"Very impressive.""Explosive.""Elusive."Robert Griffin III continues to garner an immense amount of praise around the league, despite the Redskins eventually falling to the Bengals in their home opener, 38-31.However, one may not expect this kind of acclaim from the opposing team.And while the Bengals D is crushing on the Redskins QB in a respect sense, it didn't stop them from crushing the QB on the field, sacking the rookie 6 times.Defensive end, Carlos Dunlap, said when they saw an opportunity to do so the Bengals seized it, "When he's outside the pocket, it's our chance, you gotta be careful because he Griffin can dodge some hits too. So when you get him, you want to get him good."Dunlap, clearly blow away by Griffin's ability went as far as to say, he was proud of the burgundy's and gold's signal caller,"The sky is the limit for him, man. Mad props to him for taking all those hits and getting back up and bringing him team back. We just happened to finish and get the win today. He brings a different dynamic to the game, man, I'm proud of him."But it was the RG3's toughness that impressed Dunlap the most."Getting up after getting hit, you know, I mean everyone keeps trying to say he can't take a hit and today he took a few of them and got right back up and willed his team back into the game so he's just gotta just keep doing that."Teammate, Michael Johnson, in what is being dubbed as the ('best performance of his young career') thus far delivered three of the sacks, was also left awestruck by Griffin's tenacious play,"He's a tough competitor, because we hit him a bunch of times and he kept getting up...like...that was very impressive. He's going to be a very good player in this league. He's explosive, he's elusive. I can't say enough about him, the way he kept getting back up. I know we hit him a bunch of times, but he would not quit. I tip my hat to him for that."As for Griffin? For him, One hit is more than enough, but he realizes actions speak louder than words, "It's not a show. In college we say it all the time, 'tough guys have to be tough guys.' You can't just talk tough, but then play soft. By no means do I have to be the toughest guy on the field. That's what you have the offensive linemen for. They are supposed to be the guys that are the toughest on the field. But whenever those guys do get to you and those are two big guys that deliver good hits, all you can do is get up from it. The one thing they did late in the game was (Michael) Johnson hit me and got a quarterback hit and he picked me up and told me to get up. I think you earn players' respect. You don't say anything and just get up from those hits."And speaking of hits, both Johnson and Dunlap, repeatedly noted that RG3 would not quit, but at what point does Griffin fail to get up? One has to wonder about his durability over the course of an entire season in the NFL.
This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.
The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.
It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis.
The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.
Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6.
With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too.
Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.
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The NFL has released the official schedule of when NFL coaches and executives will take the podium and address the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. You can find it right here but I’ll save you a click—nobody from the Redskins is scheduled to talk.
NFL teams are not required to have a representative speak at the combine but most do. This year only the Saints and Patriots are joining the Redskins in avoiding the media.
Bill Belichick never talks at the combine and I believe that the Saints have bypassed the opportunity to do so in the past. However, the Redskins head coach traditionally has gone to the podium in the past. Joe Gibbs spoke when he was in his second stint as the head coach. Mike Shanahan, as tight lipped as anyone, met with the press in Indy each of his four years as head coach. Jay Gruden has spoken during each of the three years that he has been head coach.
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And last year Scot McCloughan held a small media gaggle with local reporters in his hotel in Indianapolis.
This year the Redskins are going somewhat dark. McCloughan did not speak to reporters at the Senior Bowl (Gruden held a brief availability in Mobile), a departure from his first two years with the team. And now no Redskins representatives at the combine.
One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.
So why aren’t they talking? The best bet is that they are in a delicate stage when it comes to dealing with the future of quarterback Kirk Cousins. He is a pending free agent who is likely to be hit with the franchise tag on Wednesday, the day before the combine starts. At that point, the clock will be ticking on Cousins either signing a long-term contract or getting traded to a team that is willing to meet his asking price. It’s my guess that Jay Gruden does not want to face questions about Cousins’ future.
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Gruden is not a very good liar; his poker face needs a lot of work. Perhaps that is a good quality for a human being but not a very good attribute for someone who would need to go out and talk about Cousins as the long-term quarterback for the team, or at least the QB for the coming season, when his status may be very much in doubt.
This is not to say that there is definitely going to be a trade of Cousins worked out at the combine. But it is very possible that a deal will be discussed with Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers and any number of other quarterback-needy teams. And perhaps there is concern that Gruden will let something slip or, more likely, say a lot on the subject of Cousins by not saying anything.
Again, this is just reading the tea leaves on my part. But by going silent the Redskins are sending an invitation for people to fill in the blanks. I am just taking them up on it.