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Need to Know: Who makes the call on RG3?

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Need to Know: Who makes the call on RG3?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, August 25, two days before the Washington Redskins play the Baltimore Ravens.

Question of the day

Today's question is from the Real Redskins Facebook page:

First off, I don't know for certain what the decision making process regarding Griffin is and I doubt that anybody outside of the Redskins' chain of command does. But there are tea leaves that can be read and this is how I read them. Again, to be clear, this is not reporting hard facts, this is my informed speculation.

The decision to forego a quarterback competition and make Robert Griffin III the starter was an organizational decision. As is often the case, not everyone in the organization necessarily agreed with the decision. It seems likely that Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder favored giving Griffin another year since they were involved in the decision to pay a record price to move up in the 2012 draft to take him. Jay Gruden probably either wanted a competition or to declare either Kirk Cousins or Colt McCoy the starter.

Where did Scot McCloughan stand? He may not have liked what he saw from Griffin on tape. He may not have liked what he saw from any of the three quarterbacks. But he also looked at a roster full of holes and realized that the getting a better option at quarterback into the building would not be possible without sacrificing the draft choices or cap dollars necessary to rebuild the team. Logic says that he was OK with keeping the same group of quarterbacks and giving Griffin one last shot. He proceeded to build the defense and bolster the running game in hopes that the team could be competitive in games without relying so much on the quarterback playing well.

Why not a QB competition? Those aren’t always the best thing for the team. For one, a competition can create divisions in the locker room. But perhaps the worst aspect of a competition is that the two or three players split the first-team reps through OTAs, minicamp, and training camp. That means that the winner of the competition will have had only a third to a half of the first-team reps. That has your starter starting off the season behind the eight-ball.

The other thing is that competitions are all too frequently not really competitions. You’re going to have a hard time convincing me that Ryan Mallett, whose two-year contract with the Texans pays him $7 million with $1.75 million guaranteed was ever going to start in Houston over Brian Hoyer, who got two years, $10.5 million with $4.75 million guaranteed. They had “competition” that Hoyer “won”. Now he gets to play catch up thanks to all of the reps with the starters he has missed.

But back to the Redskins. While the decision-making process that ended with Griffin being named the starter is interesting, it's academic. It's done, history. What matters now is who will be involved in the decision to pull the plug, should that call need to be made. If a decision to keep a struggling Griffin on the field is made by Allen and Snyder over the objections of the football people, McCloughan and Gruden, things could get ugly. The good news is that that the contracts of McCloughan and Gruden give them the authority to set the lineups and say who is on the roster. Of course it may not be wise to go against the wishes of the team owner and president but they can do it if they have the guts.

It doesn’t have to be ugly. The best-case scenario is things working out for Griffin and him showing that he can be the quarterback of the future. But if he shows that he can’t get it done, the optimal scenario is that all of the key decision makers agree on best time is to pull the plug.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:10 a.m.; player availability and Jay Gruden news conference after practice (approx. 12:30)

—It’s been 242 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 17 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason Redskins @ Ravens 2; final cuts 9; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 28

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Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Giants

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Need to Know: Last look at Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, November 25, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 15
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 22
—Broncos @ Redskins Christmas Eve (12/24) 29

Last look at Redskins vs Giants

Defense is on again—The Redskins have not played well on defense the last couple of weeks, allowing a total of 72 points to the Vikings and Saints. But they had a solid game against the Giants, with some help from inaccurate Eli Manning passes and some drops. But the numbers are what they are and they say three points allowed (not counting the seven on the pick six) and 170 yards of offense for New York. It’s the second time this year the Redskins have held an opponent to 170 yards or fewer (Raiders got 128 in week 3). It’s the first time the Redskins have held two opponents to 170 or fewer in the same season since 2004. For the Giants, it was their lowest offensive output since 2013.

Kirk Cousins’ night—Is it fair to say that he had a solid outing? Or is that not enough? He did lead a drive to the winning touchdown in the latter half of the fourth quarter of a tie game. The Redskins have won five games and Cousins has fourth-quarter game-winning drives in four of them. On Thursday, he completed 61 percent of his passes for 7.8 yards per attempt with two touchdowns and an interception that only the harshest critics (and there are many out there) would pin on him. Both of the TDs were special plays in their own ways. Cousins did take six sacks—those are not all on the makeshift offensive line—and he misfired on some passes. He deserves a solid B+ grade for the game.

Hall sits—A lot of people were alarmed by what they saw out of DeAngelo Hall in New Orleans, especially in the late going as Drew Brees got hot. Apparently, the Redskins’ coaches were among them. Even with starter Montae Nicholson sidelined with a concussion, Hall did not play a single snap on defense. It will be interesting to see if he is inactive when Nicholson is ready to play, possibly as early as next Thursday.

On a streak—No, not in the big wins column. I’m talking about winning the opening coin toss. The Redskins have now won two in a row. In the nine games prior to that, the Redskins had extraordinarily bad luck, going 2-7 in the 50-50 proposition. It remains very much in vogue for teams to defer after winning the toss. That has been the choice of the winners of the toss in 10 of the Redskins’ 11 games. The only team that chose to receive after winning the toss was the Raiders in Week 3.

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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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

For years, the Redskins struggle with their home field as the fall turns to winter. It's been happening so long it's become an expected passing of the seasons, like the transition from Halloween jack-o-lanterns to Christmas lights dotting people's front yards. 

Well, on Thanksgiving night, the turf at FedEx Field again showed how bad it can be. On a second half interception returned for a New York Giants touchdown, replay showed that Kirk Cousins' foot got stuck on the dirt, and it played a role in his sailing a ball to the sideline. The bad turf was not the only reason for the interception, but it was definitely a reason. 

Beyond the pick, the field was just ugly. Twitter blew up making fun of the Redskins home grass, and the national broadcast showed just how unsightly the long brown patch between the hash marks looked. 

On Friday, the normally diplomatic Cousins opened up about the grass.

"It probably doesn't look like a professional NFL field should," the quarterback said on 106.7 the Fan (full audio here). "If you think the field is rough now on Thanksgiving, we've got two more home games in mid-to-late December. That's probably going to be a bigger challenge."

Asked about the field's impact on the interception on Thursday night, Cousins ignored it. But plenty of other players have suggested the field is a known problem in the second half, and something they just must deal with. 

"I don't know why it is that way or what causes it," Cousins said. "I've kind of learned to accept it and understand it's part of the deal. Playing here on the field has never been that great in the second half of the season for whatever the reason."

[h/t @BenStandig for the Cousins quotes]

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