Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 28, 11 days before the Redskins visit the New England Patriots.
Read and react
Here are a few things said around Redskins Park on Tuesday and my reaction to them:
Jay Gruden talking about what running back Matt Jones needs to work on to improve:
He’s just got to continue to work on the pad level. Sometimes his patience, sometimes he cuts things back a little bit too quick wants to get north a little bit quicker than the play allows. But I like the way he runs.
Reaction: Jones is still a work in progress. His running is very unrefined; what he makes on a run is usually what his physical ability gets him. I don’t know if we’ll ever see the Alfred Morris we’ve seen for the last few years, whether the problem is the scheme or something else. He played 10 snaps against the Bucs, a number that does not bode well for his future. Jones is the future, and the future starts against the Patriots on November 8. The quicker he catches on, the better off the Redskins will be.
LB Preston Smith on learning how to become a better player:
You've got to be kind of hard on yourself just like the coaches would be. You've got to be critical when you watch film. You can't just think about all of the good plays you make or all the good stuff, you've got to look at the bad stuff and you've got to correct your mistakes and know what you've got to do to get better the next week.
Reaction: One of the skills that rookies need to learn is how to watch film. Too many will focus on the good plays and not learn from the bad ones, as Smith alluded to. The faster they learn how to be self-critical, the better off they will be.
Chris Baker on the team dealing with all of the injuries this year:
In this league it's a next man up mentality. We're not the only team in the league that's suffering with key injuries to key players . . . We've been able to withstand all the injuries we have, we just have to continue to find ways to win games.
Reaction: Baker was once a “next man up”. He signed with the Redskins after bouncing around with a few teams and he came off of the practice squad when a few players got dinged up and earned some playing time. When nose tackle Barry Cofield went out with an injury the first game of the 2014 season, Baker stepped into the starting job. Baker did a passable job at nose tackle but he seems to be better suited to playing end in the 3-4 scheme. Baker has thrived in Joe Barry’s one-gap scheme, which allows linemen to be more aggressive. He’s been the team’s best defensive lineman this year and one of the best defensive players overall.
Gruden on improving the defense over the second half of the season:
We missed way too many tackles. I like the effort that they’re playing with. There’s a lot of things we can build off of. The main thing is just tackling and finishing plays and running to the ball. I always preach on hustle plays and the fundamentals of tackling, trying to get the ball out, turnovers. Those are things that we’re going to continue to work and work and work.
Reaction: The defense has improved in almost every significant statistical category for the season but they have taken some steps back in the last few weeks. The injuries have really hurt them. Will Blackmon is not a No. 2 corner but as long as DeAngelo Hall and Chris Culliver are out he will be forced into the role. Trenton Robinson is a fine special teams player but he’s not a starting strong safety. And if I know about those two, it’s certain that Tom Brady knows about them. It is likely that any defensive improvement will not take place until after the Patriots game.
Smith on what it takes become a consistently good player:
You've just got to stay consistent and keep working hard, things will fall into place. You've got to believe in the system the coaches set out for us and the game plan they set out for us. And just keep working hard and let things fall into place . . . Practice, practice, practice every day, sticking to the game plan.
Reaction: I’ve heard that Smith came into the league not really knowing the level of commitment and hard work it takes to make it in the NFL. He is still learning and perhaps that is why he is not used in games as much as many of us think he should be. There is no reason for concern in the long term but he may not be as good as a rookie as many thought he could be.
—Today’s schedule: Bye week
—Days until: Redskins @ Patriots 11; Saints @ Redskins 18; Redskins @ Panthers 25
In case you missed it
- Kerrigan hopes to play
- Redskins operating more efficiently than they did last year
- Kirk Cousins sells shirt with new catchphrase for charity
- Jones wants to sign Greg Hardy to long-term contract
- Fantasy Football: Week 8 Waiver Wire
- Banged-up Skins catch a well-timed break
- Bye is coming at a good time for the Redskins