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RG3, Redskins glad to take ugly win over Raiders

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RG3, Redskins glad to take ugly win over Raiders

It wasn’t pretty and it was closer than the final score looked but the Redskins surely don’t care. They got their first win of 2013 by rallying from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit to beat the Raiders 24-14.

They don’t care that the Raiders played their backup quarterback as Terrelle Pryor missed the game with a concussion and that starting running back Darren McFadden left the game very early with a hamstring strain.

“We had to do whatever it takes to come out of this 1-3 going into the bye week,” said quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Like the game, Griffin’s performance was not a thing of beauty. Some passes were off target, he made a few key mistakes, and he still doesn’t seem to have his scrambling legs under him. But he made some plays when he had to and he helped the Redskins rally.

For the first time this year, Griffin did not throw an interception. His final stat line was 18 for 31 for 227 yards with one touchdown and a passer rating of 91.7. Griffin gained 10 yards rushing on three carries.

It was the first time in four games this season that Griffin did not throw for more than 300 yards. It is not a coincidence that this was the Redskins’ first win of the year. The offense works best with a balance of passes and runs. They achieved that today with 32 pass plays and 32 runs.

His most highlight-worthy play came midway through the fourth quarter with the Redskins clinging to a 17-14 lead. The Redskins had just recovered a Matt Flynn fumble on the Oakland 42. On first down Griffin dropped back, looked deep, found nothing, stepped up, executed a spin move, rolled right and hit Roy Helu Jr. in stride about 10 yards downfield. Helu contributed to the highlight quality of the play by hurdling over a would-be tackler and getting a few more yards down to the 14.

It turns out the play involved some improvisation by both Griffin and Helu.

“[I] talked to the offensive line, asked them to give me a little time because we had a deep concept going. I came out of it,” said Griffin. “No. 1 and 2 (his first and second options) weren’t there so I had to pull it down and try to get to No. 4.

“They did a good job holding up on the play and then Helu actually did a great job running an off-schedule route as well. You get out that, the backside corner blitzed, that’s what made me have to step up and move out of it. Then I rolled out and got it to Helu.”

On the next play Helu dashed up the middle into the end zone to give the Redskins some breathing room.

After the Raiders initially took command of the game by scoring one touchdown on a blocked punt and another on Flynn’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Mychal Rivera, the Redskins started to climb back into it. They got the offense moving by going no-huddle on a drive that got the Redskins on the board.

After the Redskins moved to second and goal at the Raiders four, Griffin made one of his errors. Facing pass rush pressure up the middle, he just heaved the ball away and was flagged for intentional grounding. The Redskins had to settle for a 25-yard John Potter field goal.

“It’s just to give you a little spark,” Griffin said of the no-huddle attack. “It caught them off guard. It’s a curve ball you can give them every now and then.”

The next points came courtesy of the Redskins’ defense. David Amerson picked off a Flynn pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown and all of a sudden it was 14-10.

The two teams then reverted to what may have been good defense but probably was inefficient offense until midway through the third quarter. After Sebastian Janikowski missed a field goal, the Redskins took over on their own 42. In a drive that was some Alfred Morris running (3 carries for 29 yards and some Griffin passing (3 of 4 for 26 yards), the Redskins moved in. The payoff came on a quick third-down dart to Pierre Garçon, who made the catch and fell into the end zone.

That gave the Redskins their first second-half lead of the season at 17-14. The defense did the rest, stopping Flynn on an attempted quarterback sneak on fourth and inches to snuff out the Raiders’ last threat.

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Need to Know: Redskins pre-camp 53-man roster projection, offense

Need to Know: Redskins pre-camp 53-man roster projection, offense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 24, three days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 204 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 48 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 17
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 26
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 41

Redskins roster projection—offense

The Redskins strap it up and start the battle for roster spots in earnest in just three days. Some are locks, others are hoping to hang on. Here is my prediction of the roster will shake out along with players who are on the bubble. The offense is up today, the defense tomorrow.

Players I have making the roster who are new to the organization in 2017 are in italics. Rookies are also underlined.

Quarterback (3)

Starter: Kirk Cousins
Backups: Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

Cousins and the team didn’t agree on the contract but that changes nothing for 2017. The elimination of two-a-day practices makes a fourth “camp arm” QB unnecessary so these three will handle all the snaps from now until when the season ends.   

Running backs (3)

Starter: Rob Kelley
Backups: Samaje Perine, Chris Thompson

Bubble: Mack Brown, Keith Marshall

Kelley skipped the drive-through window meals during the offseason, switching to a healthier diet to get himself in better shape. He will need to be strong to hold off Perine, who will make a push for playing time. Brown could be on or off depending on numbers elsewhere on the roster. If Marshall can stay healthy, he could force his way into the picture but the health is a big “if”.

Wide receivers (6)

Starters: Josh Doctson, Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder (slot)
Backups: Maurice Harris, Ryan Grant, Robert Davis

Bubble: Brian Quick

I’m not sure if Grant, who caught nine passes while playing in all 16 games last year, should be a lock but it appears that he is. Davis is a projection; he has a lot to learn but if he is showing significant progress he could push out the veteran Quick, who was not impressive during the offseason practices.    

Tight ends (4)

Starter: Jordan Reed
Backups: Vernon Davis, Niles Paul, Jeremy Sprinkle

Bubble: Derek Carrier

Paul and Sprinkle could be considered on the bubble as well. The normal allowance is for three tight ends on the 53-man roster. Reed and Davis are locks, they need Paul for special teams, and Sprinkle is slated to be the blocking tight end. But Sprinkle needs to add a lot of polish to his game and Paul has the injury bug to fight. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Offensive line (9)

Starters (left to right): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses
Backups: Ty Nsekhe, Arie Kouandjio, Vinston Painter, Chase Roullier

Bubble: John Kling

The starters are locked in unless Kouandjio can come up with a huge camp and push Lauvao out of the starting job. Roullier could be the backup center but if he’s not ready the Redskins could look for a veteran off the waiver wire for that spot.

Offensive breakdown: 25 players, four rookies, a total of five new to the Redskins.

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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The seven best undrafted free agent signings the Redskins have made since 2010

The seven best undrafted free agent signings the Redskins have made since 2010

Every NFL training camp is different, but there are a few consistent things you can count on happening at each one each year.

At some point, for example, a star will say that he's "just excited to hit a guy wearing a different colored jersey" after about a week of practicing against his teammates. Also on the list: a coach will tell reporters that his defense plans on being more aggressive and hopes to create more turnovers in the regular season.

One of the more pleasant camp traditions, meanwhile, is that undrafted rookie who goes from stand-in to stand out and makes the team by impressing in drills and preseason contests.

But while there will be plenty of time in the coming weeks for trying to figure out who'll do that for the Redskins in 2017, let's instead look back at a handful of the players who've already accomplished that in the past with Washington. Here are the seven best undrafted free agents the franchise has unearthed since 2010.

MORE: PLAYING OVER/UNDER WITH KEY STATS FOR KIRK COUSINS IN 2017

Logan Paulsen (2010)

No one will ever mistake Logan Paulsen's film for Rob Gronkowski's, but the former UCLA Bruin held down the third tight end spot for the Redskins from 2010-2014.

His two best years came in 2012 and 2013, where he posted 25 and 28 catches respectively, scored four total times and was on the receiving end of this magical fourth-down pass from Robert Griffin III against the Giants, a play that might've just been the peak of Griffin's rookie year. Now 30, Paulsen is reuniting with Kyle Shanahan out in San Francisco, continuing to exceed expectations and extending what's been a fruitful NFL career.

Will Compton (2013)

Will Compton's made a steady climb up Washington's roster since entering the league as a free agent linebacker out of Nebraska.

He was cut in his first season back in 2013 but latched onto the practice squad. He eventually debuted near the end of 2013, though, and made the 53-man squad the next go-round. 2015 was when he first started playing regularly, then last year he started 15 contests while also serving as a captain.

In 2017, he'll have to compete with Zach Brown and Mason Foster for a starting gig, but he figures to play plenty no matter the outcome and he's one of Jay Gruden's most trusted defenders. Not bad for a guy who has admitted he "wasn't confident" as a rookie:

Houston Bates (2015)

Special teams often is the avenue a college free agent has to take to make a roster, and Houston Bates is an example of one who's been there, done that. He's appeared in 24 games for the Redskins in his first two NFL campaigns and will look to recover from a torn ACL he suffered last December so he can add to that total in year three.

Before that injury, he was Washington's most active special teams player with 292 snaps in 14 contests.

Quinton Dunbar (2015)

Quinton Dunbar has not only overcome being an undrafted free agent; the former Florida Gator has also made the successful transition from wide receiver to cornerback, too.

Like his classmate Bates, Dunbar has participated often in 2015 and 2016, and like Paulsen, his biggest moments have come against the Giants. As a first-year pro, he picked off Eli Manning in the end zone to the delight of a raucous FedExField crowd, and as a sophomore, he helped complete a risky fake punt and also notched another (absolutely insane) INT in New York:

Rob Kelley (2016)

This offseason, Jay Gruden joked that Rob Kelley has worked his way up from "ninth-string" to starter. He laughed as he said it, but it may not have been that big of an exaggeration.

Kelley never rushed for more than 420 yards at Tulane, but he ripped off 704 last year for the 'Skins. Now he's the top option in a talented backfield, and while Samaje Perine and Chris Thompson are nipping at his heels for carries, Gruden has repeatedly said how much he loves Kelley. He'll be fed plenty in 2017.

Anthony Lanier (2016)

Anthony Lanier's on this list not for what he's done, but for what he's projected to do. Gruden uses not one but two really's to describe how excited he is about Lanier, and a couple of months of working with assistant Jim Tomsula might be all the lineman needs to make the jump from a project to a problem. 

Maurice Harris (2016)

Last on the list is a receiver who displayed sure hands and a knack for converting third downs in limited action last year. Maurice Harris now looks like he'll be an early option off the bench in Gruden's offense and should see the field far more often than he did in the second half of 2016.

You may not be fully sold on Harris, but it sounds like his teammates are, so don't be surprised if he breaks out and develops into another option for Kirk Cousins:

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