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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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Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 19, 98 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 42
NFL free agency starts 50
First Sunday of 2017 season 235

The coordinator search and more

As noted above, we have 42 days until the deadline for the Redskins to put the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. The immediate future of the franchise is contingent this situation being handled correctly by the organization. It’s time to turn the attention and the $100 in imaginary casino chips towards what might happen with Cousins as the process unfold. We will revisit this from time to time as the various deadlines approach so consider this the early odds.

Sign before the tag deadline, $5—This seems unlikely after his rather cold response to my question immediately following the season-ending loss to the Giants when he said, “The ball’s not in my court.” He indicated that it’s up to the Redskins to tag him. It doesn’t look like he and his agent will have much of an inclination to sit down to any serious negotiations before that happens.

Let him go into free agency, $5—Yes, I know that this is out there but it makes no sense to take the chance of the possibility that he could walk with zero compensation. While there might be some logic in finding out what Cousins would be worth in a true free market in order to establish the basis for a fair contract the risk of behind left empty-handed is just too great.

Tag and trade, $20—This also has been discussed by various media types as a possibility. It would involve giving Cousins the non-exclusive franchise tag, which would let him go out and negotiate a deal with another team. The Redskins could then match that offer or choose to get compensation. The CBA calls for compensation of two first-round picks although the two teams may negotiate something less. The most frequently suggested trade partner is the 49ers and their soon-to-be head coach Kyle Shanahan but there are probably around half a dozen teams, maybe more, who could be interested. If the Redskins don’t think they will ever sign Cousins long term this could be the way to go.

Tag and sign by July 15 deadline, $30—This may be a little low for this possibility. Perhaps if the other options are off the table he will consider that he is a perfect match for Jay Gruden’s offense and that he might not be such a good fit elsewhere. There also is the possibility of injury or, for whatever reason, Cousins having a subpar season. Those thoughts could spur him to instruct his agent to get the best deal he can get in Washington.

Tag and play the season on the tag, $40—Right now, this appears to be the mostly likely scenario. They can afford the $24 million cap hit and it would get them one more year of his services. However, the prospects for him remaining in a Redskins uniform for 2018 and beyond would be very cloudy.

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In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend

3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend

Ryan Kerrigan, Jordan Reed and Brandon Scherff will skip next week's Pro Bowl in Orlando a team spokesman confirmed to CSN. All three players dealt with injuries late in the season, most notably Reed, and playing in the exhibition game is not in the cards. Trent Williams, however, is still slated to play in the game. 

Reed suffered a separated shoulder on Thanksgiving playing against the Dallas Cowboys. For the rest of the season, Reed played through significant pain and his production dipped.

Kerrigan played much of the season with an injured elbow and hurt his finger in the final game against the Giants. Scherff played with ankle pain and was listed on the injury report much of the season's final four games.

For Reed and Scherff, this year marked their first Pro Bowl. The recognition was deserved for both players, and shows that the guard and tight end are gaining national spotlight for their play.

Kerrigan played in the Pro Bowl following the 2012 season. He finished this year with 11 sacks, 2.5 short os his career high 13.5 in 2014. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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