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Jay Gruden's latest update on Quinton Dunbar's nerve injury doesn't sound good

Jay Gruden's latest update on Quinton Dunbar's nerve injury doesn't sound good

The Redskins rolled the dice a bit this offseason and entered Week 1 with Quinton Dunbar as their starting cornerback opposite Josh Norman. The plan worked.

Dunbar got off to a hot start this season, grabbing an interception in the team's Week 1 win in Arizona and playing a large role in Washington's early defensive success.

Things slowed down though when Dunbar suffered a msyterious injury at practice before a Week 7 contest against the Cowboys. Dunbar would miss that game against Dallas, and then another one Week 8 in New York. 

The team revealed Dunbar was dealing with a nerve pain in his leg. At first it was in his shin, but later, the problem was in his hamstring. 

Dunbar tried to play Week 9 against Atlanta, but was ineffective and played less than half of the defensive snaps. He sat out two more games, against the Bucs and then the Texans, before a disastrous return against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. 

On one play against Dallas WR Amari Cooper, Dunbar simply fell down and did not have the speed to catch up. In the second half of that game, it became clear Dunbar was not healthy, and he couldn't match Cooper's speed at any point.

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden acknowledged Dunbar was not at 100 percent in the second half of the Dallas game, and it sounds like the coach doesn't know when his cornerback will get back to full strength. 

"This is a unique deal. When you're talking about the nerve and you're talking about that area for a guy who utilizes his speed, it's tough," Gruden said. "We're trying to do everything we can as far as rehab is concerned, seeing the doctors and specialists for the nerve, but at the end of the day it's all about what he feels comfortable with. Last week, he felt comfortable enough to play but, you could see he was struggling with it as the game went on."

Without Dunbar, the Redskins must lean on rookies Greg Stroman and Danny Johnson. Stroman was taken in the seventh round and Johnson was undrafted. While both players have shown some flashes, neither is polished, or even particularly ready for significant NFL action. 

Listening to Gruden, however, it doesn't sound like Dunbar will be back anytime soon.

"He'll get it back, eventually. I just don’t know when. I don’t think anybody can really tell when," the coach said. "He has just got to continue to do what he's got to do in there and see as many people he can and stay off of it I guess."

The entire injury has been weird. Nerve issues often recover at their own pace, and Dunbar's is fitting that bill. And even with all the medical attention available to Dunbar from the Redskins, the core problem still hasn't been exactly pinpointed. 

"They kind of have it narrowed down to what it is and where it is. It’s just a matter of when he feels comfortable, where he can actually push off and run fast. I think he can run a little bit but when he tries to put a lot weight on it and push and extend his speed, that's where I think he has trouble. He loses function as far as power in his leg. It feels weak."

A cornerback needs speed. Dunbar needs speed. The Redskins need Dunbar. 

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like Dunbar will have his speed for the Eagles game on Monday night. In turn, don't expect the Redskins to have Dunbar on the field. 

When will he be back? Jay Gruden got asked that exact question.

"I don't know." 

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Jay Gruden deserves praise for keeping Redskins 'out of the ditches'

Jay Gruden deserves praise for keeping Redskins 'out of the ditches'

On paper, Jay Gruden's tenor with the Redskins is nothing to write home about. Through five seasons he holds a 35-44-1 record, good enough for a .444 winning percentage. Looking at that, some may draw the conclusion that Gruden hasn't been what the Redskins need at the helm.

But according to Pro Football Talk's Darin Gantt, that's not exactly the case. Taking into account the variables Gruden has dealt with throughout the five years, Gantt actually sees him as a "really good" coach.

"I have always come down of the side, maybe, of guys who are doing more with less," Gantt said recently on a Redskins Talk Podcast. "I think Jay has done a pretty good job keeping things in the middle."

Doing more with less and working in the middle essentially defines Jay Gruden's career with the Redskins. Besides his opening year in 2014 in which Washington went 4-12, Gruden's teams have consistently finished right around the middle of the pack.

In the last four seasons, the Redskins have not won more than nine games, but they also haven't lost more than nine. Hovering right around .500, they've always been around league average.

Part of the reason Gantt is willing to give Gruden praise for records that some coaches would get scolded for revolves around what he's had to work with. Gruden's time as head coach has been filled with injuries and other dilemmas both on and off the field. 

In those circumstances, it wouldn't be surprising to see a team completely flounder and spiral out of control. But, that hasn't really been the case with Gruden. Dealing with what he has, the head coach has kept the team competitive for the most part. The team hasn't been a perennial playoff contender, but it also hasn't been at the bottom of the league.

For that ability to keep the Redskins out of the basement despite all the problems he's encountered, Gruden is someone Gantt respects.

"They're able to keep it out of the ditches," Gantt said about Gruden and former NFL head coach John Fox, who Gantt followed during his time in Carolina.

"I think again in the NFL there's something to be said for that," Gantt added. "When things get sideways a Jim Zorn can lose control in a hurry. I feel like Jay just got sort of a steady hand on the wheel."

Until Gruden takes Washington back to the postseason, the critiques will continue to come, as they would for almost all head coaches in similar situations. But when looking at Gruden's time in Washington with a wide view of everything that has happened, Gantt believes the head coach deserves at least a little praise for keeping things afloat.

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Best birthday ever? 107-year-old Redskins fan celebrates in Burgundy and Gold

Best birthday ever? 107-year-old Redskins fan celebrates in Burgundy and Gold

When Carletha "Nana" West was growing up, she began to take an interest in football. In particular, she took notice of a certain Redskins quarterback. 

"When Sammy Baugh was quarterback I liked him and I was just learning football at that time," West said. "I was young myself."

Baugh commanded the Redskins offense from 1937-1952 and became one of West's favorite player. With that, her fandom for the Redskins grew.

Decades later, her love for the Redskins remains. So for her 107th birthday -- yes, 107th -- she, of course, celebrated it with some Burgundy and Gold festivities.

Joined by Redskins President Bruce Allen, West took in her birthday on Thursday, July 18, at Brandywine in Alexandria, Va. Not only was she given a customized Redskins jersey with the number 107 and the name "Nana", but West also got a day named after her. In Alexandria, July 18 will now be known as Carletha "Nana" West Day.

West spent some time reminiscing about her years as a Redskins fan, singing 'Hail to the Redskins' and even sharing her advice on how to live a long, fulfilling life. Besides loving football, she shared some simple words of wisdom.

"Make friends," West said. "And keep them."

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