Coach speak: Redskins' coach Jay Gruden talks QBs, Eagles, Nats

The head coach's Monday press conference included thoughts on potential lineup and depth chart changes, but no injury updates. You'll see.

The highlights from Redskins coach Jay Gruden's Monday press conference, which teased, but did not reveal a potental change at quarterback. No, not that one.

  • Weekly injury reports are not required until Wednesday. Therefore Gruden didn't feel compelled to explain why Colt McCoy was only watching Monday's practice session rather than participating in the portion available to the media. "We have no injury updates until Wednesday, so we’re not going to be talking about injuries, just so you know. Everybody is day-to-day until Wednesday," he stated. McCoy has served as the primary backup to Kirk Cousins. The obvious intrigue here beyond a potential injury to a member of the 53-man roster involves the player behind McCoy on the Redskins QB depth chart. Robert Griffin III, inactive for each of the first three games, would move into the No. 2 spot if McCoy isn't able to face the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday.

 

  • The biggest injury concern for any unit involves the offensive line. Shawn Lauvao (ankle), Morgan Moses (elbow) and Josh LeRibeus all suffered injuries against the Giants. The best that can be said for Washington's OL depth is that it's inexperienced. Some may be thrust into the lineup as Gruden previously acknowledged Lauvao could miss some time. On Monday he said, "Since training camp, we’ve felt good about our offensive line depth and it’s going to be tested throughout the season. This week will be no different depending on Shawn [Lauvao], how he does. We have Arie Kouandjio ready to play left guard. We have Spencer Long ready to play left guard. So we have two viable candidates right there that have not dressed in a football game yet but are ready to go.”

  • Now, if we're reading between the lines, Gruden is saying first round pick Brandon Scherff would move from right guard to right tackle if Moses misses time. What's uncertain is whether Josh LeRibeus might sit out or is being demoted after struggling at left guard when he replaced Lauvao.

  • As noted in our recent post about Pro Football Focus' grades on the Redskins defense in Week 3, CB Bashaud Breeland struggled. Giants QB Eli Manning completed 8 of 10 against Breeland for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Gruden: "Like I said after the game, he missed a lot of practice time and training camp with the new system and new terminology and all that stuff. Then he missed all of Week 1. Then he got back and he's playing corner and he's trying to play nickel. We're trying to get him situated in one spot and just get him back in the flow of playing football. But, we know that he's a tough competitor and like all defensive backs in the National Football League, especially young ones, you’ve got to have a short memory. You’ve got to remember why you got beat, but you’ve got to forget about it and move on to the next game. I know Bree is that type of guy, a tough-minded, physical guy and he's going to have a bounce-back performance."

  • Probably the biggest issue with the defense through three games, lack of turnovers. Only one so far. Gruden: "Little bit of everything. We’re not getting enough pressure when the quarterback is throwing the ball. If we’re not going to get pressure, we have got to get some hands in the throwing lanes, tip some balls. We’re playing hard on defense. We’re stopping the run fairly well. They’re doing a lot of good things but we’ve just got to figure out ways to get the ball out, get them into some third-and-long and then bring some pressure. Have our four-man rushes get home a little bit more consistently. [Ryan] Kerrigan, [Trent] Murphy or Kerrigan, Preston Smith, [Jason] Hatcher, those guys, we have got to do a bit better job with the pass rush, but we’ve got to give them a chance to rush also. Get them in third down-and-long and get a lead. The Giants did an excellent job of keeping the lead, staying in third-and-shorts where we didn’t really have a lot of opportunities to rush. With that being said, if they are going to throw quick game and get the ball out of their hands quick then we’ve got to tackle, we’ve got to strip the football, somehow somewhere. It happens every Sunday so we’ve got to do a better job of doing that. “

 

  • On what he has seen from Eagles QB Sam Bradford and the Eagles’ offense: "Well, he’s a good passer. Number one, he’s a big strong quarterback with very good arm strength. We’re focusing on us right now in practice, trying to improve what we need to improve on for games – our personnel, our tempo, what we do. Then come Wednesday, we’ll have a plan ready for them when they get back. I know the Philadelphia Eagles. I know they play a great tempo. They have good athletes all across the board on offense and on defense. They’re playing very good tight coverage. The one thing about the Eagles last year that we really have to be aware of is they scored a ton of touchdowns on defense and special teams. They really do a great job of changing the momentum in those two phases based on sack-fumbles, interceptions for touchdowns, blocked punts for touchdowns, Darren Sproles returned a punt again yesterday for a touchdown. Those are issues that we have to deal with. Those are issues that we haven’t been very good dealing with. So that’s something we really have to focus on, avoiding the big catastrophic play.”

  • And because it's the topic of the day in these parts, Gruden  was asked for his reaction to the Washington Nationals’ dugout incident Sunday: “I didn’t really see it. I was told about it today. I’ve been watching Philly a little bit. Scuffles happen. Emotions happen in football games, baseball games, sporting events, high-intensity games, high-intensity players, guys who are passionate about winning. Those things will happen. You’ve just got to try to fix it, make sure it never happens again. You never want to see your own team doing that, but sometimes it happens when you have highly competitive-type players.”

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