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In debut, RG3 exceeds great expectations

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In debut, RG3 exceeds great expectations

Expectations in Washington were sky high for Robert Griffin III from the moment the Redskins traded away a boatload of picks to get the right to draft him with the second overall pick in Aprils draft.

What did Griffin do with those expectations in his first game with the team? He went out and exceeded them.

By a lot.

Griffin became the first NFL quarterback since 1950 to quarterback a team to 40 points in the season opener as the Redskins stunned the Saints in New Orleans by a score of 40-32.

The numbers tell part of the story. He completed 19 of 26 passes for 320 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. If you crunch those numbers in the QB rating calculator you get a 139.9.

A perfect rating is 158.3 and that is what Griffin had in the first half. No quarterback has ever posted a perfect rating in a half in his NFL debut.

And per the Elias Sports Bureau, no quarterback has ever passed for at least 300 yards with at least two touchdowns and no interceptions in his debut.

When you start reading stats with things like first time in 62 years and first time ever attached to them, you start to get the idea that this was a pretty special performance.

As noted, the numbers only tell part of the story. The moment was not nearly too big for him. Griffin was not at all rattled by the notorious noise at the Superdome, a place where the Saints went undefeated last year. He was poised and he made excellent decisions.

And he put the ball where it needed to be. After the Saints scored a touchdown to take a 7-3 lead, a penalty backed the Redskins up to their own 12. On first down, Griffin threw a dart to Pierre Garon, who was streaking over the middle. The receiver caught the pass in stride and rolled 88 yards for a touchdown. Yes, most of the yardage was after the catch but if Griffin doesnt throw a perfect pass, allowing Garon to keep running at top speed, its a nice play but not a touchdown.

The score put the Redskins up 10-7 and they didnt trail the rest of the game.
Griffin had a lot of help. The defense held the Saints to 32 yards on the ground, allowed the Saints to convert just two of 11 third downs and and let Drew Brees complete fewer than half of his passes. Rookie Alfred Morris, who came in with considerably lower expectations as a sixth-round pick out of Florida-Atlantic, rushed for 96 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns. The offensive line was solid, paving the way for 153 rushing yards overall and giving up just one sack of Griffin.

But the Redskins have had nice rushing games before and they have played good defense before. The difference, for this one game at least, was the rookie behind center.

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John Pagano's resume doesn't deliver Redskins ties, few bright spots

John Pagano's resume doesn't deliver Redskins ties, few bright spots

John Pagano's entire NFL career has been spent in San Diego, not a bad location. Hired by Mary Schottenheimer in 2002, he began as a quality control coach in 2002, then moved up to assistant linebackers coach in 2003. In 2004, he advanced to coach the outside linebackers, and then in 2005 he took over as linebackers coach, a position he held until 2011.

By 2012, his 10th year in the organization, Pagano moved up to defensive coordinator, at that point working under Norv Turner. The former Redskins coach of much of the 1990s, Turner was let go after that season, and Mike McCoy was hired. McCoy retained Pagano to serve as his defensive coordinator, and he stayed in that role until this offseason. 

The circumstances surrounding Pagano's release from the Chargers are a bit sloppy, including this report from a San Diego broadcaster:

The important stuff for Redskins fans: As defensive coordinator his team's twice finished in the Top 10 in yards allowed in 2012 and 2014. That's about the only real highlights on his coordinator resume, though it's worth pointing out few coaches last as long with one organization as Pagano. Below are his defense's ranks from 2012 to last season.

 

It also seems Pagano has no real ties to the Redskins organization, which might be considered an advantage. He never worked directly with Bruce Allen, Jay Gruden or Scot McCloughan, though his team's deployed the 3-4 base like the Washington defense. Pagano's brother Chuck is the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 8th best play of 2016 comes from blowout vs Packers

The Final Countdown: Redskins 8th best play of 2016 comes from blowout vs Packers

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and at the 10 worst.

No. 8 best play of 2016

Redskins vs. Packers Week 11

2:30 left in Q4, Redskins ball at their own 30, 2nd and 8, Redskins leading 35-24

Rob Kelley right end to GB 4 for 66 yards (Ladarius Gunter).

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: The Redskins had held a lead since late in the second quarter but Aaron Rodgers and the Packers kept hanging around. The Redskins were just trying to pick up a first down but Kelley ran through a weak tackle attempt, dodged a defensive back, and bolted down the right side before an ankle tackle got him at the four. Kelley was deprived of the touchdown only momentarily as he ran it in on the next play, putting a bow on the most important win of the year.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

Finlay: Any football fan who has watched the last two weekends of the NFL playoffs knows just how dangerous Aaron Rodgers can be with the ball in his hands late in a game. Rob Kelley's long run eliminated that danger, as he burst through the Packers defense and sealed a huge victory for the Redskins. This game, and the few days leading up to the Cowboys game on Thanksgiving that followed, marked the high point in the 'Skins season. The team had a 6-3-1 record and had just vanquished Green Bay, avenging a playoff loss to the Packers some 10 months earlier. I disagree with Tandler that this was the most important win of the year - that distinction came in the Week 3 victory over the Giants - but it was the best win of the year.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!