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Griffin vs. Luck, Round 1

Griffin vs. Luck, Round 1

What: Redskins vs. ColtsWhere: FedEx Field, Landover, Md.When: Saturday, 4 p.m.TV: Comcast SportsNet, NBC 4
Theywent 1-2 in the NFL draft in April.Theyfinished 1-2 in the Heisman Trophy voting four months earlier.Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. RobertGriffin III and Andrew Luck.LikeMagic and Bird, the dueling quarterbacks will be forever linked because of theproximity in which they were drafted and because of the intriguing situations theyinherited. Griffinis being counted upon to revitalize a Redskins franchise thats made theplayoffs exactly three times since 1992. Luck, meantime, is expected to replacefuture hall of famer Peyton Manning.AlthoughGriffin and Lucks paths have crossed a number of times in recent months,theyll meet on the gridiron for the first time Saturday in one of the NFLs mostanticipated preseason games. Both signal callers are expected to play into thethird quarter, so it also figures to be the first prolonged look at them.Throughtwo exhibition games, Griffin and Luck each have shown flashes of brilliance, as well as the misstepsto be expected of a rookie. Luckhas completed 26 of his 41 pass attempts for 363 yards and two touchdowns. Hesalso been intercepted twice, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Griffin,on the other hand, has only attempted 14 passes in two games, completing nineof them. Hes also shown the propensity to hold onto the football too long andhas lost two fumbles.Tenyears from now, the following question will be posed: Andrew Luck or RobertGriffin III?Ina matter of hours, the argument will begin.Although itsthe big story, it's not the only one. The csnwashington.com staff will bekeeping tabs on a number of other competitions that have yet to be settled. Amongthem:1) Thebattle at wide receiver has evolved into the tightest and most intense competitionin the Redskins' camp. Andit could get even more convoluted if Anthony Armstrong has a big performanceagainst the Colts. Armstrong has missed the first two preseason contests with asprained right shoulder. While he sat out, BrandonBanks, Dezmon Biscoe and Aldrick Robinson all scored touchdownsin Chicago. Robinson also amassed 104 yards on six receptions in that game.InArmstrongs own words, time is short to snag one of the remaining two spots.If hes going to do it, the 29-year-old must be a standout on offense andspecial teams Saturday.2) Thesituation at running back is almost as muddled due to injuries that haveinflicted three-fourths of the players competing for playing time in Coach Mike Shanahans backfield. Thisweek, second-year players Evan Royster(knee) and Roy Helu Jr. (two soreAchilles tendons) are expected to be sidelined. Tim Hightower, meantime, is expected tosuit up for the first time since tearing the ACL in his left knee in Week 5last season. Hightower is listed as the Redskins No. 1 running back on theteams depth chart, but thats of little comfort to the 26-year-old.Hethought he was ready to go, Shanahan said. Hes had enough reps in practicewhere hes feeling comfortable with it.WithRoyster and Helu out and Hightower not expected to start, that meansrookie Alfred Morris figures to getthe nod for the second consecutive week. Morris gained 38 yards on his firstfive carries last week in Chicago, but was held to minus-4 yards on his next fivecarries.Shanahanwants consistency, and Morris has yet to deliver it.3)Some of Morris second quarter struggles against the Bears were the result of apatchwork offensive line that couldnt contain defensive ends Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije. Griffinwas sacked three times for a total loss of 19 yards, just one game after he washardly touched by the Bills, while Morris was stopped twice for no game and two other times for a loss in the span of two series.Thegood news is the unit appears to be getting healthier as the regular season approaches.Left tackle Trent Williams wasnt100-percent at Soldier Field due to a bone bruise in his left foot, but he saidhes improving daily. Right guard ChrisChester (sprained left ankle) could return against the Colts after missingboth of the previous exhibitions, and left guard Kory Lichtensteiger (right knee surgery) said he hopes to returnfor the regular season opener.Lichtensteiger,however, wont be ready Saturday and theres no guarantee hell be ready fornext month in New Orleans. So it will be important for Williams, Maurice Hurt, Will Montgomery, Chester and TylerPolumbus to keep Griffin upright and open holes for Morris and Co.

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Need to Know: Five Redskins who must step up in 2018

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Need to Know: Five Redskins who must step up in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, February 25, 17 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

Five Redskins who will have to step up in 2018

Originally published 12/26/17

WR Josh Doctson—This list is in no particular order but if it was, Doctson would be right here at the top. The watchword for Doctson is consistency. He makes some incredible catches and then there are throws that he drops or doesn’t quite seem to make enough of an effort to catch. There is promise there. The first-round pick has shown his ability and his teammates say he has a chance to be elite. But the potential must translate into production on the field, week in and week out.  

RB Samaje Perine—There is plenty of chatter about the Redskins’ need to sign or draft a top running back. But a look at this team’s recent history tells us that they are unlikely to invest major assets in the position. That means that Perine, a fourth-round pick in 2017, will have to become a more consistent runner. It’s not all his fault that he hasn’t done much since he had back-to-back 100-yard games in Weeks 11-12; tough defense, offensive line issues, and game score situations have slowed his production. But he needs to be consistently productive in 2018 no matter who he lines up against.

CB Josh Norman—Unless he gets a pick against the Giants, he will go through the year without any interceptions. Sure, they don’t throw his way all that often and INT’s don’t give you the complete picture of his play. But a CB taking up $20 million in cap room needs to get a couple of picks almost by sheer accident. Norman battled some injury problems and if he wants to justify the final two years and $23 million of salary remaining on his contract, his age 30 2018 season needs to be more impactful.

OLB Preston Smith—The third-year player started strong, with at least half a sack in the first five games. And he’s finishing strong, with three sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble in the last two games. But in between, he had a total of just half a sack in eight games. This follows the pattern he displayed his first two years in the league of being dominant in some games and invisible in others. If he can develop some consistency in his 2018 contract year, he could cash in huge in free agency the following year.

Head coach Jay Gruden—Normally I only include players on lists like this one but if Gruden doesn’t do something to get the Redskins out of their near-.500 rut then nothing else will matter. He needs to change up something, whether it’s pushing the players hard in training camp or perhaps fine tuning his friendly approach to the players. Sure, better luck regarding injuries and a schedule that right now appears to be a bit less challenging will help. But Gruden needs to look at what he can change, too.

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:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 4
—NFL Draft (4/26) 60
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 196

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

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:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197