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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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Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Rams

Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Rams

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, September 19, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Raiders at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Chiefs (10/2) 13
—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (11/23) 24
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 40

Last look at Redskins vs. Rams

—Before the game, I confidently told someone on Twitter that Ryan Grant would get about as many targets (6) against the Rams as he did against the Eagles. But as it turned out, Grant was targeted just twice. The second time was on the game-winning touchdown in the last two minutes. A big difference between this week and last was that Kirk Cousins attempted just 27 passes against LA compared to 40 vs. the Eagles. That led to fewer opportunities for receivers and Grant was one of those who saw his chances drop the most.

—Cousins started well and finished strong but he didn’t do much in the middle. It seems that he was rolling along well until he misfired on a fade pattern to Josh Doctson and then on another throw to Chris Thompson. That ended a goal to go opportunity in a situation where a touchdown would have given the Redskins a commanding 17-0 lead. The next time the Redskins had the ball Cousins was sacked on his first passing attempt and he fumbled a snap a little later. In the third quarter and early in the fourth he completed some passes but many of them were for a minimal gain. To his credit, he didn’t panic and force a turnover. And, of course, he came through on the final drive, completing three of three passes for 42 yards including the 11-yard game winner to Grant.

—During the week leading up to the game, Jay Gruden emphasized the importance of getting to the quarterback. It didn’t play out as well as I’m sure Gruden would have liked. They got two sacks of Jared Goff, one by Preston Smith and one by Ryan Kerrigan, both in the Rams’ possession late in the first half. They pressured Goff on other occasions but overall their pass rush possibly was not as good as it was against the Eagles. Then, they at least got to Carson Wentz even though they had issues bringing him down. Too often, Goff had plenty of time to operate and that helped keep the Rams in the game until near the end.

—Chris Thompson has been the Redskins’ offensive MVP so far. He has improved each year and yesterday he was at his peak. What you really had to like on the 61-yard touchdown run on the draw play was his patience. He was almost standing still as he took the handoff from Cousins as he carried out the pass-blocking fake and chose his path for when he got the ball. He said that the play was designed for him to go one way but his read took him someplace else. It took him to the end zone for the second time that game.

—One surprise early in the game was that Montae Nicholson started at strong safety in place of DeShazor Everett. Nicholson made no glaring errors before he left the game with an AC joint sprain. The depth chart here apparently is set after the team announced that Su'a Cravens, the starter until he left the team to contemplate retirement, will not return this season. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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NFL Power Rankings: Serious contenders already starting to emerge

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NFL Power Rankings: Serious contenders already starting to emerge

The NFL season is already one-eighth of the way done. That's a bit sad, isn't it?

Playing two games in professional football is roughly equivalent to playing 10 in the NBA or 20 in MLB. That means two things: 1) The season flies by, and 2) Contenders begin proving themselves early.

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS

This year is no exception. So far, those trending toward the top of CSN's rankings have looked dominant, and figure to be in the hunt all season long. Those at the bottom, meanwhile? Hey, it's never too early to start doing some draft prep.

Wondering where your team is (and how far Dallas fell, because that's something everyone enjoys)? Check out the link above or below.

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS