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Need to Know: RG3 benched--The beginning of the end? Or the end of the beginning?

Need to Know: RG3 benched--The beginning of the end? Or the end of the beginning?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, November 26, four days before the Washington Redskins travel to Indianapolis to play the Colts.

RG3 benched

—In case you missed the news, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported late last night that the Redskins will bench Robert Griffin III and start Colt McCoy at quarterback against the Colts on Sunday. Other media sources have confirmed the report.

—There was ample foreshadowing for this move. Looking back over the notes from Monday’s conference call with Jay Gruden, he said that he and the staff were looking over the 49ers game film to see what needed to be done to get an offense that had scored just 20 points in the last two games going. At the same time, he praised the play of Alfred Morris, said that the offensive line executed against the run well and although there were protection issues they got something of a pass because of who they were up against and because rookie Morgan Moses was the left tackle. And Gruden said that he understood the frustration of the receivers because they were doing their jobs but not getting the ball. That left just one position, quarterback, that wasn’t holding up its end of the deal.

—Is this the fair thing to do, the right thing to do, after 33 career starts for Griffin and four under Gruden’s offense? That is a fairly small sample size but I think what led Gruden to come to the conclusion to sit Griffin is the lack of progress. It wouldn’t be reasonable to expect Griffin to have mastered the offense by this time. But after having worked OTAs, minicamp, training camp, the preseason, and those four games, I think it was reasonable to expect Griffin to be playing better than he is now, much better. There has been frustration with his inability to execute some of the basic concepts in the offense since training camp.

—Is this the end for Griffin in Washington? Maybe. But he’s going to cost the Redskins $6.7 million against the cap next year whether they keep him or release him. If they can persuade a team to trade for an underperforming quarterback with a $3.3 million guaranteed contract the Redskins would have $3.4 million in dead cap to deal with. Might he be better if he has to push to compete for the job? Or would he be too much of a distraction on the bench?

—Griffin likes to quote Winston Churchill. The British leader once looked at a very different situation, a world war, and said that a particular event may not have been the beginning of the end but it may have been the end of the beginning. That may be what we have here in regards to Griffin’s tenure in Washington. It may not be over but it certainly marks the start of a phase very different from the beginning, the two and a half years since he was drafted.

—My friend Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders sent me this: The Redskins have averaged 1.26 points per drive with Griffin under center. With McCoy and Kirk Cousins, both of whom also have had limited time to learn the offense, they have averaged 1.99 points per drive. To put those numbers in perspective, with Cousins/McCoy the Washington offense is similar to that of the Falcons, who are 12th in the league in scoring. With Griffin, they are like the Jaguars, who are 32nd in scoring.

—One of the reasons that I have been skeptical of making a move like this is that I’m not sure the Colt McCoy will end up being a major improvement. Yes, he has the 107 passer rating in a game and a half and has left the field a winner twice. But I look at his career record with a completion rate of under 60 percent, 21 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions, and a passer rating of 74 and winder if he can keep it up. Yes, he has better offensive weapons here than he had in Cleveland and maybe that will help. But opposing defensive coordinators now have six quarters of film on him in this offense and we will see if knowledge is power in this case.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 1:00; Player availability and Jay Gruden news conference after practice, approx. 3:00

Days until: Redskins @ Colts 4; Rams @ Redskins 11; 2015 NFL Draft 154

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

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As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

Kirk Cousins repeatedly said his free agent decision will not be just about money. Be clear, however, that money will be a huge factor in this decision. 

After the Redskins traded with Kansas City to acquire Alex Smith before the Super Bowl, it became obvious Washington will move on from Cousins. Whether that means the quarterback simply walks away in free agency or the organization attempts a highly risky tag-and-trade scenario, regardless, Cousins will throw footballs for another franchise in 2018.

Cousins wants to choose where he will play via free agency, and might even file a grievance if the Redskins do deploy a third franchise tag to control his rights.

Assuming Cousins hits free agency, a new report out of New York suggests the Jets will pay "whatever it takes" to land the passer. That could even include a fully guaranteed contract, and will certainly get close to a $30 million a year price tag. 

A notion exists too that Cousins might take less to go to a winner, and many think that could be the Broncos. Denver won five games in 2017, same as the Jets, though the Broncos have a strong defense and have been getting particularly awful QB play. 

The important thing to remember for curious Redskins fans watching the Cousins saga unfold: Don't expect much, if any, discount. 

The quarterback himself made that clear. 

"There’s other quarterbacks that come after you and it would be almost a selfish move to hurt future quarterbacks who get in a position to have a contract," Cousins said last year on 106.7 the Fan.

The quotes came after the 2016 season but before the Redskins again used a franchise tag with Cousins for the 2017 season. Washington wanted to attempt a long-term deal with Cousins at that point, though the quarterback decided to not negotiate and instead play on the tag.

The point remains that Cousins, and his representatives, believe the quarterback has a duty to other players to maximize his earnings. 

"If you don’t take a deal that’s fair to you, then you’re also taking a deal that’s not fair to them and you’re setting them back as well. So there’s different reasons. You just do the best you can."

If he hits free agency, Cousins will likely sign the richest contract in NFL history. Those opportunities don't come around often, and the quarterback should take full advantage. 

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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 19, 23 days before NFL free agency starts.

Monday musings

—One possible solution to the left guard spot is perhaps being overlooked. Ty Nsekhe played there some last year, starting the game in Dallas and playing there until Morgan Moses got injured, forcing him to move to right tackle. Nsekhe is slated to be a restricted free agent but his return is likely. In December I asked Jay Gruden if Nsekhe might move to guard in 2018. “I think Ty is a big man and a very good tackle, but in the offseason when we have more time, maybe we can feature him at some guard when we’ve got all our guys back,” he said. “Feature him some” doesn’t mean that they will make him a starter; perhaps they want him to be the top option to fill in at four of the five OL positions. But it’s something to keep an eye on if they don’t land a left guard solution in free agency or the draft.

—When I posted about Albert Breer’s report that Kirk Cousins would file a grievance if the Redskins put the franchise tag on him in an effort to trade him, I pulled up a copy of the CBA to see the language on which Cousins could base his case. I read through the Article 10, which deals with the franchise tag twice and I saw nothing of it. But Mike Florio found it in Article 4, the one that deals with player contracts. “A Club extending a Required Tender must, for so long as that Tender is extended, have a good faith intention to employ the player receiving the Tender at the Tender compensation level during the upcoming season.” Since the Redskins clearly have no intention of employing Cousins after the Alex Smith trade, this seems to be a fairly simple case. In reality, it never is.

—I tweeted this last week:

However, possible cap casualties from other teams are not included in that group. That won’t turn the pool of players who will become available to sign into a bunch of potential franchise changers. Still, there could be a number of players in whom the Redskins could be interested in like RB DeMarco Murray, WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Torrey Smith, edge rusher Elvis Dumervil, and DL Brandon Mebane. A plus to signing players who have been waived is that they don’t count in the formula that determines compensatory draft picks. The Redskins have never really paid attention to that in the past but with potential high comp picks at stake if they lose both Kirk Cousins and Bashaud Breeland, this could be a good year to start.

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) 10
—NFL Draft (4/26) 66
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 202

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