Redskins

Redskins' RG3 crashes Shanahan's news conference

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Redskins' RG3 crashes Shanahan's news conference

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Robert Griffin III crashed Mike Shanahan's news conference, slipping in the back door to take an aisle seat in the Washington Redskins auditorium. Soon, the franchise quarterback had a microphone in his right hand, ready to ask the next question.

Shanahan, who is hard to rattle, couldn't help but laugh.

``You got me by surprise there,'' the coach said. ``Who is this guy?''

``What did you do for New Year's?'' Griffin asked.

``I tried to put a good game plan together. I wasn't sure how healthy you were, so it was hard without you calling me,'' answered Shanahan, still chortling away. ``You got me good.''

Griffin has hardly behaved like a rookie all season, so there's no reason to think it'll start now as he prepares for his NFL playoff debut. He was as loose as anyone Wednesday, whether it was playfully shoving Jarvis Jenkins into the defensive lineman's locker or simply radiating the smile that has rarely been missing during his initial run through the NFL grind.

It was the first practice for Sunday's matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, the Redskins' first home postseason game in 13 years. If the excitement was getting to either half of Washington's rookie backfield - Griffin or running back Alfred Morris - it wasn't showing.

``I've been playing football since I was 5 years old. I just go out there and go have some fun. That's what I do. So I'm not going to think about, `It's the playoffs,''' said Morris, who added that he doesn't really care for the attention he's getting for a 1,613-yard regular season bettered only by Adrian Peterson.

The performances of Morris and Griffin has cornerback DeAngelo Hall proclaiming: ``These aren't ordinary rookies.''

``I haven't seen a moment this year where they've been caught up in the moment,'' defensive tackle Barry Cofield said, ``or they've seemed like the moment's been too big for them.''

To a man, the Redskins say the entire team shouldn't be caught up in playoff nerves because they've been playing win-or-else games for nearly two months. Every victory in the season-ending seven-game streak was necessary to get to 10-6 and win the NFC East. Notable stat: Washington is 7-0 since Griffin was selected as a team captain.

Also, it helps that the Redskins have a routine week to prepare for the Seahawks. Griffin will take that over the weekslong wait for college bowl games.

``For bowl games, most of the time you're doing way too much thinking,'' Griffin said. ``Trying to devise the perfect play for the perfect defense. And you get in a game and they do something totally different because they're doing the same thing for the past month. So (this is) like a regular-season game, but with a playoff-game atmosphere.''

Griffin gave the latest update on the sprained lateral ligament in his right knee, which caused him to miss one game and has limited his explosive running ability in the two games since he returned. He's still sporting a brace, which he adjusted while stretching at the start of practice.

``A lot of people talk about the limp with the brace,'' Griffin said. ``But any time you wear a brace like that, it's to protect you, so it's going to cause a natural limp. You're not going to be able to bend your knee. ... But at the same time you can still generate power.''

Griffin said he's ``pretty close'' to the point where he's being limited by the brace more so than the actual injury, but that the doctors won't let him go without the extra protection.

``So I try to do as much as I can without the brace,'' he said with a smile. ``And then whenever they find out that I don't have it on, I have to throw it on.''

The bum knee has prompted Griffin to refine his play without much of a drop-off. He had a 102.4 passer rating in his first game after the injury, and he ran for 63 yards on just six carries in the regular-season finale against the Dallas Cowboys.

``If anything, the injury's shown me a lot, just from a quarterback perspective,'' Griffin said. ``This game's not easy, but it did show me some things that I can do to make the game easier for myself, easier on my body. Ironically I've done a better job of protecting myself since the injury, sliding, getting down, getting all the possible yards I can and getting out of bounds.

``And sometimes things have to happen like that for you to really, really grasp that, and it's shown me a lot. I don't think I've ever rushed for 10 yards a carry in a game, and I did that in this past game, so that was kind of funny.''

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

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

Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

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Game 5 Capitals vs. Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 5 Capitals vs. Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Alex Ovechkin said the Caps would return to Washington with a tied series. The Caps captain is a man of his word as the Caps won both Game 3 and Game 4 to even up the series at two games apiece.

John Tortorella had no answers after seeing his Columbus Blue Jackets fall in Game 4, but he will have to figure things out quickly as the series shifts back to Washington for a pivotal Game 5.

The Caps return home with two straight wins and all the momentum. There's just one problem: No one seemingly can win at home.

What: Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Round 1, Game 5

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 3:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 will be broadcast on NBC.

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 on NBC Sports' live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

The Capitals take on the Blue Jackets in Game 5 on Saturday, April 21 at 3:00 p.m. ET in Washington. The series is tied 2-2.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME ON?

Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 will be broadcast on NBC. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 2:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 2:30 p.m. Tune back to NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 6:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

2:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
2:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
3:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Blue Jackets on NBC
5:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
6:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

Capitals-Blue Jackets Game 5 is available to stream live here through the NBC Sports live stream page.

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

Here are the Caps' projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly- Lars Eller - Devante Smith-Pelly
Jakub Vrana -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Scratches: Travis Boyd, Andre Burakovsky (upper-body), Shane Gerisch, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

SEE THE CAPITALS VS. BLUE JACKETS FULL SERIES SCHEDULE HERE

CAPITALS SCHEDULE