August 28, 2015

Washington Redskins: OLB Junior Galette Suffers Torn Achilles, Out for Season

After two consecutive practices of first unit players getting back on the field, the Washington Redskins sustained a significant blow to their pass rush today as recently signed OLB Junior Galette tore his Achilles tendon.

Few seemed to have seen the injury where Galette went down and news of the possible severity did not break until head coach Jay Gruden told reporters that there is a good chance Galette would miss the third preseason game after being on track to see time yesterday.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport broke the news that the injury could be as serious as a torn Achilles injury.

Although nothing is certain yet, teammates as well as a team official or not very optimistic. Galette will see a doctor later this afternoon to start getting a firm idea.

Assuming the worse that Galette is not able to take a single snap all year after signing a one-year deal with the Redskins, it will be up to the likes of Trent Murphy and rookie Preston Smith to pick up the slack opposite Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan. Although this would be huge blow to the Redskins pass rush, they do have two young edge rushers that could soften the blow.

Stay tuned for the latest on Junior Galette’s injury here at District Sports Page.

Washington Redskins: Injury Updates Prior to Dress Rehearsal against Ravens

The Washington Redskins continued to get some good news on the injury front which began on Sunday. For the second straight practice since sustaining a concussion, Robert Griffin III participated fully in practice as he is able to partake in non-contact activities. Griffin will see a neurologist on Thursday who will determine if he is able to play on Saturday against the Baltimore Ravens. If cleared, the former rookie of the year will remain the starter although there is now a renewed quarterback controversy by fans who are somewhat quick to pull the trigger after two quarters of tape.

Besides Griffin, Jordan Reed (hamstring), DeAngelo Hall (toe), and Trent Murphy (hip) all returned to full practice. Trent Williams (foot) says that he is good to go for Saturday’s game, which is music to Griffin’s ears after the beating he took as a direct result of backup tackle Willie Smith.

DeSean Jackson (shoulder) was for the second straight practice not in pads during practice and head coach Jay Gruden said that although the team was hoping the deep threat could go this week, there is only a slim chance he suits up against the Ravens. Despite missing Jackson, the team is hopeful that fourth round selection Jamison Crowder (hamstring) can make his Redskins debut on Saturday.

Speaking of Redskins debuts, OLB Junior Galette (pectoral) seems fired up to get some playing time even if it is just the preseason. The ex-Saint would be on a snap count if he is allowed to play, but it will be exciting for everyone to see the bookends of Galette and Ryan Kerrigan develop into what many expected with Brian Orakpo. After sitting out the first two preseason games for precautionary reasons after having his knee scoped, Kerrigan is expected to suit up.

Safety Akeem Davis (grade two hamstring) and DE Frank Kearse (shoulder) have already been ruled out for the third preseason game by Gruden.

Important Dates:

  • Face the Baltimore Ravens for the third preseason game (“dress rehearsal”) in 4 days on 8/29 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 11 days by 9/5.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 19 days.

Washington Redskins Get Good Injury News on Fan Appreciation Day #2 at Redskins Park

The Washington Redskins were limping into their second preseason game against the Detroit Lions last Thursday. Things did not get better when Robert Griffin III left the game early with a concussion and later when special team’s captain Adam Hayward suffered a non-contact ACL injury. Less than three days removed from the horror, the Redskins started to get healthier on all fronts starting with QB1 RG3.

Robert Griffin III was in full pads today in practice and although it is believed he could only go through individual drills due to the concussion protocol, head coach Jay Gruden later explained that the quarterback was cleared for “non-contact” activity today.

“He’ll be checked by a neurosurgeon later this week to determine whether he’ll be cleared for the game [at Ravens on Saturday]. But, so far, so good. He didn’t have any headaches or anything of that nature. He did a good job of executing the offense today.”

Griffin looks to be on a somewhat accelerated timetable to return to game action as he took part in throwing drills today which is thought of as the 4th step of the five step concussion protocol. Gruden discussed the how the concussion protocol was taking shape:

“He just went through the necessary steps with the doctors and the concussion tests that is all implemented by our training staff. And so far, he has taken the necessary steps. You know, it’s been two full days and today is Sunday afternoon so he has had some time to recover and go through the necessary steps. He hasn’t been totally cleared yet. Like I said, he’s got to still go to a neurosurgeon. But, we’ll wait and see.”

Griffin will likely speak to the media later this week and will start against the Ravens on Saturday if he is completely cleared by the aforementioned neurologist. Gruden thinks that Griffin will have a good chance to get in the necessary reps on Saturday as he has already started to take the “necessary steps” in clearing the protocol. Although Gruden said the first team offense is “moving forward” there is still a lot of work to be done, which is why these opportunities to get better before things start to count is essential.

Practice Notes and Evaluations:

  • TE Derek Carrier, acquired from San Francisco for a 2016 5th round pick, is wearing #41 not the previously reported #47 previously donned by Chris Cooley (still do not expect anything). Gruden described the Beloit College product as being “very good” and likes that he “competes in the running game” after putting on weight from his wide receiver days.
  • In limited work today, DeSean Jackson fielded some punts today and could probably be used in rare occasions when the team is in a big need of a spark. Jackson is easily the most explosive player on the team.
  • Kirk Cousins went 5/5 for 80 yards during 7-on-7 drills including a 50 yard run and catch to Rashad Ross.
  • Although it surprised many that Griffin was already taking part in non-contact team drills, the former rookie of the year looked fine in individual drills in his footwork to roll out and throwing on the move. Griffin later exploded through a crease during live play for a 30 yard rushing touchdown where he used his track speed to break away from trailing defenders.

Injury Updates:

  • Jamison Crowder (hamstring), Will Compton (groin), Trent Williams (foot), and Baushad Breeland (MCL) with a knee brace all returned to practice in full pads. Breeland took part in team drills as the first unit nickelback. All are making very good progress from their injuries.
  • DeSean Jackson (shoulder), DeAngelo Hall (toe), and Jordan Reed did NOT participate in a full padded practice with the rest of the team. Jackson and Hall were in practice jerseys without pads and took part in individual drills, Jackson hopes to practice fully at some point this week. Gruden believes Jackson and Reed are both close to returning to 100%.
  • In a couple of new injuries, Kai Forbath (sore quad) and Trent Murphy (aggravated hip) were held out of practice though they are just day-to-day and Gruden did not seem too concerned about either injuries.

Important Dates:

  • Face the Baltimore Ravens for the third preseason game (“dress rehearsal”) in 6 days on 8/29 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 13 days by 9/5.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 21 days.

Washington Redskins: Updated Unofficial Depth Chart prior to Preseason Bout with Ravens

The Washington Redskins have made some changes to their unofficial depth chart heading into the “dress rehearsal” preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday. You can see the full depth chart below as the cuts to the 53 man roster have to be finalized by September 5th. In bold we have denoted those who are locks to make the roster, while those names that are italicized are individuals who we expect to round out the 53 man roster.

With 46 locks, we predict that Rashad Ross (WR6), Ty Nsekhe (RT2), Je’Ron Hamm (TE3), Kedric Golston (DE4), Frank Kearse (DE5), Houston Bates (OLB5), Martrell Spaight (MLB4), and Justin Rodgers (CB5*) to be on the 53 man roster starting week 1. Although there are 8 players listed to possible make the team leading to 53 man players, CB Baushad Breeland will not count towards the Week 1 53 man roster while serving his one game suspension. It is possible that Justin Rodgers could be gone come Week 2 when Breeland returns unless he can convince the coaching staff to keep him on the roster at the expense of someone else.

Need to Know Changes from Previous Depth Chart:

  • With the season ending injuries to Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen, the Washington Redskins acquired TE Derek Carrier from the San Francisco 49ers for a 5th round draft pick in 2016. Je’Ron Hamm currently seems to be slightly ahead of Chase Dixon and Devin Mahina in the competition for the third tight end roster spot. Ernst Brun and D.J. Williams who were recently signed seem to be long shots to make the team.
  • After the Redskins lost another special teams standout in Adam Hayward, it was Terrance Plummer and not 5th round draft pick Martrell Spaight given the MLB4 spot on the depth chart. Though it is still expected for Spaight to make the team, fully expect that all borderline competitions to possible be determined by the impact said individuals can make on special teams.
  • Chris Thompson, who is expected to make the team as the third string running back, has now leapfrogged Andre Roberts into the starting kickoff return role. There have been only one chance for the Redskins to return a kickoff during the preseason due to touchbacks, so this position is not set in stone.

Surprising Non-Changes to Depth Chart:

  • After being absolutely destroyed on multiple occasions when starting at left tackle for an injured Trent Williams, inconsistent lineman Willie Smith is still listed as backing up the Silverback. Tom Compton has continued to be listed as the third string right tackle, but his newly found role as a blocking tight end makes us consider him a lock to make the roster.
  • Houston Bates has not made up any ground on Jackson Jeffcoat according to the new depth chart, but it is possible that the flashy pass rusher is making a case for a roster spot with three sacks in the first two preseason games. With the injury to Hayward, a linebacker spot opens up for the taking. Expect Bates to be required to also make a difference on special teams in order to make the team.
  • Similarly to Bates, talented OLB Junior Galette has still been listed as the third string WLB although he could possibly start Week 1 against the Dolphins barring a lack of chemistry with the team in his recent arrival and/or a possible suspension for off the field issues.

Do not take any of these rankings too seriously as much can still change up to and beyond the start of the regular season. District Sports Page will keep you updated on the latest changes in position battles that could come down to the wire.

Position First String Second String Third String Other
WR1 DeSean Jackson Ryan Grant Jamison Crowder Rashad Ross
LT Trent Williams Willie Smith Takoby Cofield
LG Shawn Lauvao Arie Kouandjio Bryce Quigley
C Kory Lichtensteiger Josh LeRibeus Austin Reiter
RG Brandon Scherff Spencer Long Tyler Larsen
RT Morgan Moses Ty Nsekhe Tom Compton
TE Jordan Reed Derek Carrier Je’Ron Hamm Chase Dixon, Devin Mahina
WR2 Pierre Garçon Andre Roberts Evan Spencer Colin Lockett, Tony Jones, Reggie Bell
QB Robert Griffin III Kirk Cousins Colt McCoy
FB Darrel Young Jordan Campbell
RB Alfred Morris Matt Jones Chris Thompson Trey Williams, Mack Brown
LDE Stephen Paea Kedric Golston Corey Crawford
NT Terrance Knighton Chris Baker Jerrell Powe Travian Robertson
RDE Jason Hatcher Ricky Jean Francois Frank Kearse Robert Thomas
SLB Trent Murphy Jackson Jeffcoat Houston Bates Dyshawn Davis
MLB Keenan Robinson Will Compton Martrell Spaight
MLB Perry Riley Jr. Terrance Plummer Alonzo Highsmith
WLB Ryan Kerrigan Preston Smith Junior Galette Sage Harold
CB DeAngelo Hall Bashaud Breeland Justin Rogers Trey Wolfe, Qunton Dunbar
CB Chris Culliver David Amerson Deshazor Everett Tajh Hasson, Bryan McCann, DreQuan Hoseky
SS Duke Ihenacho Jeron Johnson Akeem Davis DaMon Cromartie-Smith
FS Dashon Goldson Trenton Robinson Kyshoen Jarrett
P Tress Way
K Kai Forbath Ty Long
H Tress Way
LS Nick Sundberg
KR Chris Thompson Andre Roberts Jamison Crowder
PR Andre Roberts Jamison Crowder Rashad Ross

Washington Redskins: Analysis of Preseason Opener Win over Lions

GRIFFIN CONCUSSED AFTER HIT REPEATEDLY BEHIND WEAK LINE

Another costly preseason victory for the Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin III left the game on his fourth series with a concussion and right shoulder stinger, though head coach Jay Gruden said RG3’s shoulder is “okay”. Griffin had no time all night as he was hit on six of eight drop backs, the result of using inconsistent  Willie Smith at left tackle and Brandon Scherff still just being a rookie in this league. You can see all the vicious blows Griffin took last night as well as the play he got hurt on below.

Besides Robert Griffin III, who could be out for upwards of a week and possibly not ready for Week 1 of the regular season, the Redskins also lost another special teams stud. Adam Hayward went down on kickoff coverage with a knee injury that many are reporting is a torn ACL, which would place him on the IR for the second straight year (tibia fracture). Having already lost Niles Paul last week to a dislocated and fractured ankle, the Redskins will put a premium on special teams play to round out their 53 man roster.

The quarterback play was similar to last week against the Browns. There is simply too small of a sample size to evaluate Griffin, who now may be out for the foreseeable future. The small part did he did play looks awful much in part to the fact he was hit on six out of eight drop backs with only one, in which he got hurt, being his fault. For those who will bash Griffin, they will get their chance to see Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy battle it out on the practice field while RG3 is out. Both backup quarterbacks played well last night; however it all must be taken with a grain of salt as they were playing against a backup secondary who were giving up open soft spots left and right.

The running backs were one of the lone bright spot for the Washington Redskins. After only providing 24 yards of support on seven carries for Griffin, also possibly the result of a weaker offensive line, we saw explosive runs behind the backup line. Rookie Matt Jones got things started with a 24 yard rumble up the middle with a good cut to make a defender miss mid way through. Chris Thompson also had a nice run around the right side and similarly to Jones made a defender go for a slip and slide ride with a smooth cut. Finally, the speedster Trey Williams put his track like ability on display with a 38 yard run down the right sideline. Although the Redskins combined for a whopping 179 yards on the ground on 40 carries, 81 of them came from these big plays.

Again the starting defense was shaky coming out of the gates. Yes they were missing the likes of DeAngelo HallBaushad BreelandRyan Kerrigan, and Junior Galette, but fundamentally they were not getting the job done. Throughout the game the Redskins could not sustain tackles and bring the ball carrier to the ground individually. From the starters, Keenan RobinsonDavid Amerson, and Chris Culliver were all guilty of that. The nice part however was the rest of the defense’s swarming to the football to make the additional yardage gain minimal through gang tackling.

The up and down nature of the starting defense continued with the coverage in the passing game. At times Matthew Stafford, without arguably the best receiver in the game Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, was simply dissecting the gaps in the defense (similarly to how Cousins and McCoy would return the favor). The Lions quarterback had four passes, out of his eight, for double digit yard gains. In the end the Redskins defense did a decent job preventing the Lions from entering the red zone. Both drives stalled for the Lions and they settled for a 49 yard Matt Prater field goal over the course of their two drives. Jason Hatcher was a key pass rusher in stalling both drives as he twice hurried Stafford into not converting on third down.

Now lets take a look at whose stock is rising and whose is falling as the Redskins continue their evaluation process to cut their roster to 53 players by Friday, September 4th.

  • UP: Tackle Tom Compton. With all the problems on the offensive line yesterday, Compton who was used multiple times as a blocking tight end (trying to fill the void of Logan Paulsen), did an effective job. The backup lineman has the mobility to sustain blocks down field which allowed Alfred Morris to gain a 10 yard clip on the opening possession. With Brandon Scherff moving to guard, opening an extra roster spot at tackle, Compton is all but a lock for the final roster.
  • DOWN: Tackle Willie Smith. For Gruden to say Smith played “pretty good” is laughable. The tackle was playing in place of Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams who could have gone it it were a regular season game. Smith was beat repeatedly. Three times Lions defenders got clean shots on Griffin around the outside. Smith was bailed out the fourth time from the fact that Scherff got blown up quicker than he did. If Ty Nsekhe shows he is the least bit competent in being a backup tackle, the journey man Willie Smith will continue his journey right out the door.
  • UP: Punter Tress Way. Arguably the Redskins most worthy player of a Pro Bowl of All-Pro selection might just be their dynamite punter. In a special teams that has been horrendous over the years, the Redskins might have found their changer in field position for the next five years. Way led the league in gross punting average at 47.5 yards. Last night Way averaged 51 yards on four punts and helped his coverage team with directional punts that helped limit punt return yardage to a total of 13 yards.
  • DOWN: Guard Brandon Scherff. Yes he is a rookie and yes he was not the only problem on the offensive line, but the 5th overall pick was absolutely bull rushed straight back into Griffin on a drop back. If Scherff is going to worth the value of his draft pick, he MUST at least develop into a above average guard where he supposedly more suited to start his development. Scherff also had a somewhat tough time on running plays as the Redskins got no substantial runs running to the right where he anchors the line with Morgan Moses. Scherff would say postgame that the play of the offensive line is “unacceptable” and says he needs to work on “everything”.

Everything moving forward will depend on the recovery timetable set for Griffin who has to pass the league’s strict concussion protocol before being able to do any work in practice. Head coach Jay Gruden has already come out and said he imagines Griffin to still be the starter. This might be frustrating for some who want to see Cousins or maybe even McCoy to get another shot at the starting job, but to me you cannot give up on Robert yet even though this is his third straight year with an injury.

Important Dates:

  • Face the Baltimore Ravens for the third preseason game (“dress rehearsal”) in 8 days on 8/29 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 15 days by 9/5.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 23 days.

 

Washington Redskins: 2015 Outlook for Defense

We have looked at the Washington Redskins offense last week. This week we looked specifically at the defensive line, linebackers, and secondary of the burgundy and gold. Now it’s time to look at the defense as a whole, a unit that last year looked worse than a college team under the helm of Jim Haslett. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry might have gone 0-16 in the same role with the Lions, but there is almost no where but up for him to take the Redskins defense.

Similarly to our outlook for the offense, we will go through each unit projecting their grades for the regular season and then develop a projected Week 1 Depth Chart (which will NOT included the suspended Baushad Breeland).

  • Defensive Line: B+. The Redskins might not have any flashy stars like J.J. Watt that we can become enamored with in the trenches, but they have quietly put together a strong group of veterans that get the job done. Ricky Jean-Francois, Stephen Paea, and Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton should help solidify a unit that struggled doing anything in non-blitz situations. As long as they accomplish occupying more blockers than they are rushing from the line, that play will be a success. Penetration and giving linebackers open lanes to the ball carrier would be a bonus that would put them is company with some of the best lines in the league, but we must temper expectations to start.
  • Linebackers: B. The lone addition to the unit was Junior Galette and as long as he stays on the field by avoiding off the field issues, he will be an important asset for the team. The unit is quite strong at OLB with Trent Murphy and rookie Preston Smith looking accomplished enough to fill in sparingly, but the there are still concerns for the linebackers in coverage. If they can keep the number of times they are exposed in the pass game to a minimum and play strong run defense while also pressuring the quarterback, it will be another unit for the Redskins that GM Scot McCloughan has upgraded.
  • Secondary: C+. It is simply too soon to tell how the defensive backs will look come the regular season and how much of an improvement they will be over last year’s dreadful unit. DeAngelo Hall might start slowing down at the age of 31 after coming off two torn Achilles injuries. Possibly three new starters to fill out the unit could lead to communication problems as many have been unable to stay on the field due to nagging injuries already. The secondary may improve as the season goes along after recovering Breeland and see a chemistry build, but right now it is too soon to say the unit will be anything but average.

Projected Defensive Week 1 Lineup:

  • LDE: Stephen Paea, Frank Kearse, Kedric Golston
  • NT: Terrance Knighton, Chris Baker
  • RDE: Jason Hatcher, Ricky Jean-Francois
  • WLB: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
  • MLB: Perry Riley, Adam Hayward
  • MLB: Keenan Robinson, Will Compton, Martrell Spaight
  • SLB: Junior Galette, Trent Murphy (could be flip-flopped if Galette has not quite gotten comfortable yet)
  • CB: DeAngelo Hall, Justin Rodgers (Rodgers could be cut from the roster when Breeland returns)
  • CB: Chris Culliver, David Amerson
  • SS: Duke Ihenacho, Jeron Johnson (with Johnson’s lengthy hamstring injury, Ihenacho will probably begin the season as the starter)
  • FS: DaShon Goldson, Trenton Robinson, Kyshoen Jarrett

Bottom line: If the defensive line is effective in occupying blockers allowing the linebackers to stop the run and put pressure on the quarterback without all out blitzes, the secondary will benefit by having less time to be exposed.

Washington Redskins: Preseason Week 2 vs. Lions What to Watch For

If you think you can make generalizations about the Washington Redskins outlook for the regular season from last weeks play, you are probably wrong. The sample size is simply too small. The starters played roughly a quarter and were not 100% healthy. Robert Griffin III only threw the ball a grand total of eight times, and saying that Kirk Cousins‘s stellar play against backups and soon to be unemployed players is worthy of a starting job is preposterous.

Unfortunately we are not going to see too much more from the starters this week when they host the Lions either. Head coach Jay Gruden said the first units will likely go at least a quarter and possibly a little beyond that based on how many snaps each side gets. In short, it will be tough to evaluate the play of the starters again. Starting with the third preseason game against the Ravens, where the starters could play upwards of three quarters, we might be able to make small generalizations.

But just because there is a limited sample size to evaluate from the starters from does not mean that the second preseason game is not worth watching. Like last week, it will be a great opportunity for those further down the depth chart to showcase why they think they should be on the 53 man roster.

  • Colt McCoy orchestrating the backup offense. With all the talk that Cousins should be the starter over RG3 last week, many forgot that there is currently an open competition for the backup quarterback spot. This week it will be McCoy’s chance to light it up against backups after taking a game managing role last week to close out the win over the Browns. Cousins seems to have put himself ahead in the race and a bad showing by the Texas product could seal his fate as the third string QB.
  • The running attack as the power run scheme of Bill Callahan continues to develop. Last week we saw Alfred Morris and Matt Jones combine for three explosive runs. We saw the physicality level increase and we shall watch for more of the same. It will not show in preseason, but during the regular season that will result in the wearing down of the defensive line. We should also look for Chris Thompson to continue providing a change of pace option for the Redskins in his search to secure his third string running back spot after Silas Redd tore his ACL/MCL last week. NOTE: Redd did clear waivers and was placed on the Redskins injured reserve list joining the likes of Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen.
  • The right side of the offensive line with the combination of Brandon Scherff at guard and Morgan Moses at tackle. Last week the young duo was never put in too many tough positions and held their own against a talented Browns front seven. The more time they get together the more comfortable they should become. This week and the rest of preseason will be used to continue their development in hopes of producing an upgrade from last year.
  • Although there a handful of injuries to notable defenders for the Redskins, the starters are more or less penciled in. It will be nice to see a couple of three and outs with a turnover from the improved unit, but they will have their hands full with Calvin Johnson. It will be interesting to watch who takes on the assignment of the 6′ 5” Megatron as Chris Culliver is more of a slot corner, while DeAngelo Hall might not be able to go with a toe injury. From the front seven, the degree of pressure and effectiveness in stopping the run will be worth observing.
  • The dreaded special teams, can we see improvement? Kicker Kai Forbath has been inconsistent in practice thus far but if he continues his strong play in game time situations all will be set. The former Lou Groza award winner however HAS to try and get his kickoffs deeper in the end zone because the return coverage is still exposed constantly. For the Redskins own return options, watch of Andre Roberts, Chris Thompson, and possibly Rashad Ross get a crack at the duties while rookie Jamison Crowder is likely to sit with a hamstring injury.

Although there are key pieces of the game to watch for as detailed above, there will be little support for wild speculation even if the team executes perfectly or not at all.

Check back on Friday morning for a full analysis of the Redskins hosting of the Detroit Lions after doing battle Thursday Night with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 PM.

2015 Washington Redskins Position Preview: Secondary

One of the major issues for the Washington Redskins in recent years has been the struggle of their defensive secondary unit to hold opponent’s aerial attacks at bay. With that being said, DSP finishes our preview of this year’s defense with a look at this group that has great potential to improve this season.

[Read more…]

Washington Redskins Return to Ashburn in Preparation for Preseason Battle with Lions

After wrapping up training camp yesterday with a quick walkthrough, the Redskins got back at it at Redskins Park in Ashburn, VA for the last time before hosting the Detroit Lions in the second preseason game of the year. Within minutes of the team trotting out to the practice field, the heavens opened up as pouring rain forced everyone into the recently built practice bubble. Lets stick with just the practice in this post, if you are interested in reading about the media show on Robert Griffin III‘s “best in the league” comments you can see this opinion post.

Similarly to in the first preseason game, head coach Jay Gruden did not previously announce how long the starters were going to play. All we know is that they are likely to play the first quarter and possibly a little bit before that but such is all dependent on the speed of the game and how many snaps there are on both sides of the ball. In the short time that the starters are in the game, Gruden hopes to see the team building on what they have already accomplished. It would be tough to play the same penalty free ball that the Redskins accomplished last week, but as long as Gruden sees his team getting better together he will be pleased.

Gruden further delved into the running back position and current outlook of the unit. Matt Jones‘s role in the Redskins offense is still being processed but Gruden termed the Florida product as currently a “relief back” in order to keep Alfred Morris fresh during the game. Behind all of the hype of Jones, Gruden complimented the work horse Morris by saying “it is hard to take him out of the game on first and second down” because he has been in such good shape. Gruden did however explain that if Jones earns playing time and shows he can be trusted when it counts with ball security, “he will get his fair share of carries”. The head coach continued his high praise for Chris Thompson describing his job execution as “excellance”. Surprisingly, Gruden likes what he is seeing on “normal downs” where he is needed primarily as a pass catching option out of the backfield. Best case scenario, all three backs thrive in Bill Callahan‘s power run game, keep each other fresh, and take the pressure off of Griffin throughout the season.

Practice Notes and Evaluations:

  • With all of the nonsense regarding Griffin’s out-of-context comments, Kirk Cousins nearly threw two interceptions in today’s practice. Both were dropped by the defenders, which resulted in push ups as punishment for the miscue, but would have likely been turnovers against starting secondaries.
  • David Amerson and rookie Martell Spaight started in the place of DeAngelo Hall and Keenan Robinson and performed well.
  • Although Chris Thompson has a tight hold on the third string running back position, the change of pace back was stripped during one play and was talked to by the coaching staff. Turnovers are the quickest way to loose playing time and in extreme cases even a roster spot.
  • TE Je’Ron Hamm got the bulk of the playing time with the starters today and made a couple of nice grabs. Tom Compton was indeed used as an extra blocker multiple times and even was sent out on a route one time although he was not targeted, do not expect any J.J. Watt touchdowns from the tight end position from the natural tackle.
  • You could spend all day just watching Junior Galette and Trent Williams go up against each other. Today Galette seemed to win most of the battles by showcasing his hand movement, which he was working on off to the side prior to joining in on full team practices.
  • Kai Forbath had a better day on field goal attempts after having a poor showing the practice after having a good showing against the Browns. The incumbent Redskins place kicker converted on attempts from 38, 40, 45, and 50 yards out while missing a 48 yarder. The competition is not too aggressive this year for Forbath, as rookie Ty Long continues his inconsistencies by going 2/4 with makes from 43 and 50 but misses from 40 and 48 yards.

Injury Updates:

  • Gruden noted that many of the banged up players will be evaluated tomorrow morning and decisions on who his in or out will be made soon thereafter.
  • DeSean Jackson (shoulder), DeAngelo Hall (toe), Jordan Reed (hamstring) and Frank Kearse (shoulder) were out once again with injuries. Hall wants to play badly because he wants to get in much needed reps. More realistic return dates for Jackson and Reed will come in Week 3 of the preseason against the Ravens. Gruden said Reed is NOT being held out for precautionary reasons as his hamstring is still sore and would be unable to go even if this were the regular season.
  • Jamison Crowder (hamstring) and Will Compton (groin) returned to practice in limited action. Crowder will “probably not” play Thursday as Gruden wants to get the Duke product “a couple good days of practice before we put him out in the game”.
  • Keenan Robinson was held out for the first time today because of a sore Achilles injury that Gruden classified as day-to-day.

Important Dates:

  • Host the Detroit Lions for the second preseason game in 2 days on 8/20 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 18 days by 9/4.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 27 days.

OPINION: Washington Redskins’ Robert Griffin III “best quarterback in the league” Comment Blown out of Proportion

After fireworks exploded over Robert Griffin III calling himself the “best quarterback in the league“, waves continued on into today with the report that the Washington Redskins PR staff would not allow the starting quarterback to speak to the media when not required to. After appealing the PR staff’s “ban”, Griffin made a short statement today regarding the matter. You can find the full statements of both the original comments and the follow up below.

“I don’t feel like I have to come out here and show anybody anything or why I’m better than this guy or better than that guy. It’s more about going out and affirming that for me, I go out and I play, I know I’m the best quarterback on this team. I feel like I’m the best quarterback in the league and I have to go out and show that. Any athlete at any level, if they concede to someone else, they’re not a top competitor, they’re not trying to be the best that they can be. There’s guys in this league that have done way more than me. But, I still view myself as the best because that’s what I work toward every single day.”

“I’m addressing what happened yesterday with the firestorm that took off with what I said. I know what I meant. I think everyone in this circle knows what I meant. It’s unfortunate that my name is used for headlines and not the full stories. I know what I want to be and what I strive to be, and I’m not going to apologize for that.”

The bottom line is that like so many things in life, part of a quote was parsed out of context and went viral. Sure it might have been poor word choice and phrasing, but too often in today’s age do fans blow things out of proportion without knowing the full context. Even members of the media see the chances to make a headline at might give a false impression of what really happened. The same thing happened with Washington Wizards’ John Wall, on a lower level, about his comments that Reggie Jackson makes the same amount of money as he does.

For Griffin, he is a 25 year old who has probably had to grow up to quickly while facing more adversity in the past three years than most do in there entire lives. Frustration spills over at times, he clearly is tired of having to be questioned as the starting quarterback.

Griffin clearly clarified that he works hard every day to bring his statement to fruition. The former rookie of the year is also not paranoid, he made it clear to himself that he knows that there are “guys in this league that have done way more than me”.

The nice thing about all of this is the support RG3 is garnering from his #1 protector in Trent “Silverback” Williams (courtesy of CSN’s Tarik El-Bashir). After stating he was not surprised by all the media attention the statement was getting, the Pro Bowl left tackles stated:

“Just needed something to talk about. Got to nitpick. Not to ya’ll [reporters gathered around]. But you know how people are. Social media gets a hold of things, and blows everything out of proportion.”

Williams would go on to make it clear that “you don’t want to play for a guy that doesn’t have confidence in himself”. It is ok to be confident and even over-confident in your own abilities even if things do not seem to be going great, if you lose that it might just be that individual’s time to hang it up.

Similarly to Williams, head coach Jay Gruden did not see what all the big deal was. See his full statement regarding Griffin’s words being taken out of context below:

“I didn’t really make a lot out of it. You guys [media] did. I think all players want to strive to be the best and that doesn’t change. DeSean Jackson said he was uncoverable. Whether he is or not, that’s the way he feels. Robert has high goals for himself. I don’t fault anybody for having high goals for themselves. We don’t want anybody to strive to be average. The key thing that he said is that he has got to go out and prove it, and we all have got to go out and prove it.”

When asked about the subject again with the twist of his reaction, Gruden reiterated the idea that it is a whole lot of nothing.

“What was my impression? I really didn’t think a whole lot of it; I just thought it was a guy that had high hopes for himself and his performance and his career as a starting quarterback in the NFL. I think when he was drafted No. 2 out of Baylor and he came here and he had a Rookie of the Year performance, I think everybody thought he could be a top-notch quarterback in the NFL. I don’t think he’s wavered in that confidence factor. He just has to go out and prove it and stay healthy, number one, and go out and continue to play. The whole thing about great quarterbacks and the top-notch quarterbacks, they’re durable and they do it year-in and year-out and game-in and game-out. We have got to make sure we do our best to keep him healthy and he has got to do his best to perform.”

The moral of the story is that headlines are made to incite emotions in everyone. In this case many jumped straight to the conclusion that Griffin is foolish and even more incompetent of a role he has earned by having more quality tape than Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy combined. I blame the media for this because most fans do not even take the time to read articles anymore as CSN’s J. Michael correctly points out. For that reason alone, I have clearly stated my stance on the issue right there in the article’s title.

If all goes well, and yes it may be a rather large if, Griffin will silence all the critics with a strong performance to start the regular season and put the franchise back on his back like he did in 2012. Let us all take a deep breath and wait until after Week 1’s game against the Dolphins in just 27 days before making rash critical statements.

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