Washington Redskins

Quick Links

Need to Know: What would a good 2015 for Redskins' RG3 look like?

Need to Know: What would a good 2015 for Redskins' RG3 look like?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 19, 42 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

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.

Today’s question is from Twitter:

Normally it’s one question to a tweet here but we can answer the first one pretty quickly. For 2015 to be successful they have to show real progress. That may not mean a lot more wins than they had in 2014 but they will need to show fight and have their free agents and at least a few of their draft picks playing well. If they can win 6 games or so and end the season with the arrow pointing up that will be a success.

If they are going to appear to have some momentum after the 2015 season it sure would help to have a quarterback who is playing well and improving. Robert Griffin III will be given first crack at being that QB.

He’s had an up-and-down ride since the last few weeks of the 2012 season and it hasn’t stopped this offseason. Things were looking up in late February when Gruden said that he will be the starter going into the season. Then here were reports that the Redskins would seriously consider drafting Marcus Mariota with the fifth pick in the draft. When that talk died down the team re-signed Colt McCoy, who started three games ahead of a healthy Griffin in 2014.

But adversity is part of the job and Griffin will have to deal with it. But back to the question of what Griffin will have to do to remove any doubt that he is the No. 1 quarterback.

Let’s look at this in terms of the middle ground. To some Griffin doubters nothing short of a combination of and RG3 2012 and a vintage Tom Brady type of performance would remove their misgivings. All he has to do is line up properly behind center and complete a pass every once in a while and he’ll be fine in the eyes of the more loyal Griffin fans.

But to most reasonable people, a group that includes Jay Gruden and Scot McCloughan, Griffin has to show substantial progress as a pocket passer. That doesn’t mean he can’t run and roll out and do the occasional read option. But he does need to be able to drop back and throw a pass before the receiver is out of his break and trust that he will be there to catch the pass. At no point can Griffin run out of bounds six yards behind the line of scrimmage before throwing the ball away. If he is looking at his first read that receiver is open he needs to pull the trigger on the pass or, if not, be successful in finding an alternative.

And Griffin doesn’t have time to waste in getting better. This can’t wait until November. He has to hit receivers coming out of their breaks in OTAs. If we’re at training camp and we see him hold onto the ball and pump and hesitate and scramble around, he’s in trouble. If we’re seeing that, Griffin might not make it to the regular season as the starter.

Don’t get me wrong; he doesn’t have to master pocket passing right away. But he does have to show some solid signs of progress

In short, Griffin needs to be competent. Last year he was not, at least not often enough to remove doubts.

It’s up to him. If he doesn’t get it done he has nobody to blame but himself.

Your browser does not support iframes.

Timeline

—It’s been 81 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 178 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 32; 2015 NFL Draft 42; Redskins training camp starts 133

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

Like Real Redskins on Facebook!

Follow Real Redskins on Instagram @RichTandler

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Accentuating the negative leads to positive results for Chris Thompson

Accentuating the negative leads to positive results for Chris Thompson

Some NFL players ooze confidence. They thrive on emphasizing what they do well and not speaking about weaknesses. In a game as tough and physical as pro football, some players need to feel bulletproof to survive.

Chris Thompson is not like that. He was one of the stars in the Redskins’ 27-20 win over the Rams on Sunday. He rushed three times for 77 yards and two touchdowns and caught three passes for 29 yards. And while he enjoyed the win, he did not revel in his performance as he made a glaring mistake.

RELATED: JAY GRUDEN NOT INCREASING THOMPSON'S WORKLOAD

In the third quarter, quarterback Kirk Cousins threw him a perfect pass over the middle. The speedy Thompson had nothing but green grass and white stripes in front of him. But he dropped the pass, turning what likely would have been a 62-yard touchdown into an incompletion.

That play stuck with him despite his touchdown runs of 61 and seven yards.

“I’m not going to lie to you,” he said. “On the plane ride, getting dressed after the game, this morning watching film, when I was outside at practice, I was thinking about that one play. My first thing I wanted to do when I got out there in individuals with the quarterbacks was to run that route again and catch the ball.”

FANTASY: TO START CHRIS THOMPSON OR NOT?

Instead of reliving his glory, he went to work to correct one mistake.

This is not a lone instance of Thompson focusing on negative plays that he made. He said that mistakes stick in his mind more than good plays. During a few minutes talking to reporters on Wednesday, he recalled going the wrong way on a choice route against the Dolphins in 2015, costing a possible touchdown, making a similar mistake against the Browns last year, and errors that led to sacks of Cousins last year and of Robert Griffin III a few years ago.

“All of those things that I look back at that I did wrong, it helped me become a better player this year,” said Thompson. “I’ve been able to go back and look at that and see what went wrong and fix it now. As of late as I’ve become more confident in what I’m doing and more confident in my abilities I’m able to play better.”

Whatever Thompson is doing to become a better player is working. He signed a two-year contract extension earlier this month. Jay Gruden sings his praises whenever he’s asked about him. His teammates almost universally admire and respect him. In his fifth NFL season, many analysts around the league are starting to recognize him as a main cog in the Redskins’ offense.

It is unlikely that he will change his approach.

“I had to mess up a lot in order to get where I am now,” he said. Thompson will continue to perfect his game by putting his imperfect moments under the microscope. 

MORE REDSKINS: FIVE UNDER PRESSURE VS. RAIDERS

Quick Links

Redskins Playbook: Cousins, Gruden remain quite confident in offense. Maybe they're right

Redskins Playbook: Cousins, Gruden remain quite confident in offense. Maybe they're right

One of the best offenses in 2016, the Redskins early returns so far in 2017 rank somewhere between underwhelming and underachieving. That does not mean good games aren't coming in the future, however, at least according to head coach Jay Gruden and quarterback Kirk Cousins. 

"I would like to think that as the year goes on the offense gets better and better," Cousins said Wednesday. "Hopefully we take those steps going forward and we just hit our stride and play much better than we have the first two weeks."

RELATED: FIVE REDSKINS UNDER PRESSURE VS. RAIDERS

In the first two games of the season, a loss at home to the Eagles in Week 1 and a win in Los Angeles over the Rams, Cousins hasn't played particularly well. Against Philadelphia, he played poorly, accounting for three turnovers and completing just 57 percent of his passes. In LA, he showed progress. No turnovers and his completion percentage jumped up nearly 10 points. 

More importantly, Cousins shined on the final drive of the game, going 3 for 3 and throwing the game-winning touchdown. It was that drive, and a number of near misses in both games, that has Gruden optimistic. 

The coach called the Redskins passing game "very, very close" to hitting on all cylinders.

"There is a lot we can improve on in the passing game, from Kirk to the routes to the protection. It’s a work in progress, but we will get there," Gruden said Monday. "We have total faith that we will get it done and his numbers will get better."

Considered in a certain way, he's right. 

In Week 1, the Redskins offensive line struggled and Cousins was sacked four times. The run game got nothing going, generating just 64 yards on the ground. Cousins was able to throw for 240 yards, and despite all the turnovers, the offense still had a chance to steal a win late in the fourth quarter. 

In Week 2, the Redskins line blocked better and the run game produced at a high level. Cousins' yardage total was quite low, only 179 yards, but a big gainer got dropped and a few other opportunities were missed. 

Cousins supporters will scream about passes being dropped in Weeks 1 and 2. Cousins detractors will scream about passes missed in Weeks 1 and 2.

READ MORE: KIRK COUSINS' HITS AND MISSES FROM WEEK 2

The truth is likely in the middle. There is a solid baseline of production from Cousins from the last two seasons, and clearly Gruden expects that to come. Perhaps Week 3 against Oakland will be the opportunity. 

"We’re just going to keep sticking with the plan, getting these guys open the best way we can and hopefully we give Kirk the protection and he sees the throws and makes the throws," Gruden said. "But we’re right there, really. I like the group that we have."

The 2016 Redskins finished third in the league in total yards gained. Obviously the team lost a ton of production with the exits of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. Don't discount that, or the departure of former offensive coordinator Sean McVay. 

Despite all that, Cousins still has weapons. And talent. He knows he can be better, and knows he needs to be better.

"We have still done some really good things the first two weeks and have moved the ball, but I think there is more in the tank there that we have got to bring out,” Cousins said. 

To beat the Raiders, the Redskins will need to bring everything out of the tank. That likely means a 300-yard passing game from Cousins along with multiple touchdowns. 

The quarterback and the coach think the offense is ready, and close to a breakout game. Maybe they're right. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!