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'We're thankful he's making the right decisions'

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'We're thankful he's making the right decisions'

Robert Griffin III electrified FedEx Field on Sunday with his 76-yard run down the sideline for a victory-clinching touchdown against the Vikings.

What might prove more important in the long term, though, were the multiple occasions when the Redskins’ rookie – seven days removed from suffering the first concussion of his NFL career – chose self-preservation over the type of high-risk play that knocked him out of the game the previous week.

“As I’ve told people, you stay aggressive, but you just try to be smart,” Griffin said after the Redskins’ 38-26 victory. “I felt like I got out of bounds a couple of times when I should have. I threw the ball away one time and got penalty because a guy hit me. You try to play smart but stay aggressive.”

It’s not that Griffin didn’t get hit; he did. Anytime a quarterback carries the ball 13 times for a team-record 138 yards, he’s going to get tackled. Griffin simply did a better job of deciding when to turn up the field with the ball, when to get down and when to duck out of bounds.

Four plays in particular stand out a good examples of this:

--In the first quarter, Griffin bootlegged to the left, surveyed the field, realized all of his receivers were covered, tucked the ball and sprinted toward the sideline. With the Vikings’ four-time pro bowl defensive end Jared Allen in pursuit and two defensive backs also closing in, Griffin stepped out of bounds after a seven-yard gain. The capacity crowd showered Griffin with a sarcastic cheer – not for the run but for his wise decision to get out of bounds. 

--In the second quarter, Griffin scrambled out of the pocket and judiciously chose to throw the ball away. After releasing the ball, Griffin was shoved by Vikings’ linebacker Erin Henderson. Although Griffin later acknowledged that he embellished the hit, the official whistled Henderson for roughing the passer. Griffin gave an exaggerated head nod as he walked back to the huddle.

--Also in the second quarter, Griffin carried the ball up the middle on a designed run. He shook Henderson at the line of scrimmage, but before safety Harrison Smith could lay a hard hit on him, Griffin slid, thus avoiding any contact. “You have to live with that,” he later explained. “And not worry about the eight or nine yards you could have gotten [by] taking the hit.”

--In the third quarter, Griffin dropped back to pass, pump faked and then took off toward the right sideline. After turning the corner, three Vikings closed in on him. But before any of the defenders could get close enough to hit him, Griffin stepped out of bounds. Griffin perhaps could have gained a few more yards by lowering his shoulder into safety Jamarca Sanford, but he didn’t.

“I think common sense prevailed,” Coach Mike Shanahan said. “I think he’ll learn every game, maybe, when to slide, when to throw the ball away, when to go out of bounds a little bit earlier. I saw that today in a number of situations. As time goes on, he’ll keep on getting better and better at keeping people away from [himself].”

After one practice last week, Griffin pulled together his teammates and told them he did not intend to put himself in harm’s way again.

“I told the team I wasn’t going to leave them hanging,” Griffin said. “So I tried to make sure I did that.”

Guard Kory Lichtensteiger said the other players are grateful that the team’s most important player has pledged – and now shown – that he’s serious about being more careful.

“He’s learned a lot from that hit” against the Falcons, Lichtensteiger said. “He doesn’t want to spend another half in the locker room getting treated. It’s something he had to learn. It’s too bad he had to learn it the hard way, but we’re thankful he’s making the right decisions.” 

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Vernon Davis 'just can't fathom' the NFL's very strict celebration rules

Vernon Davis 'just can't fathom' the NFL's very strict celebration rules

As he proudly demonstrated in a 27-20 win against the Eagles last October, Vernon Davis has a silky jumpshot. Unfortunately, in today's NFL, celebrating by shooting a football like Davis did in the end zone that fall Sunday is prohibited.

The tight end, who was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and eventually fined more than $12,000 for the move, didn't really get the point of the rule then, and he still doesn't understand it now. And as he told Kalyn Kahler of MMQB, he think it's time for the league to back off their strict stance on celebrations.

"I would just tell guys that when it comes to celebrations, anything is allowed, as long as it isn’t inappropriate," Davis said when asked how he'd change the celebration rules. "Anything that we know is wrong, we shouldn’t do. I think that is the key."

RELATED: THIS REDSKINS RULE PROPOSAL WOULD MAKE KICKOFFS MORE FUN

In Davis' case, he was penalized because of an odd technicality. The NFL doesn't want players using the ball as a prop — which No. 85 did on his jumper — but yet, they allow guys to spike and spin the ball without retribution. That gray area doesn't sit well with him.

"It doesn’t make sense to me at all," he said. "It should be really simple, we should know that we can’t use the ball as a prop for anything. So for them to allow spiking and not allow shooting, I just can’t fathom that."

The 33-year-old hopes that change is near, and he may get it, too, as the competition committee will reevaluate what is and isn't allowed at the upcoming league meetings. But if he and everyone else clamoring for less restrictions are rebuffed, Davis does have a workaround so that when he scores next, he won't get in trouble. 

"I shoot the shot, but without the ball," Davis said. "That’s my go-to now. As long as I don’t have the ball, I’m safe."

MORE REDSKINS: THE TEAM'S RECEIVING CORPS TOWERS OVER PAST GROUPS

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This Redskins rule proposal would make kickoffs more entertaining

This Redskins rule proposal would make kickoffs more entertaining

With his ability to limit opposing team's kickoff returners by consistently producing touchbacks, Dustin Hopkins is a solid weapon for the Redskins in the field position game. 

A rule that Washington is proposing to NFL owners at their upcoming meetings, however, suggests that the Redskins want Hopkins and other strong-legged kickers to become even more of an asset than they already are.

In addition, the rule would also breathe some much needed intrigue into kickoffs, which have been reduced to the second-best time to grab another beer behind a commercial break.

MORE REDSKINS: JEAN-FRANCOIS SIGNS WITH NFC CONTENDER

The proposal is this: If a kicker splits the uprights with his kickoff, then the other team's offense will take the field at the 20-yard line. As things stand now, any touchback — whether it's downed in the end zone, flies out of the back or sails through the middle of the goalposts — is brought out to the 25-yard marker.

A rule this funky isn't likely to pass on its first time through voting. In fact, who knows if it'll ever pass. 

But maybe, just maybe, one day it will, and guys such as Hopkins and Justin Tucker will become a bit more valuable than they are currently. So, if you're ever watching an NFL game and hear the words, "THE KICK IS GOOD!" on a kickoff, you'll know which team to thank.