September 17, 2014

Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden discusses Kirk Cousins as starter

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden was asked if the team’s game plan will change with Kirk Cousins behind center instead of Robert Griffin III, out indefinitely with a dislocated ankle.

“No, no. Our game plan will be our game plan,” Gruden said. “Nothing is going to change really whatsoever. If we see that we can run the ball, you’re going to try to run the ball every week, no question about it. There’s nothing that’ll change with Kirk at quarterback and these guys have practiced all our plays from Day 1 like I said when I first got here. They’ve both handled it very well – Colt [McCoy] included – all three of them. There’s not going to be a lot of change moving forward with Kirk.”

Gruden spoke about what the team needs to do around Cousins, “Yeah, we’ve got to help him. People around him have got to step up, not just Kirk. Our running game has got to step up, our linemen have got to do a better job in pass protection and opening up holes for our backs. Our receivers have got to do great things after the catch. And then of course, our defense needs to continue to play well and get the ball for us in good field position.

If we think we’re going to play from behind, it’s going to be hard on any quarterback, but I think we all realized what a team game this is yesterday. Our special teams was pretty good, our defense was outstanding and our offense was good in the running and the passing game. We put those three phases together, we’re going to be a tough team to beat. As we learned in Houston, when we don’t do that, it’s very tough to win whoever the quarterback is.

I think it’s just important moving forward that we try not to make this about Robert when Robert was the quarterback. We’re going to try not to make this about Kirk now that Kirk is the quarterback. We’ve got to make it about the Redskins moving forward, and everybody needs to get involved and help us through this.”

Gruden spoke of Cousins’s assets as a quarterback. “Well, he’s a smart quarterback, and I think he can make every throw,” Gruden started. “He’s got a very strong arm, he can throw the deep balls as we saw yesterday, and he’s got good medium accuracy and touch and obviously he has got short accuracy and touch. The big thing for him is playing – handling the pass rush, handling the blitzes and the protections, which he hasn’t had a whole lot of reps at. And that will be the difference in him being a very, very effective quarterback in the coming week.

So, we’ve got to just get him ready from a mental standpoint, but from a physical standpoint, he’s got the tools to make all the throws. I know the team has confidence in all our quarterbacks and moving forward and he’s got a chance to be very successful.”

Gruden rated Cousins’s performance on Sunday: “Very impressed, I thought he had an outstanding game. He worked the tight ends, he got the receivers involved, he got the backs involved, made good sound decisions with the football, quick decisions and kept us in positive down and distances and moving the ball. Our running game was outstanding, also. I think we had 190 yards rushing which also helps.

Then of course the field position the defense got us and special teams was also outstanding. So we were able to keep Jacksonville on their heels with the run, the play pass and the drop-back pass. It was a great day and both quarterbacks did well when they were in there.”

On whether the Redskins will bring in a new third-string quarterback, Gruden said, “We may. We haven’t decided that yet. And, you know, Colt is a very capable backup, as we know. He started some in the NFL, so we’ll address that at a later time, whether or not we bring a third guy in for practice squad.”

Asked what would have happened if Cousins also got injured Sunday with McCoy designated as inactive, Gruden answered, “Andre Roberts was going to go back there in the shotgun and hand it off or run it.”

Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden discusses Robert Griffin III ankle injury

Kirk Cousins takes over as Washington Redskins starting quarterback. (photo by Brian Murphy)

Kirk Cousins takes over as Washington Redskins starting quarterback. (photo by Brian Murphy)

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden briefed reporters Monday about the severity of quarterback Robert Griffin III’s injury.

“Robert has a dislocated ankle. It is not a fracture. We’ll know in a few more weeks as far as how long he’ll be out. We’re going to send his results of the MRI to Dr. [Robert] Anderson, a foot and ankle specialist and get it casted up and we’ll just go from there.”

There was no ligament damage to Griffin’s ankle, and the injury will not require surgery. There was no consideration to putting Griffin on season-ending IR. [Read more...]

Washington Redskins Week 2 Analysis: Offensive Notes

The Washington Redskins offense thoroughly dominated the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday en route to the team’s first victory since Nov. 3 of last year. The 41 points scored by the offense was their highest output since their 45-point showing against the Bears in late October last season.

However, in spite of their success, the story of this game will be the ankle injury quarterback Robert Griffin III suffered while making a throw on the run early in the first quarter. Griffin said Monday that the MRI showed no ankle fracture but the timetable for his return is still inconclusive, and he very well could miss a significant amount of time if not the rest of the season.

The injury could not only have a huge impact on the Redskins this season but may even alter the entire future of the franchise for years to come. The biggest question for this season now becomes how well can backup and fellow 2012 draft pick, Kirk Cousins, play as the starter in Griffin’s absence.

If RG3 doesn’t return this year, and Cousins is able to lead the team to a successful winning season, there’ll be a lot of tough questions for the front office in the offseason. The offense under Cousins got off to a good start Sunday. [Read more...]

Washington Redskins Monday Roundup Week 2

Here’s the buzz on the Washington Redskins’ bittersweet 41-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2:

[Read more...]

Five takeaways from the Washington Redskins Week Two victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars

Here are five big takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ 24-17 home opener win over the Jacksonville Jaguars: [Read more...]

DSP’s Washington Redskins Postgame Show: Week 2 Jacksonville Jaguars

Dave Nichols and Andy Holmes discuss the Washington Redskins 41-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Robert Griffin III injury.

Check Out Football Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with DSPs Redskins Radio Shows on BlogTalkRadio

Washington Redskins Game 2 Review: Redskins beat Jaguars, lose Robert Griffin III


The Washington Redskins had little trouble taking care of business against the Jacksonville Jaguars, winning easily, 41-10. Unfortunately, it came at a cost, as Robert Griffin III exited the game in the first quarter with a left ankle injury and Desean Jackson injured his shoulder. Neither returned to the game.

Kirk Cousins took over for the injured Griffin and hit his first 12 passes, finishing 22 of 33 for 250 yards and two touchdowns. [Read more...]

Washington Redskins lose Robert Griffin III to leg injury

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III left the game against the Jaguars earlier today with a lower leg injury.  He was injured when trying to make an awkward running throw. On the next series wide receiver DeShawn Jackson suffered a shoulder injury. Neither player will return to the game.


Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden assesses Robert Griffin III’s performance opening day

In his Wednesday media availability, Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden assessed Robert Griffin III’s performance in last Sunday’s 17-6 loss to the Houston Texans.

“There are certain things you like,” Gruden started, when asked about Griffin’s performance. “You know, when you play a game, you throw 39 balls or whatever it was, he completed 29, he had a high completion percentage. We didn’t drive the ball down the field, unfortunately, but we scored six points. We fumbled twice in the red zone. He took a couple sacks that he shouldn’t have taken. He did some great things, he did some things not so great. That’s kind of the story of everybody in that game, play callers included.

Gruden insisted that the offense’s lack of scoring was a team effort. “Everybody has a lot of improving to do,” Gruden stated. ” I like where [Griffin]‘s at mentally. I think he’s starting to gain momentum and confidence every day out at practice. We just have to carry it over on the field and decisions have to be consistent at the quarterback position, especially when games are tight.”

Gruden went on about the finite margin of error at the NFL level. “When the level of competition is so equal amongst the 32 teams one mistake here can cost you, and we had five or six catastrophic mistakes that really cost us and you can’t have those if you expect to win the NFL. Quarterback had a couple, our punt team had one, our defense had one or two. All those add up to major losses in NFL so we have to eliminate those, quarterback had a few. Overall, I think from a mental standpoint, I feel good about it now. It’s just a matter of him getting comfortable and letting loose and playing. He’s still a young kid, he’s just got to go out there and play and let loose and let it rip.”

Gruden was also asked about Griffin’s pocket management, and how and when he decided to run on Sunday.

“There wasn’t a lot of running lanes for him. As a dropback passer, sometimes you’ll get running lanes. Sometimes the pass rush up the field, you’ll get a natural running lane, but Houston did a great job of really pushing the pocket and not giving a lot of running lanes for him to go.”

Gruden said the staff didn’t design any runs for Griffin against the Texans, and that Griffin must become more comfortable in the pocket. “If you’re going to be a professional football quarterback, you’re going to have to learn to be a pocket passer at some point in your career and he’s learning. He’s not a finished product yet by any stretch of the imagination, but he will get there. I know one thing that if you keep telling Robert he can’t do something, he’s going to do it and he’s going to want to do it and he’ll get there.”

Recap of Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden’s Monday Press Conference

Washington Redskins head coach was available to the media on Monday after losing his coaching debut at the Houston Texans on Sunday, 17-6. Gruden spoke on injuries and strategy, and also looked back on the loss to the Texans.

Gruden talked about Barry Cofield and Jordan Reed’s respective injuries as the Sunday game against the Jacksonville Jaguars quickly approaches:

Cofield has a high ankle sprain. He’s getting checked out today, but it looks like he could miss some time. Then Jordan Reed has a mild hamstring strain and that’s another one. He was very sore after the game, so that could be some time also … we did the MRIs on both of them. So, we’ll see how it goes. We have the trainer and  it’ll probably be a week or two or three. We’ll see.

It’s very difficult [having Reed out]. You have a lot of formations and part of your game plan designed around him, playing him outside, in the slot and all that. When he goes out after the seventh play of offense, it hurts you a little bit. But, luckily we had other things we could do. We didn’t do them very well, but we were able to do some other things. But he was a major part of the game plan, especially in the red zone. But, it didn’t work out that way and now we’ve just got to get him well as soon as we can and keep moving.

Chris Russell reported on Tuesday afternoon that that the Redskins will use a short-term IR designation on Cofield.

Gruden is trying to take a positive outlook on the mental mistakes that had a significant impact on the team’s loss to Houston:

Well, you try to be the positive one – and you look at [the fact that] there are very correctable mistakes that we made. The one thing I did like was our defense was flying around to the ball – there’s a lot of good things on tape, but we had some monumental mistakes that can’t happen in pro football. You can’t fumble the ball in the red zone, you can’t give up big plays, and you can’t let a guy rush inside of a wing guy on a punt protection.

There are some things that are very correctable obviously, but there are some things that we did well, but we just didn’t play good enough all the way around. There is a good thing – offense, defense, and special teams – they all had their hands in this loss. It wasn’t like it was just the offense, just the defense, just the special teams – I think everybody can really take a long look at themselves in a mirror and realize that everybody could’ve done something better, and hopefully they will and move forward to next week.

Robert Griffin III went 29-for-37 for 267 yards against Houston, but had no touchdowns and looked ineffective in the pocket, often not throwing the ball away under pressure. Gruden talked about his quarterback’s play, saying that he did well:

It was pretty good. He did some good things, obviously, and  there are some plays there that I’m sure he wishes he had back obviously as everybody does in that game. We took a sack at the 34-yard line when we’re in field goal range – didn’t have much protection, but we’ve got to throw it away. We took a sack on a screen pass in a two-minute drill that we can’t have happen, but he did complete I think 75 or 80 percent of his passes, which were good, but really to score six points on offense – not quite good enough.

Finally, the rookie head coach also critiqued his own performance. Gruden said that from a play-calling standpoint, there are things he could have done better:

Yeah, we could have done better in the first half. First half we were poor, I was poor in the first half and we could have had a nice lead. However, we didn’t execute and I took some shots with play-actions that failed miserably, and didn’t quite work out, but you’re right. Defensively we’ve got to do a better job of getting off the field on third down.

If you look at the stats, if you’re a stat person, third downs were a major issue for us on offense and on defense. They were 50 percent, I think we were 25 percent and that’s a huge issue. Third-and-six, they get a first down, they gain seven. Now that not only obviously gives them better field position, it eats up another minute and a half of the clock. Hats off to Houston playing good ball control offense and keeping the offense off the field, but you’re right, we have got to do a better job defensively getting off the field and stopping them on third down.

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