April 21, 2019

Washington Redskins: Week 14 Thursday Press Conference Wrap Up

After their first official practice in a shortened week, head coach Jay Gruden and defensive coordinator Joe Barry addressed the media.

Although the running game has been consistently abysmal at times this year, Gruden continues to preach that “you cannot abandon it”. Washington ran the ball on 15 of 22 first down plays against Dallas on Monday so there is definitely room for mixing things up better. Defenses have continued to cheat up into the box because of the lack of consistent deep throws. If this team wants any chance of making the playoffs, the ground attack is going to have to come along.

Following a stretch where the defense could no longer stop the run, Gruden described it as “good as of late”. There has been improvement from Will Compton and Mason Foster at the inside linebacker position that has helped things along, but Gruden thinks the Redskins “pass rush can be better”. Obviously forcing teams into third-and-long and obvious passing situations would help the rushers tee off the ball in order to get to the quarterback, which Gruden would like to see.

Back to the tandem of Compton and Foster, who will continue to start for Washington even if Keenan Robinson is back at 100% against the bears, Barry thinks “they work very well together … They’re making plays.” Foster, on multiple occasions against Dallas, was able to shed blockers to make an impact play on the football and be a part of two of the three turnovers forced. Barry enjoys their chemistry and playmaking ability so hopefully it will translate into a better defense.

With all of the injuries that Washington has had to endure throughout the year, from Junior Galette tearing his Achilles in training camp or Chris Culliver being the latest Redskin to land on injured reserve, they have gotten through it in decent shape. Barry is “very proud of those guys” that have stepped up in their place, a list that includes the likes of Quinton Dunbar and Washington’s new duo inside linebackers. Gruden believes it is a testament to the coaching staff as well as the players for being ready to play behind the success in not drowning in their loss of talent.

Barry’s biggest worry about the Bears offense was their utilization of bubble and tunnel screens. Even with the loss of tight end Martellus Bennett, the return of Eddie Royal and Chicago’s athletic offensive line make the play a threat. Washington must stop the extension of the run game if they want to have any success and Barry knows it.

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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