When the Redskins hosted the Bengals in week 3, it was Robert Griffin III's toughness that left a lasting impression,not Griffin's ability not to run or throw the ball, or lead his team but his gritty play. The young quarterbacks ability to get back up after being hitafter hitafter hitafter hit...It left many to wonder about the rookie's durability over the course of a entire NFL season.That question was answered just seven quarters later.Sunday, as the Redskins hosted the 4-0, Atlanta Falcons, RG3 was taken out of the game by a shoulder-to-helmet blow delivered by Falcons linebacker, Sean Weatherspoon."It's just a bang-bang tough play. He got outside of our end, I was in pursuit and he didn't go out of bounds, so I just tried to get a good hit on him. Unfortunately he left the game, I wish the best for him, hope everything's going alright," said Weatherspoon."Most quarterbacks either slide or run out of bounds, but he's a tough guy, a tough guy, but I think he'll learn a little bit. He's tough, he's fighting, I commend him for that."Weatherspoon also added that the hit was clean, saying it was, 'a good hit, a good play and it gave us a little bit of energy,' while reiterating his concern for RG3's health while clarifying that it wasn't a helmet to helmet hit, "I'm not that kind of guy to go up top like thatI'm just trying to get a good hit."Weatherspoon said he gave RG3 a tap on the head as Griffin was walking away, and Griffin told him he had done a 'good job.'"He definitely made us prepare" Weatherspoon said with a laugh, "all week man, that's all we talked abouttrying to find a way to stop the run game, even the quarterback running. He's been doing some great things, play action pass, stick it in there and pass it right over your linebacker, so you know, he's a tough guy to go against."Weatherspoon who plays with arguably the hottest QB in the league right now, Matt Ryan, said when comparing RG3 to the veteran signal caller, 'He's an electric player, I know that he's going to do some great things for the Redskins and they'll win a lot of football games with him. I played against him in college so I've seen him for awhile so I know what type of athlete he is, what type of quarterback he is, you know people just think about him being a an athlete but he's a really good quarterback."Cornerback, Dunta Robinson who registered half of a sack versus Griffin said, 'he almost led his team to a victory' and noted that Griffin will have a long and successful season in the NFL.Defensive tackle, Jonathan Babineaux, didn't think the victory was pretty, but would take it to extend the Falcons streak to a 5-0 start to the season. Babineaux also had a tough critique of RG3's performance,"He's still a rookie quarterback, he won the Heisman last year, but he's a professional now. I think for a rookie he played well. He led his team well, he seemed like he was the leader out there, the older guys really seemed to listen to him, so personally I felt like he did a good job. You know he still is a rookie, so we didn't expect much from him, but he did will."It is yet to be determined what Griffin will take away from this game and whether he will continue or curb his tough play. Coach Mike Shanahan said the quarterback did indeed suffer a mild concussion (link to either Tarik or Rich's story) and that he would need to pass an NFL mandated concussion test this week, so while Griffin's future availability may be up in the air, one thing that isn't, is the rookie's grit. He tweeted just after the game that he would be ready to play Sunday as the Vikings take on the Redskins at FedEx Field at 4:25PM.
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. 5 worst play of 2016
Redskins at Lions Week 7
0:22 left in Q4, Lions ball at the Redskins 18, 3rd and 10, Redskins leading 17-13
Matthew Stafford pass short left to Anquan Boldin for 18 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
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Tandler: The Redskins had just taken the lead on a nifty 19-yard option run by Kirk Cousins with 1:05 left to play. All they had to do was keep the Lions out of the end zone but the defense was not up to the task. In fact, it was laughably easy for Stafford. The first three times he dropped back he completed passes for 23, 14, and 20 yards and just like that the Lions were in the red zone. It looked for a minute like the Redskins might hang on as two passes went incomplete. But on third down Stafford found Boldin open inside the five and the defense couldn’t get there quickly enough to keep him out of the end zone.
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Finlay: 65 seconds was all the 'Skins defense needed to preserve a win by holding the Lions without a touchdown. 65 seconds away from a five-game win streak, and knowing what we do now, a playoff berth. The Redskins defense couldn't stop Stafford, or Boldin, and lost in Detroit. A gut wrenching loss as the momentum on the Washington sideline seemed incredibly high just minutes before when Cousins ran in what looked like the game-winning score.
10 best plays countdown
- No. 10—Some good fortune in Baltimore
- No. 9—Trickeration works in the Meadowlands
- No. 8—Kelly’s run the clincher in big win
- No. 7—Norman’s INT wraps up a win
- No. 6—Garçon shows his speed
10 worst plays countdown
- No. 10—A symbolic conversion
- No. 9—Problems with D start in Week 1
- No. 8—Fumble in the desert
- No. 7—Eli goes deep
- No. 6—A gut punch in Arizona
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!
With the offensive and defensive coordinators now in place, the Redskins now turn their attention to two other matters.
One is the NFL combine, which gets underway on February 28. The other is the NFL franchise tag deadline, which happens to come the very next day, on March 1.
There has been plenty of talk lately about the possibility of the Redskins giving Kirk Cousins the franchise tag designation and then trading him if they don’t think that they will be able to sign him to a long-term deal.
While one team, the 49ers, has been talked about as a potential landing spot for Cousins they would not be the only interested team if there is going to be a deal.
Let’s take a look at what teams might be moderately interested or highly interested.
Head coach: Vacant, but will be Kyle Shanahan after the Super Bowl
First-round pick: No. 2
2016 leading passer: Colin Kaepernick
Connecting the dots here is easy as Shanahan was the offensive coordinator when Cousins was drafted by the Redskins in 2012. There would be no need for the two to get familiar with each other; they had two years to do that. Cousins seems like a natural fit in Shanahan’s offense. The 49ers are likely to move on from Kaepernick rather than taking his $19.4 million cap hit. They may try to move that No. 2 pick, or a package of other picks, to try to get Cousins. Anticipated interest: High
Head coach: John Fox
First-round pick: No. 3
2016 leading passer: Matt Barkley
This is the year that the Bears can finally move on from Jay Cutler without taking a crippling cap hit. Releasing Cutler, who played in just five games last year due to injury, would cost them just $2 million in dead cap. But do they really want to move on from Cutler, who wasn’t bad the last two years he was able to play? If they do, it seems unlikely that they would part with the No. 3 pick. Anticipated interest: Moderate
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Head coach: Todd Bowles
First-round pick: No. 6
2016 leading passer: Ryan Fitzpatrick
In the last four drafts, the Jets have spent a second-round pick on Geno Smith, a fourth on Bryce Petty and a second on Christian Hackeberg. Smith is on his way out, Petty was shaky in four starts last year and Hackenberg didn’t see the field as a rookie. It would not be surprising to see them shop for an established, young-ish starter like Cousins. The No. 6 pick might be too much for Cousins. Another factor to consider is if Cousins would agree to a long-term deal to play in New York. They would have to carve out some cap space to get a deal done; they currently are $7.7 million over the anticipated cap. Anticipated interest: Moderate
Head coach: Hue Jackson
First-round pick: No. 1 and No. 12
2016 leading passer: Cody Kessler
Robert Griffin III is under contract for 2017 with a $6 million salary plus a $1.5 million roster bonus that the Browns can move on from for a relatively modest $1.75 million cap hit. It would not be outrageous for them to deal the No. 12 pick for Cousins. The question is if Cousins would want to be the latest QB to join the Browns’ Trail of Tears. Anticipated interest: Moderate
Other possibilities: The Cardinals might wonder if Carson Palmer’s slide from MVP candidate to mediocrity will continue and look to bring in an alternative . . . The Broncos can’t be happy with Trevor Simeon as their long-term starter and if they didn’t like what they saw from Paxton Lynch they might want to deal. But John Elway isn’t going to overpay . . . It will be another year before the Texans can move on from Brock Osweiler without a killer cap hit but they could just bench him and bring in their long-term answer a year early . . . Blake Bortles has just one more year left on his rookie deal and the Jaguars may move to get his replacement this year.
Note: The Rams are not mentioned here despite the presence of Sean McVay. They gave up a lot of draft picks to move up to No. 1 overall to take Jarred Goff last year and while he struggled they are not going to move on from him after one season.
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