Philadelphia Eagles News

Game Vs. Redskins: Head Coach Jay Gruden


On injuries:

"Injuries of note, Jordan Reed had a knee and left ankle. Came back into the game and then the last play down there at the end we're checking him out for a concussion. [Ryan] Kerrigan had a hip pointer he came back into the game. [Pierre] Garçon had a knee sprain, came out and came back into the game. [Trent] Murphy had a hip contusion, came out and came back into the game. "

On the team's resiliency:

"No question, we gave up a lead, had a lot of adversity in that game. That's something that we've been trying to talk about is overcoming it. We can't control the penalties. We can't control what happens in the football game. We can control our effort and how long we can sustain our effort. It was a group of men playing together for 60 minutes and overcoming a lot of adversity. Some guys making big-time plays in big-time situations. I'm proud of each and every one of those guys, man. They fought their tails off until the end."

On the team's defensive pressure was better this week:

"It was for a little while. I think we had a little spurt there, third and early fourth, where we weren't getting enough pressure. We needed to be more consistent. Obviously you want pressure on every play but they did a nice job with the play-actions and the runs to keep us off balance a little bit. When it came time to rush, Murphy got a nice sack and then obviously Kerrigan got a sack. We missed a few sacks that Kerrigan usually gets. Overall I felt good about the pass rush."

On WR Jamison Crowder:

"We've seen that all camp. He had the injury there at the end of camp. He's starting to emerge himself into a quality slot receiver for us and outside. The injury set him back just a little bit. Once we felt like he was 100 percent, we felt like he's deserving of being where he is, and that's on the field. He's a tough guy. He handles the running game, smart, obviously makes big catches. The game's not too big for him, you can see that."

On the personal foul penalties:

"That's just the way they called them… They thought Trenton [Robinson] led with his head on a couple of them. It's a tough situation. For a safety, corner, anyone tackling a ball carrier, it's tough because you're trying to lower your pads to get down and tackle them. If the receiver lowers his head, there's a possibility for a call there. It's unfortunate, but it's a bang-bang play. Hopefully we'll get it fixed and hopefully Trenton get fined or anything like that. I thought they looked good on the sidelines, there's really not a lot he could have done different. We just keep preaching our pad level, our hat placement on tackling and fundamentals and hopefully that won't happen again."

On WR Pierre Garçon:

"That's what he is. He's one of the greatest competitors on this football team. People feed off of that. Those are some tough catches that he made today. He probably didn't have the type of numbers that he wants after a game, because he's such a great competitor. But when the ball's in the air, he's going to go get it. I'm happy for Pierre, happy for Kirk [Cousins], I'm happy for the whole offense, making that last drive, overcoming what we overcame. We've got to do a better job in the second half though. Our third quarter offense, defense, leaves a little to be desired. We've got a lot of work to do coming out of halftime. Overall, good game."

On QB Kirk Cousins' growth:

"You can see that his decision making is pretty good. To have that high completion percentage, touchdown, no interceptions, he had that one sack – which really was not a sack because he gained half a yard, it shouldn't have been a sack, we'll argue that one – but he's managing the football game. He's putting us in a position to win in the fourth quarter, and we finally did that. We're keeping it close. Having the ability to win in the fourth quarter, making a key drive at the end to win it, it's great to see our quarterback and our entire team do that because we're going to have other games that are going to be close like this. We'll be down in the third or fourth quarter, we're going to have to come back and it's great to have this experience to know we can do it."

On the Eagles' long passes:

"That was a great play. Some great throws by [Sam] Bradford. They have some great weapons on offense. Riley Cooper made a great catch. I think that it was Jordan Mathews that made one. [Nelson] Agholor made a great one down the middle of the field. We've got to do a better job with our safeties, obviously, possibly. That's pro football, man. We're going to play Julio Jones next week. We might give up a big play or two, but it's how we rebound, how we bounce back. We're going to try to coach our butts off to make sure it doesn't happen again, but when they do happen we've got to be ready to bounce back and make something else happen."

On decision-making:

"Each play, like I've said many times, is its own entity. Sometimes there is going to be tight coverage. They were playing Cover 1 with a linebacker reading the quarterback's eyes and we have an in-breaking route, he's got to put it on the receiver. The linebacker is going to come and hit him. That's bang-bang type football and that's going to happen. Every quarterback that has ever played this game makes bang-bang type throws. The big thing is putting them in a position where our receiver can get it, protect himself, and get down. I think Kirk [Cousins] did an excellent job of that. He wasn't perfect, by any stretch, but we are going to coach him the same after a win as after a loss. He's going to get better. I'm happy with the throws he made, the decisions he made today."

On what they have to do to finish drives in the first half:

"The first drive, we had third-and-goal at the two, we tried we expected an all-out type pressure. We had a run that we liked in that situation and they defended it well. I think one of our linemen fell down or got tripped up. We had another nice drive and we got six points – then we got a touchdown, but we do need to do a better job in the red zone. Maybe that's pulling back the reins, or maybe that's letting Kirk take some shots in the end zone a little bit more. Red zone defenses in the NFL, they're not easy to score on. It's not like we can just walk down there and score, man. There's Cover Zeros, there's drop eights, they're playing tight man covers, they're playing zone. They did an excellent job stopping our running game there for the most part, so credit to the defense."

On his decision to punt on the second-to-last drive:

"I thought it was a chance to get them backed-up and get the ball back. We were only down by four and I didn't want to take a chance with the long field goal and let them get the ball midfield and then back us up. I was playing field position there. I know they had a couple of linemen that were out, so I thought we could get the stop and get the ball right back with good field position, as opposed to possibly missing the field goal, and then getting backed up and going 90 yards for the win instead."

On his confidence in the younger players:

"We have to ask our young guys to step up. We've got eight or nine guys on IR right now, and another four starters not playing because of injuries. These young guys have emerged as starters and they have had to grow up fast. We've coached them to get themselves prepared. I think mentally they are prepared, but when you go out there on Sunday afternoon – you're playing a division rival like the Eagles - sometimes the game gets a little bit too much for these young guys. To see [Jamison] Crowder, to see [Trent] Murphy, to see Preston [Smith], to see these young guys – Brandon Scherff – it's awesome to see them. Spencer Long came in there to compete – get a victory. Then we can get some quality film to coach off of, learn off of, and advance their growth process because of this."

On his thoughts on the run game and the rotation at running back:

"I think that's the way it's got to be. I think the days in football – there are a select few teams probably – but the days of football where you have one guy getting 42 carries a game, are numbered. This 16-game season is a grind. We need two, three backs to carry the load. We have some specialty plays for Chris Thompson, obviously, Matt [Jones] and Alfred [Morris] are both capable runners. The intent is to play the hot hand and keep them fresh for 16 games. I like all three backs, and I think they all bring something to our football team in a positive way."

On the touchdown:

"The last play was simple. We lined up in empty and Pierre [Garçon] was in the slot. We had Chris Thompson on a little fade, so if we got a linebacker out there, we had a chance with Chris Thompson on the linebacker. He's really working a little left to right on his radio dial, working to make sure the corner takes the fade on the outside at least. Then Pierre is our No. 1 guy – a quick out route – cover-zero. Then we had a route combination on the front side, so we could just obviously progress. But I believe they brought cover zero. I don't know if they blitzed everybody or not, I can't remember. But, it's a bang-bang throw again, just like we were talking about. Sometimes you have got to let your receivers pay their bills too. Pierre did that and made a great play. You've got to have trust in your receivers and give it a go."

On if there were any surprises for him on the last drive:

"I just think competing. I think the big play of the drive – obviously there were off-setting penalties – but we had a chance for a holding call and a big loss for a sack and he ended up scrambling up there and we obviously got the off-setting penalties, but that was a big play. And then converting the next third down-and-seven, I believe it was. There were so many plays on that drive. Keeping the running game alive I thought was important. Alfred had some of his best hits on that drive. I think the patience and sticking to our game plan and not throwing it every down was pretty solid. So, hats off to all of them."

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