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Need to Know: Is Redskins quarterback RG3 really "done"?

Need to Know: Is Redskins quarterback RG3 really "done"?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 24, 6 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

I’ll also take your Need to Know questions via email. Hit me up rich.tandler+csn@gmail.com with “NTK” in the subject line. Just keep them relatively brief, please. 

Today’s question comes from Twitter:

Those are really two different concepts there so I’ll address them separately.

Has he hit rock bottom? If last November wasn’t rock bottom, I don’t know what is.

—In a game against the Bucs he was awful, throwing two interceptions, taking six sacks, and either not seeing or missing open receives. After the game a firestorm was created when he said, “It doesn’t just take one guy and that is proven. If you want to look at the good teams in this league and the great quarterbacks, the Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Mannings, those guys don’t play well if their guys don’t play well.” Although those were taken out of context from a postgame talk that had plenty of instances if Griffin taking responsibility, that was widely interpreted as him throwing his teammates under the bus. Speaking to the media the next day, Jay Gruden said, “From his basic performance, just critiquing Robert, it was not even close to being good enough to what we expect from that quarterback position.”

—After another shaky performance, this one against the 49ers, Griffin was benched in favor of journeyman Colt McCoy.

A quarterback who was the rookie of the year just two seasons earlier can’t get much lower than being ripped by the national media, perhaps unfairly, getting harshly critiqued by his coach during a press conference, and getting benched in favor of McCoy. So answers the second part of the question.

Is Griffin done? I think it is foolish to say that a 25-year-old quarterback who has had the success that Griffin has had is “done”. There simply is too much physical ability there to think that it is impossible for him to put it together.

The anonymous poll respondent to the ESPN survey said that Griffin is done in part because his legs are shot. I just don’t believe that. As evidence, I present Griffin’s 2013 season. To be sure, that year was a major letdown and he clearly was hampered by the lingering effects of the major knee injury he suffered during a playoff game in January of that year. But if you look at his numbers, most of the major stats were right around the NFL average or better in some cases. Griffin completed 60.1 percent of his passes (league averaged in 2013 was 61.2%), had 2.6 percent of his passes intercepted (avg. 2.8%), averaged 7.0 yards per attempt (avg. 7.1) and had a passer rating of 82.2 (avg. 84.1).

In short, starting the season nine months after reconstructive knee surgery and playing with a bulky brace, Griffin was about an average NFL quarterback. That’s not what the Redskins want him to be in the long term but the point is that he can be productive even playing essentially on one leg.

That same respondent said that Griffin’s “ego” would not allow him to do what it takes to get better. We don’t know who this person was so we have no way of knowing if he is in a position to gauge Griffin’s ego and the affect it has on what he is willing to do.

But will he grind his way back? Or does believe that a tweak here or there will fix things? He can be fine physically but if he is not mentally prepared to do what it takes to improve, whether it's his "ego" or whatever else that's in the way, he will be spinning his wheels—and the franchise along with him.

Timeline

—It’s been 208 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 51 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 6; Preseason opener @ Browns 20; final cuts 43

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 23, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. Giants, NBC, 8:30  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 7
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 17
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 24

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Giants

Look out for Eli—There are many reasons why the Giants are 2-8 but Eli Manning is not one of them. He isn’t nearly the turnover machine he has been for much of his career. His interception percentage this year is 1.6; he hasn’t been under 2.3 percent interceptions this decade. Manning only has 14 touchdown passes but considering that Odell Beckham, who went out in the fourth game of the season, still leads Giants wide receivers in touchdown receptions, that’s not bad.

Running game stuck—What makes Manning’s performance even more impressive is the fact that he doesn’t get much support from a running game. The Giants are 26th in the league with 920 yards. They have gained some traction lately after installing Orleans Darkwa as the starting running back; he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry for the season and 71 yards per game over the last three games. The Redskins certainly don’t want to let him get going tonight.

Reverting to reality—The Giants ranked 32nd in total defense in 2015. They dropped millions on free agents such as Janoris Jenkins, David Harrison, and Olivier Vernon and jumped to 10th. Now, this year they are 31st and equally bad against the pass (29th) and the run (30th). Health hasn’t been a huge issue, although Vernon has missed a few games and Jenkins was suspended. Redskins fans know full well that spending sprees don’t necessarily make for permanent improvements and Giants fans are learning it this year.

Keys to winning

  • Run the ballThe Redskins are 4-2 this year when rushing for 90 yards or more.
  • Continue to protect the ball—The Redskins have turned the ball over just twice in their last three games.
  • Don’t give them hope—The Chiefs let the Giants hang around last week and New York stole a win. The Redskins need to get on top early and mash down on the gas pedal.

Prediction—It’s hard to see a scenario where the Redskins lose this one. Even in their injury-depleted state they are battling every game and the same can’t be said for their opponents today. The weather forecast is for cold temperatures but not much wind, ideal conditions for Cousins to throw for 300 yards. For once, the Redskins get up early and keep going.

Redskins 31, Giants 13

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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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game. 

Let's be honest: the call was terrible.

Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation. 

We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.

The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan). 

Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.

If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong. 

You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.

Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.