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Need to Know: RG3 the hot topic in the Redskins' week that was

Need to Know: RG3 the hot topic in the Redskins' week that was

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, August 23, six days before the Washington Redskins play the Baltimore Ravens.

Read and react: A look at the week that was

Griffin says he’s the best, Internet implodes—America took to psychoanalyzing Robert Griffin III after he said he believes he’s the best quarterback in the league. Of course the remarks were taken out of context. But that didn’t matter. For the next several days, Griffin’s comment led off talk shows and much cyber ink was spilled discussing the fourth-year quarterback.

RG3: ‘It’s just unfortunate’—What Griffin said came out on Monday. On Tuesay he addressed a group of media members that was mostly local and—oh, never mind, let’s just stop here and move on to actual football matters.

Things go downhill for Griffin vs. Lions—Griffin wasn’t very good on Thursday in the Redskins’ second preseason game, although it must be noted he didn’t get much help from his offensive line. Griffin dropped back to pass eight times and was hit on six of those, including a final one that apparently induced a concussion. Griffin had looked much improved in training camp compared to 2014 and he was OK in the Redskins’ preseason opener. But a lot of the positive of the positive perception and energy created over the last few weeks vaporized in the course of those eight plays

Gruden says Griffin will start when he recovers—It appears that Griffin’s concussion is on the mild side (keeping in mind that any concussion is serious) and it looks like he will be able to play against the Ravens on Saturday. Jay Gruden said that regardless of when Griffin is ready to play he will return to the starting job. Which, of course, is the logical thing to do since you planned on Griffin being the starter since February and it would be the height of dysfunction to abandon your plan after 16 snaps that didn’t go well. But, of course, some fans and some in the media are advocating starting Cousins or McCoy.

Hayward heads to IR—The hits just keep on coming to the Redskins’ special teams. After losing stalwarts Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen to season-ending injuries last week they took another blow when Adam Hayward suffered a torn ACL covering a kickoff late in the first half against the Lions. His absence, both in terms of the talent lost and the leadership void, will make it difficult to turn the Redskins’ special teams around.

Redskins trade for TE Carrier—After they lined tackle Tom Compton up at tight end for several snaps against the Giants, you had to figure the Redskins needed to do something at tight end with the departures of Paul and Paulsen leaving the oft-injured Jordan Reed as the only experienced tight end. They sent a 2017 fifth-round pick to the 49ers for Derek Carrier, who doesn’t have a ton of experience with just 16 games and nine receptions on his NFL resume. His role is to be determined. Hopefully he can be a backup and handle spot starts when Reed is sidelined.

Timeline

—Former Redskins quarterback Sonny Jurgensen was born on this date in 1934. Former Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman was born on this date in 1980

Today’s schedule: Practice 1:30; availability with Jay Gruden and players after practice

—It’s been 238 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 21 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason Redskins @ Ravens 6; final cuts 13; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 32

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In case you missed it

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How big a need do the Redskins have at running back?

How big a need do the Redskins have at running back?

Do the Redskins have a draft need at running back? It depends on who you ask.

Jay Gruden seems to be very happy with incumbent running back Rob Kelley. Here is what he had to say last month about the second-year back, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Tulane, last month:

“Oh, man, I love Rob Kelley,” Gruden said. “I thought he played great. You throw a rookie free agent into the fire like that and see him play and compete. Not one time did I feel like it was too big for him. Not once. That’s a hell of a thing to say for a kid out of Tulane who only had a couple of carries his senior year. He came right in, he competes on every play.”

Kelley played in 15 games last year and rushed for 704 yards and scored six touchdowns. He started the last nine games and if you project his numbers in this games out over a 16-game season you get about 1,050 yards and 11 touchdowns. That’s not Ezekiel Elliott or Le’Veon Bell production but it’s good for a team that is going to rely mostly on the pass.

Gruden also praised third-down back Chris Thompson and backup Mack Brown. In a telling sign, he acknowledged that 2015 third-round pick Matt Jones is still on the roster but he didn’t have much good to say about him.

Why, then, do you see so many draft analysts listing running back as one of the team’s most urgent needs? Mark Maske, who is the Post’s national NFL writer but also a former Redskins beat reporter, has them taking Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey in his mock draft. “There certainly are issues on defense for the Redskins,” writes Maske. But there also is a need at running back.”

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com said that the Redskins “obviously” need a running back as his rationale for mocking Florida State’s Dalvin Cook to Washington at No. 17.

So, what is it? Is Kelley adequate for the Redskins’ needs considering they call pass plays on over 60 percent of their offensive snaps? Would they run more often if they had a back like McCaffrey or Cook? And if they did run more would the offense improve?

I think that running back is like several positions with the Redskins. If they have to get through the 2016 season with what they have they will be OK. But if there is an upgrade on the board when they are on the clock they won’t hesitate to make the pick if he’s the best player available.

We will see what happens if, say, McCaffrey is still on the board when the Redskins pick at No. 17 and top defensive targets like Rueben Foster and Haason Reddick are off the board. That will be the true test to see how committed Gruden and the rest of the organization are to Kelley, Thompson, and company. 

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When talent is there, Bruce Allen has looked past red flags in 1st round of NFL Draft

When talent is there, Bruce Allen has looked past red flags in 1st round of NFL Draft

A four-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champ, Aqib Talib has a long and checkered past, which includes multiple arrests and failed PED and drug tests. The problems aren't new either, the talented cornerback was first arrested as a high school student. In college at Kansas, Talib was suspended multiple times and had multiple positive tests for marijuana use. 

Why does this matter for Redskins fans on the eve of the NFL Draft?

Despite all the trouble, Bruce Allen drafted Talib 20th overall in 2008 when the current Redskins general manager was in the same role for Tampa. While Talib's legal troubles and suspensions continued in the NFL, he also proved to be a highly capable cornerback in the pro game. 

The lesson for those trying to determine the Redskins draft board: Allen might be willing to look past red flags if a player presents good value. Talib did in 2008, and there could be opportunities for Washington in 2017.

Reuben Foster jumps to mind, as the talented Alabama linebacker will enter the league in the substance abuse program. While Foster's issues pale in comparison to other allegations about some draft prospects, players like Joe Mixon, Gareon Conley and Caleb Brantley will also present unique circumstances for NFL teams to evaluate. 

GMs are thrust into the unenviable task of determining a player's character, often in short periods of time. As 'Skins director of college scouting Scott Campbell explained, the team grades every player for their football skills first, and only later adds in character information. From Campbell's comments:

When you start to evaluate guys in the beginning, you don’t factor in the character. You don’t grade character, you grade talent. So you don’t throw away somebody early that may have some redeeming quality, or there’s a side to the story you don’t know about. You grade football players as football players first on talent, and then when it comes closer to the draft, you start weeding all that, getting more information, deciding, ‘OK, this guy’s not our kind of guy, this guy’s not a Redskin, this guy could be drafted, but good luck to him.

Thursday night the Redskins will be forced to make a determination on the right player for the team. That decision could include judging a player's character, and that could mean balancing legal or substance abuse troubles with talent and ability.

Talib is only one pick in Allen's long personnel career, but it's one worth noting. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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