August 12, 2020

Washington Redskins: Week 6 Wednesday Press Conference Wrap Up

Although injuries are probably of the biggest concern for the Washington Redskins who have too many impact players on the mend, the team is ready to prove that they are a “very good” football team this Sunday against the Jets. Today we got our first taste of what head coach Jay Gruden and quarterback Kirk Cousins are thinking about when they face off against a tough Jets defense.

It is safe to say that the Redskins offense was lacking last game against the Falcons defense. Gruden understands that there are “peaks and valleys” with the quarterback position and you simply have to learn and adapt from it. One of the big problems with the offensive unit was that they were not taking advantage of the three turnovers that the defense jumped onto the scene with. Being unable to “keep the momentum” and not putting the “pedal down” when given the opportunity is why the team lost. Gruden think that this is still all part of “growing up as a football team”. Cousins agrees that he has learned a lot from the past two games in which things turned out to finish in polar opposites. Cousins concurred with the head coach, “especially in the red zone” where the Redskins lost the game to the Falcons following the Bashaud Breeland interception.

Because of all the injuries the Redskins had since training camp, Gruden is actually not too concerned about the state of his secondary since “a lot of guys have gotten a lot of reps back there”. Many of Washington’s top defensive backs are either banged up (Chris CulliverBashaud Breeland, and DeAngelo Hall), out for the season (Duke Ihenacho and Justin Rodgers), or no longer with the team (David Amerson). Throughout however, youngsters like Kyshoen Jarrett, Quinton Dunbar, and DeShazor Everett have gotten invaluable experiences and are as prepared as practice can make them should they be needed during high stress situations. Jarrett, a true safety, has actually fared extremely well when playing as the nickle corner behind veteran journeyman Will Blackmon who Gruden said had an “outstanding” game when starting against the Falcons.

Since the first couple weeks of the season, the Redskins running game has not been nearly as dominant as the team would like. Last week that was epitomized when the Redskins “three-headed monster in the backfield”, according to Jets head coach Todd Bowles, combined for just 51 yards on the ground as no back could find any traction. Gruden defended his decision to rotate Alfred Morris, Matt Jones, and Chris Thompson because there is “some validity to keeping them fresh and having a package of plays for each back” although he did admit that there might be some validity in a lack of production because none of the backs can get into a rhythm. Contrary to popular belief that Morris has “lost a step” as well as his demeanor after having a trio of thousand yard rushing seasons, Cousins and everyone else close to the organization agree that he is a consistent professional.

With regards to the Jets strong defense boasting CB Darrelle Revis, Gruden said it will be a great challenge because everything from the route to the throw has to be “perfect”. Although Gruden said the team will take some shots against the possible Hall of Famer, the team does have enough decent options in the passing game to allow Revis to take away one threat, especially if DeSean Jackson returns to a corp that includes Pierre Garcon and rookie Jamison Crowder. Cousins believes Revis Island “ranks right up there with anybody if not the best” but is up for the challenge.

Unfortunately for a slumping offense, the Jets also have an incredible defensive line that includes Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and the man the Redskins passed up in the draft Leonard Williams. Simply put, “they’re really not a lot of weaknesses that they have defensively” according to Gruden. Although Cousins is aware of the pressure he is bound to face with the Jets pass rush, the Michigan State product knows that he has to be brave and just stick to the rules the coaches have preached.

Kirk Cousins has continuously asked if he would like to take more shots down the field for much of the season because of the loss of DeSean Jackson. Cousins said that you want the deep threats to be “calculated when you do it and scheme it properly”. Cousins was grilled about what Jackson’s presence means because of what he brings to the table offensively as a possibly advantage to become more balanced on first down. To all such questions, Cousins and Gruden always gave a version of the answer that Jackson has been sorely missed because he is an elite talent, but the team has to deal with injuries just like all of the other 31 franchises.

In what was probably the biggest question mark on the team besides those regarding the man under center, Cousins gave a brief evaluation on the play of rookie Brandon Scherff and second year player Morgan Moses and their anchoring of the right side of the offensive line. Cousins said he “can’t say enough good things about the two of them” because of “the pass protection, the run game, the mental side of the game, the work ethic, the approach in and day out” is strong. Cousins thinks that “Redskins fans have a lot to be excited about with those two for a long time”. Drafting and developing talent into superstars is something Washington has not had in their franchise for quite some time.

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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