Here are the highlights of Jay Gruden’s Thursday news conference:
—Don’t look for John Sullivan to start at center on Sunday. “I think the first go around will be as a backup—which is very important as we found out last week.” Between this and the word around Redskins Park that Trent Williams is going to play left tackle it looks like Arie Kouandjio will make his first NFL start at left guard against the Browns.
—Gruden said on Monday that Bashaud Breeland (ankle) and Shawn Lauvao (ankle) are “week to week” with their injuries. When asked if he could assign a number to how much time each is expected to miss, Gruden said he couldn’t. “It just depends on how quickly they recover.”
—Gruden has been impressed with Trent Murphy ever since he came to the team as a second-round pick in 2014. Now others are becoming impressed with him as he leads the team in sacks with 3. The coach cited Murphy’s work ethic in the weight room and on the field as reasons for his emergence.
—Jamison Crowder is tied for the team lead with 16 receptions and he has caught two touchdown passes. Gruden said that he hasn’t necessarily improved from last year. “He’s just getting more opportunities—ball in his hand. He’s playing a lot more.”
—DeSean Jackson (knee/ankle) was limited in practice on Thursday after being out on Wednesday. “He’ll do more tomorrow,” said Gruden. “And I think he should be ready to go, I would guess.”
—It looks like Gruden is trying to motivate Matt Jones a little bit. He said that he liked Jones’ running style on the final drive. But before that, not so much. “I think in the first three quarters there are some runs he didn’t cap off like we want him to, really to be quite honest.”
—Will we see Duke Ihenacho on Sunday? “Could be,” he said. “We’re going to dress four safeties most likely and they’re all probably get an opportunity.” Ihenacho played 13 snaps against the Giants, his first action on defense this year.
Montreal’s Andrew Shaw has been suspended three preseason games for boarding Washington’s Connor Hobbs on Tuesday night.
On the play, Shaw delivered a hard body check to Hobbs’ back, driving the Capitals prospect face-first into the end boards. It appeared that Shaw was angry about being slew-footed by Jay Beagle earlier on the same shift.
In the explanation video from NHL Department of Player Safety, director Patrick Burke said it was a dangerous hit that never should have been made.
Montreal’s Andrew Shaw suspended three preseason games for boarding Washington’s Connor Hobbs. Video: https://t.co/r8Aeb02WNi— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) September 29, 2016
“It is important to note that Hobbs is never eligible to be checked by Shaw on this play,” Burke said. “From the moment Shaw arrives at the faceoff dot, he sees nothing but Hobbs' numbers. Hobbs makes no sudden movement just prior to contact that turns this hit from a legal hit into an illegal one.”
Burke added: “The onus is on Shaw to make sure he can deliver this hit in a legal fashion, minimize the force or avoid this hit completely. Instead, he hits forcefully through Hobbs from behind, driving him dangerously into the glass.”
Burke also noted the fact that Hobbs escaped injury and Shaw’s one previous suspension as factors in his ruling.
Shaw was assessed a total of 30 minutes in penalties (five for boarding, five for fighting, a 10-minute misconduct and a 10-minute game misconduct) for the hit and ensuing fight with Nathan Walker, who immediately confronted the noted agitator.
Capitals associate coach Todd Reirden said before the suspension was handed down that it was exactly the type of hit the NHL is trying to eliminate.
“It’s a dangerous, dangerous play,” Reirden said. “Obviously, they are trying to take that type of stuff out of the game. The league will deal with it accordingly. Luckily, Connor seems to be fine and everything checked out so he was able to return to the game. Which is really good because he’s a real high prospect for us here moving forward.”
MORE CAPITALS: Samsonov to stay in KHL until 2018