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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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Redskins interview another former Chargers defensive coordinator

Redskins interview another former Chargers defensive coordinator

The Redskins continue to cast a wide net in their search for a new defensive coordinator. On Thursday, they interviewed John Pagano, who was recently let go as the defensive coordinator of the Chargers.

Pagano, the brother of Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, has been coaching with the Chargers since 2002. That year he started as a quality control coach and then he was the linebackers coach from 2005-2011. The Chargers fired defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, a current Redskins coach and another candidate to run the defense in Washington, after the 2011 season and Pagano was promoted into that job.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

In Pagano’s five seasons with the Chargers, the performance of the defense was respectable. In terms of total yards, San Diego was in the top 10 twice and only once were they ranked worse than 20th.

The Redskins fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry on January 5. The list of candidates they have interviewed includes Mike Pettine, Gus Bradley, Rob Ryan, Manusky, and Jason Tarver. They are expected to interview former Jets and Bills defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman on Friday.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

None of the candidates they have interviewed have accepted positions with other teams so they are all still in play. There is no timetable for the team to make a decision, although the sense is that the process is coming to a close and will be concluded in the near future.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: How long is too long in the Redskins' defensive coordinator search?

Need to Know: How long is too long in the Redskins' defensive coordinator search?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 20, 97 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 40
NFL free agency starts 48
First Sunday of 2017 season 233

Will Pleasant push the defensive coordinator search to a conclusion?

Is the Redskins’ search for a defensive coordinator taking too long? Joe Barry was fired two weeks ago yesterday. The Redskins have made it clear that they want to be very thorough in their search. But taking time creates problems and one just popped up. Assistant defensive back coach Aubrey Pleasant apparently has the option to follow Sean McVay to Los Angeles. But the Redskins want to hold on to him.

The problem is that they don’t want to sign Pleasant to be, say, the cornerbacks coach and tie the hands of the incoming defensive coordinator. They already would like the new guy to keep OLB coach Greg Manusky and ILB coach Kirk Olivadotti. Locking in a third position coach might made it very hard to persuade a quality coordinator to come on board.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

However, they can’t hold Pleasant, who is a young, energetic coach who relates well to the players, back indefinitely. Presumably McVay and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips have a bigger role in mind for him and they won’t wait forever for him to get things resolved in Washington.

But it’s not like the Pleasant situation will need to be resolved by the close of business today. We’re talking days, not hours. How many days? They could lose him due because of the Redskins’ deliberate process if it stretches into sometime early next week. I think the chances are strong that there will be a decision on the new defensive coordinator by, say, the close of business on Tuesday.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

I’ll wrap this up with a quick round of laying out the $100 in casino chips on the various defensive coordinator candidates. Things have changed since I did it on Monday. I’ll still make Greg Manusky the favorite but I’ll drop him down five bucks to $35. I’m downgrading Mike Pettine down to a $10 wager; I’ve heard that the organization was not impressed with his interview. I’m more than doubling the wager on Gus Bradley to $25. It’s been a few days since reports that the Chargers were pressing him for a decision and yet he remains in play. I’m going with $10 on Dennis Thurmon, who is from the school of the aggressive style of play that Jay Gruden is looking for. Rob Ryan gets not a cent and the remaining $20, including John Pagao, who interviewed yesterday, goes on the field.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.