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Need to Know: Working on a short week, Redskins face a competitive Bears team

Need to Know: Working on a short week, Redskins face a competitive Bears team

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 22, two days before the Washington Redskins visit the Chicago Bears.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 1:00; Player availability and Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins press conferences after practice approx. 2:45

Days until: Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 2; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 10; Wild card playoff round starts 16

Injuries of note:
Did not practice:
LB Compton (knee), LB Cravens (upper arm), CB Dunbar (concussion), TE Reed (shoulder)
Limited: OLB Kerrigan (elbow), DE Baker (ankle_
Note: The Redskins had a walkthrough on Wednesday; the injury report is an estimate of who would have practiced had they conducted a full practice.
Injury report

First look at Redskins vs. Bears

Too little time: When the Redskins have a short week, I have a lot to do and less time to do it in. My time crunch is multiplied exponentially when compared to the team I cover getting ready for a road game following a night game. For one thing they the game plan done and installed in about 60 fewer hours than you usually have to get it done. But as Jay Gruden said on Tuesday, it’s the physical recovery for the players that is the big challenge. And the Redskins have to do the night game-short week-road game cycle for the second time in less than a month.

Barkley a gamer: Matt Barkley is the third quarterback to start for the Bears this season. In four games his numbers are south of mediocre with completion percentage of 58.6, and a passer rating of 75.2, which would be 30th in the league if he had enough pass attempts to qualify. But he has helped keep his team in games. Last week against the Packers, the Bears had nothing to play for while Green Bay needed a win to stay in the playoff hunt. The Packers held a 27-10 lead going into the fourth quarter but Barley led three drives to tie it up before Aaron Rodgers did what he does and the Packers won. It’s not just Barkley; in a miserable season this team has not quit.

A good defense: By the NFL’s definition the Bears have a top-10 defense as they are ninth in yards allowed. The more sophisticated analysis by Football Outsiders isn’t quite as enthusiastic about the unit; they are 18th in defensive DVOA. That’s not great but the Redskins, ranked 25th in DVOA, would gladly trade places with them. They are about average against the pass (14th in DVOA) and not very good against the run (27th). Perhaps Rob Kelley can get rolling after the very tough night he had against the Panthers.

Team stat leaders: QB Barkley; rushing Jordan Howard 211 att., 1059 yards, 6 TD; receiving Alshon Jeffery 46 rec., 719 yards, 2 TD; Sacks Willie Young, 7.5

Three and out: TE Logan Paulsen, with the Redskins from 2010-2015, sees the field a lot as the Bears’ second tight end . . . Tracy Porter, who spent an injury-plagued 2014 season in Washington, is a starter for the Bears and a pretty solid performer . . . This is a game that the Redskins just hope to survive and walk out of with a win. I’d be very careful about complaining about a lack of style points if they do emerge with a victory.

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In case you missed it

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Jay Gruden reportedly to join Jaguars as their offensive coordinator

Jay Gruden reportedly to join Jaguars as their offensive coordinator

Just four months shy of his last appearance on the NFL gridiron sidelines, Jay Gruden may already have his 2020 gig lined up, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

Gruden was head coach of the Washington Redskins for six seasons, beginning in 2014 and going 35-49-1 in his burgundy and gold tenure. Gruden pushed the Redskins to their first postseason appearance since 2012 in his second year with the team, as well as back-to-back winning seasons in 2015 and 2016, not seen in Washington since 1996 and 1997. 

In March 2017, Gruden signed a two-year extension with the Redskins. He was fired after beginning the 2019 season 0-5. 

Recently, Gruden confirmed to Rapoport that he was "itching for something to do" and seeking employment before Jacksonville brought him in to interview for the OC role. 

After playing four years at the University of Louisville and and eight more in various football leagues, Gruden held many offensive roles, offensive coordinator for the Florida Tuskers and Cincinnati Bengals. 

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Joe Gibbs told Ron Rivera that Dan Snyder was never 'an interference' while he coached the Redskins

Joe Gibbs told Ron Rivera that Dan Snyder was never 'an interference' while he coached the Redskins

New Redskins head coach Ron Rivera did plenty of research before accepting the job earlier this month.

Rivera spent 30-35 hours with Redskins owner Dan Snyder before agreeing to be the ninth head coach of the owner's tenure. Additionally, he reached out to legendary Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs, and ended up spending several hours talking with him prior to accepting the job. The two originally spoke on the phone, before the three-time Super Bowl-winning head coach invited Rivera over to his home in Charlotte last month to discuss even further.

On Tuesday, Gibbs spoke on the Carol Maloney show, where he revealed some of the topics he spoke with Rivera about. One of those included the involvement of Snyder, who Gibbs spoke glowingly about.

"Where I felt like I could help the most was telling [Rivera] what it was like working with Dan," Gibbs said. "When I was there, Dan did every single thing he could do to help us win and was never, in any way, an interference. He was always trying to help in every single way he could."

Additionally, Gibbs raved about the Redskins fanbase. He explained to Rivera that fans in D.C. understand football, have been following the team forever, and are some of the most passionate in the sport.

"The other thing I could do, I felt like, was tell him about what it's like coaching in the greatest city in the world with the greatest fans in the world," Gibbs said. "I did tell him I thought it was the greatest job in the NFL."

Gibbs told Maloney that he hates making predictions, but had a strong one about the future of the Redskins fanbase.

"I think our fan base will come roaring back," Gibbs said. "I think [FedEx Field] will be full of Burgundy and Gold. They're going to be cheering their guts out."

When asked if he believed Rivera was the right man to lead the Redskins, Gibbs explained he was thrilled by the hire.

"He was certainly a great choice," Gibbs said. "[He was] Coach of the Year twice, put a team into the Super Bowl. And I think he's kind of a man's man. I think he can talk to the players. And I think he's proven that he can get the job done."

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