Wise veteran Santana Moss is trying to tamp down the expectations for rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. He told ESPN 980, One thing I want everyone to understand that he comes here with the big hope of turning everything around. We are all hoping that. We all want that, but I dont want that pressure on him as if he has to be the one.The thing is, in a quarterback league, Griffin does have to the the one. Yes, the rest of the team needs to play better around him but Griffin is going to have to play well if the Redskins are to reach their goal of making the playoffs on a regular basis and making a Super Bowl run from time to time.We have seen what improved quarterback play can do for a Redskins team. The 1998 Redskins got off to an 0-7 start on their way to a 6-10 record that nearly cost Norv Turner his job. Trent Green started 14 games at quarterback and Gus Frerotte started two. They combined to complete 53.8 percent of their passes for 3724 yards (6.6 yardsattempt).Green left as a free agent and Frerotte was let go so the Redskins traded for Brad Johnson. Working primarily with receivers Michael Westbrook and Albert Connell, the same guys who where lining up for Green and Frerotte, Johnson started all 16 games and completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 4005 yards (7.7 yardsattempt).The defense went from bad in 98 (24th in yards allowed) to worse in 99 (30th). And the Redskins improved to 10-6, won the division, and hosted a playoff game.To be sure, Johnson was not the only change on offense. There were some new faces on the offensive line but it is not as though a bus pulled up to Redskins Park and dropped off the 1991 Hogs. Rookie Jon Jansen replaced Shar Pourdanesh at right tackle and veteran journeyman Andy Heck came in at left tackle. Fourth-year running back Stephen Davis had a breakout season with 1405 yards, a marked improvement over the 1242 yards that Davis, Skip Hicks, and Terry Allen combined to gain on the ground in 1998.The Redskins did not build on their 1999 success. In 2000 Johnson was first injured and then in a funk about his contract sutiation. He left as a free agent in 2001. But for that one seasons Johnson clearly was the difference maker.Can Griffin make such a difference in 2012 and turn the Redskins around into a team that wins double digit games? Its a tall order for a rookie but he doesnt have to be an elite performer to beat the numbers the QBs put up last year.Despite Moss wishes, the pressure will be on RG3 this year and we will see how well he responds.
At least 51 Redskins will be making the trip to London on Thursday night, including some who are pretty banged up. And there is hope that the other two will be able to make it across the pond.
“We're taking everybody, which is a good thing,” said coach Jay Gruden. “If something happens on Friday or Saturday, we can make adjustments if needed.”
He later clarified the statuses of tight end Jordan Reed and cornerback Josh Norman. Both of them are in the NFL’s concussion protocol, at least partially.
“I’m not too sure about this — Thursday they are going to the independent doctor and if they’re cleared they’ll go on the trip,” said Gruden. “If not, if we’re still having some pain and setbacks, at that point we’ll make that decision to probably leave them back.”
In other words, stay tuned on those two key players.
Two players were out of practice on Wednesday. Reserve linebacker Terrance Garvin was out with a hip injury, and starting running back Matt Jones missed with a knee problem.
The injury was as much a surprise to Gruden as it was to reporters when they saw that Jones was not participating in practice.
“He just came in, I guess, today, had some soreness laterally,” said Gruden. “Had some pain cutting, has to problem running straight ahead so we kept him out today.”
Limited in practice were wide receivers Jamison Crowder (groin) and DeSean Jackson (hamstring/shoulder); guard Brandon Scherff (shoulder), offensive tackle Trent Williams (knee), Reed, Norman, offensive lineman Spencer Long (chest), cornerback Bashaud Breeland (ankle) and tight end Vernon Davis (groin).
With six offensive starters limited and Jones out, Gruden had to alter practice somewhat.
“We had to do kind of a slower tempo on the offensive side of the ball because of the amount of injuries we had,” said Gruden.
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Both Josh Norman and Jordan Reed, two important players who are in the concussion protocol, were on the field for the early part of Redskins practice today,
But starting running back Matt Jones was not with the running back during individual drills. He out of uniform, doing some rehab work off to the side. The team did not announce an injury to him during or after the game.
The presence of Reed, who has missed the last two games after suffering a concussion on October 9, at practice was expected. Coach Jay Gruden announced on Monday that Reed would participate today for the first time in a week.
Norman left the Redskins game against the Lions last Sunday in the third quarter and was diagnosed with a concussion. It was a mild surprise to see him on the field so soon.
Reed and Norman practicing today is a positive sign but far from a guarantee that either will play against the Bengals on Sunday in London. Both must be cleared by an independent neurologist prior to playing and that usually doesn’t happen quickly. It’s possible that they may need to be cleared by tonight in order to go to London since there are no NFL-approved independent neurologists in England.
We will find out more about Reed and Norman and get information on Jones’ injury when Gruden addresses the media after practice.
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