Redskins

RG3 is Redskins' most accurate passer since Baugh

RG3 is Redskins' most accurate passer since Baugh

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) With all the focus on Robert Griffin III's running ability, it can be easy to forget that he's having the most accurate season for a Washington Redskins quarterback since Sammy Baugh.

In this case, speed and precision go hand in hand.

``Sometimes I think the play's over,'' said offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who calls the plays, ``and I'm ready to look down for my next call - and he's still making it happen, still running around doing stuff. I'm learning from that. I think the receivers are learning from that, just knowing that whatever happens, you've always got a chance.''

Through his first 11 NFL games, Griffin has completed 67.5 percent of his passes, trailing only Alex Smith (70), Matt Ryan (68.5) and Peyton Manning (67.7) among regular starters. The only Redskins quarterback with a better percentage for an entire season is the legendary Baugh, who hit 70.3 percent in 1945.

In the two games since the bye week, Griffin has the same number of incompletions as touchdowns (8). He also had one interception to bring his season's tally to four, a turnover-stinginess rate exceeded only by Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger.

Coaches say Griffin's ability to buy time under pressure gives his receivers more time to get open. Also, the threat of him running the option sometimes freezes defensive backs, leading to blown coverages.

``I think whenever you can make a lot of plays with your legs, you don't feel the pressure that you have to make some bad throws,'' Shanahan said. ``Some guys who can't make plays with their legs, if it's not there, they don't have much other option than to take a sack, so some guys will just let it go and throw it away.

``Robert, if the play's not there and it doesn't work, there's another option -and that option is him running and making a play.''

Or, as head coach Mike Shanahan put it: ``You've got to be able to make plays off-schedule.''

The return of Pierre Garcon from a foot injury and the overall development of the receiving corps have also helped. One of Griffin's passes to Garcon in the 38-31 Thanksgiving win over the Dallas Cowboys probably shouldn't have been thrown - but Garcon reached backward to snag the ball and ran for a 59-yard score.

Garcon is one of six players to catch a touchdown pass from Griffin during the two-game winning streak that has Washington (5-6) back in the hunt for the NFC East title heading into Monday night's game against the New York Giants (7-4).

``After the bye, I just told myself I have to trust these guys out there,'' Griffin said.

Griffin has also developed a solid rapport with Kyle Shanahan. They talk on Saturdays to discuss Griffin's comfort level with the week's playbook and will throw a play out if the rookie isn't comfortable with it - although Griffin says he tries not to make such a request very often.

On game days, Griffin frequently knows what play is coming before Kyle Shanahan calls it.

``It's getting that way,'' Griffin said, ``where I can take the words out of his mouth.''

RG3 also remains spot-on in front of a camera. His weekly appearance before reporters Wednesday was its usual treat of laugh-lines and anecdotes.

- On having numerous endorsements despite not having a ``Madison Avenue look'': ``It could be a changing of the tide, you never know. Of course, I'm not `clean-cut,' `fade,' `bald-head' - I got hair. I mean, that's just what it is, and it shows people that maybe there is a changing of the guard. It's not always about what you look like, it's about what you represent.''

- On having to be politically correct in politically charged Washington, D.C.: ``My politically correct answer is `no comment' a lot of times.''

- On hobbled left tackle Trent Williams: ``If he needs me in the training room with him, I'll be there. I'll rub on his leg, whatever he needs me to do. ... On the field, during the game, he'll get up and he'll start grabbing something, and I'll look at him, and I'll go back to the huddle because I know he'd better get his butt in the huddle because we've got to go to the next play.''

- On a conversation he had with linebacker London Fletcher on the sideline following a big drive during the fourth quarter of the win over the Cowboys: ``It's gut-check time - and we definitely checked their gut.''

That one caused a hearty round of laughter. After it died down, he smiled and said: ``I'm good for one every time.''

Notes: Williams did not practice due to a deep left thigh bruise, the result of being kneed by teammate Kory Lichtensteiger against the Cowboys. Williams doesn't usually wear thigh pads, but now: ``I'm definitely going to have something protecting my thighs this game.'' ... Fletcher (left ankle) also did not practice and was wearing a brace and limping noticeably as he left the locker room. ... Mike Shanahan said he didn't have to speak to Brandon Banks about Banks' decision to return a punt from the end zone against Dallas. ``Obviously, he made a bad decision ... My wife told me that wasn't a good decision,'' Shanahan said. ... The Redskins released LB Darryl Gamble from the practice squad.

---

Follow Joseph White on Twitter:http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

usatsi_8167438.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

The Redskins spent modestly in 2018 free agency, and plenty of fans thought the team should have shelled out much bigger bucks. Talking with sources around the Ashburn facility, a prevaling notion became clear that the Washington brass believed they had a strong team in 2017, but they lost their chance to compete because of injuries. 

Well, the secret is out. Doug Williams said as much on Tuesday. 

"Coming out of Richmond last year, I liked this football team. I think we’ve got a tough football team, a smart football team. Some things you can’t control," Williams said Tuesday in a pre-draft media session. "We were very competitive up to a certain point, and when you have the injuries that we have, at a certain point, that competitive edge, you lose it because your best players are not playing."

Williams' words were true, and telling. 

First the true part:

  • In Washington's first five games of 2017, the team went 3-2. The Redskins only lost to eventual the Super Bowl champs Philadelphia and AFC West champs Kansas City. Washington only gave up more than 100 yards rushing once in those first five games, before rookie Jonathan Allen got hurt and the defense began to look much different. After Week 5, the Redskins only held one team under 100 yards rushing and finished the year dead last in rush defense.

Now the telling part:

  • The Redskins signed free agent WR Paul Richardson, and kept free agent LB Zach Brown. Beyond that, the team added inexpensive veterans in OLB Pernell McPhee and CB Orlando Scandrick. No splash moves, and recurring speculation that Washington was not offering top dollar to free agents. Bruce Allen acknowledged as much during NFL League Meetings when he explained that his team identified exactly how much they would offer free agents, their own and otherwise, and wouldn't go beyond that dollar figure. 

That means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is about this weekend's NFL Draft.

That also means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is not about Johnathan Hankins or any other free agent. 

"We’re going to deal with the draft now, and the second wave of free agents, if it’s somebody out there we feel like can help the Redskins,that’s what we’re going to do," Williams said. 

Throughout the offseason, Redskins fans wanted more action from their front office. It didn't happen, and Williams' basically explained why on Tuesday. The brass likes their team, and by default, expects better health and luck in 2018. 

When Williams talks about drafting the best player available, it's not just the typical NFL front office tripe. Right or wrong, the Redskins believe they have a team ready to compete in 2018, and any rookies that come in will only supplement that position.

"At the end of the day, I like this football team we’ve got. Like, last year when I walked out of camp, I thought we had a pretty good football team and I still feel the same way today," Williams said.

"At the end of the day, you get the best football player, and if that best football player is the guy that you want to plug and play, that’s all right. But if that’s the best football player that’s going to help your team overall, I think that’s the route you have to go."

<<<CLICK HERE FOR REDSKINS BEST DRAFT PICKS SINCE 2000>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

Quick Links

How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

Things did not look good for the Capitals after two games.

Facing a 0-2 series hole after losing both games in Washington, it looked like it could be an early summer. The Caps were going to be the first team to ever lose a series in the playoffs to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

HOW DID THE CAPS WIN THEIR SERIES AGAINST COLUMBUS? FIND OUT HERE

But the Caps rallied.

Washington won the next four games and turned what looked like it would be another postseason disaster into a postseason triumph.

Only once in franchise history had the Caps rallied from a 0-2 deficit and only once had the Caps won four straight games to win a series. They managed both against the Blue Jackets.

Here's how the Caps were able to rally to a first-round victory over Columbus.