WASHINGTON — The Redskins will take the field on Sunday with a dilemma: to rest or not to rest.
Having already clinched the NFC East and now just waiting to find out who their playoff opponent will be, the Redskins will face the Cowboys with absolutely nothing on the line in terms of seeding.
Jay Gruden said they want to win the game.
“It’s important for us to be healthy come playoff time, but it is also to have some kind of momentum also going in,” he said. “I’d like to end on a four-game winning streak, win three games in a row on the road, finish the fourth quarter 4-0, finish 9-7. I think it’s a hell of a step in the right direction. The guys that are able to play are planning on playing and competing.”
The team wants to beat the Cowboys and finish with a split against their rivals. The players also know that the most important thing is being healthy for next week’s playoff game, and said they will leave the decision up to the coaches.
“I’d say that’s a coach’s decision, not mine, but I can only speak for myself,” Kirk Cousins said. “I feel good and I want to play and I feel as a young player that I want to continue to develop and get a rhythm.”
On a side note, Cousins needs 120 yards passing to set the single-season franchise record.
Gruden has said Cousins will start the game and how long he will play is to be determined.
As far as playing to keep the momentum going, Trent Williams says he isn’t buying it.
“We’re all grown men; I don’t believe in the whole rusty thing.”
That was pretty much the sentiment in the locker room this week. Players will play if asked to, but also know that they need to be smart and remember what’s at stake.
They have earned the right to heal up for a week, especially the older veterans who have been banged up a bit this year. No one wants to get hurt on Sunday in a meaningless game and miss the playoffs. I understand that anyone can get hurt at any time, but you’ve worked hard to get in this spot and if it can be avoided, then avoid it.
We’ve seen this team all year long ignore the critics and the so-called experts when it came to predicting what this team would do. Going into January, they are playing their best football and continuing to get better.
Center Kory Lichtensteiger has returned to practice and should be back at center in the postseason. Perry Riley Jr should return as well. This team has a legitimate shot to make some noise in the second season and I don’t think resting some players in the finale will derail that.