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How safe will RG3 play it?

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How safe will RG3 play it?

What: Vikings (4-1) vs. Redskins (2-3)
Where: FedEx Field, Landover, Md.
When: Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
TV: Fox WTTG-5
Redskins Kickoff and Postgame Live: Comcast SportsNet 3 and 7

The big question this week is whether Robert Griffin III will be cleared by doctors to play after leaving last week’s game with the first concussion of his NFL career.

But the bigger question is this: Did the rookie quarterback – and face of the Redskins – learn a valuable lesson about avoiding similarly perilous situations in the future?

What’s going to happen the next time Griffin is flushed from the pocket and he has a hulking linebacker bearing down on him?

Will he slide or slink out of bounds?

Will he toss the ball into the stands? 

Or will he again put ego before team, attempt to add another highlight to his vast collection and leave himself vulnerable to a season-or career-altering blow?

What’s ironic about the hit, it came on an afternoon in which Griffin was not a significant part of the ground attack. In fact, Griffin’s rushing attempts have plummeted each the past three weeks, from a season-high 13 against the Bengals to eight vs. the Buccaneers to just one against the Falcons.

Since returning to practice on Wednesday, Griffin has said all of the right things. If he’s given the go-ahead by an independent neurologist to suit up against the Vikings, we’ll find out if he meant it.

“If you have to live to play another down,” he said, “you live to play another down.”

Redskins’ fans had better hope Griffin’s 180-degree turnabout from the bravado he expressed earlier this season wasn’t just lip service. The entire offense is predicated on Griffin lining up behind the center and, as last week’s loss emphasized, rookie backup Kirk Cousins is not ready to be a starter in the NFL. (Cousins threw a touchdown, but he also tossed two interceptions – double Griffin’s total – in only 13 snaps.)

“It’s about being smart,” Griffin said of punishing hit he absorbed. “It’s a learning experience for me.”

Griffin has adjusted to the speed and complexity of professional defenses faster than most anticipated. And, as a direct result, he’s ascended from Heisman Trophy winner to NFL star quicker than expected as well. But how long will it take for him to embrace the self-preservation tactics all successful dual-threat quarterbacks eventually learn?

Right now, it’s arguably the most important question facing the franchise. 

Here are three other areas the team at www.csnwashington will be monitoring:

1) Running back Adrian Peterson is the biggest star on Minnesota’s roster. Wide receiver Percy Harvin, however, might be the Viking’s most dangerous -- and the league’s most versatile -- weapon.

Harvin can line up in the slot, split wide, in the backfield and as a kick returner. He’s racked up 407 receiving yards, of which a league-leading 329 have come after the catch, according to STATS Inc.

The Redskins defense, meantime, ranks second to last in passing yards against (329 per game) and last in passing touchdowns allowed (13).

In last week’s 30-7 victory over the Titans, Harvin lined up as a running back and took an inside handoff from Christian Ponder and powered his way into the end zone from four yards out. Two quarters later, Harvin lined up in the slot, eluded two would-be tacklers and turned a routine bubble screen into a dazzling 10-yard touchdown.

“They find different ways to utilize his talent,” safety Madieu Williams said. “You always have to be aware of where No. 12 is.”

2) The Redskins will turn to their third kicker in two seasons against the Vikings after releasing the struggling Billy Cundiff on Tuesday and signing the talented but untested Kai Forbath.

Forbath was named college football’s top kicker in 2009 and the 25-year-old possesses a strong leg. But he’s never kicked a field goal in a regular season NFL game and did not kickoff during his four years at UCLA. 

Adding to the challenge Forbath faces: he’s had only five days to develop a rhythm with long snapper Justin Snow and holder Sav Rocca.

“We need him to make field goals for us,” special teams captain Lorenzo Alexander said. “We’re not a good enough team to miss opportunities to put points on the board.”

Cundiff missed five of his 12 attempts.

3) Is this the week the Redskins snap their losing streak at home? It’s reached an epic eight consecutive games and is the longest such drought in the NFL, dating back to Sept. 18, 2011.

Six of those defeats, however, have come by seven points or fewer, including last December’s 33-26 loss to the Vikings.

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Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Facing one of the NFL's best running backs in Arizona's David Johnson, the Redskins plan to use rookie linebacker Su'a Cravens as a spy in nickel coverage to slow down the Cardinals' threat, per a source close to the team.

Johnson ranks third in the NFL with 921 rushing yards, but it's the variety of ways the Arizona offense uses their second-year running back that makes him so difficult to handle for opposing defenses. Johnson also has 55 catches for 613 yards, and that's just through 11 games.

Cravens comes into the game with momentum as perhaps the Redskins most dynamic defensive threat. With size to play linebacker and enough speed to play coverage, the 6-foot-1, 220 lbs. rookie out of USC will be put in a tough position covering Johnson. The reality of his assignment is to try and contain Johnson as the Cardinals offense is so reliant on the runner that he will get a number of chances.

In their last two games, Johnson has gone for more than 150 total yards in each contest and scored multiple touchdowns. For his part, Cravens has proved a playmaker in his rookie season. To go with 29 tackles in nine games, his stat sheet has sacks and an interception listed.

Getting to Carson Palmer is the best path for the Redskins defense - especially considering the Cardinals' offensive line woes - but using Cravens to try and limit Johnson is a smart course of action for the 'Skins.

One member of the Washington defense explained that Johnson is "going to make plays" but that the key is to limit the damage. If the running back catches a ball out of the backfield, Joe Barry's defense will be focused on making a stop after a five-yard gain, instead of a 20-yard gain.

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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Redskins vs. Cardinals inactives: Reed out as expected

Redskins vs. Cardinals inactives: Reed out as expected

GLENDALE, AZ—As expected, the Redskins will be without star tight end Jordan Reed today against the Cardinals.

He is inactive due to a third-degree AC joint sprain in his left shoulder.

Reed gutted it out and played the second half on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas after being injured in the first but during the week he didn’t practice at all couldn’t regain the range of motion needed to play today.

Coach Jay Gruden said on Friday that the team is planning on having Reed play next week against the Eagles.

For this week, Vernon Davis will step into the starting role.

Also inactive is reserve defensive lineman Anthony Lanier, who was kicked in the lower leg in Dallas. Gruden said that the swelling was still too severe for him to be able to play.

LIVE BLOG: WEEK 13 REDSKINS VS. CARDINALS

The Redskins’ other inactive players today:

  • QB Nate Sudfeld
  • DL AJ Francis
  • RB Matt Jones
  • WR Rashad Ross
  • DB Dashaun Phillips