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Quotes: Jay Gruden And Terrance Knighton (07.31.15)

July 31, 2015

Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center – Richmond, Va.

 Head Coach Jay Gruden

 

*On signing linebacker Junior Galette: *

"Well, he came in for a visit yesterday. My job was to watch him on tape and look at him as a football player and then get a chance to talk to him and find out a little bit about his past and what he went through. Scot [McCloughan] did the same thing, Bruce [Allen] did the same thing and we came up with a group effort to give him an opportunity here and give him a chance here to play for us."

On cornerback Bashaud Breeland's suspension and why it took a year for the league to suspend him:

"I have no idea [why it took a year]. We just found out about it here recently and it is unfortunate. Bree is going to learn from this. He loves football and he is going to bounce back in a big way."

On people saying that "character goes out the window when it comes to talent":

"That's not necessarily true. We have a strong locker room, I've said that before. We have great leadership. We can talk about all the guys that work very closely with the Redskins Foundation and all the work that they have done. You bring a guy like this in who maybe has a checkered past, so to speak. We feel like the locker room that we have is strong enough that we can help him out. In talking to Junior, he was very thankful for the opportunity that New Orleans gave him. He was very remorseful about what happened. He was disappointed to be in the situation he was in. He was really excited about a second chance and was willing to do whatever he could to get that second chance. He told us that he would do everything in his power to make sure that we wouldn't regret it. All we can go by is what we think and our gut feeling and that's what we did."

On if Galette will start and how his signing will affect Trent Murphy and Preston Smith:

"It doesn't mean anything right now. We're going to work with the guys we have here. Junior is going to get an opportunity here shortly. But Trent's had an excellent OTAs. Junior is a specialized pass rushing person, which we need some more pressure. Last year, when Brian Orakpo got hurt and then Ryan had some issues with some injuries and then Trent Murphy got hurt, Jackson Jeffcoat got some time, some other guys got some time. So we added some more depth to our pass rushing.  But as far as who's going to start, we'll let camp and preseason games determine that. But I know that Junior has played very good football… He's got a lot of sacks in his career, a lot of pressure, a very disruptive defensive end, and can only help us in that regard. But he's still got to go out here and earn his right, earn his stripes."

On the decision-making process for evaluating players' character:

"It starts up top with Bruce [Allen] and Scot [McCloughan] and myself. We all three came to the same conclusion. Like I said before, all the decisions we make are as a group. It's all three of us together. We decided to take a chance and give him an opportunity."

On if he is concerned about a possible suspension for Galette:

"There's a concern there, we'll have to wait and see. The league is going to do their due diligence and make their decision, just like they did with [Bashaud] Breeland. Whatever the punishment is, we'll live with it, and then we'll respect that. I know Junior will too, and we'll have to wait. Right now we signed a very good football player we think is going to help us, and we'll go from there."

On if he reached out to others around the league about Galette:

"That's something you'd have to ask Scot and Bruce. I did not. I basically watched the football side of him." On if Galette will practice today:

"No. He'll start soon... He doesn't know anything about our system or anything so we'll give him a couple days."

On if he can judge the locker room's response because of the high rate of turnover on the roster:

"Well, we were 4-12 last year. I think the guys we brought back from last year and the guys that we added, I feel very confident in our locker room. I know that there are some guys on our team that know him quite well, and I've talked to them about him, and they don't think there is any issue whatsoever. We have a very good group of guys here. I'm not concerned one iota – from offense, defense, special team type guys – a great group. We'll be fine."

On if he plans to shuffle the offensive line around throughout camp:

"Always, yeah. Always. Coach [Bill] Callahan does a great job of getting these guys ready for different situations. We only dress seven linemen on game day, sometimes eight. Guards are going to have to play both guard spots and even center. Josh LeRibeus has been doing a good job at center. Tackles might have to move inside. We have to look at guys at different spots. In order to learn this system to the best of your abilities, you need to know different positions and know exactly the combination blocks and how to do them in different spots. Coach Callahan has been doing a good job of getting these guys ready. It starts early, you can't just do it a day before a game and say, 'OK try guard here, you might have to play guard in a game.' We have to prepare them now and get them ready and we're doing that now."

On if he has reached out to Saints Head Coach Sean Payton about Galette:

"I like to draw my own conclusions about people. It's just the way I am. I don't like to predetermine anything based on where he's been or what he's done. I like to talk to people. I know a brief history about him and then I'll draw my own conclusions, and that's the same thing Scot did and Bruce and we'll just go from there. But I do know Sean a little bit, my brother obviously more so than I do, but I have not talked to him."

On the first practice:

"Every aspect we need to improve on, obviously, but I thought it was a good first day. You're looking for your first day to be crisp and not have too many mental mistakes. I thought for the most part we did a good job. You know, it's good to start out with a walkthrough in the morning so we can kind of preview what's to come in the afternoon. We limited a lot of the early mistakes that you normally see, so we've continued to add to our playbook on both sides of the ball and special teams and hopefully we'll continue with a good solid rate of getting better. All we're trying to do is get better every day. That's our motto around here and we've just got to continue to do it."

On his expectations of running backs Alfred Morris and Matt Jones:

"Well, Alfred's our No. 1 guy, there's no doubt about it. He's proven to be a durable back, that's the No. 1 criteria for a back. You've got to be durable and he's as durable as they come. Very productive in his years here and he's the guy, but if you want to run the ball, you want to commit to running the ball, you need more than one back. For 16 games, in the division we play, the games we play, the difficult-ness of our schedule, you need two, sometimes three, sometimes four. Matt is going to a good job of spelling Alfred. When you take out Alfred and you bring in a fresh, big back like that, it is only beneficial to everybody."

On Galette's pectoral injury:

"He got an MRI with our doctors yesterday. We feel good in his recovery. We'll see how quickly he can practice but we think he'll be ready to go here quick. I think it has recovered pretty well."

On if Breeland's suspension will change the number of practice reps he receives:

"No, we're going to get him ready. It's a long season, and he's going to be a big part of our football team. But we also have to understand he is going to miss Week 1, so as we get closer to that game – late in the preseason, maybe – getting ready for Miami, we'll get the guys ready. But everybody right now is getting pretty much equal reps; some are getting a little bit more than others. But it's a big loss for us because not only can he play inside at nickel, he can play outside, and he's a key member of our special teams. But we'll have to get somebody else ready. Luckily we still have [David] Amerson here who's going to do a good job. We've got [Chris] Culliver. We got D-Hall, obviously. We've got Justin Rogers. We've got Tevin Mitchel, who we drafted. So we have got some other guys that will have to step up."

On if he sees a place for Jamison Crowder among the receivers in addition to his role as a returner:

"I've seen – he's caught about 12 balls yesterday. Yeah, I've seen a lot. In OTAs, yesterday, he's done a great job. He's very smart. He went to Duke and understands the passing game, understands route concepts. He has got good strong hands, very quick in and out of breaks. But he does have a role as a punt returner, for sure. We got Andre Roberts who is a very good slot. Ryan Grant is working in there also. So he's got to obviously earn the reps that he gets, and when he gets them, he's taking advantage of them. We'll see. We've got a long time to determine who our third is. Right now, Andre obviously has a firm grasp on it. But he will challenge him."

Nose Tackle Terrance Knighton

 

On what difference a quarterback can make on an entire team:

"When you're quarterback is very confident, it rubs off on the whole team. Previously playing with Peyton Manning, just by him stepping in the locker room, the résumé that he has, his preparation, his leadership, he just requires everybody around him to be great. It rubs off in the locker room. That's something I talked to Robert [Griffin III] about — having a presence, not just being one of the guys. The team goes as far as the quarterback goes. You could have a great defense, you could have a great O-line, good receivers, but if the quarterback's not out there leading the charge, you won't be successful. It's a lot of pressure but he wouldn't be our starting quarterback if he couldn't do that."

On the depth of the defensive line:

"We're very deep. I think what makes us unique is that everyone brings something different to the group. Myself, I'm a run stopper. I take up a lot of room in the middle. You've got [Jason] Hatcher, who is like a savvy veteran, him and Kedric [Golston]. You've got [Stephen] Paea who's very explosive, moves side to side very quickly. You've got [Chris] Baker who can give you a little bit of everything. You've got Ricky Jean [Francois], who's just athletic in every phase of the game. When different guys are out there, you're going to get different things. We'll have a wave of guys during the game and during practice, and it gives the O-line trouble because they never get the same thing over and over."

On changing things up defensively and the problems it will give other teams:

"It's going to be very difficult because, like you said, those guys are penetrating and being disruptive. You've got fast linebackers behind us, you've got two safeties that come downhill and tackle running backs just like linebackers. You got someone like myself just taking on blocks, shedding blocks, being disruptive in my own type of way. There's a lot of versatility. When I describe our defense, I say it's organized chaos. Everyone's in the right place but it's just like maniacs – all 11 maniacs – running to the ball. That's the mentality that we're going to have and that's what we're out there practicing – everyone getting to the ball and everybody being disruptive."

On Chris Baker:

"Chris is a very confident guy. I've obviously known him since we were children. I came out of high school, I had like two offers, he had like 100 offers. I end up getting drafted. He didn't get drafted. Our careers kind of flip flopped, but we found a way to get back together and I'm just proud to see him out there working. I was proud to see how he played last year, to finally get into a rhythm and finally get on the field a lot. I knew what he was capable of obviously, coming out. He was undrafted because of whatever red flags he had. He's definitely a guy who has the ability to be a top player in this league."

On the offensive line:

"I see a group that is very together. Trent [Williams] and Kory [Lichtensteiger] are going to lead that group. Right now, I think they are building to all be on the same page. Obviously, with the new coach, they probably have the hardest practice out of any group. They are the first group out there and that's what you expect from the O-line. You expect them to be the hard-nosed group, the blue-collar group. I think all O-lineman are dirt-bags, but they take pride in that, actually. We have a good group. They have a good group. As long as we are handling our business in the trenches, it will make everybody's job easier."

On playing wide receiver in high school:

"Yeah, I was a wide receiver in high school. You said that like you were surprised. I played wide receiver, a little tight end. I was actually All-State at wide receiver. Chris [Baker] always tried to mimic me but Chris has always been that size. I just got this big like in college. Chris has actually been that size since like fifth grade, so he has always been O-lineman, D-lineman for his whole life. Chris, he's just happy about life. He is high off life. Like I said, I am very proud of him and we are just going to have a lot of fun this year, especially with two personalities like me and Chris."   

On the skills he learned playing multiple positions and sports in high school:

"I think playing basketball, playing different positions in high school definitely helped with my foot speed and my hand quickness. If you look at all the big guys that have played my position – [Vince] Wilfork, Casey Hampton, Jamal Williams, you know, big guys in the middle, Shaun Rogers – those type of guys are special because of their foot speed and their hand speed, and that's something that I've watched and I've watched over and over and over. I watched old film, new film on guys. One thing I always notice about is they're always in the right place, their feet and their hands are accurate and [Chris Baker enters room] somebody's here to ruin this…" 

From defensive lineman Chris Baker: "What's it like to play with 'Swaggy?'"

"I don't know yet, we'll see."

Baker: "How does it feel to be here with your best friend?"

"It's great. I just feel like everything happens for a reason. He obviously got married, you know he turned them in really quick – I'm still holding on. I was the best man and I was on the visits, so it's only right."

Baker: "Do you really have Bridgestone Tires on your car?"

"Yeah, they're free [laughter]."

On naming the defensive line "Capital Punishment":

"Well, we have a very silly group chat — the D-line room. I told the group I was going on SportsNation. I was like, 'Give me a name, somebody give me a name. Something to get people riled up about, get the fans into it.' One of the guys texts 'Capital Punishment.' I can't really tell you who really did it, but right now, we'll just say [Jason] Hatcher came up with it. He can't get any credit for it yet. But for right now, we're just going to give the credit to Hatch."

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