HC Jay Gruden and DC Greg Manusky prepare for Cowboys

Thursday Press Conference, Oct. 18, 12018

Head Coach Jay Gruden

On injuries:

"Did not participate was [Troy] Apke, hamstring; [Jamison] Crowder, ankle; [Paul] Richardson, shoulder/knee. Limited were Danny Johnson, forearm; [Shawn] Lauvao, calf; [Adrian] Peterson, ankle/shoulder; [Brandon] Scherff, knee and [Chris] Thompson, rib/knee."

On RB Chris Thompson’s progress:

"That is what he's doing, he's progressing. He did very limited work today, a little bit in individual, very little today. So hopefully tomorrow we'll be able to get a better gauge on where he's at and where he might be."

On WR Paul Richardson Jr.:

"Yeah, Paul didn’t do anything today. He's getting his knee checked out and still dealing with his shoulder. So, we're trying to get him some rest, see if he can do anything tomorrow."

On RB Kapri Bibbs' performance on Sunday and if he is comfortable with him on third downs:

"Yeah, I think so. I think he played at the end of last year and did a lot of stuff on third downs, had some catches, did some good things in pass protection. This week against Carolina [Panthers], did some descent things, work on a couple of his pickups, but for the most part he filled in nicely."

On if WR Paul Richardson Jr. is getting an MRI on his knee:

"Yeah, he's seeing the doctors."

On executing better on offense and if it's a matter of getting players comfortable in different roles:

"Yeah, that and you have to be ready to pass them off as fast as you can. You've got to be physical with them and be fast with the pass offs. They're very difficult when the initial penetrator gets penetration, that's when it's really hard. But, I think we can do some things. Changing up the protections a little bit would help. Staying out of third and long would help greatly. Staying ahead of the game as far as not getting behind and having to catch up and throw the ball every down. That's when we get in big trouble. When we stay on course and we can mix up formations and play-action passes, we'll be fine."

On if WR Paul Richardson Jr.'s injury is becoming more of an issue:

"You, know I think he's been dealing – Paul's a tough guy. He's been dealing with this injury all year pretty much and he's fought through it. We're just trying to get to the bottom of it right now, just get a couple different opinions and make sure that he can play [and] we don’t do any more damage to his injury. He's dealt with the pain. He's still very fast [and] if he can deal with it then, great. Hopefully it'll subside a little bit tomorrow, get a positive report today and everything's fine. We're just being a little extra cautious with him right now because he's dealing with some issues – pain tolerance."

On if he is surprised by the lack of production the offense has had on play-actions, bootlegs and the running game's improvements:

"I didn’t know. Is that a fact?"

Craig Hoffman, 106.7 The Fan: "It seems like there are not as many big plays off of those things"

"Yeah, you might be right. We've kind of replaced some of them with some RPO-type stuff where we've had some big plays. I don’t think we've called as many this year. It's probably partially my fault, but the season's early yet. We'll still, we'll get them involved. Having Adrian [Peterson] new with some of the protections and all that stuff, we probably will add some more. But that is, once the running game gets going and consistently going in the course of the game, we have to utilize that. We had a big one to Vernon Davis on third-and-one last week, which is huge. So, we've had a couple shots. We've missed a couple but they are still going to be a major part of our success later on."

On WR Maurice Harris in the slot:

"How do I like Maurice Harris in the slot? I like Maurice Harris in the slot. That’s what Mo's strength is, his ability to play all three spots and play it effectively. It is a different animal in there. It's hard to just say, 'Okay go play the slot this week,' without practicing when you're practicing all the way outside because the slots routes are different. He knows what to do but still, they're different in how we run them. He had a couple issues last week but he's going to clean them up. He's a very smart guy, very diligent, hard worker and he's fine in there."

On if Harris plays multiple wide receiver positions in practice:

"No, he's staying in the slot pretty much. We still have [Jamison] Crowder. [Josh] Doctson, he's doing a good job. And [Michael] Floyd and [Brian] Quick are getting the lion's share over there on the other side. But, we could also put Harris out there in base personnel packages, so we have a good group. And then the ability to move Jordan [Reed] around and Vernon [Davis] around also in some personnel groupings is important also."

On if RB Adrian Peterson is exceeding expectations:

"Yeah I think yeah, for sure. We didn’t expect a whole lot because we didn’t have him on our team until not too long ago. But, I think when you get a Hall of Fame type guy like that, you're not sure what to expect. You're not sure what type of attitude he's going to have. Is he going to be, ‘I'm better than everybody type guy?’ But he's not. He's a great guy. He works hard. But the thing I'm most impressed with is how he's played with the pain and fought through it. I told him, 'I had a lot for respect for you before we got you, but now it's off the charts,' as far as how much we respect him as a player and as a person for what he's going through right now. It's just a great tribute to him as far as his work ethic and dedication to the game."

On incorporating DB Adonis Alexander in the lineup:

"Yeah, hopefully we don’t have to use him yet, but if he’s dressed and ready to go, he’ll help us on special teams. Adonis is learning, he’s learning what pro football is all about. He didn’t get any OTA’s, we got him late in the Supplemental Draft. He’s got a good skillset. He’s long. He’s strong. He’s physical. We’ve just got to get him to play with a little bit more urgency here and there and he’s still feeling his way out as far as the coverages, the calls, the techniques we want him to play with. But, I think we have the makings of a pretty good player there if he can get his techniques down because of the length he has and the physicality that he can play with is a special trait. So, we’ve just got to get more out of him. Young player, he just turned 21 so he’s got a lot of football ahead of him if he can buy into the program and continues to work."

On if he is optimistic that G Shawn Lauvao will play on Sunday:

"Yeah, I think maybe. I’m always optimistic with all these guys, except for [Troy] Apke [Laughs]. I try to stay optimistic, I try. I get these injury reports and it’s like man, look at all these names on here, you feel like woe is me, but one, we have some guys that have been playing. Chase [Roullier] is getting better at left guard and obviously [Tony] Bergstrom is doing better at center, but if we do get Shawn up there it will make us better, it will help us. So, I’m optimistic that he can go. We will see tomorrow. I think tomorrow is going to be a big day for him. I just don’t want to wait until Sunday and say go in there, he’s got to practice tomorrow for us to feel like he can play because he has been out for so long."

Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky

On the passing of NBC Sports Washington's Rich Tandler:

"Just starting out, thoughts and prayers go out to Rich and his family. I know it was a loss. It's unbelievable."

On the reasons the run defense has improved from last season:

"Well, I think the players of course. I think last year some of the guys were off the streets, we picked up late. There is consistency right now with the guys that we've got playing up front and the linebackers are playing off the reads of the defensive line. We've just got to keep on improving and keep on getting better I think across the board. But overall, the players, when you have those good players like Jonathan [Allen] and [Daron] Payne and Matt [Ioannidis] and stuff in there, without a club, it kind of helps out."

On DE Jonathan Allen taking a leadership role:

"I think it is true. Each and every year that player goes through the National Football League, they either lead the team or they just sit there and just watch idly. I think he's one of those persons that wants to make sure that everything is right on the back end and the front end and he's starting to be in that position to start leading our defense, which I'm looking forward to."

On defensive backs' meeting and whether or not to encourage them:

"I think overall, I think like I always tell you every week, that communication kind of hurt us two weeks ago when we played New Orleans and this past week we played better and we had the communication across the board. But I'm just saying every now and then you will have a little bit of a tweak when things come up based upon formations, or whatever it is, and the route recognitions. With the DB's, I like when they get together and that’s the best thing. Conversation-wise, it usually comes back to the coach and the coach comes to me and says 'hey, what do you think about this, is this what we are seeing' and it's good communication, just in those rooms, to have them watch film together and see exactly what the offense is doing."

On if he's stressed the importance of one-on-one tackling against Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott:

"Yeah, I mean, a talented back. He's done a great job of seeing the whole sightlines, vision; he's got the burst to get through. Overall, one of the top… I think he's [one of the] the leading rushers in the National Football League so it's going to be a test for us to stop him and they know we are going to try and stop them and we know we have to try and stop them."

On DL Stacy McGee and DL Caleb Brantley:

"I think both guys, Stacy has got down in weight and is just coming off the injury that he had in the offseason. But from our standpoint, it was a big body guy that really showed up last year a decent amount of time on tape. So, we are excited to get him back whenever we do get him back. From Caleb's standpoint, a quick, physical type guy who has good juice. He's strong at the point of attack, so we're just kind of picking up the pace with him to get in there, and he started getting some reps today, which he looked good."

On how soon he will get DL Caleb Brantley active:

"I think as much as we can. Just overall, he kind of knows what he's doing. Jimmy [Tomsula] has done a good job of getting him through the calls and what we are actually bringing, so he'll get to see the time a little bit on the field this week."

On how valuable it is to have DL Daron Payne when defending Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott:

"Oh it's great. A big body guy that has juice and strength, you can throw in individual [one-on-one]. So, from our stand point, it's a good offensive line that we are facing this week, along with a good running back, and hopefully up front we will do some good things on Sunday."

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