20 questions in 20 days: 1 Is RG3 the answer?

876445.png

20 questions in 20 days: 1 Is RG3 the answer?

By Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler
CSNwashington.com20 questions in 20 daysAs we count down to the first game of the Redskins season, Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are going to be looking at some of the big questions facing the team and attempting to look into their crystal balls and answer them.Question 1: Is RG3 the answer?The background:The NFL is a quarterback league and for the last 20 years or so the Redskins have been bringing a knife to a gunfight. They havent even enjoyed an extended period of competence at the most important position in sports. They have settled for a good season here, a nice stretch of games there. They gave up a record haul of high draft picks to try to solve that problem and they drafted Robert Griffin III. Can he be The Guy?Tandler:The chances of Griffin playing the role of Ryan Leaf or Heath Shuler, two highly drafted QBs who were huge busts, are extremely small. Like those two and other failed high picks Griffin has the physical tools to succeed. But what separates Griffin is what he has from the neck up. His football IQ is off the charts, his mental approach to the game is perfect, and he has been and will continue to be the first player to arrive at Redskins Park every morning and among the last to leave at night. There are no guarantees but it would be a major upset if Griffin is not a major improvement for the Redskins at quarterback immediately and one of the elite QBs in the league within a few years.El-Bashir:Given what was surrendered to get him, failure is not an option when it comes to Griffin. He has to become the franchise quarterback the Redskins have sought since Joe Theismann retired almost 20 years ago. As Rich pointed out, Griffins work ethic is unsurpassed, while his aptitude athletic ability are second to none. Time will tell if he can thrive in the NFL, but the early indication is that he possesses the all the tools necessary to become a top-10 quarterback. That said, two questions come to mind when pondering Griffins future. First, can his relatively slight frame (6 foot 2, 217 pounds) withstand the weekly pounding a dual-threat quarterback can expect to receive? And second, will the Redskins surround him with the talent elite quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees always seem to have? If the answer to both is yes, the sky is indeed the limit for Griffin.20 questions in 20 days20 Aug.20Will Jammal Brown play this year?
19 Aug.21Will Chris Cooley make the team?
18 Aug. 22Can Brandon Meriweather get he job done at safety?
17 Aug. 23Is Garon a No. 1 receiver?
16 Aug. 24Can Trent Williams go from good to great?
15 Aug. 25Can DeAngelo Hall be a defensive playmaker?
14 Aug. 26Can Santana Moss regain his old form?
13 Aug. 27Can Orakpo post 15 sacks?
12 Aug. 28Will Leonard Hankerson break out?
11 Aug. 29Can the Redskins flip their turnover ratio?
10 Aug. 30How much can Hightower contribute this year?
9 Aug. 31Was making Billy Cundiff the kicker a good move?
8 Sept. 1Will Josh Morgan be worth the investment?
7 Sept. 2What can Jarvis Jenkins contribute?
6 Sept. 3Is the offensive line depth good enough?
5 Sept. 4Will a running back by committee work?
4 Sept. 5Is the defense ready to carry the load?
3 YesterdayHow many wins is enough?
2 TodayHow much should RG3 run?
1 TomorrowIs RG3 the answer?

Quick Links

Andrew Shaw suspended for boarding Capitals prospect Connor Hobbs

usatsi_9570848.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Shaw suspended for boarding Capitals prospect Connor Hobbs

Montreal’s Andrew Shaw has been suspended three preseason games for boarding Washington’s Connor Hobbs on Tuesday night.

On the play, Shaw delivered a hard body check to Hobbs’ back, driving the Capitals prospect face-first into the end boards. It appeared that Shaw was angry about being slew-footed by Jay Beagle earlier on the same shift.

In the explanation video from NHL Department of Player Safety, director Patrick Burke said it was a dangerous hit that never should have been made.

RELATED: Was that the Capitals' opening night roster?

“It is important to note that Hobbs is never eligible to be checked by Shaw on this play,” Burke said. “From the moment Shaw arrives at the faceoff dot, he sees nothing but Hobbs' numbers. Hobbs makes no sudden movement just prior to contact that turns this hit from a legal hit into an illegal one.”

Burke added: “The onus is on Shaw to make sure he can deliver this hit in a legal fashion, minimize the force or avoid this hit completely. Instead, he hits forcefully through Hobbs from behind, driving him dangerously into the glass.”

Burke also noted the fact that Hobbs escaped injury and Shaw’s one previous suspension as factors in his ruling.

Shaw was assessed a total of 30 minutes in penalties (five for boarding, five for fighting, a 10-minute misconduct and a 10-minute game misconduct) for the hit and ensuing fight with Nathan Walker, who immediately confronted the noted agitator. 

Capitals associate coach Todd Reirden said before the suspension was handed down that it was exactly the type of hit the NHL is trying to eliminate.

“It’s a dangerous, dangerous play,” Reirden said. “Obviously, they are trying to take that type of stuff out of the game. The league will deal with it accordingly. Luckily, Connor seems to be fine and everything checked out so he was able to return to the game. Which is really good because he’s a real high prospect for us here moving forward.”

MORE CAPITALS: Samsonov to stay in KHL until 2018

Quick Links

Duke Ihenacho: Obviously I want to be playing but it's the coach's decision

Duke Ihenacho: Obviously I want to be playing but it's the coach's decision

When Duke Ihenacho landed on the Redskins inactive report Week 1 against Pittsburgh, many around the league were surprised. That surprise waned as the season progressed. Weeks 2 and 3 Ihenacho was active, yet hardly played. 

Now injuries to DeAngelo Hall and Bashaud Breeland are forcing the Redskins to shake up their secondary, though it remains unclear if that means more defensive snaps for Ihenacho. Asked if Hall's torn ACL means Ihenacho will hit the field more on defense, Redskins coach Jay Gruden sounded non-commital.

"Could be," the coach said. "We're gonna dress four safeties most likely and they'll all probably get an opportunity."

MORE REDSKINS: NO HEALTH CONCERNS FOR DAVID BRUTON

The Redskins will start Will Blackmon and David Bruton at free and strong safety, leaving Ihenacho third on the depth chart and Deshazor Everett fourth. This week in practice, Ihenacho said his workload has increased, albeit slightly.

"I'm getting a little bit more reps at practice," Ihenacho said. "I'm really backing up both the guys. I know both positions."

For the bulk of his career, Ihenacho has dealt with injuries. In five seasons, he only has 15 starts, though his lone healthy season came in Denver in 2013. That Broncos team made it to the Super Bowl with Ihenacho at strong safety, and the five-year veteran out of San Jose State produced. In 14 starts that year, he logged 67 tackles to go with nine passes defensed and three forced fumbles.

Ihenacho has not stayed healthy in his two seasons in Washington, but he is healthy now. Asked why he isn't seeing the field more, the safety was unsure.

"Obviously I want to be out there but I'm not a coach so I just kinda got to deal with the cards that are dealt," he said. "Obviously I want to be out there, I'd like to be out there, I feel I should have been out there."

While Hall was healthy, the Redskins began to substitute Blackmon in for Bruton on longer third downs against the Giants, a nod to Blackmon's coverage skills. With Hall injured, that substitution pattern did not continue. Some fans and media have questioned if there is an issue or injury causing Ihenacho to stay on the bench.

"None of that. I haven't had any off the field issues, haven't had any injury issues. I know the defense, it's not a matter of me not knowing the playbook or anything like that. It's not a matter of me being inexperienced. It's not a matter of the coaches not trusting me."

Like any player, it's natural for Ihenacho to want to be on the field, but he understands what his role is for now.

"I feel like this is a situation where [the coaches] got guys they want to play. That's just what it is. Sometimes it's just as simple as that. They got other guys they just want to give shots to, and that's cool. Obviously I want to be out there but that's part of being a professional, understanding that and just waiting for your time."

Despite not seeing much action on defense, Ihenacho made his presence felt in the win against the Giants. On a long Jamison Crowder punt return, Ihenacho laid out two New York defenders with one block.

"The opportunity presented itself," he said. "I looped back around and I saw Crowder break a lot of tackles and make a couple guys miss. He brought it back around and my eyes kind of lit up when I hit the first guy and then at the last second I see the second guy and I just threw my body into him and it kinda just worked out."

When the team watched the game film, Ihenacho said the whole room had the same reaction to his block.

"It's like 'oooooooooh.' It was cool."