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Redskins coach Jay Gruden and players talk about win against the Saints

Transcripts from Redskins' post game interviews


Opening statement:

"First off, we don't have any injuries to note. [RB] Alfred Morris went out of the game with a sore rib and finished the game."

On the team's performance:

"It was very impressive; I told them in the locker room it was our best week of practice. We practiced with great energy, great focus and it carried over to a game. It was great to see those guys all step up - offense, defense. Defense against a heck of a quarterback, heck of an offensive scheme over there. Stepped up and made some big plays. Of course special teams played well also."

On QB Kirk Cousins' performance:

"He was obviously very good. You have a perfect passer rating you're going to be pretty good. But really the people around him… I think the offensive line did a good job. I think players took some short passes, turned them into big plays for him. He delivered the ball with efficiency, with great decision making and the results were outstanding obviously. Our running game helped out a little bit also. We were pretty balanced with our attack. I think we had 200 yards running the football and obviously 300-plus passing. It's a grind. It's hard to do that. Our offensive line was outstanding and obviously Kirk was the trigger-man."

On the defense's two interceptions:

"Yeah, it was great. You know, [LB] Perry Riley got put on the island a couple of times last week and wanted to redeem himself and he did that in a big way. I'm happy to see him make a big play, and obviously [Dashon Goldson] made a big play for the pick six. Defensive line was good, they got enough pressure on [QB] Drew [Brees]. The sacks – I think we had two. I think he felt pressure and had to hurry some throws. I think the tackling was better, with the exception of the 70-yard run, we missed a tackle. On the whole I think our tackling was a lot better."

On how it feels to win after tough losses:

"Anytime you win in the National Football League against a team like New Orleans – coached by one heck of a coach that [has] done some great things over there – it's a great win and I'm very proud of those guys. Now it's about expectation levels, and their expectation level's got to be higher. We play an undefeated Carolina Panthers next week. So they can enjoy this win for a few hours and then it's back to work Monday and Tuesday. I'm very happy to get to 4-5, keep ourselves rolling, keep ourselves in this race in the NFC East and we'll just go from there."

On whether the team's high level of urgency came from coaching or last week's loss:

"A little bit of everything. I think we went out last week… I think we played [with] good urgency last week, we just didn't make some plays that we normally make – missed some tackles, dropped some balls. This week you see them - no drops obviously, great runs after the catch offensively and very few missed tackles. These guys really have been playing hard all season long. You can see their effort, you can see the way they practice – and it's going to pay off for them. I keep telling them it's going to pay off for them in the long run. We keep preparing, we keep practicing like we did last week, and the week before that, and the week before that, results will come."

On having success with the running game after stressing the importance of believing in it:

"It was excellent. It was good, and you notice that we didn't have a lot of negative runs. We were stuck at second-and-seven, second-and-six, second-and-five – as opposed to second-and-10, so we were able to stick with it, and we were able to stick with our play-actions and we got our whole playbook basically. [OC Sean McVay] did a great job of getting this offense ready, getting it together [and] organized for Kirk. Kirk did a great job executing, but really it was a total team effort. You know, the offensive line, like I said, tight ends made some big plays. The backs made some big plays in the running game and in the passing game. We didn't get Pierre [Garçon] very much involved today unfortunately, but he was good in the running game. [WR Jamison] Crowder made a big play. So, you look around the football team and I think everybody really executed what they were supposed to do and took advantage of the plays when they came – it was good to see."

On how big it was to see everyone on the offense contributing during this game:

"It's big. It's big to see everybody getting involved in the offense, and that's the goal. That's the intent every week. Unfortunately it doesn't always work like that but, today, it was a good day for our offense. Very happy that they all had some touches and they all get a taste of success, you know, because some weeks it's going to be somebody different. Next week it might be Pierre with 10 balls or whatever, but this offense is built where we can spread it around and get everybody involved, and whoever we'd like to match up the best or whatever the coverage dictates – he'll get the ball. They all have to be ready for it and they were today."

On how having a healthy secondary helped:

"We went out and brought [CB] Chris Culliver, we want him to play. He's one of the best corners in the league. We feel like having him healthy is big. And [Bashaud] Breeland – getting him back healthy is big. D-Gold [FS Dashon Goldson] can play a safety spot and [CB] Kyshoen [Jarrett] played a little bit of safety. We got [Will] Blackmon and D-Gold, so I think we started to see our best players back there in the secondary. D-Hall [CB DeAngelo Hall] was able to play some safety in dime situations. It's good to have our horses back there. They played well."

On if the heightened security was a distraction:

"Obviously, that is all on our minds. It's a serious matter. As far as distractions come game day, there weren't any. Our guys were focused on their job and moving forward and doing what they were supposed to do in order to get ourselves a victory in front of our home crowd. Our home crowd was outstanding today. They came out and it was loud. You could see [QB] Drew [Brees] had some issues with communication from time to time. Overall it was a smooth process. Everybody focused in on the game and it was a good victory."

On the execution of the downfield blocking:

"You saw people getting downfield blocking in the screens also, you saw the lineman getting downfield and making big, big blocks that we might have missed in weeks past. But overall, I think that offensive line was outstanding in all phases today. When you put out these type of numbers – rush for over 200 yards and throw for over 300, you can't single anybody out. The offensive line played a heck of a football game. I'm very proud of them."

On if he can see a progression of improvement:

"That's the intent. We try to stay steady in our approach and keep trying to grind on these guys that the way they practice and prepare will pay off. Unfortunately, we were 3-5 before this game and it didn't seem like it to a lot of people, but we could see it in the building. The guys are working extremely hard, and we are getting some of our key guys back from injury and the proof is in the pudding. Today, you can see what we can do. Now, it's a matter of us taking this victory and building off a victory. We've had a bad habit around here of not being able to follow-up a victory with another victory, so it's very important for us to get our frame of mindset today. This is what we can do – we are capable of doing this. We have to continue to practice hard and prepare and hopefully put another win back-to-back."

 On what they did different on defense:

"I think they made their minds up to make some big plays. They really did. They had a big stop on a third-and-one or fourth-and-one to start the third quarter. I think that was a huge play – a lot of momentum swing there. And then they made the interception for a touchdown and they had some big stops there in the second half. So, it's a matter of them stepping up. Like I said, the pass rush was solid enough where it made Drew a little bit uncomfortable, then guys made some plays. We were fortunate with a couple. I think they dropped one on third down and they dropped another we got for the pick. It's good to see our guys flying around the ball making some big plays."

On how the media should view quarterback Cousins after the game today:

"You should write a positive article about him for once. The quarterback in the NFL is always under the microscope, and deservedly so. It's the most scrutinized position in all of sports. He's got the ball in his hands. He's got the decisions on every snap of every game, and when a team wins or a team loses, he gets too much blame or too much credit. That's the nature of the business. That's what he signed up for. That's what he wants, and that's what you want as a quarterback. Kirk's going to take his lumps, but he's going to keep grinding. You can see the results starting to pay off. The most important thing a quarterback can do is put this game behind him, enjoy it with his wife tonight because next week the Carolina Panthers are going to have a whole different set of game plans for him. It's going to be difficult, but he's doing great. His progression, you can see it, and he's doing a good job."

On if the Redskins have a history of playing down to competition:

"I don't think we play down to any competition. Every team that I've seen is good to me. If you guys think that's the case, I think you're mistaken. We don't play down at any level or any time. Everybody we play, we take very seriously. They're well-coached, and they have good football players. It's just a matter of trying to get our consistent production week in and week out. That's going to be an important thing. It's not going to be easy going on the road playing Carolina, but it's something we're going to try to do, focus on and improve on."

On the evolution of RT Morgan Moses and the addition of K Dustin Hopkins:

"Morgan Moses, when you're talking about developing quicker than anybody, that's Morgan, to be honest with you. I think he's playing at a level of right tackle as good as anybody in the National Football League. I haven't seen everybody, so it's a pretty tough statement, but his development has been unreal. [Offensive Line] Coach [Bill] Callahan has done an excellent job, and Morgan has done an excellent job working himself into this kind of shape. His technique is sound. He's good in the running game. He's done an excellent job. Morgan has solidified his spot as a right tackle in the National Football League for many, many, many years. As far as Dustin's concerned, he's been outstanding. He makes every kick, and every kickoff is pretty solid. We're happy as heck that we got him. They're both good players."

On using deep pass plays more in the future:

"They'll come. They will. We had a situation in this game where we had a couple called that we didn't throw, but that was a huge play to start the game. It was our opening drive of the football game. We had a third-and-five, and we were backed up. We got the ball to start; it was a huge play, a huge completion. It backed them up a little bit, which opened up a lot of the short passes which is why we started checking them down a lot. Their linebackers were getting a lot of depth, their corners were playing over the top, and they had a safety in the middle of the field sometimes, too. I think Kirk did a great job taking what was given to him and didn't force any throws, but the deep ball will be a major part of our offense moving forward."

On getting RB Matt Jones involved in the passing game:

"Just what I told you, they really dropped deep with their linebackers, and we were able to take advantage with some underneath throws. The screens were outstanding, and the run after the catch was excellent. You look at the blocking on that, [LT] Trent Williams wasn't even supposed to be out there, but he's running down the field and made a key block. I think the running after the catch was great by Matt. He had three catches for 131 yards, so that was pretty good for the big fella. [RB] Alfred [Morris] had some catches out of the backfield; obviously, [RB] Chris Thompson did. When you're taking those deep zone drops, those backs become very, very important. They did a good job taking advantage of it, and Kirk did a great job finding them."


On having a near-perfect game:

"Yeah, I mean I've had a couple before. I've been fortunate enough to be part of games like that before but it feels very gratifying. We had a great week of preparation and it carried over to Sunday. We said last Sunday that we'd have an edge to us coming out of the way the last game finished and we certainly did. It started Wednesday, or Tuesday, when we got back in the building and carried over into Sunday."

On playing against Saints QB Drew Brees and if he felt he had to outperform him:

"I think if I get in that mindset you put yourself in trouble, but at the same time there's less room for error going against a really good quarterback. And fortunately, with the way we ran the ball and the way we were able to throw it we didn't make those errors and we were able to put up enough points where we could come out with a win. But certainly when you play against great quarterbacks there's less room for error."

On how easy it was to get into a rhythm thanks to good play-calling:

"It felt easier to answer your question. To expand on that, when we execute and everybody does their part, good things happen, and it definitely feeds itself, you know it helps the play calling with the next play. It helps us all execute going forward, and we said that last week was more of a fluke than anything else and the guys made some phenomenal catches today and some phenomenal plays after the catch."

On being able to distribute the ball to playmakers like WR Jamison Crowder and RB Matt Jones:

"Yeah, it helps a lot when you can just dump the ball off and the next thing you know it's a first down and more.  It was good to see our screen game worked, running the ball worked, not just one type of run but several, and we spread the ball around and targeted a lot of different guys.  All of those I think are positives. It was just a great week.  But again, they all count one, 1-0 this week, but we've got a great challenge coming up in Carolina."

On if this is the best he's felt in an offense:

"Yeah, I think this offense does a great job.  When you look at the history of Jay [Gruden] in Cincinnati, he did a lot of good things. I think here it's just a matter of having consistency and developing myself at the quarterback position and always helping an offense grow. When you can run the ball like the way we did today, it's going to open up a lot of things for us in the passing game.  We're just really pleased with the way everybody executed and the way it took all 11 out there to have the impact that we had."

On the significance of hitting WR DeSean Jackson on the first drive:

"That's a great question, very perceptive because I did think it was a shot in the arm for us. To be able to throw the ball accurately enough and convert to third down get us out of being backed up in our own territory and to get DeSean back and get going are steps that we want to take. It certainly got us going and gave us a spark and then we never looked back and we ran the ball so well from there and executed plays well and next thing we know we finished the game and I was on the sidelines watching."

On being aware of the score during the game:

"I think you're aware of the situation and when you're in the zone and things are going well, you're just playing and your mind is free and you're not allowing things to inhibit your play. But at the same time you try to be aware of the situation and I think we were aware of it. But then again, when you're getting the ball off, the next thing you know it's second-and-short or another first down and I mean it can really keep you at ease and that's what happened today."

On handling the ball better than last week:

"Well, I think by playing I'm getting better as a quarterback and I'm not going to be results-driven. I threw a few passes today that could have been picked off so I'm not going to go back and say, 'Oh, I didn't throw any interceptions today.' I'm going to look back at the plays that could have been picked and say, 'How do I prevent those from happening moving forward?' I'm not going to be results-driven. There were plays the last couple of weeks that altered the game and there were picks that weren't necessarily my fault and I don't worry about those either. So, it's great to not have turnovers but you have to look at the why and what caused them and also even when there weren't turnovers today, what could I have done better to avoid the possibility of one. It's a process, it takes time and I'm getting better as a quarterback and that encompasses a lot of things, not just protecting the football."

On taking longer to get rid of the ball this week:

"I think it comes with playing because when you only play in practice, you're wearing a yellow jersey so they can't hit you. You don't get a very good feel for the pass rush and you do the best you can but you're limited and when you play several weeks in a row, it's given me a better feel for the pass rush and how long I need to hold on to the ball. And sometimes I'm giving the pass rush too much credit and not sitting in there long enough and trying to get the ball out of my hands too quickly. So I think as I play I get a better feel of how much time I think there were a couple today where I held onto it and avoided throwing the ball into coverage and the offensive line created a great pocket where I can feel comfortable sitting there half-a-second longer, and as I play I get a better feel for them."

On the importance of having previously injured players back:

"Having a lineup of our best players is going to help me and is going to help our offense and is going to help our play-caller. But you understand injury is a part of the game as you go through and you get further and further into the season, you have to be ready to win and play without certain guys. A lot of those guys who have been out, they're now back and it helps. But we have depth no matter who's out there and we have a lot of good depth on this team and we're going to need that moving forward if injuries happen."

On the running backs' performance:

"Well, I saw very good runs and breaking tackles and converting – Matt [Jones] for example, in the third-and-short got hit behind and with a second effort was able to convert the first down, so you love seeing runs like that. Once they've broken the open field, seeing them run away from guys and create a little bit after the initial contact or the initial block and the passing game,* *selfishly they did a great job helping me. They caught a couple routes underneath and took them down the sideline and the screen that Matt had. All three guys caught a couple passes and made a difference in the passing game and I love seeing those guys make plays because they're all really talented and they can help us."

On the growth of WR Jamison Crowder this season:

"Well he's just a very talented player and he's got the right mindset and I'm excited for him and he's only halfway through his first year. It's exciting to think about if we could all be back what would happen down the road working together and growing because he's really talented and he's a great teammate and a great worker. It's fun to have weapons like that to throw to. It makes a difference and he was outstanding today."


On his 78-yard touchdown catch-and-run:

"We had it schemed up perfectly. We caught them in a defense we wanted to have them in and I give credit to my guard and center. They waited patiently and got out into the second level fast and gave me a good lead so I could make the cuts that I did. Our receivers finished downfield in terms of blocking. I got upfield and I was able to finish."

On the difference in being able to run the ball this game:

"We came out and executed. It started with our offensive line. When our offensive line can get pushes like that off the ball on a great defensive line, we are capable of a lot."

On his feeling facing the Carolina Panthers next week:

"We feel great. Like I said, we needed that game to go into an undefeated team like Carolina. We're going to scheme up a great scheme and we've got to continue to execute as well as be consistent with it."

On if the 'MoJo' duo [Alfred Morris and Matt Jones] is back in action:

"Definitely, Mo-Jo is back in action [laughter]."


On his multi-touchdown performance:

"You know, I just focused all week, practiced hard and trusted in God. All glory to God."

On what he saw on his first touchdown:

"It was just a great play call. I just had a slide route. It wasn't anything special. Kirk [Cousins] just made the right throw. The coaching staff called the right play and I just took advantage of it."

On how to take momentum into the Carolina game next week:

"We just have to have another great week of practice, believe in ourselves, trust in our ability and the rest will speak for itself."


On how the run game capitalized against New Orleans:

"Well, we knew that they were allowing over 100 yards per game. I think it was 120 — something like that. We knew we could run and we stuck with it. We came out with a plan. We were able to control the clock and we were able to continue to get drives going early. When you do that, you can keep the ball on the ground as much as you can. We were able to do that, not only on the ground, but, you know, just getting checkdowns and making big plays. Matt [Jones], obviously getting a couple checkdowns. Chris [Thompson], even Chris came in and got the ground game going. I'm thankful that we did get the ground game going and that we stuck with it. I'm looking forward to continuing this."

On how he has improved his catching ability and yards after catch:

"I mean, just always being ready. It's not a 'You can't catch' thing, it's more so like just a confidence thing. Just being confident even though you may not get it one game, it's coming, you know, but always being ready for when it does happen. Yeah, man, I'm just glad I got the opportunity and I made the most of it, so can't complain."

On if this game was how they envisioned the offense since Week 1:

"Oh yeah, for sure. I'm glad, this week, we played a complete game today on every aspect. I'm just thankful we were able to get it going and it paid off, so no complaints."


On his first career touchdown:

"It feels great and even better that we got the win like we did. I've been waiting on that first touchdown, so I'm glad that I finally got it. Hopefully I can put in some more touchdowns as the season goes along."

On carrying momentum into Carolina next week:

"I think if we just continue to practice like did last week, we'll put ourselves into good position against Carolina. We know that they have a really good defense. You know, they're undefeated, so obviously they're doing a lot right. We just need to keep playing and be ready to prepare for a dogfight."

On how they exploited the Saints' defense:

"Everyone really just keyed in today and were on their assignments. We made some big plays today. Screens went for long. [RB] Matt [Jones] scored a touchdown on a screen. I think we put it together today."


On building offensive momentum heading into a game against Carolina next week:

"You know, 47 points is great, but we just want to get the win next week. So, we're not going to speculate how many we're going to get. We're just going to try to go in there with the same mind frame and get a win."

On preparing for New Orleans' pass rush:

"We just upped the tempo in practice. You know, guys were on each other. We expected better from each other and I think it showed off today."

On creating more running lanes for backs:

"We controlled the game, so we're able to stick with the running game and it took off."


 On their adjustments after giving up two early touchdowns:

"I mean, the two touchdowns we gave them were just busted plays. They got 80 yards on both plays. We just stayed together. You know what I mean? We knew they were busted plays. We were going to get over it and we could overcome it. The offense was doing good. We just didn't panic. We stayed together and we executed the game plan down the stretch."

On what he has seen from his teammates:

"My teammates have done great, especially the young guys. They have been doing great for us all year on offense and defense."

On which players he wants to highlight specifically:

"You've got [S] Kyshoen [Jarrett], who's playing lights out on defense. He gives us a lot of snaps, each game, playing a different position. He's done a great job at every role they ask him to play. You've got [RB] Matt Jones on offense. You've got [WR] Jamison Crowder. You've got [CB Quinton] Dunbar who has filled in at a couple games at corner. We have a lot of young guys that we're asking to do a lot. They're stepping up and playing at a high level. I mean, you can't ask for more."

On his interception:

"I mean, just preparation. We knew once they cross the 50, they like to take double moves and shots. The preparation to the field. They gave me a double move — out and up. I stayed with the tight end — look and lean. I saw the ball and I was able to come down with it."


On the defense 'buckling down' after giving up 14 points early in the game:

"There was no reason to buckle down. We just missed a tackle on the big run, miscommunication on the long pass. We just kept doing what we were doing."

On what he has seen from QB Kirk Cousins:

"He's growing. He's growing as a quarterback, as a leader. He's playing with a lot of confidence right now. Like I've said before, 'When the quarterback has confidence, it feeds throughout the team.' We go as he goes."

On being someone that commands double teams and how much it helps the secondary:

"I'm just doing my one-eleventh on defense. It was a good group effort today. On defense, we got a few turnovers. We finally got a turnover for a touchdown which we wanted. We confused a great quarterback, so all-around it was a good day on defense."


On what the team did defensively to be successful:

"We just got off the ball, played our assignments that we were supposed to play. Our back end did a good job of covering their guys and allowed us the extra time to rush and we were able to cash in today."

On what he has seen from the young players:

"We've got a lot of young guys out here contributing. Our team is finally getting back healthy. This is probably our first week healthy at our practices and playing all week. It showed today."

On how he plans to enjoy the win and prepare for next week:

"Well, you just enjoy it. You enjoy the feeling. We know what we're capable of. We can only let this excitement last for a day or two and then we've got to get ready for an undefeated Carolina team that's really rumbling so far. We've got our hands full each week. This really felt good this week to get a win against a quality team."


On how they were successful on defense after giving up 14 points quickly:

"Kind of what our Achilles heel was, we missed a couple tackles. We missed a tackle to cause a big run. [CB] Will Blackmon did a great job of hustling and going ahead and giving us a great chance to line up and play it again. We just started playing sound football after that. We limited our missed tackles. We were on a point with our game plan and we just stuck to it."

On how he helped the secondary prepare for Saints QB Drew Brees:

"I just let them know what kind of guy he was. He was downhill – he is a chunk player, chunk quarterback. He loves the big play. That's what they thrive on so I had to make sure, I mean, that's what I told them, we've got to stay deep and we'll break on everything else."

On his interception returned for a touchdown:

"Well, it was a good play. It was a good play call by our coach. Good pass rush by our defensive lineman, credit goes out to them getting pressure on the quarterback. He saw a pass. He threw it. It was kind of a bad throw – I meant it was a little high. The deflection on the pass came on the receiver's end. I came up with it and took it to the house."

On how they will enjoy today's victory while preparing for Carolina:

"The sky's the limit for us. We're going to take this win and we're going to celebrate and then we're going to come back to work this week. It speaks volumes. We're playing good football. We're playing good at home, especially. We're going to have to start winning on the road."

On what it means to see his fellow teammates be successful:

"It means a lot. We've got a lot of young guys. We've got a lot of young guys playing a lot of positions that we didn't know that were going to be able to play this early but they're doing a good job for us. There's a reason why they're here. There's a reason why they're here. Coach sees good in them and they've been working."

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