Head Coach Jay Gruden
* The following is a transcript of a conference call with local reporters this afternoon.*
On if the game was a "must win" and what momentum can be gained from a win like that:
"Well, you know, 'must' win? It was an important game for us obviously being that we lost the last couple key divisional games to Philadelphia and Dallas and already lost to Philadelphia twice. So it was important for us to keep pace. And hopefully it does have a positive effect on our team, you know, with the confidence level of some of the guys that are playing for the first time together and some of the veteran guys that know that they can perform at a high level on the road against a very good team… Which we have before. I mean, we played very well at Philadelphia and came up short. We played pretty good at Kansas City, came a catch short in the end zone. So the guys have been playing good. We just haven't got the results we're looking for. To get a victory on the road in a close game is good for their confidence."
On if he thought about the difficulty of the season had the team fallen to 3-5:
"Yeah, I mean, you always try to lay out the results after or before the game, what could happen: 3-5, long trip home. You know, wouldn't mean the end of our season, but it would make it a lot tougher. We're still in a tough spot at 4-4. So we still have a long way to go but we have a whole second half of the season still to play and we're in a position where we can at least control what we can control and get ourselves back in the race."
On if his perspective of QB Kirk Cousins' play yesterday changed after reviewing the film today:
"It didn't really. I just think being on the sidelines with him and knowing what he's going through getting hit and sacked a few times, the resilience that he showed to make those two big throws at the end of the game was a great tribute to him and how mentally tough that he is. So it was… Any time you go to Seattle and get a win, I don't care how you do it, you know, what your stats look like, how many times you got hit or get sacked, to get a win over there and have a key two-minute drive, you know, to get it done is impressive. So we're obviously proud of the fact we got it done and Kirk played very well."
On Cousins' play prior to the final drive:
"I think we weren't very efficient on offense. You know, being the quarterback of an offense that wasn't doing very well, we had some first down miserable plays. We had, I think, a safety on first down. We had two sacks on first down and we had a fumbled snap on a first down that really put us behind the 8-ball. That's four drives right there that we couldn't recover from because of our first down ineptness. So that's not on Kirk, that's just on the entire offense and the play calling both. So overall, I think offense in general wasn't very good up to that point, but, you know, defense kept us in the game and offense played well when it counted and got the big touchdown."
On CB Josh Norman:
"Well, Josh is a premier corner in the league, in my opinion. He's the best. You know, not from his cover standpoint, not just from his coverage, but from his tackling. His tackle on third-down-and-one, when he tackled the guy by the arm, not that many corners are going to do that – step up there and make that big of a tackle in that type of situation. So I think as an all-around corner – coverage, tackling, leadership, effort, all that stuff – I think he's up there with the best. It's great to have him back on the field. The energy he brings, the passion he brings for the game is contagious."
On how much of a difference-maker Norman is when he's available:
"I mean he's a Pro Bowl-level corner. Same impact, the difference that Trent Williams has and Brandon Scherff. These guys are hard to replace. Not saying anything negative toward the guys replacing them, they're just not that caliber right now. [Quinton] Dunbar has done excellent, man. He's got a chance to be an elite corner one day – he's just not quite there yet but he's working toward it. But Josh has already proven it and done it at Carolina and here. He's been a consistent performer his whole career. It's hard to replace a guy like that, but fortunately we do have some depth at the corner position with [Kendall] Fuller and Dunbar. [Joshua] Holsey is playing a little bit better. Fabian [Moreau] is learning and playing better. But still, to say they're as good as Josh right now at this point in their career is hard to say. Hopefully they'll get there, but not right now."
On TE Vernon Davis' hand injury:
"It's a hand contusion. He should be OK from what I'm hearing."
On other injuries from Sunday:
"Arthur Jones has a shoulder dislocation. We will daily evaluate him, see how he responds to treatment. He could miss some time. And then Brian Quick is in the concussion protocol. We will get an update later in the week for you."
On LB Will Compton and S DeAngelo Hall:
"I thought Will played great. He was all over the place. If he could jump a little bit higher, he might have had two more picks. You know, he's got that 28-inch vertical. If it was a 30-inch vertical, he could have had two more. But he played really good. He was all over the place. He communicated well. He was the communicator of the defense for the first time all year. You could see it make an impact on everybody. [I'm] happy the way Will played. I know he's happy to get back into the starting lineup and play [a] significant amount of time. He took advantage of it again like he always does. And D-Hall, I thought did some good things for his first time out. A little rusty from time-to-time but I thought he played well. You know, I think he anticipated some throws. He took good angles and tackled when he had to tackle and then obviously made the big play at the end of the game to break up the pass. For his first time out, I think he did good. He's going to get better and better and better the more freely he gets back into the lineup."
On starting offensive linemen potentially returning and if he thinks about the team's potential if they do:
"I think we showed flashes there early. We're hoping that some of them comeback. We're not sure. They're all day-to-day. I think [Shawn] Lauvao is improving. We are seeing improvement from him. He's getting the range of motion back. Now, we've just got to get his strength back. Spencer Long, we're going to open him up a little bit in individuals, see how he does. It will be exciting to get him back out there hopefully. And then Trent [Williams], he'll be day-to-day. We'll see how is doing with the pain tolerance. And then [Brandon] Scherff, I think he'll definitely increase more and more. So, you know, those guys… and then obviously big fella Ty Nsekhe, he's going do more in individuals this week, hopefully. So, it would be great to get at least one back, maybe two, maybe three would be outstanding. And I know when they are all back and healthy, we're a little bit better offense than we are without them, that's for sure."
On if there was a silver lining that Cousins had to trust new receivers yesterday because of injuries to WR Jamison Crowder and TE Jordan Reed:
"Yeah, I think it just goes to show his… I don't think he really discriminates against anybody on our football team. He's going to try to throw it to the open guy. It's just Jordan Reed is such a special guy as far as getting open, and so is Jamison, that those guys are usually open so he throws it to them. Not to say the other guys aren't, but now that you are forced to look their way and to see them make some plays was exciting. It's just going to improve their confidence level and Kirk's confidence level in throwing to them. That's not to say that when Jordan comes back – he's still probably going to be our first option on a lot of throws and same with Jamison because they're special people, but to have the ability to stretch the defense a little bit with some of these guys and give them some opportunities will be important down the stretch. That's for sure."
On why his teams have played well when expected by many to lose:
"I have no idea. Does everybody really expect us to lose all the time or what?... I have no idea. I think, I don't know. I don't know. I just think our guys – they play hard. They prepare well and we have some good leadership on this football team. Games that we lost, we thought we should win and I don't know. I don't have really an answer for you. We never really worry about what the outside thinks about our chances of winning a game. We feel confident in our ability to win every game that we step out on the field and play, so yeah."
On if he talks to his team about "being up against the wall":
"A little bit. Not so much being against the wall, I just want to make sure we… You know, my job is to instill confidence in these guys and make sure they understand that we can go out and compete against anybody – whoever is playing on our football team. We've got enough good quality players on our team. We can compete. We're minus some good offensive players without a doubt but we still have some good offensive players. We still have Kirk and Vernon and Ryan Grant and Josh Doctson and Terrelle Pryor and Morgan Moses. So we still have some good players on offense. It's not like we're totally inept. And defensively, you know, with [Ryan] Kerrigan and Preston [Smith] playing the way they are, Ziggy Hood and the inside backers – [Zach] Brown and [Will] Compton – playing the way they played, and Josh [Norman], I mean, we have a good football team still. Our depth is challenged a little bit in special teams a little bit, but we go out there, we feel like we can go out there and compete with anybody with the talent we have still available.
On his evaluation of the running game and of RB Samaje Perine halfway through his rookie season:
"Well, we need to have more success running the ball. Yesterday was just… The last couple of games, actually, we have haven't been able to run the ball very well at all. And in order to be a successful running team and get your backs ample carries to be successful, you're going to have to have attempts at it and opportunities and we just don't have that many. And when you're only carrying the ball 12 … I think Rob Kelley had 12, Chris Thompson had five and Perine had a couple, so that's not enough for any one of those guys to really get in the flow of the game as far as running the football. They have a great defense. They lined up Kam Chancellor down in the box a lot. We couldn't account for every player. Stopped the run, so we had to throw it a little bit more than we wanted to. But for Perine, I think he's got to keep plugging away and hopefully the touches will come later on down the season when the weather gets worse and worse and worse and we'll get some of our guys back offensively. As far as run blocking, when guys are playing together and are used to each other in some of the run combos and getting up to the next level, I think you'll see a difference there and hopefully Perine will benefit from that."
On Reed and Crowder:
"Reed will be day-to-day. He's improving, and so is Crowder."