ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins were not exactly thrilled when the schedule came out and they saw the bye week was in Week 5.
Coaches like the bye later in the season when injuries begin to pile up and the rest is needed. Well - it's needed. Now. Washington had two of its most important players get hurt on Monday night in a 29-20 loss to Kansas City. Left tackle Trent Williams (knee) and cornerback Josh Norman (broken rib) were both limited.
Williams needs an MRI, according to Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. That's an ominous sign. Williams dealt with pain under his kneecap during training camp and it became too much for him during the Chiefs game. He still managed to grind out 46 of 50 snaps.
Norman wasn't so lucky. He played 24 snaps before taking a hit and breaking ribs. He is listed as week-to-week, which means his status for the Week 6 game against San Francisco is uncertain. That's not a player Washington's secondary can replace.
"There is a concern there. It's a fractured rib," Gruden said. "I don't know where it is, how severe the pain is for him, but when you have to play bump and run, you have to tackle and all that stuff, I think it will be a pain tolerance during (the game). We have got to make sure it's healed enough where he can play and be effective and not do more damage to it. So, that will be up to the trainers and up to Josh. The initial report was a fractured rib will be two to four weeks. But since we do have the bye week, there is a chance he could be up for (San Francisco)."
Meanwhile, Williams' injury has a double whammy. His primary backup, Ty Nsekhe, who filled in during Williams' four-game suspension last season, is out after surgery to repair a core muscle. Suddenly the depth at left tackle is gone. It was up to T.J. Clemmings, cut by the Minnesota Vikings after two rough seasons, to fill in.
There are other minor injuries to worry about, but the bye week should help players like linebacker Mason Foster (separated shoulder), safety Deshazor Everett (hamstring), wide receiver Josh Doctson (shoulder), running back Rob Kelley (ankle, rib), tight end Jordan Reed (chest contusion) and safety Montae Nicholson (AC joint sprain), among others. Reed (13 snaps) and Foster (32 snaps) were extremely limited during the game.
Veteran safety DeAngelo Hall (torn ACL) can't practice or play until at least after Week 6, but the Redskins could probably use him soon.
Remember, Su'a Cravens, the expected starting strong safety, was put on the reserve/left squad list last month and can't return this season. That was a shocking blow. Safeties Montae Nicholson (sprained AC joint) and Deshazor Everett (hamstring) have been playing hurt for a few games now. Stefan McClure, an undrafted college free agent in 2016 who played at California and was a surprise addition to the 53-man roster out of training camp, was on the field for 12 key snaps in the second half. They could use Hall soon - if his body is ready. Hall tore his ACL in Week 3 last season against the New York Giants.
"DeAngelo is getting healthier," Gruden said. "There is a time frame we have to wait, but he is working out and doing what he needs to do to get his body right."
REPORT CARD VS. CHIEFS
--PASSING OFFENSE: B - The numbers weren't eye-popping, but the Redskins were solid against Kansas City on Monday night. Quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 14 of 24 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns. He didn't throw an interception. That was more than enough to keep the Redskins in the lead much of the game until it slipped away. The critical play - a third-and-2 situation where wide receiver Josh Doctson couldn't quite finish a spectacular leaping catch in the end zone - stung. Tight end Jordan Reed was in one-on-one coverage on the opposite side of the field, too. Instead of a tie game after a field goal, Washington would have been ahead with 50 seconds to go.
--RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus - Decent, but the Redskins didn't get a monster day from Chris Thompson like they had the past two weeks. Teams will adjust to his big-play ability. Rob Kelley (ribs, ankle sprain) couldn't finish the game and had just seven carries. For the second time this year, Cousins was the leading rusher (38 yards, seven carries). And while he did some good things to extend plays with his legs in the second half, Washington also lost again when that happened. Kelley needs the bye week to get healthy. The Redskins weren't bad (111 rushing yards, 4.3 yards per carry), but 26 runs with seven from the quarterback isn't ideal.
--PASS DEFENSE: B-minus - You have to grade on a curve here The Redskins gave up 293 passing yards and a touchdown to Alex Smith. That's not bad on the surface. But they did it without star cornerback Josh Norman (broken rib) for much of the game and safeties began dropping like flies - again. Deshazor Everett (hamstring) and Montae Nicholson (AC joint sprain) also went down. Kansas City took advantage by moving the ball quickly down field on the winning drive. That lack of depth hurt.
--RUSH DEFENSE: B - Maybe the biggest surprise in the NFL this year is that Washington has gone from atrocious against the run to legitimately good. The Redskins did give up a season-high 168 yards on Monday, but at least kept rookie Kareem Hunt, the NFL's top rusher, in check (21 carries, 101 yards). What hurt the most was a mobile quarterback. As Carson Wentz did to them in Week 1 for Philadelphia, Alex Smith managed 56 yards on seven carries for the Chiefs. Washington's defensive front sacked Smith four times.
--SPECIAL TEAMS: B-plus - Kicker Dustin Hopkins made both field-goal attempts from 19 and 40 yards, including the game-tying kick with 47 seconds left. The Chiefs had no punt or kickoff returns of note and punter Tress Way pinned Kansas City inside its own 20 twice. Washington's return game was ineffectual.
--COACHING: B - The Redskins didn't back down from the NFL's hottest team on its biggest regular-season stage or wilt when injuries took a toll in the second half. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky turned to young players like corner Fabian Moreau and first-year safety Stefan McClure and didn't see too much of a drop off. You can question Jay Gruden's time management late in the fourth quarter when he called a timeout and later went for the go-ahead touchdown with just under a minute to go instead of trying a run on third-and-2 to burn clock in case he had to settle for a field goal. The Redskins left Kansas City too much time to drive for the winning score and its defense was too exhausted to stop the Chiefs.