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'We're thankful he's making the right decisions'

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'We're thankful he's making the right decisions'

Robert Griffin III electrified FedEx Field on Sunday with his 76-yard run down the sideline for a victory-clinching touchdown against the Vikings.

What might prove more important in the long term, though, were the multiple occasions when the Redskins’ rookie – seven days removed from suffering the first concussion of his NFL career – chose self-preservation over the type of high-risk play that knocked him out of the game the previous week.

“As I’ve told people, you stay aggressive, but you just try to be smart,” Griffin said after the Redskins’ 38-26 victory. “I felt like I got out of bounds a couple of times when I should have. I threw the ball away one time and got penalty because a guy hit me. You try to play smart but stay aggressive.”

It’s not that Griffin didn’t get hit; he did. Anytime a quarterback carries the ball 13 times for a team-record 138 yards, he’s going to get tackled. Griffin simply did a better job of deciding when to turn up the field with the ball, when to get down and when to duck out of bounds.

Four plays in particular stand out a good examples of this:

--In the first quarter, Griffin bootlegged to the left, surveyed the field, realized all of his receivers were covered, tucked the ball and sprinted toward the sideline. With the Vikings’ four-time pro bowl defensive end Jared Allen in pursuit and two defensive backs also closing in, Griffin stepped out of bounds after a seven-yard gain. The capacity crowd showered Griffin with a sarcastic cheer – not for the run but for his wise decision to get out of bounds. 

--In the second quarter, Griffin scrambled out of the pocket and judiciously chose to throw the ball away. After releasing the ball, Griffin was shoved by Vikings’ linebacker Erin Henderson. Although Griffin later acknowledged that he embellished the hit, the official whistled Henderson for roughing the passer. Griffin gave an exaggerated head nod as he walked back to the huddle.

--Also in the second quarter, Griffin carried the ball up the middle on a designed run. He shook Henderson at the line of scrimmage, but before safety Harrison Smith could lay a hard hit on him, Griffin slid, thus avoiding any contact. “You have to live with that,” he later explained. “And not worry about the eight or nine yards you could have gotten [by] taking the hit.”

--In the third quarter, Griffin dropped back to pass, pump faked and then took off toward the right sideline. After turning the corner, three Vikings closed in on him. But before any of the defenders could get close enough to hit him, Griffin stepped out of bounds. Griffin perhaps could have gained a few more yards by lowering his shoulder into safety Jamarca Sanford, but he didn’t.

“I think common sense prevailed,” Coach Mike Shanahan said. “I think he’ll learn every game, maybe, when to slide, when to throw the ball away, when to go out of bounds a little bit earlier. I saw that today in a number of situations. As time goes on, he’ll keep on getting better and better at keeping people away from [himself].”

After one practice last week, Griffin pulled together his teammates and told them he did not intend to put himself in harm’s way again.

“I told the team I wasn’t going to leave them hanging,” Griffin said. “So I tried to make sure I did that.”

Guard Kory Lichtensteiger said the other players are grateful that the team’s most important player has pledged – and now shown – that he’s serious about being more careful.

“He’s learned a lot from that hit” against the Falcons, Lichtensteiger said. “He doesn’t want to spend another half in the locker room getting treated. It’s something he had to learn. It’s too bad he had to learn it the hard way, but we’re thankful he’s making the right decisions.” 

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Redskins vs Bills: 5 things to watch in the preseason game that matters

Redskins vs Bills: 5 things to watch in the preseason game that matters

When the Redskins take on the Bills Friday night (7:30 @ CSN) this will be the closest to a regular season game Washington gets before September 12th. It's time for the 'Skins to show up. With starters slated to play a full half, the team will get the opportunity.

  1. Time for Cousins - Kirk Cousins got an unexpected night off last week when Jay Gruden decided to give backup Colt McCoy the start against the Jets. That should not be the case Friday as Gruden has said he expects the starters to go for the first half against the Bills. Cousins, for his part, is ready to take the field. "We want to be sharp, we want to stay healthy. We just want to move the football, convert third downs, stay out on the field and score points, and that really never changes. Whether it’s the preseason, whether it’s a practice session of moving the football, or whether it’s a real game," the QB said on Monday.
  2. Trent & Reed back out there - Arguably the Redskins two best players are set to make their preseason debut Friday night. Trent Williams and Jordan Reed should line up with Cousins and the Redskins offense, and coaches will be watching both. Injury concerns for either player aren't much of a consideration, but it will be interesting to watch as both guys look to get their wind and conditioning.
  3. Improved secondary gets test - The Redskins secondary should absolutely be improved this fall, as playmaker Bashaud Breeland has another year under his belt and 2015 All-Pro Josh Norman joins the squad. That doesn't mean Friday night against the Bills won't present a challenge though. Buffalo QB Tyrod Taylor is known to elongate plays with his legs, so the corners will need to stay on their assignments longer than normal. Breeland said earlier in the week that he knows the challenge Taylor presents, and while the 'Skins defense did not gameplan for the Bills like they would against a regular season opponent, the secondary needs to be prepared for Taylor and WR Sammy Watkins.
  4. Will the Stork arrive? -  Scot McCloughan traded for the former Patriots center on Wednesday, and after much consternation, it appears Bryan Stork will report to the Redskins. When he will report remains a question. Stork would not play Friday night, but it will be interesting to see if he arrives on the sideline or waits until the weekend to meet his new team. Stork might help at center, but at least will bring a new level of competition for starter Kory Lichtensteiger. 
  5. Let's get physical - Rex Ryan coaches the Bills. Rex Ryan likes his teams to play very physical, and the Redskins better be ready for that physicality Friday night. Don't forget that beating Buffalo last year put the 'Skins on track for a playoff berth, but also took the Bills of course of an AFC playoff bid. Yes it's preseason, but this game should have some juice early. 

Stay tuned for updates throughout Friday as @JPFinlayCSN will be on scene at FedEx Field early.

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VIDEO: Tony Romo exits Cowboys preseason game with apparent back injury

VIDEO: Tony Romo exits Cowboys preseason game with apparent back injury

Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo has a lengthy medical history.

Despite rookie quarterback Dak Prescott's strong play early in the preseason, the last thing the Cowboys needed was another injury to their franchise quarterback.

RELATED: A GUIDE TO DRAFTING FANTASY FOOTBALL QBS

On Thursday night, early in the Cowboys' preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, Romo attempted to slide safely to the turf.

As he went to the ground, he was awkwardly tackled from behind and crumpled up in pain.

Defensive end Frank Clark made a hard yet leagal tackle, but the angle of the tackle and Romo's slide combined for a painful scene.

Romo walked off the field on his own power but was immediately attended to by trainers as Prescott prepared to take over.

Romo was on the field for three plays before being hit by Clark.

The 36-year-old has played in all 16 games in just five of his ten NFL seasons as starting QB and missed all but four games last season after suffering a broken collerbone. 

UPDATE 25 AUGUST 2016, 10:37 P.M.

According to ESPN, Romo "pulled his back" and was healthy enough to return, but was held out by coach Jason Garrett.

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Think again about Redskins taking a serious look at Stevan Ridley

Think again about Redskins taking a serious look at Stevan Ridley

Stevan Ridley hit the free agent market today after the Detroit Lions released him. The news should not come as a surprise as Ridley has struggled since his knee injury in 2014.

Fans thinking Ridley might be able to help the Redskins depleted running back corps need to think again. Last season, Ridley played in nine games for the Jets, getting one start. He rushed the ball 36 times for 90 yards, an average of 2.5 yards-per-carry.

The Redskins run game struggled last year, but their stats look impressive next to Ridley. As a team the Skins rushed for 3.7 YPC, and presumed starter Matt Jones averaged 3.4 YPC.

MORE REDSKINS: STORK REPORTEDLY WILL REPORT

The Redskins may well look for help at running back, especially as Jones is dealing with a shoulder injury and will sit out the remainder of the preseason, but Ridley is highly unlikely to be the answer.

Elsewhere in the running back world, reports show that five teams are interested in former Bills running back Karlos Williams. Who those teams are, however, remains a mystery.