Three things you need to know from Redskins coach Jay Gruden's Monday press conference as Washington preps for Sunday's home playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.
1. Kyshoen Jarrett went from a sixth-round pick out of Virginia Tech to becoming a versatile member of the secondary seemingly overnight. Now, the safety-turned-slot corner is out of commission just like that. Gruden ruled Jarrrett out of Sunday's playoff game over concerns "about the nerve that affects his right arm." The rookie left Sunday's game against the Cowboys with a possible concussion following a collision with Cowboys running back Darren McFadden.
Injuries in the secondary are nothing new this season. Washington made due with significant turnover at strong safety, without DeAngelo Hall at times and without Chris Culliver for the second half of the season. Therefore we can generally assume the coaching staff will figure out a way to get by here. That said, this loss especially at this moment of the season is probably bigger than some might assume. Jarrett provides some of that hitting and toughness general manager Scot McCloughan desires. His ability to play several spots makes him a valuable chess piece for the game planners. Factor in the upcoming opponent is Aaron Rodgers and those are some key elements of the table.
"The loss of Kyshoen is very important because he played safety, nickel — did a little bit of everything — special teams," Gruden said. "That’ll hurt us."
Gruden also announced that defensive back Dashaun Phillips "looks like he’s going to be OK" after being carted off Sunday with a possible neck injury. "Everything came back positive, looks like a stinger, quite frankly," Gruden said of the prognosis for the special teams performer. The hope is Phillips will be able to practice Wednesday.
2. If you include fullback Darrel Young, the Redskins have five running backs. Of those five, four will be active against the Packers. The only one who knows for sure he'll be in uniform Sunday is the one least likely to touch the ball.
That means either Alfred Morris, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson or Pierre Thomas will be inactive. This hasn't been a choice the coaching staff needed to make previously because either Jones or Thompson were dealing with injuries by the time the team added the veteran Thomas late in the season. Jones missed the last two games with a hip injury and Thompson is dealing with a minor toe issue, Gruden said Monday. But if all are able to go, who sits is truly an intersting debate since all bring different elements.
We’ll probably have to make a tough decision if we’re only going to go with four running backs," Gruden said. "DY [Darrel Young] will be one of them and then we’ll decide on the other three later on."
The safe and reliable Morris, who had his first 100-yard rushing day Sunday since Week 1, is probably a lock. Jones provides the home run threat. Thomas is the pass catcher while Thompson is the change of pace option. More on this as the lineup/roster scenario as the week moves on.
3. Here comes Kory Lichtensteiger. The veteran center is eligible to be activated from the short-term injury list. Now the question is whether the Redskins will place Lichtensteiger, out since Week 6 with a pinched nerve in his neck that caused left shoulder weakness, back in the starting lineup.
“We’re going to talk about that here this afternoon but Kory’s back and he’s able to be activated from his injured reserve, which is a good thing," Gruden said. "He feels really, really good. We’ll talk to [Offensive Line Coach] Bill [Callahan] and Josh [LeRibeus] and we’ll make that announcement soon.”
Call it a logical hunch or reading between the lines, but if Lichtensteiger can hold up physically, he starts. LeRibeus struggled in various ways at center and the Redskins cannot afford weakness inside with Green Bay's tandem of nose tackle B.J. Raji and defensive Mike Daniels on deck.
To get instant Redskins notifications, download the NEW Scout mobile app for iOS HERE!
Be sure to check out the ever-growing benefit package of being a Breaking Burgundy Insider! Check it out HERE.