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Redskins Griffin among NFL's most influential but should he be?

Redskins Griffin among NFL's most influential but should he be?

It’s the time of the year for rankings and we’ve seen how one analyst ranks Robert Griffin III among the 32 NFL starting quarterbacks (spoiler: it couldn’t be much worse). But because Griffin has been so good and so bad during his brief NFL career, he is among the most influential players in the NFL, according to the same website that ranked him poorly among the starting QB’s.

The list is the MMQB 100, compiled by Peter King and his staff. The introduction to the list doesn’t give a firm definition of “influential” but it does say that they are emphasizing influence on the field over off-field concerns. Therefore Tom Brady is No. 1 while commissioner Rodger Goodell is No. 2. The list is a mix of players, coaches, front office types, league executives, and others around the game.

Griffin checks in at No. 28 on the list, just ahead of NFL vice president Eric Grubman and just behind Saints QB Drew Brees. In explaining the ranking, Andy Benoit (yes, the same writer that did the QB ranking, says that it wouldn’t be a stretch to consider the Redskins offense to be “loaded”. He notes the upgrade on the offensive line with Brandon Scherff, quality at running back in Alfred Morris and intriguing rookie Matt Jones, and top-shelf pass catchers in DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, and, if healthy, Jordan Reed. How productive they are will likely come down to the effectiveness of the guy pulling the trigger.

“The only real question is at quarterback,” writes Beniot. “Robert Griffin III is so badly lagging in his mechanics and understanding of defenses that the question isn’t how well Griffin will fare, but rather whether or not he’ll retain his starting job at all. If Griffin doesn’t keep the job this season, his once-promising career could be headed down the Tarvaris Jackson track, making coaches and GMs rethink the proposition of drafting a run-oriented quarterback.”

First, although it’s slightly off topic, let me address the Jackson comparison. Jackson never had a season remotely resembling Griffin’s 2012 season. In fact, Jackson’s career numbers in completion percentage, interception percentage, passer rating, and average net yards per attempt are worse than Griffin’s were last year, a performance that has everyone wondering about his future. So comparing Jackson to Griffin is not very credible.

Back to the topic at hand, Griffin could be highly influential in the team’s success but it’s possible that the less influential he is the better off the team will be. It seems that the team used a lot of resources this offseason to making the team less reliant on the quarterback to win games. With considerable free agent dollars going to attempt to upgrade the defense and the efforts to improve the running game, it seems that the Redskins would like to be able to win games when the quarterback play is uneven.

No doubt, if the defense gets better, the running game improves, and Griffin reverts to something close to 2012 form, the Redskins could have a good season. That’s why he is No. 28 on the list. But no matter where you rank Griffin, I don’t think that he should rank ahead of another member of the Redskins organization who is not on the list at all.

That would be new general manager Scot McCloughan, the man responsible for the personnel moves and a draft that possibly added some solid pieces for the future. The defense clearly will have his stamp on it, with three of the four secondary starters coming in under his watch as well at two thirds on the defensive line. If the Redskins do turn it around, McCloughan will be the man most responsible.

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Eagles

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, October 23, six days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles, 8:30 pm, ESPN

Days until:

—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 13
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 31

Final report on injures of note:
Out
: CB Josh Norman (rib),
Questionable: OT Trent Williams (knee)CB Bashaud Breeland (knee), S Deshazor Everett (hamstring), RB Rob Kelley (ankle),
See the full injury report and analysis here

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The first time these teams met, both scored defensive touchdowns. Ryan Kerrigan got the first Redskins points on the board with a pick six of Carson Wentz in the second quarter. With a minute and a half left, Fletcher Cox wrapped up the game for his team with a 20-yard return of a very controversial fumble. The difference tonight could well be a defensive or special teams score.

—In that game, the Redskins never let the Eagles get any sort of running game going. The Eagles rushed for 54 yards, the second-lowest total for a Washington opponent this year. And they had 24 attempts (2.4 yards per) so it wasn’t as though they didn’t try. The Redskins could use another strong effort against the run this time as well.

—I examined third downs in the first look at this game a few days ago. Since then, this was bought to my attention.

Third downs could be a fatal flaw for the Redskins. The Eagles’ ability to convert third and long situations was a key to them being able to survive without much of a running game in the opener. The Redskins need to hold the Eagles to 40 percent or less on all third downs and to 25 percent or less on third and long. And they will have to do it without Josh Norman, their best defensive back.

—In the first meeting, the matchup of the Redskins’ offensive line and the Eagles’ defensive front went decidedly in Philly’s direction. Washington rushed for just 64 yards and Kirk Cousins was sacked four times. There were plenty of concerns about the line, especially RT Morgan Moses, who gave up two sacks, and RG Brandon Scherff, who gave up four total pressures. Those two and the unit as a whole have been better since that game. The Redskins’ front will need to win that battle this time around.

Prediction: A Week 7 game is not really a must-win when you have a winning record. There is a lot of season left to be played. But if the Redskins are going to take the next step and stay in the thick of things for the ideal playoff seeding, they need to take this one. This year in the NFL, just when everyone thinks they have things figured out something happens to flip the script. Everyone now figures that the Eagles are the best team in the NFC and perhaps the best in the NFL. They are ripe for an upset.

Redskins 24, Eagles 20

Season prediction record: 2-3

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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Trent Williams needs knee surgery eventually, but the timeline has many factors

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Trent Williams needs knee surgery eventually, but the timeline has many factors

PHILADELPHIA — Arguably the Redskins best player, all of the NFL knows that Trent Williams can still play at a high level while dealing with injury. 

How long Williams can play though injury seems the more important question though as reports emerged the left tackle will need knee surgery at some point. That could come in the next few weeks, or as Redskins fans hope, perhaps at the end of the season.

Currently playing with a torn medial patella-femoral ligament in his right knee, the six-time Pro Bowler has not practiced since sustaining the injury three weeks ago in Kansas City. He was able to gut out a strong performance last week against the 49ers, and is expected to do the same Monday night against the Eagles.

One factor that might be pushing Williams to play with such a damaged right leg is that backup tackle Ty Nsekhe is also out after having surgery on his core muscles. 

MORE: REDSKINS WEEKLY MVPS FOR EVERY GAME THUS FAR

Nsekhe is expected back relatively soon, but the timeline remains murky. When he can come back, perhaps Williams will reconsider his options. 

Surgery for the torn MPFL will leave Williams with a five or six-month recovery. 

It's obvious the Redskins' offense is best with Williams on the field. Nsekhe, however, proved a capable backup last season when Williams served a four-game suspension. 

Without Nsekhe, the Redskins would go to veteran T.J. Clemmings should Williams be unable to play. Nsekhe has not played since a Week 3 win over Oakland. The Redskins added Clemmings to the roster in early September, after their fourth preseason game. He spent the last two seasons with the Vikings. 

For now, the Redskins will continue to hope Williams can play through the pain.

"Trent is a tough guy, so we will see how it works, see how feels tomorrow and go from there," Jay Gruden said of Williams on Saturday. 

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