ASHBURN -- Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden spoke at length Monday following Washington's "bonus" practice before the Sept. 12 season opener against Pittsburgh. Here's some of what Gruden said Monday beyond his thoughts on Josh Doctson's first practice in pads and the running back situation
On the 53-man roster:
“I feel good about it, you know. I consider it a 63-man roster. These practice squad guys are very important, as we learned last year, and we’re fortunate to get a lot of the guys back that we had here on the practice squad. So, tough decisions went into it, but Scot [McCloughan] and the coaching staff did an excellent job of putting together our team.”
On if the plan was always to keep three quarterbacks:
“I think that was pretty much the plan. You want to have three. Some teams go with two and a practice squad guy. We thought that Nate [Sudfeld] showed enough in the preseason where somebody might give him a chance. I think he’s in a good spot, man. He’s going to develop here on this roster and learn from Kirk [Cousins] and learn from Colt [McCoy] how to be a pro and just continue to develop. Having three is important nowadays.”
“It was very close. They’re different players. Lanier really showed throughout training camp and throughout the preseason games… he’s six-foot six, he’s very young, very raw. We didn’t want to risk losing a big defensive lineman that has some pass rush ability. We’re going to try to keep him here to develop him. Matt, we were hoping he wouldn’t get claimed and he didn’t. We were able to bring him back. But, really, we had to choose one. They’re both excellent football players and it was a very close, very hard decision to make. Fortunately we worked out and got them both.”
On DeSean Jackson:
“I think DeSean’s one of the most explosive – if not the most explosive player – in football, really. He’s shown that in practice. He’s worked extremely hard; he’s got a great attitude. And, knock on wood, keep him healthy, he’s a huge, huge, huge weapon for this offense with his speed and his big-play ability. We’re just happy as heck to have him. You know, you put him outside with Jordan [Reed] and obviously Pierre [Garçon] and Jamison [Crowder] and the running game that we have, it’s a dangerous combination. Now we’ve just got to get on the same page and Kirk [Cousins] has got to distribute the ball and not force it and good things will happen. But, I’ve been impressed with DeSean, not just in his big-play ability which he’s always had, but the way he’s come to work and getting himself ready to play.”
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