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Falcons' Smith: RG3 'unbelievable'

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Falcons' Smith: RG3 'unbelievable'

Facing Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III in back-to-back weeks might sound like a nightmare scenario for most NFL defenses.

Falcons Coach Mike Smith, however, hopes it will help his undefeated squad prepare for a Redskins rookie he described as impressive and unbelievable.

In some instances it does, Smith said. You can find out what doesnt work. We did some things last week that werent as effective as wed like it to be.

Newton and Griffin are often mentioned in the same breath because of their ability to hurt defenses through the air and on the ground.

The Falcons eked out a 30-28 victory over Newtons Panthers last Sunday in Atlanta, but the Carolina quarterback had a strong performance statistically. Newton was 15 of 24 passing for 215 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for 89 yards on nine carries and a touchdown.

Most teams you face, the quarterback is the distributor, meaning he hands off the ball to a running back or he throws the ball to someone else, Smith said. Now, you have to account for him in your run defense. Youve got to put an extra guy on the quarterback to get the math right when the quarterback is a runner.

The Falcons defense is yielding only 19 points per game (eighth), but their run defense has been susceptible as Newton proved last week. Against the run, Atlanta is giving up 146.3 yards per game (29th).

That, obviously, is a weakness the Redskins hope to exploit. Through four games, they lead the league in rushing yards (684) and rushing touchdowns (eight, four by Griffin and four by Alfred Morris). Morris ranks fifth in yards on the ground with 376, while Griffin leads all quarterbacks with 234.

Smith avoided any direct comparisons of Griffin and Newton. But the Falcons coach did not shy away from heaping praise on the Redskins standout.

Oh my gosh he is very impressive, Smith said of Griffin. His is ability to come into the NFL and basically be one of the top five quarterbacks through the first quarter of the season in terms of passer rating is just unbelievable. I think theyve done a very good job in their passing game and thats not even his biggest strength. His biggest strength is his ability to run the football.

Its going to be a big challenge for us this week, he added. Im super impressed with your quarterback.

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Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

The Redskins made a couple of roster moves just before departing for Arizona to play the Cardinals.

They signed cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad and cut offensive tackle Blaine Clausell. The Redskins also waived safety David Bruton Jr. off of injured reserve.

Phillips was the Redskins’ nickel corner for the first three games of the season, and he made four tackles and recovered a fumble. But they moved rookie Kendall Fuller up into the slot corner role in Week 4 and Phillips spent several weeks on the inactive list before being waived on November 12 and added to the practice squad three days later.

The moves became known after Redskins coach Jay Gruden had spoken to the media for the day so we can only speculate as to the reasoning behind them. Actually, the release of Clausell isn’t hard to figure out. He was signed after Trent Williams started his four-game suspension and with Williams set to return on Monday and the other options at backup tackle healthy there was no point in keeping him around.

Phillips is likely going to Arizona as an insurance policy. The Cardinals like to spread the field with a lot of wide receivers. They will want to have five cornerbacks active. They do have Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, and Greg Toler. But Breeland is listed as questionable with an ankle injury and they Redskins don’t want to take any chance of being caught short-handed at cornerback if he suffers a setback. That’s especially true when they don’t need to bring an extra tackle along.

Depending on how things shake out injury-wise against the Cardinals there is a good chance that we could see Phillips on the waiver wire once again as a roster spot will be needed for Williams.

Bruton started the first four games of the season at safety before going on injured reserve with a concussion. This past offseason he signed a three-year, $9 million free agent contract with $3.4 million full guaranteed. There will be a deal cap hit of approximately $1.7 million in 2017 to account for the prorated bonus. 

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Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins

Out

TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.

DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.

Questionable

LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.

G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.

T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.

CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.

RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.

Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)

Cardinals

Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.