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5 Takeaways: Dec. 11 Jay Gruden Presser


Here's five takeaways from Redskins head coach Jay Gruden's Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, press conference at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.:

1. Quarterback Colt McCoy, pending one more clearance on Friday, is in line to start Sunday against the New York Giants.

Gruden said McCoy – who sprained his neck last Sunday against the St. Louis Rams – "had a good day" at practice on Thursday, albeit in a limited role.

McCoy will have one more medical evaluation on his neck Friday, and if the doctors see favorable results, then Gruden said the fifth-year veteran will get his third-straight start.

To be safe, Gruden said all three of the team's quarterbacks – McCoy, backup Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins – had the opportunity to take reps with the first-team offense on Thursday, but McCoy is their frontrunner should he be cleared.

"We've had looks at all three quarterbacks and based on what we have seen out at practice for the whole training camp and offseason and the game situations, right now we feel like Colt is in the lead," Gruden said.

2. The injury report continued to evolve on Thursday, with rookie tackle Morgan Moses being placed on the season-ending IR list.

Moses, Gruden said, suffered a "fluke injury" during one-on-one drills at Wednesday's practice, tearing a Lanfranc ligament in his foot.

"He was just pass setting in one-on-ones and he said he thought he felt his shoe come off his foot, and he tore it," Gruden said.

Moses – the team's 2014 third-round pick out of Virginia – ends his rookie season having played in eight games for Washington. Gruden said the 6-foot-6, 318 pounder certainly fits in the team's future plans.

"I think the thing moving forward with him is try to get him on one side and let him play," Gruden said. "He just has got to get healthy first."

Elsewhere on Thursday's injury report:

  • Defensive lineman Barry Cofield was able to practice fully after missing Wednesday with an illness.
  • Running back Roy Helu Jr. (toe), who didn't practice Wednesday, was able to practice in a limited role on Thursday.
  • Defensive lineman Chris Baker (chest) practiced fully on Wednesday, but was limited on Thursday.

Others who didn't practice on Thursday were defensive end Jason Hatcher (knee), safety Brandon Meriweather (toe) and linebacker Keenan Robinson (knee). Others limited were defensive end Kedric Golston (back/foot), wide receiver DeSean Jackson (shin) and McCoy.

3. Even though neither team is playing for a spot in the playoffs at this point of the season, Gruden isn't worried about the players not playing their hardest Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

Gruden said "there's so many things that are on the line, not just for this year, for next year, for players' contracts, for future stability as far as the player is concerned" that he doesn't think there's any way a player "can walk out on a football field with a helmet on, have a guy line up against you and pack it in."

"I think the competitive spirit comes out in the players and you have got to compete," Gruden said. "The Giants, a similar situation. They're not playing for the playoffs. Both of us are in the same boat and I think both teams are going to go out there and compete against one another."

4. Like just about everyone else in the league, Gruden has been very impressed with Giants rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Beckham Jr. would likely be among the league leaders in catches to this point of the season had he not missed the first four weeks with a hamstring injury.

Beckham Jr. joined the starting lineup in Week 9, and since that time, according to, he joined Bill Groman of 1960 Houston Oilers fame as the only rookies with at least 90 receiving yards in six straight games. Beckham Jr. and Groman  are also the only first-year players with 700 or more receiving yards over a six-game span.

Beckham Jr. gained the world's attention Week 12 against the Dallas Cowboys. His numbers were outstanding — 10 receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns — but his one-handed touchdown catch along the sideline — while being dragged down and staying in bounds — was one of the greatest plays in recent NFL memory.

"He's excellent obviously when the ball is in the air and can make acrobatic catches," Gruden said. "He can run, and he's one of the top rookie receivers – one of the top receivers in the league right now."

Gruden said against the Giants, "it's going to be important" for the Redskins "to be able to stop the run with two-safety looks and be able to stop the pass with a one-safety look," because quarterback Eli Manning "does a good job recognizing defenses and getting them in good plays."

5. Gruden has seen glimpses of his offense working at full capacity, and hopes to get back to that point soon.

Take the Redskins' Week 4 game against the Eagles in Philadelphia, for example. Washington went into Lincoln Financial Field and put up 511 yards of total offense, including 427 through the air, with 27 first downs and just one turnover.

Top images from Washington Redskins' practice on Dec. 11, 2014, at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.

"When you put up 500 yards against a good defense on the road and you're able to be a Top 5 or Top 6 offense over the first nine or 10 weeks, you know you have the capabilities to make big plays," Gruden said.

The first-year head coach said since that game, the Redskins' offense has been affected by "self-inflicted interceptions" and "drive-stopping penalties."

"It's just frustrating, and we just have got to keep coaching up and believing in what we do and try to get our players to execute at a high level," he said. "When plays are there to be made, we've got to make them. We have got to do a good job as coaches to try to get our players in those positions, and just keep working."




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