Quick Links

Griffin leads Redskins culture change with 'non-quarterbackish' plays

880881.png

Griffin leads Redskins culture change with 'non-quarterbackish' plays

When asked what play he liked the most during Sundays game, Robert Griffin III didnt choose one of the several jaw-dropping passes he threw or one of his nifty runs. He coined a new term when he said that he liked something non-quarterbackish.So I did throw a block down the field, he said. I was pretty proud of that moment.That moment came in the third quarter on a second and 10 play from the Washington 36. Griffin handed off to Alfred Morris, who bounced out to the left. Griffin initially continued to jog out of the play as virtually every quarterback on the planet does virtually every time he hands off the ball.But as Morris broke to some daylight, Griffin flashed into the picture and started to provide an escort for Morris down the sideline. Its not exactly like Griffin threw a key, devastating block that spring Morris for additional yardage. In fact, as you can see in the screenshot fromNFL Game Rewindhere, Griffin (left) didnt even come into contact with anyone until Morris (right) was already well out of bounds.But that didnt matter. The quarterbacks act of going out there to block was far more important than any actual block Griffin might have thrown.Its little things like that, just trying to help the team win, Griffin explained. I probably wont be throwing blocks the whole time, but to show them that Im willingto sacrifice everything for them to help us win just one game, I think that goes a long way with your teammates.Griffin believes that a little extra hustle can go a long way. This isnt the only time he has done something similar.Early in training camp the offense was running drills in the red zone. Chris Cooley had the ball knocked out of his hands and linebacker Brian Kehl scooped up the ball and started to run towards the other end zone. He appeared to be on his way to a 95-yard touchdown return. Nobody on the offense gave chaseexcept Griffin.He took off, got the angle on Kehl, and knocked him out of bounds before he crossed the goal line.It just so happened that Griffin had his weekly media availability on that day. I dont want to scare the fans and let them think that Im going to go run down linebackers 30 yards down the field, but it happened, so whatever, he said. I think its more of a thing for the team to see I dont give up on the play. . . why give him a free touchdown? I ran him down because I could and pushed him out of bounds.Although football has changed a lot, its still a game of blocking and tackling. Having a quarterback who is willing and able to do both is the kind of thing that can change the culture of a team that has long had a habit of waiting for the other guy to do the dirty work or to make the big play.

Quick Links

Need to Know: Can the Redskins really afford to franchise tag Kirk Cousins in 2018?

Need to Know: Can the Redskins really afford to franchise tag Kirk Cousins in 2018?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, May 24, 20 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on May 22.

Timeline

It’s been 143 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 109 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 20
—Training camp starts (7/27) 64
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 78

Is the 2018 Cousins tag threat a bluff?

On Monday, Redskins president Bruce Allen reiterated that the team is willing to use the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins for the third straight year.

“In the collective bargaining agreement, we really have one year and an option that we can do at the end of next season if we don’t get a contract,” said Allen when asked if the team would use the franchise or transition tag on Cousins in 2018. He has said something similar on previous media interviews this year.

This year Cousins is getting the tag for the second time in his career. That gives him 120 percent of his 2016 salary which comes to just under $24 million. A third franchise tag in 2018, which would either give the Redskins exclusive negotiating rights or a possible choice between matching an offer sheet from another team or getting draft pick compensation, would get Cousins a 144 percent increase over this season, or a whopping $34.5 million.

The franchise tag would give the Redskins the power to unilaterally lock up Cousins for the 2018 season. It is expensive, by design. Could the Redskins afford to wield that power? Or is Allen just bluffing?

A look at the numbers makes it look like Allen is bluffing.

According to Over the Cap, the Redskins have $127 million in salary cap commitments in 2018. Based on recent growth trends the salary cap will be an estimated $178 million. That gives the Redskins $51 million in cap room.

Cousins’ $34.5 million salary for a third tag would hit the 2018 cap all at once as soon as the tag is applied. You don’t have to be a master capologist to do the math and figure out that such a move would leave the Redskins with $16.5 million in salary cap space.

A look at the top-line number doesn’t seem that bad. Eight teams would have less cap space than Washington so others, like the Cowboys, Eagles, and Chiefs, would be worse off.

But the problem with the Redskins’ situation is twofold. First, 21 of their current players are slated to be unrestricted free agents in 2018. Not all of them are key contributors. But they would have to squeeze to bring back the likes of Zach Brown, Terrelle Pryor, Spencer Long, and Bashaud Breeland. If they don’t re-sign them they will have to go to the free agent market for replacements and that will tough to do with so little money to work with.

The other issue is that they don’t have any fat to cut from their cap. They could save from $4.5 million to $8 million by cutting one of the four players with the highest cap numbers. But they aren’t going to be better if they cut loose Josh Norman, Jordan Reed, Trent Williams or Ryan Kerrigan.

Going down the list of top cap hits, they would save no money by letting Brandon Scherff go since his salary is fully guaranteed. Washington would take a net loss of cap space by cutting Morgan Moses and releasing Vernon Davis would save just $1.1 million. In fact, other than the top four mentioned above there are no players the Redskins could release who would save more than $1.6 million in net cap space.

The Redskins could create more cap room by restructuring some of their highest-paid players. But a simple restructure, where salary is converted to signing bonus, spreading the cap impact over the remaining years of the deal, doesn’t save any real money. The cap hit is merely pushed back into future seasons. Bruce Allen has been reluctant to do this and he is right to think that way. Restructures should only be used in a “break glass in case of emergency” situations, not as a regular way of doing business.

In short, tagging Cousins for $34.5 million would force the Redskins to lose quality players or to use cap management tactics that run against their philosophy, or some combination of both. While you can’t rule out the tag on Cousins, there is enough there to make the possibility remote.

Mike McCartney, Cousins’ agent, can look at these numbers and figure out that Allen is bluffing about a 2018 franchise tag as well as I can. It will be close to a non-factor in negotiations.

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.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Redskins' draft pick Ryan Anderson just had a baby (partly) named after him

Redskins' draft pick Ryan Anderson just had a baby (partly) named after him

Here's an updated look at second-round pick Ryan Anderson's stats since the Redskins drafted him back in late April: zero career NFL tackles, one career baby named partly after him.

On Tuesday, Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt honored Anderson and fellow ex-Crimson Tide linebacker Reuben Foster by combining their last names and making that combination his newborn son's middle name.

Everyone please say hello to Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt:

MORE REDSKINS: JORDAN REED WORKED OUT WITH AN NFL LEGEND ON TUESDAY

The gesture was not lost on Anderson, who said on Instagram that the "little guy will always hold a special place" in his heart:

One gets the sense that Anderson, who comes across as a very intense man and one whose breakfast probably consists of a bowl of motor oil, doesn't use heart emojis very often. Therefore, since he used some in his Instagram caption, you know Pruitt's decision meant a lot to him.