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Cornerback Cedric Griffin hopes to return Sunday


Cornerback Cedric Griffin hopes to return Sunday

Cornerback Cedric Griffin hopes to return Sunday when the Redskins open their NFC East slate against the Giants in New York.

Griffin strained his right hamstring in the first quarter against the Bengals and, after being limited in practice last week, expects to participate fully beginning Wednesday.

“I’m pretty confident, for sure,” he said. “But we want to go through practice, make sure everything’s looking well, looking right.”

Since Griffin went down, the team has used both rookie Richard Crawford and journeyman David Jones.

Before last week’s game against the Vikings, Griffin was tested by secondary coach Raheem Morris and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, who watched intently as the veteran was put through a number of running and agility drills. 

Ultimately, though, Griffin was held out again.

This week, Griffin could boost the Redskins’ struggling secondary as it attempts to slow Manning, Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, who aims to return from a foot injury Sunday.

“I’m going to go out there and prepare myself,” Griffin said. “It’s not a pain deal. You want to go out there and be confident, be 100-percent. You don’t want to let your teammates down.”

He added: “I’m an effort guy. A lot of my game is running around, making plays, hitting people. I want to be sure I can go out there and make a difference for my team.”

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Jordan Reed, Josh Norman in for early part of Redskins practice; Matt Jones out

Jordan Reed, Josh Norman in for early part of Redskins practice; Matt Jones out

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.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins used Su'a Cravens sparingly against Detroit

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Statistic Surprise - Redskins used Su'a Cravens sparingly against Detroit

Statistic Surprise - Redskins used Su'a Cravens sparingly against Detroit

The Redskins got a boost Sunday when rookie linebacker Su'a Cravens returned to the field after missing two games with a concussion. Interestingly, however, Cravens did not provide the spark many expected as he played just 11 of 53 defensive snaps.

Certainly it's possible the 'Skins coaches decided to ease their rookie back in after suffering a head injury. But that logic seems flawed - Cravens was cleared by the NFL concussion protocol, and once a player is cleared, it's for full-game action. 

Another thought might be that the Washington defense excelled while Cravens was out. He missed Redskins' wins in Baltimore and home against the Eagles, two games where Joe Barry's group shut down the opposing offenses. It's definitely possible coaches elected to stick with a combination of Will Compton and Mason Foster on the field at the inside linebacker positions.

Looking at snap counts from Compton and Foster, it appears that's what the coaches decided. Compton played every defensive snap, and Foster was on the field for 40 of the defenses 53 snaps. 

What, if any, role change that means for Cravens will be interesting. Before his injury, Cravens' playing time was trending up, as he had 29 snaps against the Giants and 27 snaps against the Browns before being injured in the 3rd quarter. Cravens was on the field as the nickel and dime linebacker in most situations.

Sunday, that wasn't the case, as the team played a lot of nickel. Slot corner Kendall Fuller, another rookie, was on the field for 40 snaps. 

Easing Cravens back in slowly was likely by design, and for a second-round pick with a mountain of promise, a prudent course for the Redskins coaches. That said, as CSN's Rich Tandler likes to point out, in the NFL, cleared is cleared. 

Cravens has playmaking ability, he's displayed that already this young season. In fact, he nearly pulled down Lions QB Matt Stafford for a sack on Sunday despite what looked like an obvious hold. 

Scot McCloughan drafted Cravens just for that - despite being a positional hyrbid, the rookie is a 'football player,' just like McCloughan wants. This Sunday against the Bengals, with two weeks of practice after the concussion, it will be interesting to see how many chances Cravens gets.

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