Jay Gruden: "I Think It's Our Job To Make Sure We Gain The Confidence Back"

Head Coach Jay Gruden speaks to media following practice on Wednesday at the Inova Sports Performance Center.

On the decision to claim LB Reuben Foster:

"Yes. He was waived by San Francisco and we decided to claim him. Now, he is on the commissioner's exempt list and he has to go through the process of the investigation the NFL does as do we. And then, we'll go from there."

On if the organization should have claimed Foster after the investigation:

"That's a good question. We probably could have done that but we saw an opportunity there to claim him and we chose to do that as an organization."

On if the team has reached out to the victim:

"The victim? No, no, not by myself, no. Like I said, right now, when he hit the waiver wire we decided to claim him. We understand that there are a lot of things that he's gone through and there are some issues there, but we're going to let the NFL take their time and do the right thing with the investigation, as are we. Then, we'll go from there like I said."

On if anyone in the organization reached out to the victim:

"No, I don't know how we would do that."

On why the organization felt confident based on speaking to former Alabama teammates:

"It's not a matter of feeling confident. We're going to let it play out. We're just going to let it play out."

On who was involved in the discussions regarding Foster and if there were dissenting point of views:

"Not really. I think there's some concern without a doubt. You understand what's going on there but at the end of the day we decided to pick up his rights and right now it's not even our rights. He's on the commissioner's exempt list so really he can just come in here on an occasional basis. I met him today for the first time since the combine and his pro day and all that stuff. We'll just let it play out like I said."

On what the discussion was like between him and Foster today:

"Yeah, I'll keep it between myself and Reuben. It was very brief. We have a game to get ready for in Philadelphia. He has a lot of work to do before he even thinks about anything as far as being with the Redskins. Like I said, he has the NFL to deal with. He has law enforcement to deal with. He has us to deal with. We hold our standards very high also. We just want to get to the bottom of what happened and that's it."

On what Foster was involved with today at the facility:

"He just got a physical today, met some of the guys, and that's it."

On how the team is conducting the investigation:

"Yeah, we have our own people there involved and we're going to do our work as is the NFL. They're first – the law enforcement, Tampa, California will do their work and we'll get to the bottom of exactly what happened."

On if the team has been working in conjunction with the NFL in its investigation:

"I don't know about all that. I was game planning for Philadelphia when we claimed him. I don’t know what investigation process we have right now but I'm sure we'll get it done."

On if this is a move for the future:

"I don't know. I'm not even going to think about it. We're going to think about the guys that are on our active roster right now. We're catching those guys up. Then what happens with Reuben happens with Reuben. I anticipate it will be a while before anything happens as far as him being able to dress for a game or to get active on our roster. Right now, it's just about coaching our guys up and getting ready for the Eagles."

On if the decision to claim Foster is a distraction:

"Yeah, I don’t think…this is the only time I talk about it is right here for 10 minutes in this room. Right now, we're spending a great practice time in walkthroughs and practice and we'll have meetings now getting ready for tomorrow's practice — third down, red zone. We still have a lot of work to do. After this it's not a topic."

On if he was involved with the decision:

"It's a team decision. I think we all had our hand in it. We accept, obviously, the questions, but we want to let the process play out and see what happens and get to the bottom of it. There's no guarantee he's ever going to play here to be honest with you. He has a lot of work to do personally, with the team, with the NFL, with himself, before he even thinks about playing football again."

On what will happen if Foster is not vindicated:

"Yeah, we'll decide that when we get all the information."

On if the team reached out to law enforcement officials about the incident:

"A little bit but we also understand that claiming him and the Commissioner (Goodell) will put him on the Exempt List, we have some time to get the work done. We'll get to the bottom of it, really."

On if the Redskins reached out to team leaders:

"No. I think the players were all honed in on what they're up against, against Philadelphia. We understand what type of team they have. They are defending Super Bowl champions playing on Monday Night Football and this is no distraction whatsoever to these guys. I know we have five or six guys on our team that know him personally and are very good friends with him but also understand that what he did is very wrong and it's a problem and we have to get to the bottom of what happened exactly, so other than that, there is no distraction for anybody."

On if there was concern about the fans’ reaction:

"A little bit, yeah I'm sure there was. From Bruce [Allen] and Dan [Snyder] and obviously Doug [Williams], but at the end of the day, we decided to make the move and we'll deal with the outcry so to speak. But, for the most part, this is a young athlete, young person, who got himself into some trouble and we want to find out exactly what happened."

On how much he relied on the pre-draft process to learn about Foster:

"A lot, really, a lot, I spent a lot of time with Coach [Nick] Saban, Reuben, obviously the same year Jonathan Allen came out, Ryan Anderson came out. They had a lot of players that we spent a lot of time with and he was one of them. At that time, he was one of my favorite players in the draft defensively as a player and one of my favorite interviews as a person. What's happened since then, I don’t know really a lot about what's happened, but I have just read a little bit about what's happened and it's not good. But, we will get to the bottom of it at the end of the day. Like I said, there is no guarantee he is ever going to set foot on a football field here but we would like to find out more about what happened."

On what plays into making the decision to add players who are facing legal issues:

"Well, I think a lot depends on it and we don’t know if he's going to get a second chance. Quite frankly, we don’t know. There has got to be a lot of recovery. He's got to go through the process with the league, with the police. Individually, he's going to have to get some help and counseling obviously. This is all before the league gets done with him, so we understand that it's going to be a long process for him. But, he's a young player. He made a mistake or two and at the end of the day we decided to take a chance and [we have to] deal with it."

On what the Redskins will have gained if Foster doesn’t succeed in the organization:


On if it's just a football move for Foster:

"Yeah, a person, a human being, yes."

On the influence of Foster's former teammates in the locker room:

"I don’t know. It just depends on the whole situation. Right now, we're looking at Reuben based on what we knew about him pre-draft and the football side of it is obviously very, very good. Obviously, the personal side of it, the off the field issues is something that we are concerned with and have to get to the bottom of. Like Doug [Williams] said, there's no guarantee. He's got a lot of work to do, to prove that A – he can function in society and B – that he can function as a Redskin. As does every one of our players and coaches, we all have to live up to very high standards to be Washington Redskins and he's no different."

On why they claimed Foster before the investigation was complete:

"Well, we didn’t know who was going to claim him or not claim him. That's kind of the way the waiver wire works. You put the claim in and if somebody claims in front of you, you don’t get him."

On injuries:

"Jamison [Crowder] did a little bit today, which was good. Matt Ioannidis didn’t practice with his calf-shin. Trey Quinn did not practice, was a little sore on his ankle still. Morgan Moses did not practice, his Achilles and ankle. Zach Brown did not practice, knee-shin area and [Quinton] Dunbar did not practice, same injury [leg]. That's all I can remember. I forgot my sheet."

On if the atmosphere and optimism is still the same compared to when the team held a two-game lead in the division:

"I think any time you lose a couple of games in a row, you lose a little bit of the luster of being in first place or what have you, but I think it's our job to make sure we gain the confidence back and our swagger back, somehow, someway. We're going to start out by having a good practice on Monday, which we did and today, which we did. The big thing is getting our offense comfortable around Colt [McCoy], getting our offensive guards comfortable playing with each other, getting Trent [Williams] back out there in action, eventually getting Morgan [Moses] back out there in action offensively and then defensively, getting Ha Ha [Clinton-Dix] another week of communication with the safeties and getting our linebackers situated and going from there. If we can play together as a good football team, be sound fundamentally, play physical football, that's how we won games then we'll be ok."

On the difference a week of practice makes for QB Colt McCoy:

"I think it does make a difference. I've said it before that repetition is king and he doesn’t get any reps. It's a lot different when you're just looking at a card – 'OK throw it to the dot. OK, set, hike, and throw it to the dot.' – when you're calling the plays, making protection adjustments, seeing the route concepts versus cover two, versus cover three, versus man-to-man, sitting your foot in the ground, avoiding the rush. Doing that in practice is very, very important for a quarterback's progression. Hopefully, we'll get him enough looks to feel kind of comfortable but you're never going to get the same looks. You're not going to see Fletcher Cox and [Tim] Jernigan and the rest of the crew, Chris Long and [Michael] Bennett rushing the passer against you but we're going to do the best we can to get them comfortable with the plays that we have for him and the reason we have these plays in. So, I think he will be more comfortable."

On what work QB Mark Sanchez got in this week:

"He got a little bit yesterday or Monday I should say. Then today he did scout team. It's just hard with the amount of reps you have at practice and the amount of bodies that are actually practicing to get your backup quarterback reps, that's why Colt struggled to get reps with the first team. So, he will just have to learn on the fly like most backups do."