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Warner: Too soon to declare RG3 starter

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Warner: Too soon to declare RG3 starter

Mike Shanahan'sdeclaration on Sunday that rookie Robert Griffin III was indeed the Redskins starting quarterback surprised nobody. The timing of said announcement, thats another story.After a single three-day rookie camp and before veterans report, the coach made it clear who would be the passer taking snaps with the first team. Not the veteran Rex Grossman, but the electric Heisman Trophy winner the team paid a hefty price to acquire.Any time you pick a player with the second pick of the draft and you give up two No. 1s and a No. 2 to move up four spots youve got a game plan in mind, Shanahan said.Whetheranyone previouslybelieved RG3 would start from day one of camp, the regular season opener against the Saints ortake over afew games into the campaign, there was no doubt who was truly atop the depth chart. With everyone in on the secret, there did not appear a reason to formally anoint Griffin the starter.That's why Shanahan's decision to make it official so soon in the off-season process was a bit of a head scratcher, at least to one former NFL quarterback.I wish they would have waited a little bit longer," Kurt Warner said Monday on the NFL Network. "We all understand the pressure that this young man is feeling already with all they gave up to get him, the excitement that he brings to Washington, D.C. But I would have loved for them to hold off on putting more pressure on him. The starter pressure, having to answer those questions, having to go into the second camp, third camp knowing that hes in that position and whats all on his shoulders."The Super Bowl-winning passer starred for the Rams and Cardinals. Warner was also the veteran in camp when the Giantsbrokein the 2004 number one overall pick, Eli Mannning. Warner started early that season before giving way to the rookie. In the Redskins case, add him to the list of those who simply assumed RG3 would get the Week 1 call."But we have to be honest: I dont think anybody expected Rex Grossman to be the starter opening day. We knew Griffin was going to be that guy; they assembled a team around him that they feel can win right now, and so why hesitate? Why hold off for any amount of time? Lets throw him in there, lets let his teammates know that hes going to be the guy and lets rally around him.Warner added that Shanahan's announcement could be curious if RG3 struggles early. However, by backing the new guy now,the coach hasalso made it clear to the team who is the starter should those struggles exist.This leaves little wiggle room at this point," Warner said. "You have franchised everything to get this guy, you have made the moves in the off-season, you have a tough schedule. Everyone believes that even if hes not the best snap-in, snap-out on day one that he gives them the best opportunity to win because of the way that he plays the game. "Thats why coach Mike Shanahan made this decision: He knew regardless of how it played out that he wanted this guy in there Day 1 building, learning, growing together with his teammates in the hopes that even if it isnt Game 1, Game 2 or Game 3, by the time they get to midseason they can be competitive with everybody else in the league.No mention of the Kirk Cousins brouhaha by Warner, which by my ears was the catalyst for the May 6 depth chart reveal. Not that it mattered. Whether it was May 6, July 6 or Sept. 6, we all knewRG3 the starter was going to happen anyway.

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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 Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Losers of two straight games and for the first time in a month outside of the playoff picture, a desperate Redskins squad travels to Philadelphia for a 1 p.m. game on Sunday. All the action kicks off on CSN with Redskins Kickoff at noon, but to get ready for the action, here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Getting back to good, or at least decent - Two weeks ago the Redskins seemed like a dangerous playoff squad with a strong offense and an improving defense. After two straight losses where Joe Barry's defense has given up 62 total points, the questions are mounting for Washington. Can the defense get stops on 3rd down? Generate a turnover? The good news for the Redskins is that the Eagles are struggggggling. Their offense has not score more than 15 points in three straight weeks. 
  2. Feed the fat one - After giving Rob Kelley just 28 carries in the last two games, Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay owned up to the Redskins lack of run game, "I definitely feel like I could’ve been more patient on some of those early down and distances where you get a little bit pass-heavy. And that’s something that as a decision-maker and as a coordinator, I have to do a better job." In a Week 6 win Kelley and Matt Jones piled up more than 200 rush yards against the Eagles. The 'Skins offense likely won't feature Jones, but expect McVay to feed Fat Rob plenty on Sunday.
  3. Playing in pain - The Redskins offense features a number of dynamic playmaking threats, but arguably the best is tight end Jordan Reed. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Reed separated his left shoulder, and though he finished that game he was forced out of action in Arizona. Expect Reed to be back Sunday, and expect Kirk Cousins to look for him early and often. On the season, Reed has more than 600 receiving yards and five TDs.
  4. If it ain't broke - Kirk Cousins has had more success against the Eagles than any other team in the NFC East. In four career games against Philly, COusins averages 336 yards per game passing to go with a 101.3 QB rating. He's thrown 10 touchdowns against the Eagles to just two interceptions. The biggest win of his career came last year when Cousins and the 'Skins clinched the NFC East title at Lincoln Financial Field. Cousins suceeds against the Eagles, and there's no reason it should stop Sunday. 
  5. Don't fly away - Rumors are starting to circulate that the Eagles would like to bring back DeSean Jackson next season. It's well known that Jackson will probably hit free agency after this season, and if Philly did pursuit their former playmaker, it would make sense. But between now and then, Jackson has another opportunity to torch his former team and help the Skins pursue a Wild Card bid at the same time. In his past two games, Jackson and COusins have connected on deep patterns, and there's little reason to tbink the same won't happen Sunday.

Numbers & Notes

  • If tight end Vernon Davis catches three passes he will become the 12th tight end in NFL history to record 500 career receptions.
  • With two more catches, wide receiver Jamison Crowder will set a single-season career high in receptions. He caught 59 passes in 2015.
  • If the Redskins win would mark five straight victories against the Eagles for the Redskins for the first time since a six-game winning streak in the series across the 1981-84 seasons.

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!