ASHBURN — Washington Redskins inside linebacker Perry Riley is still dealing with lingering effects from a calf strain that forced him to miss two games earlier in the season, but that is not why coach Jay Gruden felt it was necessary to play his backup, Will Compton, more frequently in the Redskins’ 27-10 loss to the New England Patriots.
Riley struggled on Sunday, most notably in coverage against New England’s running backs. Early in the game, running back Dion Lewis blew past Riley but dropped a sure touchdown reception in the end zone. After Lewis was injured, Brady honed in on Riley in the fourth quarter. After calling a timeout to readjust the play, Brady went straight to running back Brandon Bolden and exposed Riley for an 18-yard touchdown pass.
Compton played 52 of the team’s 80 defensive snaps — three more than Riley.
“It was a coaches’ decision, pretty much,” Gruden said on Monday. “Perry is still working through that calf [injury]. I think he’s feeling better, but Compton’s done well in his time playing, too. I think they both deserve to play. They’re both good linebackers and Compton played very well yesterday.”
When Riley returned from his injury in Week 5, Compton’s workload decreased again. Gruden was asked if he would consider a coaching change at the position before Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers at FedEx Field.
“You know, there’s thought to everything,” Gruden said. “We’re going to look at the film. We’re going to evaluate all of the tape with our defensive staff here and go from there. We like Perry a lot. We like Will a lot. I think they’re both good linebackers. Obviously, Keenan [Robinson] has done some good things, had a big interception. The three of those guys, I think, complement each other very well, and Mason Foster, I think, has some merit, too, to playing.”