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Quotes: Jay Gruden And Joe Barry (9.10.15)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

Opening Statement:

"The injury report is the same as yesterday. [Tom] Compton did not participate. We still have not heard anything back, no written confirmation on Robert [Griffin III] yet, so there's nothing to announce there."

On what he has observed in CB DeAngelo Hall:

"Yeah, that's exactly what I've observed is him trying to get back in shape, not only physically, but mentally. The belief that he can break on that thing and it's healthy. The injury set him back a little bit in training camp. That's why we played him the last preseason game about a quarter just to get him a good feel and confidence, mentally. I think he feels good. You see him running around out there. We'll see how it plays out. This will be the first four quarter game that he's played in a while. Hopefully it holds up and he holds up mentally. We feel confident that he's going to be fine and big part of our success on defense."

On if he anticipates Hall starting:

"Oh yeah."

On the message to QB Kirk Cousins after the game against Tennessee:

"Well, I think it was just about, you know… after when he threw that pick at the end of the half. He just looked like the wind was knocked out of him. I just needed to take a step back, give Colt [McCoy] an opportunity and watch a little bit. I felt like, like I said before sometimes, 'When you throw interceptions, you feel like you're letting the whole world down — your teammates, your coaches, the fans.' I think he just put too much on him, too much pressure on himself. Thought it was important for him at that time to take a step back and give Colt an opportunity because I felt at that time that Colt had been practicing well also. We wanted to see what he could do at the time. He did well, but I think it was a learning experience for all of us."

On if QB Colt McCoy is listed as the backup:

"He is right now, obviously but we don't have to announce the backups, the 53-man roster, the 46-man roster until really Sunday afternoon at 12 o'clock, so we'll just wait and see."

On why there is a hold up in the situation with QB Robert Griffin III: 

"No idea. No idea. Wish I knew."

On the change in culture and how they feel heading into Week 1:

"Well, we feel confident. We didn't feel bad last year going into game one. We just had a rash of injuries hit us but this year the guys that we brought back, we feel like are Redskin-type football players that compete and play hard. The new guys that we added we feel like are good football players that are tough and physical. That's the one thing, if you want to change culture, you want to be a tough, physical football team, you just can't say that. You got to get people in your building that are tough and physical. We feel like we've done that through the draft and through free agency. Great leaders like Dashon Goldson. We've got a big guy like Terrance Knighton. We've got draft guys like Matt Jones and Brandon Scherff and [Jamison] Crowder is a tough sucker. He's not big, but he's tough. We feel like we've added a lot. Chris Culliver is a tough corner, physical corner. We feel like we added the toughness that we're looking for. Now, it's a matter of going out, handling adversity, playing hard and keeping that toughness level up at a consistent basis."

On if there will be an effort to give LB Ryan Kerrigan a few plays off:

"I think that might happen depending on how he is with his cardio throughout the course of the game. He's in great shape. Ryan's going to keep himself in great shape. But as you all know, the game of football is a physical … it's going to be a hot Sunday afternoon how he handles guys blocking him and rushing the passer consistently will determine how many plays he plays. He's the type of guy that's really on his own pitch count. You're tired you get yourself out. If you're not tired, you stay your butt in there. I think he'll gauge that. Obviously, if he's really tired, we want Trent [Murphy] and Preston [Smith] to get some reps, even Jackson Jeffcoat. We feel like we have good depth there. But Ryan is on his own. He's going to make that call whether he's tired or not. I trust the fact that he'll give us good information."

On if he knows who will handle return duties:

"Yeah, right now, we're planning on [Jamison] Crowder taking the punts and Chris Thompson taking the kickoff, at this time right now."

On if WR DeSean Jackson will play the whole game:

"Yesterday's practice was a great look. It was really hot out there. You can see that he got winded a little bit. DeSean winded is not a very good DeSean. We've got to make sure he's fresh. When he's  in there, he's got to be ready to stretch the defense out, block when he needs to block but he won't be very effective if he's tired but I think he's in good shape. He had a really good day today, really good today running around out there. I feel good about where he's at. I also feel good about if he is a little tired, Ryan Grant and Andre Roberts and Jamison Crowder — I feel good about them coming in for him. Our depth at receiver is excellent, also."

On if he views WR Ryan Grant as a backup:

"That's probably the way he is right now. He's worked extremely hard obviously as they all have. The problem is we have a great receiving corps. Pierre [Garçon], he's done a great job obviously. DeSean [Jackson], Ryan Grant — I won't hesitate to put in there any situation, any time if need be and same with Andre [Roberts] and obviously [Jamison] Crowder. Those five guys really, you call a pass play, I don't really care who's out there. There's a few specifics you want DeSean's 4.28 speed out there obviously. But for the most part, the other four they can play anytime, anywhere."

On how RB Alfred Morris and RB Matt Jones will be used:

"We'll see how the game goes. A lot depends on how the game goes. We're going to work Matt in there obviously. It's still, Alfred's the bell cow, so to speak. We want to keep him fresh for 16 weeks. If he gets 12-20 carries, Matt Jones gets 8-10, I don't know how that's going to work or play out. I think a lot is going to depend on our drives. Do we have 12-play drive, do we have a three-and-out? If we have a bunch of three-and-outs then I don't imagine Alfred is going to get taken out too much. We've got to try and get some drives, keep them alive and that way we'll get a good look at both of them."

On his confidence in the LBs now compared to when LB Junior Galette went down:

"I do, that was really a punch in the gut when Junior got hurt. He's really an explosive player off the edge. I was just thinking about him and Ryan Kerrigan together and I was like day dream, 'man that's going to be beautiful'. Then he went down and I was like 'God'. But [LB] Trent Murphy, [LB] Preston Smith, they're coming a long way. And obviously [LB] Jackson Jeffcoat, he had a really strong preseason. So, we feel good about the depth."

On any hesitation using WR Jamison Crowder due to little preseason action:

"No, I think that's why we have all these practices. He's caught a ton of punts from [Punter] Tress Way. Tress is one of the harder punters in the NFL to catch punts from. He's gotten a lot of work, we don't feel any worry."

On what he likes in RB Chris Thompson on kickoff return duty:

"Well you've got Andre who can also do it. Andre's good, he can do both also. I think just starting out, the way we're going to go, is probably Chris. Just because he's a running back, he hits it; he doesn't look afraid back there. Then you've got a chance to break the big one. Their kicker booms them out of the end zone and we're probably not going to get a lot of kickoff returns anyway. But if we do, we feel good about Chris.

Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry

On CB DeAngelo Hall's process of working back:

"To start with, he was great for us in the offseason. Really couldn't do anything, did some stuff individually and things like that but we kept him out of OTAs. I just loved his… it was my first time around him. I really loved his passion, he was into it. He was coaching the young guys. For me, never being around the guy, you never know how a veteran is going to act. He was great, he was positive. We get to training camp, we had a practice plan with him. I think you always have to do that anytime that you have a guy that is injured. Then he hurts the groin, then hurt his toe. But the thing I love about him is he kept battling and battling through it. He's been great, he is a true professional which is great to see."

On expectations for Hall: 

"I'm greedy, I have high expectations of all of our guys. If you make the 53-man roster, I think expectations are high. I think any player that's worth anything would be, he'd be upset if we didn't have high expectations for him. I think he's in a good place right now, he's having fun.  D-Hall just wants to play football, that's all he wants to do. He's been able to do that the last couple weeks so he's got a big smile on his face."

On tackling:

"I think tackling is a major issue in the NFL right now just because of the way the rules are now. You really can't, from the time you play your last game, last year on December 29th or whatever it was, you really don't tackle anybody until damn near the first preseason game. You can emphasize it, you can talk about it, you can drill it. But, until you actually go out and tackle a dude, that's the only true way to do it. You don't do that really technically until preseason games. You might have some live situations for guys in training camp. But you usually do that with the third group, you never do that with the first or second group. The first time that veterans really get a chance to go tackle is the preseason. I think everyone has to fight through that. From a coach's stand point it's frustrating. In college you have spring ball, you have Saturday scrimmages where you go out and tackle. NFL you don't have that. We try to create drills for guys in the offseason, that nine-week period when we're out on the field. Try to be as creative as possible but there's no way to create a real tackle, unless going out and tackling a guy. You can't do that until the preseason."

On LB Preston Smith's development:

"Preston, I'm sure he'd tell you if you asked him, I'm up his butt every second of every day. He's a talented kid, he really is. But like most rookies they don't get it. One day he might have it and think he has it and the next day, he shows up and you've got to coerce him to get going. Preston's been, typical rookie progress. I think OTAs was good, I think training camp was good. I think he did some things in the preseason. But he's still a young player. I think he's a kid I'm very excited about. He's got a great skill set. He's a big man, you don't realize. You walk by him and you're like 'oh what is he 245-250'. He's 270 pounds. He's a big athletic kid that is just tipping the surface I think of how good he can be. "

On the secondary's communication:

"I think that's always… when you come in with a new system; I don't think it's just excluded to the secondary. Every group, the D-line, the linebackers, defensive football is about communication. It's about 11 guys being on the same page… all the time. You can have nine or ten guys, if one guy is off, there is a kink in the armor. But, if all 11 guys are on the same page, communicating, playing as one, good things can happen. Especially in the back end, if the D-linemen screws up… shoot, the linebackers can cover for them. If the linebackers screw up, the DBs. If a DB screws up, there is nobody behind you. So, it's vital for every position to be able to communicate and be on the same page but those guys especially. "

On the pressure and ability of the staff to identify naturally good tacklers:

"Well, sure. When you get to this level that these guys are at, these guys are tacklers. You can't make it to this level, you can't make it to a 53-man roster and not be a good tackler. You know, I just think that it's, like I said before, it's really forced us to be creative because you can't go out and tackle. You have to be creative. You have to tackle medicine balls and you have to talk about vice leverage and you have to talk about proper shoulder and things like that. You have to constantly talk about it especially in the offseason because you physically can't do it. But I think, most guys, and it is something that obviously starts with Scot [McCloughan] and his crew in the evaluation process whether it's a draft-eligible guy or a free agent, you're always looking at what kind-of tackler he is. Most of the time, these guys, they wouldn't be at this level if they couldn't tackle."

On how he feels that things have come together with bringing a new scheme:

"I think it's obviously a progression like anything. You go through the nine weeks of offseason. You get the OTAs. It's a building process. Every day is better. You hope you build and stack a block on top of each other every day. Training camp's a process. We kind of broke it down into phases. We had the offseason. We had training camp, and then we had the preseason. Now, we're moving into another phase, but each progression of each phase, I think I've been satisfied with. Now ultimately, none of those other phases matter. Now, we've got to go to the phase of playing games and winning games but the progression, I like what we've been able to do."

On how DB Dashon Goldson earned team captain in his first year:

"I've been fortunate. I've been around some pretty special guys in my coaching career. Guys that I've specifically coached, guys, you know the Derrick Brookses, the John Lynches, the Eric Weddles, I've been able to be around guys like that. Dashon is in that mold. He really is. He is an absolute professional in the way that he works and the way that he handles himself in the meeting room. You can see that he's always taking notes. He's always talking ball out on the field. He's always discussing things. If something does happen in practice when the first group goes out, he's not over there just sitting on a cooler. He's grabbing the guys, talking, 'Hey, what happened? What was the breakdown?' I would classify him as a guy that's totally into ball…100 percent. The thing that's great about that is when your marquee, "star players" are like that, it's infectious. The other guys goes, 'God dang, look how Dashon acts. Look how he's into it.' As veterans, as a young guy, as Kyshoen Jarrett to sit there and see a veteran act like that, prepare like that and go about his day on a daily basis whether it's in the weight room, whether it's in the meeting room, whether it's on the practice field, it's impressive. He's been phenomenal."

On what challenges are presented by Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill:

"The thing that I've been most impressed about him is that he is, I think as a coach, when you look at a player, whether it's your own player, you view other players, especially with young guys, you look for them­­,  for a progression. You look for them to get better year in and year out. When you really look at the year that he had last year, compared to the year before, he had 28 touchdowns, only threw 12 picks, threw for 4,100 yards. I think he was right about at a 93 quarterback rating. I can't remember the previous year stats, but they were all improvements. He's very good. He can make all the throws. The thing that I think is the most dangerous thing, he can run. It's one thing when a quarterback can drop back and sling it, but when a quarterback can drop back and sling it and take off, it adds a whole other dimension. So, he's a very good young football player in this league. Like I said, to me, the thing that's been the most impressive, every year he's improved."

On LB Jackson Jeffcoat:

"Really, he didn't wait around to play good once Junior got hurt. Jackson had a phenomenal offseason. The last five months, I was very impressed with him, through OTAs. The thing that's cool is that training camp is about competition. You hope you get to the level where guys are competing their butts off for those roster spots. He did. Competition is all about showing what you've got.  He proved it that he can make plays and he did make plays. Every week he made plays. He makes play every day on the practice field. I'm proud of him. Typical coach, I tell him all the time that he hadn't done anything yet. He really has, he rose to the challenge and competed and truly earned a spot on this team. He's going to make plays for us. There's no doubt about it."

On Goldson's demeanor:

"Again, I really didn't know him before. So, I obviously knew of him, he had, as you said, a decorated career. Quite honestly, I did not watch one snap of Dashon Goldson at Tampa Bay. Over the years, we watch every game. But it wasn't like I sat down and watched every one of his games last year before we signed him. Dashon Goldson's a dang good football player. I had no idea he was the type of guy that he is, the type of leader that he is. So, I really don't know, you'd have to ask him. I don't think he's built that way… that he thinks he has to come out and prove anything. He just loves playing the game. He loves preparing. As I said before, he's phenomenal as far as a leader. That's the thing that I've been really impressed with and I just think that's the way he is."

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