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In debut, RG3 exceeds great expectations

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In debut, RG3 exceeds great expectations

Expectations in Washington were sky high for Robert Griffin III from the moment the Redskins traded away a boatload of picks to get the right to draft him with the second overall pick in Aprils draft.

What did Griffin do with those expectations in his first game with the team? He went out and exceeded them.

By a lot.

Griffin became the first NFL quarterback since 1950 to quarterback a team to 40 points in the season opener as the Redskins stunned the Saints in New Orleans by a score of 40-32.

The numbers tell part of the story. He completed 19 of 26 passes for 320 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. If you crunch those numbers in the QB rating calculator you get a 139.9.

A perfect rating is 158.3 and that is what Griffin had in the first half. No quarterback has ever posted a perfect rating in a half in his NFL debut.

And per the Elias Sports Bureau, no quarterback has ever passed for at least 300 yards with at least two touchdowns and no interceptions in his debut.

When you start reading stats with things like first time in 62 years and first time ever attached to them, you start to get the idea that this was a pretty special performance.

As noted, the numbers only tell part of the story. The moment was not nearly too big for him. Griffin was not at all rattled by the notorious noise at the Superdome, a place where the Saints went undefeated last year. He was poised and he made excellent decisions.

And he put the ball where it needed to be. After the Saints scored a touchdown to take a 7-3 lead, a penalty backed the Redskins up to their own 12. On first down, Griffin threw a dart to Pierre Garon, who was streaking over the middle. The receiver caught the pass in stride and rolled 88 yards for a touchdown. Yes, most of the yardage was after the catch but if Griffin doesnt throw a perfect pass, allowing Garon to keep running at top speed, its a nice play but not a touchdown.

The score put the Redskins up 10-7 and they didnt trail the rest of the game.
Griffin had a lot of help. The defense held the Saints to 32 yards on the ground, allowed the Saints to convert just two of 11 third downs and and let Drew Brees complete fewer than half of his passes. Rookie Alfred Morris, who came in with considerably lower expectations as a sixth-round pick out of Florida-Atlantic, rushed for 96 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns. The offensive line was solid, paving the way for 153 rushing yards overall and giving up just one sack of Griffin.

But the Redskins have had nice rushing games before and they have played good defense before. The difference, for this one game at least, was the rookie behind center.

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Need to Know: Washington Redskins free agency needs—Offense

Need to Know: Washington Redskins free agency needs—Offense

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 23, 14 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 6
—NFL Combine (3/2) 7
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 53
—NFL Draft (4/27) 63
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 199

Free agent moves—Offense

Free agency starts two weeks from today. The Redskins have plenty of needs, both big and small. Let’s take a look around and see what offensive positions they might be looking to bolster when things get going. I’ll follow up with the defense in the next few days.

Quarterback—It could be a yawner at this position or there could be plenty of drama. If Kirk Cousins gets franchise tagged or defies current expectations and signs a long-term deal, the depth chart will remain the same. If he is gone via a trade, things could be shaken up. While they may draft a QB in late April they could go for a mid-priced veteran as insurance.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

Running back—The Redskins have a depth chart loaded with young, unproven talent at this position. If they want a veteran presence in the meeting room they could look at someone like Robert Turbin (McCloughan had a hand in drafting him in Seattle in 2012) or maybe Knile Davis.

Wide receiver—Things will get very interesting if the word on the street comes to pass and both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson are gone. They have a presumably healthy Josh Doctson in line to replace one but they would need a veteran. Maybe Kenny Stills or Kenny Britt, both young and productive, could be under consideration. If one of the veterans stays they likely will get depth in the draft.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Tight end—Vernon Davis seems likely to be back. If he’s not, the Redskins probably would rather have an alternative to Niles Paul as Jordan Reed’s primary backup. The probably won’t swim in the deep end of the pool with Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook. But maybe they will look at Jermaine Gresham, who made the Pro Bowl twice in Cincinnati while Jay Gruden was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator.

Offensive line—Yesterday, JP and I discussed what they might do at left guard if they want to upgrade from Shawn Lauvao. Perhaps they could go for Kevin Zeitler, another Bengal who played under Gruden. But he will command a contract in the $8-$10 million range and with Brandon Scherff coming up for an extension next year that might be too much to spend at the guard position. Look for the Redskins to take an eventual Lauvao replacement in the draft.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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If Redskins trade Kirk Cousins to 49ers, 5 prospects to consider with No. 2 pick

If Redskins trade Kirk Cousins to 49ers, 5 prospects to consider with No. 2 pick

It still seems like a long-shot the Redskins trade Kirk Cousins, but if there is one persistent rumor, it's that the San Francisco 49ers want the Washington passer. The story is too familiar at this point: New Niners coach Kyle Shanahan was in D.C. when Cousins was drafted and wants the quarterback to come run his offense in San Francisco. With the second overall pick, the 49ers have a tremendous asset they can dangle in trade talks.

<<<CLICK HERE TO SEE 5 PROSPECTS FOR THE REDSKINS AT NO. 2 PICK>>>

Whether or not any of this rumor is true, it sure makes for engrossing speculation. With the NFL Draft Combine next week in Indianapolis, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said he wouldn't be shocked to see the trade go down.

That's the backdrop. Beyond the debate of the merits of trading an established QB like Cousins, which is a very serious debate, there's also the notion of what player the 'Skins would select with the second overall pick.  

MORE REDSKINS: 2017 top heavy Cap could be a problem

It's worth examining the impact players available to Washington with the second selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, and the options are varied, including perhaps a new QB. Check it out. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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