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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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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!