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Need to Know: Redskins still cleaning up locker room issues

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Need to Know: Redskins still cleaning up locker room issues

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, September 22, three days before the Washington Redskins visit the New York Giants.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Joe Barry press conference 12:40; Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden press conference, player availability after practice, approx. 3 p.m.

Days until: Browns @ Redskins 10; Redskins @ Ravens 17; Eagles @ Redskins 24

A work in progress

So we heard from another former Redskin who had less than complimentary to say about his former employer. Among other things, current Giants linebacker Keenan Robinson said that there is a lot of “finger pointing” in the Redskins locker room when things go poorly, as they are now.

"Once they get down, they start pointing fingers,” he said to the New York media. “And that is true. That is what happens. And for the Redskins -- I've only been on one team before I came here, and that was them -- and all I saw was not the right way to handle it. I feel like they didn't handle it the right way when I was there.”

While this may sound like sour grapes to many Redskins fans, it does jibe with recent reports that players are complaining about the play of quarterback Kirk Cousins after his rough start to the season. There may or may not be fire to the smoke but it seems unlikely that all of this was made up out of whole cloth. Jay Gruden downplayed Robinson's remarks but he didn't flatly deny them.

Which brings us to the topic here yesterday which was Scot McCloughan’s strong preference for ignoring need in the draft and drafting his kind of football players. Here is what he said just before the draft last year:
“I want to draft well and identify the guys are Redskins, not just as players, but as people. ...It’s all about the Redskins, it’s about passion, it’s about football and that’s when you start hitting on guys."
No doubt the people that McCloughan is talking about being “Redskins” are not those who will point fingers in the locker room or complain to the media when things go poorly. I don’t know who is anonymously complaining publicly or privately but I would be willing to bet anything that they are not players drafted by McCloughan like Brandon Scherff, Jamison Crowder, or Preston Smith. I also would be in confident in speculating that the finger-pointers were not among the players who have signed long-term contract extensions like Jordan Reed, Ryan Kerrigan, or Trent Williams.

One player acquired by McCloughan who has voiced a complaint this season is Ricky Jean Francois, who talked about a lack of adjustments by the coaching staff. But what’s different there is that Francois did not complain anonymously. He put his name on it. If you feel the need to vent that’s the stand-up way to do it.

The locker room culture needed to be fixed when McCloughan got to Washington. There were plenty of issues before the arrival of Robert Griffin III but that whole saga magnified the problems and brought them to the national spotlight.

Just like McCloughan has been unable to acquire enough talented defensive linemen who fit his vision for the team at this point in time he has been unable to fill the locker room with players who will worry more about doing their own jobs than they are trying to assign blame to others.

This means two things. First, if McCloughan passes over your favorite prospect at a position you perceive to be a desperate need one reason might be that his research indicated that the player was one of “those guys” in the locker room. Also, expect to hear some more about grumbling and finger pointing for a few more seasons. It takes time to weed out those players.

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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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