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Jaguars Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden: Wednesday, December 9, 2020

(On WR Collin Johnson's improvements) "I think when the plays have presented themselves, Collin has started to take advantage of them. I think earlier in the year, he might've been pressing a little bit too much to make a big play. Now, I think he's letting it happen and letting his size take over, and understanding concepts and where to be. And the quarterbacks are—especially Mike [Glennon] is gaining trust in him and giving him opportunities to make plays. So, a lot of that goes hand-in-hand. The quarterbacks have got to have trust in you as a player. And then when you do get the opportunity, you've got to make the plays. And Collin has definitely done that the last few weeks."

(On whether WR Collin Johnson's size overshadows his speed) "Yeah, probably. I don't think he's a burner, but he's not slow by any stretch of the imagination. I think when you're a long strider like that, you do gain ground rather quickly. So, he's got a good combination of a lot of skill set that is necessary to play the position. But size is definitely his number one quality; length and ability to jump and high-point the ball. We had some opportunities earlier in the year, he must've timed his jump a couple times and that was a little bit of a concern. But I think he's got that figured out and [he's] a little anxious to get off his feet. But now, he's making the plays."

(On what he's learned about RB James Robinson since the beginning of the season) "Well, I think consistency. You never know, about a young player, how he handles the week in and week out approach of football. This is a long season for these guys coming out of college; sixteen games, training camp and all that stuff. They're not used to that and the wear and tear can break some people down. But James is doing excellent as far as taking care of his body, staying healthy and continuing to understand what we're trying to do in the running game. Getting better and better in the passing game, there's still some things we've got to correct. You know we're probably having to play him a little bit too much, like I mentioned last week. But I think just the consistent level that he's performed with, over the course of these 12 games, has been very impressive for a young player."

(On whether he's had a deep conversation with RB James Robinson) "Deep? No, I don't have deep conversations with anybody, I'm unable to do that."

(On OL Ben Bartch's development) "Yeah, that's exactly right. I think we've seen the talent that he has, the skill set that he has for an offensive lineman. He's smart, he's got great feet, he's strong. Now, it's just a matter of putting it all together. And we're asking him to do that rather quickly. You know, for a guy from a small school, like he came from up there in St. Johns, Minnesota, to come in here and play pro football, just 13 or 14 weeks later is a tough challenge. But he's up to it and he's getting better and better. We don't expect him to be perfect, he's going to have his problems here and there. But it's our job to make sure we get him some help when we can. But for the most part, he's just got to go out there and play, and he's going to learn from this, he's going to get better because of it. But we love the skill set, we love his attitude, we love his toughness. Now, it's just a matter of being consistent with his fundamentals and his eyes, and where he's going and how he's getting there."

(On WR DJ Chark, Jr.'s performance thus far) "Yeah, we've started him quite a bit. I think the target/catch ratio, I don't think it's very good. It's not DJ's fault, all of DJ's fault, it's not all the quarterbacks' fault. So, it just hasn't happened like we would like it to happen. That's part of the reason we're sitting here on an 11-game losing streak. He's our number one guy and we've got to figure out better ways to get him the ball. He's got to do a better job of getting open, we've got to do a better job of getting him balls when he is open. So, it goes hand-in-hand. But DJ is a phenomenal player, he's a great young player. He works hard, he's very unselfish. I'm sure there's been times in the course of some games where he hasn't gotten targeted or he hasn't gotten the ball, that he could really blow up like some receivers do. But he stays the course, stays positive, and I think it's going to make him better in the long run. So, we're going to keep trying to feed him, keep trying to get him the ball, but we've just got to get better around him and protection. Routes have got to get better, throws have got to get better, we've all've got to get better. Play calls have got to get better. But yeah, we definitely have got to get DJ more the ball."

(On the difficulty of being the play caller with three different starting quarterbacks this season) "It's hard. I had three in five games last year in Washington, I had three or four the year before that in Washington. So, I've had about 10 quarterbacks I've dealt with in a small amount of time. And the consistency at that position is really important. It's critical to have success, you have to have consistency in that position. Talking to one guy, speaking the same language, catering to their strengths. And when you're changing week in and week out, it's hard to get a gauge on what they like, what they're comfortable with. So, that's the most difficult thing. So, I think we're dealing with three great kids. Guys that want to be great, they work extremely hard. But as a play caller, getting to know what they like and them getting to know me a little bit, that's the biggest challenge that we have. And now, this will be the third week with Mike [Glennon]. Hopefully I'm starting to get in his head a little bit, he understands where we're going and what I think he likes. So, it'll hopefully be beneficial."

(On whether QB Gardner Minshew II is close to reaching the threshold of the workload considered by Head Coach Doug Marrone) "Well, we have high hopes that Mike will play well and there won't be an issue. You know, that's number one, that's the one thing we're focusing on right now. As far as making a change to Gardner, that's up to Coach Marrone. And his workload is up between him and the trainer and his personal masseuse or whoever the heck he talks to, I don't know. I know quarterbacks have to throw the ball in order to get better. That's the only way you get better, is by repetition and throwing the football to your guys, different cuts, over and over and over again. If you're not able to do that, then it's hard to show the team that we should have confidence in you making that happen on game day. So, I think Gardner has got to get his arm right with the trainer, he's got to continue to progress and throw a lot of balls in practice for us to see that he's ready to go. But as far a making that change back to Gardner, that's up to Coach Marrone. And obviously, hopefully Mike Glennon plays well this week and there won't be an issue."

(On QB Gardner Minshew's performance during practice comparatively before and after his injury) "Yeah, it's really difficult because we don't throw the ball a lot. I mean, obviously we throw it in practice. But we have individual periods, then you have team periods and the team periods, you're trying to get the starter ready. So, Gardner doesn't get many reps, he gets a few with the starters and then he does some of the scout team stuff. Which you know, over the course of practice, you're throwing about 30 team reps and then the individual reps, he's gotten some throws as well. So, we're trying to cater to Mike Glennon right now, but also keep a close eye on Gardner of where he is. To me, his arm looks fine, I don't see any difference from now to when it was in training camp. But that's something between [him], and the doctors and trainers that—I didn't see any difference when he had the so-called hurt thumb. Not so-called, when he had the hurt thumb, I didn't see a difference either. So, only Gardner can tell you how his arm is feeling and then obviously, only Coach Marrone can make that decision to go back to Gardner if he sees fit."

(On how much the game plan changes or stays the same from week to week) "Well, I think there's going to be some change, obviously, we're not going to run the same plays. I think we've gotten better, a little bit better. Different ways to attack different personnel groups. But Tennessee's defense has changed a little bit, not a whole lot. You know, they had Johnathan Joseph at corner, he's not there anymore. So, they've had some different people rotating in at corner. But for the most part, it's a good defense, they do the same stuff. They have simulated blitzes, blitz four or five different guys. You don't know where they're coming from, different fronts. [Jeffery] Simmons is a great player. I mean, inside, obviously, [Jadeveon] Clowney played last time, he's not playing this time. So, some of their key players aren't available this week, but they're still a very good football team. Obviously, they're in the hunt for the AFC South championship, so they have a lot to play for. As do we, trying to break this losing streak. And it's a big rivalry game. So, there's a lot to play for on both sides. Both teams are very good and I know Coach [Mike] Vrabel is going to have his team ready."

(On Washington Football Team QB Alex Smith and his comeback story) "Yeah, it's incredible. I would've bet my life that there was no way he would ever play again. And here he is, playing and beating the Pittsburgh Steelers. I mean, it almost makes you choke up when you think about what he's gone through to get to where he is. It is the most unbelievable comeback story that I've heard of. And he's such a great person, great guy, great leader. When we lost him, we were 6-3, 2-game lead in the division, and then obviously, we finished 7, we went and finished 7-9 that year. And obviously, [we] had our struggles and I got let go. But that type of player, the leader of your football team, when he goes down and has the issues that he has, it hurts everybody. But to see him come back from what he's gone through, is just an incredible feat. [I'm] so happy for him and his family, they're such great people, that you can only smile and just—it's just incredible, it's unbelievable. I would never even think about coming back after what he's been through."