RG3's speed levels the field for Redskins


RG3's speed levels the field for Redskins

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Six Minnesota Vikings blitzed. Six Washington Redskins blocked. Robert Griffin III read the moment perfectly, a rookie seeing the play like a seasoned veteran. There would be no one to stop him if he took off.

It's long been known that a running quarterback changes the dynamic of a game. When that quarterback can travel the final 60 yards of a 76-yard touchdown run in about 6 seconds - while wearing pads, carrying the ball and looking back at chasing defenders, as Griffin did on Sunday - then it truly is a whole new ballgame.

``It's been 10-on-11, offensive guys vs. defensive guys,'' Redskins fullback Darrel Young said. ``If you put a guy in that position where he can run, it's 11-on-11.''

Defenses will watch the video of the Redskins' 38-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings and wonder what they can do to stop the Heisman Trophy winner and former Big 12 hurdle champion who already knows how to survey an NFL defense and figure out the next move.

``I saw the blitz,'' said Griffin, describing the third-and-6 that produced the 76-yard run. ``And I was thinking I'm either going to throw hot, or if they miss this blitz and don't hit it the right way, I'm going to run for the first. I saw that they missed it, took off running.''

He had help. None of it would have been possible had running back Evan Royster not picked up blitzing linebacker Jasper Brinkley. The five offensive linemen held their ground against the other five rushing Vikings, leaving a lane for Griffin to run forward and then toward the left sideline.

His speed was such that safety Jamarca Sanford took a bad angle and ended up in a hapless game of chase. Safety Harrison Smith dived at Griffin's heels, forcing a momentary high-step from the rookie. Receiver Josh Morgan added a key downfield block.

The touchdown put the game away in the fourth quarter and dismissed any thoughts that Griffin would be affected by a concussion suffered a week earlier. He ranked 14th in the NFL in rushing as of Monday with 379 yards, far and away ahead of any other quarterback. His threat as a runner also opens up the passing game - he's the only starting QB completing more than 70 percent of his passes and has thrown only two interceptions through six games.

``Anytime you have a quarterback that has a threat of making a play with his legs, a lot of times you have defenses spying the quarterback,'' coach Mike Shanahan said Monday. ``And they want to play man coverage, but they don't want to rush everybody because they've got to account for the quarterback, just like we saw yesterday. Robert breaks the line of scrimmage, all of a sudden you've got six guys rushing, and he's one-on-one.''

Behind Griffin, the Redskins are 3-3 - right there with about one-third of the NFL - and next week's game against the New York Giants is their first against an NFC East opponent. Washington's recent history of futility is irrelevant when he's under center - until or until he gets hurt again. After all, backup Kirk Cousins is more like one of those 10 vs. 11 quarterbacks.

``One of the great things about youth is that you don't know,'' veteran linebacker London Fletcher said. ``He doesn't realize how hard it is to win in this league. He's just been phenomenal in what he's done. Nothing's been too big for him. Really, he's just going out there really having fun. I wish I could have as much fun as he does playing the game because he's really just going out there carefree, just making plays like he's just out of high school and it's how college might be. It's great to watch.''

Notes: Shanahan said WR Pierre Garcon is going to need more rest while recovering from a right foot injury. Garcon was inactive Sunday and has missed three of six games. ``You could see when he's pushing off, he goes downfield, he's not anywhere close to full speed,'' Shanahan said. The coach said the injury is underneath Garcon's second toe. ... CB DeAngelo Hall says it's ``asinine'' to think that he slapped Vikings RB Adrian Peterson after the two jawed at each other after one play. ``He slapped me in the face after making a good tackle on me,'' Peterson said after the game. Hall's response: ``I have no idea what he's talking about.'' Hall added that might have pushed Peterson after the play but didn't slap him.


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Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

When the Capitals acquired defenseman Michal Kempny on Monday, that put the team at the maximum of 23 players on the roster including eight defenseman.

Another move seemed likely and the Caps made it on Tuesday by placing veteran blueliner Taylor Chorney on waivers.

Teams now will have 24 hours to potentially claim Chorney. Should he clear at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, it is expected that he will be sent to the Hershey Bears of the AHL. Whether he is claimed or sent to Hershey, his entire $800,000 cap hit will no longer count against the Capitals' salary.

One important thing to note, however, is that placing Chorney on waivers was not required in order for Washington to remain under the salary cap.

Having eight defensemen would mean scratching two every game — assuming the team does not dress seven and after that failed experiment in last year's playoffs, why would they — which means it would be a struggle to make sure everyone gets consistent playing time in the final weeks of the season.

Perhaps placing Chorney on waivers is the team trying to get him more playing time to keep him sharp in case the team suffers injuries on the blue line and he is called upon in the playoffs.

Or perhaps it could mean something else.


Chorney played on Feb. 15, but that was during the mentor's trip. Barry Trotz's policy for those trips is to get everyone in at least one of those two games. Before that, Chorney had not played since Jan. 2. It certainly seems like the team was comfortable with him being the designated No. 7 and was not all that concerned about getting him regular playing time before now.

When asked if the Kempny trade would mean any roster moves, Trotz said Monday that he was not sure and hinted that perhaps more moves could be coming from general manager Brian MacLellan. Moving Chorney's salary off the books does not clear much cap room, but it does clear some.

Perhaps MacLellan has another move up his sleeve before Monday's trade deadline.

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New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

News broke Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Bucaneers released former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, and while the name certainly triggers value, his play of the last two seasons should calm the excitement. 

Since a 2015 season where Martin rushed for 1,400 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards-per-carry in 16 games, Martin has been suspended, undergone substance abuse rehab and missed games due to injury.

In the last two seasons, Martin has played in 16 of 32 games, rushed for 827 yards and averaged less than 3 yards-per-carry.

Over his six year NFL career with the Bucs, Martin has only played two full seasons. Those two seasons were great, in 2012 and 2015, but the other four have been largely disappointing. 


The Redskins averaged just 3.6 yards-per-carry last season, and could definitely use a boost in the run game. It's entirely possible Washington might look to upgrade their offensive backfield this offseason, either in free agency or in the 2018 NFL Draft, but Martin does not look like the player to help. 

Early in the 2017 season, it appeared the Redskins run game might be a strength for the offense. After a disappointing effort on the ground to open the year in a loss to the Eagles, the Redskins rushed for at least 111 yards in their next three contests, including nearly 230 yards on the ground in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Injuries undid the run game, however, as Rob Kelley got hurt and the offensive line lost players, too. Over the course of the season, rookie Samaje Perine sustained minor injuries and Chris Thompson was lost for the year with a broken leg. 

Going into 2018, Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are all on the roster and expected for now to stay with the team. That's yet another reason why the Redskins are likely to stay away from Doug Martin.


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