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RG3: 'We're all frustrated'

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RG3: 'We're all frustrated'

Maybe Robert Griffin III and the Redskins have hit rock bottom. Maybe they haven’t. But they sure did look bad in front of a national television audience on Monday night.

Griffin finished 17 of 27 for 127 yards and one interception. His passer rating of 58.7 was the third lowest of his NFL career. He has had worse ratings in two games in the past six weeks.

But at least in those other games Griffin was able to get his team in the end zone. According to ESPN, Griffin had never played a game at Baylor or with the Redskins in which his team’s offense did not score a touchdown. That streak ended at 67 games.

“We’re all frustrated. Everybody is tired of losing,” said Griffin. One thing to take away, one thing that we’re not, we’re not quitters.”

The Redskins mustered just 30 yards of offense and one first down in the entire second half.

“We haven’t been dominated like that since I’ve been here,” said Mike Shanahan.

Griffin didn’t go into much detail about what went wrong. “What am I supposed to do, come up here and talk about how bad we are?" he asked rhetorically.

It’s not as though Griffin got much help. His line provided scant protection as he got sacked four times and was running for his life on many other occasions. That same line couldn’t provide any running room for Alfred Morris, who picked up just 52 yards rushing on 14 carries. And the Washington defense breathed life into struggling 49ers QB Colin Kapernick.

But last year it seemed that Griffin would lift the team over and above whatever wasn’t going right. But on Monday, as in most of the rest of the season, he either was unable to pull his team past the problems or he contributed to them.

Griffin had a rocky first half. The Redskins went three and out on their first three series with Griffin unable to get anything going with the exception of a few runs. Near the end of the first quarter the Redskins got something going until Griffin threw an interception to safety Donte Whitner.

It was one of those mistakes that Griffin never seemed to make as a rookie last year. Defensive end Justin Smith didn’t bite on a play action bootleg. As the defender zeroed in on Griffin, the quarterback threw the ball towards Pierre Garçon around the hash mark. But Whitner was in much better position to make the catch and he made the easy pick.

San Francisco drove for a field goal to take a 10-0 lead. At that point, Griffin was 0-6 passing with the one interception. His passer rating was a perfect 0.00.

But then things turned around for Griffin and the Redskins. Alfred Morris got a drive going on the ground and they moved into the red zone. But the drive fizzled after Griffin threw into the vicinity of two receivers on first down and he couldn’t get off an accurate pass against an all-out blitz on third down. A Kai Forbath field goal cut the lead to 10-3.

Things got going again on the Redskins’ next possession. Santana Moss snagged a low Griffin pass to pick up 18 yards on third and nine. Then Josh Morgan gained another 18 down the sideline.

But this drive died in the red zone as well. Griffin wasted a timeout after Garçon went out of bounds after a catch and then he fumbled while scrambling. That forced them to burn their final timeout. After a completion to Garçon was inbounds and short of the first down, the field goal team scrambled onto the field and Forbath’s 35-yarder made it 10-6 at the half.

As bad as the half was, it was better than the second.

"For us, as players and coaches, you have to believe,” said Griffin.

It’s hard for people on the outside to see much to believe in right now.

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QB run will come at NFL Draft, but when it happens matters most for Redskins

QB run will come at NFL Draft, but when it happens matters most for Redskins

Quarterbacks will come off the board in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night. That much is certain. Where those quarterbacks come off the board, however, matters much more for the Redskins. 

Mitchell Trubisky will be the first passer off the board, and depending on the information, he could be drafted as high as the first overall pick, and will certainly go early.

Trubisky, though, seems like the only certainty of a QB going early. Questions plague guys like Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. Those guys could all go in the first half of the draft, but they could all slide into the 20s as well. 

For Washington, the earlier quarterbacks get drafted the better. It seems highly unlikely the Redskins make a draft day trade of QB Kirk Cousins, limiting hardly any interest in a first-round passer.

The more passers that go before the 'Skins pick at 17 means the more high-quality players slide down the draft board. Look around the internet at lists of the best prospects available. Hardly any signal callers crack the Top 20, but the positional need at QB demands the position be overdrafted.

Though the Burgundy and Gold continue to slow-play contract talks with Cousins, he is under contract for 2017 and the team holds an option for 2018. That means Bruce Allen can sit in his draft room and potentially be a trade partner for a team that wants to land a QB, or just wait patiently and watch as they come off the board and send other desirable prospects closer to 17.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Need to Know: Redskins’ needs line up well with the strength of the draft

Need to Know: Redskins’ needs line up well with the strength of the draft

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 25, one day before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 16
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 28
—Training camp starts (7/27) 92
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 137

Wrapping up the Redskins pre-draft presser

We’ve looked at a some of what Redskins college scouting director Scott Campbell said during his pre-draft press conference on Monday, covering possible trades, who makes the final call on those trades, and how the organization handles character issues. Here are a few more bullet points from Campbell’s presser:

—Asked if the Redskins would draft to fill needs or take the best available player, Campbell gave the stock answer. “I guess as you asked the question, you kind of framed it and the way I’m going to frame the answer, and the age-old answer of ‘I’m going to take the best player available,’” he said “And if that serves your needs, that’s a bonus.” So, there you go. That said, don’t be surprised if the best players as defined by the Redskins in the first few also happen have the “bonus” of filling one the team’s top two or three needs.

—The needs could line up well because the strength of the draft as Campbell sees it coincides with side of the ball where the Redskins need the most help. “Well, I’m excited because I think it’s one of the strongest, deepest classes on the defensive side of the ball that I’ve seen,” he said. “I’ve told the guys upstairs I’m excited because we’re going to get better . . . And several different positions – sometimes it’s just maybe defensive line or outside backers or corners. Across the board on defense, I’m really excited about the class and the guys we’re going to bring in are going to help us.”

—The draft board is still used after the draft ends and the scramble for undrafted free agents starts up. “There’s going to be guys left on the bottom of that board that didn’t get drafted that we had rated as draftable,” said Campbell. “So that’s our No. 1 targets. I assign a scout to all the coaches, and really the coaches talk to the players – once the draft ends, let me be clear, it’s after the draft ends when we start making calls – the scouts are on the phone with the agent finding out what our competition is, how much.” Campbell said that money isn’t much of a factor in recruiting the undrafted players; selling opportunity is the key.

—The draft board was influenced by former GM Scot McCloughan but adjustments have been made since he was fired in early March. “Well, he certainly had influence on it because we all met as we always did the last couple of years and every team does. You meet right after the all-star games before you go to the combine and kind of get an initial ranking of how you like the guys. Of course Scot hadn’t been here since, so just like when he was here before, there’s adjustments being made to the board with the new information.”

—The 2016 draft class did not contribute a lot but does not mean that there is more pressure on the organization to do better this year. The pressure is always there regardless. “Always pressure. Every year’s pressure,” said Campbell. “I grew up in an NFL household. My dad was a coach and a player for 40 years. Pressure every year to perform, that’s what the NFL is. You’ve got to perform every year.” His father was Marion Campbell who played in the NFL for eight years and then coached for 21 seasons including stints as the head coach of the Eagles and Falcons.

—Campbell also asked for a little patience with the 2016 draft class, citing a group from a few years ago. “It takes a couple of years to develop a class,” said Campbell. “People are saying the ‘14 class had some success. Well, if I read articles and see what happened and what was said right after that draft, our grades in the mock drafts were not very good. It takes time. Morgan Moses didn’t start his first year, you know, but he’s come on to be one of the best right tackles in the league. That’s my opinion anyway. It takes time to develop. I still think with time, that class [2016] will be just fine.” I guess I buried the lede here—Campbell reads draft grades.

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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