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Jay Gruden presser recap: Coach impressed with rookies Perine, Nicholson

Bob Youngentob for CSN

Jay Gruden presser recap: Coach impressed with rookies Perine, Nicholson

Here are some of the topics Jay Gruden discussed during his conference call with reporters on Monday.

—We covered the extensive injury list in a separate post. To sum it up, there is a lot of pain but perhaps few if any missed games.

—Talking about the offense in the fourth quarter, Gruden said that he “challenged” Kirk Cousins. Then he backed off a bit on a follow-up question. “I didn’t really, just, ‘It’s the fourth quarter, man.’ It’s his time,” he said. “It’s time for him to make the plays that he’s going to make. We had a lot of confidence in him and he had a lot of confidence walking out there and performed well.”

—Yesterday, I wrote about the Redskins’ improvement in defending the run (with the appropriate small sample size warning). When asked about it, Gruden pointed to improved personnel. “I just think overall the team defense, I think we’re better personnel-wise, quite frankly,” he said. I think that helps. I think when you add Jonathan Allen… I think Matt Ioannidis had a heck of a game and you bring in Ziggy Hood, who is playing good nose guard football.” Hood and Ioannidis are not new to the team but both are playing better than they did last year, particularly the second-year player Ioannidis. He also mentioned free agent acquisitions Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee.


—Rookie RB Samaje Perine came in to spell Rob Kelly a bit early in the game and then took the main load when Kelly went out in the second quarter with a rib injury. While gained 67 yards and averaged just 3.2 yards per carry, his 21 rushing attempts were key to keeping the clock moving. “I think he did a nice job, really,” Gruden said when asked about the rookie’s debut from scrimmage. “I think I felt him run with a lot of power. Even after his 10th, 12th, 15th carry, I still think he had power left in the tank, which was good to see.”

—At the time of the press conference, the Redskins’ statement on putting Su’a Cravens on the reserve/left team list, ending his season, had not yet been issued. Gruden was asked about a Sunday report that he had talked to Cravens about coming back. “No, I haven’t heard anything from Su’a or about Su’a,” he said. That’s what you call a flat denial.

—In his first two years as a starter, Cousins completed 68.3 percent of his passes. This year his completion percentage is 61.2. His passer rating is down for 99.3 to 82.9. It’s complicated, said Gruden. “I think there are a lot of things involved in his completion percentage,” he said. “We have taken more shots. We haven’t done as many of the quick passing game that really get your stats up to around 70 percent. I think those will come. I think the quick passes will come and I think we will hit some more shots down the field.”


—Early in training camp, fourth-round safety Montae Nicholson couldn’t fully participate in practice as he recovered from a shoulder injury. In Week 2, he started at strong safety. “I think he has just progressed,” said Gruden when asked about the change. “We started him in training camp – obviously he wasn’t on PUP, but he was unable to practice, but he was getting all the walkthrough reps, so he was getting all the mental reps, which is important for him. Then when he was able to practice, he just got in there and made some plays. He is a big, physical guy that can run and we are excited about his prospects.”

Junior Galette has played 39 snaps in two games. He got a sack against the Eagles but it was wiped out by a penalty. Still, Gruden likes the way he’s playing. “Oh, yeah, we’re happy with where he’s at,” he said. “We’ll try to get him more and more in there, but with Kerrigan and Preston, we’re trying to get all three of them on the field from time to time. But I like where Junior is at. He’s getting better and better.”

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Redskins Week 15 injury report: Two out, seven questionable vs. Cardinals


Redskins Week 15 injury report: Two out, seven questionable vs. Cardinals

Redskins linebacker Zach Brown may want to power through his myriad of injuries but he won’t be able to do it this week.

Brown is one of two Redskins who have been declared out for the game against the Cardinals on Sunday. Jay Gruden listed his injuries as toe/ankle/Achilles/hip. This will be the first game that Brown has missed with the Redskins and his first since he was with the Titans in 2014.

Also out is safety Montae Nicholson, who will miss his fourth straight game with a concussion.


Listed as questionable are OT Morgan Moses (ankle), OT Trent Williams (knee), OLB Ryan Anderson (ankle), WR Ryan Grant (ankle), WR Maurice Harris (concussion), DE Terrell McClain (toe), and C Chase Roullier (hand).

Williams’ status for Sunday is very much in doubt. His usual pattern since sustaining a knee injury in Week 4 has been to sit out the first two days of practice and then participate in the third. However, he was not on the field on Friday during the portion of practice that was open to the media. Jay Gruden said that he did join the team at some point but he didn’t indicate that he took part in any football activity.

He has missed three games and it would not be surprising if he missed a fourth on Sunday. If Williams can’t go, Ty Nsekhe will start at left tackle.


Roullier has been out the last three games with a broken right (snapping) hand. He has had the cast off of it for a couple of weeks now and he could be ready to go on Sunday.

Harris was out of the game against the Chargers last Sunday with a concussion. He has been practicing on a limited basis all week. The chances that he can pass the concussion protocol seem good, although with concussions it is always difficult to know for sure.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


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Why ailing Zach Brown has plenty of incentive to keep playing

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Why ailing Zach Brown has plenty of incentive to keep playing

Redskins linebacker Zach Brown missed practice for a second straight day on Thursday, putting doubt into his availability for the game against the Cardinals.

Brown is leading the league in combined tackles and, probably, in injuries.

The team’s injury report says that he is dealing with four of them—toe, Achilles, and ankle with an illness piled on top of those.

“They’re hindering him quite a bit,” Jay Gruden said of Brown’s laundry list of ailments.

“Sickness is starting to clear up a little bit but he’s still a little sore. We’ll see if he makes any progress tomorrow. It’d have to be pretty significant, but we’ll have to wait and see.”


The illness might clear up but the other injuries are unlikely to go away until a few weeks into the offseason. He is getting treatments that include massage, laser, and acupuncture but rest is the only thing that will get rid of the problems.

Some have wondered why Brown persists with multiple injuries and the team now mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. For one thing, playing is what he does.

“I like to play the game,” said Brown last week.


“I like to play the game with passion and I hate to lose. I try my best to help people do better, just trying to help some of the young guys. At the end of the day, you rest when the season’s over.”

There are financial considerations as well, on a couple of different fronts. Brown will be a free agent in 2018 and he is risking further injury that could lower his value on the market. He says that does not factor into is thinking.

“Last two years I was on the free agent market, it’s the way I play,” he said. “If that was the case I would have just shut it down already.”

There are other, more immediate financial considerations as well. Brown has per-game roster bonuses of $15,625 that are paid if he is on the list of 46 active players. And he has incentive bonuses of up to $2.3 million according to Over the Cap. It’s safe to say that at least some of those bonuses will be attainable only if Brown is able to play effectively in all or nearly all of the scheduled 16 games.


Brown hasn’t spoken about the incentive bonus money being important and, given his answer to the free agency question, he probably wouldn’t. But this is not a player who has made a ton of money in his career. According to Spotrac, if he hits on his roster bonuses and on his likely to be earned incentives this year he will have about $7.7 million in career earnings. That’s a good chunk of money but once you take away taxes, a cut to his agent and other various and sundry expenses it’s not “set for life” money. It’s likely that his bank account would notice whatever he can collect in incentives.

Gruden has said that Brown is a player who could go on Sunday even with only one practice under his belt. We will know a lot more about his status this afternoon when his practice status for Friday and his game status for Sunday will be announced on the injury report.