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Redskins' RG3 speaks—about football

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Redskins' RG3 speaks—about football

This may be breaking news to some of you but Robert Griffin III spent the vast majority of his meeting with reporters on Tuesday talking about football, not about his self-assessment of his quarterbacking abilities. They are playing a preseason game against Detroit on Thursday and Griffin was asked about what he wanted to accomplish during the game.

“We want to get points on the board,” he said. “This is a tough defense we’ll be going against so this will be a good test. We’re trying to get plays, trying to get the rhythm and timing down on the game days, see how guys are moving, continue to increase our tempo as an offense and just get positive plays.”

The Lions do indeed have a tough defense. Football Outsiders had them third in the NFL in defensive DVOA last year and even though they lost some very good players such as tackle Ndamukong Suh they will still provide a stern test.

Griffin didn’t know how long the first team would play, although Jay Gruden said later that the starters will play about a quarter, depending on how things go. But he’s not worried about how many snaps he plays.

“Whatever time coach gives us, that will be sufficient for that,” said Griffin. “We just want to get in and out healthy, obviously last game we had a couple of injuries . . . You can say what you want about the preseason but we want to get in and get out, make sure we put together a good drive, two drives, however many drives coach wants us to get in and then get on the sideline and watch the other guys go at it.”

In Cleveland last Thursday the Redskins lost starting tight end Niles Paul was lost for the season with a dislocated ankle and reserve running back Silas Redd with a knee injury.

No matter how much he plays, Griffin needs to play better than he did last year in the second preseason game. His top-level numbers against the Browns at FedEx Field didn’t look bad. He completed six of eight passes for 112 yards. But Griffin lost a fumble to end the Redskins’ first offensive possession and he threw an interception to end the second.

The third drive ended when the Redskins couldn’t get into the end zone on four running plays in a series that started with first and goal at the three. That certainly wasn’t Griffin’s fault but it was a rather shaky drive. Griffin was sacked for a loss of nine yards and committed a false start penalty. The Redskins benefitted from three Cleveland penalties that resulted in first downs. Griffin completed only one pass during the 13-play, 82-yard drive but it was a big one, a 49-yard toss to Andre Roberts.

The bottom line was that the starting offense didn’t get the ball into the end zone. That was the second straight game they had failed to score a touchdown with Griffin in the game. After Griffin and company were kept out of the end zone last week the skid has stretched to four games.

Griffin attempted a total of 20 passes during the preseason last year. He didn’t seem to be ready once the season started. But he said that the decision on how many preseason passes he throws is not his.

“I don’t look at it that much,” he said. “That’s for coach and them to assess and break down. You just want to get in a flow and a rhythm. We’re not game planning very heavily right now so even the throws I do get, it’s not like the throws we’re going to be doing during the season. You don’t want to show your cards.”

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Redskins' decision on Su'a Cravens doesn't change much immediately

Redskins' decision on Su'a Cravens doesn't change much immediately

When the Redskins announced that safety Su’a Cravens has been placed on the reserve/left team list, ending his 2017 season, some things changed. But mostly, in the short term anyway, things stayed the same.

Before diving into this, let’s acknowledge that Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk is reporting that Cravens was going to show up at Redskins Park today and the Redskins put him on the reserve/left team list “out of the blue” and without the five-day notice that the team is required to give the player before putting him on that list. A grievance is a possibility. We will follow that aspect of it carefully but for now, we don’t know much about it and will let Florio’s report stand on its own.

What does not change now is the Redskins’ roster. Since he was on the exempt/left team list he did not count against the 53-man roster. The Redskins started Deshazor Everett at strong safety Week 1 against the Eagles and rookie Montae Nicholson got the nod Sunday against the Rams. It is likely that one of those two gets the start for the rest of the year.

RELATED: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS' WIN IN LA

Had Cravens reported the Redskins would have had to make a roster move to make room for him. When he left the team right after final cuts were made, offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings was picked up on waivers. He presumably is the 53rd man on the roster but he is safe for now.

So, what changes? The Redskins save some money. Cravens was slated to make $651,408 in salary this year. The money was guaranteed; however, leaving the team voided that guarantee. The team also could send him a bill for $335,631, the one-year prorated portion of his $1.422 million signing bonus he got last year.

It should be noted that the financial aspects of this are pending any grievance proceedings. If the Redskins did not give Cravens proper notice and he reports for work, he could make the case that he is entitled to his money. But, again, that is something that we’ll see about in the coming days and weeks.

MORE REDSKINS: INJURY LIST LONG, PAINFUL BUT NONE SERIOUS

Cravens’ status will be a topic of discussion during Jay Gruden’s podium session and in the locker room on Wednesday. But after that, the focus will return to playing the Raiders and the whole saga will go on the back burner.

What happens after this year? As far as I can gather, the reserve/left team list only applies to the 2017 season. If Cravens follows the terms of his contract and reports for work when required in 2018 the Redskins would have to either let him play, release him, or trade him.

But that is down the road. For now, the Redskins will move on as though he is out for the season with an injury and play with the guys they have.

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.

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Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Rams

Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Rams

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, September 19, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Raiders at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Chiefs (10/2) 13
—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (11/23) 24
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 40

Last look at Redskins vs. Rams

—Before the game, I confidently told someone on Twitter that Ryan Grant would get about as many targets (6) against the Rams as he did against the Eagles. But as it turned out, Grant was targeted just twice. The second time was on the game-winning touchdown in the last two minutes. A big difference between this week and last was that Kirk Cousins attempted just 27 passes against LA compared to 40 vs. the Eagles. That led to fewer opportunities for receivers and Grant was one of those who saw his chances drop the most.

—Cousins started well and finished strong but he didn’t do much in the middle. It seems that he was rolling along well until he misfired on a fade pattern to Josh Doctson and then on another throw to Chris Thompson. That ended a goal to go opportunity in a situation where a touchdown would have given the Redskins a commanding 17-0 lead. The next time the Redskins had the ball Cousins was sacked on his first passing attempt and he fumbled a snap a little later. In the third quarter and early in the fourth he completed some passes but many of them were for a minimal gain. To his credit, he didn’t panic and force a turnover. And, of course, he came through on the final drive, completing three of three passes for 42 yards including the 11-yard game winner to Grant.

—During the week leading up to the game, Jay Gruden emphasized the importance of getting to the quarterback. It didn’t play out as well as I’m sure Gruden would have liked. They got two sacks of Jared Goff, one by Preston Smith and one by Ryan Kerrigan, both in the Rams’ possession late in the first half. They pressured Goff on other occasions but overall their pass rush possibly was not as good as it was against the Eagles. Then, they at least got to Carson Wentz even though they had issues bringing him down. Too often, Goff had plenty of time to operate and that helped keep the Rams in the game until near the end.

—Chris Thompson has been the Redskins’ offensive MVP so far. He has improved each year and yesterday he was at his peak. What you really had to like on the 61-yard touchdown run on the draw play was his patience. He was almost standing still as he took the handoff from Cousins as he carried out the pass-blocking fake and chose his path for when he got the ball. He said that the play was designed for him to go one way but his read took him someplace else. It took him to the end zone for the second time that game.

—One surprise early in the game was that Montae Nicholson started at strong safety in place of DeShazor Everett. Nicholson made no glaring errors before he left the game with an AC joint sprain. The depth chart here apparently is set after the team announced that Su'a Cravens, the starter until he left the team to contemplate retirement, will not return this season. 

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.

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