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Redskins rewind: Griffin gets run around from Panthers

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Redskins rewind: Griffin gets run around from Panthers

While Mike Shanahan intends to “evaluate” the Redskins’ players in the coming weeks, it’s time for us to take our weekly look back at Friday’s preview and evaluate how those storylines played out Sunday at FedEx Field. 

1-RG3 vs. defensive end Charles Johnson and the rest Panthers’ front four. As we mentioned, one of the keys to the game figured to be whether the Redskins’ rookie would receive ample time in the pocket and enough space outside of it to make plays.

Well, he received neither. Griffin was hit nine times while passing (second highest total this season) and sacked four times. Three of those sacks came as Griffin attempted to rally the Redskins in the fourth quarter. One was by Johnson, another belonged to Greg Hardy and Johnson and Hardy shared the third as Tyler Polumbus, Trent Williams and Will Montgomery took turns getting beat.

For the most part this season, the Redskins offensive line had been adequate. On Sunday, the unit was far from it. 

2-RG3 vs. Cam. Although Griffin did a nice job of avoiding mistakes, Cam Newton did a better job of making plays and finishing drives. Of course, there are always extenuating circumstances – and to be fair, Griffin faced significantly more pressure than his counterpart – but even Griffin would probably admit he was edged by Newton in their first head-to-head battle.

Griffin finished 23 of 39 for 215 yards passing and a 74.2 rating. Newton was 13 of 23 for 201 yards, a touchdown and a 100.1 rating. On the ground, Griffin averaged 4.8 yards on 11 carries, while Newton averaged 4.6 on eight attempts.

For the second week in a row, Griffin saw his rating sink into low 70’s and his completion percentage drop below 60 percent. If this continues, it won’t be long before questions will be raised about the Redskins’ scheme and whether opposing defenses have caught on.

3-Aldrick Robinson got his second start of his career in place of the injured Pierre Garçon – and a second shot at earning the coaching staff’s trust.

Now, he’s in need of a third chance.

On the Redskins’ first play from scrimmage, Griffin fired a midrange bullet over the middle. Robinson needed to dive to get his hands on the ball, which went right between his hands. Tough catch? Sure. One that had to be made? Absolutely.

A week after receivers dropped 10 of Griffin’s passes in Pittsburgh, Sunday did not get off to a good start. Robinson was targeted once the rest of the afternoon.

4-Special teams struggles. A week after a missed extra point and shanked punt, the Redskins’ special teams were on point.

Kicker Kai Forbath remained perfect, booting field goals of 47 and 25 yards to improve to 8 for 8. Punter Sav Rocca, meantime, had a 43 yard net and did an excellent job corralling a high snap by Justin Snow on Forbath’s first field goal.

Special teams have been a problem often this season. On Sunday, however, the unit was the least of the Redskins’ concerns.

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Kirk Cousins has same odds of winning 2016/17 NFL MVP as Mark Sanchez

Kirk Cousins has same odds of winning 2016/17 NFL MVP as Mark Sanchez

Is it crazy to give a quarterback who threw for more than 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns last season the same MVP odds as a guy who went 0-3 in three starts and tossed just four scores in 2015?

According to the sportsbook Bovada.lv, no, it's not crazy at all. So that's why, when looking at their opening odds for the 2016/17 NFL MVP, you'll find Kirk Cousins right next to Mark Sanchez, with both signal callers listed at a long 150/1.

Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Tannehill, David Johnson, Alshon Jeffrey, Le'Veon Bell and Sam Bradford also check in at 150/1. Some of those names, like Jeffrey and Bell, should makes Redskins fans feel good, since they're both premier players at their position. But others, such as Sanchez and Bradford? Yeah, not so much.

The top five guys most likely to win the award are Aaron Rodgers (4/1), Ben Roethlisberger (7/1), Cam Newton (15/2), Russell Wilson (8/1) and Tom Brady (9/1). Meanwhile, if you squint hard enough, you can see Robert Griffin III near the bottom of the list at 250/1.

Not that this reminder is necessary, but here's a reminder anyway: Anything can happen in this league, so these rankings are not the be-all and end-all. Last year, for instance, Newton had 50/1 odds of being named MVP, and then he went out and did it anyway.

So, with that in mind, while Cousins is no favorite, perhaps his loaded arsenal of targets can help him claim the valuable piece of hardware. The NFL is a wild place, after all — but still probably not wild enough for Sanchez to rise to the top of the sport, which is why him landing next to Cousins hurts more than a little bit.

RELATED: COLIN COWHERD TROLLS KIRK COUSINS IN LATEST RANT

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Longtime NFL coach Dennis Green dead at 67; honored by Redskins great

Longtime NFL coach Dennis Green dead at 67; honored by Redskins great

Longtime Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green died on Friday morning from complications stemming from a cardiac arrest.

He was 67.

Green spent ten seasons as the Vikings head coach, amassing a 97-62 record which included four NFC North titles, eight playoff appearances and one NFC Champuionship game appearance.

After taking a break from coaching, he returned in 2003 to coach the Cardinals, spending three years at the helm, finishing with a 16-32 record.

Former Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington was lined up across from Smith-coached offenses throughout much of his career.

As a former Penn State Nittany Lion, Arrington had much respect for Green, a Harrisburg, Penn. native and former coach at Northwestern, a fellow Big Ten school.

He was a great coach, mentor and man R I P Coach Green 🙏🏾

A photo posted by Lavar Arrington (@lavarleaparrington) on

Green was one of the NFL's great people and great characters.

While he will always be remembered for his most-game meltdown after the Cardinals blew a 20-point lead to the Bears in a Monday Night Football game in 2006, Green's lasting memory will be his commitment to respecting the game and teaching it the right way. 

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Steelers may be without Le'Veon Bell for opener against Redskins

Steelers may be without Le'Veon Bell for opener against Redskins

For a franchise that's known for assembling some incredibly stout defenses throughout its history, the Steelers have recently constructed an offense with a surplus of talent all over the depth chart.

But that offense was dealt a major blow Friday morning.

Le'Veon Bell, the team's star running back who in just three seasons has become one of the league's most feared players, is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy, according to ESPN. The reason for the penalty, though, isn't because he failed a test, it's because he missed one.

The appeal process is reportedly still going on, but if Bell doesn't win that process, he'll miss the first quarter of the 2016 schedule.

While the news obviously hurts the Steelers, it benefits the Redskins.

Washington is hosting Pittsburgh in the season opener on Sept. 12, and its run defense wouldn't mind seeing No. 26 on the sidelines in a sweatshirt during the matchup. The Black and Gold do still have the very capable DeAngelo Williams — who rushed for 907 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015 while filling in for an injured Bell — plus the always dangerous Antonio Brown, but their unit will of course be less threatening without its top tailback.

ESPN reports that Bell's appeal date hasn't been determined yet, but it should be heard before any meaningful football starts. He was also suspended for the first two contests last year following an arrest for a DUI and marijuana possession that occurred in August 2014.

RELATED: SIX REDSKINS HONORED FOR OFFSEASON WORK