Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden joined the Tampa Bay media on Wednesday to talk about this Sunday’s matchup at FedEx Field. Gruden talked about Jameis Winston, former Bucs players that are currently on the Redskins roster and other topics. Below is a full transcript of the conference call.
(On a sense of urgency this week)
“After you have a tough loss like we had against the Jets, and obviously we’ve lost two in a row, falling to 2-4, you have a game at home and you have to have a sense of urgency. You can’t get knocked too far back in this division, or anywhere. To get 2-5 on the bye week, I think it’s important for us to try to get in the bye week with some positive thoughts. It’s an important game – as they all are, like I said – but playing in our home stadium, we have to take advantage of our home games and it’s a very important one for us.”
(On Tampa Bay’s success against Washington last season and what Washington has to do differently this year)
“They outplayed us in every phase [in 2014]. They were more physical up front and especially their defense against our offense. They sacked us many, many times. They did an excellent job and had an excellent plan. Offensively, they hit some big plays on us. They stayed balanced. I think it’s just important for us moving forward [that] we have to match their physicality. Obviously they are a very good defensive football team; they play fast. Offensively, when they come on offense it’s important for our defense to try to stop Doug Martin. He’s hot right now – very, very hot. And then obviously contain those big wideouts. But they have a very good football team and they’re out to prove themselves as well as we are.”
(On former Tampa Bay players Dashon Goldson and Mason Foster and how they are fitting into the Washington team this season)
“They’ve done a good job. Dashon has come in here, he’s been an instant leader. He’s our captain, was voted a captain before the season started and he runs the show [in the defensive backfield]. Mason just got here a couple weeks ago and he’s had an impact on our special teams. He hasn’t had to play a lot of linebacker yet, but he’s right in line to play that. He’s really been a help on special teams so far. They’re both good guys, play hard, and are welcome additions to our football team.”
(On what keeps Gruden confident in his support of quarterback Kirk Cousins as the starter)
“I think just the total work. You see a couple bad throws here and there and everybody questions the decision, as obviously they should. We have three quarterbacks who have played in the NFL and had some success, so if you’re the guy playing and you don’t have success, then obviously people will want the other ones in there. But I just think the total package of what he’s done since OTAs, training camp, and obviously this year. He’s had some rough times as we knew could happen, but he’s also done some good things and we’re going to try to build off the positive and see if he can play himself out of this rut that he’s in right now and see what happens. But we have high hopes for him still, and this offense.”
(On what he saw from Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston during the draft process and what he sees now that Winston is playing in the NFL)
“When you watched him in college, he’s a big, physical guy who can make all the throws. He’s an exciting player. Sometimes he makes some mistakes, as all quarterbacks do, but he’ll make the big play for you also. He’s a big guy, will make every throw. He’s learning the ropes right now. I know they have an excellent offensive coordinator in Dirk Koetter and he’ll get [Winston] going. What helps [Winston] out is a strong running game and that’s what I can’t stress enough about our team – that’s what we’ve been trying to stress all along is to help the quarterback out through these early stages, young stages, of their career by having some balance and having a good running game. That’s what they’re trying to do in Tampa and that’s what we need to try to do also, here, for us to have a chance.”
(On injuries in Washington’s defensive backfield)
“It’s been a challenge, it really has. And you can never use that as an excuse for your lack of production, but the secondary has had a lot of challenges all [since] training camp, really. We’ve had to mix and match people in there, we’ve brought people in off the streets who are contributing big-time right now, like Will Blackmon, we’ve moved a safety to nickel – Kyshoen Jarrett is a rookie who has never really played nickel and he’s done a good job. [Bashaud] Breeland’s been nickel, he’s been corner – we lost our starting corners D-Hall (DeAngelo Hall) and [Chris] Culliver and lost our starting nickel from training camp, Justin Rogers, to an injury, so it’s been tough. I think Joe Barry and Perry Fewell deserve a lot of credit for keeping that group together. When you have that many injuries, sometimes you have to play a little bit more conservative than you want to, but I think as we get more comfortable with our corners, I think we can become more aggressive as a defense. But for the most part, I think the guys who have filled in have played well. And they have to continue to play well against this dynamic group of receivers that Tampa Bay has.”
(On running back Matt Jones)
“We saw that he was a big, tough, physical runner in college. He’s a Tampa guy, I know that very well. We’re excited about him. He’s put a couple balls on the ground, but he runs hard and he’s a physical runner and he’s a great complement to Alfred [Morris]. When we’re at our best, those two guys are getting their touches, and when we’re not, those guys aren’t getting enough touches. That’s important for us to establish a run game. Alfred is still the lead dog, but bringing in a fresh Matt Jones, as big as he is, as physical as he is, to run with power and speed on the outside – he’s a great weapon for us and hopefully he’ll be healthy come Sunday.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com
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Does anyone know what’s going on with Washington’s LT Trent Williams.
He didn’t play last week yet I don’t see him on their injury report.
I’m fairly certain Trent Williams will go to any length to suit up- He wouldnt miss a matchup against his old college buddy Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma)
He’ll be back just as soon as he can tell the doctor which day of the week it is….and I don’t think he’s there yet.
Well Cousins won’t be hard to find like RG III, he’s not much of a scrambler.
I get it EastEnd. I guess the phone is still ringing. Found out today he was under Concussion Protocol.
I agree Winston is that kind of guy but Vinny Testeverde was too, lol Its all about the turnovers in this league doesn’t matter how big or how great your arm is if you turn the ball over you don’t have a bright future, Jeff George also comes to mind
Jeff George was one of the laziest QB’s of all time. Compared to George, Josh Freeman looked like a steel worker.
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