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Instant analysis: Redskins 38, Vikings 26

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Instant analysis: Redskins 38, Vikings 26

If there was any doubt about Robert Griffin III’s health, the Redskins’ rookie put those concerns to rest Sunday at FedEx Field.

Griffin, who suffered a concussion last week, returned to the lineup and engineered a 38-26 victory over the Vikings that snapped Washington’s NFL worst eight-game losing streak in Landover, a drought that stretched back more 13 months.

The quarterback also recorded the top highlight of his young career late in the fourth quarter of a game that had suddenly drawn close. With the Redskins’ 19-point second half lead whittled to 31-26, Griffin took a quarterback draw 76 yards for touchdown, his second of the day. The scintillating score not only brought fans out of their seats, it put the game out of the visitors’ reach.
 
More important than the electrifying run, though, Griffin appears to have returned to the Redskins’ lineup a more mature player.

Griffin elicited smart-alecky cheers in the first quarter when he scooted out of bounds on a scramble. Seven days ago, he might have attempted to turn up the field and, perhaps, left himself open to the type of big hit that knocked him from last week’s loss to the Falcons.

In the second quarter, Griffin tossed the ball away as he scrambled toward the sideline. He took a shot from Minnesota linebacker Erin Henderson anyway, then complained to a nearby official. A second later, the official threw a flag.

Lesson learned? Time will tell, but Griffin certainly exhibited a new wrinkle in his game: concern for his own well being without appearing overly cautious.

Griffin finished the game 17 of 22 for 182 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also rushed for a career-high 139 yards and a pair of scores. The two rushing touchdowns were his fifth and sixth, which gives him the most in a single season by Redskins’ quarterback – just six games into the campaign.

Early on, it appeared that they might be in for a long afternoon after yielding Vikings’ field goals on the visitors’ first three possessions of the game.

But they closed the first half on 17-0 run thanks to Griffin and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, who recovered a Christian Ponder fumble at the Minnesota 6-yard line with 2:14 left in the second quarter. One play later, Griffin connected with fullback Darrel Young for a touchdown.
 
Griffin stretched the lead to 24-9 on the first drive of the third quarter with a 7-yard touchdown run. Then, early in the fourth quarter, safety Madieu Williams returned an interception 24 yards for a score that put the Redskins ahead 31-12. Williams’ touchdown was the fourth of the season for the Redskins, the unit’s most since 1999. The team also has 49 points on turnovers through six games – six more points than they accumulated all last season.

The Redskins’ new kicker, Kai Forbath, also got off to a promising start, booting a 50-yard field goal. It was the first of the 25-year-old’s career.

The victory was the Redskins’ first at FedEx Field since a 22-21 victory over the Cardinals on Sept. 18, 2011.

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Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Everything in the NFL feels like a powder keg, but the reality of Tuesday's opening of the franchise and transition tag period will play out as much more of a slow burn.

Few teams ever actually make moves on the opening day of the tag period, though the Dolphins bucked that conventional wisdom and used the non-exclusive franchise designation on wide receiver Jarvis Landry. 

Astute Redskins fans know the tag system all too well. Landry can now sign a one-year, fully guaranteed contract with the Dolphins worth more than $16 million, the average of the top-five paid receivers in the NFL.

They can also trade Landry and the compensation discussion with a non-exclusive tag begins at two first-round draft picks, though it can eventually be settled for much less. 

RELATED: BEST AND WORST OF REDSKINS' FIRST-ROUND DRAFT HISTORY

What, if anything, does Miami's move mean for the Redskins? Let's take a look:

  1. Not gonna work here - Landry never really seemed like a great fit for the Redskins as a free agent, and that was before the franchise tag. He's a really good slot WR, but Washington already has that in Jamison Crowder. Whether or not Landry actually gets a deal done with the Dolphins or gets traded, it seems highly unlikely the Redskins are his next team. 
  2. "Spirit of the tag" - Miami putting the tag on Landry so early in the process signals that the team might be trying to trade him instead of actually trying to sign him. If that's the case, and plenty of people are suggesting just that, it would seem to be in contrast with the "spirit of the tag." The idea is that a franchise or transition tag is supposed to be used as a tool by an NFL franchise to get a long-term deal done with one of their own players facing free agency. Using the tag as a mechanism to pull of a trade seems very different. Why does any of this matter for Redskins fans? As reports emerged that Washington might look to use a tag on Kirk Cousins and work to trade him, the Cousins camp has made clear they would file a grievance against that technique. Why? Because it would violate the spirit of the tag. Well, it sure looks like Miami is doing the same thing, and as of now, nobody has complained. The situations aren't identical; few resemble the Redskins long, slow, awkward dance with Cousins. But it's certainly worth monitoring. 
  3. Wide Receiver$ - The Redskins could use a veteran wideout to help their young group of Crowder and Josh Doctson. Well, with Landry getting tagged, the price tag just went up. The player that seems to make the most sense in Washington would be Jaguars wideout Allen Robinson. Coming off a knee injury in 2017, some thought Robinson could be signed on a somewhat team-friendly deal. If Landry can get franchised after a season where he didn't even get to 1,000 yards receiving, any thought of a team-friendly deal for Robinson is dead. Make no mistake, Landry and Robinson are good players, but the ever-increasing NFL salary cap will make both young receivers very well paid. 

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Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

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Associated Press

Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 21, 21 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 Redskins appear to be set at center

Originally published 12/19/17

Chase Roullier might have been the Redskins’ fourth choice to play at center this year. But he could be snapping the ball for Washington for a long time.

Kory Lichtensteiger, the starter for the previous three years when healthy, retired. Veteran backup John Sullivan departed as a free agent. Spencer Long started six games this season before knee and quad problems pushed him to the sideline, elevating the rookie Roullier into the starting lineup.

The sixth-round pick started three games before breaking his right hand at some point during the game against the Saints. That’s his snapping hand and him finishing that game was an underrated act of courage this year. But he was out for three games before returning against the Cardinals on Sunday. Jay Gruden was pleased with his play. 

“Chase did good. He did good,” said Gruden. “It was good to see him back in there. His snaps were outstanding and handled the calls and play well.”

That was good but standard praise. What was interesting was what he said next.  

“I like Chase’s progress right now,” he said. “I think he is going to be a very good center for a long time here. It was a great pickup for us in the draft.”

It appears that you can at least pencil in Roullier as the 2018 starter at center, if not put him in with a Sharpie.

Where would this leave Long, who is slated to be a free agent in March? The Redskins could let him walk and go with the younger and cheaper Roullier. They also could sign him to be their starting left guard. That job has belonged to Shawn Lauvao. But Lauvao also is a pending free agent and he is 30 and he has missed large chunks of two of the last three seasons with injuries. When he missed the last 13 games of the 2015 season, Long went in at left guard and played well.

If that happens, that would give the Redskins a starting offensive line consisting entirely of players drafted by the team and with only Trent Williams over the age of 27 in Week 1 of 2018.

Regardless of what happens at left guard, it looks like Roullier will be the man in the middle for 2018 and beyond.

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) 8
—NFL Draft (4/26) 64
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 200