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Jaguars Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden: Wednesday, October 14, 2020

(On how the kicking situation affects the play calling) "I think [Head Coach] Coach Marrone does a great job of communicating with me on third down-and-medium if it's a go for it, two down situation possibly, but it doesn't affect my play calling at all. Obviously, any kicker that's here, we assume that they'll make their kicks. Unfortunately we missed a couple last week, but [it] shouldn't have an effect. We're always trying to get the first down or trying to score anyway, so should not have an effect."

(On if having the lowest run percentage in the NFL is a concern) "Yeah, for sure. Every week our design is to go in there and run the football, pound the football. Unfortunately I've done a poor job of sticking with it, so it's something we have to, obviously, get better at and be aware of the game, the situation, and all that. Obviously, sometimes late in the third quarter, fourth quarter, if you take out that part of the game in the last two or three weeks, it's hard to run the ball, but we do have to do a better job early in games to try to maintain the run and keep our linemen pounding the rock a little bit and keeping the pressure off Gardner [Minshew II]."

(On balancing the workload between RB Josh Robinson and RB Chris Thompson closer to the end zone) "Yeah, I don't know. I think a couple of them might have been two-minute situations where Chris [Thompson] is our third down back and he's the guy that runs the option routes and the choice routes from the backfield, so that could've been the case, maybe either a third down as well. But obviously, we'd like to have James [Robinson] in there. I don't know if it was 15 out of 16, but we had a couple packages where he might've been out of the game, but for the most part, James should be in there unless it's two minute or third down."

(On how to regain consistency in the red zone) "Yeah, [it's] very disappointing. I think you have to stay balanced down there, for sure. We tried to hit a run in there and then got stopped up the middle and then we tried a couple play action passes, [they] didn't work out the way we thought. Obviously with the first third down where we hit Laviska [Shenault Jr.] on the wide, it was a poor design. It was on me. Obviously, we've been very efficient down there [before]. It gets tough down there a lot of times. Some of these defenses, they have the edges secured, the have the safety down there, it's hard to run the ball there, they're in jam fronts, you want to try to throw it a little bit, but we do have to do a better job of trying to pound it in there like we did against Miami. Obviously, James [Robinson] scored three times against Tennessee, so that'll be a focal point. But also, there's some looks that are very good to throw the ball. We have to win our one-on-one matchups. We have to throw the ball out there in tight windows and make some plays. [It] didn't happen for us on Sunday, obviously."

(On if he attributes sacks to QB Gardner Minshew II holding the ball too long or the offensive line) "There's a combination of things, some of them were protection-based where we blocked the wrong guy occasionally. Some of them, Gardner held the ball probably too long trying to make something happen. You look at the first third down of the game last week, he scrambled out of there. We didn't get anyone open, he tried to buy some time and got tackled for a 1-yard loss, or what have you, by [Texans LB Zach] Cunningham. So there are some of those instances where he's trying to make something happen outside the pocket, but, you know, it's a combination: sometimes receivers may not be getting open, sometimes it's linemen related, sometimes it's score related, he's just trying to make some time, buy some time and it doesn't work out."

(On if wide receivers' statistics affect the game plan) "That's the benefit of having training camp or OTAs and all that stuff. You really get to know as a coordinator who's the most consistent in that regard as far as getting open and separating in man coverage, some of our zone coverages. Obviously their coverage is dependent on where the ball should go, but the man matchups, you try to match your best player against their player. Sometimes your best player gets their best player, and they feel good about it. Sometimes they can double your best player [and] other people have to win. So it's a combination of things. I feel good about all our guys in the matchups; you have to as a play-caller. Obviously there will be times we try to maybe work DJ [Chark Jr.] in a one-on-one or maybe get our back on a linebacker if we like that matchup or maybe get Keelan [Cole Sr.] on a nickel if we like that matchup. So every week it's going to be dependent on who we're playing, who we want to work. We have to do a better job of that."

(On if there is too much pressure on QB Gardner Minshew II to throw the ball too many times in a game) "Yeah. I think we've won one game and he threw the ball 20 times, really probably about 27 or 28 times because he had a couple scrambles in there and a couple sacks, so that's the ideal number for us. Unfortunately, score related, we weren't good enough on offense in the first two or three quarters to keep the game close where we didn't have to throw ball. I feel like against Cincinnati, obviously against Miami, and then last week against Houston, you take a whole quarter out of the game as far as being able to run the football because you're playing behind, you're playing against the clock as well as the other team. That kind of skews the numbers, but in a perfect world this offense is built on balance and 25 to 30 times is the target number, in my opinion."

(On if he's confident QB Gardner Minshew II can throw 40 times a game if necessary) "I think depending on the game situation, sure. I think he can do it without a doubt but I think every time you throw it, you're taking the ball out of James Robinson's hands or maybe Laviska [Shenault Jr.]'s if he's in there or Chris Thompson. I think we have a pretty good running game as well, so there's a lot of situations and a lot of plays that we have that we like to design for certain guys and obviously James running the football has not been used enough for us to be successful, without a doubt."

(On the unsuccessful fourth-and-1 one play against the Texans) "That's a play I'll lose sleep over for many, many nights and I regret calling, obviously. It was a gadget play. We worked on it, really practiced with James [Robinson] trying to sell it and get James O'Shaughnessy to the corner. We were hoping with the wildcat formation that they would trigger the corner. They brought the safety out of the box, which we knew they would do. Unfortunately we didn't sell the run good enough and that was poor coaching on my part, so it wasn't either James' fault. That was my design fault, but it was something that we saw Baltimore get a couple wildcat snaps, direct snaps to the running back, motion Lamar [Jackson] out. We felt like we had a pretty good look. Ideally, that's a third-and-1 call where you can go for it on fourth down or maybe four-minute where you're trying to seal the game, not a fourth-and-1 call. I should've left that in the hands of our offensive linemen and James Robinson, in my opinion, and I regret that dearly, just so you guys know."