NFL Wire News

Concussed Reed might not play Sunday


The Sports Xchange

ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Redskins could be without star tight end Jordan Reed (concussion), who has battled health issues throughout his career.

Tied with wide receiver Pierre Garcon in receptions (24) and the team’s leading receiver (278 yards), Reed is a dynamic presence who can outrun most safeties and linebackers and causes matchup problems elsewhere for the defense when they use a corner to cover him.

But his fourth documented concussion since college leaves his status in doubt for this weekend’s contest. Reed did not participate in practice on Wednesday and has little time left to make it through the NFL’s concussion protocol program.

“Our hands are really tied on that,” Washington head coach Jay Gruden said. “That’s gonna be totally up to the independent doctors, our doctors – Jordan, how he’s feeling. Want to make sure he’s right and go from there.”

–Sunday’s game matches the NFL’s top two teams in time of possession. The Redskins lead at 36 minutes, 19 seconds with the Falcons close behind at 34:17.

“The passing game is what it is with Matt Ryan and they do a good job possessing the football,” Gruden said. “That’s been our strength other than the Giants game so I think that’ll be a big difference.”

Meanwhile, both teams are excellent at converting third downs. Atlanta ranks second in the NFL (51.4 percent) and the Redskins are fourth (46.8 percent). The difference? Washington is better defensively at stopping opponents on third down (31.3 percent). That’s the third best mark in the league. Gruden said Washington has faced only 16 third-and-long situations all season and many of those were penalty related anyway.

“Starting in April when we came back that was a point of emphasis,” quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “When you work on something enough and emphasize it, you get results. It’s still early, but I think that’s happened with third downs.”

–Rookie running back Matt Jones, who has been a key contributer early this season, has fumbled twice. Should we read anything into his carries dropping to just seven in the Philadelphia game?

“(Jones) has never lost my trust,” Gruden said. “A couple of weeks ago it was ‘Alfred (Morris) is in my doghouse’ and he’s not. It’s just the way it works with the handoffs and the carries.”

Morris, who had 121 rushing yards against Miami on 25 carries, dropped to 18 and then six against New York. He had 17 carries for 62 yards against Philadelphia.

Notes: Wide receiver DeSean Jackson (left hamstring) is moving closer to a return. Injured in the first quarter of the season opener, Jackson returned to the practice field for the first time on Wednesday. He participated in individual drills, but not the team portion of practice and says he’s “optimistic” he could play against the Falcons, though that remains unlikely. … Inside linebacker Perry Riley (left calf) is expected back against Atlanta. He missed the previous two games and the Redskins were woefully thin at that position, using just three inside linebackers against the Giants on Sept. 24. Riley practiced for the first time Wednesday since the Sept. 20 game against St. Louis when he was injured. … Running back Chris Thompson is finally fulfilling the promise he showed at Florida State before injuries derailed his career. He had six carries for 53 yards against the Eagles and caught two passes for another 24. … Kicker Dustin Hopkins was brought in because former kicker Kai Forbath struggled on kickoffs. Hopkins has 16 kickoffs and 13 of them have gone for touchbacks (81.3 percent), which ranks sixth in the NFL.

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