Coach Jay Gruden: "I believe in this football team."

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden looks on in the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.Photo: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Redskins Coach Jay Gruden Tuesday Press Conference

On injuries:

"Same old guys are getting checked out as we speak. Chris Thompson, Paul Richardson, Adrian Peterson are getting checked out now. I haven’t gotten the official word yet."

On his thoughts on CB Josh Norman's performance:

"Well, I mean if you're going…I think as a secondary as a whole, we have to perform better. You know we had some pretty good plays from time to time, but for the most part, the big plays stick out. Those are plays that you can't give up. We blew a two deep coverage. We blew a three deep coverage. Those are simple from day one training camp that for whatever reason we have to communicate and make the right calls and be in the right spots and for whatever reason it didn’t happen. I don’t know if the noise got to them, personnel changes, the formations got them. But for whatever reason, we blew those. We haven’t had a chance to meet as a team yet, but we will get to the bottom of it."

On if he is using QB Alex Smith for what he does best in contrast to how he wants to use him:

"Yeah a little bit. I think a little bit. I think we had to become a little one-dimensional sooner than we wanted to last night. But for the most part, I think we have to continue to work with Alex and communicate to make sure that we're all on the same page from what we're doing with our progressions and our reads and all that good stuff – protection. So, work in progress but we intend to get to the bottom of it. It has to happen sooner than later. I think we took a step backwards for whatever reason last night, but we intend to take two steps forward this week."

On evaluating Smith:

"We got him outside the pocket a couple times and had some pretty good looks and it didn't work out. I think changing the launch point of the quarterback is going to be important – whether it's a quick game, whether it's outside the pocket, play action, all that good stuff. Like I said, we were pretty much one-dimensional with the straight drop backs last night. But we did try to get him outside the pocket, which we didn’t have much success, unfortunately. We have to stick with the plan and try to move him around a little bit, keep the defense off balance. But, we didn’t have that ability last night because we got behind so quick."

On if there is a common theme with the busts in coverage or if it is more of a communication issue:

"Well it's multiple things. Sometimes it's one player. Unfortunately, it's one player and it's not always the one guy everybody wants to point to. It's happened to a couple other guys throughout the course of the first four games. We played pretty good. Our defense was ranked pretty high up until last night. But last night when we did break coverage or blow-a-coverage, it just so happens one was on a screen when somebody ran over with a motion, he wasn’t supposed to and they hit us for like a 40-yard gain. Then they had the two vertical bombs that cost us about 140 yards of offense right there. We gave up about 180 yards of offense on three blown coverages. Obviously when you're playing against Drew Brees, he's going to find the blow up and they had the perfect play called for the time that we actually blew the coverage. They couldn’t have just run the ball and knocked those blown coverage plays, but they got the right play and took advantage of the blows. It is a communication issue and it's something we have to address as a staff. Maybe we're asking too much. Maybe we need to simplify some things, but these are things we've been doing since training camp and we can't have that happen."

On responding to a deficit:

"Yeah, it's a number of things really. We had some chances to get back in the game but we just didn’t make the plays that presented themselves. We didn’t make the necessary throws or have the right protection or what have you. There was always something, it seemed like last night and it [had a] snowball effect and it just wasn’t good. I think we had some opportunities for shots to get back in the game and usually we hit those things but last night we didn’t hit anything. It was unfortunate, but we have to get it corrected and make sure we're all on the same page moving forward."

On if he sees an issue with a player playing outside the scheme:

"I think you could say that for both sides of the ball really. I think some guys are pressing a little bit too much. You know, it's Monday Night Football, guys wanted to show up a little bit and make some plays instead of staying within the confines of their responsibility. That is a major issue. We have to continue to stay on the same page and be fundamentally sound. If you're a thirds player, be a thirds player. If you're running a 12-yard out; run a 12-yard out. If you're reading flat, the 12, 14-yard out, throw the 14-yard out if the flat is covered. I think fundamentally speaking, I think we were a little bit anxious last night and guys were trying to do too much to impress. It's Monday Night Football, they're excited. They had 15 days off. Maybe they're a little bit too excited and played out of the confines of the defense or offense."

On inconsistencies:

"I think you have to learn from it. We have to make sure we don’t put ourselves in that position. If a team beats us and they make some plays, or man to man they make some plays, great catches, guys contorting their body, and they are beating our guys one on one pass rush from time to time, where they are playing good bump and run, covering our receivers or tight ends or what have you, I can live with that. I can’t live with the fact when we give up easy plays on defense. We have to make them earn every blade of grass and that’s something we’ve been preaching since day one. Offensively, we’ve got to make the plays that present themselves, let the playmakers do their work and we didn’t do that last night either. We do have to move on; we are still as we stand right now in first place in the NFC East. That’s something to be excited about, but we have a cloud looming over our head with a lot of issues we need to clean up. I have faith that this veteran team will clean it up. They won’t accept that game. But, we do have to learn from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again."

On working with QB Alex Smith to give him the best chance to win:

"Yeah, we will see. I haven’t had a chance to sit down with Alex yet. We have a couple plays that we left out there for whatever reason, and we've got to make sure we get on the same page as him, dissect his brain a little bit today, go forward and make sure we are all on the same page for doing what we are trying to get done on each given play. I am a firm believer in really, really, close communication between the head coach and quarterback, especially the play caller and the quarterback, and that's something we are working on, working towards. We will move forward and we will get him in a better situation to succeed."

On Smith's relationship with the coaching staff:

"I don’t know about all that. He's been in the league for 15 years and he's seen all these looks that we've done. It's not like we are throwing a whole new scheme at him. He does have new players that he is working with and that comfort level of if he's open and when he is covered in man-to-man. Can I throw him open? When do I progress all that stuff? I think we are still working towards that and he has to feel comfortable. He had a different group of receivers last year in Kansas City than what we have and I think he's still getting to know those guys. They weren't always available in the preseason; that’s part of the reason he didn’t play that much. We had some guys that were dinged up, so we couldn’t get them on the field anyway. Chris Thompson wasn’t going to play in the preseason, Jordan Reed, Josh Doctson had some injuries in the preseason, [Jamison] Crowder was banged up a little bit in the preseason, so it would have been not that beneficial if he wasn’t playing with the guys he was going to play with on game day. We're working through it. We've done some good things on offense. We've had some really good offensive plays against Green Bay, Arizona and did a few decent things last night. But overall, I think when you look at our offense, we should be a lot better and we will be a lot better moving forward and we have to be."

On if he believes he has the right playmakers:

"I do. I do believe it. I believe in this football team, the offensive line, tight ends, receivers, the backs and obviously Alex. I firmly believe in this football team and defensively, I have a strong belief in what they can do also. We just all have to get on the same page; take accountability for what happened last night and move forward. If we can do that, then I think we have a great opportunity to put our best foot forward next week against Carolina and then Dallas and whoever else is on our schedule."

On what happened to the running game:

"We had a couple looks in there, a couple hits in there, but like I said, we started off the game with a naked running play that we ran against them three or four times, and had a chance at the tight end, then threw it out of bounds. Second down, we had pressure, threw it out there, third and ten we got stopped, and then the next try, we had a nice drive right down the field and got stopped right there in the red zone. We had some decent looks, but when you are falling behind and Adrian was hurt and banged up and all we had left were [Kapri] Bibbs and Chris Thompson and they are different types of backs and some of our running game we had planned for that game were out when Adrian went out."

On WR Josh Doctson's injury:

"He's very close. He had a good workout pregame and being that he didn’t practice all week and wasn't out there during practice, I chose to sit him last minute. But, he's close to being 100 percent and I don’t know if he will ever get to that point with the heel the way it is, but I think he could have gone. We've got to continue to strengthen that thing and get as close to 100 percent as we can for Carolina."

On Doctson and the game time decision:

"I think it was close, it was close. When I say close, it means that it was my opinion that close without having any practice for that week. I didn’t want to risk it – having that thing get worse."

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