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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 Playbook: Niles Paul forcing a fourth tight end roster spot?

Redskins Playbook: Niles Paul forcing a fourth tight end roster spot?

Redskins coaches appreciate Niles Paul. Not just for the immense physical skills, a 6-foot-1, 225 lb. college receiver turned NFL tight end and fullback. He works hard every day at practice, and demands the same from his teammates. 

Last season, Paul landed on the injured reserve after an injury in London during a Week 8 tie against the Bengals. Because of that, some speculation emerged that Paul could be the odd man out in the Redskins tight end group, behind Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis and fighting with 2017 draft pick Jeremy Sprinkle, not to mention veteran Derek Carrier. 

RELATED: COULD REDSKINS MAKE RUN AT NICK MANGOLD?

After two preseason games, it's clear Paul is ready to fight for that spot. Against Green Bay on Saturday night, Paul logged a touchdown catch and a fumble recovery on special teams, showing the versatility that makes him so valuable to Washington. 

For Paul, he's just happy to be back on the field. 

"I got my season cut in half last year. I just want to be back on the field by any means necessary. I've just been missing it. I've been missing football in my life," Paul said after the game (full video above).

Paul's acrobatic TD grab showed that he still has the explosiveness to help the offense, but his special teams play is what will keep him on the roster. It also helps that head coach Jay Gruden complimented Paul for an outstanding camp and work ethic. 

"His speed looks where it was before the injuries. I mean, I think he's had an outstanding training camp so far. He's done so many different things. And that's one of the toughest positions," Gruden said of Paul. 

The Redskins offense hasn't hit full cylinder yet, but Paul thinks the return of Jordan Reed will help. 

"We're missing a major piece and that's Jordan Reed," he said. "We got some fine tuning to do."

Considering Reed's injury history, and backup tight end Vernon Davis starting the season at 33, a healthy Paul is a luxury for the Redskins. He stands to make nearly $2.5 million this season, but he also brings versatility. Paul is happy to play fullback, a role that seems to be growing, as well as all over the field on special teams. 

Washington will absolutely keep Reed and Davis. With his play this preseason, Paul seems a sure thing too. And if the squad wants to keep their draft pick in Sprinkle, who has tremendous size and has shown promise, four tight ends on the 53-man roster looks like the future. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

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 Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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With Spencer Long on the shelf, could Redskins make a run at Nick Mangold?

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USA Today Sports

With Spencer Long on the shelf, could Redskins make a run at Nick Mangold?

News broke late Monday night that Redskins' center Spencer Long underwent a minor knee scope and is expected to miss two weeks. That timetable spells good news for Washington, as that would bring Long back to the team before the first regular season game against the Eagles on September 10th. 

In the meantime, expect rookie Chase Roullier to take over at center for the Redskins. A 6th round draft pick, Bruce Allen and the Washington brass moved up to select Roullier, and the young player out of Wyoming had a strong training camp. 

RELATED: NILES PAUL FORCING HIS WAY TO A ROSTER SPOT?

"He’s done a great job, he really has. For a rookie to come in here and handle all the things he has to handle, it’s been very impressive," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of Roullier in early August. 

Still, Jay Gruden has been very clear about the need for a backup center on the roster. Last season the team brought in veteran John Sullivan during the year to provide depth at the position after Kory Lichtensteiger went down with injury.  Sullivan ended up starting one game for Washington, and is now playing with the Rams. 

With Long on the mend, the only other center on the Redskins roster is Roullier. Ronald Patrick is listed with the more generic OL designation though he has played center too.

It seems likely the team will move quickly to add another center, and one name that will get suggested is Nick Mangold. An 11-year veteran that played his entire career with the Jets, Mangold has more experience than Long, Roullier and Patrick combined.

He's also played the position at a very high level. Twice named to the NFL's All Pro team, Mangold has made seven Pro Bowls, most recently in 2015.

It's not entirely clear why Mangold isn't on an NFL roster already. He worked out for the Ravens this offseason, though some reports suggested Mangold wanted more guaranteed money than was discussed. 

A quick look at his Twitter feed does not suggest a guy missing the NFL life. A big soccer fan, Mangold seems very dialed in to London's Tottenham Hotspur and the New York City Football Club. (Check his Twitter out here)

If the team truly believes Long should not miss any regular season action, Mangold is probably not a fit. At 33-years-old with an impressive resume, Mangold likely doesn't want to come back just to be a backup, and Gruden has repeatedly talked about Long's ability and potential in the middle of the line. Should Long suffer a setback, the equation could change. 

Other names are likely to pop up for tryouts, as the 'Skins must consider more interior line depth. Making a run at Mangold might be something fans want to do, though it might not make sense at this point.

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

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 Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!