Back from early break, Redskins eye return to New Orleans

Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams (71) had minor knee surgery during the team's bye week.Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas

The Washington Redskins returned from their bye week Monday and found themselves atop the NFC East standings.

With Philadelphia losing to Tennessee in overtime, the Redskins (2-1) have a half-game lead over the Eagles and Cowboys (both 2-2) as they prepare for a Monday night game at New Orleans. They’ll try to retain the momentum they took into the bye week after a stirring home win over Green Bay.

“I think it’s just important for us to get everybody back here — whenever the bye week is — get them back here, get the guys physically and mentally ready to play,” head coach Jay Gruden said during his Monday press conference when asked about the early time off. “That sometimes is a tough challenge. You know, the guys have been out of the office for four or five days. We have to make sure we get their minds back into Redskins football.”

The task should be made easier by the upcoming opponent as the Redskins suffered their most devastating defeat of 2017 at New Orleans in Week 11.

Washington, with a chance to even its record at 5-5, went up 31-16 with 5:58 remaining in the fourth quarter. In under three minutes, the Saints offense rallied back to tie the game 31-31 with 1:05 left in the fourth quarter. In overtime, Saints kicker Wil Lutz hit the game-winning field goal from 28 yards away, and the Redskins went on to finish 7-9.

“I think it was a pretty solid game for what it was at 55 minutes probably on both sides of the ball,” Gruden said. “On the road, it was a tough environment, but offense, defense, special teams played well. Then the last five minutes, we failed to get a first down and they scored two touchdowns and 15 points. … Obviously that will be addressed again.”

The extra day will provide more time for Washington’s banged-up offensive line to heal. Left guard Shawn Lauvao (calf) and tackles Trent Williams (minor knee surgery) and Morgan Moses (concussion) are all nursing injuries, though Gruden expressed optimism in their availability and confidence in their backups.

“I think we feel pretty good about our health right now up front. I think later in the week we will have a better indication on who’s up and who’s ready to go, but you know backups can step in and play. Ty Nsekhe came in and played pretty well last week against Green Bay, and (Tony) Bergstrom can step up and play well if (Shawn) Lauvao can’t go again.”

–LT Trent Williams underwent minor knee surgery during the bye week and did not practice on Monday. Head coach Jay Gruden said he could return to practice on Thursday.

–LG Shawn Lauvao (calf injury) did not practice on Monday.

–RT Morgan Moses, who left the Green Bay game with a concussion, is out of the concussion protocol and did practice on Monday.

–RB Adrian Peterson (sprained ankle) told reporters he’s confident he’ll play against New Orleans.

–CB Josh Norman (hamstring) did not practice on Monday.