Quick Links

Redskins-Saints game preview: The moment is here


Redskins-Saints game preview: The moment is here

What: Redskins vs. Saints
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans
When: Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT
TV: Fox WTTG-5 (Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa)The moment a floundering franchise and a famished fan base has awaited for months finally arrives Sunday.Robert Griffin III wont end Washingtons stretch of four consecutive last place finishes in the NFC East in a single game. But how the No. 2 overall draft pick shows against the Saintswillhint at how quickly a turnaround might begin.Coach Mike Shanahan has tailored the Redskins offense to accentuate Griffins ability to tuck the ball, take off and leave defenders grasping at air. The extent to which Griffin does that, however, remains unclear after a 3-1 preseason in which Shanahan shielded his playbook from rest of the NFL and his prized rookie from potential harm.Griffin attempted only 31 passes and five rushes scattered over parts of three preseason games, which has left more questions than answers about the 22-year-olds comfort level and, more important, how Shanahan plans to deploy his most dangerous weapon.Asked directly how he intends to use Griffin against the Saints, Shanahan flashed a wry smile and said: Youll have to show up and come to the game.Well be there, Coach. But Griffin wont be the only player the CSN Washington team will be monitoring. Heres what else well be watching:Redskins returning to healthThe Redskins open the season as healthy as theyve been in recent memory. In fact, only one starter on the active roster strong safety Brandon Meriweather will miss the game if left guard Kory Lichtensteiger (knee), linebacker Brian Orakpo (shoulder) and cornerback Josh Wilson (abdominal strain) suit up as expected.The loss of Meriweather, though, could be a significant one against a vaunted air attack directed by one of the games best passers in Drew Brees, who last season broke Dan Marinos record for passing yards in a season.The Redskins depth chart lists Reed Doughty as Meriweathers backup, but it seems more likely that DeJon Gomes will pick up the slack. Gomes is more mobile than Doughty and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said this week that Gomes coverage skills have shown great improvement entering his second NFL season.But will that be enough against Brees and targets like tight end Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston? (Colston is listed a questionable with a left foot injury after being limited in practice Friday.)They have a whole crew of guys, Gomes said. And they have a good running game to complement their passing game. We have be on our Ps and Qs.Mystery surrounds running back positionThe Shanahans have been elusive about how they intend to implement running backs Evan Royster, Roy Helu Jr. and Alfred Morris.Will they ride the hot hand as Kyle indicated this week? Will they allow the situation to dictate their choice? Will they rotate them?Royster joked Monday that he might know the plan and whos starting until after kickoff.So, it seems, theres only one way to find out. More important, though, what unfolds Sunday might provide a glimpse at how the trio will be utilized the remainder of the season.Redskins prepare for Supdome noise in their own domeNew Orleans is home to Griffins parents, Robert Jr. and Jacqueline, and hell have three-dozen members of his extended family in attendance at the Superdome. The other 72,000 on hand, however, will be bent on making Griffins first career start as difficult as possible.To say the aging arena in downtown New Orleans is loud would be understatement. Its deafening and a big reason the Saints went 9-0 at home last season.Griffin and the rest of the Redskins offense has spent the past three weeks preparing for the challenge in Ashburn, where faux crowd noise was blasted during at least two practices inside the teams practice bubble. Practice, though, is no substitute for experience.Weve got to go out and make sure we can communicate non-verbally, Griffin said. Make sure guys arent making little mistakes because they cant hear.As if going toe-to-toe with Brees, reading an NFL defense in the regular season for the first time and controlling his own emotions werent enough for him to worry about.Good news on bounty suspensions won't have much effectAfter a tumultuous offseason that included the bounty scandal and Brees sometimes testy contract negotiations, the Saints scored their first victory of the 2012 season on Friday.A three-member appeals panel overturned the suspensions of the players implicated in the pay-to-injure scheme, clearing the way for them to return Sunday.Its expected that Saints defensive end Will Smith will play against the Redskins, while linebacker and emotional leader Jonathan Vilma will watch from the sidelines. Vilma is still recovering from a knee injury.The Saints didnt need another reason to get fired up. But now theyve got one.Victory is mine!!!! Vilma tweeted.

Quick Links

Redskins' Josh Norman planning celebration that puts NFL in awkward spot

Redskins' Josh Norman planning celebration that puts NFL in awkward spot

Redskins cornerback Josh Norman is already an All-Pro antagonist, but according to a Thursday report from For The Win, his best work is yet to come. 

Norman was forced to abandon his favorite bow and arrow celebration after getting fined by the NFL. But he has divised a clever replacement that sets the league up to look hypocritical. 

"Since they sell beer on TV while kids are watching it, I’m thinking I might open a keg on the field, and I’m going to drink it on the field," Norman told Charlotte Wilder of FTW after Thursday's practice. "And I don’t see that being on the rule book.”

Of course, his bow and arrow gesture wasn't explicitly banned in the rule book, neither was tight end Vernon Davis' jump shot celebration, but both got penalized anyway. 

Except this time, the outspoken corner thinks he has the NFL, well, cornered. If encouraging people to drink beer in commercial breaks is cool, then pretending to drink beer on the field must be cool too, right?

“I mean, you’re selling ads on TV, so why can’t my celebration be legal? It’s a catch-22, man. These guys are serious.”

There's only one snag in Norman's plan: it's not exactly clear what he's doing in the celebration he demonstated. He pantomimed opening a keg, tapping it and hoisting it above his head to drink from it. 

But what if people don't get it? He'll just explain afterward, he assured Wilder. 

Norman might consider pretending to pop the tab on a can of beer and drink it on the field. Seems more straight forward, but then again, I'm not the master troll here. 

MORE REDSKINS: Cousins shuts down report that he's affected by criticism

Quick Links

Injury report: Cravens a full go in practice but status for game still uncertain

Injury report: Cravens a full go in practice but status for game still uncertain

Redskins linebacker Su’a Cravens was a full participant in practice for the first time since getting a concussion in a game against the Browns on October 2.

That certainly is good news regarding the rookie’s availability for Sunday’s game against the Lions but that still remains up in the air. Cravens is still in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

“He’s going to get evaluated tomorrow, but he did everything today,” said Gruden. “So it’s just the progression of things and the protocol. He’s get checked out by the independent [doctor] tomorrow and hopefully he’ll get good news.”

More Redskins: Redskins one of the best at preventing long plays

Gruden said that getting through practice was not a problem for Cravens.

“He looked great today,” he said. “He did a lot of stuff with linebackers. He did some scout team safety, so he did some good stuff.”

Meanwhile, Jordan Reed, who also is in the concussion protocol, did not practice after participating on a limited basis on Wednesday. But Gruden made it a point to say that Reed did not suffer a setback.

“We just thought, the medical staff thought, today it was best to keep him out,” said Gruden. “And he’ll get evaluated again tomorrow by the independent doctor.”

Also missing practice was wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who was out for a second straight day.

“DeSean’s just got soreness in his shoulder and we chose to keep him out today,” said Gruden.

Yesterday, Jackson expressed confidence that he will play. Today, Gruden did the same.

Related: Redskins' record hinges on a few plays

“Yeah, as long as it’s not his legs, but we’ll see,” said Gruden when asked if Jackson will play. “We’ll see how he’s feeling. You know, seriously, though, he’s sore right now but we’ll continue to get him treatment today and we’ll see how he’s doing tomorrow.”

Jackson has been out of Wednesday practices on a few occasions during the season so it was not unusual to see him out yesterday. But Jackson being out two days in a row is a bit more alarming but we will have to see how he is doing tomorrow.