Redskins Coach Jay Gruden acknowledged Monday that he thought it unfair that his team must follow their Sunday night game with a road game against the division-rival Dallas Cowboys, who’ll be operating Thursday on more time to rest and recover.
“I don’t think it’s really fair, but we’ve got to deal with it,” Gruden said Monday, asked his reaction to the NFL scheduling quirk.
But Gruden noted that Redskins coaches have had plenty of notice and used part of the bye week to craft the game plan for the Week 12 reprise with Dallas. And he laid out the schedule for installing it during a conference call with reporters after he’d reviewed footage of the Redskins’ 42-24 rout of the Green Bay Packers, which lifted their record to 6-3-1.
Gruden gave players Monday off from all team obligations, as he has done the morning after game-day all season. Only those needing treatment needed to visit Redskins Park.
But in a break with customary practice, the team won’t have a single standard practice before Thursday’s game at Dallas, which improved to 9-1 with a 27-17 victory over Baltimore in a home game that kicked off at 1 p.m. ET.
Instead, Gruden will drill players with the essentials in meetings and install the game plan via a series of “walk-throughs.” Gruden said his main concern with the quick turnaround was his players’ health.
Sunday night’s victory at FedEx Field was a physical contest on both sides of the ball. While the Redskins reported no specific injuries afterward, Gruden noted that every NFL player walks off the field ailing and needs a period of recovery before feeling ready to compete again.
“The biggest thing is, you worry about the health of your football team,” Gruden said. “We’re at the point in the year when our guys are pretty beat up. We’re healthy, but guys still have bumps and bruises that aren’t on the injury report.”
The Cowboys sit atop the NFC East at 9-1 and are the NFL’s hottest team at the moment, having won their last nine, including a 27-23 Week 2 victory over the Redskins.
While Gruden conceded that it helps preparations on a short work week to be facing a familiar opponent, he acknowledged a flip side, as well.
“The bad thing is we know how good they are,” Gruden said.
After intensive meetings on Tuesday morning, in which Gruden said coaches would “grind on ’em pretty good from a mental standpoint,” the Redskins will hold a morning walk-through to reinforce the game plan on first and second downs. Tuesday afternoon, they’ll hold another walk-through to go over third- and fourth-down plays. And they’ll cover red-zone and short-yardage in a Wednesday-morning walk-through before boarding the flight to Dallas.
“It’s gonna be tough,” Gruden said. “I have faith our guys will come out swinging and put up a good fight.”
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