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Need to Know: Around Redskins Park—If Reed is out, others must step up

Need to Know: Around Redskins Park—If Reed is out, others must step up

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 13, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Philadelphia Eagles.


Today's schedule: Joe Barry press conference 12:40; Practice 1:00; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice, approx. 3 p.m.

Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 3; Redskins @ Lions 10; Redskins vs. Bengals in London 17

Around Redskins Park

—One thing I’ve learned while covering the NFL is that players don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about injured teammates. They certainly have sympathy for them and want them to get better but they compartmentalize those thoughts. For one thing they don’t like to ponder the possibility of getting injured themselves; that could affect their play. And they don’t tend to ponder things they can’t control. Jordan Reed might play Sunday as he gets checked out after suffering concussion-like symptoms and he might not. But there’s nothing they can do about it. Here is what Kirk Cousins had to say about the possibility of not having his favorite target available:
“We’d love to have him out there. He’s obviously a great player for us. We’ve talked about it all year long how depth is going to be important and we’re going to need other players to step up. It’s a part of the way the NFL season works and how long of a year it is and how much of a grind.”
Related: Breeland "very confident" he'll play on Sunday

—If most coaches had their way we would live in a world without social media. Their days are long enough without having to deal with things like the Su’a Cravens social media glasses flap from Tuesday. Here is how Jay Gruden explained it.
“Those glasses are just part of his rehabilitation. He’s coming along pretty good, so we understand. He’s still in the program and we’re hoping to get positive results here shortly. As far as his Snapchat is concerned, I think he deleted his account, hopefully, for a week or so, I guess.”
—Gruden drew a laugh when he talked about what lengths DeSean Jackson is willing to go to in order get the ball in his hands more often. On a more serious note, he did say that even when he isn’t getting targeted he helps the offense.
“Yeah, we have to. We have to try to get our playmakers the ball a little bit more, there’s no question about it. But, we can’t force the issue either, you know? But when I wake up at 5:30 in the morning or 4:00 and he is standing outside my garage with a baseball bat, I think I better get him the ball, you know [laughter]. He deserves the ball a little bit more, but I’ll tell you what, he does do, he dictates a lot of the coverage, which does open it up for other people. And even against Cleveland, I mentioned those two pass interference calls that don’t hit the stat line, those are big plays.”
—The targeting of passes also is up to the quarterback, at least in part. I think that most fans these days understand that what is called in the huddle and the play that unfolds when the ball is snapped can be very different things. Jackson may be the primary receiver in the huddle but if they go up to the line and Cousins sees that the cornerback is getting safety help in covering Jackson the first read will be elsewhere. I asked Cousins about getting Jackson more targets.
“I just go where my reads take me . . . You go back and you say based on the coverage and the concept and the way we’re coached to read it out, that’s where the ball needed to go. I think there were times in the previous games where you say my reads took me to him, but we didn’t connect. That’s the plays where you say you want those back.”
Related: Will Phillips retake his slot corner job from Fuller?

—Cousins is lower in most of the key stats than he was last year—completion percentage, passer rating, yards per attempt, among others. I asked him how he thinks he is performing compared to last year.
“I don’t know. I guess I don’t really look to try to tell a story until the end of the season when it’s all said and done. But we’re just going to continue to try and play. Each game brings its own challenges and own situations. There’s certainly a lot of times or places where I can be better, but I think I’m always going to say that, regardless of what the game was or the final outcome. We’ll just keep taking it one game at a time and try to stack up as many wins as we can.”
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Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins went into today’s game against the Cardinals somewhat banged up and they exit with a couple of additional injury concerns in the form of concussions.

Center Spencer Long left the game in the second quarter. Initially it was announced that he had been evaluated for a concussion but that he had been cleared. But after halftime the word came down that he had been retested and it was determined that he does have a concussion. Long has entered the concussion protocol.

Veteran John Sullivan, picked up earlier this season when Kory Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve, filled in a center the rest of the way. He is a capable fill-in but if Long is out he would be the only available center. The Redskins might have to sign a center if it looks like Long will be out of action against the Eagles.

In the fourth quarter safety Will Blackmon left the game. According to Redskins coach Jay Gruden he was being evaluated for a concussion and a stinger. His exact status is unknown. Gruden will give more information during a conference call with reporters on Monday.


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Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins had a couple of chances to stop what would eventually turn into the Cardinals’ game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter. The first one came when they went for it on fourth and one at their own 34. It was a gutsy call by Arizona coach Bruce Arians and David Johnson make him look smart by popping off a 14-yard run.

The Cards earned that one. But it looked as though they got something of a gift a few plays later when Josh Norman was flagged holding receiver Larry Fitzgerald. It was a borderline call, granting Arizona a gift third and five conversion. Two plays later Carson Palmer went in for the kill, throwing a 42-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Nelson.

On the field, Norman seemed to be none too pleased with the penalty flag. He said after the game that he thinks that Fitzgerald may have stolen a flag.

“He [Fitzgerald] was within five yards. Larry is a wily vet,” said Norman. “I'd been doing it all game, kind of . . . He breaks out and I go for the ball and the flag got thrown. We'd like to see that not happen in that situation because there was some good position, some good leverage. And a flag came out.

“It is what it is. You can't blame a call on that, blame a call on this. It's whatever, man.”

Norman is right. The Redskins blew plenty of chances to take control of the game and the blame can be spread around on both sides of the ball. But the flag will loom large as the Redskins try to shake off this loss and get ready for the Eagles next week.