September 20, 2020

Washington Redskins: Week 3 Friday Press Conference Wrap Up

On the last day of media availability from the Washington Redskins, 48 hours removed from their second game of the regular season against the St. Louis Rams, head coach Jay Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay. For a complete recap of all the injuries the Redskins are dealing with this week click here.

Ever since the departure of special teams coach Danny Smith, the Redskins have had a horrible special teams coverage unit. It was evident last week when Jarvis Landry won the game for Dolphins with a back breaking punt return touchdown. Things do not get any easier for the Redskins this week as the electric Tavon Austin has already burned Washington in the past. Gruden said that the team has discussed limiting Tavon Austin’s quality touches on punt returns and punter Tress Way understands this game plan.

A big key to watch for last week was how Kirk Cousins responded to adversity once committing his first turnover. This happened early in the Dolphins game as the starting quarterback had a complete lapse in judgement on the move. Whether it was because his confidence was regained when his defense bailed him out with a fourth down stop or because he is “more resilient”, as McVay put it, is not yet known. Gruden talked about how the immediate response by Cousins after making a mistake is a necessity because “momentum is a key force” in sports. I’m sure the franchise wishes their were no mistakes for Cousins to come back from in the first place but they will have to settle for quick turnarounds, a struggle of Cousins last season.

After facing a defensive line headlined by Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake, and Olivier Vernon last week, things do not get easier for the Redskins in Week 2 with the Rams’ Aaron Donald, Chris Long, and Robert Quinn. Gruden said that he is confident in anyone the Redskins line up against the front four that gets a lot of pressure on first and second down as McVay commented. Although many thought that first round rookie Brandon Scherff would be rewarded with a solid performance against Pro Bowler Suh last week with the defensive player of week one Donald, but McVay said that the Rams uniquely switch which sides their players work from. Meaning left guard Shaun Lauvao will share the burden of fighting off Aaron Donald with Scherff.

Besides just the strong starting defensive line that the Rams possess, the Redskins were able to have some success last week because they were able to wear down the Dolphins. As McVay put it, the Rams rotate so many quality players (like the Redskins try to do) that it has little effect come the fourth quarter. For example, the former Auburn stud Nick Fairley is a backup to Aaron Donald for the Rams. That is how deep they are that they have a solid starter from last season rotating in as a reserve.

Gruden and McVay, independently, discussed some different points of emphasis for the offense to consider in order to score the football against the aggressive defense led by Greg Williams, former Redskins defensive coordinator circa the second Joe Gibbs era. First, Gruden pointed out that Pierre Garcon‘s physicality allows him to be one of the few Redskins to go toe to toe with the Rams. Moreover, with DeSean Jackson the Redskins will still look to stretch the defense with deep passes to the likes of Jamison Crowder, who Gruden thinks will improve as the season goes on, and Rashad Ross, who will be active for the first time in his NFL career. McVay also thinks the quick passing game could effectively thwart the Rams defense as it is an aspect of both Cousins’ and his receivers game that they are efficient in.

Other Need to Know Notes:

  • Trenton Robinson will be the starting strong safety for the Redskins with Duke Ihenacho done for the year with a fractured wrist. However, when needed Robinson will still be utilized on special teams coverage. Gruden said that he will have to dig deep and hydrate well on a sunny yet cooler day at FedEx Field.
  • Rashad Ross will be the primary kickoff return man because as Gruden put it, he is “excellent” at it.
  • New place kicker Dustin Hopkins has looked “fine” so far according to Jay Gruden. As long as he can consistently boot the ball out of the end zone and make the kicks required of him on field goals, the Redskins will not have to change kickers again.
  • Derek Carrier did a good job adjusting to the offense in a short amount of time since coming from the 49ers according to Sean McVay. The Redskins will hope the ex-Seahawk Anthony McCoy will follow suit soon.
About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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