Fans watching in the stands and on TV knew it. The media covering the Redskins knew it. TV analysts and other national media types knew it.
Finally, Robert Griffin III admitted it.
The Redskins’ quarterback needed some time to get ready to play eight months after having reconstructive surgery on his right knee on January 9. He has been reluctant to use that as any sort of excuse for his play, which has not been up to the standards he set as the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012.
Griffin did not come out and say that he needed time to knock off the rust but it doesn’t take much reading between the lines of some of his comments yesterday to see that while he may have been all in for Week 1, he wasn’t necessarily all ready for Week 1.
Here are some quotes from his Wednesday news conference:
—(asked if the bye week helped his knee) “The more time you have after it (the surgery), the better it’ll be.”
—“The only way to come back from an injury like that is to play and that’s what we had to do. I feel good about what we were able to do from a groundwork standpoint, building up each game, but now it’s time for us to make that breakthrough, and we have to do it.”
—(asked if he expected to hit the ground running or struggle early on) “A little bit of both. You come out and the way we played – the way I played that first game – that was not up to my standards or up to our standards as a team in general. That was disappointing. When it comes to timing here, timing there, sometimes you might be a little bit off coming back from an injury like I had, and you have to work through those growing pains, but we didn’t think it was going to be what it ended up being those first couple of games, so that’s no excuse at all.
Let’s be clear here, these are not things that are new to Griffin and the Redskins. But what’s new here is Griffin publicly talking about the quality of play and the reason for it.
Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 5, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.
—Today's schedule: Practice 1:05; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00
—Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 12; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 17; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 25
Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
C Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion)
Long's concussion could force roster move
First look at Redskins vs. Eagles
The last time: The Redskins won 27-20 at FedEx Field in Week 6 in a game that was not really as close as the score indicated. The Redskins outgained the Eagles 493 yards to 239 and had the ball for 10 more minutes. Philly scored on a kickoff return and an interception return in a three-minute span in the second quarter and that was about all they had. The Redskins have now beaten the Eagles four straight times.
The Eagles leaders: Quarterback Carson Wentz got off to a hot start, posting three passer ratings of over 100 in his first four games. In eight games since his passer rating is 70.1 and his high in a game is 91.4. Leading rusher Ryan Mathews had his first 100-yard game in Week 10; he shares the load with Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles. Jordan Matthews (57 receptions, 686 yards) is expected back after missing last week with an ankle injury. Sacks leader Brandon Graham (5.0) has only one sack in the last six games.
Be on the lookout: The Eagles have been getting it done on special teams for years. This year they have two kickoff return touchdowns and Darren Sproles averages 13.7 yards per punt return including a 66-yarder.
Hodgepodge: A Washington win would put them 2.5 games ahead of the Eagles with three to play. Barring a Philly win out/Redskins lose out scenario the Redskins would be out of last place in the NFC East in consecutive years for the first time since 2002-2003 . . . The Redskins already are ensured of avoiding double-digit losses in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2001-2002 . . . The Eagles have allowed over 400 yards of offense in two of their last three games.
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In case you missed it
The Redskins best pass cacther did not play in a loss to the Cardinals, and it appears there is still no clear timeline for Jordan Reed's return to the field.
"Jordan will be day-to-day," Washington coach Jay Gruden said. "You know, we just have to wait and see."
Gruden issued the same statement on Reed last week, and the tight end proceeded to miss all Redskins practices for the week and was announced out for the Arizona game on Friday. Reed's injury came on Thanksgiving in Dallas when he separated his shoulder diving in the end zone for a Kirk Cousins' pass during the first half.
Incredibly, Reed returned in the second half and caught two touchdowns while playing in immense pain. Gruden and Cousins used words like 'stunned' and 'surprised' talking about Reed's return in the Dallas game, but looking forward to Philadelphia, it's hard to know what to expect from the tight end's shoulder.
"Everybody is different with these types of injuries and hopefully he is a fast healer but we’ll take him day-to-day, get him his treatment and go from there," the coach said. "I can’t predict it."
For the season, Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns in just nine games. Reed missed two games earlier this year after sustaining a concussion against the Ravens.
Without Reed in the lineup against the Cardinals, the Redskins offense dipped in production. Cousins threw for less than 300 yards for the first time in three games, though backup tight end Vernon Davis had five catches for 47 yards.
If Reed practices Wednesday, even in a limited role, would be a good sign for the 'Skins tight end.
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