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Need to Know: Is Redskins quarterback RG3 really "done"?

Need to Know: Is Redskins quarterback RG3 really "done"?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 24, 6 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

I’ll also take your Need to Know questions via email. Hit me up rich.tandler+csn@gmail.com with “NTK” in the subject line. Just keep them relatively brief, please. 

Today’s question comes from Twitter:

Those are really two different concepts there so I’ll address them separately.

Has he hit rock bottom? If last November wasn’t rock bottom, I don’t know what is.

—In a game against the Bucs he was awful, throwing two interceptions, taking six sacks, and either not seeing or missing open receives. After the game a firestorm was created when he said, “It doesn’t just take one guy and that is proven. If you want to look at the good teams in this league and the great quarterbacks, the Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Mannings, those guys don’t play well if their guys don’t play well.” Although those were taken out of context from a postgame talk that had plenty of instances if Griffin taking responsibility, that was widely interpreted as him throwing his teammates under the bus. Speaking to the media the next day, Jay Gruden said, “From his basic performance, just critiquing Robert, it was not even close to being good enough to what we expect from that quarterback position.”

—After another shaky performance, this one against the 49ers, Griffin was benched in favor of journeyman Colt McCoy.

A quarterback who was the rookie of the year just two seasons earlier can’t get much lower than being ripped by the national media, perhaps unfairly, getting harshly critiqued by his coach during a press conference, and getting benched in favor of McCoy. So answers the second part of the question.

Is Griffin done? I think it is foolish to say that a 25-year-old quarterback who has had the success that Griffin has had is “done”. There simply is too much physical ability there to think that it is impossible for him to put it together.

The anonymous poll respondent to the ESPN survey said that Griffin is done in part because his legs are shot. I just don’t believe that. As evidence, I present Griffin’s 2013 season. To be sure, that year was a major letdown and he clearly was hampered by the lingering effects of the major knee injury he suffered during a playoff game in January of that year. But if you look at his numbers, most of the major stats were right around the NFL average or better in some cases. Griffin completed 60.1 percent of his passes (league averaged in 2013 was 61.2%), had 2.6 percent of his passes intercepted (avg. 2.8%), averaged 7.0 yards per attempt (avg. 7.1) and had a passer rating of 82.2 (avg. 84.1).

In short, starting the season nine months after reconstructive knee surgery and playing with a bulky brace, Griffin was about an average NFL quarterback. That’s not what the Redskins want him to be in the long term but the point is that he can be productive even playing essentially on one leg.

That same respondent said that Griffin’s “ego” would not allow him to do what it takes to get better. We don’t know who this person was so we have no way of knowing if he is in a position to gauge Griffin’s ego and the affect it has on what he is willing to do.

But will he grind his way back? Or does believe that a tweak here or there will fix things? He can be fine physically but if he is not mentally prepared to do what it takes to improve, whether it's his "ego" or whatever else that's in the way, he will be spinning his wheels—and the franchise along with him.

Timeline

—It’s been 208 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 51 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 6; Preseason opener @ Browns 20; final cuts 43

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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).

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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