No question about it, the Broncos battered Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III during the course of their game last Sunday. When asked about the play of his offensive line, Kyle Shanahan somewhat downplayed the issues.
“I think that game versus Denver looked pretty much like every game does versus Denver – especially with 58 [linebacker Von Miller] out there . . . they hit every quarterback,” said Shanahan. “That’s how it is when you throw the ball. You always want to protect him. You always want to keep him upright and take those hits off, but you turn on any tape versus Denver and that pass rush, especially when 58’s out there, I think a lot of those games will look worse and not many of them will look much better.”
Looking back at the Broncos’ games this season, they have been able to get to the quarterback in every game. They have at least one sack in every game and double digits in hurries in all eight contests so far (from www.profootballfocus.com).
But the Redskins were worse than any other Broncos opponent this year when it came to allowing their quarterback to get hit. Here is a look at each Broncos game this year with the opponent, sacks, quarterback hits, and quarterback hurries.
It should be noted that Von Miller, who was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2012 with 18.5 sacks, was suspended for the first six games so he was in the lineup only against the Colts and Redskins. He had a sack, three hits, and a hurry against Washington.
Still, Griffin and Kirk Cousins were hit a combined 11 times. The Broncos had no more than six QB hits in any game prior to this one. They had averaged 3.6 hits in the seven games prior to the one against the Redskins.
However, it’s possible that not all of the blame for the QB hits rests with the offensive line. Many thought that Griffin held on to the ball for too long on some of his pass plays. The Broncos’ 15 hurries against the Redskins were a bit fewer than their average of 16.8 going into the game. Perhaps Griffin’s indecision turned some of the hurries into hits.
The Redskins made a couple of roster moves just before departing for Arizona to play the Cardinals.
They signed cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad and cut offensive tackle Blaine Clausell. The Redskins also waived safety David Bruton Jr. off of injured reserve.
Phillips was the Redskins’ nickel corner for the first three games of the season, and he made four tackles and recovered a fumble. But they moved rookie Kendall Fuller up into the slot corner role in Week 4 and Phillips spent several weeks on the inactive list before being waived on November 12 and added to the practice squad three days later.
The moves became known after Redskins coach Jay Gruden had spoken to the media for the day so we can only speculate as to the reasoning behind them. Actually, the release of Clausell isn’t hard to figure out. He was signed after Trent Williams started his four-game suspension and with Williams set to return on Monday and the other options at backup tackle healthy there was no point in keeping him around.
Phillips is likely going to Arizona as an insurance policy. The Cardinals like to spread the field with a lot of wide receivers. They will want to have five cornerbacks active. They do have Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, and Greg Toler. But Breeland is listed as questionable with an ankle injury and they Redskins don’t want to take any chance of being caught short-handed at cornerback if he suffers a setback. That’s especially true when they don’t need to bring an extra tackle along.
Depending on how things shake out injury-wise against the Cardinals there is a good chance that we could see Phillips on the waiver wire once again as a roster spot will be needed for Williams.
Bruton started the first four games of the season at safety before going on injured reserve with a concussion. This past offseason he signed a three-year, $9 million free agent contract with $3.4 million full guaranteed. There will be a deal cap hit of approximately $1.7 million in 2017 to account for the prorated bonus.
TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.
DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.
LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.
G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.
T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.
CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.
RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.
Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)
Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.