Jay Gruden, Redskins excited to host Patriots

Jay Gruden, Redskins excited to host Patriots
August 1, 2014, 6:45 pm
Share This Post

RICHMOND—The Redskins had hoped to practice in pads on Friday, but Coach Jay Gruden had a last-minute change of heart.

“We had a couple bruises here and there, a couple little hamstring strains, [a bruised] shin, all that stuff,” Gruden explained. “So I wanted to just taper off a little bit today.”

The goal of going lighter, Gruden said, was to afford the walking wounded an opportunity to heal up ahead of an important stretch. On Saturday, the team will suit up in full pads, including game pants, for fan appreciation day. Then, after a day off Sunday, they’ll return to the Bon Secours Training Center on Monday to face Tom Brady and the Patriots in the first of three joint practices.

“My whole goal is to get everybody 100 percent for Monday so we can all be competing against New England,” Gruden said.

The Patriots arrive Sunday and will join the Redskins for joint practices Monday-Wednesday. Then on Thursday, the teams will face each other in the preseason opener at FedEx Field.

Gruden said he and Patriots Coach Bill Belichick discussed their plan for the practice sessions several months ago. And, according to Gruden, there will be at least one ‘live’ hitting sessions involving backups.

“We feel good about [the plan and] we can always adjust after the first day if something needs to be changed, but we both felt very good about it,” Gruden added. “We’re going to get everybody a lot of reps and it should be good. We both have the same goal in mind and that’s to look at our guys and get a good feel for if our guys can play.”

One thing, however, has Gruden a little worried: the unpredictable weather in Richmond that has already forced the Redskins to practice in the rain several times. The early forecast for Monday calls for a 40-percent chance of thunderstorms.

“My biggest concern is Monday,” Gruden said. “If it pours down and there’s lightning, we have to cancel a heck of an opportunity to get better against New England. Hopefully that won’t be the case.”

Some other notes from Gruden’s daily news conference:

  • Trent Williams (bruised shin) was held out of practice Friday morning as a precaution. “He got kicked in the shin, just a precautionary deal, but he is fine,” Gruden said.
  • Gruden confirmed that Pierre Garçon, Phillip Thomas and Doug Worthington—all of whom had been nursing strained hamstrings—are better. All three were back on the field for practice, though Thomas was withheld from team drills.
  • Gruden likes what he’s seen from Aldrick Robinson, who came on late last year after Leonard Hankerson went down with a knee injury. That said, Gruden still wants to see more consistency from Robinson. “He’s done well,” Gruden said. “There’s no substitute for speed and he definitely has it. His hands have got to become more consistent. He’s dropped a few here and there, but overall I think Aldrick has had an excellent camp.” 
  • Gruden also had praise for defensive end Jarvis Jenkins, who has acknowledged being motivated by the addition of Jason Hatcher. “I think he’s done a good job,” the coach said. “I think really he’s improved his pass rush considerably, just that I’ve seen since I’ve been here. He’s done a really good job of understanding pass rush angles and getting push in the pocket and still playing the run, so Jarvis has been doing a very good job."

[RELATED: Rice Jr. suffers torn labrum]