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Redskins' RG3 speaks—about football

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Redskins' RG3 speaks—about football

This may be breaking news to some of you but Robert Griffin III spent the vast majority of his meeting with reporters on Tuesday talking about football, not about his self-assessment of his quarterbacking abilities. They are playing a preseason game against Detroit on Thursday and Griffin was asked about what he wanted to accomplish during the game.

“We want to get points on the board,” he said. “This is a tough defense we’ll be going against so this will be a good test. We’re trying to get plays, trying to get the rhythm and timing down on the game days, see how guys are moving, continue to increase our tempo as an offense and just get positive plays.”

The Lions do indeed have a tough defense. Football Outsiders had them third in the NFL in defensive DVOA last year and even though they lost some very good players such as tackle Ndamukong Suh they will still provide a stern test.

Griffin didn’t know how long the first team would play, although Jay Gruden said later that the starters will play about a quarter, depending on how things go. But he’s not worried about how many snaps he plays.

“Whatever time coach gives us, that will be sufficient for that,” said Griffin. “We just want to get in and out healthy, obviously last game we had a couple of injuries . . . You can say what you want about the preseason but we want to get in and get out, make sure we put together a good drive, two drives, however many drives coach wants us to get in and then get on the sideline and watch the other guys go at it.”

In Cleveland last Thursday the Redskins lost starting tight end Niles Paul was lost for the season with a dislocated ankle and reserve running back Silas Redd with a knee injury.

No matter how much he plays, Griffin needs to play better than he did last year in the second preseason game. His top-level numbers against the Browns at FedEx Field didn’t look bad. He completed six of eight passes for 112 yards. But Griffin lost a fumble to end the Redskins’ first offensive possession and he threw an interception to end the second.

The third drive ended when the Redskins couldn’t get into the end zone on four running plays in a series that started with first and goal at the three. That certainly wasn’t Griffin’s fault but it was a rather shaky drive. Griffin was sacked for a loss of nine yards and committed a false start penalty. The Redskins benefitted from three Cleveland penalties that resulted in first downs. Griffin completed only one pass during the 13-play, 82-yard drive but it was a big one, a 49-yard toss to Andre Roberts.

The bottom line was that the starting offense didn’t get the ball into the end zone. That was the second straight game they had failed to score a touchdown with Griffin in the game. After Griffin and company were kept out of the end zone last week the skid has stretched to four games.

Griffin attempted a total of 20 passes during the preseason last year. He didn’t seem to be ready once the season started. But he said that the decision on how many preseason passes he throws is not his.

“I don’t look at it that much,” he said. “That’s for coach and them to assess and break down. You just want to get in a flow and a rhythm. We’re not game planning very heavily right now so even the throws I do get, it’s not like the throws we’re going to be doing during the season. You don’t want to show your cards.”

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 23, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. Giants, NBC, 8:30  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 7
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 17
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 24

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Giants

Look out for Eli—There are many reasons why the Giants are 2-8 but Eli Manning is not one of them. He isn’t nearly the turnover machine he has been for much of his career. His interception percentage this year is 1.6; he hasn’t been under 2.3 percent interceptions this decade. Manning only has 14 touchdown passes but considering that Odell Beckham, who went out in the fourth game of the season, still leads Giants wide receivers in touchdown receptions, that’s not bad.

Running game stuck—What makes Manning’s performance even more impressive is the fact that he doesn’t get much support from a running game. The Giants are 26th in the league with 920 yards. They have gained some traction lately after installing Orleans Darkwa as the starting running back; he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry for the season and 71 yards per game over the last three games. The Redskins certainly don’t want to let him get going tonight.

Reverting to reality—The Giants ranked 32nd in total defense in 2015. They dropped millions on free agents such as Janoris Jenkins, David Harrison, and Olivier Vernon and jumped to 10th. Now, this year they are 31st and equally bad against the pass (29th) and the run (30th). Health hasn’t been a huge issue, although Vernon has missed a few games and Jenkins was suspended. Redskins fans know full well that spending sprees don’t necessarily make for permanent improvements and Giants fans are learning it this year.

Keys to winning

  • Run the ballThe Redskins are 4-2 this year when rushing for 90 yards or more.
  • Continue to protect the ball—The Redskins have turned the ball over just twice in their last three games.
  • Don’t give them hope—The Chiefs let the Giants hang around last week and New York stole a win. The Redskins need to get on top early and mash down on the gas pedal.

Prediction—It’s hard to see a scenario where the Redskins lose this one. Even in their injury-depleted state they are battling every game and the same can’t be said for their opponents today. The weather forecast is for cold temperatures but not much wind, ideal conditions for Cousins to throw for 300 yards. For once, the Redskins get up early and keep going.

Redskins 31, Giants 13

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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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game. 

Let's be honest: the call was terrible.

Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation. 

We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.

The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan). 

Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.

If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong. 

You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.

Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.