Head Coach Jay Gruden
On WR Josh Doctson not participating fully in team drills:
"He had a good practice yesterday and today and started out pretty good and we just kept him out [of] the second half."
On if Doctson sitting out was injury-related:
"It had nothing to do with that, don't worry."
On from where the emphasis on technique and teaching with the defense this year comes:
"I think this time of year is the time to get that done. A lot of times once you hit the season and you start talking about all the coverages and fronts and blitzes you're going to play and situational work, sometimes technique gets pushed to the backburner. This is a time where we really emphasize technique. We've done that since I've been here. Adding obviously Coach [Jim] Tomsula and [Defensive Coordinator] Greg [Manusky], those two guys are technically sound guys, but this is the time to do it."
On how the running backs studying other running backs can help them:
"It helps a lot, watching other people do what you do, especially guys with great history and who have been very productive for long periods of time. See how they take care of their bodies, see how they hit the holes, see how they run the wide zone course, the tight gap-trap schemes, all that. It's a good chance to watch other teams' schemes, other good players doing what they do and they can learn from it."
On his line of communication with QB Kirk Cousins during two-minute drills now that Gruden has taken over play-calling duties:
"It's just something that I need to work on more than Kirk. Kirk gets the plays and executes them, it's just about me spitting them out quick enough because some of the terminology has changed over the years from when I called plays in Cincinnati and a little bit in my first year here. So it's just a matter of me getting back in the flow. It's been smooth so far. We've got a long way to go. Kirk is very good at two-minute drill, Colt's [McCoy] very good and they execute it well."
On what changes he's seen from RB Rob Kelley compared to last year:
"I told him today, I joked around and said, 'Last year at this time you were the ninth-string running back for God's sakes,' and now he's the guy. So it's exciting to see how far he's come in a short period of time. With that experience comes confidence and I think he's more confident with every rep that he takes, with every path, with every course that he takes at running back, with his protections, with his routes . You become more comfortable at the running back position when you're not thinking about, 'Right foot back, left foot stutter step, drop step,' all of that stuff. 'Am I aiming at the outside leg of the tackle, inside leg of the tight end? Where am I going?' Now it's just natural to him. He can be a runner and he's very gifted in that regard as far as finding holes and running through people."
On Kelley saying he's lost body fat and if he looks different as a result:
"He does look a little trimmer right now. I'm going to get the final numbers here in a couple of days and find out how they came in and where they are now. We have some great body composition machines in here. We're taking close tabs on their bodies and we're going to get all of that information so we can get a good weight for them that we want them to have set goals for coming back for training camp, but he does look good. [Head Strength and Conditioning Coach] Chad [Englehart] has done a great job with these guys in the strength room and these guys have bought in and they're working hard and he's a great example of it."
On if he expects RB Matt Jones to return:
"I hope so. I expect him to be. He's on our roster, he's eating up a spot. We all know that this is voluntary, so there's really nothing that we can do. We'd like everybody to be here without a doubt, but at the end of the day, Jordan Reed is in Miami working out, Trent [Williams] is working out in Oklahoma, Matt Jones chose not to be here, so we obviously want people to work together and learn together, but it is voluntary at the end of the day."
On LB Zach Brown citing his dinner with Gruden as one of his reasons for signing with the Redskins:
"He's got a great personality. He's a fun guy to hang out with, to have dinner with. I think he's a guy that comes into a system [that has] a lot of similarities from what we're doing here is what he did at Buffalo, so he's very comfortable. It's just a matter of getting the calls down and the terminology down a little bit, but he's a great athlete. You can't coach the height, weight, speed that he has – the natural speed. You can feel it at linebacker with him chasing down players on the outside zones or the tosses outside and chasing down backs out of the backfield, so it's a great addition for us and it's just a matter of him picking it up, communicating the defense to the other players around him, but he's going to be a heck of a player for us."
On if he's trying to spend more time with the defense:
"I'm always involved and I have a pretty good idea about what they're playing back there as far as coverages and blitzes and as long as they're sound and running to the football, I'm good. I think Greg [Manusky] and Coach [Jim] Tomsula and obviously [Defensive Backs Coach] Torrian [Gray] and K.O. [Inside Linebackers Coach Kirk Olivadotti], these guys are a good staff and I have faith that they're going to get the job done and you've got to let them breathe a little bit, let them do their thing and see how it goes. We'll make the corrections as need be. That'll be a weekly thing, could be a monthly thing, we'll see how it goes, but I have total faith in those guys."
On LB Nico Marley:
"I don't put anything into [his last name], I just watched him at the rookie minicamp. We brought him in here, saw this little linebacker and the object of a defense is to try to get the ball back for the offense and he had two interceptions and recovered a fumble and had about three tackles for loss. I said, well, he deserves an opportunity, so we gave him an opportunity. As far as his name is concerned, he's very proud of his name and all that stuff, but I'm just worried about Nico Marley as a football player, teaching him linebacker and see how we can make him fit in our scheme if we can."
On RB Chris Thompson saying he appreciated Gruden staying in his corner early in his career despite injuries and why Gruden did so:
"First of all he is a great human, person. He is a joy to be around, he works extremely hard, he cares about the details. To be in the position he is in, a third-down back, it's a very important position. He has got to be able to pick up linebackers blitzing and sometimes he is stuck on a 295-pound defensive tackle, sometimes blocking a defensive end and he has to get open against a linebacker, safety in pass routes. It's a very, very hard position to play and if you can master that position – which I think he is really close to getting to that point – it's a very valuable guy to have. I mean, you look around the league and you think of Darren Sproles and you think of some of these other third-down backs, Reggie Bush back a few years ago, these guys are very valuable to your team because it keeps drives alive and big plays are because of them. I mean, you can double team Jordan Reed, you can double team the receivers, but that back gets a lot of one-on-one matchups. He can win in pass routes but he is excellent in pass protection and he has also proved to be a pretty good first-, second-down back if I wanted to, but he is so valuable on third down. He works very hard. Randy Jordan does a great job with him. But I just like the kid. I like the person and I like the way he works and there is such a big need for us, I saw the value early on in him."
On quarterbacks learning to trust the speed of WR Terrelle Pryor Sr.:
"You know, Terrelle is a different guy when he is running. He is such a long strider that it doesn't look like he is running that fast. So we have underthrown him like a dozen times already in two weeks. So it is just a matter of the quarterbacks getting used to it. Once he gets his feet churning, he's fast, so they've got to trust that he's going to go get it. It's just a timing deal. The quarterback has got to see it and feel it. You can't talk about it on tape so much, you have got to go actually out there and execute it. They've got to understand, they've got to really stick that back foot in the ground and launch it for him because he will go get it. He has been good, he's been good to work with. The timing will come with Josh [Doctson] and Terrelle and obviously Ryan Grant is doing a much better job and [Jamison] Crowder is doing a good job, so we've got a good group of receivers that are working hard. Pryor's brand new. He is a different style of runner and they have to get used to him."
On WR Brian Quick:
"He had a big red zone catch yesterday on a fade and he has done some good things. It's just a matter of getting him on the field and finding out what he is good at. He can run, he is big, he is physical. [He's] got to learn who to block in the running game, which he is doing a good job of that, and just continue to work and find a way to fit in. You know, we have a number of receivers that are battling. If we played tomorrow, we could only dress five, it would be a really, really hard decision right now. So special teams will become part of that obviously but we have got great options right now and it's a matter of keeping them healthy and giving them all opportunities from now until the fourth preseason game after training camp and seeing who the best ones are, who makes the most plays."
On Defensive Backs Coach Torrian Gray's focus on technique with the safeties and if that was needed:
"I think so. I think that was one area that we really needed to work with was technique from our secondary and I think they're doing a good job. Torrian and James Rowe both are. They speak the same language and they focus in on technique. We have different coverages we play and all that stuff but really it comes down to technique from a defensive back, where your hand placement is, where your body position is, your first step, when you're backpedaling, when you're opening, all that good stuff, when you have vision on the quarterback, when you don't. So those guys are very good at what they do and the players are buying in and you can see it getting better."
On selecting defensive players with each of the team's first three picks in the 2017 NFL Draft:
"Offense is my 'specialty' but I am really a defensive-minded coach, just so you know. I'm a little better at offense, but I understand how important it is to have a good defense, especially in this division. In this league, you have to have a good defense and we haven't had an opportunity to really address it. My first year here, we didn't have a first-round pick. We got Trent [Murphy] in the second round. Second year, we took Brandon Scherff in the first round and then we took Josh Doctson in the first round. Great picks, I'm fine with them, but we needed to go defense and Jonathan Allen was sitting there. We had a couple other good options on defense that were sitting there. So, we felt the need and we saw great players there so we took them."
On WR Kendal Thompson:
"He's nursing an injury right now. We're going to get him right, hopefully for training camp."
On the injury:
"I'm not going to talk about injuries right now, sorry. You can ask him, he'll tell you. Plus, I'm not even sure what it is [laughter]."
On Su'a Cravens' adjustment to safety:
"I like Su'a. I like what he's doing right now. You know, we're out here without pads on, and we know the importance of being able to tackle at safety, so we obviously can't see that and the angles. Based on his football knowledge and his skill set, I think he'll be a good tackler. I think the key for him is his angles and playing coverage and playing in the post, playing two-deep, playing quarters, all those different things and seeing how he does, seeing how he reacts to the ball. I think he's doing a good job. He had a couple picks yesterday, which was good to see. I feel him around the ball a lot. We'll get the pads on, see his run fits. I feel his presence there, but we've still got to see him wrap up and tackle, which obviously based on his track record he can do."
On the division's influence on the defense:
"Well, it has a major influence, not to mention, we were not very good on third downs last year, which we need to get better on third downs. So we added an interior pass rusher like Jonathan Allen who is big and another edge rusher in Ryan [Anderson]. So those were two big adds for us, and a corner who can play maybe inside and outside in Fabian [Moreau] when he gets well then a safety like Montae [Nicholson]. We added four pretty good players with a skill set that can help us out in the division and on third down, which we really need."
Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky
On the linebackers:
"Overall, I think their communication is pretty good. I think they're playing together as a unit and that's the hardest thing – especially during training camp and the OTAs, sometimes you've got different guys in there at different positions. Maybe rookies, maybe first-year players, maybe nine-year players, but they're working together and they're figuring it out and they're trying to get the calls down the best they can."
On the most essential thing he needs to accomplish with new starters in this time:
"Like I said, going back to it into training camp, I think playing together and understanding what each guy can do across the board I think is very important. But I want them from a communication standpoint to communicate and be on the same page. I don't have a crystal ball. I can't read what they're going to do. As long as we're playing the same defense across the board, we'll have success. With all the new guys that are coming in, they've got to catch up, especially the young draft choices. The install that we have is pretty lengthy, and they have got a lot of stuff to catch up on, but through those repetitions, they'll eventually get it."
On comparing the amount of teaching time he has now compared to when he was a player:
"I think definitely with the time we spend in the meeting rooms and then being out on the field and doing what we have to do there, we do have enough time. I think back in the day it was more training-camp-involved with double days and going through that process more so than it is today. But during these offseason programs and the OTAs, we do a lot in terms of the walkthroughs and the meeting times. So they're getting efficient reps in their heads once they go out to the OTAs… You're eventually going to find out their tackling skills and then all the skills that they can do when they actually hit somebody during training camp."
On if he has to teach his own staff and if it helps that he was with the team in 2016:
"It's similar. I've known Jim Tomsula for a long time. But from a coaching perspective, we have some growing pains too. Being with Torrian Gray and then also with James Rowe – Kirk Olivadotti I've worked with before – with those two guys from the defensive side, it's been a little bit of growing pains. There's things that are going to come up throughout any offense that you breakdown and go through that you're going to do certain things against. So we go through a couple of those growing pains, but same thing as the players. When they come into the building and actually perform on the field, they're going to go through some growing pains. And I understand what they've been taught before, but it might be a little bit different so I try to tell them, 'Try to forget what you were taught and try to start fresh and start new and try to understand our system.'"
On the defensive line:
"Overall, I think from a toughness standpoint – I'm not saying that the guys that we did have before weren't tough – I'm just saying that's what Jimmy Tomsula is kind of putting into them. It's 'tough.' It's talking about hard work each and every day in the weight room, out on the field, and eventually when we get into the five weeks during the summer, I mean, that's a time when they can really mess it up or take advantage of it and really perform at a high level and do great things. Across the board, I'm happy with the guys that we have right now. I see Jim working with them every day. We're not there by any stretch of the means of the word, but I think we're getting there. You see progress with each player, young and old, and we're excited about what we have up front."
On if it is a tougher transition for him in his new role or his players:
"To tell you the truth, neither. We're just going to go out and play tough, hard-nosed football. And I think that's the way it was when I was here playing and that's the way it is going to be this year when we go into it. We want tough, solid football players that'll tackle and make plays in the open field and perform at a high fashion. Right now, it's a figuring out process with some of the players that are younger. I know what we had last year and the players that we had, but for right now at this situation at this point in OTAs, I think we're above the curve right now."
On his philosophy on cornerbacks traveling:
"I think it's important; it depends on the individuals, though. I think some guys always play on the right side or on the left side. They feel comfortable, and then all of the sudden, if you take that guy – certain players – and move them to the other side, it's kind of foreign for them. From my standpoint, even from a linebacker's perspective, I'd rather have been on the right than on the left. So there is some people – from the perspective of a corner – it's hard for them to travel at times, but will we do that? Yeah."
On if his current cornerbacks are capable of traveling:
"Yeah, I think depending upon who we're playing and who we want to travel and who we want to match. Yeah, sometimes you want to put that better player maybe on their lesser player and try to double the other guy."
On CB Josh Norman potentially playing more off-man coverage:
"It's something that he hasn't done before very often, so from our standpoint, we're working with each player – not just Josh. We're trying to emphasize what they can do best. Then all of a sudden in a situation with Josh, we're trying to play him a little bit off and have vision and see the quarterback, man-to-man situations and in zones, [it's] something that he's I think been taught a little bit before but some of that is a little bit different, and he's made some plays."
On why Norman's skill set would be suited to that type of coverage:
"I think just from a football perspective, he feels it and he knows it. And I think they're the players that you want on the field and that's what he has. He has that feel for it, and when the ball is coming out, he can break on it and he has in these OTAs."
On how his 12 years as a player informed how he coaches:
"Well, it's a little bit different. I'm not talking to corporate America in those rooms. I just try to have fun with it because over my 12 years I've had some real good coaches and some so-so coaches. But I think from the perspective of… I want them to enjoy coming into the building, enjoy being in the building. From my standpoint for them, I think laughter is great. But there is times that you've got to lay the law down on them, but I like having fun. It's a long season. It's 17, 18, 19 weeks of the same thing over and over and over again, and I think that repetitiveness kind of gets on you and I think you need to change it up on them. That's what I try to do in the meetings and the coaches do the same thing."
On the defining characteristics of the good coaches for whom he played:
"Consistency, you know what I'm saying? Not so much how we do defensively, it's complementary football. It's how we do on offense, it's how we play on defense, it's how we play on special teams. I think all three of those parts have got to play and they can't play independent of one another. They've got to play as a team and as a unit. Even though in OTAs and during training camp we're focusing on what we're supposed to do, which is great, at the end of the day, it's got to be complementary football where we're playing… maybe another unit has a great special teams unit and we've got to pick it up on defense or vice versa. They've got a great offense or they've got a great defense. I think complementary football in this league is big. I want us, not just as a defensive unit but us as a team, going out there each and every week and perform at a high fashion."
On if last year was his first season with Head Coach Jay Gruden:
"Yeah, last year was the first time… The best thing with Jay is, across the board, I know him when he was Cincinnati and he came here, of course I knew he was the offensive coordinator [in Cincinnati]. From situational football, that is the most important thing that players have got to know and that's one thing that Jay does great – situational football, try to put those players in situations that are going to actually happen during the game. And that's what he does best. On the field today was a two-minute drive, same thing. So I think he educates the players as a unit and as a group that in those situations, that's when we're going to win."
On how he has evolved as a teacher and how he would classify his teaching style:
"I think it's evolved a lot from my first year starting out until now. Just the things – and I always tell the players – I remember more of the bad plays than the good plays. You learn from those situations. Trust me, I've had a lot of bad plays but I've had some good plays, but I'm just saying from the players' perspective, just like they grow, same thing – coaches grow. Every defense does the same thing. It kind of takes its wind and its path and it starts one way and then just based upon the players that you have, it might circle around and do something different. But from our standpoint, I'm excited with the coaching staff we have, the players that we have in the building and I'm looking forward to it this year."