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Need to Know: Five good things from the Shanahan era

Need to Know: Five good things from the Shanahan era

Here is what you need to know on this 2013 New Year’s Eve, 250 days before the opening Sunday of the 2014 NFL season.

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The Mike Shanahan era is over. This morning we look at some of the good things the team accomplished since 2010. Tomorrow we’ll turn our attention to the bad.

In chronological order, five good things accomplished under Shanahan:

1. In 2010, the much-hyped return of Donovan McNabb to Philadelphia ended with the Redskins escaping with a 17-12 win over the Eagles. The following week they took on the eventual Super Bowl champion Packers at FedEx Field and came out with an exciting 16-13 OT win.

2. In 2011 they beat the Super Bowl champion Giants twice. They won 28-14 in the season opener at FedEx Field and took at 23-10 victory in the Meadowlands in Week 15.

3. In the sixth round of the 2012 draft Shanahan drafted Alfred Morris, who set the franchise record for rushing yards in a season as a rookie.

4. Mike and Kyle Shanahan developed an offense that took read option and spread elements from the college game and mixed it in the zone blocking in the run scheme to help Robert Griffin III and the Redskins offense light up the league in 2012. The team led the league in yards per play and in rushing yards and Griffin won about every rookie of the year honor there was.

5. That offense helped propel the Redskins on a seven-game winning streak to end the season. That got them the NFC East title, the team’s first since 1999.

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Stat of the day

—Through eight games the Redskins defense was ranked 30th in the league in terms of yards allowed. It finished the season ranked 18th.

Timeline

—On this date in 1972, the Redskins beat the Dallas Cowboys 26-3 in the NFC title game to advance to Super Bowl VII.

—Days until: NFL free agency 70; 2014 NFL Draft 128; 2014 Opening Sunday 250

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).

READ MORE: FULL UPDATE ON JORDAN REED

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.

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Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.

Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.

Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.

In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.  

In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.

Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.

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