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5 Takeaways: Dec. 8 Jay Gruden Presser


Here's five takeaways from Redskins head coach Jay Gruden's Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, press conference at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.:

1. Quarterback Colt McCoy is day-to-day with a sprained neck; his status for Sunday's game against the Giants in New York is up in the air.

Gruden said McCoy – who sprained his neck late in the fourth quarter of yesterday's 24-0 loss to the St. Louis Rams at FedExField – was still undergoing tests on Monday. The team will need to review the results of

those tests – and see how McCoy is feeling on Wednesday at practice – before determining whether or not he can play on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

"I want to see how he [McCoy] is doing first," Gruden said. "I don't want to really rush into any decision at this time anyway. Nobody else has to announce any starters on a Monday press conference so I don't think I should be any different. So I am going to wait and see until I get all the information on the quarterback."

If McCoy cannot play Sunday, Gruden confirmed Robert Griffin III would get the start under center for the Redskins.

2. The running game never got off the ground for the Redskins against the Rams because Washington had the ball for just three plays while down one possession in the second half.

In all, the Redskins ran the ball just 12 times for 27 yards (2.3 yards per carry). Running back Alfred Morris was held to eight rushes for six yards.

Washington ran the ball just four times in the second half, but Gruden explained exactly why that transpired on Monday.

"You know, the first drive the Rams had it for eight minutes," he said. "We got the ball, we punted after three plays and tried to run it on that drive and then they got the ball and scored to make it 17-0. So really in the second half when it was 6-0, we had three plays. Next time we got the ball back it was 17-0, so there was really no chance to get the run game going."

3. The Redskins' issues protecting the quarterback stem from their "hats getting beat by the other hats."

Washington has allowed 46 sacks in 2014, ranking 31st out of 32 teams in the league. Their 86 hits on the quarterback, meanwhile, rank tied for third to last.

Gruden said the issue usually is "not structural, where you've got a hat on a hat."

"It's just those hats are getting beat by the other hats, unfortunately," he said. "So, we've just got to do a better job with our technique, our fundamentals."

Running backs can't lunge at defenders. Linemen must know snap counts. The quarterback must get rid of the ball. Things like that.

"There's a lot of different issues," Gruden said. "Sometimes the quarterbacks hold onto the ball too long, sometimes it's a fundamental issue, every now and then it's a hell of rush by the defensive player, which has happened also."

4. Being pumped for the final three weeks of the season – all games against divisional opponents – shouldn't be an issue for the Redskins.

Gruden said the Redskins are still going to "come to work" and do their jobs to the best of their abilities as they prepare for the Giants on Sunday before wrapping up the 2014 season with home games against the Philadelphia Eagles (Dec. 20) and Dallas Cowboys (Dec. 28), both of whom are battling for a division title.

"They are very committed, they are good guys and they want to see this season end on a positive note," he said of his players. "I mean, we are all embarrassed right now. We are not happy with the way the season has gone, but we still do have three division games left and there is still a lot to play for in my mind."

Gruden said "coaches' jobs, players' jobs, all our jobs are always on the line everytime we step on the field, and that's the way you have to approach it to keep yourself motivated and hungry."

"Right now we're lacking, in my opinion, we're lacking in fundamental confidence," he said. "We've just got to get some pep in our step and play – have some fun. It starts with making plays."

5. Don't be surprised if Kirk Cousins makes another appearance for the Redskins this season.

Gruden was asked if he has seen enough out of Cousins – who has played in six games this season, with five starts – to rule out the quarterback playing again this year.

"That's not true at all," Gruden said. "I could see myself playing with Kirk, no doubt about it."

Cousins played lights out at times, but struggled with his confidence down the stretch. So far in 2014, he has completed 126-of-204 passes for 1,710 yards with 10 touchdowns to nine interceptions.

"I think he did some good things when he was in there," Gruden said of the third-year quarterback. "Obviously, the turnovers and third downs have really plagued us, plagued them pretty hard."

So don't be surprised if No. 8 – who has not played since the first half of the team's Week 7 game against the Tennessee Titans – makes another appearance under center for the burgundy and gold these last three games.

"I just took him out in the second half against Tennessee just to try to see what Colt could do and he did well," Gruden said of Cousins. "Unfortunately, he hadn't got another opportunity but it doesn't mean he's not going to get another one this year. It does not mean that at all."


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