- The Washington Times - Monday, October 30, 2017

ASHBURN | The Washington Redskins will have a walkthrough Tuesday and as of Monday, Jay Gruden wasn’t sure if he would have a left tackle on the field.

Third-stringer T.J. Clemmings sprained his ankle Sunday during the Redskins‘ 33-19 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, and Washington was already without starter Trent Williams (knee) and Ty Nsekhe (core muscle).

The coach guessed guard Tyler Catalina would take over, as he did briefly near the end of Sunday’s game.

Even then, the Redskins are a long way from knowing who can suit up for Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Washington will head west for a 4:05 p.m. start at CenturyLink Field.

At 3-4, Washington has lost any momentum from a win over the Oakland Raiders in Week 3 and a competitive effort against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4.

“The issue is we have got 13 guys that are questionable and we only have seven guys that we can put inactive,” Gruden said. “That’s the major issue that we have right now. We have to try to get six of those guys up — at least — somehow.”

Gruden said he’s never seen an injury situation like the one currently ravaging the Redskins.

What’s more, the Redskins are heading into a three-game stretch that looks much tougher than it did a few weeks ago. The Seahawks were always going to be challenging, but Seattle suddenly looks to be hitting its stride after a 41-38 win over the Houston Texans.

After that, the Redskins host the 6-2 Minnesota Vikings at home, and then travel to take on the New Orleans Saints, who are 5-2 and have a much better defense than in previous years.

At the Redskins‘ bye week earlier this season, Washington looked like it had gotten a gift from NFL schedule-makers. According to PlayoffStatus.com, the Redskins had the second easiest remaining schedule after their bye, with a combined .370 win percentage for their next 12 opponents.

That’s changed. The Redskins‘ remaining schedule is now rated as the 12th hardest — and PlayoffStatus gives the Redskins an 84 percent chance to miss the playoffs.

“We’d love to be 7-0 right now but we’re not,” Kirk Cousins said Sunday. “You just go back to work and whether we were 0-7, 3-4, or 7-0, I would approach Tuesday the exact same when I go back to work. … So, we just stay the course, keep working, look for ways to continuously improve, and trust that if we do that, good things will happen in the end.”

A few weeks ago, Cousins referenced the Redskins starting the 2015 season 4-6 only to storm back and clinch the NFC East at 9-7. The quarterback is a big believer in not writing a narrative until the season is over.

But there are obstacles in the Redskins‘ way that make another dramatic, season-saving turnaround unlikely. For one, the Philadelphia Eagles have stormed out to a commanding lead in the division with a 7-1 start. When Washington was 4-6 in 2015, the New York Giants led the division at 5-5.

Then, there’s the injuries, which have put the Redskins in flux. Of the 13 injuries Gruden rattled off Monday, nine belonged to regular starters and four were to key backups.

Gruden said he would “probably guess” defensive end Matt Ioannidis (fractured hand) and tight end Jordan Reed (hamstring strain) would likely miss the Seahawks game.

Ioannidis, who has 3½ sacks this season, will undergo surgery Wednesday after breaking his fourth metacarpal against the Cowboys. The Redskins won’t put him on injured reserve, and there’s hope he could return as soon as the Vikings game.

The Redskins‘ offensive line is also decimated with all five regular starters dealing with injuries. Gruden said Williams, Scherff and Long are all “week-to-week” with knee injuries, while guard Shawn Lauvao is dealing with a stinger. And while not officially listed on Monday’s injury report, right tackle Morgan Moses played Sunday with two sprained ankles.

The Redskins have eight players on injured reserve, including adding linebacker Mason Foster (shoulder) and Jonathan Allen (foot) to the list in recent weeks.

Gruden doesn’t know why the injuries keep happening, but said “it’s our job as a staff to get these guys up to speed and get them ready to play.”

“That’s the only thing we can do,” Gruden said. “We got it on our shirt — we’ve got, ‘By any means,’ so we’ve got to just get it done, have great effort, attitude and preparation, and hopefully we’ll figure out a way to get it done.”


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