February 22, 2020

Washington Redskins: Week 7 Wednesday Press Conference Wrap Up

It has finally come. Six games into the Washington Redskins season, head coach Jay Gruden has termed this week’s game a “code red”, must win situation. Gruden has continued to stick by his quarterback Kirk Cousins, through his continued struggles that are often associated with Redskins drama, but today both turned their attention to the task at hand, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

After answering a blurry of injury related questions, Gruden then turned his attention to assessing the play of particular Redskins once having time to watch film tape. With regards to backup center Josh LeRibeus, per Gruden’s usual self, he pointed out that there were good and big sides to his performance. With the caveat that it was LeRibeus’ first start at the position, Gruden thinks he “did some good things” but notes that “nobody was graded as an A” on the offensive line because of the porous rushing attack.

With regards to the special teams unit, Gruden had high praise from newly signed kicker Dustin Hopkins during field goals, kickoffs, and even onside kicks. Although the return game has not been great for Washington as Gruden pointed out, he applauded the work of Jeron Johnson who had a rather strong game against the Jets.

In response to the now well documented third quarter struggles, Gruden said that two broad solutions is to “play better” and “make sure we don’t lose any intensity as a group”. Gruden still cannot pinpoint the reason for not having the “same energy level and the same production” in the second half relative to the first. Going forward, the Redskins will address their play calling and schemes but Gruden has issued a personal challenge to every player on the roster to “rise up” because they go “hand-in-hand”.

It has been clear in the past two games that neither the Falcons nor the Jets defense was afraid of Cousins to beat them deep because in all honesty he cannot in this point in his development. It is simply a fact that Cousins is less likely to complete a pass that travels more than 20 yards so defenses have keyed in on the run by putting an extra man in the box. To stop that, Gruden said the team simply has to throw the ball by taking shots downfield, which the Redskins head coach then was quick to admit that they have failed in doing so recently.

Is there a match better than Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins? With regards to how they answer questions at the podium, you might think they are exactly the same. On a self-evaluation of his performance against the Jets, Cousins stayed on the see-saw between it wasn’t a “great performance” and the team doing some “good things”. Cousins would not give a clear answer on his patience because “every play is it’s own entity”.

A quarter into the season the Redskins were tied for first place in the weakened NFC East, now after looking miserable they are still just one game back of first place. Cousins was completely right to say that “it’s so early” and you cannot really look at the divisional races with 10 games to go in the year. Unless this team has a miraculous turn around once they are healthy again, this is less than the 3% chance that ESPN is currently giving Washington to win the East.

In order to “stay confident”, which Cousins believes is a fundamental trait of success, the Redskins quarterback kidded that he listens to NPR or watches HGTV rather than the alternative of 106.7 or ESPN. Regardless of what Cousins does off the fields, the Michigan State product said he was “heart attack serious” about turning the Washington Redskins back into a playoff team. Going forward, Cousins hopes to not feel the pressure but instead apply it on his opponents.

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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