The Washington Redskins open up their home schedule Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Redskins head coach Jay Gruden wants to give the Redskins faithful something worth cheering for.
Gruden said the plan is to "strike fast and strike early" so that the Redskins' 12th man can be a factor throughout the game – just like the Texans' home crowd was able to establish its presence against the Redskins Week 1 in Houston.
"(We need to) try to get the home field in our corner and make it very difficult on Jacksonville's offense," Gruden said. "We learned that first hand last week, how hard it is as an offense when the crowd's into the game on every snap. With the crowd noise, the snap count becomes more difficult."
Against the Texans, Gruden said the home crowd possibly played a factor in several Redskins mistakes, including a fumbled and a late snap.
"It creates chaos for your offense when the home field crowd is against you," Gruden said. "So it's very important for our fans to be loud and very important for us as a team to make them have something to cheer about."
To accomplish that goal, Gruden and his team said they need to come out of the gates firing from all directions.
"We have got to do something early in the game to get the people excited so we get rolling," the first-year head coach told reporters on Thursday.
Gruden's message wasn't lost on his players, either.
"That is one thing Coach Gruden has been big on is taking care of our home field," fourth-year outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said this week. "So it will be good to be back in front of the home crowd and hopefully, you know, we give them something to cheer about."
The Redskins hope history will also be on their side Sunday against the Jaguars.
The Redskins have won nine of their last 12 home openers since 2002, and dating back to the team's inception as the Boston Braves in 1932, the Redskins' franchise is 47-32-3 all-time in home openers.
Reed, Golston 'doubtful'Gruden on Thursday said tight end Jordan Reed and defensive lineman Kedric Golston missed practice for a second-straight day due to injuries suffered in the Week 1 loss to the Texans.
Reed suffered a moderate hamstring pull seven plays into game, while Golston suffered a groin injury.
"Both of them were out today for practice," Gruden said. "Like I said, with Reed, he's got the hamstring. He is where he is. He's not practicing right now. He doesn't feel great on it, so he's in the doubtful range for this week. Same with Golston."
Gruden said with Reed's playing status still unknown for Sunday that the team will be able to forge on with two tight ends – Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul – if needed.
"Luckily for us we practiced in the offseason and training camp a lot of different personnel groupings just in case something like this happens so we're not handcuffed and panicked – 'Oh my god, we lost a player, what are we going to do?'" Gruden said. "We're prepared for it. We're prepared to go no tight ends, we're prepared to go two tight ends, three tight ends, four tight ends. We can put a big guy at tight end. So we're well prepared."
Gruden said he thinks the Redskins' receivers will be "quite fond" of potentially getting the chance to be on the field more on Sunday.
"They like to be out there on the field – three receivers, four-receiver set – so we've got enough groupings," Gruden said. "So we'll be OK."
Gruden on Thursday also ruled cornerback Tracy Porter – who also has an injured hamstring – out for Sunday's game against the Jaguars.
Thursday's injury report also included kicker Kai Forbath (right groin; limited in practice), safety Duke Ihenacho (ankle, full participation), linebacker Akeem Jordan (knee; did not practice), outside linebacker Brian Orakpo (ankle; limited participation), offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus (ankle; full participation) and left tackle Trent Williams (shoulder; full participation).
Top images from the Washington Redskins' practice on Sept. 11, 2014 at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
Asked what stood out to him about the Jaguars' defense, Gruden said it doesn't take long to see the passion with which the Jacksonville players play on that side of the ball.
"I think the way they play hard. They fly to the football, they play extremely fast, they get good upfield pass rush, and like I said, they're very energetic," Gruden said. "You can tell they're young and really have fun playing."
The Jaguars get their defensive identity from head coach Gus Bradley, who has had stints as a defensive assistant with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks, where he served as defensive coordinator.
"I know what kind of defensive coach he is, what kind of energy he beings to that defense and they play like his personality," Gruden said of Bradley. "Very high-energy defense."