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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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Redskins leave Philadelphia with more injuries than they came in with, somehow

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Redskins leave Philadelphia with more injuries than they came in with, somehow

The Redskins went into Lincoln Financial Field somewhat banged up. They left in worse shape than they were when they arrived.

The most significant injury seemed to be to guard Brandon Scherff. Coach Jay Gruden said that he had an MCL injury and that he will get an MRI on Tuesday. He left the game late in the third quarter and did not return. Scherff rarely takes plays off and the feeling is that he could have a significant injury. He headed to the team bus to the airport with a brace on the knee.

OT Trent Williams came into the game with a patella injury in his knee and he aggravated it late in the game, missing the Redskins’ last couple of possessions. He did not practice all week to rest the injury. We will see as the week goes by if the injury will allow Williams to continue to play.

OT Morgan Moses sprained both ankles and he returned to the game after each injury. He undoubtedly will be very sore tomorrow and we will see how he recovers.

MORE: FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM A DISCOURAGING LOSS

The other reported injuries were more minor in nature, although they could cost the players some games. CB Fabian Moreau had a hamstring strain and he left the game. OLB Preston Smith, who has been one of the team’s best pass rushers this year, left the game with a groin strain. He attempted to return but he had to go back out. CB Josh Holsey had a chest contusion and he returned after going to the locker room to be examined.

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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Five takeaways from the Redskins' discouraging 34-24 loss vs. the Eagles

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USA TODAY Sports

Five takeaways from the Redskins' discouraging 34-24 loss vs. the Eagles

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ 34-24 loss to the Eagles:

The Redskins have to keep the hammer down—They scored the first time they had the ball and then they had a few empty possessions. Washington took a 10-3 lead but the Redskins then got into the cycle of short, ineffective offensive possessions getting their defense back on the field too soon. The way Carson Wentz is playing, if you give him enough chances you will pay for it.

They won’t win if they don’t run—The running backs carries 14 times. Sure, the game got away in the second half, reducing their opportunities, but the rushing game was an issue throughout. In the first half they had a pair of third and ones and a third and two and they passed all three times. All three were incomplete, which led to the issues in the first item here. If the Redskins have a balanced offense they have a shot at beating almost anyone. If they don’t run the ball enough the odds are against them.

MORE: REDSKINS OFFENSIVE, DEFENSIVE MVP FOR PHILLY GAME

Redskins fans have the Cleveland Browns to thank for 10 years of Wentz—The Browns played Moneyball and traded the rights to draft Wentz to the Eagles. Like just about everything the Browns do, it didn’t work out. Now the Redskins, Giants, and Cowboys will pay for the Browns’ mistake for years to come. That run out of the pack of rushing linemen was both amazing and critical. It turned a punt back to the Redskins, who were down by seven, into a first down and an eventual touchdown.

The defense needs to get itself off the field—It’s easy to blame the offense for the problems with possessing the ball. But the defense could do its part, too, by getting itself off the field. At times, it feels like the Redskins’ defense is better than it has been in years but they gave up touchdown drives of 81, 80, 80, and 75 yards. At some point you have to show you’re better and get a takeaway or just make a stop to get off the field. Until then, the group has not improved in a meaningful way. I should note that the injuries have something to do with it, for sure. Dunbar did not play poorly but they pay Josh Norman $15 million per year for a reason.

There is a lot of season left to be played—The Redskins are 3-3 and two games away from the midway point to the season. They would have to rely on an Eagles’ collapse to win the NFC East but it’s entirely possible that they could. All but one other second-place team has three losses and the Redskins get their shot at the Seahawks in a couple of weeks. Fans have every right to feel frustrated after this loss but it’s not the end of the line. There still is plenty for this team to play for. Some of the injured players aren’t coming back but if they can round into reasonably good health in the next few weeks they still have a lot that they can accomplish.

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.