July 23, 2021

Washington Redskins: Week 1 Thursday Press Conference Wrap Up

Just three days away from the start of the Washington Redskins regular season, head coach Jay Gruden again talked to the media following a session by new defensive coordinator Joe Barry.

The team is still waiting to receive a written report from the league’s neurologist regarding Robert Griffin III‘s concussion that he sustained three weeks ago. Gruden says that he has “no idea” why it has taken this long and again wants all to know that this is in no way should reflect poorly on the Redskins as it is something out of their control. Because Griffin currently cannot participate in a regular season game due to the possibility of contact, Colt McCoy remains the backup quarterback to Kirk Cousins, however Gruden has kept the door open that Griffin could actually be the backup on Sunday if cleared.

If Griffin is made inactive Week 1, it could be that he has still not been cleared and/or the coaching staff believes McCoy has “beat out” the former rookie of the year. The difference between the two may not be known unless officially announced beforehand.

The toughness and nastiness in players that general manager Scot McCloughan looks for was acknowledged by Gruden because of the “toughness we’ve been looking for” through the additions of NT Terrance Knighton, CB Chris Culliver, and FS DaShon Goldson. Goldson, like former Redskins Brandon Merriweather, may have to tweak tackling style to avoid personal foul penalties for helmet to helmet contact.

The Redskins struggled greatly on special teams last year including in the return game where the team always lost the field position battle. Last year’s incumbent returner, Andre Roberts, has lost his job in the punt and kickoff game to rookie Jamison Crowder and RB Chris Thompson, respectively. The team hopes that the quickness and speed that Crowder and Thompson possess will provide a spark to the team in the return game.

Defensive coordinator Joe Barry had kind remarks for both veteran corner DeAngelo Hall and rookie pass rusher Preston Smith. On Hall, Barry said “he’s been great, a true professional, which has been great to see”. Hall is coming off of two Achilles tendon tears and with Bashaud Breeland suspended and working his way back from an MCL sprain, it is up the the veteran to hold down the fort as he is a better option than David Amerson opposite Chris Culliver. Barry said he was “really excited about” working with Preston Smith because he has “a great skillset”. With the loss of elite edge rusher Junior Galette, Preston Smith will be pushed into action early and often throughout the year even if Trent Murphy is the official starter.

It was evident throughout the preseason that the Redskins were running to the football, which made the fact that initial missed tackles did not result in major game changers. However, in the regular season every yard given up after a tackle that should be made is costly. Barry stated the obvious reason for the poor form tackling is the CBA rules that limit contract during the offseason. It will be important for the Redskins to have all of the fundamentals sorted out by Sunday because Tannehill “can make all the throws” according to Barry that can take advantage of every chance given.

Though Tannehill, the eighth overall pick in the 2012 draft, is not commonly associated with his running ability, Barry was still concerned. The Texas A&M product has totaled 760 yards on the ground in his first three years in the NFL so it will be important for the pass rush to bring him to the ground instead of letting him escape with good form tackling.

Tom Compton was the only Redskin who did not participate in practice today, Gruden said that both OLB Ryan Kerrigan and WR DeSean Jackson could be on snap counts because of their lack of game actions since a knee scope and AC joint sprain, respectively. It will be Kerrigan’s decision when to come out of games if winded, but from a competitors standpoint the coaching staff may have to take action if he begins to become a liability due to conditioning.

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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