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RG3 happy to take late hit flags

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RG3 happy to take late hit flags

Robert Griffin III rushed for 77 yards against the Cowboys after having gained 72 yards on the ground in the Washington Redskins’ first four games. But, in reality, the Redskins got over 100 yards out of Griffin’s legs last Sunday.

That is because the Cowboys were hit with 15-yard penalties for hitting Griffin when he was out of bounds at the end of two of his runs. The Redskins ended up scoring on both of the drives where Dallas was charged with the late-hit infractions.

The first one took place on the Redskins’ opening drive of the second half. On third and five at his own 36, Griffin dropped back to pass from shotgun formation with an empty backfield on third and five at his own 36. The Cowboys were in man coverage and Griffin quickly spotted wide-open space to his right. He took off down the field, angling towards the sideline. Dallas safety Barry Church charged towards Griffin as he headed out of bounds. Griffin tried to shake him with a quick stutter step a few yards from the sideline but the defender stayed focused on his target. Church left his feet and contacted Griffin just as he scampered out of bounds. That is going to draw a penalty flag almost every time.

It wasn’t much of a hit and Griffin was happy to take the penalty.

“I gave him a little move there before I went out of bounds, but I was clearly out of bounds,” Griffin said on Wednesday. “He hit me and it does suck, but some guys are going to take those penalties. It’s hard to walk that line and you’ve always got to try to protect yourself.”

The 15 yards tacked on to Griffin’s 26-yard run set the Redskins up at the Dallas 23. They couldn’t keep the drive going but they did get a 33-yard Kai Forbath field goal out of it.

The other one came near the end of the third quarter. On second and 10 from the Washington 29, the Redskins were in a pistol formation. Griffin pulled the ball out of Alfred Morris’ belly and took off to the left. Linebacker Bruce Carter eluded a block and had a bead on Griffin in the backfield but the quarterback kept him at bay with a classic stiff arm. Griffin skirted the sideline until he got just past the first down marker. After Griffin slipped out of bounds, Church, who was engaged with tight end Logan Paulsen, took a swipe at the quarterback that caught his facemask. A yellow flag flew again.

The 11-yard run and 15-yard penalty gave the Redskins a first down at the Dallas 45. On the next play, Alfred Morris broke loose for a 45-yard touchdown run.

“The sideline is your friend and you can get out of bounds at the sideline, but a lot of defensive players, they just really don’t care,” said Griffin. “Sometimes they’re going to still get that hit on you.”

Sometimes defenders are smart enough to avoid the flag. Midway through the fourth quarter of their game against the Lions, Griffin scrambled to the left and as he approached the sideline he slowed up as Lions cornerback Rashean Mathis ran to him. Griffin said that he was trying to bait Mathis into a penalty but the cornerback was having nothing of it. He stopped and raised his hands in the universal football sign of innocence.

“He said, ‘I’m not taking that penalty, Griff,’ and I said, ‘I got you, man,’” said Griffin.

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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrence Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins draft oft-injured Auburn CB Joshua Holsey with their final pick

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins draft oft-injured Auburn CB Joshua Holsey with their final pick

The Redskins haven't shied away from using draft picks on players with an injury history, and that trend continued all the way to their final pick of the draft with Auburn CB Joshua Holsey.

Holsey missed parts of the 2013 and 2015 seasons at Auburn due to torn ACLs, but rebounded with a strong season in 2016. He had 30 tackles, three interceptions and 10 passes defended in his senior season.

RELATED: REDSKINS ROLL THE DICE ON 7TH ROUND SAFETY

He was overlooked through most of the draft process due to his injury history and was snubbed at the combine. 

The seventh round is a spot to take a flier on a guy who has some traits you like, and this certainly fits the bill with the pick of Joshua Holsey. 

MORE REDSKINS: ANOTHER TALL WR? 3 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ROBERT DAVIS