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Offseason moves: The RG3 deal

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Offseason moves: The RG3 deal

While the offseason has another two and a half weeks to go, its safe to say that offseason personnel and coaching moves are pretty much over. There might be a minor trade or a waiver wire pickup here or there but the cake is mostly baked.So before training camp starts, lets take a look back at the five biggest moves of the offseason. Well count them down in order of how important they were. Earlier, we looked at the hiring of Raheem Morris and the roster decisions made at the start of free agency, the signings of wide receivers Pierre Garon and Josh Morgan, and the re-signing of London Fletcher. Today we wrap up the series examining the biggest move the Redskins made not only this year but one of the biggest in their history, the decision to trade for the draft pick that became Robert Griffin III.By the time the 2011 season ended it was apparent that the Redskins were, once again, in need of a quarterback. The decision to go with Rex Grossman and John Beck at the position was a disaster.Grossman started 13 games and while he had some good moments he turned the ball over at least once in every game. In all, he threw 20 interceptions and lost five fumbles. The Redskins were 5-8 in the games he started.They were 0-3 in Becks starts. The middle game of the three was the worst, a 23-0 whitewashing at the hands of the Bills. It was the first shutout of Mike Shanahans career as a head coach.Not only did the Redskins have issues at quarterback but they also play in a division where the other teams were rolling out top-notch quarterbacks every week. The Giants Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl MVP, Tony Romo of Dallas is the king of the fourth-quarter comeback, and Phillys Mike Vick has the deadly combination of a rifle arm and blinding speed.Washingtons 5-11 record earned them the sixth pick of the draft. That was too far back to get either one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft, Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. There were some safe options out there, such as staying put in the draft and taking Ryan Tannehill or Brandon Weeden. Free agents like ex-Packers backup Matt Flynn were on the market.But without a bold move, the Redskins again would go into 2012 with the worst quarterback situation in the division and they would be stuck in that position for the foreseeable future.They had two bold moves in mind. One was to make a run at Peyton Manning if, as everyone expected, the Colts released him rather than pay him a 28 million option bonus. For a while in late January and early February many had Manning in burgundy and gold.But he was not the only option. During the NFL Combine in late February, Griffin allayed concerns about his height as he was officially measured 6 2-38 and blazed through the 40 with a time of 4.38. Along with his impressive film from his Heisman Trophy season at Baylor, the combine propelled him to the second pick in the draft behind Luck.The question became, who would draft him? The Rams had the second pick but they were committed to Sam Bradford as their QB. A number of quarterback-needy teams in the top half of the draft were said to be interested in moving up. Along with the Redskins, the Browns, Dolphins and others were mentioned as possible trade partners with the Rams.On March 7, the Colts released Manning and other teams quickly jumped ahead of the Redskins in the competition for the 36-year-old future Hall of Fame QBs services.With all parties wanting to get a deal done before free agency started on March 13, the Rams told any interested parties to make their best offer for the No. 2 pick. There would be no counteroffers; one big, the best one wins.The Redskins won by putting up their first round picks in 2012, 2013, and 2014 and their second round pick in 12. An organization desperate to find a franchise quarterback gambled a good chunk of its future that RG3 was the guy.

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Gruden presser wrapup: Even he's not sure what a catch is

Gruden presser wrapup: Even he's not sure what a catch is

ASHBURN, VA—Here is a look at what Jay Gruden covered in his Monday news conference after the Redskins’ win over the Giants.

—We hit on some of the major injury news but there is the complete list: “DeAngelo [Hall], torn ACL, has surgery – he’ll be out for the season. [Bashaud] Breeland, he got an MRI, he has strained tendons in his ankle – he’ll be week to week. Shawn Lauvao has a moderate ankle sprain, we’re going to evaluate him on a week-to-week basis. [Kory] Lichtensteiger has a moderate calf strain, again, week-to-week. [Josh] Doctson went out to pregame warmup and could not push off the way he wanted to, his Achilles was too sore, so we’ve just got to continue to treat him and figure out the roots of the problem and try to get it fixed. DeSean Jackson aggravated his knee and ankle, came back and finished the game. And [Dashaun] Phillips has a hamstring strain. That is it.”

—Gruden said that the loss of a veteran leader like Hall was a big one. “It’s a lot. He’s a captain, you know? He’s coming along, playing a lot better and better at safety, so it’s pretty significant.”

—He tried to sell the 0-3 Browns as a big threat but he wasn’t very convincing. “It’s a tough opponent, very good coaching staff, and got a lot of work to do.”

—Kirk Cousins was pretty good according to the coach but they need to get touchdowns in the red zone. “We tried a quarterback draw one time and we missed the hole a little bit. Had a couple throws that were covered, just couldn’t get it done. Can’t put a finger on one person in that area. It’s not all on Kirk,”

—Going into it, Gruden was about as confident as a coach could be on the fake punt play in the third quarter. “We did it in practice and Tress Way has a great arm – very accurate. Coaching staff on the special teams side of it saw that it was a possibility. We practiced it. He caught it every time but the first day in the walkthrough.”

—A majority of those in the press box plus the TV broadcast crew all thought that David Bruton had made a spectacular interception when he ripped the ball away from Odell Beckham in the end zone. So did Gruden. “I’ve heard that everybody says it was an interception except for the replay guy. I don’t know what the rule is. We just have got to live by it. I thought his elbow was down, I thought his butt was down, I thought he had control of the ball.” Gruden admitted that, like most of us, he doesn’t know what a catch is.

—The Redskins aren’t thinking about cranking out another winning streak like the one late last year that got them into the playoffs. “Yeah, I think the only thing you can do is… the ultimate clich√© is take it one game at a time. That’s the only thing can do. You can’t look ahead.”

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Why all options are on the table for Redskins' offensive line

Why all options are on the table for Redskins' offensive line

Facing multiple injuries, all options on table for Redskins O-line, including Trent Williams at guard.

For the second year in a row Redskins left guard Shawn Lauvao got injured playing against the New York Giants in Week 3. Lauvao's injury, combined with an injury to center Kory Lichtensteiger, left the Washington offensive line in disrepair. 

Redskins coach Jay Gruden said that both offensive linemen are now on a week to week basis, and it sounds quite possible neither player will go next week against Cleveland. The coach called both injuries "moderate" - ankle sprain for Lauvao and calf strain for Lichtensteiger. 

The injuries mean the 'Skins are likely to bring in new linemen, particularly at center. 

"We're going to have to," Gruden said when asked about new help for the line. 

Once Lauvao and Lichtensteiger were injured in the Giants game, Gruden was forced to try an interesting combination. Veteran left tackle Trent Williams slid down to guard and Ty Nsekhe took over for Williams at tackle.

Importantly for the 'Skins, the results weren't bad.  

"He's so good at tackle but he actually played pretty darn good at guard," Gruden said of Williams. 

"He's a great athlete, probably be a good center too," the coach joked. 

MORE REDSKINS: NEXT MAN UP IS ROOKIE IN WASHINGTON

But Williams playing more guard should not be laughed at. The Redskins showed some of their best run game of the season late in the win against New York with Williams lined up next to Nsekhe.

Further, the coaching staff has repeatedly talked about how much they like Nsekhe as a tackle but that there was no spot for him with Williams and Morgan Moses healthy. As unusual as it sounds, with Williams at guard allows Nsekhe to get on the field at tackle. 

The Redskins do have another option in house: Arie Kouandjio. In his second year out of Alabama, Kouandjio has the size needed to play guard, but he is yet to be active on gameday this season and has been considered more of a development project than a player that is ready to roll. 

If Kouandjio is ready, he can play left guard and Williams stays in his normal spot at left tackle, protecting Kirk Cousins' blind side. 

"We'll just have to evaluate that situation and see how it goes, see how Arie does at left guard," Gruden said. "Ty is an excellent player, there's no question about it, but to move your Pro Bowl left tackle out of the mix to guard is something that's a little unique and hard to do."

Scot McCloughan made some strong moves last season bringing in players as injuries impacted the Redskins. Looks like the GM will again have that opportunity, this time on the offensive line.