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QB arrangement works well in Redskins' win

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QB arrangement works well in Redskins' win

In Washington, it’s always about the quarterbacks. And Saturday at FedEx Field it was situation normal even though both the No. 1 and No. 2 quarterbacks sidelined with injuries.

It was dress rehearsal day for the Redskins, the common description for the third preseason game on each team’s NFL schedule. But with top QB’s Robert Griffin III (knee) and Kirk Cousins (foot) watching from the sidelines, understudies Rex Grossman and Pat White were in the leading roles.

Mike Shanahan employed an unusual quarterback rotation during the game. Grossman started and played the first three series of the game. White relieved him early in the second quarter and finished the half. When White came out to start the second half, it was assumed by most that the game was his the rest of the way. But he and Grossman alternated series the rest of the way.

“You never know how a game is going to go, how many series you're going to get in a football game,” said Shanahan when asked about the time-sharing arrangement. “When you're the second team and third team or fourth team quarterbacks that's what happens. You've got to come off the bench cold. You've got to produce even though you're not warmed up.”

Grossman confirmed that things do sometimes happen that way. “I wasn't expecting to play against Pittsburgh,” he said. He had to go into the game in the midst of a drive when Cousins suffered a mid-foot sprain in the second quarter on Monday night.

“It happens in practice, and it’s similar to games,” said White. The first string gets most of the reps and the backups have to be able to come in and perform to the best of their abilities with the opportunities they get.”

White didn’t really care about when he played, he was glad to get some extended playing time. “I’m just excited to have an opportunity to get on the field and compete,” he said. “Whether it’s one rep or 20 reps, I’m happy to have the opportunity.”

The two are competing for the third quarterback job behind Griffin and Cousins. So how did they stack up against each other.

Grossman had the better day passing as he completed 11 of 21 for 171 yards and a touchdown (95.5 passer rating). White went 7 of 14 for 96 yards (72.3).

White is much more of a running threat that Grossman and the former West Virginia star picked up 26 yards on three carries including an scintillating 14-yard touchdown run.

“The offensive line did a great job of blocking, we had great blocks from the receiver downfield, and Darrell [Young] did a great job of power driving the guy about 20 yards downfield,” said White of the scoring play. “I just followed his blocks into the end zone.

That second-quarter score gave the Redskins a 17-7 lead and they were well on their way to a 20-7 win that pushed their preseason record to 3-0.

The Redskins scored a total of 17 points while White was in the game, 13 when Grossman was at the helm.

White was thought to be a long shot to make the roster prior to the start of the preseason and he still may be. But he has taken advantage of his opportunities. In the preseason opener against Tennessee he scored a touchdown in the final minutes to pull the Redskins within one and then passed for a two-point conversion to give his team the winning points. He is trying desperately to get back into the NFL after a three-year layoff.

Grossman, meanwhile, is just trying to hang on for another year or two making a living doing a job he loves.

“I enjoyed myself. It's football,” he said with a big smile. “You're getting paid to go to recess. It's [expletive] awesome. I enjoy myself every time I'm out there.”

It still looks like Grossman will end up on the 53-man roster as the third quarterback because Shanahan likely wants someone experienced in that role. White played just one NFL season after the Dolphins made him a second-round pick in 2009 and he has yet to complete a regular season NFL pass. But White will not go quietly and he is making the choice a difficult one for the coaches.

If he doesn’t end up with the Redskins, White could be playing his way onto another NFL roster.

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Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

The day after the Eagles 32-14 loss to the Bengals on Sunday, Philadelphia coach Doug Peterson said that he didn’t think that all his players played hard.

Not everybody, and that’s the accountability that I talk about,” Pederson said, via the Birds 24/7 blog. “I hold coaches accountable for that; I hold myself accountable for that because it all starts with me. I pride myself each week to make sure the guys are ready to go, but at the same time, it comes down to a mentality by each individual player. This is a business where we have to be ready to go every single weekend because every team in the league — there are some teams that are better than others, but for the most part anything can happen any weekend.”

This sort of vague shot fired at the team did not sit well with the players. Safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the most respected voices on the team, said that the comments put players in a bad spot.

“I know the intent of the guys that I practice with and play with every day, and I didn’t see effort being an issue,” Jenkins said. “It puts us in a little bit of a tough position as players because now everybody wants to know, ‘Well, who were you talking about?’”

Some in the media in Philadelphia surmised that two of the players Pederson was talking about were tight end Zach Ertz and safety Rodney McLeod. One on play it looked like Ertz failed to block Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict on a Carson Wentz scramble.

“I’m not going to get into the details of every thought I had on that play,” said Ertz. “I’m focused on giving this city everything I have on each and every play. I promise going forward, I will do that. I think I have done that in the past.”

It didn’t look like McLeod did everything he could to keep Bengals running back Jeremy Hill from scoring a touchdown on a two-yard run in the first quarter.

“I thought the ball was going to hit somewhere else, and then obviously it came through. By the time I could react, Hill already crossed the plane,” said McLeod. “Just got caught flat-footed, tried to react and by the time I did, I feel like if I were to hit him it could possibly be late. Just a tough situation.”

You can see both of the plays in question here.

We don’t know if Ertz and McLeod are among the players that Pederson was talking about when he spoke of issues with effort. Leaving things vague like that doesn’t do much for the coach’s credibility in the locker room. And when that starts to be in doubt the coach gets asked about his job security. Pederson said that owner Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman have been supportive.

“From both of them, it’s been 100 percent support on everything. I meet with Jeffrey and Howie every week and we discuss a lot of things and go over a lot of things. Every week, it’s very positive,” Pederson said. “I just don’t think you can base a guy’s career on one season. I think you got to give it time to develop.

But the fact that these questions are being asked after he has been in his job for a dozen games is an indication that he is facing at least a minor crisis as his team prepares for four games that are likely to be meaningless in terms of the playoff picture. We will see if he can get the train back on the tracks by Sunday.

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Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

As usual, answer the poll and either rely on Twitter or come back here and hit the comments section.