August 20, 2019

Washington Redskins Injury Report for Week 1

The Washington Redskins released their first official injury report of the 2014 NFL season late Wednesday afternoon, four days before they head to Texas to take on the Houston Texans for Week 1 on Sunday.

By Friday, the situation was still pretty murky with regards to a couple of the players.

Cornerback Tracy Porter was not at Redskins Park on Wednesday, as he was having tests on his hamstring.  Porter strained his hamstring in last Saturday’s practice, and is doubtful for Sunday in Houston.

On Friday, head coach Jay Gruden updated Porter’s status, and it wasn’t good. “Tracy did not practice today and neither did Akeem [Jordan]. So, not looking good.”

Gruden, asked if Porter got worse during the week of if it was anything knew, responded, “Not really, not anything different. He’s got a slight pull of his hamstring. It’s just a matter of how much he can handle and how he feels moving forward. So, those hamstring injuries are tough.

What you always see on a MRI doesn’t seem to match sometimes what the body feels like, and sometimes they feel better than what it shows and sometimes it’s worse than what it shows. It’s going to be all on Tracy and his recovery and when he’s ready, it’s dependent on Tracy.”

Linebacker Akeem Jordan, who strained his medial collateral ligament (MCL) in last Thursday’s preseason game, worked on a side field on Wednesday with trainers and wore a brace on his left knee but regressed during the week. Jordan is also doubtful for Week 1.

Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo was limited in practice early in the week a sore ankle.  Orakpo injured his ankle in the third preseason game and sat out of the fourth preseason game last week. He practiced fully on Friday, but is still listed as questionable for Houston.

Tight end Jordan Reed practiced fully despite receiving treatment for a thumb injury.  Reed sprained his thumb in practice but says he will not miss any time.

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden speaks about upcoming Monday Night preseason game

Robert Griffin III hands off to Alfred Morris. (Photo by Brian Murphy)

The Washington Redskins play their second preseason game of the offseason this Monday Night, August 18th versus the Cleveland Browns.  Game time is at 8:00 pm and will be played on the Redskins’ home turf, FedEx field.  The first preseason game for the Redskins came with a 23-6 victory over the New England Patriots on August 7th, but head coach Jay Gruden is already looking towards Monday night and the matchup with Cleveland.

Gruden took the podium Friday and spoke to the swarm of media around him.  The first series of questions were in regards to how long his starting players will play on Monday night, as well as which athletes would sit out.  Gruden told the press that he is “shooting for at least a quarter” and will see how it goes with his starters.  When asked if any players have been ruled out, Gruden had this to say:

“Maybe [Brandon] Meriweather. I think he took the day off today. He just got his toe drained a little bit, but he’s got a chance to play. We’ll wait and see.”

With the news of newly acquired defensive end Jason Hatcher removed from the physically unable to perform list after he passed a physical, Gruden was asked if Hatcher would be able to play.  Gruden answered with a definitive “Hatcher’s out”. Hatcher had been working on the side fields during training camp while recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in mid-June.  Gruden said his goal is for Hatcher to play in the third preseason game against Baltimore, giving him one outing with the rest of the defensive starters.

Gruden also spoke about his backup quarterbacks, praising Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy on how they have handled their roles on the roster:

“He’s done great. You know, Kirk’s handled it like a pro. He understands the situation here. He understands it’s Robert’s job to lose right now but he’s still coming in here, competing and battling every day. And, that’s what a quarterback does. Whether you’re the starter or not, you have to take advantage of the reps you get and they are few and far between sometimes, but I think he’s done an excellent job. Him and Colt [McCoy] both have been great in the quarterback room. There’s been no controversy whatsoever. It’s just been business as usual and they’re all trying to get better and master this system and he’ll be ready when his time comes. “

When discussing the Browns’ style of play, Gruden is very familiar with Cleveland, as he was the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals for three years and faced the Browns twice a year in the AFC North.  When asked about if the Browns’ pass rush will be a good test for starting quarterback Robert Griffin III and the Redskins offense, Gruden said it will be an ideal situation:

I’m familiar with Cleveland’s personnel on defense, coming from Cincinnati, and then next week we get to play Baltimore who I’m familiar with, so it’s going to be two great tests for us from an offensive standpoint. Obviously defensively there’s some elements that we also have to work out and be ready for which is a good test for them too. Every team in the NFL gives you different problems, but Cleveland’s defensive personnel is obviously very good with Joe Haden, Buster Skrine and all those guys and then Baltimore the following week. So we’ll get a good taste the next two weeks, see where we are and how far we have to go. “

According to the press, the “big story” will be rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel, and Gruden was asked about what he thought after seeing him on film:

“I haven’t watched him yet. I’m going to start that today, tomorrow we’re going to start really trying to game plan. I know Coach [Jim] Haslett’s watched him. I’ve been studying the other side of the ball a little bit more. So I’ll check him out today, but I saw him on television and obviously studying him coming out and know he’s a very talented kid, lot of mobility – no question about it – and very exciting player.”

One of the biggest concerns of the Redskins is their offensive line.  Gruden spoke about the depth of their new corps of players:

“We feel good about the depth. We have got a lot of players to choose from, which is good. Now, the starters, we’ve got to go out and perform. That was one of the Achilles heels so to speak last year from what I heard about coming in from what you see on tape. You see some pressure, but I think Coach [Chris] Foerster has done a great job with them and they’ve done a pretty good job. They’ve given up some pressure every now and then. We’ve got some good pass rushers on the other side. We don’t expect a clean pocket on every time we throw, but we do expect them to do a good job. We’ve got good veteran leadership up there with Tyler [Polumbus] and Chris [Chester], and obviously Trent Williams is a Pro Bowl left tackle, and Kory [Lichtensteiger] has done a good job moving into center, so I feel good about where they are.”

Gruden was also asked about running back Chris Thompson’s ankle sprain and how it will affect the other running backs on the roster.  He said that it “gives them opportunity and opens up a window for other guys to perform”, after expressing his feelings for Thompson as “it’s unfortunate for him because he was doing a great job.”

When asked about how Gruden’s second string, third string, and rookies have responded to practice this week, he replied:

“I have been very pleased. The tempo has been outstanding and their attention to detail has been very good. Like I said, very few mental mistakes. It looks sharp out there – the weather has something to do with it too, but overall I’m very happy with where we’re going, both offensively and defensively, and then obviously the special teams are doing an excellent job, but we have to sort some things out there. But it’s all about installing your offense and defense and special teams and also finding ways to evaluate the people that you have and right now all the players are making it very difficult on us because they’re all performing pretty well. The competition has been excellent.”

Jay Gruden is ESPN analyst Jon Gruden’s brother, the very man who is the Monday Night Football announcer.  Coach Gruden was asked if Jon Gruden would take it easy on him during Monday Night’s game, as well as if Jon would meet with him the way other analysts do.  Coach Gruden chuckled at the questions, but answered them with his usual professionalism:

“He called a couple of my games last year in Cincy. Jon is Jon. He’s going to be positive if he can but if I do something that’s out-of-line ignorant, I’m sure he’ll call me on it. I think he’s coming in Saturday. He’ll be out here for practice Saturday and we’ll be able to hopefully go out to dinner maybe Saturday night, or I might be tied up, but I’ll be able to see him Saturday. Jon is obviously very good at what he does and he won’t jeopardize what he does for my feelings. That’s for sure. He never has.”

Many fans and teams have criticized the officiating already during this preseason.  Gruden was asked about the NFL’s new rules and how they affected the Redskins’ first preseason game against the Patriots:

“We had a couple called against us – I think we had three called against us – one was a PI [pass interference], and I think one was illegal contact from [Will] Compton, and those are great to show. Obviously the emphasis of the illegal contact and we just have to continue to preach it out here and we try to show our guys in practice when it happens and just to be aware. They’ve been so engraved in their minds to try to jostle guys off and move receivers off their line and try to get them off their spot that we have to be careful. It’s something we have to continue to coach and watch, because I know the NFL is watching, the referees are watching, and there are a ton of penalties I noticed in Week 1 of the preseason games – not in our game, but the other games – so you’ve just got to watch it.”

The Washington Redskins take on the Cleveland Browns this Monday Night at 8:00 pm on ESPN.

Washington Redskins’ Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden discuss Richmond training camp

The Washington Redskins team President/General Manager Bruce Allen and new head coach Jay Gruden addressed the media earlier this week regarding the team’s training camp in Richmond, VA.

Allen began the press conference with a lengthy opening statement:

“Good afternoon. This has been a great experience once again in Richmond. I think we ought to start with thanking some people and staff. Mayor [Dwight C.] Jones and his staff did a great job for us. Gov. [Terry] McAuliffe’s hospitality and enthusiasm was great for us. Bon Secours’ staff did fantastic job again. Our Charitable Foundation really had a great two or three weeks here… I wanted to thank Coach [Bill] Belichick and the New England Patriots for coming out. That work was invaluable for us from an evaluation standpoint. I think the way we managed the crowds was a lesson that we learned from last year. It was great for the fans and the players.

“I want to thank Coach Gruden – Jon Gruden – who came out for the high school football clinic. We had over 100 high school head coaches from Maryland, D.C. and Virginia, and I believe West Virginia as well… for being our keynote speaker. This camp has always been about preparing the team, but also about reaching back to the community. What I mentioned earlier, our Foundation, [we] feel that our 31 events that we had, we impacted over 20,000 kids in this community and we’re proud of that. Our Redskins Salute, to the military, we had over 1,000 military folks in here for camp and that was fantastic. But as far as the football is concerned, I think Jay did an excellent job – him and his staff – of building that camaraderie. We had spirited practices. There’s good competition on this football team right now and the work with the Patriots and the work that we got against ourselves hopefully is going to propel us this season. I don’t think there’s any doubt that we got better at camp. The key is to make sure we keep getting better when we get back up to Redskins Park.”

When Allen was asked about what he would like to change regarding holding camp in Virginia next year, he joked about the weather but did say that he wanted to have a meeting to try to figure out how they can try to do it better for the team and for the fans.  As always, the media asked about the Washington Redskins’ salary cap situation, and Allen responded that it was about “$2 million of cap space”, which he admitted it was close.  He cited that due to unfortunate injuries during the 2014 NFL Season that will “eat it up”.  Allen also spoke about making adjustments and looking at different options after the third preseason game of this year.

Allen spoke about the importance of having a drama-free camp, and how the atmosphere has changed with his new coach from previous seasons, with the obvious reference to the past several seasons contentiousness between former head coach Mike Shanahan and franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III.

“Well, many of the players and many of the coaches weren’t here last year, so they’re unaware of the drama unless they read the newspapers. We just wanted to focus on getting better every day, and that’s been Coach Gruden’s motto from the beginning. When you focus on today’s events and today’s meetings and today’s practices, you sort of lose all of that drama. And the guys were all competing for jobs and I think the seriousness of their competition really overweigh everything else.”

Allen was pressed to make a comparison between Gruden and Shanahan’s camps.

“I don’t really like the comparisons. I think this was an excellent camp. I think adding the New England Patriots to it and Coach [Bill] Belichick’s staff really made the players focus more. We got in some great work with them. Coach Gruden’s meetings are as intense as you see it on the football field in trying to make sure that we’re trying to get better in the meeting room. I think that’s going to help our team.”

Now on to the more fun stuff for Washington Redskins fans — speaking with new head coach Jay Gruden.  As most fans know, Gruden was the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2011 — 2013.  In those three years, the Bengals made the playoffs each season.

In January 2013, Gruden was interviewed by the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles, and San Diego Chargers for their vacant head coaching positions.  Although he didn’t land one of those jobs, that left him available for the Washington Redskins to hire this past January.

In the same press conference that Allen spoke in, Gruden was asked more about the individual players and his experiences at training camp as a head coach for the first time.  The first questions were about tight end Jordan Reed’s illness, which Gruden replied  that Reed was doing much better and expected him to be a full-go for the rest of the week.

Gruden was also asked about linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and wide receiver Santna Moss taking the “veteran’s day off”.  Grunden responded, “Yes, yes.  Moss has been running a lot and needed a day to get his legs back under him but nothing is injured or anything like that. Same with Kerrigan and same with Kory [Lichtensteiger].”

Gruden spoke about if it was beneficial for the players to work together away from Ashburn:

“I think it was. I think it was a great experience for everybody, it was for me and I felt like the team came together like you’d hoped they would in training camp, studying like this. Practices were crisp.”  Also asked if the  practice routine will remain the same at Redskins Park, he said, “Pretty accurate, yeah. Times of meetings might change, no more night meetings probably, but as far as practice and the grind of studying football and practicing football it’ll be the same.”

When asked if he was prepared for the attention surrounding the Monday Night Game this week against the Cleveland Browns, Gruden simply said:

“It’ll be exciting. There’s a lot about Johnny Football that’s exciting to watch – him as a player and as a rookie. All we’re going to do is focus on ourselves though moving forward – what we’re going to do, how we’re going to prepare and really starting Friday, it’ll be the first time we start to really game plan for an opponent, get them used to game planning and how we’re going to do it, how we go about it during the regular season. So, we haven’t looked at Cleveland yet. I haven’t, but I will starting tomorrow and Thursday, and we’ll start to game plan. But, it’ll be an exciting event, Monday Night Football here. Of course my brother is coming so that’ll be fun.  But really I want to make it more about our guys – how we perform, how we come out under the lights and the excitement, and show them what we can do.”

Gruden was asked about if has a plan for starters’ playing time on Monday against the Browns: “Not yet. We’re going to go through the rest of the week and practice. We have Thursday, Friday, we’ll be in some pads and then Saturday, we’ll taper off. I’ll see where we are from a health standpoint and we’ll go from there, but I expect them to play a little bit more than last week.”

The last thing Gruden touched on rookie Brashaud Breeland addressing his teammates for his citation for marijuana possession just twelve hours before the team finished up in Richmond.

Gruden addressed the media today:

“I addressed it with him. We’ll keep the conversation between us, but he’s well aware of what he has to do to get it fixed and we’ve got to just move forward and hopefully he learns from a terrible mistake.

It’s disappointing. He’s a young kid and he’s had a great camp and it’s a little hiccup, bump in the road for him that he’s got to learn from that a lot of kids go through at his age. So he’ll learn from it and we’ll all move forward from this, hopefully.”

Asked if Breeland faces disciplinary action, Gruden said, “Yeah, we’ve talked about it. We’re going to talk about it, how we’re going to discipline him, what we’ll do in-house and we’ve got it all taken care of. Bashaud understands the severity of what he did and he’s going to have to face the consequences with the citation that he got and move forward.  I let him practice because he’s on the team and he was allowed to practice.”

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