Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said he wants to see how his players recover from Saturday's victory against the Eagles before deciding who to rest vs. Cowboys.*
It's a good problem to have if you're Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden.
With the NFC East Division championship and the No. 4 seed in the NFC playoffs already in hand, the Redskins could decide to keep the momentum of a three-game winning streak going into Sunday's regular season matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.
Or they could decide not to risk any major injuries and rest their starters against the Cowboys, potentially keeping them as fresh as possible for the next week's first round of the playoffs.
But before he makes any decisions, Gruden first wants to meet with his coaching staff and evaluate how his players have recovered from Saturday's victory against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Redskins have Monday off and return to the building Tuesday for meetings and a walkthrough session before hitting the practice field on Wednesday.
"It's a big game for us to keep our momentum, but we also have to be smart about the guys that are a little bit [injured] and get them well for the playoffs," Gruden said.
There's certainly something to be said for being one of the hottest teams in the league entering the playoffs, and a win over the Cowboys on Sunday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, would give the Redskins a season-best four-game winning streak heading into the matchup.
Washington also has revenge on its mind, as it wants to make up for falling flat in its 19-16 Week 13 loss to Dallas at FedExField on Monday Night Football.
In that game, the two teams were tied at six going into the fourth quarter before coming to life. But in the end, a 54-yard field goal by Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey with less than 10 seconds remaining was the difference.
"We have to dress 46 obviously, and seven guys will be inactive and the injuries will be a major part of that," Gruden said of Sunday's matchup. "But the guys that play, they have every intent of trying to win this football game."
Gruden said "there's arguments" for also resting starting quarterback Kirk Cousins – who took a couple shots in the Eagles game – against the Cowboys, even if he is not listed as injured. But that decision, like the others, will come later this week.
"We'll have to wait and see and talk about it as a staff and see where the injury report stands with Kirk and see how he's feeling," the second-year head coach said. "But I think he is pretty injury free, but if he is injury free, a lot will depend on who's playing around him, and go from there."
The Redskins' coaching staff and advance scouts will have a busy week, as they will be preparing for both the Cowboys and one of three teams they could face in the first round of the playoffs: the Packers, the Seahawks or the Vikings.
But, like the decision of whether or not to rest the starters, a busy week this time of year is a good problem to have. Gruden said the Redskins will "stick with our plan, what we've been doing and what we do well" against the Cowboys, and won't worry about showing too much to a potential playoff opponent.
"Well, we've got 15 games on tape, so I think they've got enough to study," he said. "We'll still figure out ways to best attack the Cowboy defense and our defense (finding) ways to stop the Cowboy offense. It's still football. It's not so much X's and O's now, it's about guys making plays and being in the right spot and taking the ball away on defense, protecting the ball on offense."