April 6, 2020

Washington Redskins: Week 11 Thursday Press Conference Wrap Up

After practice in the indoor bubble, instead of the soaked practice field, Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden and defensive coordinator Joe Barry addressed the media about the Carolina Panthers.

One of the Achilles heels for the Redskins defense this season has been tackling and now with the challenge of facing a 6′ 5”, 250 pound quarterback, Gruden knows that the coaches have to preach sound and fundamental tackling techniques. The Redskins will “have to wrap him and try and get him down”. Gruden believes that Newton is most dangerous as a runner on “drop-back passes” where you do not account for him during man coverage.

During Jay Gruden’s tenure as head coach, the Washington Redskins have been a miserable 1-11 on the road including a current 8 game losing streak away from FedEx Field. Gruden said he doesn’t know what he can do to improve that since the routine is more or less the same. “We have to travel at the same time. We stay at a hotel. We have meetings at night. We get up and play in the morning — at 1:00.” Gruden does not have any “magical pep talks” that will help the team since they are already practicing hard.

Gruden thinks the biggest reason for the success in the run game against the Saints was that the team was able to play “with a lead”. On the contrary, when you are down and have to play catch up, you are unable to stick with the plan. Gruden believes that the “ability to convert on third downs, keep drives alive” helps the run game “tremendously”. Part of the reason for the relatively good offensive line play this year has been the development of second year tackle Morgan Moses. Gruden attributes his rapid development to his “work ethic, attention to detail, and want to get better”.

Contrary to previous belief when the Redskins brought in veteran center Brian de la Puente to possibly start ahead of Josh LeRibeus, Gruden said that the converted guard LeRibeus is still the team’s starter. The real reason why Washington brought in de la Puente was because they were not comfortable with Spencer Long being put into emergency center duties at the end of the first half against New England. Gruden said that the team “knew we needed another center in the building”. Despite LeRibeus’ poor shotgun snaps that Gruden says is being worked on every day, it is overall just something LeRibeus is new to that he will eventually get better at.

Although DeAngelo Hall is still not at 100% as seen by his limited play against the Saints, the Redskins are definitely looking at the possibility of the veteran corner to contribute at free safety. Gruden likes the idea because of the current success that hall of fame candidate Charles Woodson is having with the Oakland Raiders and thinks Hall has a “similar-type of ball skills that you look for at free safety”. Barry would later on that Hall could “absolutely” contribute at safety in the future, but amended that “he’s still going to play corner” too.

Barry spent most of his time addressing the Redskins internal struggles with run defense and how that possibly plays into the hands of the Panthers’ physical run game. Barry concurred with Gruden that the key in both aspects will be simply tackling better. Barry knows that Carolina’s “unique” running game can pose difficulties for defenses which is “why they lead the NFL”.

To end his presser, Barry would applaud Newton for playing “smart” whether it be by throwing the ball away or “running smart”. Barry believes and is corrent when saying “the more you play the more you’re going to grow”, which is what the Redskins hope to get out of Kirk Cousins.

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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