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Redskins QB wants to battle for playing time, but now isn't the time

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Redskins QB wants to battle for playing time, but now isn't the time

In 2014, Robert Griffin III, Colt McCoy and Kirk Cousins all started games at quarterback for the Redskins. For the 2015 season, coach Jay Gruden has installed Griffin as the starting QB, but the smart money would suggest at least one of the other passers makes a start, if not both.

Gruden made clear that beyond RG3, there is no depth chart at the quarterback position. Last week, Cousins said that he just wants a chance to compete for a job, and any questions about who is the No. 2 QB need to be directed to the coach. On Wednesday, Colt McCoy reiterated that stance.

"I don't spend my time thinking about the depth chart. I just want to come out here and compete," McCoy said.

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The University of Texas legend made four starts last season, and only lost his starting gig due to injury. McCoy impressed in a win at Dallas, and put up big numbers in a loss to Indianapolis. The Redskins QB situation is unique compared to the rest of the league in that all three players likely believe they should be the starter, and a case can be made for all three.

"We’re learning as an offensive group," Gruden said Wednesday. "Overall, I think all three quarterbacks have done some good things." 

Griffin has the most accomplishments, but they came in a rookie season made dynamic by his running ability. A new offense, and many injuries later, and it's unknown if RG3 can get back to that level of play. Cousins has shown an ability to win games and make impressive throws, but he has also shown a tendency to turn the ball over at a high rate, a trait that gets QBs benched on any level.

And then there's Colt. The oldest of the three at 28, McCoy has played in the NFL for five seasons; three in Cleveland, one in San Francisco, and last year in Washington. Despite his time in the pros, this will be the first time McCoy plays in the same system for a second season in a row. 

"I feel like for the first time in my career," he said, "I'm really trying to benefit from that."

That could mean a lot for McCoy. Last season, he completed more than 70 percent of his passes with four TDs and three INTs. McCoy also moves well in and out of the pocket, and in a way, that makes him a better candidate to back up Griffin than Cousins. Where McCoy can run the same offense that's implemented for Griffin, including any designed QB runs, Cousins is more of a traditional pocket passer. 

For his part, McCoy said he is not worried about the depth chart at quarterback. Yet.

"You just can't get into that right now. That's reserved more for training camp," McCoy said. "When you get to Richmond, you're starting to think about the season."

Gruden knows his current stance is not pleasing for Cousins or McCoy.

"They’re not happy with their role but they understand it and they’re just continuing to work and they both know that they deserve a chance to play and they want a chance to play but their also waiting their turn while helping Robert whatever way they can," the coach said. "Those are two great guys to have on your football team and I would feel I have no problems letting either one of them be two or three."

Since it's June, sure, everyone is all right with the waiting game. Once training camp starts in Richmond, and all three passers get chances in preseason games, the feelings may shift. Dramatically. 

"Competition everywhere," McCoy said. "I'm excited for it."

Griffin is clearly QB1 heading to Richmond, Gruden reiterated that. But the coach also allowed that once the games start, anything can happen.

"We still have got to play games," the coach said. "We have announced Robert as the starter obviously and we’re going to go from there."

In about a month, the competition gets very real. 

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Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

There was some confusion about the Redskins’ Week 16 game in Tennessee when the NFL schedule dropped. The schedule pushed out by the Redskins said that the game date and time are to be determined. Other versions that went out, including the one on NFL.com, says the game will be on Sunday, December 23 at 1 p.m.

So what’s the story? Well, if you’re thinking of making reservations to go to Nashville to watch the game you just might want to hold off for a while. Like, until early November. 

In an under the radar move, the NFL has established flex scheduling for its late-season Saturday games. Here are the details from the schedule press release from Redskins PR:

“Flexibility for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16 is also part of the 2018 schedule. In Week 15, there will be two games played on Saturday on NFL Network, with the game times of 4:30 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday. Start times and Saturday games for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.”

The way it sets up, if the Redskins and Titans are playing well in midseason there is a good chance the game will be played on Saturday, December 22 at either 4:30 or 8:20. If one or both teams are struggling, the league and networks could choose to flex two of the other four matchups to Saturday. 

This is taking flex scheduling to a different level. It’s one thing shifting a Sunday kickoff seven and a half hours from 1 p.m. to 8:30. It’s another to shift a whole day. The visiting teams can’t make travel arrangements, not knowing if they need to come into town on Friday for a Saturday game or on Saturday for Sunday. Fans who want to travel to the game are in the same boat. 

Of course, if you can afford it, you can just add a day to your Nashville excursion. There are worse things in the world than spending an extra day or two in Music City. 

If you have to wait to make your plans, as the Redskins do, you will find out no later than October 29, which is when Week 8 ends. 

Do you believe in trends? Then you should hope that the game does get flexed to Saturday. The Redskins have won three straight Saturday games, beating the Eagles in both 2014 and 2015 (the latter game clinching the division title for Washington) and the Bears in 2016. 

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

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Need to Know: Five pivotal games on the Redskins' schedule

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Need to Know: Five pivotal games on the Redskins' schedule

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, April 20, six days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five pivotal games on the Redskins’ schedule

All NFL games are important but some seem to be a little more important than others. At first glance at the Redskins’ schedule, these seem to be the five most pivotal games. 

Week 1 @Cardinals—Wait, Week 1 is pivotal? It is if you’re Jay Gruden and you are 0-4 in season openers. Starting off in an 0-1 hole again after losing a winnable game would not get things off to a positive start. 

Week 7 Cowboys—The only Redskins-Cowboys game that Kirk Cousins started in the last three years that Washington won was the 2015 season finale in Dallas, a game that was meaningless to both teams. Alex Smith needs to take advantage of his shot at the Cowboys. Beating Dallas is important for being competitive in the division and for job security in general. This is their shot at them at home.

Week 9 Falcons—Atlanta has been among the league’s big boys the last couple of years. The Redskins get them at home, on grass, when the weather could be turning a little bit chilly. It’s a good opportunity to upset a dome team. The game also ends the first part of the season and the Redskins face a second half of the schedule that has just three home games. 

Week 14 Giants—This is one of the aforementioned scarce home games in the latter part of the season. It’s preceded by road games in Dallas (9-7 last year) and Philadelphia (Super Bowl champs) and followed by roadies in Jacksonville (lost AFC title game) and Tennessee (won a playoff game). Nobody is quite sure to what extent the Giants will rebound from their dismal 2017 season but this game has the feel of a possible oasis surrounded by hostile deserts. 

Week 16 @Titans—If the Redskins are in playoff contention, this game will determine a lot even though its non-conference. As noted, the Titans are looking to improve on their playoff season last year and they will not be a pushover by any stretch. But if the Redskins want to be able to say that they are a better team than they have been the last couple of years, this is the kind of game they should win. 

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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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 32
—Training camp starts (7/26) 97
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 142

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