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Jaguars Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden: Wednesday, December 2, 2020

(On WR Collin Johnson earning more playing time) "He definitely stepped up his game, which is great to see. We've been trying to get him on the field a little bit more. With both DJ [Chark Jr.] and Chris [Conley], it's been hard to get him out there, get him the reps, but to see him step up in those guys' absence was great to see. So sure, I think we'll check to see how Chris is doing in practice today, same with DJ, but we won't hesitate to get him in there if it plays out like that."

(On the physical attributes of WR Collin Johnson) "He definitely has a straight-line speed that you like to see. I think we've been working with his routes. Coming in and out of breaks I think has been something he's been working diligently on for the last 10, 12, 15, 20 weeks or what have you, so he's continuing to work that. [Wide Receivers Coach] Keenan McCardell's doing a great job with him. As far as finding the hole, he has a natural feel. He's a smart kid, has a good feel for the game of football, so that's not the issue. I think [it's] more so man-to-man releases, coming in and out of breaks. He's a big, tall, long guy so that sometimes is something he has to continue to work on, but we love his skill set. I think as a young football player you can see what type of career he may have if he continues to work."

(On involving the tight ends more in the game plan) "They're always part of the program. We try to anyway. We've just had some young people in there. Ben [Ellefson] unfortunately got a little dinged up last week, Tyler [Eifert]'s been a little bit dinged up, James [O'Shaughnessy]'s has been a little bit dinged up, so that hasn't been quite the matchup that we would typically like to work. I think the more we get going hopefully Eifert starts to feel better, James starts to feel better with his knee, and we can get them more involved in the game. But yeah, you're right, that's something that we need to try to get more into the game plan."

(On seeing TE Tyler Eifert play as well as he did when they were both with the Cincinnati Bengals) "A little bit, yeah, he makes some flashes. He's done some good things for us. Like I said, he's kind of been beat up his whole career, unfortunately. He's had a lot of different nagging injuries. When I saw him as a rookie right out of college, he's a little bit different than he is now. He's older obviously. He's had those injuries, the back, the foot, the knee. All these injuries kind of had a little bit wear and tear on him, but he definitely still can come in and out of cuts. He's got great hands. He's got a great feel for the game, so yeah, I think there's still a lot of good football left in Tyler."

(On choosing Mike Glennon as the starting QB) "I think his poise, I think the time that he's had in the National Football League has helped him. I can remember him in college at NC State. I think [he] didn't have a great offensive line but he's always had a great feel for sitting in the pocket, wait until the last second to deliver the ball, and he will take some hits because of that and possibly throw some air balls because of that. But he's got a great feel for the pocket, good understanding of the game, concepts, defense, protections. I think the receivers and everybody liked his urgency in the huddle, communication. All that stuff plays a major role pre-snap. I think Mike [Glennon] is probably our best option right now. Post-snap, I think all three of them do some great things and obviously Mike showed some flashes of being really productive for us and the best option this week."

(On OL Brandon Linder's performance this season) "He's a rock on the offensive line for us. When we lose him, [Tyler] Shat[ley] steps in there and does a great job, but Brandon [Linder] is a leader of that offensive line, communication, protections, all that good stuff. That center position is critical in any offensive, especially ours as far as protections, and Mike [Glennon], and the run game, the pass game, ability to change plays at the line of scrimmage, and re-IDing at the blink of an eye. He's great. He's a big, physical guy in there and gets a lot of movement, so really not a lot of flaws in Brandon's game other than he's missed a couple games which really ticks me off, but he's a great player."

(On how comfortable he would be using WR Laviska Shenault Jr. as the emergency quarterback in a game) "Not very, not very at all. That'd be an awful situation for us and we would probably get beat like Denver did. I think they scored three points which is quite amazing, so I think they should all get a plaque in the Hall of Fame for scoring three points without a quarterback. It's no fun. I mean there's nothing we can really do except direct snap and run the ball between the tackles or some zone reads, all that stuff. Not a lot of options there. Occasionally maybe it's okay."

(On what it would take for QB Gardner Minshew II to earn back the starting role) "Well the tough thing right now for this football team is we've gone through obviously three quarterbacks and we're talking each week to a different guy as a starter and they're getting the reps and the other guy's not. Gardner hasn't gotten first-team reps in about four or five weeks or what have you. It's nice to have some stability at the position. We worked with Mike [Glennon] last week. We thought he did a good enough job to possibly win that game. We came up a little bit short, but we want to see how he progresses in game two and possibly game three. That'll be up to [Head Coach] Coach Marrone, but to change quarterbacks every week is not easy for any of the quarterbacks. I don't think anybody's given up on Gardner at all. I think this is just a matter of watching Mike after his first game in three and a half years, how well he did considering that. Let's see what he does in game two against a very good Minnesota Viking defense."

(On where the offense would be without RB James Robinson) "Oh shoot, that'd be pretty difficult. He's done great. We really lean on him quite a bit. He's been close to 100 yards many times. He's helped us out in the play action game. The Collin Johnson touchdown was a play action pass which helped sucked the linebackers up and get Collin behind them. Without that threat of a running game, we're dropping back and throwing it a lot and we have zero chance, so James is quite pivotal in our offense as far as being able to keep defenses honest, and the production that he has both in the running game and the passing game. I don't think he came out but two or three plays last week, which we probably have to do a better job of keeping him fresh, getting some people in there to give him some breaks. But he's a great player and obviously we love him as a person."

(On undrafted rookie talent such as RB James Robinson slipping between the cracks) "I think the running back position, there's a lot of them that have very similar skill sets in college. There are a lot of them that are 210, 220 pounds and maybe not run a 4.4 or 4.3 and maybe 4.5-ish type range. There's a lot of them so you figure you want to draft other positions then maybe wait until free agency or late rounds to get a guy like James. Then when you get them in there, it's about opportunity. I'm sure there's a lot of guys on the street that could probably perform pretty well if given the opportunity. Fortunately for James, he got an unbelievable opportunity. We lost [former Jaguars and current Buccaneers RB] Leonard [Fournette], we [released] Leonard obviously, [Devine] Ozigbo got hurt, and obviously [Ryquell] Armstead left the team for a while. So the door was his, the opening was right there for him and when that happens you have to take advantage of it. Not a lot of people can, but James did that. There's a lot of luck involved and then most importantly when you get the opportunity, you have to perform like James has."