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.
It seems likely the Redskins stand to lose one or both of receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon in free agency. That could mean more than 2,000 yards receiving exiting the offense, a significant blow.
Could Bears wideout Alshon Jeffery come to Washington and cushion the blow?
Multiple reports say that Chicago will not put the franchise tag on Jeffery, which means the 6-foot-4 receiver will hit the open market when free agency opens in a little more than a week. Coming off consectuive injury-marred seasons, still expect the market to be ripe for the former South Carolina star.
A five-year veteran that will turn 28 in August, Jeffery posted more than 2,500 receiving yards in the 2013 and 2014 seasons to go with 17 touchdowns. An extremely gifted red zone receiver, Jeffery is one of the best in the league at high-pointing the football and coming down with circus catches. His last two seasons, however, the Bears wideout only played in 21 of 32 games and his numbers dipped dramatically: just over 1,600 yards and six TDs combined.
Though Washington will likely lose at least one of Garçon or Jackson, and very possibly both, that does not necessarily make Jeffery a prime target.
Expect cost to be a major factor as the Chicago receiver will likely command the top free agent payout at the position. And his recent injury history could be a factor as well.
Further, the Redskins must believe they have a No. 1 receiver already in house in Josh Doctson. The No. 22 overall pick in 2016, Doctson hardly played as a rookie due to an Achilles injury but appears to be progressing well in his rehab. At 6-foot-2 and extremely athletic, Doctson was drafted to be a prime red zone target with the ability to go up and get TDs.
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Many Redskins fans have been keeping a close eye on the Chiefs all offseason. Kansas City has two pending free agents in positions that are of great need to Washington. Fans have been watching since January to see what the Chiefs would do with safety Eric Berry and defensive lineman Dontari Poe. They may have their answer.
The organization’s hope was that they could sign one and use the franchise tag on the other. But with the deadline for the tag two days from now and with free agency starting in 10 days, it appears that plan is not going to happen. They are forced to decide and per Ed Werder of ESPN they are going to tag Berry and let Poe test free agency.
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Poe is a load at 6-3, 348. His impact is hard to measure in numbers; he has just 13 sacks in his five NFL seasons including two in the last two years. The Chiefs first-round pick out of Memphis in the 2012 draft has forced two fumbles and recovered one. But he is exactly what a defense like the Redskins’ 4-3 scheme needs in the middle to eat up double teams and keep blockers off the linebackers. They would go from having had no credible nose tackle in the seven seasons they have been in the 3-4 base defense to having one who at age 26 is of the very best in the league.
The problem with acquiring the best in the business is that you must pay top dollar. The contracts signed by Marcell Dareus of the Bills, a six-year deal with an average annual value of $15.8 million and Fletcher Cox of the Eagles, who signed a six-year extension with an AAV of $17.1, will be used as guidelines for a Poe free agent deal.
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The Redskins possibly could make that work but it would be a stretch. They already have a top-heavy salary structure with their top three players taking up 35 percent of the salary cap. Another cap hit in the $15 million range would put them in a precarious spot.
It seems unlikely that the Redskins will be real players in the Poe sweepstakes but given that he would be a perfect solution to a long-standing problem area it’s worth keeping an eye on the situation.