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Griffin vs. Luck, Round 1

Griffin vs. Luck, Round 1

What: Redskins vs. ColtsWhere: FedEx Field, Landover, Md.When: Saturday, 4 p.m.TV: Comcast SportsNet, NBC 4
Theywent 1-2 in the NFL draft in April.Theyfinished 1-2 in the Heisman Trophy voting four months earlier.Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. RobertGriffin III and Andrew Luck.LikeMagic and Bird, the dueling quarterbacks will be forever linked because of theproximity in which they were drafted and because of the intriguing situations theyinherited. Griffinis being counted upon to revitalize a Redskins franchise thats made theplayoffs exactly three times since 1992. Luck, meantime, is expected to replacefuture hall of famer Peyton Manning.AlthoughGriffin and Lucks paths have crossed a number of times in recent months,theyll meet on the gridiron for the first time Saturday in one of the NFLs mostanticipated preseason games. Both signal callers are expected to play into thethird quarter, so it also figures to be the first prolonged look at them.Throughtwo exhibition games, Griffin and Luck each have shown flashes of brilliance, as well as the misstepsto be expected of a rookie. Luckhas completed 26 of his 41 pass attempts for 363 yards and two touchdowns. Hesalso been intercepted twice, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Griffin,on the other hand, has only attempted 14 passes in two games, completing nineof them. Hes also shown the propensity to hold onto the football too long andhas lost two fumbles.Tenyears from now, the following question will be posed: Andrew Luck or RobertGriffin III?Ina matter of hours, the argument will begin.Although itsthe big story, it's not the only one. The csnwashington.com staff will bekeeping tabs on a number of other competitions that have yet to be settled. Amongthem:1) Thebattle at wide receiver has evolved into the tightest and most intense competitionin the Redskins' camp. Andit could get even more convoluted if Anthony Armstrong has a big performanceagainst the Colts. Armstrong has missed the first two preseason contests with asprained right shoulder. While he sat out, BrandonBanks, Dezmon Biscoe and Aldrick Robinson all scored touchdownsin Chicago. Robinson also amassed 104 yards on six receptions in that game.InArmstrongs own words, time is short to snag one of the remaining two spots.If hes going to do it, the 29-year-old must be a standout on offense andspecial teams Saturday.2) Thesituation at running back is almost as muddled due to injuries that haveinflicted three-fourths of the players competing for playing time in Coach Mike Shanahans backfield. Thisweek, second-year players Evan Royster(knee) and Roy Helu Jr. (two soreAchilles tendons) are expected to be sidelined. Tim Hightower, meantime, is expected tosuit up for the first time since tearing the ACL in his left knee in Week 5last season. Hightower is listed as the Redskins No. 1 running back on theteams depth chart, but thats of little comfort to the 26-year-old.Hethought he was ready to go, Shanahan said. Hes had enough reps in practicewhere hes feeling comfortable with it.WithRoyster and Helu out and Hightower not expected to start, that meansrookie Alfred Morris figures to getthe nod for the second consecutive week. Morris gained 38 yards on his firstfive carries last week in Chicago, but was held to minus-4 yards on his next fivecarries.Shanahanwants consistency, and Morris has yet to deliver it.3)Some of Morris second quarter struggles against the Bears were the result of apatchwork offensive line that couldnt contain defensive ends Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije. Griffinwas sacked three times for a total loss of 19 yards, just one game after he washardly touched by the Bills, while Morris was stopped twice for no game and two other times for a loss in the span of two series.Thegood news is the unit appears to be getting healthier as the regular season approaches.Left tackle Trent Williams wasnt100-percent at Soldier Field due to a bone bruise in his left foot, but he saidhes improving daily. Right guard ChrisChester (sprained left ankle) could return against the Colts after missingboth of the previous exhibitions, and left guard Kory Lichtensteiger (right knee surgery) said he hopes to returnfor the regular season opener.Lichtensteiger,however, wont be ready Saturday and theres no guarantee hell be ready fornext month in New Orleans. So it will be important for Williams, Maurice Hurt, Will Montgomery, Chester and TylerPolumbus to keep Griffin upright and open holes for Morris and Co.

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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!