Here are the major talking points from Jay Gruden’s news conference on Thursday.
—Pierre Garçon may be overlooked by fans and media but not inside Redskins Park, says Gruden. “Pierre’s obviously a big part of our team and we don’t really try to listen to what outside people say,” he said. “We know what type of player he is. He’s a heck of a possession guy. Very tough, catching the tough balls across the middle or on the sideline or underneath or what have you, and he can go deep.” Garçon did have six catches for 51 yards against the Steelers so he wasn’t totally forgotten.
—Gruden trusts the ability of the team to bounce back after getting blown out on Monday. “That’s a great challenge… when adversity strikes, how you react, and that’s what separates the good teams from the great teams and the bad teams. And we are facing it right now. You never want to lose a game at home. Monday night, we failed. We all failed and how we bounce back is going to be a big part of our success throughout the season because we are going to have our ups and downs, there’s no question about it.”
—The Redskins committed five false starts against the Steelers and that is some low-hanging fruit that can be corrected. Gruden talked about why the penalties happened. “It was because they were trying to get a jump on the snap and timing the snap as opposed to waiting for the ball to be snapped so we’ve just got to address that,” he said. “You know, sometimes our quarterback might have been rolling the snap count too long or what have you and linemen were jumping. It’s been addressed and we’re just going to keep working.” Gruden noted that they haven’t had any false starts in practice this week so that’s a good start.
—The Redskins got just one sack of Ben Roethlisberger and Gruden said that was due to the situations the defense put itself in. “Last week we didn’t get in many situations where it was all-out rush,” he said. “Not many third and eights, third and 12s. We got a couple, we didn’t get much pressure, but we did get one sack – Kerrigan did. The key is first down we’ve got to do better, get them a second and long and then obviously try to get them in third down and long to try and make it more one-dimensional where we can rush.”
Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 23, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.
Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. Giants, NBC, 8:30
—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 7
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 17
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 24
Final thoughts on Redskins vs Giants
Look out for Eli—There are many reasons why the Giants are 2-8 but Eli Manning is not one of them. He isn’t nearly the turnover machine he has been for much of his career. His interception percentage this year is 1.6; he hasn’t been under 2.3 percent interceptions this decade. Manning only has 14 touchdown passes but considering that Odell Beckham, who went out in the fourth game of the season, still leads Giants wide receivers in touchdown receptions, that’s not bad.
Running game stuck—What makes Manning’s performance even more impressive is the fact that he doesn’t get much support from a running game. The Giants are 26th in the league with 920 yards. They have gained some traction lately after installing Orleans Darkwa as the starting running back; he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry for the season and 71 yards per game over the last three games. The Redskins certainly don’t want to let him get going tonight.
Reverting to reality—The Giants ranked 32nd in total defense in 2015. They dropped millions on free agents such as Janoris Jenkins, David Harrison, and Olivier Vernon and jumped to 10th. Now, this year they are 31st and equally bad against the pass (29th) and the run (30th). Health hasn’t been a huge issue, although Vernon has missed a few games and Jenkins was suspended. Redskins fans know full well that spending sprees don’t necessarily make for permanent improvements and Giants fans are learning it this year.
Keys to winning
- Run the ball—The Redskins are 4-2 this year when rushing for 90 yards or more.
- Continue to protect the ball—The Redskins have turned the ball over just twice in their last three games.
- Don’t give them hope—The Chiefs let the Giants hang around last week and New York stole a win. The Redskins need to get on top early and mash down on the gas pedal.
Prediction—It’s hard to see a scenario where the Redskins lose this one. Even in their injury-depleted state they are battling every game and the same can’t be said for their opponents today. The weather forecast is for cold temperatures but not much wind, ideal conditions for Cousins to throw for 300 yards. For once, the Redskins get up early and keep going.
Redskins 31, Giants 13
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In case you missed it
The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game.
Let's be honest: the call was terrible.
Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation.
We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.
The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan).
Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.
If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong.
You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.
Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.