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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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In case you missed it

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Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins

Out

TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.

DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.

Questionable

LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.

G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.

T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.

CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.

RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.

Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)

Cardinals

Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.

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Jordan Reed ruled out for Redskins vs. Cardinals; Vernon Davis set for start

Jordan Reed ruled out for Redskins vs. Cardinals; Vernon Davis set for start

After separating his shoulder against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Jordan Reed has officially been ruled out for the Redskins game in Arizona. 

Friday, coach Jay Gruden said Reed doesn't have sufficient range of motion to play against the Cardinals but remains hopeful he'll be healthy for the following game against the Eagles. Reed estimated that range was at about 30 percent Monday.

The decision to sit Reed against the Cardinals comes with little surprise. The 'Skins star tight end did not practice all week, even after having a few extra days to rest after the game last Thursday.

Playing without Reed is obviously a blow to the Washington offense, but No. 2 tight end Vernon Davis has been a strong development for Gruden's team this year. Thursday, Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay said that while losing Reed is a blow to the unit, the team can run almost all of the same plays and sets with Davis that they can with Reed. 

"Fortunately you’re in a situation where you feel really good about your tight end in Vernon Davis where he’s playing at an extremely high level in both phases in the run and in the pass game," McVay said.

As good as Davis has been, he's not the dynamic threat Reed presents. In the second half against Dallas — while playing with the injured shoulder — Reed hauled in two touchdowns and played arguably the best football of his career.

On the season Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns despite missing two games earlier this year dealing with a concussion.

Davis has played in all 11 games this season and has 31 catches for 450 yards and two TDs. 

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