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Quotes: Jay Gruden And Sean McVay (11.20.15)

Head Coach Jay Gruden

Opening statement:

"T-Rob [Trenton Robinson] is out with his hamstring. Keenan Robinson will be questionable. Terrance Knighton will be questionable. Will Blackmon returned to practice, he's good to go. Everybody else will be probable."

On NT Terrance Knighton's appointment yesterday:

"It was more of a follow-up and another piece of information for him to get. Hopefully they did something to, you know, give some relief to his headaches, his migraines, but he was out here today. He was limited, but he did a lot."

On this week's practice:

"It was a good week for us, really. Like I said, the tempo has been outstanding. The number of people we have practicing is a big help. You know, we had a couple people miss, T-Rob [Trenton Robinson], Will [Blackmon] missed yesterday for personal reasons, but for the most part, everybody has been here participating and working hard."

On if he will be more aggressive facing 'Riverboat Ron,' Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera:

"It just makes you aware. They have made some good decisions as far as going for it, but it just makes you aware. It's just every game is its own deal. Whether he goes for it a lot in this game will be determined. We're the same way. I think every game a coach has to have a feel, when they might go for it, when they might do something out of the ordinary. He's probably a little bit more of doing that, but we'll be aware."

On the importance of screen passes:

"They're important, especially if you're playing some of these pass rush teams that like to get up the field and rush. It slows them down a little bit. We have some linemen that are very athletic and can get out in space. Last week was really our first time, we had a lot of success with those screen passes and I expect us to have more as the season goes on. Some teams are not as easy to run screen passes against as others. These guys have two outstanding linebackers that can get really get off blocks and run. But for the most part, screens are a big benefit. I like simple plays that have high reward and low risk. As long as I trust the quarterback to make good [decisions] — if it is covered to throw it in the dirt — then those are good plays."

On if the defense could mix up coverages on Panthers TE Greg Olsen:

"Yeah, we're going to mix up coverage on him. We'll have different people on him from time to time. Sometimes it could be a safety; Sometimes it could be a corner but he is definitely a great weapon and somebody we have to deal with, but we will have a plan for him."

On if Josh LeRibeus will start at center this Sunday:

"Yeah."

On where he feels he has grown as a coach since last year:

"That's hard to say. I think, you know, as a coach you're always growing and you have to grow, no matter how long you've been in the league. I think even the veteran coaches are continuing to grow and adapt to the game of football as it is today. But it's a matter of having the people around you grow also. I think our staff has done an excellent job of growing with this football team and energizing this football team and developing this football team. That's what it's all about ultimately is taking the players that you have, developing them, coaching them and getting the best out of them. I think so far we're making strides in that regard. That's something we're always trying to do — as a staff — to get better at. That's our ultimate job is to get the most out of our players because it is a players' game and we're working to do that."

On S Jeron Johnson:

"JJ has done good. You know, T-Rob [Trenton Robinson] really had a strong training camp and won the job. He was impressive, not to take anything away from what JJ did, it's  just we had to pick one and we picked Trenton to start out the season. JJ is a very smart player, very good tackler and he's ready. He won't have a problem stepping in there. He's a good, solid football player — got him from Seattle, obviously — and knows the game and studies the game and he'll be a help for us."  

Offensive Coordinator Sean McVay

On Carolina LB Luke Kuechly:

"You can tell he's an extension of their coaching staff. He does a great job with the communication. Looks like he's doing a nice job pre-snap getting everybody aligned. You can see why he's the special player that he is. He's a big benefit to those guys and he's an excellent player for them."

On Carolina LB Shaq Thompson:

"You know, they kind of use him in a couple different ways. Obviously Thomas Davis is a great player, too. In terms of their overall speed at that linebacking corps, they're as good as any team that you'll see. Those guys play sideline-to-sideline. They've got an excellent, sound secondary. They've got a bunch of guys up front that they rotate in and out that play with great effort. You can see why they're the excellent defense that they are. They play great situational football and it's going to be an excellent challenge for us on Sunday."

On WR Jamison Crowder:

"I think he's done a great job. As a rookie with him playing that slot position, we put a lot on those guys in terms of recognizing coverages, being able to win in man-to-man isolations. All he's done is continue to show that he's capable of doing those things. I think the more reps he gets, the better he'll continue to be. We're very pleased with him and I think you're seeing that progress each and every week. He's being a big part of our offense."

On the importance of taking shots downfield:

"I think it's important for us to take what they give us. You know, I think you always want to try to be balanced. I think being able to run the football like we were last week allowed us to be a little more balanced where we had some run-pass options up on second down where you keep defenses a little bit more honest with some of those things and you're a little bit more regulated with the looks that you do see. I think, based on the way these guys decide they want to defend us, hopefully we'll have some answers, but any time that you're able to make some big plays down the field that definitely makes it a little bit easier when you don't have to go 15 plays to score."

On if this game can be used as a 'measuring stick':

"Yeah, I think it's a great challenge for us obviously, going against a 9-0 opponent. They're clearly a very physical team on both sides of the football. We know it's going to be a great challenge going to their place. They're 9-0. We feel very good about the week of preparation that we've had. I know our guys are excited to go compete."

On Panthers CB Josh Norman:

"Well, I think he's got the ability to play zone coverage where he does an excellent job keying the quarterback. You can see he's patient in his technique. He's physical in the run game in terms of his man-to-man. He stays square at the line of scrimmage. He's fluid — being able to turn and run with guys — and he's got great ball skills. So, I think he's kind of a combination of all those traits that you're looking for in a corner. He's got some length. You can see why he's getting the notoriety that he is because when you turn on the tape, [No.] 24 definitely jumps off the screen at you."

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