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Mechanical difficulties?

Mechanical difficulties?

ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski got some headlines on Wednesday by declaring that a quarterback who has started seven NFL games could be one of the best ever.

"I truly believe Colin Kaepernick could be one of the greatest quarterbacks ever," Jaworski said Wednesday on ESPN. "I love his skill set. I think the sky's the limit."

Well, OK then. Some might think it’s a bit premature to say that but when the purpose is to make a bold statement you might as well go out on a limb.

Earlier in the day, the former Eagles quarterback made some statements that drew some attention around these parts when he talked about the throwing mechanics of Robert Griffin III.

“I was watching him throw the football — there were a few clips — and I was concerned in the weight transfer,” he said on Mike and Mike In the Morning via our friends at Pro Football Talk. “I didn’t see the clean mechanics I’ve seen in the past. I’m not there every day, I’m not a doctor, but he just looks a little different right now. It’s pregame, it was warmup, people can discount that. I’m just saying from my eye, I didn’t see the clean drops, the weight transfer, stay on that back foot, snap the hips, that I’d seen out of him.”

This created some degree of panic among some Redskins fans who fear that Griffin’s second ACL injury may have permanently altered the quarterbacks ability to throw. Both Griffin and Mike Shanahan were asked about it yesterday.

Griffin was asked if there were any changes to his mechanics. “I think the experience last year playing through the injury, being hurt out there, showed me a lot about football,” he said. “That’s something that I’ll keep to myself.”

One could surmise from the last part of that answer that Griffin’s mechanics aren’t the same as they were when he had such a stellar rookie season last year.

Shanahan said that any hitch in Griffin’s mechanics may be due him taking fewer practice reps due to his knee rehab.

“When you take a look at his OTAs, the minicamps, there’s about 600 throws in there, so we’ve watched them,” he said. “You know, right now, he’s got well over 200 throws – about 220 – so we’ve had a chance to see what he’s done thus far, and we’ve still got a couple more weeks left, putting him in team situations and things that he’s done in the past.”

“Everybody needs those reps and that’s why we’re going to do it for two weeks before we get in our game week against Philly, so it was part of our game plan in getting Robert ready and we’ve got a couple of weeks to go and hopefully he keeps on progressing like he has.”

If what Jaworski said is true—and remember that he was watching pregame warmups for a game in which Griffin would not play—it’s not necessarily any cause for alarm. Griffin is still rounding into form and the knee is different from the way it was before. In addition, there is a brace on it and that will take some getting used to. The more reps he gets the more comfortable he will be. It’s possible that he will have to live with some flaws in his motion for the rest of the year until he gets them ironed out next offseason.

So it is premature to be overly concerned about permanent issues with Griffin’s throwing motion, if he does indeed have any at all. But it is worth watching and I’m sure we’ll hear more about this when the season starts.

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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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