'Skins coach on RG3: 'He's the starter. Period.'

755984.jpg

'Skins coach on RG3: 'He's the starter. Period.'

From Comcast SportsNet
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -- No sense fooling around with a talent like Robert Griffin III. Barely a week after the draft, the Washington Redskins are already proclaiming the Heisman Trophy winner their No. 1 quarterback. Saying that Griffin has the ability to do things no one else has done in the NFL, coach Mike Shanahan wrapped up a rookie minicamp Sunday by putting RGIII squarely atop the depth chart. "He's the starter. Period," Shanahan said. Shanahan said Griffin will begin working with the first-teamers when the veterans reconvene for offseason workouts later this month. Fourth-round pick Kirk Cousins and last year's starter Rex Grossman will share snaps to sort out the second- and third-string spots. Shanahan said the Redskins didn't go through all the trouble to get Griffin -- trading three first-round picks and a second-rounder to the St. Louis Rams for the No. 2 overall spot -- just to have him play backup. The coach said he made the decision even before the three-day minicamp. "We're going to adjust our system to what he feels comfortable with," Shanahan said, "and we'll watch him grow and we'll do what we feel like he can do and what he does the best. ... One thing the NFL is not used to is a quarterback with his type of speed and his type of throwing ability, so I think we can do some things that people haven't done." With his announcement, Shanahan managed something that's hard to do -- overshadow Griffin himself. Sunday was the first chance for reporters to see Griffin practice in a Redskins uniform, an event that attracted some 60 members of the media to a 90-minute session consisting mostly of undrafted, unsigned players trying to earn a spot at training camp. Griffin wore the familiar No. 10 that he wore at Baylor, with the moniker "Griffin III" on the back. His shoes were gold with burgundy laces. He's known more for his colorful collection of socks, but he went with the standard white. As usual, his sound bites were spot on. "It's been a while since we've been able to do football things," he said. "We've been doing combines and beauty pageants on pro days, so it's time to get to football." Griffin referenced the challenges he might have as a rookie starting quarterback dealing with veterans. With his disarming smile, he said he even has extra pairs of his shoes, in case the vets want them. "I can't come in flamboyantly, and I don't plan to," he said. "Come in and earn the guys' respect. Even if they say you've already got it, you've still got to go out and earn it." The selection of Cousins raised eyebrows around the league -- no team had taken two quarterbacks in the first four rounds since 1989 -- but Griffin said he was given advanced notice from Shanahan that the Redskins were looking at making such a move to give the team solid, young depth at the position. Griffin and Cousins roomed together at the team hotel this weekend and will likely do so again at training camp. "We went over the playbook together. There's no issues there," Griffin said. "We're both out there trying to get better, so we're cool. We ate a burrito together." "Not the same burrito," he added with a laugh. "Just to clear that up." Cousins, a three-year starter at Michigan State, was no doubt hoping to be drafted by a team that would give him a realistic chance at a starting job in the near future. As it is, he realizes he's likely to be stuck behind Griffin for the entire length of a four-year rookie contract. "The cream always rises to the top, so if I'm as good as I hope to be someday, then I'm going to get that opportunity, whether here or somewhere else," he said. "But right now I have a great opportunity to develop and to learn and to grow." According to Shanahan, Griffin was everything a coach could love during the five practices that made up the minicamp. The rookie had studied in advance and arrived with a rudimentary knowledge of the playbook. "You can see what an incredible athlete he is," Shanahan said. "I was impressed because the first day we didn't have one bust with a formation or a play call, and I don't think I ever had that in any minicamp that I've been involved with." Notes: The Redskins signed their two sixth-round draft picks: RB Alfred Morris from Florida Atlantic and T Tom Compton from South Dakota. ... They also signed five college free agents: WR Brian Hernandez from Utah, DL Delvin Johnson from Marshall, WR Samuel Kirkland from Kent State, OL Nick Martinez from Oklahoma State and TE Beau Reliford from Florida State. ... The team waived college free agents DL Vaughn Meatoga and WR Kelvin Bolden. ... Third-round draft pick Josh LeRibeus, mostly a guard in college, was used as a center during the rookie camp.

Quick Links

Camden Yards earns top spot in top 100 stadium experiences

Camden Yards earns top spot in top 100 stadium experiences

Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Md. grabbed the top spot in a list of the top 100 stadium experiences of 2016. 

There are very few stadiums in sports that you could even argue offer a backdrop that's as aesthetically pleasing or as unique as Camden Yards. The long brick train warehouse in right field along with the view of the Baltimore skyline in center field, gives Camden Yards as cozy of a feeling that you can get while at a sporting event. Add in the fact that O's fans are always into the games and have many gameday traditions, Camden Yards' number one ranking is perfectly justified. Just writing this makes me long for some crab fries and a cold beverage while watching the Orioles on a Saturday afternoon in the summer. 

Checking in at number 14 on the list is the stadium that's right next door to Camden Yards, and that's M&T Bank Stadium, the home of the Baltimore Ravens. This stadium was ranked the best stadium experience in the NFL, beating out Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and Lambeau Field for the top spot. 

Navy Marine Corp Memorial Stadium, home of the Naval Academy's football team, entered the rankings at number 49 on the list. Go to a game at Navy Marine Corp Memorial Stadium and you'll see some good football in a place that is full of history and patriotism. 

The final mid-atlantic area stadium that made the list was Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegal Center in Richmond. Home of the VCU basketball team, the Siegal Center has developed into a really tough place for teams to play. Since the Rams run to the Final Four in 2011 and the development of the basketball program under former coach Shaka Smart, VCU has turned into a perrenially good college basketball team. Couple a good team with a loud, intimate 7,500 seat stadium and you've got yourself a really cool venue to watch college basketball.  

Related: Top 25 college football uniforms 

Quick Links

Alex Ovechkin critical of officiating Monday in Pittsburgh

Alex Ovechkin critical of officiating Monday in Pittsburgh

A couple of days have passed, but Alex Ovechkin is still miffed about the multiple missed calls in Monday’s 8-7 overtime loss in Pittsburgh.

Speaking after Wednesday’s practice in Arlington, the Caps’ captain specifically referenced two of them—Patric Hornqvist’s high hit on T.J. Oshie and Sidney Crosby’s blatant trip on him in overtime.

“If it’s there, it’s there,” Ovechkin said, asked about remaining composed when addressing referees. “Like even last game, how many calls they miss?” Before four-on-four, it was a straight headshot on Osh and no call.”

The Capitals were leading 3-0 when Hornqvist forearmed Oshie’s jaw in the corner, briefly sending the first line winger to the dressing room. Following the ensuing scrum, Hornqvist and Daniel Winnik were sent off for roughing, and the Penguins struck twice as the sides skated four-on-four.

“Just call it,” Ovechkin said. “You killed the game and killed our momentum.”

Ovechkin did not address reporters after the game and the Caps were off on Tuesday.

The referees at PPG Paints Arena were Frederick L’Ecuyer and Dan O’Halloran.

Ovechkin also did not like the non-call on Crosby, who used his stick and skate to trip him as he carried the puck with speed early in the extra session. Conor Sheary ended the game moments later.

“I would say it was a pretty bad situation out there,” Ovechkin said. “In overtime, the same. There was clear trip and no call, but everybody makes mistakes.”

He added: “It’s emotion moments. I think everybody get involved, everybody has emotions. Again, if it’s [a] 100-pecent call and nobody make a whistle or don’t make a call, of course everybody going to be mad and sad about it.”

Another missed call that had an impact on the game arrived early in the third period. As Karl Alzner went to play the puck along the boards in the Caps' offensive zone, Bryan Rust cross checked the defenseman, creating a turnover. Rust gathered the puck, passed it to Sheary, who then found Crosby, who sniped a shot past Philipp Grubauer to make it 7-5.

Caps Coach Barry Trotz said he did not discuss the missed calls with the league. He also said it was his team’s execution four-on-four—and not its mindset after the missed call on Oshie—that sparked the Penguins’ comeback.

“I think you would lose your mind if you worried about every call,” Trotz said. “For the most part, I stand behind the referees. I think our sport is extremely difficult [to officiate]. It can be very frustrating. It’s easy for coaches and fans and media to look at plays in slow motion—without trying to avoid behind hit by pucks and people—and staying out of everybody’s way and making calls. Once-in-a-while [calls] are going to be missed. And when they’re missed at times of opportunity for the opposition, you can get frustrated. But I don’t lose too much sleep over it because I know I can’t change it.”

Related: Trotz doesn't think loss to Pittsburgh will send Capitals into a slump