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Need to Know: Gruden says Matt Jones has not lost his trust

Need to Know: Gruden says Matt Jones has not lost his trust

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 8, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Atlanta Falcons.

Read and react

Here are some quotes from Jay Gruden’s and Kirk Cousins’ press conferences from Wednesday and my reaction to them.

Gruden on Matt Jones: “He’s never lost my trust [because of fumbles]. A couple of weeks ago it was Alfred [Morris] who was in my doghouse and he’s not. It’s just the way to works out with the handoffs and the carries. I like both of those guys.”
Reaction: We tend to overact to each week’s snap count and the number of carries each running back gets each week. Against the Giants the talk was that Morris is on hiw way out and then against  It goes under a microscope each week based on what really is a small sample size of 30 carries or so. When we look at the end of the year we will see who really is the “lead dog”.

Cousins on red zone opportunities: "Too many times we probably haven’t come away with touchdowns when we need to in the red zone. That will be a point of emphasis going forward—how can we get six instead of three?
Reaction: The Redskins are about average in the red zone. They have put it in the end zone on 60 percent of the time they get inside the 20. That’s 12th in the NFL, not great, not bad, especially considering that they don’t really have a classic, big end zone receiver to throw to. They will try to improve, and they should. But expecting to get much higher than 60 percent in the red zone could be unrealistic.

Gruden on the two unnecessary roughness calls against Trenton Robinson: “We always send in plays [to the league] throughout the week and we get answers back . . . We got that information and we talked to Trenton . . . He was not at fault in those instances.”
Reaction: I don’t see any reason why every unnecessary roughness call should not be reviewed, especially the bang-bang helmet to helmet variety. It’s just happens too fast on the field for the officials to make the proper call. And if time is an issue, just have someone in the league office take a look. It’s 2015; if there is a way to do a better job on this, they should do it.

Cousins on why the Redskins are having more success on third down: I think it’s a combination of things, I don’t think there is one area that stands out. I do believe another year in the system, familiarity with concepts. I’ve always believed that you get what you emphasize and I think our coaches went back and said, ‘we need to be better on third down, let’s emphasize that.’
Reaction: The Redskins have made a remarkable turnaround in their third down conversion rate, improving from a 32 percent success rate in 2014 to 46 percent this year. What is surprising is that they have not been in easier distance situations this year. In 2014 they had an average of 7.48 yards to go on third down. This year the average is 7.54 yards. So they are putting themselves in roughly the same situations and having a much better success rate.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:40; Jay Gruden and Joe Barry news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Redskins @ Falcons 3; Redskins @ Jets 10; Bucs @ Redskins 17

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Josh Norman goes on 3-minute rant on misconstrued comments on Dak Prescott

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Josh Norman goes on 3-minute rant on misconstrued comments on Dak Prescott

Redskins cornerback Josh Norman is upset with the way his comments about Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott were portrayed by some media outlets this week.

Speaking after a humbling 31-21 loss to Dallas at FedEx Field on Sunday, Norman went on a three-minute rant disputing the portrayal of comments he felt were not critical at all of Prescott, just a general observation of how NFL quarterbacks will play if you don’t put pressure on them.

“[Prescott] is a great football player. Dak always has been a great football player,” Norman said. “And they did a great job out here today and they showed that. But what I will not do [is] allow the media - or whomever the case may be – [is] stir my words and change them to what they want it to be. It never has been the case. Never have been the case.

”Prescott torched the Redskins for 26 of 30 passes and 269 yards with three touchdowns. He was intercepted once, but after a scoreless first quarter Dallas took control of the game. At 6:18 of the second quarter, Prescott hit wide receiver hit Devin Smith for a 51-yard touchdown pass. Norman was beat in coverage on the play, though he refused to say one way or the other if he was supposed to have safety help.

Prescott completed 25 of 32 passes for 405 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-17 win against the New York Giants in Week 1. His passer rating was a perfect 158.3. Norman was asked about that performance on Thursday.

"You stand back there in the pocket all day and go through your first, second and third reads and come back to your first one, OK, cool. Anybody can do that," Norman told reporters in Ashburn, Va.

"At the end of the day, he's been playing well. As you can see, he's evolved. He's growing in the system. He's just taking his keys and picking his targets.

”Newspapers and websites across the country picked up those comments and in many cases used a truncated form of the full quote in headlines and tweets: “Anybody can do that.” That was what angered Norman.

“Because that’s the reason why athletes, entertainers, don’t even want to [expletive] with you guys to be 100 with you,” Norman said. “It’s no need. [Prescott is] my brother. That’s a kin….He’s a great quarterback. All these guys that we play are. I just wish that media would respect that and understand and don’t try to twist people the best opportunity, the chance to get out there. It just really sucks when that happens, man. It really does.”

The comments drew attention from some members of the Cowboys’ organization. Team vice president Stephen Jones addressed them on a radio show in Dallas and deemed them unnecessary. Norman didn’t disagree because he insists he wasn’t trying to take shots at Prescott.

“It’s sad. But now you’ve really got to watch the [reporters] that are doing great jobs. You got to suffer with me because of the spoiled rotten apples that come from hell,” Norman said. “It’s unbearable man. The good reporters that actually come in here and do a job they supposed to do, they hold their head high and you respect them. But it’s those sour apples, man, that make you all jobs suck. It really is, man. And it’s sad. It really is sad. Because you pin us against each other. You pin my brother against my other brother. You don’t have to do that. You don’t.”

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Adrian Peterson passes Jim Brown on all-time TD list: 'Means a lot more than the other ones will'

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Adrian Peterson passes Jim Brown on all-time TD list: 'Means a lot more than the other ones will'

FEDEX FIELD -- In his season debut, Redskins running back Adrian Peterson made his presence felt early. In the first quarter of Washington's Week 2 loss to the Cowboys, the 34-year-old running back punched it in the end zone from one yard out, giving Washington an early touchdown lead over their rival.

This touchdown was no ordinary touchdown, however. It marked Peterson's 107th career rushing touchdown, passing NFL legend Jim Brown on the all-time rushing touchdown list. 

"Man, it's just a blessing. it continues to show me how blessed I am," Peterson said on passing Brown. "To have the opportunity and ability to pass some of the greats that paved the way."

Brown played for the Cleveland Browns for nine seasons. He's considered one of the best, if not the best, running backs to ever play the game. He won the league's Most Valuable Player award three times, making first-team All-Pro eight times.

Last year, Peterson passed the likes of Barry Sanders, Marshall Faulk, and even Redskins great John Riggins on the all-time TD list. Passing Brown meant much more to Peterson than any of those.

"He was the first one that paved the way for us," Peterson said. "This one means a lot more than the other ones will when I pass them because Jim Brown is a guy I looked up to. I've talked to him on several occasions, just the look in his eyes when I'm talking to him, it's like '[wow].' That is just motivating to me."

There was a time Peterson may have questioned whether he would pass Brown on the all-time rushing touchdown list. After stints with the Saints and Cardinals in 2017, Peterson was a free agent just last August, wondering if any team would call him again.

Washington did, and for the most part, it's worked out for both parties. In 2018, Peterson rushed for over 1,000 yards and earned the team's Offensive Most Valuable Player award.

Of course, Peterson has dealt with adversity in Washington as well. Just last week, he was a healthy scratch in Philadelphia, something he had never been before in his 13-year career. But the running back held his head high, stayed positive and professional through it all.

His teammates appreciated the running back's professionalism as well.

"Man, I appreciate him bouncing back from last week," Redskins wide receiver Paul Richardson said on Peterson. "Anybody could have been frustrated. he stepped up as a leader. He stepped up as a man, he stepped up as a ballplayer, a teammate. He came out and put all that stuff behind him and left it on the field. When he came out, he performed for us, and I appreciate that."

Unfortunately, Peterson's accomplishment was overshadowed by the rest of the Redskins afternoon. It wasn't pretty, as Dallas cruised to a 31-21 victory, scoring on five-straight possessions at one point.

"It feels good to have passed him today, but it's bittersweet because we didn't get this divisional win," Peterson said. 

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