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RG3 won't use rust as an "excuse"

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RG3 won't use rust as an "excuse"

Due to the reconstructive surgery to his right knee eight months ago, Robert Griffin III did not play in the preseason and his work in training camp was very limited. He started the season opener against the Eagles and for the early part of the game he looked like a quarterback who needed some more practice.

His first pass attempt that counted (an early completion that was wiped out by a penalty) was thrown into triple coverage and picked off. Griffin, who threw five interceptions in all of 2012 and never more than one in a game, threw another pick early in the third quarter. The Eagles scored on the next play to take a 33-7 lead.

At that point, Griffin had completed 5 of 13 passes for 53 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Many were saying he was rusty, just not in a groove after all of the inactivity. But Griffin, his coach, and his teammates wouldn’t say that.

“I think that's an excuse. I'm responsible for the way I play,” said Griffin when asked if he was rusty. “I didn't play very well in the first half so it's just the way it is.”

Mike Shanahan put it on the whole team. “No, it’s everybody, it’s not just one guy,” he said. “I’ll look at the film. We just couldn’t get any momentum.”

Leonard Hankerson, who would catch two touchdown passes from Griffin once the quarterback settled in, also wouldn’t pin any particular responsibility on his quarterback. "It's not on Robert. It's on everybody,” he said. “There's 11 guys on the field. All 11 weren't on the same page.”

Whatever it was, whether it was just Griffin or the whole offense, things got better after the second interception. At that point the Redskins’ only points had come from the defense. Behind Griffin the Redskins scored 20 unanswered points and were an onside kick away from having the ball with a chance to take the lead in the late going.

From the point of the second interception on, Griffin was 25 of 36 for 276 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.

“Coming out at halftime we talked in there as an offense and said we'll find out a lot about our team by what happens in the second half,” said Griffin. “I think we did find out a lot, the same things we knew last year. This team's got a lot of heart, guys are going to fight until the end not matter what happens.”

Although the comeback was the proverbial too little and too late, Griffin did look much more like the 2012 version of himself with some nice passes and even a few good scrambles. That performance gave some encouragement for next Sunday when they have to go to Green Bay to take on Aaron Rogers and the Packers.

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Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

As the discussion rages around what the Redskins should do with free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, $75 million cornerback Josh Norman made clear he wants the passer back. Norman explained that the 'Skins struggles should not be pinned to Cousins, but rather, a Washington defense that finished the year near the bottom of the NFL.

"We got to help him out of defense, and stop somebody on the field," Norman said on FS1 (click here for full video). "We did not help him out at all. I'll be honest with you. We got to do our job."

Norman's comments came during a spirited argument with Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Cris Carter in what amounted to a festival of hot takery. Whitlock's argument was that Cousins is not a franchise quarterback, and shoult not be paid as such, largely for losing the final two home games of the year against Carolina and the New York Giants.

Cousins passed for nearly 5,000 yards this year, a statitstic Norman pointed to in his defense of the QB. He also explained that Cousins still has room to grow.

"He only had two seasons," Norman said. "Cam Newton had five seasons."

Drafted in 2012, Cousins was just named the 'Skins starter in 2015. He's started every game the last two seasons and gone 17-16 while passing for more than 9,000 yards. Norman played with Newton in Carolina before signing with Washington last year, and got to watch the quarterback develop into the league MVP in 2015.

Norman described Cousins as a 'great guy' and leader in the locker room, but he allowed that, "I know a great guy don’t translate into wins. I'm not saying that."

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 9 worst play of 2016

Steelers at Redskins Week 1

10:18 left in Q2, Steelers ball 4th and 1 at the Redskins 29, Redskins leading 6-0

Ben Roethlisberger pass deep left to Antonio Brown for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: Things were looking up for the Redskins prior to this, even though they were unable to punch the ball into the end zone in two forays deep into Steelers territory and had to settle for field goals (a taste of things to come all year). The Steelers drove down the field and went for it on fourth and one. Because Joe Barry opted not to have Josh Norman travel from side to side with Brown, it was Bashaud Breeland with one-on-one coverage on the right side. Brown beat Breeland and DeAngelo Hall was late giving safety help and Big Ben put the ball on the money. The score put the Steelers ahead to stay.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: It's easy to forget now that the Redskins had an early lead in the opener against Pittsburgh. In fact, their defense started well, until this point. In something that would be repeated throughout the year, the Steelers did not hesitate to go for it on 4th down against the Washington defense. Breeland was in pretty good position on the ball, though Roethlisberger's throw was right on the money. It would be only one more week until Josh Norman would then start traveling to cover other team's best receivers. Beyond the immediate impact of this play, it also seemed to stay with Breeland as he struggled somewhat in the first half of the season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!