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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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Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Redskins outside linebacker Trent Murphy underwent surgery this offseason to repair a broken bone in his foot, per a source with knowledge of the situation. Murphy has completely healed and is a full participant at training camp. 

The injury came late in the 2016 season and he played the Redskins final game of the season with the broken foot. He was listed on the injury report for that game as limited with a foot injury. He was not listed on the Week 16 injury report against the Bears.

Hit with a four-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs this offseason, Murphy won't suit up for the Redskins until Week 6. He will be forced to miss the first four games, and then the Redskins have a bye in Week 5. 

Murphy had a breakout season in 2016, finishing the year with nine sacks and 47 tackles. A second round pick in 2014, Murphy had a combined six sacks in the two seasons prior. Last offseason, Murphy was tasked with gaining weight for a position switch to defensive end. After he gained the weight, outside linebacker Junior Galette was lost for the season, and Murphy was moved back to outside linebacker. 

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Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

RICHMOND—The Redskins offense is dealing with some challenges on the field. Their top two wide receivers from last year left as free agents and replacements Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson have little game experience with quarterback Kirk Cousins. Tight end Jordan Reed (toe) was a surprise entry on the PUP list. Running back Rob Kelley needs to prepare to get ready to carry the load for 16 games.

There is one other change the team must deal with. Sean McVay, the team’s offensive coordinator, left in January to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. He had been calling the plays for the past two years. That duty will now fall on head coach Jay Gruden.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

Play calling is not new to Gruden. He did it from 2011-2013 for the Bengals when he was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. Gruden also made the play calls in 2014, his first season as the Redskins head coach.

Still, he wants to make sure that he’s ready to retake the play caller’s headset. The method he will use is to throw away the script.

“I think early on we’re going to have scripted practices, and once we get going, get our main core of plays in there, I think we’ll have a lot of unscripted practices where I can call plays,” he said. “So I think that’s the most important thing, the unscripted practice. Whether it’s two -minute, whether it’s drives down the field, whether it’s third downs, all that good stuff, do a lot of unscripted work, red zone and go from there, but I feel pretty comfortable already.”

That certainly makes sense. Games are not scripted and the successful play callers who can adjust to the ebb and flow of the game. You can’t duplicate the dynamic but you can come close in 11 on 11 work on the practice field.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

Another key to making this work will be trusting his defensive and special teams coaches. If Gruden can’t delegate to them he will be getting pulled in too many directions on game days.

“How well I handle that will be how successful I will probably be as a coordinator calling plays and as a coach,” he said. “I feel good about the staff that I have around me. Coach [Greg] Manusky and Jim Tomsula and Torrian Gray on the defensive side of the ball, I don’t think I have to worry so much about that, Ben Kotwica, Bret Munsey on the special teams. The big thing is I have got to be involved in the football game, make sure I’m ready for the red flag tosses and all that good stuff, but for the most part I have confidence in the defense and special team coaches and players.”

We will see how well it works out. As a rookie coach he occasionally seemed to be overwhelmed by all that he had piled on his plate (the situation was complicated by his curious decision not to hire a quarterbacks coach). But now, with three years under his belt and an exponentially better understanding of what is involved in coaching an NFL game, there should be more confidence that he can handle it.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.