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Griffin, Redskins run past Vikings

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Griffin, Redskins run past Vikings

Offense

Grade vs. Vikings: A

Comment: Robert Griffin III and Co. got off to a sluggish start Sunday, producing a three-and-out and an interception on the first two drives, respectively.

The next four drives, however, each resulted in points as the Redskins opened a 24-9 lead they would not relinquish.

A week after being sidelined by a concussion, Griffin responded with a performance he called the most complete of his young career. The rookie accounted for three touchdowns – one in the air and two rushing. In all, he amassed 320 yards of total offense, including an electrifying 76-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Griffin was the star, but he received plenty of help from a supporting cast that was minus injured wide receiver Pierre Garçon (right foot).

Left tackle Trent Williams did an admirable job slowing four-time Pro Bowl end Jared Allen (one sack), Santana Moss (four catches for 46 yards) helped offset Garçon’s absence and Josh Morgan threw a key block on Griffin’s victory clinching scoring sprint.

The coaching staff's game plan also derserves praise. The Redskins returned to the triple option, and that, combined with Griffin gaining chunks of yards on designed runs, kept the Vikings’ vaunted defense off balance all afternoon.

“Anytime people have to account for a quarterback you can put in a number of positions, it presents a problem for a defense,” Coach Mike Shanahan said. "If you always know where a quarterback is at, obviously you can isolate on that one position. If a quarterback is able to roll out, possibly run an option or drop back and pass, there’s some question where he’ll be.”

The only concern on the offensive side of the ball was Alfred Morris’ production. Although the rookie scored, he was limited to 47 yards on 16 carries (2.9 yards per carry.) In the season’s first five games, Morris averaged 98.2 yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry.

A year ago, the Redskins' anemic offense average 18 points per game. Now, it ranks among the elite thanks, in large part, to Griffin's versatility. In fact, the unit currently is tied for third in points per game (29.7) with the Giants, next Sunday’s opponent. 

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With receiver group in flux, might Redskins make run at Alshon Jeffery?

With receiver group in flux, might Redskins make run at Alshon Jeffery?

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.

RELATED: Could FA Dontari Poe fix the Redskins nose tackle issue?

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.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Could likely free agent Dontari Poe be the Redskins' answer at nose tackle?

Could likely free agent Dontari Poe be the Redskins' answer at nose tackle?

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.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

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.

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.