Some notes, quotes and observations from Wednesday at Redskins Park:
Updating a long list of injuries:
The outlook was grim for the depleted offensive line as it began preparing for Sunday’s game against Dallas. RTs Jammal Brown (left groin) and Sean Locklear (ankle) were limited in practice. LG Maurice Hurt (knee) sat out.
Shanahan on Monday said he considers Brown a long shot for Dallas. Hurt and Locklear started against Miami last week. Can you imagine if this unit goes down two more guys? G/C Erik Cook and OT Tyler Polumbus were active against the Dolphins, so perhaps they’d be the next men up.
ILBs London Fletcher (ankle) and Keyaron Fox (knee infection) missed practice. So did strong SS LaRon Landry (Achilles’ tendon) and WR Niles Paul (toe). WR Santana Moss (left hand) already has been ruled out of the game.
Some positive news: FS Oshiomogho Atogwe (knee) and RB Tashard Choice (hamstring) fully participated.
QB John Beck discussed his recent demotion publicly for the first time since it occurred last Sunday. He seemed upbeat and focused on the future, traits we’ve come to expect from him. Check out what he had to say: here.
Just thinking out loud here, I wonder if coach Mike Shanahan will go back to Beck once the Redskins are officially eliminated from postseason contention. That’s what he did last season when he benched Donovan McNabb to see what he had in Rex Grossman.
Beck acknowledged that the struggling Redskins don’t have the luxury of enduring his growing pains right now, but if history is any indication, Shanahan might be willing once the playoffs are beyond reach. Stay tuned.
Looking at the interception Grossman threw at the 5-yard line in the fourth quarter against Miami, it’s fair to wonder if he would’ve had a sufficient window to get the ball to WR Leonard Hankerson if WR Jabar Gaffney had continued his drag route across LB Karlos Dansby’s face. When Gaffney broke off his route, Dansby reset and drifted into the ball’s path.
“It’s a play that not everything worked out the way it should’ve,” Grossman said Wednesday. “That’s all I’ll say about that.”
Is that implying that Gaffney shares some blame? You can decide for yourself. Have a look at the play again.
Grossman stared down his target before the throw. Perhaps he could’ve moved Dansby with his eyes. Perhaps Grossman was a split-second late getting rid of the ball. Perhaps the Dolphins defended it easier because all three receivers ended up within close proximity of each other.
One thing I like about Grossman is he honestly assesses his interceptions. Maybe a quarterback should always take the blame to protect his teammates, but that doesn’t help our analysis of what’s going on. We’re looking for the truth, after all.
Grossman has assumed blame for certain picks against Dallas, St. Louis and Philly, saying either that he didn’t see a linebacker or he underthrew a deep ball. Other times he has cited receivers, such as TE Fred Davis not crossing the safety’s face against Philadelphia.
Perhaps Grossman would be more willing to publicly accept blame for all picks – truthfully or not – if he were more secure in his position. Tom Brady can protect his teammates by saying interceptions were his fault because he has an established reputation and full support of fans. The perception of Rex is different. I don’t blame him for laying the facts out there.
His vague assessment of Sunday’s interception probably is dead on. Not everything worked out. A lot of things went wrong.
TE Fred Davis is feeling the physical effects of his full-time role as the season enters Week 11. Typical of his expanded responsibilities this season, he played each of the Redskins’ 51 offensive plays last week against Miami. It’s an adjustment from the No. 2 tight end role he has had the last three years.
“I’m beat up a little bit,” Davis said after practice Wednesday. “Still have a little ankle sprain, but I feel good enough to go. The treatment is helping. I’m getting used to needing massages, all that kind of stuff, and treatment.”
Shanahan would like to limit Davis’ playing time a bit to keep him fresh, but he doesn’t have that luxury because Davis is his best offensive weapon. Davis leads the team with 43 catches and 587 receiving yards.
“We put a lot of pressure on Fred in that position,” Shanahan said. “But Fred’s given us everything he’s got.”
The Redskins as a team have rushed for 780 yards on 202 carries this season (3.9 yards per carry). Dallas rookie RB DeMarco Murray, by himself, has rushed for 674 yards on 100 attempts (6.7 ypc). That’s pretty much the only thing you need to know about why these teams are headed in opposite directions.
“He has a good burst,” Cowboys QB Tony Romo said in a teleconference. “He sees the hole and he attacks it. At different times, he can be patient. He does a good job doing a little bit of everything.”
On the flip side, the Redskins’ run defense against Miami had its best game in weeks. They surrendered only 3.1 yards per carry, the first time that average has been below 4.2 since Week 4.
“We didn’t give up the big play,” Shanahan said. “If you can limit those big plays, then you’ve got a chance overall to keep a team to 3 yards a carry. If you’re doing that, you’re leading the NFL every year.”
I joined Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro on ESPN980 this afternoon to discuss the state of the offense, the outlook for the final seven games and Chick-Fil-A specials. Listen to our segment here.