December 11, 2019

Washington Redskins’ Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden discuss Richmond training camp

The Washington Redskins team President/General Manager Bruce Allen and new head coach Jay Gruden addressed the media earlier this week regarding the team’s training camp in Richmond, VA.

Allen began the press conference with a lengthy opening statement:

“Good afternoon. This has been a great experience once again in Richmond. I think we ought to start with thanking some people and staff. Mayor [Dwight C.] Jones and his staff did a great job for us. Gov. [Terry] McAuliffe’s hospitality and enthusiasm was great for us. Bon Secours’ staff did fantastic job again. Our Charitable Foundation really had a great two or three weeks here… I wanted to thank Coach [Bill] Belichick and the New England Patriots for coming out. That work was invaluable for us from an evaluation standpoint. I think the way we managed the crowds was a lesson that we learned from last year. It was great for the fans and the players.

“I want to thank Coach Gruden – Jon Gruden – who came out for the high school football clinic. We had over 100 high school head coaches from Maryland, D.C. and Virginia, and I believe West Virginia as well… for being our keynote speaker. This camp has always been about preparing the team, but also about reaching back to the community. What I mentioned earlier, our Foundation, [we] feel that our 31 events that we had, we impacted over 20,000 kids in this community and we’re proud of that. Our Redskins Salute, to the military, we had over 1,000 military folks in here for camp and that was fantastic. But as far as the football is concerned, I think Jay did an excellent job – him and his staff – of building that camaraderie. We had spirited practices. There’s good competition on this football team right now and the work with the Patriots and the work that we got against ourselves hopefully is going to propel us this season. I don’t think there’s any doubt that we got better at camp. The key is to make sure we keep getting better when we get back up to Redskins Park.”

When Allen was asked about what he would like to change regarding holding camp in Virginia next year, he joked about the weather but did say that he wanted to have a meeting to try to figure out how they can try to do it better for the team and for the fans.  As always, the media asked about the Washington Redskins’ salary cap situation, and Allen responded that it was about “$2 million of cap space”, which he admitted it was close.  He cited that due to unfortunate injuries during the 2014 NFL Season that will “eat it up”.  Allen also spoke about making adjustments and looking at different options after the third preseason game of this year.

Allen spoke about the importance of having a drama-free camp, and how the atmosphere has changed with his new coach from previous seasons, with the obvious reference to the past several seasons contentiousness between former head coach Mike Shanahan and franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III.

“Well, many of the players and many of the coaches weren’t here last year, so they’re unaware of the drama unless they read the newspapers. We just wanted to focus on getting better every day, and that’s been Coach Gruden’s motto from the beginning. When you focus on today’s events and today’s meetings and today’s practices, you sort of lose all of that drama. And the guys were all competing for jobs and I think the seriousness of their competition really overweigh everything else.”

Allen was pressed to make a comparison between Gruden and Shanahan’s camps.

“I don’t really like the comparisons. I think this was an excellent camp. I think adding the New England Patriots to it and Coach [Bill] Belichick’s staff really made the players focus more. We got in some great work with them. Coach Gruden’s meetings are as intense as you see it on the football field in trying to make sure that we’re trying to get better in the meeting room. I think that’s going to help our team.”

Now on to the more fun stuff for Washington Redskins fans — speaking with new head coach Jay Gruden.  As most fans know, Gruden was the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2011 — 2013.  In those three years, the Bengals made the playoffs each season.

In January 2013, Gruden was interviewed by the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles, and San Diego Chargers for their vacant head coaching positions.  Although he didn’t land one of those jobs, that left him available for the Washington Redskins to hire this past January.

In the same press conference that Allen spoke in, Gruden was asked more about the individual players and his experiences at training camp as a head coach for the first time.  The first questions were about tight end Jordan Reed’s illness, which Gruden replied  that Reed was doing much better and expected him to be a full-go for the rest of the week.

Gruden was also asked about linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and wide receiver Santna Moss taking the “veteran’s day off”.  Grunden responded, “Yes, yes.  Moss has been running a lot and needed a day to get his legs back under him but nothing is injured or anything like that. Same with Kerrigan and same with Kory [Lichtensteiger].”

Gruden spoke about if it was beneficial for the players to work together away from Ashburn:

“I think it was. I think it was a great experience for everybody, it was for me and I felt like the team came together like you’d hoped they would in training camp, studying like this. Practices were crisp.”  Also asked if the  practice routine will remain the same at Redskins Park, he said, “Pretty accurate, yeah. Times of meetings might change, no more night meetings probably, but as far as practice and the grind of studying football and practicing football it’ll be the same.”

When asked if he was prepared for the attention surrounding the Monday Night Game this week against the Cleveland Browns, Gruden simply said:

“It’ll be exciting. There’s a lot about Johnny Football that’s exciting to watch – him as a player and as a rookie. All we’re going to do is focus on ourselves though moving forward – what we’re going to do, how we’re going to prepare and really starting Friday, it’ll be the first time we start to really game plan for an opponent, get them used to game planning and how we’re going to do it, how we go about it during the regular season. So, we haven’t looked at Cleveland yet. I haven’t, but I will starting tomorrow and Thursday, and we’ll start to game plan. But, it’ll be an exciting event, Monday Night Football here. Of course my brother is coming so that’ll be fun.  But really I want to make it more about our guys – how we perform, how we come out under the lights and the excitement, and show them what we can do.”

Gruden was asked about if has a plan for starters’ playing time on Monday against the Browns: “Not yet. We’re going to go through the rest of the week and practice. We have Thursday, Friday, we’ll be in some pads and then Saturday, we’ll taper off. I’ll see where we are from a health standpoint and we’ll go from there, but I expect them to play a little bit more than last week.”

The last thing Gruden touched on rookie Brashaud Breeland addressing his teammates for his citation for marijuana possession just twelve hours before the team finished up in Richmond.

Gruden addressed the media today:

“I addressed it with him. We’ll keep the conversation between us, but he’s well aware of what he has to do to get it fixed and we’ve got to just move forward and hopefully he learns from a terrible mistake.

It’s disappointing. He’s a young kid and he’s had a great camp and it’s a little hiccup, bump in the road for him that he’s got to learn from that a lot of kids go through at his age. So he’ll learn from it and we’ll all move forward from this, hopefully.”

Asked if Breeland faces disciplinary action, Gruden said, “Yeah, we’ve talked about it. We’re going to talk about it, how we’re going to discipline him, what we’ll do in-house and we’ve got it all taken care of. Bashaud understands the severity of what he did and he’s going to have to face the consequences with the citation that he got and move forward.  I let him practice because he’s on the team and he was allowed to practice.”

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