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Need to Know: Where should Redskins' quarterback RG3 be ranked?

Need to Know: Where should Redskins' quarterback RG3 be ranked?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 9, 21 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Griffin No. 31?

There has been plenty of talk about an SI.com article in which Robert Griffin III was ranked at No. 31 on the list of starting NFL QB’s. And that, of course was one of the reasons the article was written, to generate talk. There has to be a conversation starter in there and saying that Griffin is better than only Matt Cassel of the Bills certainly accomplishes that.

Although I respect Andy Benoit, who did the rankings in the post, I just can’t buy the notion that Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston, who haven’t taken an NFL snap, will have better seasons than Griffin will. I think that if you told 32 NFL coaches that they had their choice of starting Griffin or starting Geno Smith or Josh McCown I think the vast majority would take Griffin. I’m not sure that Blake Bortles will have a better 2015 season than Griffin will. For that matter, I’m not sure that Sam Bradford, who has piled up much more time on the injured list than Griffin, should be above him in the rankings. Heck, let’s put him in front of Jay Culter, who Benoit says is fine except for “mistakes and leadership” problems. Oh. I tend to think those are pretty big issues for a quarterback.

So where should Griffin rank? Let’s give Griffin all of the benefit of the doubt against all of the quarterbacks above. That means putting eight quarterbacks occupying in slots 25-32 in some order. So that means that Griffin is the 24th-best quarterback in the league.

Go team.

My deep analysis of that is that 24th out of 32 is still not very good. It’s just outside of the bottom fourth in the league. It’s third in the division and 14th in the NFC. The Redskins will play 16 games and they will have the better quarterback on the field in four of them.

It should be said that it’s possible that Griffin will improve this season. July predictions about his regular season performance have been wrong all three years that he has been in the league. Nobody thought he would be as good as he was in 2012 and few thought he would regress to where he is now prior to the 2013 and 2014 seasons. So maybe he will substantially exceed expectations.

But if he plays down expectations the Redskins are not necessarily doomed to a repeat of 2014. Scot McCloughan invested a lot of money and several draft picks, including their second rounder, on the defensive side of the ball. He took the top pick and upgraded the offensive line with Brandon Scherff. That should help the running game, which wasn’t a whole lot more effective than the passing attack last year (19th in yardage, 15th in average per attempt). Even if Griffin does struggle the Redskins could still be respectable.

That’s respectable as in seven wins or so, not as in playoff contenders. The will have to get better play out of the quarterback position, whether it’s Griffin or someone else, if they are going to improve to the point that fans want them to. But for 2015 they will have to do what they can to help out the 24th-best quarterback in the league and take it from there.

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Timeline

—It’s been 193 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 66 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 21; Preseason opener @ Browns 35; final cuts 58

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Redskins RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

Redskins RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

You would think that after spending two years as the team’s third-down back, playing more snaps than any other running back last season, and getting a second-round restricted free agent tender that will pay him $2.7 million this year, Chris Thompson might feel comfortable as the Redskins start up the final phase of their preseason program.

But Thompson says that he is as nervous about making the team as he was when he was a fifth-round in 2013.

“Even after the last preseason game when you guys talk to me I’m going to still be nervous when that time comes around because I never forget that feeling,” he told reporters on Monday prior to the Redskins charity golf tournament at Army-Navy Country Club.

“For me, I’ve just got to come out here and work every day to try to secure my job.”

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

The approach has worked for him in the past. He struggled with injuries his first two years in the league, playing a total of just six games. In 2015 he found his niche as the third-down back and he hasn’t given it up.

In fact, he may get more opportunities on first and second downs.

“I have a feeling that I might get a little more this year,” he said. “He [coach Jay Gruden] knows that I’m healthy and I can stay healthy. I think that was one of his biggest concerns, that I can handle the load. I think I’ll get a lot more opportunities.”

Rob Kelley is expected to be the starter and fourth-round pick Samaje Perine should get a significant number of carries. If Gruden plans on Thompson getting more work on the ground, that likely means that the Redskins anticipate running the ball more ofent than they did in 2016, when they were 27th in the NFL with 379 rushing attempts.

Health is key for Thompson. He not only played in all 16 games for the first time in his career last year, he came out of the season in good health. Not having the need to rehab is allowing Thompson to work on refining his game.

“[Being healthy] helps me to get away and focus on the little things that I need to work on,” he said. “Having a full offseason, being able to get away, I’ve been able to focus on those things. Just like my quickness, my route running. I know my route running is big for me to make it in this league so I work on that. . . that was my main goal.”

Thompson’s work ethic and his mindset where he takes nothing for granted have served him well. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2018 and if he continues to produce he will be setting himself up for a nice payday. 

RELATED: OFFSEASON NFL POWER RANKINGS

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RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

Matt Jones entered the 2016 season as the Redskins undisputed starter at running back.

That lasted seven games.

By Week 8, Jones landed on the inactive list, and he never took another snap all year.

With OTAs beginning for the 2017 season, it looks like Jones might not play with the team. 

NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT?

In April at the NFL Draft, reports surfaced that Washington was trying to trade Jones.

Weeks before that, at the NFL Owner's Meetings in Arizona, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden had to be reminded that Jones was still on the roster as the coach talked about the running back situation for this fall.

Robert Kelley surpassed Jones as the top running back on the team last season with Chris Thompson secure in his third down back role. 

Mack Brown even moved past Jones on the depth chart. When the Redskins drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round, that signaled even bigger trouble for Jones' roster situation.

The Redskins will likely only keep four running backs this fall, and with Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Brown, it sure seems like Jones is the odd man out.

It's remarkable considering Jones has size, speed and an NFL resume that has three 100-yard games on it in just 20 games. The Redskins spent a third-round pick on Jones in 2015, and he largely ousted fan favorite Alfred Morris from the RB1 role as a rookie. 

Life comes at you quick in the NFL.

Jones is a clear example of that. 

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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back