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Griffin bounces back in Redskins' OT win

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Griffin bounces back in Redskins' OT win

“When you’re bad, you have to get good.”

That’s what Robert Griffin III said when talking about some issues the Washington Redskins had with some early drives in their 30-24 overtime win over the San Diego Chargers. But he could have been talking about the 2013 Redskins as a whole.

Griffin and the Redskins aren’t good yet. The team is 3-5 and a game and a half behind the Cowboys for the division lead. After all the numbers are added up Griffin will still be among the league’s lowest ranked quarterback by many statistical measures.

But, on this day they were good when they had to be and the result was a heart-pounding win over he Chargers at FedEx Field.

"We needed this win and our fans needed this win,” said Griffin. “We are thankful for all our fans who believe in us."

That belief was tested severely when the Redskins were protecting a three-point lead but Philip Rivers and company drove to a first and goal at the one. But the defense held and a Nick Novak field goal sent the game into overtime.

Griffin made sure to give the defense some props right off the bat at his postgame press conference. "Let's 1st talk about what the defense did down there on the goal line,” he said. “They really stepped up. It was a great team win."

But it was the offense that got the winning points. The Redskins won the overtime coin toss and took possession at their own 22. Griffin was four of four passing for 39 yards during the drive including a dart over the middle to tight end Jordan Reed that converted a third and eight. Two plays later on first and 20 Griffin again went down the middle, this time to Pierre Garçon for 17 yards. The Chargers’ Andrew Gachkar committed an illegal hit on the play and that tacked on 13 yards to the 13.

Griffin was done for the day after that except for handing off, twice to Alfred Morris and then once to Darrel Young, who scored his third touchdown of the day.

After posting the lowest passer rating of his career last week against the Broncos and taking some heat from fans and some in the local media as a result, Griffin wasn’t great but he was very good. He completed 23 of 32 passes for 291 yards. He didn’t throw a touchdown pass and he threw one interception resulting in a respectable passer rating of 86.8.

Griffin's favorite target was Pierre Garçon and the wide receiver came up big with seven receptions for 172 yards, including some spectacular and critical one-handed grabs.

"Pierre . . . made some catches that were there and made some catches that not many people can make," he said. "So he stepped up and the rest of the receivers followed his lead. It was great to see that, great to see that fire. Great to see him ball out today.

After being bottled up on the ground in Denver Griffin found a little running room, picking up 17 yards on six carries. He also executed option pitches to tight end Jordan Reed and wide receiver Santana Moss, plays that picked up 18 yards each time.

Griffin’s biggest run came with the score tied at 14 midway through the third quarter. On third and nine at the Chargers 46 he scrambled around left end, cut behind a block near the sideline and took to the air to get a yard past the sticks and pick up a key first down. Seven plays later, early in the fourth quarter, Young blasted in on third and goal at the one and the Redskins had a 21-14 lead.

Griffin has been cautioned to take fewer risks on the field but he wasn't thinking about that. "You just have to make a decision," he said. "A lot of people criticize me for that type of stuff and I could have gone out of bounds and we could have been short of the first down. I saw an opportunity to fly, so I took off and went for it."

The Redskins will be flying in just a few days, on their way to Minnesota to take on the Vikings in a Thursday night game. Since Week 4, they have alternated wins and losses, good and bad. The team’s success generally mirrors Griffin’s performance. If Griffin can put up another solid performance, the Redskins will have a very good chance.

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Need to Know: How many starters are left from the Redskins' last playoff game?

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Need to Know: How many starters are left from the Redskins' last playoff game?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 19, 54 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 46
—NFL Draft (4/26) 97
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 233

Things change quickly

Two years ago today, the Redskins were in the process of picking up the pieces after their 35-18 home loss to the Packers in the wild-card round of the 2015 season playoffs. How many of the 22 players who started that game for Washington are still with the team? You may be surprised to find out just how few are likely to be with the Redskins when the season opens in September.

Offense:

WR DeSean Jackson—Signed with the Bucs as a free agent last year.
WR Pierre Garçon—Signed with 49ers as a free agent last year.
WR Jamison Crowder—Still with the Redskins
TE Jordan Reed—Still with the Redskins
LT Trent Williams—Still with the Redskins
LG Spencer Long—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
C Kory Lichtensteiger—Retired following the 2016 season
RG Brandon Scherff—Still with the Redskins
RT Morgan Moses—Still with the Redskins
RB Alfred Morris—Signed with the Cowboys as a free agent in 2016
QB Kirk Cousins—Set to be a UFA, you know the story here

Of the 11 offensive starters, five are still with the team, one has retired, three are employed by other teams, and two are headed into free agency. The chances of either Long or Cousins returning currently hover under 50 percent, although things can change.

Defense:

DE Chris Baker—Signed with the Bucs as a free agent last year.
DE Jason Hatcher—Retired following the 2015 season
NT Terrance Knighton—Signed with the Patriots following the 2015 season but was cut and he hasn’t played and subsequently retired
ILB Will Compton—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
ILB Mason Foster—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
OLB Ryan Kerrigan—Still with the Redskins
OLB Trent Murphy—Spent 2017 in injured reserve, set to be an unrestricted free agent
CB Bashaud Breeland—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
CB Will Blackmon—Released last September, currently unsigned
S DeAngelo Hall—Set to be an unrestricted free agent, likely to retire
S Dashon Goldson—Released after 2015 season, currently unsigned

Only one starter, Ryan Kerrigan, is under contract for 2018. Of the free agents, Breeland is likely to depart and things are up in the air regarding Foster, Compton, and Murphy.

To sum it up, out of 22 starters in that game played 740 days ago, only six are certain to be with the team in 2018 while nine have either signed elsewhere, spent 2017 out of football, or have retired (10 if you count Hall).

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.

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Looking at cheap, reasonable and expensive wide receiver scenarios for Redskins

Looking at cheap, reasonable and expensive wide receiver scenarios for Redskins

Most NFL teams usually carry at least six wide receivers, but going into the 2018 season, only Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Maurice Harris and Robert Davis hold signed contracts with the Redskins.

That means Washington must consider adding receiver help via free agency, especially considering Harris and Davis rarely played in 2017. Terrelle Pryor and Ryan Grant both played with the Burgundy and Gold in 2017, and while Grant has a solid chance to return, it would seem Pryor will head elsewhere after a disappointing season in D.C. 

Like every year, a number of receivers will be available via free agency, but what guys make sense for Jay Gruden's team? Let's take a look at three different scenarios, knowing Washington likely needs to add at least one free agent wideout. 

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  • Expensive: Jags WR Allen Robinson - A second-round pick in 2014, Robinson posted a 1,400-yard season in 2015 and has shown the ability to be a true No. 1 wideout in the NFL. He's 6-foot-3 with speed and leaping ability. In 2016, his numbers dipped to less than 900 yards receiving, but that season the Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles struggled significantly. Here's the thing: Robinson blew out his knee in the NFL opener in 2017, and that might make his price tag drop a bit. Word is the former Penn State star should be fully cleared by early March from the injury, and just 24 years old, he will be intriguing. Washington showed they would spend for a wideout in 2017 with the Pryor signing, but they did so on a one-year deal. If Robinson finds the free agent market not as robust as he wants, maybe a similar short-term deal could be reached?
  • Reasonable: Colts WR Donte Moncrief - A third-round pick in 2014, Moncrief also had a big sophomore season in 2015. He grabbed 64 catches for 733 yards and six touchdowns. That was his only full 16-game season, as injuries have continued to be an issue for the 6-foot-2, 220 lbs. wideout out of Ole Miss. In 2016, only playing in nine games, he still contributed with seven touchdowns. In 2017, his numbers slipped big-time, and he posted less than 400 yards receiving in 12 games. Moncrief's problem isn't talent, it's health. That means he could be relatively cheap, and at just 24 years old, that contract might bring a strong return. 
  • Wild Card: Jets WR Eric Decker -  The Redskins have lacked a true veteran wideout since DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon left the team following the 2016 season. Decker will turn 31 in March and would give Washington a different presence in the WR meeting room. He posted two 1,000 yard seasons playing with Peyton Manning in Denver and went to the Super Bowl in 2013. In 2015, while teamed up with Ryan Fitzpatrick playing for the Jets, Decker again hit the 1,000-yard mark and hit the end zone 12 times. Throughout his career, Decker has been a solid red zone threat and has shown the ability to win on tough routes. He will need to take a big pay cut from the $4.5 million, one-year deal he signed in Tennessee in 2017, but that has to be expected considering his paltry production. In 16 games with the Titans, Decker logged 563 yards and only one TD. Decker might make sense, though the cost would need to be low. 

There are plenty of other names to watch, guys like Seattle's Paul Richardson or Buffalo's Jordan Matthews. Free agency opens in mid-March, and some connections between the Redskins and wideouts will start prior to that.

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