After missing the last two weeks with a calf injury, six-year veteran Perry Riley Jr. believes he's on track to make a return to game action this Sunday against the Falcons.
After a two-week absence from the field following a calf injury suffered in the second half of the Washington Redskins' 24-10 victory over the St. Louis Rams, veteran linebacker Perry Riley Jr. returned to practice on Wednesday, albeit in limited action.
A countdown of the Top 10 images of Redskins linebacker Perry Riley Jr. during the 2014 season.
The Stone Mountain, Ga., native said that he's feeling good and is on track to return Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
"Last week was kind of 50/50 on the fence," Riley Jr. told reporters. "At the end of the week we decided to shut it down, didn't want to come back too early and then let it be a nagging injury for the rest of the year. But right now, I feel great. So it seems like sitting out last week was the right thing to do."
A calf injury, no matter the severity, can cause problems with explosion. For a middle linebacker, that's a problem.
"It was hard for me to burst," Riley Jr. said. "It was a calf injury, so every step you take, first muscle that fires is your calf and it was just hard for me to press off and boost off of it. And it's kind of hard to play linebacker and moving off what your opponent is doing when you don't have any calf muscle. So I just wanted to give it time make sure it completely heals, I didn't go out there too early, restrain and reset it back, I feel like I'm ready."
If healthy and active, Riley Jr. will return to a defense that will be tasked with stopping an offense led by Julio Jones and Matt Ryan, but now also has fast rising running back in Devonta Freeman.
Freeman leads the NFL in rushing touchdowns (seven) through the first four weeks of the season.
"He's in great form these past two weeks," Riley Jr. said of Freeman. "I think they have their rookie [Tevin Coleman] coming back, who was playing good before he got hurt. We're looking forward to a physical game, which every football game is at the linebacker position, go out there and do what we do. Make tackles, make plays, and go get this win."
Riley Jr., of course, has experience against a Kyle Shanahan offense. He practiced against it daily for four seasons.
"The offensive line, they do a good job with what they're asked to do," Riley Jr. said. "Don't really try the man on man block or out-power people, I should say it's kind of sideways, cut people off, position block, which is, they have small quick offensive lineman. So they're doing good…but we feel like we'd be able to push them off the block a little bit with our guys up front."
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said the team will take the week to judge Riley Jr.'s status for Sunday, but he's optimistic about the veteran's chances.
"But I think that [on Tuesday], he looked good [in] the limited work that he did," Gruden said. "[Thursday], he'll get more reps, and then of course Friday and then we'll make a decision. But I think he felt pretty good on it so we're very optimistic with Perry."