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5 Takeaways: Oct. 9 Jay Gruden Presser


Here's five takeaways from Redskins head coach Jay Gruden's Oct. 9, 2015, press conference at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.*

1. Four key players – Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, Jordan Reed and DeSean Jackson – will not play Sunday when the Redskins travel to Atlanta to take on the undefeated Falcons.

Gruden said Culliver (knee), Hall (toe), Reed (concussion) and Jackson (hamstring) are no-gos vs. the Falcons. Reed and Hall had not practiced all week, but Culliver played through some knee pain last week and Jackson had practiced in a limited capacity up until Friday, so their statuses were up in the air until Friday's announcement.

For Culliver, Gruden is hoping a few more days of rest will be the answer for a sore knee.

"He's going to get some solid treatment here – get some more today, get some tomorrow, get some Sunday while we're gone," Gruden said. "Hopefully he'll be out practicing on Wednesday."

As for Jackson, who hasn't played since injuring his hamstring early in the Week 1 game against the Miami Dolphins, "we thought it would be in his best interest, in our best interest, to give him a little bit more time."

Linebacker Perry Riley Jr., meanwhile, could play Sunday for the first time since Week 2 vs. the St. Louis Rams. He has been battling a calf injury.

2. Veteran cornerback Will Blackmon will fill in for Culliver on Sunday vs. a talented group of Falcons receivers.

The Washington Redskins on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, announced the signing of cornerback Will Blackmon. Take a look at his NFL career in photos.

Blackmon, who is in his ninth NFL season, has been there, done that against some terrific receivers over the years, and Gruden knows he won't back down from the likes of Julio Jones, Roddy White or Leonard Hankerson on Sunday.

"He's a smart guy, No. 1, knows where to line up," Gruden said of Blackmon. "He's new to the system obviously, but he's played a lot of football and he's a veteran guy. You know, when the lights cut on, it won't be too big for him because he's been there and done that."

Blackmon has four total tackles this season, including a season-best three stops Week 3 against the New York Giants. He was signed to the team as a free agent on Sept. 15.

3. Quinton Dunbar is likely to get the most significant action at cornerback of his rookie season thus far on Sunday.

Dunbar, an undrafted free agent out of Florida, was originally signed this offseason as a wide receiver, but switched to cornerback out of necessity during training camp, when several players at the position went down with injuries.

Coaches say Dunbar has shown considerable improvement on a daily basis at his new position, but after playing in his first-career game last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, he could be thrown more into the fire Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

"He's really made the transition from receiver to corner pretty well," Gruden said. "It's just a matter of him going out and doing it on game day. It'd be a new thing for him, but you know we'll have to see. He's done a good job at practice. He's picked it up. You know, hopefully he'll get a couple of opportunities to make some plays."

4. The Redskins won't bring in another tight end to play in Reed's place on Sunday.

Although the team has Je'Ron Hamm on its practice squad, Gruden on Friday said the Redskins will dress two true tight ends on Sunday: Derek Carrier and Anthony McCoy.

"Right now we'll go with the two that we have," Gruden said. "We have personnel groupings to handle it, so we'll go from there. But obviously, we have [Anthony] McCoy and Derek [Carrier] and we'll roll with them."

Gruden has also mentioned the possibility of using offensive lineman Tom Compton at the tight end spot in some situations, a strategy the team has utilized in the past.

5. Culliver's knee issues could stem from a past surgical operation.

Gruden said Culliver has "just got some cartilage issues" in a knee that has gone under the knife before.

Check out these photos of the Redskins' defense and special teams preparing for their Week 5 match up against the Atlanta Falcons Friday, Oct. 9, 2015, at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.

"It's just a little sore which is making his quad a little bit weaker and everything like that," the second-year head coach said.

Gruden said Culliver's leg, in general, "hasn't felt right in a little bit of time," so giving him a few more days of treatment will be key to getting their No. 1 corner back on the field, possibly for next Sunday's game against the New York Jets.

"We think it's important for him to really rehab it, try to get the strength back so he feels good when he goes out there," Gruden said.


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