Jay Gruden: "You Have To Be Balanced In What You Do"

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden speaks to the media following Wednesday's practice at the Inova Sports Performance Center

On injuries:

"Alrighty, did not participate were [Colt] McCoy, fibula, [Ty] Nsekhe, knee, [Montae] Nicholson, non-injury related, [Jordan] Reed, ankle/foot, [Maurice] Harris, illness. Limited were [Ryan] Anderson, hamstring, [Tony] Bergstrom, knee/ankle, [Matt] Ioannidis, shin, [Morgan] Moses, ankle, [Adrian] Peterson, shoulder, [Trent] Williams, thumb and wrist, [Tim] Settle, pec. Obviously [Josh] Holsey and Danny Johnson are on injured reserve."

On any new information around S Montae Nicholson's arrest:

"No, I was at practice and I believe we put out a statement. We're obviously going to go through and get all the details and then figure out what to do next."

On if the new video will impact his decision making with Nicholson:

"Oh yeah, we'll take a look at all that stuff. Talk to Montae first, look at the video or whatever is out there and obviously talk to the police and go from there."

On the timeline for a decision on Nicholson:

"No, no. He won't play this week."

On if Nicholson will play again this season:

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

On if he has spoken with Nicholson:

"I have not talked to Montae yet, no."

On if Nicholson's absence is a suspension:

"We don’t know yet. Like I said, we're going to have a discussion up here right after this practice and then decide what to do, if we're going to put him on a list. We'll figure it out here in an hour."

On how the injuries affect the cornerback rotation:

"Yeah, that’s what we're working through right now. Like I've said many times, I'd like to leave Fabian [Moreau] outside. We'll look at obviously [Greg] Stroman back out at nickel, and if need be, we can play Fabian at nickel and Adonis [Alexander] and Stroman at corner, so we'll go from there."

On WR Jamison Crowder:

"I think it’s been pretty good. He had a couple of unfortunate drops against the Giants, but he came back and made an unbelievable catch in the game against Jacksonville. He's our force; we know where he's at. We know that he's a great weapon for us. How we get him the ball, when we get him the ball is not his fault, but we've just got to try and get him more involved in the offense somehow. He had four catches I believe last week, but I think that number has got to go up for this offense, especially with Jordan Reed being sidelined, Jamison has to be a major, impactful player for us in the passing game."

On TE Vernon Davis and his dropped passes this season:

"I think he's been in the league for so long, caught so many balls, he has a great routine and he works at it every day as hard as anybody. I think it's a credit to him as far as why he's been in the league for so long, it's his work ethic. It's just unfortunate. I think that one was such a bang-bang. You expect that one to be down the sidelines further, but Josh [Johnson] had to get it up quicker because he had somebody in his face right away and when he saw it, he saw it late. It hit him in the hands the guy made a good play. But yeah, we expect Vernon to make those plays, he's a great weapon on vertical routes for us and underneath routes, so he'll just keep working and try to get another opportunity."

On his assessment of the rookie cornerbacks this year:

"Well, it’s been a challenge for sure. Any time you have to play young guys in this system, it’s a challenge. Those guys have performed well at times and those guys have struggled at times, that's just the way young players are. I think they've all shown flashes of being very, very good. They've all shown flashes of making mistakes. I think the more work they get – they all have the skill level to be a great player for us eventually. They're not quite there. They're building towards that. So, Stroman it's a great opportunity for him. He sat last week with his shoulder and we decided to go a different direction but now it's another great door open for him. Hopefully he takes advantage of it and I know he will."

On Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry:

"Well, he's a big man and he can run through tackles, he's been doing it for a while. He's got an excellent offensive line playing for him, their scheme is very sound. Then, you've got a hat on a hat and he's running through tackles in the hold and then making big plays because of that. Then, they have the threat of Marcus [Mariota] being a threat with his legs also, so you really can't all dive into, "Hey, let's just stop Henry." Because then Marcus gets out of the pocket and they do their bootlegs and the tight end leaks and all that crazy stuff and it’s very difficult. So, you have to stay home and when you stay home and he gets to the second level, that's when he's the most dangerous. Then when he falls forward, he gets four yards, because he's 6'4". Very good weapon to have, very good offensive line and they're playing with a lot of confidence."

On what he's hoping to see from QB Josh Johnson this week:

"I just hope he continues to get more comfortable. We have to throw more at him. Tennessee is an entirely defensive scheme than the Jacksonville Jaguars, so we're going to have some new concepts and go from there. He's got to handle it. He's got to handle the noise again. I think it will be a lot more of an issue at Tennessee, being a Saturday afternoon and a huge game for them as well, so the noise will be a factor. Mainly, it's just handling what he's got to handle. He's got to handle the progressions, the snap counts, the formations, the blitz looks that they give you which I can't even tell you how many blitzes there are. There are about 3,000 we watched, so it’s going to be a great challenge for him. But, the most important thing is to keep his poise and make plays with his legs when he has to."

On what he saw from Johnson in the second half to make him feel like he had control:

"Yeah, I never felt like he was shaken at all. He took some hits and we didn’t have a lot of success early, punted a few times. The good thing is we never turned the ball over, but I never felt on the sideline that he was a basket case or the game was too big for him, you know what I mean? He was poised, he was calm. He even yelled at me a couple of times for not using the wristband number. I forgot [Laughter]. I like the way he is. He's got a great demeanor for the position. It’s not always going to be perfect with him, but I know that he's going to rally the next series and make something happen."

On Johnson's decision making when choosing to run instead of standing in the pocket:

"A little bit of both. I think some of those plays we can coach up and hopefully if we get the same look and the same thing happens, he'll be ready to throw those to Jamison [Crowder] or what have you. But, when he breaks contain, that's all athletic ability and instincts. You can't coach that. So, if he keeps it, he keeps it. If he drops it off, he drops it off. The most important thing in my mind is a) taking care of his body and b) taking care of the ball. So if he does that, we'll coach him the next day with the film projector in slow motion. The ball is in his hands and we're counting on him to make good decisions."

On balancing the run and pass game with RB Adrian Peterson:

"I think he's always going to be the focal point. Until somebody takes him away, if they start taking him away, then we have to be able to adjust and do some different things. But, still I think you have to be balanced in what you do. I don’t ever want to go into a game saying we're going to hand it to Adrian 40 times. I think that’s unrealistic. I think we've got to be balanced, mix in some different types of schemes in the running game, mix in some quick passes and some bootlegs and options and all that good stuff. The more success we have on first, second down, the more successful we'll be."

On what stands out about the Titans defense:

"They’re physical. Their linebackers are very physical. [Rashaan] Evans is very physical, [Wesley] Woodyard – how do you say his name? Woodyard, he's a very physical guy. We know [Brian] Orakpo very well, Jayon Brown runs around there. Obviously Jurrell Casey is a very explosive player at defensive tackle and he moves around. But really, it's the multiplicity of what they do, especially on third down. They have three defensive linemen, four defensive linemen, they're in double A's, and they're all over the place. Coach [Mike] Vrabel has always been an outstanding defensive coordinator and he's got those guys playing very hard."

On packages featuring RB Chris Thompson and RB Bryon Marshall:

"I think it’s a good change up for us from time to time and it could be a different personnel group this week, but it's something we can maybe build upon. Both Adrian and Byron are very effective in the passing game as well. They are both versatile, they can run inside zones, outside zones, they can do just about anything. Then, you throw a tight end in there and then you have your zip blocks or maybe some other actions off of it the play actions, I think it's a benefit and it gives Adrian a little blow."

On the linebacker rotation and playing LB Shaun Dion Hamilton's performance:

"I think we're going to do it similar. I think we're going to use all of them. I know that not everybody is going to be happy about that, but I think Shaun Dion has done enough to show that can play in the NFL. We love the way he's progressed through training camp, OTA's, training camp and now, like I said, the most important thing with him is getting his legs under him after the injury at Alabama. He's very smart and instinctual and he's made a pretty good impact for us. I think the substitution pattern, using them all, it keeps them fresh, you give each of them a package they can really dominate in their mind and feel good about it and they can play fast and be fresh."

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