The signs this week were encouraging for Jordan Reed. He practiced on both Wednesday and Thursday and even did some team work, as he looked to come back from the concussion he suffered on August 22 and play for the Redskins in Week 2.
But the whole vibe around Reed's situation changed on Friday, when he was a surprise absence in Ashburn during Washington's final preparation for the Cowboys game. Then, after practice, Jay Gruden confirmed that Reed will not return to the field this Sunday.
"Just didn't work out this week as far as feeling 100-percent to play a game," Gruden said when asked if the tight end had experienced some sort of setback or issue.
Sometimes that's the way it goes with concussions, and Reed has unfortunately suffered a handful as a pro. Yet it felt like he was on the right track toward getting back, considering the injury happened a little more than three weeks ago and he was doing individual drills back before the regular season opener.
Something changed, however, and so, too, will the Redskins playbook.
"He's a special guy," Gruden told reporters. "If he's in the game, you have to design a few plays for him. So, those plays just got red-penned, they just got axed."
Reed isn't the only key Redskin who will miss the matchup. Jonathan Allen and Caleb Brantley (who is being placed on IR) are out as well, and Fabian Moreau is doubtful. Then there's Derrius Guice, who'll also be moved to IR.
All of that means that the Burgundy and Gold, who were already underdogs against Dallas, will have an even tougher fight to try and even their record. To do so, they'll need contributions from some lesser-known names along the defensive line, Adrian Peterson to churn up yards and time on the ground and a few fortunate bounces or calls to go their way.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS
Must-win already?: Cowboys-Redskins preview
Trolled by WaWa: As if Week 1 loss wasn't enough
On the rise: Cowboys OC is NFL's next coaching star