is we became one-dimensional. By a score late in the game, we were down a couple of touchdowns or what have you, we had to comeback. Quite frankly, that's difficult on any quarterback, especially young quarterbacks in a new system. Very, very important for us to stay in games, stay close and have that running game be a big part of our playbook."

On if he has a plan if a backup quarterback is needed behind Colt McCoy on Thursday:

"Yeah, Kirk [Cousins] will have to come in. Yeah. We're one of the unique teams where we only have two quarterbacks right now with Robert's [Griffin III] status unfortunately. We didn't really have time to get a guy in here yesterday and teach him the playbook. We needed all the guys that were able to play. We would have had to get another roster spot which we couldn't do either. I think we'll protect Colt. He'll do a good job staying in there. If something happens, Kirk will come in there, run the ball and he could still play."

On if he has an exact date for when quarterback Robert Griffin III could be cleared:

"I was told the end of the week. It'd be probably Thursday or Friday when he'll probably go to the independent guy, whoever that is now."

On if he's confident in wide receiver DeSean Jackson's availability for Week 1:

"I'm very confident. He was out there the last two days running full-go. He's just got to get himself back in football shape. He's in good shape, but football shape is a little bit different than running on a treadmill or an elliptical. He's just got to get himself back in football shape."

On if players could make the roster because of their performance on special teams:

"Oh, no question. That factors big-time into our decision making as far as who's making the roster. We've stressed the importance of special teams all throughout OTAs and training camp. I think 99 percent of the guys in there know the importance of special teams with the one percent probably being DeSean [Jackson] – he's not going to be a flyer or anything like that. The rest of them know the importance of special teams and how their roster life depends on the fact that they need to play good specials – whether its kick coverage, whether it's punt, punt return, whatever it is, they have to perform there because you're right, if you're the third linebacker or the fourth linebacker, you better be active on special teams. Same with safety, same with corner, same with tight end, running back, so all those guys, it's very important for them to show on special teams."

On the long kickoff return by Baltimore:

"Unfortunately, the kickoff was supposed to go on the other side of the field. Kai [Forbath] just pulled it. So everybody was thinking they were covering the right corner and it went to the left corner. It was a line drive and there was no hang time there either. It was just a poor kick by Kai. Then we just didn't adjust very good, but heck of a play by [Justin] Rogers getting him down at the one-yard line. Really it's a great situation for us. I'm not happy about the long kickoff return, but I am happy about the sudden change, defense having to go on the field after a touchdown. Momentum totally shifts in Baltimore's favor and now we have got to hold them to a field goal, but we did better – we got them off on fourth-and-one. Got a big stop at the end of the half. So it was a great experience for everybody involved."

On bringing in safety Dashon Goldson and nose tackle Terrance Knighton:

"Those guys, they all have specific roles. But the good thing about both those guys, they are strong leader and. they've played at a high level before. Goldson has been a Pro Bowl player in San Fran and a veteran guy who knows the system and understands football and the importance of teamwork, good strong leader. Same thing with Terrance. Terrance has a specific role, that's the run stopping S.O.B. He's doing a great job there but also he has a role of working with the younger guys and showing them how it's done, how to practice, how to prepare, all that. Both those guys, not only on the field but off the field with their leadership have become very, very important players for us."

On how difficult it can be to cut players after investing time in them this offseason:

"No question, that's the toughest part of our job to be honest with you. Naming the starters and all that stuff, that's tough also, but when you're talking about cutting people this time of year, guys have been with us through OTAs and training camp and really done nothing wrong. They've done everything right to make themselves a part of this Washington Redskins football team. It's difficult, it really is. It's heartbreaking, but I think the good thing is I think we're going to get them enough work on tape where we're going to get them an opportunity somewhere else possibly or others, there's a chance, a lot of these guys can come back. Last year, we went through a ton of injuries and we ended up brining certain guys back. So it's not the end of the line for them but it's just sad to tell them we have to let them go. We feel like we've given these guys ample opportunities. Hopefully they'll catch on somewhere else or with us later on."

On the success of the second- and third-team defense:

"No question, both sides of the ball the second and third groups have done outstanding really. I think that's why our record is what it is in the preseason. We've had very few breakdowns, we've tackled extremely well on defense. They run to the ball. Every position has been sound. Gap security has been excellent, tackling has been great with both groups. Offensively, the protection has been outstanding and of course the wide receivers have done a great job. Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, Trey [Williams] have done a good job in the running game. I can't say enough about the depth of this football team. That's why it goes back to 'How are you going to cut some of these guys?' It's going to be very difficult because they've all performed pretty well for us. But I'm happy with the depth and where we are at. Obviously it hurt us a little bit with the Niles [Paul], Logan [Paulsen], obviously [Junior] Galette [injuries]. So that's challenged us a little bit but for the most part I feel good where we are at depth-wise."

On what he learned from cut day last year:

"It's the same. I've been a coach before. In whatever league you're a coach in and anytime you cut somebody it's heartbreaking and it's hard. You hate to do it, but it's football and that's just the way it is. It's part of the game and we understand that. These pros understand it. We've got 90 guys in the offseason and we've got to get down to 53, do the math. We challenge them every day. That's why were so competitive out here every day. Guys are working so hard because they know they're fighting. Every rep is important. But it's never easy and it never changes, I didn't really learn anything, it's all the same. It's a miserable day, miserable time of year for everybody involved. The assistant coaches become close to these guys. The players, they become closely knit. You cut some people that are really good in the locker room, really good leaders. It's unfortunate but everybody has to go through it. "

On if the media environment could be "too toxic" for his quarterbacks:

"I don't think so. I think everybody understands that's the way it is in pro football. Unfortunately there's negative press, some of it's positive obviously depending on the situation and who is writing the articles. It's just the way it is in the National Football League. When you're a NFL quarterback and you want to aspire to be a NFL quarterback, this is part of what you have to go through – the good articles, the bad articles, the negative press, the positive press. Sometimes the positive press can be worse than the negative press. It's just important for them to understand the grind as a quarterback. Fight through it, continue to compete every day and get themselves better and ready to play when their number is called because all three of these guys, as we learned last year, their number could be called sooner than later and they have to be ready. I think the type of mentality that they have, they will get themselves ready and hopefully they'll ignore the noise from the outside people."

On if McCoy needs to do anything to change Gruden's impression of him:

"I don't have any negative impressions on Colt. He's done everything we have asked him to do. He's a tough, competitive guy and I think he's going to go out and compete like he always does. That's not going to change with Colt. No matter the situation – the flag football game out in the backyard – he's going to go out and compete and want to win. That's the type of guy he is, that's why we love him around here. So, that view is never going to change on him. He's going to go out and battle and compete. He's not going to have do anything great to change my view on him. Anything he does, if it's poor, it's not going to change my view on him. I just know he's a great competitor and we're happy to have him on our team."

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