Gru­den down­plays yelling at team, in­tended to in­spire

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY TODD DYBAS

In the next room, the ring­ing words of Wash­ing­ton Red­skins coach Jay Gru­den could be heard through the wall fol­low­ing Sun­day’s loss in Ari­zona.

Gru­den didn’t know at the time that re­porters had been herded next door. So, Mon­day, he ex­plained that his words were not de­liv­ered with fury, but more so with the in­tent to in­spire his 6-5-1 team that was kicked out of the play­off pic­ture af­ter a dis­com­bob­u­lated loss Sun­day.

“I wouldn’t call it anger,” Gru­den said on a con­fer­ence call Mon­day. “I would call it — just ur­gency more so than anger. Just try to get them go­ing a lit­tle bit more. I don’t think I was that much dif­fer­ent af­ter a loss. I didn’t know [the me­dia] were right in the next room over. I don’t think … It just hap­pened af­ter the game. Just want to make sure we clean up some things and fix some things. We’re not out of the woods yet. We still have a long ways to go. We have to take it one game at a time and take th­ese next days of prepa­ra­tion for the Philadel­phia Ea­gles very, very se­ri­ous.”

Gru­den will re­ceive a large re­in­force­ment this week. Al­lPro left tackle Trent Wil­liams is el­i­gi­ble to re­turn from his four-game sus­pen­sion that came from re­peated vi­o­la­tions of the league’s sub­stance-abuse pol­icy. A bumpy day for left guard Shawn Lau­vao on Sun­day in Ari­zona has prompted calls for Wil­liams to move to guard, where he played as an emer­gency fill-in ear­lier this sea­son, and keep Ty Nsekhe at left tackle. Nsekhe was a more-than-com­pe­tent re­place­ment for Wil­liams dur­ing the cap­tain’s ab­sence. How­ever, Gru­den made it sound like that is not hap­pen­ing.

the best in the busi­ness, so we’re ex­cited to get him back,” Gru­den said.

Wil­liams re­turns to prac­tice with a team that is on the out­side of the play­offs in a fist-tight NFC post­sea­son race. The Red­skins travel to Philadel­phia this week­end to take on a team that cur­rently stands as the 12th seed in the race for a top-six play­off po­si­tion. De­spite be­ing so far away via seed­ing, the Ea­gles are only two games be­hind Wash­ing­ton.

The good news for Wash­ing­ton is the re­main­ing sched­ule. The com­ing three-game stretch is all against teams .500 or be­low. In two cases, well be­low. The Carolina Pan­thers are 4-8. The Chicago Bears are 3-9. Both are sta­tioned at the bot­tom of their di­vi­sions.

Wash­ing­ton may also be in for a break the fi­nal game of the sea­son when the New York Gi­ants come to FedEx Field. The 8-4 Gi­ants could have their play­off po­si­tion es­tab­lished by then, ren­der­ing the game moot from their point of view.

That’s still four weeks away with mul­ti­ple pieces to move in the in­terim. Wash­ing­ton’s loss on Sun­day dropped its chance to make the post­sea­son down to just 39 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to the Web site fivethir­tyeight.com.

In­jured Long, Black­mon, Reed day-to-day

Gru­den said cen­ter Spencer Long and safety Will Black­mon are both in the league’s con­cus­sion pro­to­col. If Long can­not play Sun­day, Wash­ing­ton will have to find a so­lu­tion at backup cen­ter. John Sul­li­van, who re­placed Long on Sun­day against the Car­di­nals, would likely be­come the team’s starter. Ron­ald Pa­trick is an op­tion to be called up from the prac­tice squad. Lau­vao is the team’s backup cen­ter, Gru­den said. How­ever, he would like to keep Lau­vao at guard. The search for an­other cen­ter could force the Red­skins to con­sider ac­ti­vat­ing Kory Licht­en­steiger, who was the team’s start­ing cen­ter be­fore a calf in­jury forced him onto the re­serve/in­jured list Sept. 27.

Jor­dan Reed did not play against Ari­zona be­cause of a sep­a­rated AC joint in his left shoul­der. Gru­den said Reed is day-to-day, which is also how he la­beled the valu­able tight end last week when Reed did not prac­tice and, sub­se­quently, did not play. The key is­sue for Reed is range of mo­tion with his shoul­der. A week ago, Reed la­beled it at 30 per­cent.

The Red­skins also waived cor­ner­back Dashaun Phillips on Mon­day. It was the sec­ond time this sea­son they have waived Phillips, who was the team’s start­ing nickel back early in the sea­son.


Ari­zona Car­di­nals line­backer Kevin Min­ter sacks Wash­ing­ton Red­skins quar­ter­back Kirk Cousins on Sun­day. Af­ter a 31-23 loss to the Car­di­nals, Red­skins coach Jay Gru­den could be heard through the locker room walls yelling at his team. Gru­den said Mon­day he would call it “just ur­gency more so than anger.”

RED­SKINS AT EA­GLES Sun­day: 1 p.m. TV: Fox

Ra­dio: 980 AM wash­ing­ton­times.com /sports

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