Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden - September 9, 2020

(On what gives him the most hope in bringing together the new offense this year) "You always have to have hope, otherwise you're in the wrong business. We're very optimistic going into the season. We know we have a lot of challenges. We have some youth playing, but really, I think the biggest reason for belief I have is the offensive line. I think the offensive line is very solid right now with the tackles that we have, the interior players, and obviously the center I feel good about. With an offensive line, it gives you the ability to do a lot of different things I think and hopefully it'll give us a chance to get our skill players the ball in space and between the tackles and do some good things."

(On if his skill players can contribute to a high-scoring offense this season) "Yeah, we'd like to think that we can. You know I think we have some talented players outside and inside and at the running back position, so yes, that's our belief right now. But there could be a game where the defense is playing really well that we might play it a little more close to the vest. We'll see how the games go but we're going to go into the season with a frame of mind [that] we're going to attack a lot of different ways: running the football, getting the ball down the field. DJ [Chark Jr.]'s obviously been explosive. Chris Conley's had a great camp. Keelan [Cole Sr.]'s done a good job. Our rookies have shown explosion and the ability to learn the offense. At the running back position, we feel pretty good. Adding Tyler Eifert helps and James [O'Shaughnessy] coming back from his injury's been a good sign for us. We feel pretty good about where we're at."

(On if WR DJ Chark Jr. reminds him of any other receivers he has coached previously) "He's got great work ethic and that's usually the case for most great receivers; they have great work ethic. You can't be a lazy, undisciplined wide receiver and be great. You have to have great work ethic. You have to be in great shape, which he is. You have to study the game. You have to study your opponent, which he does. So that's standard amongst NFL wide receivers or should be anyway. But as far as skill set goes, I think he has the talent to do a lot of different things vertically, intermediately, in between the hashes, which is critical. A lot of receivers don't want to go in there, but DJ [Chark Jr.]'s fearless in there so I feel good about his versatility number one. His work ethic is second to none and he's picked up the offense mentally. It's our job to try to do the best we can to put him in positions to succeed. He may get double timed at times, which will open up the field for other players, but when's he's singled, we have to do a good job at getting him the rock."

(On OL Cam Robinson's camp) "Cam did good. I like Cam. I think he loves football; that's what I like about him. He likes to practice; he likes to work. He's a big, strong guy. I think he feels a lot more [comfortable]. I wasn't here last year, but just watching him on tape, he looks more fluid this year. He looks a lot healthier sort of speak. I like his ability to be physical in the running game and then obviously when we get to third downs and stuff, I think he can protect. We'll see, but I feel good about where Cam's at and obviously the other tackle Jawaan [Taylor]. I feel like they're very good. We just have to give them a chance to give different sets. We don't want to drop back and throw seven step-drops all day, let the rushers rush us every down. We have to do a good job at mixing it up [with] run, pass, draw screens, all that stuff, so that will help Cam out a lot. But he's been [playing] well, he's been good."

(On QB Gardner Minshew II's personality during the week within the organization versus his persona for the fans) "The good thing is I don't hang out with him outside the building, so I really don't know. I don't care. I know that inside the building, when he's here, he's [a] focused individual now. He's got a lot to learn. He knows he has a lot to learn. He works extremely hard with his fundamentals [and] with what we're putting in front of him from a playbook standpoint. He's been a professional and that's the way you have to be at the quarterback position. When he wants to let his hair down, which he has a lot of it, I'm sure he can do that off the field but I've been very impressed with Gardner as a professional quarterback and how he's handled himself on the field and in the classroom."

(On why undrafted rookie RB James Robinson is prepared to be at the top of the depth chart) "He's a no-nonsense guy, he really is. I try to get under his skin a little bit. I ask him if he's nervous every day. He's a very poised individual, no nonsense. He's ready to go. We'll see when Sunday hits, the first time we give him the ball, the first time there's a third-and-1 or we have to get a yard. We'll see how he does, but we have every indication that we've seen in training camp that he can handle it. He can handle the workload. He's tough. He's strong. He's got great vision. He can explode through holes. We've been impressed with him. Unfortunately, we haven't had the preseason games to really look at him in live situations. We've had a couple in practice but they're still not the same, but I feel very confident in his demeanor and his approach to the game that he will be ready."

(On if he knew anything about RB James Robinson before he showed up at camp) "We just knew he was a free agent from Illinois State. We did a little bit of work on him. I think the scouting staff did a great job at targeting him as one of our free agents that we wanted to get into this building. He had a successful career at Illinois State. [He] ran for a lot of yards and has been very productive. My biggest surprise with him is his ability to catch the ball and block. He's a great blocker; he has great hands. He's picked up everything extremely well. [Running Backs Coach] Coach Robiskie's done an outstanding job with him, but James has really taken it to a level for a rookie free agent, not getting the reps early in camp, to really dominate in the reps that he did get and really turning our heads and that's the key to a rookie free agent making the team. Evolving into a starter is almost impossible without any preseason games, but he made us all feel very comfortable about it with his ability to do the right thing and then when he does have the ball, he makes something happen."

(On if he feels confidents that RB James Robinson will be the first running back featured on the first drive on Sunday) "Of course. I feel good about him. I'm excited to watch him play and I know he's excited. He won't show it though. I haven't seen him smile but twice the whole time he's been here. He's a very focused guy and I think he'll be ready. I know he'll be ready I should say. I'm sorry, I know he'll be ready."

(On if Colts' defensive line will bring challenges in Week 1 and how important it is for the offensive line to step up to meet those challenges) "Very much so. They do a great job with their front. It's not a very complicated front. They sprinkle in some blitzes that are nuisance type blitzes that give you problems, but really, it's about the movement with the defensive lineman. They're strong, they're physical, and they have quick movement. We have to handle the movement. They stunt the three technique, they'll stunt the backside defensive end, the frontside end. The linebackers do a great job of scraping. They're fast and they can run so how we handle the movement will be if we have any success in the running game or not. Even in the passing game, [in] their ability to stunt and rush the passer, they're very effective in what they do so it'll be a great challenge for us. They have great skill upfront, [Denico] Autry, [DeForest] Buckner, obviously Justin Houston's still there [and] he's a good player and they rotate guys in there. They're effective in what they do. The defensive coordinator, [Matt] Eberflus, does a good job of putting these guys in positions to succeed and also moving them around to make it hard on the offense to get set."

(On the challenges the Colts' secondary present to the offense) "Well the challenge is good because they give you different looks. They make everything look the same and then all of a sudden, it's [different looks]. They do a great job disguising their intent. Then when they have to have it, they play great tight man to man. They get all over. They crawl up in your grill and make it hard to get crossing routes, make it hard to get the ball down the field because their pressure is very good on their defensive line with their four-man rushes, some of their five-man rushes they get home. So, it will be a great challenge for us to recognize man, zone, and then when it is man, be able to separate and get us some good plays. But most importantly, we have to protect the quarterback and give our receivers time to get off the jam, get in the holes in cover two or cover three, whatever coverage they're playing, palms, and be able to have the quarterback be able to read it out. They do a great job if you get forced out of your first read, they can take that thing away. Sometimes you have to get back to your second or third progression against this defense and you have to have time to do that. So, it's going to be critical for our offensive line to give us that time and Gardner to make sure he recognizes the zones and the receivers as well."

Advertising