JAY GRUDEN, REDSKINS HEAD COACH
JG: From an injury standpoint I'll get it from Larry [head athletic trainer Larry Hess] officially, nothing serious, just some bumps and bruises, everybody came back in and finished the game.
Q: You knew it was going to be a tough test obviously, but seven dropped passes certainly didn't help the case offensively.
JG: Yeah it didn't help when you're playing the best team on the road. We had to make some plays, but we didn't make enough plays to win this game, to challenge the champs. You know, it's unfortunate. We're all disappointed in it. Didn't coach good enough. Didn't play good enough. We have a lot to work on before we play New Orleans.
Q: Is it sometimes difficult to evaluate where the team is at when you don't really know how close this could have been because of mistakes?
JG: You never know man, this one's in the books. You know you gotta move past this one and chalk it up as a bad day. You know, we took some shots, and none of our shots went in today unfortunately. And when you're playing, like I said, against a heck of a team like New England that's historically great at home, you gotta play your best and we didn't do that.
Q: Third-and-longs... they were able to convert, you guys weren't. What was that?
JG: A little bit of everything. We had some chances, but they made the plays and we didn't. They called better plays I guess. So, we'll have to wait and see and look at the film. But we converted some third-and-longs late, but it was too late. Just couldn't get any drives going offensively to keep our defense fresh, and our defense had trouble getting off the field. They played hard, you know we had a couple turnovers in the first half, and kept it close enough. Offensively we should have made this a ballgame. But we fumbled on the opening drive in the third quarter, and never really gained control.
Q: On the onside kick, was that a matter of catching you off guard?
JG: No, Ryan Grant was right there, it just hit him in the thigh. I don't what else he can do. He's just got to recover it. Ball bouncing weird. That's why they call it pigskin I guess, but Ryan would normally... He was in position, it wasn't like it surprised him or anything like that he just didn't recover it.
Q: DeSean Jackson wasn't really a factor today, what do you attribute that to? Is he just working his way back?
JG: I think he's missed a lot of time. Number one, just getting lined up in the huddle and transferring the play calls to the field to the execution. It wasn't quite there for us. And we didn't have a lot of opportunities either really. And they had a good plan for him, but we just didn't make any plays, and he caught a couple balls late. But, we just made nothing really happen on offense unfortunately to give him some opportunities.
Q: It seemed like Matt Jones got it going briefly there on that one drive. What went well on that one drive that you guys maybe weren't maybe able to duplicate?
JG: You know, we made some plays, and kept the drive going. And I just felt like we never had the ball the first quarter. They had the long drive and then the onside kick, had a long drive and we got a turn over. Then we get the ball, the first play we throw a pass that passes off our hands and give up an interception. So, it just felt like we never got in a rhythm as far as calling plays. And unfortunately they made the plays they had to, and we didn't. We couldn't really get any kind of drive put together in the running game.
Q: You had Jeron Johnson in there as much as we've seen him all year. Is that something you decided to try back there at safety?
JG: Yeah. It was coach's decision to try him back there. We've though Jeron has done some good things in practice and decided to give him a shot.
Q: You had talked about how this was your best week of preparation. Then to see the drops and missed tackles, was this maddening?
JG: Yeah, I mean it's maddening. I can't explain it. I don't know why. We had guys that dropped balls that don't drop balls very often. And I'll throw it to them again and again and again, and I won't expect them to drop ever again. It was just one of those days. I don't know what happened. But, they do happen in pro football, and some of the best players make a mistake and drop the ball. But, it just seemed like it all happened at one time in today's game for whatever reason.
Q: How would you assess Kirk Cousin's game?
JG: It's hard to assess it you know, with the drops and the lack of chances that we had offensively. I think we did some decent things obviously, but coming from behind, and on the road against a team like this is difficult. We didn't have a lot of... Too many drops and not many opportunities really.
Q: You said that you want to use both Alfred Morris and Matt Jones in the running game. Is it difficult though when it seems like Alfred can't get going, and Matt can get going, but then Matt has fumbles again. Is it hard to evaluate?
JG: Yeah, we've just got to keep working on it. And like I said, we just didn't have many opportunities to get drives going. And when we did, we failed to continue the drives. So, we couldn't get Alfred going again, and it's been four weeks in a row that I've said the same thing up here, that we have to get Alfred going, and we have to get Matt Jones going, he's got to protect the ball. I think that was right at the handoff, the guy swiped it, I don't really... I'll have to check the film. I don't know if that was really a "fumble" fumble. A lack of security, I don't know if it was right at the exchange or not, I'll check it out. Coming from behind against these guys having to throw it where your one-demensional is going to be tough and it's hard on the running game.
Q: Joe Barry was catching some of the defensive players going into the locker room. Basically his message was that it was just one week. Is that the challenge here, to not take it back to DC with you?
JG: We have to understand where we are exactly. We are 3-5 and we're not playing very well on the road obviously, I've addressed that issue. But, worst case scenario, we'll probably be a game out of first place in our division. We have to let it go, we have to learn from it and understand what it takes to win on the road. What we did today wasn't good enough, with the self-inflicted wounds, the drops, the missed cues that we had, the coaching obviously wasn't good enough. But, at the mid-way point of the season, we're 3-5 with a game out and that's the facts. We got to turn the corner and get ready for New Orleans Saints team, Carolina Panthers and a bunch of division games coming up. So everything we want is still in the grasp, but we have to play better, we have to coach better.
Q: How did your injured corners, Chris Culliver and Bashaud Breeland hold up?
JG: Not bad. They kind of subbed in for each other. In and out. I think they each had a pitch count and I think they did OK, they held up OK, which is good. So hopefully they'll be able to play more together. It would be nice to get DeAngelo Hall back out there and have that whole group up together where we can do some things in the secondary that we haven't been able to do. But I'm happy with their ability to finish a game injury free.
Q: Now that you've played the Patriots, what are your thoughts?
JG: Well, I've never varied. They're defending champions. So they earn their respect by production and consistent winning. So, we have nothing but respect for them. I don't think anybody's intimidated by them, we came in here and threw some punches. Just none of them connected today. But we'll move on and go from there.
Kirk Cousins, Quarterback
Q: It was one of those games, you guys got the ball back and couldn't seem like you could get anything going. What did it feel like out there that wasn't allowing you guys to start clicking?
KC: I don't know if it was any one thing to point to. I feel like each play was its own entity, you know, and some of these mistakes, they hurt you, they cost you, but our guys are better than that. That's where, I guess, it's encouraging to know that that was more of a fluke than the norm. So, we will be able to get to work this week, correct those mistakes, and this performance will give us an edge in our preparation getting ready for the Saints.
Q: I don't know if you guys have ever had that many drops. Was that just one of those fluke things you are talking about?
KC: Yeah, all of our guys have good natural hands and have made some really tough catches this year, so I don't see this as a trend or a pattern, but more of just an anomaly. It happens, and we will move on from it and if anything, it will help give us an edge this next week.
Q: You guys talked about getting a third man on those situations the last time you were in third and long. How much had to go right in plays like that to get them to convert a first down?
KC: It's a challenge when you get to third-and-10 or third-and-nine or third-and-10-plus, you take a deeper drop. Usually now it goes from taking a five-step drop to a seven-step drop, that gives defensive ends the opportunity to get up the field more, makes it that much harder on a tackle to protect, so the pass rush can be a little more effective and you have to wait a little longer on the longer developing routes, and all of that plays a role. But you know, we did convert some of those longer third downs today and I think that was something to be encouraged about. You know, we'll try to stay in those third-and-manageables going forward.
Q: How much tougher is it when you are in a hole against these guys compared to two weeks ago and the situation you were in?
KC: I mean, every week is tough to be in a hole, but we know this team is a great football team and they've earned it for a long time. You know, when you give them turnovers, we play football that has some errors and mistakes, you know, you are giving a good team a chance to put you away. So, we had said all week, there is less room for error this week as an offense. We had to capitalize on our opportunities and we obviously didn't do that enough today to have a chance to win.
Q: Kirk, when that happens and they suddenly go onside kick the next time and then you are down two scores, how hard is it to stick with that plan, especially when things aren't going well?
KC: Yeah, you have a game plan going in and as we know, every game dictates how your approach is going to be and the first couple series certainly, you know, changed the process a little bit in terms of understanding we had a little bit of a hole to climb out of. But again, I thought we did some good things before that half driving the ball down, obviously you want to come away with a touchdown, not a field goal. I thought that would have helped, but we moved the ball, it was just sometimes beating ourselves and then credit again to the Patriots. I thought they did a good job taking some things away at times. That's why they are undefeated.
Q: What's the key to bouncing back from this quickly, getting it out of your system and getting back on track?
KC: Yeah, it's not a new experience to us. In the NFL you are going to have tough weeks, heartbreaking losses and you have got to always bounce back. So we know that going into the season that it's going to be part of the process. So, we'll have an edge to us I think. You know, the performance today will cause guys to want to come back on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and really have a great preparation and put a great product out there next weekend against the Saints.
Q: We talked earlier in the season about pivotal games. Do you look at this one as one of those?
KC: You know, I think there is no doubt. We said at the beginning of the year you never want to be playing catch up. You want to be in the driver's seat and be in control and you do that by winning games out of the gate. So, you know, we're not in the spot we wanted to be in, but we do feel like we still have a lot of football left to play. And all of our goals are out there in front of us and we are going to take it one week at a time and see where we are at the end. But not look any further than the Saints – that's for sure.
Q: Some games like this can be measuring stick games. Do you feel like you guys are way far off, or are you inches away?
KC: That's a great question. You know, and I don't know if I have a great answer. But that is a great question. I think we look at ourselves and say how close are we to a team that's undefeated and doing everything at a high level and where do we rank in relation to that and obviously today, we weren't at that level. But I think it was a good test to kind of see a team that's doing things at a high level. And like I said, if anything it will cause us, I think this week, to come back. Hey, if that's what it takes to do it at a high level, let's focus in a little more and work a little harder to see what we can do to play up to where we know we are capable, because there is a lot of talent on this team, and we have got to be able to show that week-in and week-out.
Chris Baker, Defensive Lineman
*(On today's game) *
"When you're playing the defending champions you can't drop the balls that you're supposed to catch or not cover the guy you're supposed to cover. The Patriots do a good job at playing assignment football and we need to get better at making the plays that we're supposed to make."
(On the importance of playing perfect in the game)
"It's not only a system of playing perfect, but everyone needs to play their assignment the way that they're supposed to play it. If you have outside containment, you have to play outside containment. You have to play assignment football and you need to make the plays that you're supposed to make."
*(On Terrance Knighton's absence from the game) *
"I think the players would have done the same thing even if he was in the game. They had a good scheme and called the right plays at the right time."
Will Blackmon, Cornerback
*(On coming back home and playing the Patriots) *
"It was fun. When we left the airport, we went by my house in Cranston. I saw where I used to play basketball."
(On the game)
"We knew it was going to be a challenge. For us, we just needed to play perfect defense, execute our matchups and not make any mistakes. They just execute, that's why they have been winning for so long."
*(On not being able to stop the Patriots on third down) *
"We were a top five or top ten defense on third down and it wasn't just New England. There were teams before them that we had issues getting off the field. It's a matter of being disciplined in our coverage and just making tackles."
Ryan Grant, Wide Receiver
*(On the game and the onside kick) *
"We prepared well but sometimes you can take a "L" or a "W" and unfortunately today we lost. I fell on top of it and it hit my thigh and came out and they got the ball back. Sometimes that happens. It is football.
Jason Hatcher, Defensive End
*(On the play of the defense) *
"We just didn't play good football today. We've got the team to play with anybody, but when you're playing a good team like that, that pays attention to detail and your weaknesses, you've got to be on your game. As far as [defensively] I think we gave up like 500-something yards and that's just unacceptable, so we've just got to get better on and off the field. We've just got to get better… details, details, details, so we can come out here and compete with teams like this."
(On third and longs that Patriots were able to get out of)
"They're a smart team. They just basically attack matchups – that's what they do. They think [Rob Gronkowski] can get a first down on anybody, [same with Dion Lewis], guys like that. They just created good matchups and it's hard to find. It was all about one-on-one matchups today."
*(On struggling bringing LeGarrette Blount down) *
"He's a load. He's definitely a load. He runs hard, he runs low and he's been doing that for his whole career. At the end of the day we have to get him on the ground – he can't run like that on us."
Kyshoen Jarrett, Safety
*(On preparing for today's game) *
"Just making sure your body is up to par come game time. I feel like everybody approached it pretty much that way and hopefully everyone felt good for this game, we've just got to do better in all areas."
(On starting for the first time in today's game)
"Today? No. I think the game against [Philadelphia] was my first start. I was able to go out there on the first play just because of personnel."
*(On playing one of the best teams in the NFL) *
"You see it on film. With Tom Brady at quarterback you just see how he organizes everything on film and seeing it in person is cool, but at the end of the day we have to worry about us and our responsibilities. We have to make sure we are tackling, communicating, all those types of things in order to win a game against a high-caliber quarterback."
*(On confidence after playing the best offense in football thus far) *
"There is always some good you can take out of any game, whether there's a loss or a win. There are just certain things that we did right and we can build on going into a future game, so I'm sure there's definitely good, we've just got to watch the film and see."
Ricky Jean Francois, Defensive End
*(On what happened in the game) *
"We have to get them off the field, the type of quarterback they have over there, we have to get them off the field. We have to make those tackles. We have to cash in on those turnovers, we are getting them, but there is no numbers on them. Let's get them, but let's get six points, not three."
(On allowing another 100 yard rusher)
"It's going to get fixed. It's going to start with the coaches and then it's going to start with the players. If we don't stop the run, then the quarterback doesn't have to put the ball in the air."
*(On what makes LeGarrette Blount so hard to tackle) *
"You can't arm tackle that guy. I tried to arm tackle him a few times and I just slid from the top to the bottom. I have to get better at that. You may want to cut him or chop him, but that hand grabbing stuff isn't going to stop him, he'll still get another five or 10 yards."
Matt Jones, Running Back
*(On the game and starting the second half) *
"We had a very good chance of coming out a winner today and unfortunately we left it out on the field. We had a drive going and we ran the ball well. We came down and he [Alan Branch] beat his man. It was a tough play to happen as we kind of had the momentum. He put his hand right in between the exchange with the quarterback. It was just tough luck."
(On the running game)
"I feel like we could have played better and we left a lot on the field, like dropping balls and fumbles. We had a good running game going we just had to run away from it because we got down by so many points. We had a great feel of the run and we were running the ball well. We got down by a couple of points, so we had to stop running the ball to get back in the game. I feel like we had the running game going."
Alfred Morris, Running Back
*(On the running backs early-game performance) *
"We haven't had an answer for that problem since the third week of this season. Our running game just hasn't been working and we don't really know why, but we started to see some holes early on. Matt Jones did a really good job of exploiting some of the opportunities and making the most of them. It seems that all the teams are saying that they're going to stop our run and make us one dimensional and they've been doing a really good job with that. Kudos to the defense, because they have a job to do just like we do and they've been beating us the last few weeks."
(On evaluating where the team is at after a game like today)
"When you come and play these types of games you need to be near-perfect and we weren't today. We made mistakes, we dropped a lot of balls, and we didn't get our running game going. We could point the finger at so many things, but we just didn't play a good game today and that's what it takes when you're playing the Super Bowl champions who are also undefeated right now. We had a tough game today and we didn't rise to the occasion."
(On how the team kept the momentum going after setbacks early in the game)
"That's just the type of game we played today, but you can't give up. With things that happened in the first quarter we still had three quarters left to make some adjustments and try to bounce back. You always need to be willing to keep fighting no matter what the scoreboard says. When we played Tampa Bay, we were losing pretty bad, but we kept fighting. It really just comes down to the players and how bad you want it. It's not easy, but it's definitely possible."
Andre Roberts, Wide Receiver
*(On today's performance) *
"I wouldn't say we had to play perfect, but at a high level and that's not what we did today."
(On the amount of drops that happened during today's game)
"I don't think it was timing or not playing. Things like that do happen, but you don't want to do it against the Patriots. They did have some and we did have some, but we had some in big moments that could of helped us out. Those are the kinds of things we need to try and eliminate."
*(On the Patriots defense) *
"I think with what the Patriots do is that they do it very well. They didn't do anything too extravagant or crazy that we didn't see on film, but we just have to make our plays when they're there."
Preston Smith, Linebacker
*(On the game) *
"The mistakes we made early on helped them get a lead on us. We made a lot of mistakes, some little mistakes and Tom Brady's offense capitalized on them. We just have to go in there and watch film and fix those little mistakes and the minor details. We need to get back and get ready for the Saints."
(On LeGarrette Blount's running game)
"We just have to get him down to the ground. We have to tackle him as a unit. We have to go in there and get him down and keep him from getting a full head of steam and getting to the next level. We need to stop the run early on and don't let them get a strong running game."
*(On next week's game) *
"We have to put a game like this behind us and keep working hard. We have the Saints next week and we need to keep working hard towards beating the Saints. We need to get in there and watch the film and fix our mistakes for next week."
Trent Williams, Tackle
*(On what they need to do better) *
"I know we weren't all on the same page. We didn't make enough plays, we turned the ball over. We helped them beat us."
(On how hard is it to play a perfect game against the Patriots)
"You definitely have to play a perfect game against them, especially at home and we are on the road. Obviously we didn't play a perfect game. It was about as far from perfect as you could get."
*(On where they are overall at this point in the season) *
"We are right where we need to be. We dropped one on the road, but, we are half way through the season. We have 8 games left and the division is neck and neck. It's not time to panic. We have to go back to the drawing board and getting ready for New Orleans."