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Jaguars Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden: Wednesday, October 21, 2020

(On if there's anything different to try to get a better start offensively) "We definitely have made it a focus point the last five weeks, six weeks. We'll always want to start fast, that's never going to change. I mean anytime you come out of the tunnel, you're excited for a football game, you put a lot of work in during the week from a preparation standpoint, you feel good about your first set of plays, your group of plays you want to hit early, and then if you don't execute, it's kind of a letdown. It takes a lot of air out of the energy on the field, so obviously you want to start fast, but we are trying things. [We] tried to get the run off the ground in running last week, it didn't work out. [We] got stuck in some third downs, obviously didn't convert on those so fell down early again. We have to do a good job of trying to figure out ways to either push the ball or get some plays that are positive, get our team going, get the juices flowing a little bit so we have some momentum early. We have not had that in a while. It's going to be critical for a young football team to get out to a good start, so they play faster, have some more fun instead of having to play from behind all the time."

(On if the idea of getting out to a fast start can put too much pressure on a young team) "That's one of the biggest challenges you have as a coach, offensive coach, head coach. As a player, you can't let one play, or one series dictate how you feel or what you're thinking about going on to the next series. We always try to talk about a one play mentality. It's on to the next one and it's very important in pro football because they have defenders that get paid, they have coaches that get paid, and they're going to make their stops here and there. it's important for us to stay on track, focus on our job, do our job, and move forward."

(On if the play calling or execution has changed since the first two games) "That's a good question. We've had some opportunities, missed some opportunities. I think the key is, against the Titans we were 10 for 14 on third down. It keeps you in rhythm as a play caller. That's the big thing and then we've struggled a little bit on third down as of late, even though [it] looked like we were like 50 percent, but it wasn't quite as good as that. We got a couple late. I think we were 2 for 10 one week, 3 for 10 the next week, and as a player caller, if you're not in rhythm, if don't convert those third downs, it's hard to get in rhythm. Mix in play passes, the boots and all that stuff, now you're trying to figure out a way to get 10 yards or a chunk play. You get a little bit behind the chains and it's tough, so I think third downs' the key. Tennessee, like I said, we're 10 for 14, we're keeping rhythm, staying on track, staying in third down-and-medium, first-and-10, second-and-3, so the whole playbook's open. The playbook closes when you're down 14 late in the third or early in the fourth quarter. You only have a few sets of drop backs that you have to get going and those make it tough."

(On how they were able to come back against the Colts and the Titans) "We did come back and make some big plays and they were able to still have some running game threat against the Titans. But, like I said, when you go 10 for 14 on third down, you're going to get more plays and I think when you're talking about only having 50 or 60 plays in a game as opposed to 75 probably against the Titans, things change a little bit. We have to do a better job of just getting some chunk plays here and there and staying on track."

(On using last year's game against the Chargers as a learning tool for QB Gardner Minshew II) "Yeah again, they got down early, and they became one dimensional and that's tough. The Chargers do a great job. They don't play a whole lot of different coverages. What they do, they do very well. They can rush a passer with four guys. They'll get [Melvin] Ingram [III] back this week, obviously they have [DE Joey] Bosa. They're very effective with their four-man rush and the zones that they play, and they sprinkle up different nuances to change it up to confuse you. But at the end of the day, in order to beat some of there zone coverages, you have to have time. You don't have a lot of time and Gardner [Minshew II] was under duress a lot and the Chargers did a great job in that game. Again, it's going to be critical for us to try to stay ahead of the sticks, stay in the third-and-mediums, the shorts, then I think we'll have a great opportunity to have a lot of success. Then if you get down a couple touchdowns, make it a one dimensional game and let Ingram and Bosa stick their hand in the ground and rush the passer every snap, it's going to be very difficult."

(On keeping the team together despite the frustrations) "You know we have quite a few games left and for us to get out of this rut, we have to stay together and we have to continue to push ourselves in practice, in meetings and to try to get better and be relentless in our preparation. And our work ethic, that can never change as a professional football player or as a coach. No matter what your record is, you have to go out and prepare, be relentless in it and that's what we have to do, and we have to stay together. There can't be any finger pointing. [Head Coach] Coach Marrone does a great job preaching that and I think the players all rally around each other and figure this thing out. It's a young football team, we get it, but youth is no longer an excuse. Guys have been together for enough time now. We should be executing better and hopefully we will be moving forward."

(On how to get QB Gardner Minshew II out of this rut) "I just keep preparing him. Every week is its own entity. This team will play an entirely different defensive structure than the team we played last week against Detroit and then the next week we play, we have a bye week and the next week we play [the] Texans and they'll be different than the Chargers. So, you have to get it in your frame of mind each week's going to have a different nuance, different plan. You have to study, you have to prepare, and you have to do the best you can and continue to work on your fundamentals, understanding the concepts, what we're trying to do, where your matchups are, your protection issues, and go for it. There's a lot on a quarterback's plate and he's a young player and he's continuing to learn and grasp it, but we don't expect perfection right now. We're going to have some growing pains here and there. That's our job to try to protect him and put him in the best situation as possible."

(On when he realized the potential of WR Keelan Cole Sr.) "Well, I hadn't really, not a lot of knowledge of him. I know that just watching him on film last year, he had some talent but now we're playing him more inside and it's a tough position to jump into for the first time. He's done a great job. He's getting better and better as far as running routes from in there. I know he can do stuff outside, but we've asked him to move inside. He's a great target, he's long, got great hands, not afraid, he can block. He's been very impressive so far. I think he's going to get better and better the more he sees in the slot and the more he understands the route detail that takes place in there, the depths, the breaks, the suddenness you have to have in there. I think he'll get better and better, so I've been very impressed with him on and off the field and he's made some big plays for us."

(On if WR Keelan Cole Sr.'s targets increasing is due to move in position or being a comfort for QB Gardner Minshew II) "A little bit of both. I think the slot receiver has an opportunity to make some plays. He actually caught a couple balls outside as well. Yeah, I think a little bit of both. I think he can do stuff in the slot and outside, but Gardner [Minshew II] is getting more and more comfortable with him as far as the intermediate stuff and obviously some of the deeper stuff. He's doing a great job."

(On if the injuries contributed to the offensive line not performing as well last week) "Probably some of that's true. Detroit did a nice job. They lined up in a couple fronts that were very difficult to run the ball against. We tried to force the issue early and didn't have much success. They were basically daring us to throw it. [We] probably should've went to the pass a little bit sooner, then let the pass set up the run as the game went on. But they did a great job, so hat's off to Detroit first of all. Losing A.J. [Cann] hurt us. A.J.'s played extremely well. It was Ben [Bartch]'s first experience in an NFL game, so it was fun to see him in there. He'll get better and better. Man, he's a tough kid, he's smart, but playing for the first time, you're going to have some struggles against that front. They were very good, very big, very strong, and not to mention we were very one dimensional there late in the third, early in the fourth quarter, which made it even more difficult. So, hopefully A.J. can go, but if not, I think that experience will help Ben moving forward."

(On combatting the pressure from opposing defenses on QB Gardner Minshew II) "Well definitely against Detroit, that was the case and I think this week you'll see a lot of loaded boxes as well from the Chargers. They're going to give you seven in the box and you're 11 personnel or give you eight in the box and you're in your regular in tiger, the two tight ends sets or the three tight end sets. So, we're going to have to get them blocked. Somebody's going to be an unblocked player. We're going to have to run away from them, we're going to have to get a hat on a hat and get some movement. The way to combat that is obviously we're going to have to hit them with some play actions or some deeper type throws to get him out. But some of these defenses, they're going to play the way they play. They're coached to play this way. They've made their adjustments. We're going to have to make our adjustments and try to hit some big plays based on where they are and how they're playing."