Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden spoke with reporters at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama Tuesday.
The topics of discussion were wide-ranging, from new staff hires, to injuries, to interviews for a new secondary coach.
The main topic for Gruden of course was the future of Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. “We totally anticipate Kirk coming back to the Washington Redskins,” Gruden said. “We are excited about parlaying two very good years as starting quarterback and the third year just continuing to watch him grow.”
Gruden feels like retaining Matt Cavanaugh will ensure a seamless transition of the offense by keeping Cousins developmental mentor on the staff. “[Cavanugh] helped a lot,” Gruden said. “I think he was a calming presence for Kirk, you know, you got this fiery personality, you got Sean [McVay], whose trying to oversee the whole thing and Matt can really break it down in detail as footwork, fundamentals, he’s done a really good job.”
Gruden also said he will return to calling plays in 2017.
Gruden also responded to questions about Redskins coaches in new positions.
“I think when you see a guy who is an outside linebackers coach (new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky), you see him coach with the energy and passion that he does, you don’t really see him as a coordinator type guy,” Gruden said. “I know he came as a coordinator but until I interviewed, sat down with him, saw how well organized he was, how detailed he was with his fundamentals and his techniques, and he just sold me.”
“I think it’s good to know a guy’s been there and done that,” Gruden said. “It’s just another experienced guy, he’s been a coordinator I think six or seven years already, so he’s got that experience also. He’s been a position coach so he’s been through the ringer so to speak as far as the NFL. Been a player, a coach, assistant coach, coordinator, that wealth of experience with his energy and passion I think is a good fit.”
Gruden also spoke about new quarterbacks coach Kevin O'Connell. “For a young player, [and] ex-quarterback, he’s got loads of experience in my mind," Gruden said. "I’m excited about him. He’s going to do a great job with Kirk [Cousins], and Colt [McCoy] and obviously Nate [Sudfeld]. I think their personalities will match. He’s a very good guy and I think he’ll get a lot out of Kirk.”
Gruden gave a small update on receiver Josh Doctson, “I saw him running in the pool the other day, which was exciting,” Gruden said of Doctson. “We’re just going to take it slow with him. I think the month of February will be very important for his progress to see where he’s at.”
When asked if he or the scouting staff was watching a certain player, Gruden replied, “You just like to see guys run around,” Gruden said. “I don’t have a whole lot of information on these guys yet. I think once I see the practice, [and] see them live, and make a few notes here and there, you go back, and watch it again on tape, and then you watch all their games that they played in with the evaluation. This helps a little bit. It’s also good to see a lot of the coaches and pick their brain from time to time.”
The Redskins will need to make this year's draft count in terms of adding new talent to the team, so Gruden's visit to the Senior Bowl is a welcome sight. Gruden didn't appear to have a set agenda when it came to certain players or positions, “You’re always looking to upgrade everywhere,” Gruden said. “You know that’s the beauty of this thing, you come in with an open mind, you see these guys at practice, you do a lot of phone work after this, you see the combine you see the pro days and try to make the best decision you can. I know scouts up here working extremely hard to do the scouts and we’ll have a lot of guys who can help us.”
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