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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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Over/under: Redskins pass catchers in 2017

Over/under: Redskins pass catchers in 2017

Our offseason over/under predictions for the Redskins rumbles on.

Today we are predicting the numbers involving the Redskins pass-catchers.

Redskins receivers/tight ends over-under

The Redskins’ receiving corps was forced to undergo some changes after top wideouts DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon departed via free agency.

How will their replacements do?

How will the talented holdovers perform? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins pass catchers stats.  

RELATED: OVER/UNDER - KIRK COUSINS

WR Terrelle Pryor, 1,000 receiving yards

Tandler: I know that a lot of people, including Finlay, are looking for a huge year out of Pryor. I think he’ll do well, but a thousand yards is going to elusive. He did go over 1K last year with the Browns with terrible QBs throwing to him. But Pryor also had the benefit of being one of few viable receivers in Cleveland. That’s not the case here. He won’t get anywhere near the 140 targets he got last year. Under

Finlay: Not sure when I said a huge year for Pyror, that seems like Tandler throwing shade, but I do think he is capable of 1,000 yards. The quantity of targets will certainly drop, but the quality should be much greater. In today's NFL, 1,000 yards is no longer the benchmark it once was. The bulk of the league deploys a pass-first offense, and the Redskins definitely do. 25 wideouts went over 1,000 yards last season, including two on the Redskins. Over 

RELATED: WHO IS NEXT AT QB FOR THE REDSKINS?

WR Josh Doctson, 6.5 touchdown receptions

Tandler: When Kirk Cousins sees how well the 2016 first-round pick can get up and high-point the ball Doctson will immediately become the favorite red zone target. I’ve predicted as many as 10 TDs for him this year. That’s bold, perhaps crazy, but I feel safe going with at least seven. Over

Finlay: 10 TDs for basically a rookie wideout is nuts. You're talking Odell Beckham/Randy Moss production. Doctson does have great size and potential for the red zone, but I need to see before I believe. Only Jamison Crowder got to seven touchdowns in 2016, and that was with Kirk Cousins throwing for nearly 5,000 yards. Under

RELATED: OFF-FIELD MISTAKES WON'T IMPACT ON-FIELD RESULTS

WR Jamison Crowder, 1,000 receiving yards

Tandler: This is the safest bet on the board. His familiarity with Cousins will make him a security blanket when the quarterback gets in trouble. He’s learning and getting better; he ticked up almost 250 yards and 2.5 yards per catch between his rookie and second seasons. And Crowder is durable. Over

Finlay: I like this one. Crowder went for about 850 yards last season, a jump of about 250 yards from his rookie season. Another year with that improvement gets him past 1,000 yards with room to spare. Early last season, Crowder was the 'Skins best receiver. He posted more than 500 yards before the Redskins bye week. In the second half of the year, the focus shifted to DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, which probably wasn't a coincidence as both players demanded the ball knowing they were headed for free agency. I expect Crowder to steadily produce all season in 2017. Over

RELATED: OFFER TO COUSINS NOT NEARLY ENOUGH

TE Jordan Reed, 12.5 games played

Tandler: Although we’re hesitant to make predictions about a player’s health, the fact is that this is the only variable for Reed going into the season. If he is on the field he will produce receiving yards and touchdowns by the bushel. Injuries, not defenses, are what slows him down. He skipped OTAs to spend more time strengthening his body and the results should show. But bad luck happens so this is a tough call. He’s due for some good fortune. Over

Finlay: Tandler is setting these totals with Vegas-like precision. This one is tough. In the last two seasons, Reed has played in 26 games, making 17 starts. I would argue the more important stat is starts, because that's when Reed is actually healthy. Last season, after separating his shoulder against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Reed tried to gut out a few performances against the Panthers and the Eagles. He was ineffective in both, yet those count for games played. In nine starts in 2015, Reed was a monster, putting up nearly 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Starts are what matter, and the Redskins should hope for at least nine of them. Under

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FINLAY: Redskins' statement was a mistake, but won't impact on field results

FINLAY: Redskins' statement was a mistake, but won't impact on field results

The Redskins made a mistake issuing a statement about their failed long-term contract negotiations with Kirk Cousins. The team offered too much specific information.

On the field, however, starting next week in training camp, the statement will make zero impact.

Centered around the roller coaster that occurred between Bruce Allen’s statement on Monday afternoon and Kirk Cousins’ Tuesday interview with Grant and Danny on 106.7 the Fan, some Redskins fans think that hopes for the Burgundy and Gold are buried this fall. 

Was Allen’s statement a wise move? No. There was no reason to publicly put out the team’s offer, or more importantly, tell the world that Cousins never countered. It seemed like an attempt to control the conversation, and a lame attempt at that.

But here’s the thing: A deal was never happening

Cousins knew that. The Redskins knew that.

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

And the zaniness of Monday and Tuesday should not have any impact on the 2017 season.

If Cousins can do anything, it’s compartmentalize. 

Last season, he dealt with almost the exact same public mess of a contract squabble. The team never offered him remotely close to market value, and the QB still came out and threw for nearly 5,000 yards. 

Cousins will again block out the noise, and deliver his best possible performance for the Redskins. The team should be better too. An improved defense should help immediately (even if that jump goes from bad to average), and a rebuilt receiving group should give Cousins the weapons to again run Jay Gruden’s potent offense. 

There are fan theories that the team might implode, and eventually, go to Colt McCoy or Nate Sudfeld at quarterback. I don’t see that happening. 

Cousins is under contract for 2017. The coaching staff, and the players, know what he can do. Personally, I don’t think the season unravels. Cousins is a good player. He's established a baseline for his performance over the past two years. 

The time since the franchise tag deadline doesn’t change that. The time since the franchise tag doesn’t change Jordan Reed’s ability to get open. It doesn’t change Jamison Crowder’s quickness on the inside or Trent Williams power on the outside.

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I don’t expect the Redskins to run off 13 wins. I’ve already written that I don’t even think the team will make the playoffs. To be clear, however, I don’t think Bruce Allen’s statement will make a difference once the players take the field in real games. 

On Wednesday, Chad Dukes of the Fan asked me if it’s possible that the Redskins season unravels, and things go sideways with Cousins. I don't expect that, and Dukes wondered if I was being overly optimistic. 

Could things fall apart? Sure. Anything is possible in the NFL, and especially with the Redskins. 

For me, however, Cousins' talent in the Redskins offensive system will mitigate the local penchant for crazy. Cousins has thrown for 9,000 yards and completed more than 68 percent of his passes in the last two seasons. He also bet on himself, again, to produce at a high level in 2017.

I think Cousins is smart. I think Gruden's offense will work. I think the Redskins defense will be improved. 

I don’t think this team makes the playoffs, but they should be close. I also don’t think this team implodes. 

Looking at the big picture, I definitely don’t consider myself an optimist. A realist, perhaps, but only time will tell. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! 

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