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Need to Know: Gruden looking for ‘positive vibes’ in Redskins’ remaining preseason games

Aug 23, 2016, 5:12 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, August 23, 11 days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 players.


Today’s schedule: Practice 1:10; Player availability and Jay Gruden press conference after practice, approx. 3:15

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 226 days ago. It will be 20 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 26; Browns @ Redskins 40; Redskins @ Ravens 47

—Former Redskins quarterback and current team radio broadcaster Sonny Jurgensen was born on this date in 1934.

Gruden wants good vibrations, energy in final preseason games

The Redskins are halfway through their preseason with a 1-1 record, having lost in Atlanta before beating the New York Jets at FedEx Field. But the preseason is not about the record, it’s about getting ready for the regular season. It’s been so far, so good in that regard. Although they have bee sloppy at times—you need look no further than the 24 accepted penalties against them to see that—things have gone along reasonably well. Jay Gruden wants to keep that going.

“I think you want to get some positive vibes going,” when asked what he wanted to team to accomplish in the rest of the preseason.” You want to come out with some great energy. And I think you just want to display what we’re all about – the effort, getting out of the huddle, tempo, all of that stuff.”

The Redskins play the Bills on Friday in the third preseason game. Gruden rested many of his key starters against the Jets and he said that the first team will play extensively against Buffalo. That will be a good test of the tempo and “all that stuff”.

The fourth preseason game, in which the starters and key reserves won’t play at all, is September 1 in Tampa Bay. It is usually a challenge for a team to look efficient during those games. All the coaches can really hope for is the “great energy”.

Gruden can control some aspects of what happens in the two remaining games but he can’t ensure that everything will go the way he would like to go.

“Hopefully we get some two-minute, some different situational work to coach off of and learn from, and we’ll go from there,” said Gruden.

The two-minute aspect is worth watching. Kirk Cousins and the first-team offense played only eight plays against the Falcons and did not get into a two-minute situation. It would be good to experience one against another team before possibly needing to do it when it counts when the season starts against the Steelers on September 12.

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In case you missed it 

  1. redskins12thman - Aug 23, 2016 at 5:47 AM

    Top Ten Wish list:

    1. No injuries
    2. Fewer penalties
    3. Win turnover battle (ideally no turnovers committed by the Redskins)
    4. Opportunity to evaluate Kelley, Marshall and Brown for RB depth
    5. Opportunity to evaluate other bubble players against the Bills starters to round out the roster
    6. Sustained offensive drives (no 3 and outs)
    7. Continued first team defense success (mostly 3 and outs); opportunities to see how defense does against two good running teams — Bills and Buccaneers
    8. See strong special teams execution; in particular, field goal attempts, punt returns and defending returnable kick-offs
    9. Opportunity for development of rookies (Cravens, Fuller, Ioannidis, Marshall, UCFAs like Kelley, Lanier, Harris, Thompson, Thorpe)
    10. Don’t reveal anything to the Steelers

    Rich, I’ve heard so little about Matt Ioannidis on the field. Any chance he is placed on the practice squad?

    • Rich Tandler - Aug 23, 2016 at 7:09 AM

      @12th man, I doubt it on Ioannidis. They’ll keep 7 DL and he’ll be the seventh. Might have been a tougher decision if Trent Murphy had remained on DL but fairly simple now.

  2. colorofmyskinz - Aug 23, 2016 at 5:56 AM

    I think they pick up a few backs for sure with the cuts looming.

    Maybe we pick one up in the 90 to 75 cut, and then one from the 75 to 53 cut to hedge on getting the perfect back.

    Either way we are CODE RED and need at minimum one. I think Mack and Marshall or Kelly gets placed on the practice squad again to pick another back up. Looks like Kelley has the edge on Marshall for sure. We keep Jones, Thompson, and Kelley on the 53 and add another from another team is my guess.


    • redskins12thman - Aug 23, 2016 at 6:05 AM

      I think the Redskins pick up RB at the 75 to 53 cut, unless Kelley and Marshall and Brown are awful against the Bills in which case they may do it at first cut too; could see two of the three rookies on the practice squad. Having 4 RBs on the squad would not surprise me, which could either mean Doctson on PUP or Paulsen is waived.

      • colorofmyskinz - Aug 23, 2016 at 6:18 AM


      • Trey Gregory - Aug 23, 2016 at 1:16 PM

        I really think it would be a mistake for Paulsen not to make the final 53. We’re going with 3 RBs instead of 4 because we got rid of the FB. That usually means carry 4 TEs because one of them can play FB if needed. So only carrying 3 RBs and 3 TEs…. I don’t like it. Paulsen is the biggest body we have at TE, a good blocker, and not half bad when he has to run out for a pass. He’s not a great TE but he’s better than he gets credit for.

        • redskins12thman - Aug 23, 2016 at 2:30 PM

          I like Paulsen too and hope he is retained by the Redskins for this season.

  3. colorofmyskinz - Aug 23, 2016 at 6:09 AM

    Ok. So no one really believes Grudens reason for sitting Cousins right?

    The real reason is quite clear. Kirk Cousins blindside body guard was not planned to be on the field against what everyone knows is a very potent pass rushing defense (Jets). That’s right, Trent Williams was not there to protect him in preseason against the raging beasts of the Jets Dline. Magically, Trent comes back and now Cousins is playing the entire half.

    I don’t believe Grudens BS about wanting to give colt reps. He was protecting Cousins with Ty N battling the first string rush of the Jets.

    Pretty clear.

    • colorofmyskinz - Aug 23, 2016 at 6:17 AM

      When you compare our defensive line to the jets there is no comparison. No way Gruden was going to place Kirk between Ty and them in a preseason game.

      • reedo3000 - Aug 23, 2016 at 8:20 AM

        If your theory holds, it speaks volumes about last season’s preseason opener against the Lions…

        Another great DLine
        Another backup Tackle in for Trent
        A different QB behind center

        Just food for thought. #TrollingOnATuesday

        • colorofmyskinz - Aug 23, 2016 at 9:04 AM

          Lol. I guess you are saying the same treatment was not offered to RGIII. Lol. I think it was a smart move on Grudens part. Imagine what the headlines would read had we allowed our $20 Million starting QB get hurt due to having a backup in at tackle.

          RGIII was not the declared franchised QB at that point. He was still being evaluated.

      • John - Aug 23, 2016 at 1:08 PM

        Wasn’t Kirk playing behind half a line last year against the Jets, w/o Lichtensteiger or Williams? Also in the Dallas game at end of season, no Williams.

        Teams are breathing a sigh of relief of not having to face “the beast”, TM. LOL…

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 23, 2016 at 2:53 PM

          Don’t forget that RG3 didn’t last long against the Giants and Gruden sent the other QBs in the play with the same line against the same defense (I honestly can’t remember who came in after RG3’s concussion. I want to say it was Colt but I can’t remember).

          The defense didn’t magically let up after RG3 left. Whoever was under center faced the same risk. I also think it’s a stretch to call them a great defensive line. But whatever. They’re certainly better than ours.

    • bangkokben - Aug 23, 2016 at 9:19 AM

      This is the kind of silly stuff I was referring to the other day. No basis for anything but your own suspicious mind. Cousins has been very good at getting rid of the ball and would’ve easily gotten rid of the ball on basic plays — presumably. Sure, coaches are a very cautious group and hate to take chances in general but it’s just pure speculation that insinuates something sinister about Gruden. Welcome to the internet!

      • colorofmyskinz - Aug 23, 2016 at 10:12 AM

        Nothing sinister was meant to be insinuated. I said it was smart. It is just they are never going to give us the truth in a press conference. Think about it. If Gruden said that he would basically be saying he does not believe in Ty’s ability. He would never do that. Just saying, everyone try’s to take these pressers as gospel and the truth of the matter is that many are not 100% correct as they state it. You have to speculate to find the truth.

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 23, 2016 at 1:27 PM

          You are correct that player and coaches usually don’t speak the truth in press conferences. They’re just going through the PR motions saying what they’re supposed to. I absolutely hate post game interviews because they’re pointless. It’s all scripted and nobody is saying what they mean (it’s my job to do these btw, I feel so useless peddling that crap). But then, every now and then, a player or coach says what they mean and they get ripped for it. RG3 said his line needed to block better (which was true) or that he had to think of himself as the best QB in the league in order to go out and try to play like the best QB in the league (that quote got taken WAY out of context). Carmello Anthony says gold medals matter to him and he gets ripped for not caring about NBA championships (WAY WAY out of context). Cam spoke his mind (eventually) after the SB and got ripped to shreds. And so on. So of course they’re going to go with the safe answers.

          But that doesn’t mean you’re right about this. It’s a convenient story that people will latch on to because they want to argue that Gruden didn’t treat RG3 correctly. That’s the sinister aspect. Ty is a great swing tackle. Not a great starting tackle, but one of the top swing tackles in the league. He does well enough to send Cousins out there. There’s a chance that Gruden is going to give the starters more reps than normal on Friday, so he rested them last week. There are other explanations. But we don’t know any of them to be true or not. And I personally think it’s irresponsible to go around speculating like that with zero information to base it on.

  4. bangkokben - Aug 23, 2016 at 11:32 AM

    Seems like it is time to predict the first level of cuts. So, here’s my attempt with apologies to any of the young men and their families. I wish them the best.

    Al Bond T
    Cody Booth OL
    Mariel Cooper CB
    Corey Crawford DE
    Shiro Davis LB
    Reggie Diggs WR
    Ejiro Ederaine LB
    Carlos Fields LB or get rid of Riley now
    Joe Kerridge FB
    Jerrell Powe NT
    Jarvis Turner WR
    Kelsey Young RB

    and some one gets put on IR after the game

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 23, 2016 at 11:39 AM

      I don’t think it would be smart to part ways with Riley now, what if you have an injury to one of the other top ILBs?

      He’s a final cut, if he’s cut.

      • Tyler McCray - Aug 23, 2016 at 12:38 PM

        Riley is a very tuff decision. Y’all keep throwing him around like he cannot play. I love the depth we are getting at middle linebacker but he will be on the team this year. We will have a few boarder line cuts for sure but not a MLB.
        Also if I may…..CODE RED at rb!


      • bangkokben - Aug 23, 2016 at 5:04 PM

        I agree. That’s the way I see it. Riley hasn’t impressed me at all, has had limited action, and action late. I expect that they may be just trying to see what the other guys offer and plan on keeping him but the other possibility is they “want to give a vet a chance to catch on somewhere else.” I’ve got Riley being a first cut at less than 20%.

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 24, 2016 at 12:13 AM

          It’s probably more like 0%. If they cut him and then compton tears his ACL the next day they’ll look like morons. A well deserved image as it would be moronic to cut him in the first rounds.

        • bangkokben - Aug 24, 2016 at 9:40 AM

          Riley can’t replace Compton. Maybe Foster can. I don’t know but it is a good question to see who’s Compton’s replacement. Robinson came in the few plays Compton was injured after taking over the starting role.

        • redskins12thman - Aug 24, 2016 at 10:48 AM

          Compton’s replacement is Spaight. Riley and Foster play alongside Compton / Spaight.

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 23, 2016 at 1:36 PM

      I agree Riley is a final cut if any. But Carlos Fields? Bye bye.

      The reason we talk about Riley being cut is because of his contract. He will be a cap casualty if cut. But not because he can’t play. Spaight is making it easier to cut him too.

    • redskins12thman - Aug 23, 2016 at 1:50 PM

      I don’t think Crawford and Fields get cut at this stage; I would guess they’re still in contention for the practice squad. Cooper and Kerridge might be as well.

      I hope Riley is still in contention for 53 player roster spot.

      • bangkokben - Aug 23, 2016 at 5:07 PM

        All the guys you mentioned were last on my list. It’s hard. Who’d you replace them with?

    • redskins12thman - Aug 23, 2016 at 2:03 PM

      Bowen and Daniels no longer count as part of roster now correct? We’re at 88 players right now?

      Kasitati, LeRibeus, Stewart, Wakefield and I. Williams might be on first bubble too.

      • bangkokben - Aug 23, 2016 at 5:10 PM

        Bowen and Daniels won’t count against the active 75 — at least that is how I understand it. Some of these guys have had a surprising amount of snaps. That could go both ways. On offense, it you don’t get snaps, then you’re likely gone. On defense, it seems as if they were letting the threes and fours get extras reps.

    • redskins12thman - Aug 23, 2016 at 2:07 PM

      I missed this; I would expect Jeremy Harris will be one of the first 13/15 cut.

      • bangkokben - Aug 23, 2016 at 5:13 PM

        He’s certainly not safe. Hard to tell which CB goes first. Cooper, Carrington, Harris, or someone else?

        • redskins12thman - Aug 23, 2016 at 8:32 PM

          1. Harris, 2. Cooper (maybe practice squad), 3. Carrington (probably practice squad), 4. Toler (I hope he makes 53; if not, he will join another NFL team and I wouldn’t be surprised if he joins NFC East team).

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 23, 2016 at 3:00 PM

      Are we all assuming that Garvin is safe? If so, why? What has he really done other than miss a tackle he should have made in his sleep? I don’t recall any good reports about him from camp and he hasn’t really done anything in the preseason. I understand that he’s a ST demon, but is that worth the last ILB spot? I think having a good ST unit is very important but there’s no reason why guys like Spaight and Riley shouldn’t be able to fill that role and do well. Ultimately the defense is more important than ST. It just is. And having quality depth matters.

      So maybe they talk to Riley about a pay cut? Maybe they offer him the same amount of money but it’s based on incentives? Give him a bump if he earns the starting role again? That would make it a lot easier to keep Riley and cut Garvin.

      • redskins12thman - Aug 23, 2016 at 3:30 PM

        I think Garvin is on the bubble too.

        If Riley takes a pay cut, can the savings be reflected in next year’s salary cap?

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 23, 2016 at 3:46 PM

          Yes. I believe so. If not the. That’s something I’ve never heard of. They should be allowed to roll over any savings to next year. There’s a cap floor they have to meet. But we’re in no danger of reaching that.

        • Rich Tandler - Aug 23, 2016 at 4:39 PM

          @12th man Savings would come this year since they wouldn’t be paying his $4 million salary. But it’s six of one half a dozen of the other since the cap space created by releasing Riley would roll over along with other cap space.

        • redskins12thman - Aug 23, 2016 at 8:19 PM


      • bangkokben - Aug 23, 2016 at 5:17 PM

        I think he’s safe through the first cut. Isn’t the fourth game were get our answers about the last position battles?

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 24, 2016 at 12:17 AM

          Yeah. I was talking just in general. Not strictly first cuts. I haven’t seen anybody talking about him not making the team. There’s probably been a few roster projections he was absent from and I just didnt notice. But he’s kind of been the forgotten man.

  5. Skulb - Aug 23, 2016 at 1:05 PM

    I want them to set a world record in holding penalties!

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 23, 2016 at 1:33 PM

      Just call Jordan Reed. He can single handily cover that. His super hero persona would be, The Hold: Momentarily slowing down nefarious bad guys with a gloved-grip outside the shoulder pads. The Hold can stop any drive along with his sidekick Yellow Flag aka dirty laundry. No momentum will survive!

      • Skulb - Aug 23, 2016 at 2:01 PM

        I was going for reverse psychology, but superhero satire works just as well. To the Yellow Flagmobile!

        • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 23, 2016 at 2:29 PM

          I guess that makes Morgan Moses his sidekick.


        • Trey Gregory - Aug 23, 2016 at 2:44 PM

          I was very pleased with Moses after last season. Didn’t think he was about to be a pro bowl type player, but plenty good. And I’ve been alarmed with him in the preseason. Mostly his hands. It’s like he forgot what to do. But his feet have been slow at times too. I mean, everybody will have a bad play now and then. But he’s stringing them together. I’m really hoping he’s just knocking off the rust.

          And if we get 100 holding penalties I will lose my mind. 10 yards is already way too much for holding, which could technically be called every single snap. But until the NFL changes that, these guys need to get it together.

  6. bangkokben - Aug 23, 2016 at 7:34 PM

    FYI from FO:

    NFL Changes Injury Report Rules
    Well, computing Adjusted Games Lost for 2016 will certainly be interesting. The NFL has made a strange decision to drop the term “probable” from the injury report. Instead, players will only be listed as “questionable” and “doubtful.” This means that any player with any kind of minor injury will probably be listed as “questionable” even if that player is almost certain to play on Sunday. That’s frustrating for fantasy football players, gamblers, and most importantly around here, people who analyze NFL injury trends.

    I’m really not sure why the league didn’t just leave things the way they were. What was wrong with a designation that allowed teams to list players with minor injuries who were probably going to play? By making the injury designations more opaque, the league increases the importance of inside information. Which is not what they were going for. Probably.

    • redskins12thman - Aug 23, 2016 at 8:02 PM

      I agree 100% and would like to understand why this decision was made.

      Previously, you knew that players listed as probable were 95% likely to play (I was told that was the actual average) and now, as you stipulate, they’ll be lumped into questionable, making this category more nebulous and less meaningful and as you say opaque (i.e., anywhere from 50%-95% is too wide a range).

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 23, 2016 at 8:12 PM

      Its because they can’t just leave stuff alone. They have to tinker with crap every single year and it’s created a monsterous and vague rule book and policy changes that even former coaches and players can’t keep up with.

      But yes, this is probably about inside info. Probably fantasy and DFL. That has become HUGE business. Damn Disney invested hundreds of millions of dollars into it. They need to make it so people who pay for an information service get a leg up.

  7. redskins12thman - Aug 23, 2016 at 7:52 PM

    I am looking forward to Friday’s game. I think Coach Ryan is eager to prove that last year’s performance was an anomaly and that this summer’s off-field issues are non-factors.

    The Bills defense will be tough both against the run and in pressuring the quarterback, a very good test for our offensive line and Cousins. Lorenzo Alexander is starting and playing well for them. They often have five in the box and are not afraid to blitz. It will be interesting to see how our TEs are used. The Bills DBs are very “handsy” and our receivers will need to find a way to create separation to expose the Bills attempts to slow down receivers. Norman and Breeland need to aware of wide sweep running plays so they can avert the Bills CB and make an open field tackle.

    The Bills offense has four strong RBs with LeSean McCoy as the standout and Mike Gillislee as the backup. Gillislee is under the concussion protocol so he will probably miss the game. No worries, Reggie Bush will provide a nice complement. The Bills have also rookie Jonathan Williams, a 5th round pick, playing well followed by two other RBs who will most likely not make their team; this is why Karlos Williams, the Bills’ number two back last season, was expendable.

    The Bills’ starting and back-up QB are effective runners too and Tyrod Taylor is particularly elusive. In addition to the running game being strong, the Bills actively uses their RBs in the passing game too. The Redskins have to match-up well against McCoy and Bush setting up to receive passes coming out of the backfield and even down field; they will be a good test for our defense.

    Similar to Reed, both Charles Clay and Chris Gragg are big targets and have good hands, presenting match-up problems for opposing teams. One or both of them have made big plays in each of the pre-season games so far. Should be a great test for Cravens.

    When Bills’ QBs start to scramble, their receivers are instructed to go long so it will be entertaining with either bombs or room to run. As if this wasn’t enough weapons, Sammy Watkins returns from the broken bone in his foot and will make his debut against the Redskins (playing opposite Robert Woods); should be a nice South Carolina reunion for our CBs and Sammy. Woods is from the other “SC” (like Cravens).

    The Bills’ special teams are no slouch either. Reggie Bush is doing Kick-off and Punt returns for them too and they’ve already blocked a punt for a safety.

    I expect a good challenge. I expect a good game.

    • redskins12thman - Aug 23, 2016 at 8:19 PM

      I think most of you know this (but just in case) Arie’s brother, Cyrus is a left tackle for Bills, battling Cordy Glenn for starting spot.

      Jets game was Sudfeld reunion; Bills game is Kouandjio reunion.

    • redskins12thman - Aug 26, 2016 at 6:36 PM

      Just learned that LeSean and other key players are not seeing action tonight; too bad — less of challenge for Redskins.

      • Trey Gregory - Aug 27, 2016 at 3:54 AM

        Reggie gave us plenty. The real thing I wanted to see as Norman and Breeland shut down Sammy Watkins (who doesn’t get enough credit for being an amazing receiver). Mission accomplished. Despite all the bad things from this game, I was cheezing like a fool watching Norman play.

        Obviously we also needed to see our O-line vs their D-line and our RBs do something. I gave out a sigh of relief when Marshall went down. I know that’s messed up but hopefully it forces Scot to see he’s not worth a damn. Kelley meanwhile is getting it done. Hitting those holes and going. I’m really starting to like that guy. Archives

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