Jay Gruden: "We Should Be Trying To Play Our Best Game"

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden speaks to the media following Friday's practice at the Inova Sports Performance Center.

On injuries:

"Out will be [Maurice] Harris, concussion; [Ty] Nsekhe, knee. Doubtful is Vernon Davis, concussion. Questionable will be Ryan Anderson, hamstring; [Matt] Ioannidis, hamstring; [Tony] Bergstrom, knee and ankle; [Zac] Kerin, knee and [Josh] Doctson, illness."

On WR Maurice Harris participating in practice and the decision to list him as out:

"He was cleared to do a little bit of practice today, a little bit of work. But then he still has follow up things that he has to do and we won't have time to get it all situated."

On RB Samaje Perine getting more carries this week:

"Yeah he's got a chance. It depends on who can and who can't dress for the game. We have a chance to dress four running backs possibly, but we'll have to wait and see. I'd like to give it every opportunity I can. I'll try and get him up. It just depends on numbers everywhere else."

On the difference between Week 17 this year and last year with Philadelphia having something to play for:

"It shouldn’t be that different. We should be trying to play our best game, period. I think some of these young guys getting an opportunity to play is a great experience for them and they're going to want to try and compete and play their best possible game. Some of the veteran guys for sure, same way. We've got a lot of character, a lot of class on this team and I expect them to come out and compete. Last year with the Giants, it was 18 below zero it felt like, so a lot of people were a little bit stiff in that game. This year, I expect to have some good weather and a home game. It should be fun for these guys."

On how the outside linebackers did this season:

"I think [Ryan] Kerrigan has had another stellar season, obviously like you mentioned. Preston Smith has been solid. I think his numbers aren’t probably where he wants to be – sack total-wise. [Pernell] McPhee has done some good things when asked. Ryan Anderson has been in and out with the injuries, but he's done solid with his assignments and all that stuff. Again, his production probably from a sack total, tackle total, probably isn’t where it's supposed to be. A lot of times these guys are asked in base defense to set edges. They do a lot of the dirty work, forcing them inside for our inside backers and defensive lineman to make some plays. Overall, [Cassanova] McKinzy came in and did some good things until he got hurt. It's a solid group in my opinion."

On evaluating LB Preston Smith:

"Smith? Which one? Oh, Preston. I think you just take the whole body of work. Number one, you see how he's improved from the first day he came in here to where he is now as a player. Then, you just go by and figure it out from there. We'll discuss that after the season. I'd love to have him back for sure, but obviously free agency is what it is. He's earned the right to go out and shop himself around, but I'm hopeful that we can get him back."

On striking a balance between winning and evaluating guys for the future:

"Yeah, that’s all we're trying to do. This isn’t a preseason game where we're trying to look at players for a 53-man roster. We're trying to win the game. We're going to put our best players out there and let them play for sure. If somebody is struggling, we'll put another guy in there. We only dress 46 guys so the guys dressing will all have a chance to play and compete and do some good things. It's just a matter of putting our best guys out there and in critical situations them making plays."

On S Deshazor Everett getting more time at safety:

"Oh yeah, he's starting. He's for sure, he's starting. He'll still do a little bit of special teams work because he's a critical part of that unit – been so all year long at captain. He's now going to get his opportunity at safety to play a lot. [Jeremy] Reaves will be the number three safety and then Harlan Miller will be the number four. I'm excited to see Deshazor play. I think he's done well in practice and in situations that he's been asked to play on defense in some of the jumbo packages, he's done well. Now he's going to get an extensive role and a chance to do some good things."

On how Everett can shape next year's lineup with his play:

"Yeah, a lot, a lot. I think it's a great opportunity for him to prove he's more than just a quality special team player. He is a great special team's player, but he's provided great depth at the safety position as well. We had Montae [Nicholson] and D.J. [Swearinger] and Ha Ha [Clinton-Dix], he's the fourth guy just playing in some big jumbo packages. Now, he's got a chance to show he can play in some sub defenses, some base defenses, play in the hole, play down and be in the box and do some good things. He's a tough guy. He's well prepared and I think he'll be ready."

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