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Why can't RG3 and Gruden talk about football?

Why can't RG3 and Gruden talk about football?

Two weeks ago, Robert Griffin III went to Redskins Park for the first time since Mike Shanahan was relieved of his duties as head coach. New coach Jay Gruden also was in the building. Coach and quarterback met but they couldn’t talk football.

That’s right, the third-year quarterback and first-time head coach were not allowed to talk about X’s and O’s, what Griffin thinks he needs to work on to get better, Gruden’s offensive philosophy, or anything related to their actual jobs. That is because the collective bargaining agreement that was ratified in 2011 prohibits players and coaches from even discussing football until the start of offseason workouts in April.

The purpose, players union chief DeMaurice Smith told me after the CBA was ratified, is to give players both a physical and mental break from football for a few months. That makes perfect sense in many cases with veteran players on teams with stable coaching situations.

But it makes zero sense for a young quarterback and a new coach. The NFLPA needs to revisit those rules and come up with something better than their one size fits all approach. Maybe they could permit new coaches and quarterbacks—if you want to limit it to QB’s with fewer than five years in the league, that’s fine—to talk, review film, and come up with an offseason plan. If they want to limit the time they could do it until the Super Bowl ended.

Player agent Jack Bechta suggests taking it a step further and having a three-week camp with the coaches present for quarterbacks, backs, and receivers who have three years or less experience. A program like this could guide the players as they work out on their own getting ready for OTAs and minicamp.

The fact that Griffin and Gruden can’t talk now doesn’t mean that Griffin is doomed to failure this year. In late January of 2012 was a month away from finding out that he was likely to play for the Redskins. He wasn’t drafted by the team and therefore able to take the field at Redskins Park until late April. I seem to recall Griffin caught on pretty well as a rookie.

But a few days for Gruden and Griffin to talk some serious football and maybe go out into the practice bubble for a while wouldn’t seriously disrupt Griffin’s offseason plans.

Using a universal set of rules that may actually harm some players’ development doesn’t make much sense. It seems that the NFL and the union could get together and refine this rule.

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Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked - and what didn't - against Arizona

Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked - and what didn't - against Arizona

CSN has teamed up with The Edge Systems to provide the occasional statistical review of Redskins game film. The Edge is analytical football software currently being used by coaches in the NFL, SEC, ACC and the media, providing some of the fastest and best data in football.

Below is a breakdown of the Redskins run game against Arizona - a game coach Jay Gruden admitted did not feature enough carries for Robert Kelley. 

The Redskins had a lot of success with their GAP runs early in the game.

In the first half they were successful on 75 percent of their GAP runs. 

As the game wore on the Redskins moved away from what had been successful and only ran two GAP runs in the second half.

As their power running game vanishing, mirrored their prospects for winning the game.

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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State of the Redskins: Playoff chances trending in the wrong direction

State of the Redskins: Playoff chances trending in the wrong direction

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 14 of the NFL season.

Record: 6-5-1, 3rd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 2-2
vs. NFC: 4-4
vs. AFC: 2-1-1
Home: 4-2
Away: 2-3-1

Rankings and changes from Week 13

Offense (yards/game): 418.6 (2nd, no change from Week 13)
Defense (yards/game): 369.6 (23rd, +2)
Points for: 303 (10th, -1)
Points against: 295 (20th, -2)

Passer rating offense:  99.8 (8th, -2)
Opp passer rating: 95.0 (22nd, -3)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.5 (5th, no change)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.6 (29th, +2)
Weighted DVOA (Football Outsiders): 9.8% (10th, no change)
Playoff chances per FO: 41.5%, -14.1% from last week

Trending the right way: Not much, really. Their ranking in rushing defense improved a couple of notches but mostly because other teams got worse, not because the Redskins put the clamps down on the rushing game.

Trending the wrong way: For the first time in a few weeks the Redskins’ playoff chances are below 50 percent. Two straight losses will do that.  

Top three storylines:

Letting them have it—Jay Gruden is usually supportive of his team after a loss but that was not the case following the Cardinals game. He could be heard speaking to the team in angry tones in the locker room following the loss. We will see if this rare tirade jump-starts the Redskins’ stretch run.

Dealing with injury issues—Not only do the Redskins have to be concerned about the condition of Jordan Reed, whose status is unclear as he rehabs from a shoulder injury he suffered on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas, their starting center is in the concussion protocol. If Spencer Long can’t go the Redskins may have to add a center to back up John Sullivan.

Help wanted—The Redskins need other teams to lose if they want to make the playoffs. They need a little help if they win out to finish 10-5-1; they need more help if they finish at 9-6-1. Scoreboard watching starts at 4:25 on Sunday when the Bucs, a half-game ahead of Washington, host the Saints and continues on Sunday night football with the Cowboys at the Giants.

Next three games

Sunday @ Eagles (5-7)—The Redskins handled them well in October; the final score did not indicate how Washington dominated the game. The Eagles look more like a rebuilding team than a playoff contender and the Redskins could elimate them for all practical purposes

December 19 vs. Panthers (4-8)—The season of the defending NFC champs officially came off the rails on Sunday night when Cam Newton started the game on the bench because he didn’t wear a tie and he ended it looking at the wrong end of a 40-7 beatdown by the Seahawks. Still, the Redskins have never beaten Newton so this is not one that will come easily.

Christmas Eve vs. Bears (3-9)—There is no such thing as an easy game in the NFL but if the Redskins can’t manage to win this one they don’t deserve to make the playoffs.