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Griffin needs practice and should take every remaining 2013 snap

Griffin needs practice and should take every remaining 2013 snap

The Redskins have five games left in their season. They are averaging about 70 offensive snaps per game so they have about 350 more offensive plays to run this season.

Robert Griffin III needs to be the quarterback for every single one of those.

With the team’s playoff chances all but gone, there have been calls for Kirk Cousins to step in to protect Griffin from injury or to try to enhance Cousins’ trade value or to perhaps give them a better chance to win a game or two. But that would be a huge mistake. Griffin needs the work.

Griffin has shown this year that he has a lot that he has to work on. He needs to read defenses better, look off receivers, learn not to hold on to the ball for so long, when to run and when to pull up and throw, and to correct his maddening tendency to sail passes over to heads of wide open receivers, among other things.

To be sure, he will have a lot of time to work on those issues. He will have OTAs, minicamp, training camp and preseason games, all activities that he either missed completely or had only limited participation in this year.

But there is no offseason training that remotely resembles live snaps in NFL games that count. The intensity of regular season games simply can’t be matched. Lining up against your own teammates wearing helmets and shorts doesn’t come close to duplicating the speed of live reps against other teams who have studied for hours and hours trying to figure out how to stop you.

The regular-season snaps are particularly important because Griffin played in a relatively simple offense at Baylor. While other young quarterbacks like Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson were operating in pro-style offenses in college, Griffin was working in a scheme that did not require much in the way of reading defenses or other complex skills needed in the NFL.

“You need those repetitions,” said Mike Shanahan. “That’s why he’s going through these repetitions – to get better. He hasn’t had a lot of these repetitions in college, which we’ve talked about.”

From now until the start of the 2014 season, Griffin has 350 chances to take live NFL snaps. He will have 350 opportunities to read defenses, make decisions, work on whatever it is that has thrown his accuracy off. When they are gone, they are gone.

So far in his NFL career Griffin has 1,813 snaps under his belt. If he plays 350 more this year he will add about 20 percent to his resume. That is very significant.

If Griffin is going to be the best quarterback he can be in 2014, he needs all of the quality work he can get between now and next September. And the best quality work he can get is all of those remaining regular season snaps.

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Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 19, 98 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 42
NFL free agency starts 50
First Sunday of 2017 season 235

The coordinator search and more

As noted above, we have 42 days until the deadline for the Redskins to put the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. The immediate future of the franchise is contingent this situation being handled correctly by the organization. It’s time to turn the attention and the $100 in imaginary casino chips towards what might happen with Cousins as the process unfold. We will revisit this from time to time as the various deadlines approach so consider this the early odds.

Sign before the tag deadline, $5—This seems unlikely after his rather cold response to my question immediately following the season-ending loss to the Giants when he said, “The ball’s not in my court.” He indicated that it’s up to the Redskins to tag him. It doesn’t look like he and his agent will have much of an inclination to sit down to any serious negotiations before that happens.

Let him go into free agency, $5—Yes, I know that this is out there but it makes no sense to take the chance of the possibility that he could walk with zero compensation. While there might be some logic in finding out what Cousins would be worth in a true free market in order to establish the basis for a fair contract the risk of behind left empty-handed is just too great.

Tag and trade, $20—This also has been discussed by various media types as a possibility. It would involve giving Cousins the non-exclusive franchise tag, which would let him go out and negotiate a deal with another team. The Redskins could then match that offer or choose to get compensation. The CBA calls for compensation of two first-round picks although the two teams may negotiate something less. The most frequently suggested trade partner is the 49ers and their soon-to-be head coach Kyle Shanahan but there are probably around half a dozen teams, maybe more, who could be interested. If the Redskins don’t think they will ever sign Cousins long term this could be the way to go.

Tag and sign by July 15 deadline, $30—This may be a little low for this possibility. Perhaps if the other options are off the table he will consider that he is a perfect match for Jay Gruden’s offense and that he might not be such a good fit elsewhere. There also is the possibility of injury or, for whatever reason, Cousins having a subpar season. Those thoughts could spur him to instruct his agent to get the best deal he can get in Washington.

Tag and play the season on the tag, $40—Right now, this appears to be the mostly likely scenario. They can afford the $24 million cap hit and it would get them one more year of his services. However, the prospects for him remaining in a Redskins uniform for 2018 and beyond would be very cloudy.

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In case you missed it

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

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3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend

3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend

Ryan Kerrigan, Jordan Reed and Brandon Scherff will skip next week's Pro Bowl in Orlando a team spokesman confirmed to CSN. All three players dealt with injuries late in the season, most notably Reed, and playing in the exhibition game is not in the cards. Trent Williams, however, is still slated to play in the game. 

Reed suffered a separated shoulder on Thanksgiving playing against the Dallas Cowboys. For the rest of the season, Reed played through significant pain and his production dipped.

Kerrigan played much of the season with an injured elbow and hurt his finger in the final game against the Giants. Scherff played with ankle pain and was listed on the injury report much of the season's final four games.

For Reed and Scherff, this year marked their first Pro Bowl. The recognition was deserved for both players, and shows that the guard and tight end are gaining national spotlight for their play.

Kerrigan played in the Pro Bowl following the 2012 season. He finished this year with 11 sacks, 2.5 short os his career high 13.5 in 2014. 

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