The Redskins have their franchise quarterback signed, sealed, and delivered. Robert Griffin III is under their control for the next five years (the four-year deal plus a team option in the fifth year).So now what?Well, once they get RG3 enrolled in the 401k and health care plans, get his direct deposit information (unless hes going to drop off his 14 million signing bonus check at the drive-through at the bank like Chris Cooley did with his bonus check), and show him where he can park his Chrysler Pacifica, they need to get to work on finding out how to make himand the Redskins offensesuccessful.But how will the go about doing that? Doug Farrar on Yahoo.com says that the Redskins would do well to follow the lead of Rob Chudzinski. He is the Panthers offensive coordinator, the man most responsible for Cam Newton enjoying one of the best seasons a rookie NFL quarterback has ever had. What did Chudzinski do?Not only did Chudzinski set things up in ways that would allow Newton to make more traditional NFL plays from the pocket, but his willingness to weld the playbook Newton had at Auburn in 2010 showed impressive flexibility and open-mindedness that paid big dividends every Sunday in 2011."If you go back and look at the things we did offensively and the different types of passplays off of play-action, drop-back passes, it was then incorporating some of the spread offense that he was used to seeing," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said at the 2012 scouting combine. "Our coaches went back and studied some of the Auburn things and looked at that and adapted that to our playbook."Mike and Kyle Shanahan may not go back and pull plays out of Baylors playbook, although we shouldnt completely discount the possibility. But there already are some things in the Redskins offense that Griffin should be able to run effectively.I think we can do some things that he feels very comfortable with, with our play action game, our boots, quarterback keeps that fit him perfectly and different things weve done through the years that would be very easy, that he could right now and not even think twice, Mike Shanahan said in May.The first part of the process of taking him through the paces wearing shorts and a helmet going up against teammates in shorts and helmets already took place in OTAs and minicamp. The next phase will start the third day of training camp when he and the rest of his teammates put on pads (no pads or contact are allowed in the first two days of training camp per the CBA). Griffin wont be taking any hits but the intensity does pick up when the hitting starts.After that, about three weeks from today, the RG3 edition of the playbook will put to the test against players in different-colored uniforms. The Buffalo Bills will be going all out to try to stop Griffin and will be planting their facemasks in his rib cage if the opportunity arises. If he runs, it wont be two-hand touch to get him down.There will be review of the film and some plays will be taken off of the active play list and others will be added on. The process will continue the next week in Chicago and then against the Colts and Bucs at FedEx Field. The intensity ticks up several more notches when the regular season starts in New Orleans on Sept. 9. Plays are in RG3s comfort zone may not be when hes not facing a defense resting several starters at the beginning of the game and has substituted out the rest of the first team after the first few series.And it wont end there. The process of adjusting and readjusting will continue through the season. RG3 and the Shanahans may find a sweet spot for a few weeks but then the defenses will adjust and plays that were working earlier in the year will have to be scrapped or modified.The plan is to get the offense moving well enough to improve on last years dismal scoring average of 18 points per game (26th in the NFL) and to get Griffins career off on the right foot. How successful they are in achieving the latter could go a long way towards determining the quarterbacks career track.Rich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at www.RealRedskins.com. You can reach him by email here and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.
Last fall, Vernon Davis scored a touchdown in a Redskins win over the Eagles. Immediately following, he used the football in place of a basketball and made a jump shot over the cross bar. It was a cool, spontaneous celebration for his second TD of the season.
Seconds later, a penalty flag hit the ground. Davis was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for using the ball as a prop. In a league with a tremendous amount of awful penalties, it ranked as one of the worst of the season.
The good news? In 2017, Davis' celebration will no longer draw a flag.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell penned a letter explaining the changes:
We are relaxing our rules on celebrations to allow players more room to have fun after they make big plays. We know that you love the spontaneous displays of emotion that come after a spectacular touchdown. And players have told us they want more freedom to be able to express themselves and celebrate their athletic achievements.
In a league committed to Thursday Night Football - which both players and fans dislike - as well as archaic policies on social media and substance abuse, this is a rare, positive development.
It's okay to let players have a little fun, show some personality. Goodell made clear that lewd celebrations would still be flagged, and that's reasonable. Using the ball as a prop, however, shouldn't be. Now, it won't.
Did Davis break the NFL? Probably not, though his penalty is often the first thing people point to when discussing the absurdity of the ball as a prop rule.
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Jay Gruden is going into his fourth season as the Redskins’ head coach. If there is one thing he has learned, it is the nature of his team’s fan base.
He was asked if he would need to be patient, getting the team’s defense, which will have as many as six new starters and several other key contributors who are new to the organization, to play well as a unit.
“I don’t think patience is in the dictionary here in D.C.,” Gruden said. “We have to be good now. We were 9-7 two years ago, 8-7-1 last year. I think the expectations are high and they’re always going to be high in this area and we have to perform.”
I’m not sure that most fans expect a Super Bowl win this year. But they do expect progress towards one and a slow start that results in the team being irrelevant after Thanksgiving will not be acceptable.
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Gruden does have a tall task to get the defense to be effective quickly.
“We have a new defensive coordinator, new defensive line coach, new secondary coach,” he said. “We have some new players on defense, some free agent acquisitions, some draft picks. They’re going to have to learn on the fly and learn to play together, which is going to be the biggest challenge for us.”
Greg Manusky replaced Joe Barry as the defensive coordinator. They brought in Jim Tomsula to coach the defensive line and put Torrian Gray in charge of the secondary. Among the players expected to start or contribute heavily are free agents DL Stacy McGee, DL Terrell McClain, ILB Zach Brown and S D.J. Swearinger and draft picks DL Jonathan Allen and OLB Ryan Anderson.
The Redskins have added multiple free agents to their defense in the past with mixed, mostly negative results. But things don’t have to take long to gel. The Giants had one of the league’s worst defenses in 2015 but with a few free agency additions and with the help of 2015 draft pick Landon Collins suddenly blossoming into one of the best safeties in the game they were one of the best last year.
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The main thing that the Redskins defense has to avoid this year is taking a step back. The team has gone 17-14-1 over the last two years with a defensive unit that ranked from mediocre to bad in most key categories. If they can start off performing like a team in the lower middle of the pack defensively and improve as the year goes on the team should be able to be in the mix in December. Despite also dealing with some changes, the offense should be able to carry the team until the defense can get its act together.