Concern for the number of hits Robert Griffin III has absorbed over the first three weeks of the season reached a fever pitch Monday morning on sports talk radio, blogs and sports pages.But you know who insists hes not concerned about the seemingly inordinate number of times the Redskins quarterback has been forced to peel himself off the turf?Griffin.Rookie bravado? Perhaps. But his comments after Sundays 38-31 loss to the Bengals provided an interesting glimpse into his psyche.Ive never played scared in my life and it doesnt matter how many times I get hit, he said. Im going to continue to get back up. Even if they have to cart me off the field, Im going to get off the cart and walk away.On Sunday, the hits Griffin absorbed were a combination of game planning and poor protection. Griffin was sacked six times, and according to NFL stats, the Bengals laid 13 hits on him during pass attempts. Griffin also received a number of hits on the 12 times he carried the football, particularly on option plays.Through three games, Griffin has rushed 32 times, which puts him tied for 26thin the league. Hes the only quarterback on that list. Next, in fact, is Carolinas Cam Newton at No. 39 with 24.Coach Mike Shanahan pointed out after the game that just because a quarterback carries the ball it doesnt mean the run ends with a tackle or even a hit. But what cant be argued is that exposing Griffin so often drives up the probability that the franchises most important player will eventually absorb a blow resulting in injury.A lot of people outside of Redskins Park are worried.Griffin, however, is not.One is too many, to be honest, he said, asked how many hits constitutes too many. Im not trying to be funny. As a quarterback, youre a stationary target most of the time. When youre a mobile QB, the teams are still going to come after you even more because they feel like if they get a sack on a mobile quarterback, it counts as more. Thats just their mindset when they go into the game. Like I said, one is too many, but the one thing I wont do personally is quit of play scared.
The Redskins added seven players in the draft class of 2016 and many of them share some common traits.
“I'm very excited about these guys, really,” Jay Gruden said to the media after the draft was over. “I think the theme is we got some football players. We got some versatile guys who can do a lot of different things. Tough guys, who love the game of football. We're excited about them, they all bring great attitude to this organization. They're going to play hard and they're good people.”
Gruden seems to be particularly impressed with a pair of defensive players, fifth-round lineman Matt Ioannidis out of Temple and inside linebacker Steven Daniels, a seventh-round pick out of Boston College.
“Steven Daniels is very tough,” said Gruden. “When he hits you, he thumps you.”
Like Daniels, Ioannidis was the captain of the defensive unit. Gruden said that he loved his relentless play and said that “he’s a tough guy.”
Ioannidis and Su’a Cravens, the team’s second-round pick out of USC, will both play a number of roles on defense. Ioannidis could add 15-20 pounds (he is listed at 299) and play nose tackle or he could play all along the line. Cravens is a dime linebacker but he could play outside linebacker and strong safety in other situations as well.
Gruden said that the Redskins were able to emphasize toughness and versatility because they weren’t buttonholed into being forced to draft particular positions because they didn’t have anyone there.
“We didn't have a lot of glaring needs, like 'oh, my gosh we're totally incompetent at this position,’” he said. “I felt really good about the depth on our footbal team already, now that the draft is about adding a lot of good football players and adding guys that are tough.”
The team used toughness and other factors as tiebreakers when selecting among players.
“When you're in the draft and it's close between a couple of different guys, the toughness, maybe the special teams factor, the versatility, being a captain, all that stuff factors into it,” said Gruden. “You're always going to err on the side of tough, loves football.”
Just a week into his Redskins tenure, new CB Josh Norman is enjoying the D.C. life, attending in the White House Correspondent's Dinner.
Norman came to the 'Skins with much fanfare; an unusual release from a franchise tag in Carolina made him a free agent and Washington swooped in quickly. Norman signed a massive five-year, $75 million contract, and is expected to start at cornerback this fall opposite Bashaud Breeland.
Just hours before donning his tuxedo and heading downtown, Norman was spotted at FedEx Field meeting Redskins rookies Josh Doctson, Su'a Cravens and Kendall Fuller.
It's been a busy day for Norman, and depending what you hear about #NerdProm, the night is just getting started.
It took them their entire draft but the Redskins finally got a running back on their roster. They took Keith Marshall of Georgia with their seventh-round pick (No. 242 overall).
Marshall, 5-11 and 219 pounds, was supposed to be the Bulldogs’ next great back, but due to injuries and the emergence of Nick Chubb he never really got the chance.
He is the fastest player in the draft, if you go by his combine 40 times. He ran 4.31 in Indianapolis, the fastest time recorded this year.
Marshall will line up behind Matt Jones and probably Chris Thompson on the Redskins’ running back depth chart. He will get a chance to earn snaps on third down and possibly as a rotational back teaming with Jones.