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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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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 6, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Joe Barry news conference 12:40; Practice 1:05; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 16; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 24

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Baker (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), G Lauvao (groin)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle
Wednesday injury report

QB Kirk Cousins—It’s on his shoulders. Not just this game but the entire playoff run. He can’t have an off day, not even one like the Arizona game where he was off for just part of the game. Cousins doesn’t have to be perfect on every throw but for this team to win he has to be very good every quarter.

OT Trent Williams—Back from his four-game suspension, Williams can’t miss a beat in returning to his All-Pro form. Any mistake, much less any sacks allowed, will open him up to further criticism that he left the team in a bad spot. 

WR DeSean Jackson—The dynamic here has become more intriguing since media reports of mutual interest between Jackson and his former team have emerged. Jackson has done his thing the last two games, catching passes for long gains. But if he is going to be of value down the stretch (and of value to any other team next year) he is going to need to get his hands on some shorter and intermediate passes as well.

OLB Preston Smith—He was a regular on this list until he came up big against the Vikings. But he has since disappeared again and needs to come on strong for the team’s stretch run.

ILB Will Compton—He has been coming under fire lately for ineffective play, including missed tackles and being out of position on occasion. The Redskins need him to raise the level of his game if they are going to land in the postseason.

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Reed catches a pass. Staying away from contact. #Redskins

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).

READ MORE: FULL UPDATE ON JORDAN REED

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.