After needing to travel halfway across the country following a Sunday night game to play on Thanksgiving, the schedule is finally providing a break for the banged-up Washington Redskins.
Hurting on offense, defense and special teams, the Redskins get the respite of some extra time before hosting the Carolina Panthers Dec. 19. Linebackers Will Compton and Su’a Cravens and special teams contributor Mack Brown were injured in Washington’s 27-22 victory at the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
Coach Jay Gruden said Monday that Compton has a posterior cruciate ligament sprain in his knee and Cravens has a moderate elbow flexor, listing each player as day-to-day/week-to-week. Gruden said Brown is in the NFL’s concussion protocol.
While it is unclear if any of those players will be ready for the Panthers game, Gruden said none of them would be going on season-ending injured reserve. A little more rest certainly doesn’t hurt with an eye on Carolina.
“It’s this time of year where we are banged up,” Gruden said. “You saw our injury report last week and it’ll probably be similar this week. We’ve got a lot of guys banged up, so an extra day of healing will be great and just try to get ready.”
Washington was already without left guard Shawn Lauvao (groin), center Spencer Long (concussion), safety Will Blackmon (concussion) and defensive lineman Anthony Lanier (shin). Gruden said the team was initially very concerned about Cravens’ lack of mobility after the Eagles game but got good news on the MRI Monday.
“Now it’s just a matter of him getting his strength and movement back and I don’t know how long that could take,” Gruden said. “It could be a couple of days, could be a couple of weeks. We’re not sure yet.”
If Compton is unable to play against Carolina, Martrell Spaight is expected to start at middle linebacker after filling in at that spot Sunday in Philadelphia. Gruden said he would be confident in Spaight making all the calls as the on-field captain of the defense without the need to spread responsibilities around.
That’s a major responsibility against the Panthers, even though they’ve struggled coming off their Super Bowl appearance. With the Redskins still on the outside of the NFC playoff picture at 7-5-1, Gruden acknowledges it’s a huge game.
“Carolina is the defending NFC Champions with obviously Cam Newton, awesome players, so we got a lot of work to do,” he said. “It’s going to be a great challenge for us but hopefully we’ll get our guys healthy, No. 1, and then No. 2, get a good week of preparation.”
In previous weeks, the coaching staff did some advance scouting on Washington’s next opponent. Not this time, even with a visit to the Chicago Bears looming on Christmas Eve.
“We’re going to focus on Carolina,” Gruden said. “Chicago doesn’t matter right now. We’ve got to put all of our eggs in Carolina’s basket right now and do the best we can.”