The Redskins suffered more injuries to key players than any other team in the NFL last year. And the effects of that will carry over into this year.
Speaking at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, Jay Gruden said that tight end Jordan Reed and offensive tackles Trent Williams and Morgan Moses will not participate in organized team activities or in the team’s mandatory minicamp. The OTAs will start in mid-May and the minicamp will come about a month later.
Gruden said that training camp, which starts in late July, is the target date for getting these players back on the field.
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Reed did not participate in OTAs last year as he preferred to work out on his own. However, he reported to training camp with a toe injury and he never seemed to be healthy all year long. He played in just six games and caught 27 passes for 211 yards, all career lows. He finished the year on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.
Gruden is anxious to get Reed back in the lineup.
“Jordan’s a special guy,” he said. “There aren’t many tight ends in football who can do what he can do, running the option routes across the middle, breaking people down, lining up on the outside and beating people deep, going across the middle, he’s a special talent. He makes us better, without a doubt.”
Williams, who has been selected to the Pro Bowl for each of the last six years, and Moses, one of the better right tackles in the league, also make the team better. Williams suffered a knee injury in Week 4 and he rarely practiced the rest of the year. He missed a total of six games including the last three after he was put on injured reserve. Moses frequently joined Williams as a spectator during practice as he suffered from ankle problems. He did not miss a start although he did leave some games early due to the ankles.
While Gruden is anxious to get them back on the field, he emphasized that the important thing was to get them healthy, so they don’t suffer a repeat of 2017.
“They’re good guys, they both work extremely hard, they’re both good players so we’ve got to get them right,” said Gruden. “I don’t want Trent to go through what he went through last year. He played through a lot of pain, very uncomfortable, and really showed what type of team player, what type of leader he is by trying to do that. And Morgan did the same thing. Both of his ankles flared up on him pretty good and he came out of multiple games and still tried to fight through it.”
Gruden did say that backup tackle Ty Nsekhe, who missed time with a core muscle injury last year, will be ready for OTAs and that they will figure out who will man the other tackle position.
While it’s never good to have players sidelined in injuries, Reed, Moses, and Williams probably can afford to miss the time in OTAs. All three have been in the offense since Gruden arrived in 2014. While it would be optimal for Reed to maximize the time he works with new quarterback Alex Smith, they should be able to make up for lost time.