Jay Gruden’s message to the Redskins as they left Ashburn, Va., for the bye week was a simple one: spend the next five days getting refreshed, mentally and physically.
The week off couldn’t have arrive at a better time for the Redskins, who have been besieged by injuries through the season’s first seven games. Two weeks ago, they were without six starters against the Jets. On Sunday, they were down three starters and their third down running back against the Buccaneers.
“I think the big thing is [to] get their bodies healthy,” Gruden said. “I want to get them physically and mentally healthy, get some time off, spend it with their families, but really come back focused. New England plays Thursday night. I want them all to tune in, watch that game, get themselves mentally ready to go. The second half of our season, we’ve got nine games left, it’s going to be a grind. I think it’s going to be important for them just to get away—four, five days and get some rest and come back fresh and ready to roll because it’s going to be a tough nine-game stretch.”
The Redskins held their final practice of the week on Tuesday at Redskins Park. Although the hour-long session consisted primarily of individual work, some clues regarding the injury status of some players could be gleaned.
The good: wide receiver DeSean Jackson (hamstring), running back Chris Thompson (knee) and center Kory Lichtensteiger (neck) did more than in previous days and would seem to be on track to suit up Nov. 8 in New England.
The not-so-good: cornerbacks Chris Culliver (knee), DeAngelo Hall (toe) and Bashaud Breeland (hamstring) and linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (broken hand) did not participate. Their status for the Patriots, obviously, is much less clear.
“This year [the bye] comes almost at the midway point, so for us it'll be good to just get away,” said linebacker Keenan Robinson, who, like many of his teammates, is nursing some bumps and bruises. “Especially coming off a win, that really helps too, just the morale and the vibe we have. But yeah, the bye week comes at a good time, man. Everybody gets a chance to get healthy and it gives us an extra week to prepare for the Patriots.”
The next hint of the team's overall health situation will come Monday, when the players reconvene at Redskins Park.
“I don’t like to project and guess,” Gruden said, asked who, specifically, he expects to play against the Patriots. “I just want to see these guys get with the trainers and progress at their rate… But expectation-wise, I have high hopes for the majority of them, really, other than the ones that are on IR, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”