When the Redskins hosted the Bengals in week 3, it was Robert Griffin III's toughness that left a lasting impression,not Griffin's ability not to run or throw the ball, or lead his team but his gritty play. The young quarterbacks ability to get back up after being hitafter hitafter hitafter hit...It left many to wonder about the rookie's durability over the course of a entire NFL season.That question was answered just seven quarters later.Sunday, as the Redskins hosted the 4-0, Atlanta Falcons, RG3 was taken out of the game by a shoulder-to-helmet blow delivered by Falcons linebacker, Sean Weatherspoon."It's just a bang-bang tough play. He got outside of our end, I was in pursuit and he didn't go out of bounds, so I just tried to get a good hit on him. Unfortunately he left the game, I wish the best for him, hope everything's going alright," said Weatherspoon."Most quarterbacks either slide or run out of bounds, but he's a tough guy, a tough guy, but I think he'll learn a little bit. He's tough, he's fighting, I commend him for that."Weatherspoon also added that the hit was clean, saying it was, 'a good hit, a good play and it gave us a little bit of energy,' while reiterating his concern for RG3's health while clarifying that it wasn't a helmet to helmet hit, "I'm not that kind of guy to go up top like thatI'm just trying to get a good hit."Weatherspoon said he gave RG3 a tap on the head as Griffin was walking away, and Griffin told him he had done a 'good job.'"He definitely made us prepare" Weatherspoon said with a laugh, "all week man, that's all we talked abouttrying to find a way to stop the run game, even the quarterback running. He's been doing some great things, play action pass, stick it in there and pass it right over your linebacker, so you know, he's a tough guy to go against."Weatherspoon who plays with arguably the hottest QB in the league right now, Matt Ryan, said when comparing RG3 to the veteran signal caller, 'He's an electric player, I know that he's going to do some great things for the Redskins and they'll win a lot of football games with him. I played against him in college so I've seen him for awhile so I know what type of athlete he is, what type of quarterback he is, you know people just think about him being a an athlete but he's a really good quarterback."Cornerback, Dunta Robinson who registered half of a sack versus Griffin said, 'he almost led his team to a victory' and noted that Griffin will have a long and successful season in the NFL.Defensive tackle, Jonathan Babineaux, didn't think the victory was pretty, but would take it to extend the Falcons streak to a 5-0 start to the season. Babineaux also had a tough critique of RG3's performance,"He's still a rookie quarterback, he won the Heisman last year, but he's a professional now. I think for a rookie he played well. He led his team well, he seemed like he was the leader out there, the older guys really seemed to listen to him, so personally I felt like he did a good job. You know he still is a rookie, so we didn't expect much from him, but he did will."It is yet to be determined what Griffin will take away from this game and whether he will continue or curb his tough play. Coach Mike Shanahan said the quarterback did indeed suffer a mild concussion (link to either Tarik or Rich's story) and that he would need to pass an NFL mandated concussion test this week, so while Griffin's future availability may be up in the air, one thing that isn't, is the rookie's grit. He tweeted just after the game that he would be ready to play Sunday as the Vikings take on the Redskins at FedEx Field at 4:25PM.
Dallas Cowboys fans had high expectations for their team this season - as long as quarterback Tony Romo could avoid injury. Three weeks into the preseason, looks like that idea is shot.
The Cowboys discovered a fractured verterbae in Tony Romo's back. Expected to miss 6-10 weeks. Wow— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) August 27, 2016
Getting the start Thursday night against the Seahawks, Romo was slammed to the turf awkwardly and looked to injure his back. Immediate reports showed that Romo felt okay, but clearly the issues persisted.
Last season, Romo broke his collarbone twice and played just four games as the Cowboys limped to a 4-12 record. The season prior Romo led the Cowboys to a 12-4 record and an NFC East title. In 2013, Romo dealt with herniated discs in his back and had a cyst removed.
Without Romo, Dallas will likely turn to rookie Dak Prescott out of Mississippi State. Prescott has looked impressive in the preseason, though it will be tough to step into the spotlight that accompanies the Cowboys quarterback.
Dallas travels to Washington in Week 2 of the regular season, so the Redskins defense can start preparing for Prescott, not Romo.
Still looking for a new team, former Redskin Dashon Goldson will work out with the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday, according to Ian Rapoport.
A knee injury to safety Keanu Neal exposed the Falcons' thin depth at the position. With Neal expected to miss three to four weeks, Atlanta has to explore other options.
Goldson, 31, became a free agent in March when he was cut by the Redskins.
A former Pro Bowler, Goldson was traded from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Redskins in April of 2015. In his lone season in Washington, Goldson started in 15 games recording 69 tackles. He also caught one interception which he returned for a touchdown.
Ryan Kerrigan exited Friday night's preseason game against the Bills in the first quarter with a groin injury. Word Friday night was that Kerrigan's injury was minor, though the Redskins outside linebacker is slated for an MRI exam Saturday on the groin.
Even if the MRI reveals what Redskins fans hope - little to no damage and no prospect of missed regular season action - Kerrigan's exit from the Bills game reveals just how thin Washington is at outside linebacker.
Two months ago, OLB was considered a position of strength for Scot McCloughan's team. Junior Galette's Achilles injury changed that.
Now, the Redskins have two very capable pass rushers in Kerrigan and Preston Smith. In five seasons, Kerrigan has averaged nearly 10 sacks per season, and anybody that watched Smith's rookie year and his excellent 2016 training camp and preseason must be excited about the second-year man from Mississippi State. Smith oozes the kind of All-Pro potential that scouts dream about going through the draft process.
But after those two, things change quickly.
Washington converted Trent Murphy back to OLB after an offseason experiment at defensive end. Murphy's move came following the Galette injury, and was done more for depth rather than the team expecting Murphy to suddenly become a sackmaster. But at least Murphy has experience and is capable of playing the edge in the 'Skins defense.
Behind Murphy, the Redskins can look to some combination of Houston Bates*, Willie Jefferson and Lynden Trail. Bates played some in 2015, and while a useful player on special teams, lacks the top end athleticism needed to consistenly get to opposing QBs. Jefferon (6-foot-5) and Trail (6-foot-7) possess great length and speed, but it's hard to think either could be counted on immediately for help. Jefferson experienced some success in the CFL last year, and Trail has shown flashes in Richmond, but both players are quite raw.
In addition to Trail, two more undrafted rookies have given the Redskins good snaps this preseason in Ejiro Ederaine and Mike Wakefield. That said, both Ederaine and Wakefield look like long shots to survive both round of cuts, let alone see the field this fall.
While many fans focus on running back depth, outside linebacker remains a position that the Redskins scouting staff could be considering options outside of the organization. Should an edge rusher with talent emerge over the next two weeks as NFL rosters get trimmed, Washington will be watching.
* Random note on Houston Bates - In the Redskins newly remodeled locker room, ping pong, foosball and shuffleboard tables have been installed. Multiple players have confirmed that Bates is the best shuffleboard player in the locker room, though plenty of guys are pushing for the title.