July 29, 2015 Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center – Richmond, Va.
Head Coach Jay Gruden
On the team's conditioning today:
"Everybody looked good out there. We just did a simple conditioning test just to get a gauge on where they are. We let them know before they left for their vacation what the test was going to be so they had a chance to prepare for it. It was pretty simple for everybody and everybody looked good running it."
On players who missed time earlier in the offseason with injuries:
"We got a clearance on all of those guys – all five of those guys that you mentioned. We expect them to be full-go. We'll monitor them as we go but we expect good things from all five of those guys. Trent [Williams], Jordan [Reed], DeAngelo [Hall], Ryan [Kerrigan] and Morgan [Moses] — they've all got a clean bill."
On how important it was to extend linebacker Ryan Kerrigan's contract before training camp:
"That's exciting for him, man. I'm happy for him. Great kid, obviously. Drafted here as a Redskin. He loves the area and loves this football team. You love rewarding guys like that that actually perform and play well for you and play hard. He's one of the guys we lean on, both on and off the field — a locker room leader. We're happy to have him. We'd love to have a locker room full of Ryan Kerrigans, that's for sure. We're happy for him. I'm happy they got the deal done and he can put it behind him. He can just move forward and do what he always does and that's just prepare hard and play hard."
On if he gets a sense during camp for if the team is good or if he can just evaluate who will make the team:
"We're trying to do both. We're trying to improve as a football team, number one. That's all we're trying to do every day is improve a certain area of our game. Then, we're also trying to critique our players and find out who our best 53 are. That's an ongoing process that will take place all throughout the preseason and something we've got to be very good about. We feel very good about 90 guys we have in this locker room right now. There's going to be great competition at every spot — for the first team, for the second team, for the third team obviously, so we're excited about the process moving forward. We just want to make sure we give everybody ample opportunity to make this team and prove what they can do. We've got a good look at them at OTAs and now training camp they will hopefully take it to the next level and show us what they have."
On what the team needs out of Kerrigan this year:
"He's obviously one of our top players on defense. He's been rewarded for it for his production throughout the years. He's just a guy that plays every down. He's a guy that can stop the run obviously, very good at the point of attack and he's a guy that can get after the quarterback. We're going to get consistent play out of Ryan. We need people around Ryan. He needs to continue to improve himself obviously and he will. He's that type of guy. He sets the tone for other people. When you see somebody like that get rewarded and you see the work he puts in, both on and off the field, it shows young guys what we're all about here at the Washington Redskins. Other guys will follow. And that's what we need. We need more guys to perform like that and play like that."
On comments written about quarterback Robert Griffin III in the offseason:
"Well, there's always comments about the quarterback position, both good and bad, no matter where you are. It's just something you have to deal with as a quarterback, no matter who says it. If you're an unnamed source, you don't give a whole lot of credibility to them because you don't know who's saying it. It could be a guy who's never played the game or coached the game or been a part of the game. One of the most important criteria for a quarterback is to be mentally tough and I feel like Robert is and he is going to handle the adversity that's he's handled already both with injuries and with some of the play we've had, the production, 4-12 last year. He's going to get better. He's that type of guy. We're excited about him here, the work he's put in to get his body right, the work he's put in to get his mind right. And now it's just a matter of going out here and continuing to coach our offense and watching him get better. It's a fun deal to watch, it really is, to watch a player like that improve himself every day."
On if Kerrigan can take his game to another level:
"He can get to another level. We have to give him a better chance to get to another level. We've got to play with a lead, make teams have to throw, you know, in the fourth quarter, where he can get his numbers up, his fantasy football numbers. You say 13 sacks, there's guys with more. Unfortunately, we were behind a lot of games in the fourth quarter. Teams were grinding out the clock on us, but when teams have to throw on third and eight, we feel good about having Ryan Kerrigan as a defensive end or playing inside as a stand-up guy or dropping. He can do it all. He's an accountable guy. He's never had an issue off the field here, being late to a meeting. Like I said, his work ethic is outstanding. He's a great example for younger players and he's going to get better as years go on."
On negotiations with tackle Trent Williams:
"They're in talks right now, that's all I can say. That's Bruce [Allen] and Scot [McCloughan] working with him and his agent. Whatever happens happens, but we expect Trent to be full go. I saw him out there running today and he looked like a gazelle. He is in great shape, man, and great spirits. He's going to work hard no matter what the contract situation is, I know it. We'll let that work out. All we're worried about is the first day of training camp, installing our offense, installing our core values here tonight and tomorrow and watching these guys go out and play and compete. Trent is going to be a big part of our team."
On building a team of "big, tough guys":
"Yeah, we're working on that. I think in football you want to have tough guys. Last time I checked it's a tough sport. We're working to try to change our approach or mentality, so to speak, to have some bigger, tough, physical football players. It starts out here on the practice field. Some of the guys that we have in-house weren't asked to do some of the tough things we're asking them to do. We'll see how it transpires in camp – offensive line, defensive line, tight ends, backs – we expect tough football players – linebackers. It's going to start in training camp right now, day one and what we expect. We can't let anything slip under the cracks and we just got to continue to coach them and make sure we demand a lot out of them."
On the importance of the changes to the coaching staff from last season:
"I mentioned at the end of the season we had to make some changes, couldn't keep everything status quo or we'd probably get the same results, unfortunately. So we made some changes in the roster, made some changes in the building – coaching staff, weight staff, strength staff. Really all across the board in our organization we were evaluated, and we made some necessary changes we think are for the better. We've got some energetic coaches, Joe Barry obviously, Perry Fewell, good coaches, Coach [Robb] Akey our strength coach Mike Clark we feel really good about, obviously Bill Callahan coming in. So we've made some positive changes along this staff. The big thing we're just trying to do is make sure we maintain a level of excellence that our staff is responsible for and we have to carry it down to our players; great teachers that have great passion for football, and we feel like we got a great one in here."
On how this camp will be similar or different from last year:
"We're still going to do some of the things similar, we're just changing times a little bit. We're able to bring another team in here which is going to be similar. We're going to just try to really focus on situational football – 1st and 10, third down, red zone - key situations that we have to really master that we probably weren't so good at last year, and it starts in training camp. If you don't focus on them now, then when they show up in a game time you're not quite as prepared. We want to make sure that when we go out on game day we're prepared for every situation possible. Also, we have to make sure we're physically in good shape. Not so much running them to death out here, but making sure they're at 100 percent – a full tank of gas on Sunday. There's a fine line between wearing them out, out here, and keeping them fresh. We've just got to make sure we know that fine line and really understand our players, where they are at physically, where they are at mentally, and continue to challenge them every day in the classroom and on the field."
On his biggest takeaways coming into his second season:
"Well, obviously, year one wasn't good enough. You know, our standards are a lot higher than what we showed last year. Obviously, we are all disappointed at the finish but last year is over. Moving forward, we want to make sure that we continue to really focus on having a positive approach with our players. Our coaches are making sure that we have an impact on this football team in a good way and, like I said, it starts in the classroom, in the meeting room, where we make sure we maintain their attention and challenge them mentally and come out here and just coach them. We are trying to develop players and develop men here that the Washington Redskin faithful can be proud of, and when they come to a game on Sunday, they know that they are going to get a heck of a battle from our football team. They are a competitive group, a focused group and a group that is going to do whatever it takes to try to win the football game. We are pushing our core values at them and continuing to watch these young guys develop and the veteran players lead. Great things will happen if we do things the right way."
On the energy of the coaching staff:
"The players feel the energy and the true passion of the coaches. I know they feel it. They want to be coached; there is no question about it. At the end of the day, when the players are laying in bed after a long, physical, grinding day, they want to feel like they got better. We feel like we have the people in this building to make the players get better. That's what it's all about. We are just trying to get better every day."
On if he has any comment on the situation with the New England Patriots:
"I don't have any comment on that. I have been kind of out of the loop on that."
On if he feels better about the roster entering this season:
"No question I feel better. I feel like we are a lot better, no question about it. We attacked free agency in a positive way. We have more depth on the defensive line. We got some safeties. We got some corners that can play. We did a good job in the draft. We got some young players with some very talented skills. We feel good about moving forward. We also feel good about the guys we had last year that have a year with our system on offense and have developed. We feel good about coaching them and developing them. They know what to expect from me and a lot of our staff. Moving forward it's all about learning from last year's mistakes, learning from what we did last year and getting better into this year. Watching these players grow and developing the young players, it's a fun process. I feel very good about where we are."
On what he wants to see from the fans this year during training camp:
"Love the energy. Lots of energy, man. Give these guys a hand. They're going to be working hard. When they make a great play, cheer for them. The good thing is that on every play there's a good play. Either the defense makes a great play or offense makes a good play. So, there should be a lot of cheering going on. Last year, I felt the energy was good out here. Hopefully they come out here and enjoy the team and our team will be receptive to give them autographs I hope and things will go well. It's a great environment here. We love the area, we love the city, and we love coming down here. The players like performing in front of the crowd that's for sure. As practice goes, we have a little bit more pep in our step when we have a good crowd out here. So we welcome everybody to come out and enjoy the time."
On his confidence in the defense with the new additions:
"I'm very confident. You talk about the new guys, but I talk about the guys that are coming back also. Like the Ryan Kerrigans and Chris Bakers, you know, Keenan Robinson, Perry Riley. We have some guys that have been here also that are going to get better also. We feel good. We just have got to make sure we figure out ways and make sure we mesh as a unit and we play together as a team. That's the biggest thing we're trying to do is make sure we're all on the same page mentally. Physically, with the athleticism we have and the ability to rush the passer that I think we have, and the ability to cover, I think things will work out. The biggest thing is just trying to get these guys to mesh, find our best guys, and the best situation and get them prepared."
On the offensive line and how important it is to find the "right guy" at left tackle:
"Trent? Yeah, he's the right guy. [Laughter] He's pretty good. Trent is our starting left tackle right now and he's excellent. He had a couple of nagging injuries last year with his ankle. Morgan Moses stepped in as a rookie, had his struggles but he's also developing as a player, then he got hurt. We drafted Brandon [Scherff] obviously to play the right side. We have Tom Compton in house, he's also playing, so we feel good about the tackle spot. We have Ty [Nsekhe] in here who is going to give us some depth. We have some tackles in here that can compete, that's for sure. You have to have more than one and Trent's a great one to have, and we have got to make sure we develop all the ones in case something happens to them. We feel about Trent obviously as the left tackle. He's as good as anybody in the league."
Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan
On signing of his new five-year contract:
"Yeah a little bit, I mean, it's close. But this is an unbelievable experience. I don't know if it's quite hit me yet. I really got to thank Mr. Snyder, Bruce Allen, Scot McCloughan and particularly, Eric Schaffer, who spent a lot of time with my agent the past couple of weeks trying to get this done. When you come into the NFL, you get drafted by a certain team, you immediately develop a certain affinity for that team and that organization, that city, and I certainly feel that way about the Redskins. And for them to give me this kind of vote of confidence to hopefully finish out my career as a Redskin means the world to me."
On how much he was involved in getting the contract done:
"Yeah, I mean, it's mainly between my agent and the front office. They worked really hard to get this done and like I said I owe a lot to the front office for getting this done before training camp."
On goals for this year and training camp in particular:
"I'm just looking forward to playing again. I mean it really sucked, for lack of a better term, to not be able to do OTAs and mini-camp and whatnot. So, I'm looking forward to getting out there tomorrow, knocking off the rust, and just getting back to playing, and hopefully getting this team on the right track.
On the timing of the extension and if it eliminated any distractions prior to training camp:
"Yeah, I mean it's nice to get it done. I don't think it would've been a distraction had I not gotten it done because I would've been under contract for another season anyways. So, nothing would have changed had I not gotten it done and nothing's going to change now that I do have it done. Because, I mean , I have a lot to prove this year to myself, to rest of the football world, and we got a lot of making up to do for the past couple of years"
On his injury status going into camp:
"I mean I'm ready to go. I know the coaches will have a certain plan for me as far as when I am practicing and when I'm not. As for tomorrow, I'm going and I like it that way. I want to be out there, I don't want to be standing around watching practice so I'm going to be glad to be practicing."
On his excitement about how he will be utilized in the new defense:
"In studying the playbook and then seeing what other guys were doing during minicamp and OTA's, I'm really champing at the bit to get out there and get to work under this defense. It's a defense that allows the front guys to play in the opponent's backfield a lot. That's always a great thing when you can put an opponent in a negative yardage situation. That's the thing that has excited me the most about this new."
On whether or not recuperating has helped his stability and longevity:
"There is a positive way you could look at that; a few less reps, a few less hits on your body, but at the same time it's not easy watching. Ultimately, the surgery was a good thing, so I do feel a lot better now and I'm really glad I got it done."
On becoming the veteran leader of the linebacker s:
"Yeah, it has been a slow transition into me being one of the older guys in the room, but I like that. I like the role that I have now, I like that a lot of the guys kind of look up to me in some way. That feels good and I look forward to being able to help not only in the meeting room, but the defense and the team in general."
On if he needs to be more of a leader following veteran linebacker departures and his new contract:
"I don't necessarily think that means being a vocal leader or being a rah-rah guy. Because, that's not me and it never has, probably won't ever be me. I've always been a guy that works hard, but now with this kind of contract and being an older guy in the room, I have to work even harder. I have to do the right things to an even greater level, and do all the little things that are going to help not only make myself better, but help make the team better.
On his family's reaction to the contract extension:
"Yeah, it's a great level of excitement for them, as well. Yeah, you know, I've always had great support system with my family, we're very close, and I called them last night and told them that we have come to an agreement. They are very happy for me, happy that I'll be staying there too because they like the way Redskins fans and the areas have embraced me. I'm glad that I am staying."
On how he landed his opportunity on Sharknado 3:
"Eric Shuster from CSN asked me if I wanted to be a part of it. He asked myself, and Tom Compton. And I said, 'Yeah, Absolutely I'd love to be in Sharknado and that's it. It was a lot of fun to shoot that."
On his performance in Sharknado 3 and how it helped his new deal:
"I mean it's kind of coincidental, you know, it gets done after seeing my Oscar award winning performance of mine in Sharknado (3)"
On if he wished he had time to celebrate his new deal:
"That's fine; I wouldn't have done a whole lot of celebrating either with the season being as close as it was. The fact that it got done is the biggest thing, Not that it got done a week ago, but it got done. And I'm really excited, it will hit me at some point, it's just all about football right now."