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Redskins' Gruden sees RG3 in a 'steady climb'


Redskins' Gruden sees RG3 in a 'steady climb'

RICHMOND—The last three Redskins training camps have been focused on quarterback Robert Griffin III. In 2012 the spotlight was on the charismatic Heisman trophy winner as he prepared for his first NFL season. The following year camp was all about both Griffin’s sensational rookie year and his rehab from a knee injury that ended that season on a sour note, along with Griffin’s verbal sparring and war of wills with head coach Mike Shanahan. Last year camp focused on Griffin’s adjustment to new head coach Jay Gruden’s offense.

But this year? Griffin had a news conference before the first practice and he said nothing controversial or even all that interesting. Gruden answered questions from the media daily for the first four days of practice and did not get one question about Griffin.

Perhaps the media could be accused of focusing too much on negative news about Griffin. When it was apparent to all that he was struggling to pick up Gruden’s offense last year there were frequent questions about what was going wrong. Griffin often spoke the media after practice and Gruden press conferences were peppered with questions about the quarterback.

This year, most daily observers at training camp agree that Griffin has looked pretty good so far. There is less hesitation and more confidence when he drops back to pass. Competence is not as big a story as struggling.

Gruden was finally asked about Griffin on Monday. He acknowledged improvement in the quarterback’s game.

"He’s been doing fine,” said Gruden. “It’s just going back to the basics really. We’re continuing to build off what we did last year and then obviously in OTAs. It’s just all about repetition now and gaining more knowledge of the system, anticipation and a feel for the throws and the protections and the run game . . . We evaluate the heck out of him. Matt [Cavanaugh] coaches the heck out of him, Sean [McVay] does.  Overall I think he’s handled everything extremely well. He’s benefiting from Coach Cavanaugh’s presence and he’s benefiting from the repetitions. I feel like he’s on a steady climb and we’ve just got to keep him that way.”

A “steady climb” seems to be just the ticket for a player who had a meteoric rise as a rookie followed by a hard crash back to earth.

It’s not like Griffin has been anonymous, another face in the crowd of 90 players. When national writers come to Richmond, they post an article centered on Griffin. Fans still chant “RG3, RG3”, trying to get an autograph or even a smile and wave as the quarterback leaves the field after practice. Gruden noted that there will always be focus on the quarterback but they’re trying to take some of the pressure off of him.

“We’re trying to make this more about the team than Robert, obviously,” he said. “We don’t want to put too much pressure on our quarterback. I mentioned before we can do a lot to take away that pressure with strong running game and good sound defense and special teams. But overall, Robert is Robert. He’s going to get a lot of attention and deservedly so – he’s a great player. We’ve just got to keep building him and building his confidence and get him ready for Miami."

The Miami game is really what it’s all about. It is then that we will get some truly useful knowledge about how far along Griffin is on the road back to being at least a solid NFL quarterback and how well Gruden and Scot McCloughan have done in building a team that doesn’t need a stellar performance from the quarterback to remain competitive. 

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins get good news on David Amerson's injury

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Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' defensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

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Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' defensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 20, 37 days before the NFL draft.  

Looking at the 2018 depth chart—defense

The Redskins are likely to make a few more free agent acquisitions and there is the draft, but the depth chart is beginning to settle in. Let’s take a look at where the defensive side of the ball stands now. The offense was covered yesterday.

Defensive line: Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee
Backups: Terrell McClain, Anthony Lanier, Ziggy Hood

I wrote this on Monday afternoon wondering if I would have to edit it to add Jonathan Hankins but that has not happened yet. I have to think that they will use a top draft pick on a D-lineman if they don’t land one in free agency. That could create some competition between Hood and McClain for the last roster spot.

Linebackers: OLBs Preston Smith, Ryan Kerrigan; ILBs Mason Foster, Zach Brown
Backups: Ryan Anderson, Zach Vigil, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Martrell Spaight

Again, I thought I might have to edit this because of the return of Junior Galette or the addition of Pernell McPhee but as it is, the Redskins are looking for an additional reserve edge rusher to go with Anderson. There might only be room for two backup inside linebackers between Vigil, Harvey-Clemons, and Spaight.

Defensive backs: CBs Quinton Dunbar, Josh Norman; FS Montae Nicholson, SS D.J. Swearinger
Backups: Orlando Scandrick, Fabian Moreau, Josh Holsey, Deshazor Everett

I debated including Su’a Cravens here because he is on the roster, but I think that the odds that he will be on the 53-man roster in September are slim. If he doesn’t return they will need some help at safety. You can count on Scandrick playing in the slot. They seem to like both Dunbar and Moreau better on the outside and Scandrick can give Holsey a chance to develop inside.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 28
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 130
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 174

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

The Redskins seem to love former Cowboys. They signed another one today.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Media is reporting that Washington has agreed to terms with cornerback Orlando Scandrick. The early numbers put the contract at up to $10 million over two years.

Scandrick, 31, has played for the Cowboys since they made him a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. In nine seasons in the league, Scandrick has eight interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

He has been plagued by injuries the last three years. Scandrick was out for the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. In 2016 he missed four games with a hamstring injury and he finished last season on injured reserve with a back injury. Whether his struggles last year were due to injuries or age remains to be seen.

Scandrick joins Nosh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, and Josh Holsey at cornerback for the Redskins. Holsey is the only natural slot corner in the group and he played very sparingly as a rookie last year. Scandrick likely will fill the slot role until Holsey is ready.

We will see what the signing costs in terms of salary cap impact when we see the details of the contract. The phrase “up to” generally means that there are incentives included in the deal so we will have to see.

In recent years, the Redskins have signed former Cowboys defensive linemen Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher, and Terrell McClain.


Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.