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Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden - Wednesday, September 16, 2020

(On WR Laviska Shenault Jr.'s performance and evolution) "I thought he played well. You know, the first game out, you're never sure how the rookies are going to be, especially with some of the things we're trying to do with them. But from a mental standpoint, he did everything right, he did a good job. From a physical standpoint, he's what we thought he was. He's a physical guy in the running game, had some good blocks, had to dig out some safeties in the running game, which nobody sees. But when he had the ball in his hands, you could see how explosive he can be. So, we have a good group of guys, good group of weapons and it's our job to spread it around. But I was impressed with Laviska."

(On QB Gardner Minshew II's personality in the meeting room) "Yeah, I mean, there's time to have some fun. He's a fun guy to hang around with, he's a funny guy, entertaining. But for the most part, when it's business, it's business and he takes good notes, he studies the game, he spits out the plays in the huddle, which quarterbacks have to do. He's a student and he knows he's got a long way to go, from a mental standpoint. And he's just soaking up the knowledge. It's exciting to work with him because guys that are aware of how necessary it is to prepare and the guys that do prepare, it's fun to watch them and develop. So, we're just scratching the surface. We played one game, we've got a whole new game plan for Tennessee, so new plays coming in. So, he's got to study, he's got to work and he's going to do that."

(On expectations of how quickly QB Gardner Minshew II could learn the new offense) "Yeah I didn't know him. I knew he played for 14 colleges so he had to learn different playbooks, so I knew he could do that, he could handle that. Obviously, he came in last year as a rookie and played 10 games and won six, I believe it was. So, I understand that getting his feet wet in pro football and the speed of the game and what it takes to be a quarterback—he got a taste of it and I know he wants a bigger bite of it now and he's studying, and he's working towards that. So, being only his second year, what he's accomplished so far, as a sixth-round pick, I think is very impressive. And he's going to keep working and keep getting better."

(On his assessment of QB Gardner Minshew II's performance) "Yeah, I mean, he's never flawless. He's 19 for 20, of course, and he had the drop, but I think there's some things that we can clean up. I think in the pocket, a little bit, he might've escaped a little bit too soon on a couple plays where we had down-the-field shots. But for the most part, we're always going to find something. We're coaches, we're not very nice, we're going to find something to be critical about. That's just the way it is, we have to. We can't tell him he was perfect, otherwise he'll get a big head. So, we've got to keep him calm and keep him on the right track. Just continue to learn, continue to study his footwork, his projections and his eyes. And then obviously in the pocket, when things break down, the decisions that he makes. You know, the sack that he took there on third down-and-2, could've knocked us out of field goal range. There [are] some decisions there that we'd like to have back. But we're learning and we're learning together. I'm learning more about him, what he is as a quarterback, as a person, what he likes, what he doesn't like. And that's going to be a process that is going to continue to take place. But as far as his first game with me and me getting to know him, I'm very impressed with the way he played."

(On RB James Robinson's performance) "I thought he was great, man. I mean, the first drive of the game, we started out with two runs, really three runs in a row. He got the first down in our first two carries, which is exciting. And he broke the other one, which we got the holding call, the face mask, which I never saw the facemask on that play. But he ran good and the play he caught on the backfield, it really sparked us because it was a second down and 10 or 11, I believe, in the little ho-ho screen that we ran. He broke a tackle, jumped over a guy and got us in midfield, so that was a big spark in the game. But to watch him play, he picked up a blitz extremely well. He stuck his face in there, he ran physical, he ran with good vision like we thought, he protected the football which was critical. He had some runs in between tackles where he had numerous players and arms on his arms, and he protected the ball. So, great start for James, man, very impressive."

(On the origin of his play designs and WR Laviska Shenault Jr.'s college plays) "Yeah, we used most of it, a little bit in that regard. But yeah these are plays—when you scout a guy and you watch him on tape in college, you try to figure out what they're good at. And these were some of the things that he was able to do. And when you have a quarterback, or a running back or receiver –so he's really all three—it puts a lot of stress on a defense. Even during the week, just having to make them prepare for that look and those types of plays are tough on a defense and they forget about the basic plays sometimes. So, being on the move with Laviska around and giving him the ball in unique ways is going to be important. I mean, you saw how physical he runs between the tackles and how explosive he can be outside the tackles. It's our job to try to get him some touches and whether it's three, four or 10, we don't know what the number is going to be because we have other guys who probably, a little bit, didn't get as many as they wanted. But for the most part, we do a good job of using them in different ways."

(On RB James Robinson's role against the Titans Defense) "I don't know if it'll change a whole lot, they do a couple things [differently] in their fronts and some of their blitz patterns. But for the most part, if we want to be a successful team here, it should start with the run. And James is going to be a big part of that because everything will open up off of that. We're able to complete some naked bootlegs, we're able to do some play actions—which were very beneficial to us. So, in order for those plays to work, you've got to stay on track on first, second down and the running game is critical for us. So, different scheme defensively, but we have the same approach. We've got to try and run the ball, establish a run, establish our physical identity for us to be successful."

(On the tight ends role and more opportunities for them) "Yeah, I hope so. You know, that's the one position that probably didn't get as many touches as they probably wanted at all. But we only had 46 plays on offense and it just didn't present itself for them to have any shots. We could've hit Tyler Eifert for the touchdown that Laviska caught, but Laviska caught it. So, nobody can be upset about it. But we have some plays that will be specially designed for those guys, but if we don't get them off the script, if we're having success doing other things, then they'll have to wait for another day. But we feel good about our tight ends, just unfortunately didn't get many looks."

(On challenges of facing Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel's defense) "Well, I think Coach Vrabel does a great job, I think he's one of the better defensive coaches in the NFL. He does a great job when they get to third down with different looks, different people in different spots. And they can rush four or five, six, sometimes they rush three, sometimes they rush two, and they do a good job of knowing your protections, eating up your back and keeping them out and then playing a lot of zone behind it. They can crawl up on you, play a lot of man to man, with different ways to help the man coverage, with different pluggers, it can be the safety coming down, it can be a linebacker, it can be defensive ends dropping. So, they do a great job with their different coverages and different ways they get them. And then their blitz patterns are—I got about one hour of sleep yesterday watching all these blitzes from last year. So, very, very tough to deal with on third down, first and second down, they have some nuisance type blitzes that are tough. But he's a great coach, man, and he proved it last year going late in the playoffs and [he's] done a good job."