Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, playing in front of the fans at FedEx Field for the first time, was as good as he had to be to stake his team to a 14-7 halftime lead on the way to a 30-17 preseason win over the Colts.Griffin didnt quite match the stats of the quarterback on the other side of the field in the hyped matchup with the top two picks of this years draft but his team did outscore Andrew Lucks while the two were in the game.Griffin completed 11 of 17 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown to Santana Moss. Luck was 14 of 23 for 151 yards and a nice TD strike to T. Y. Hilton.This was the third preseason game and it is supposed to serve as a dress rehearsal and final tuneup for the regular season. If that is the case, then Mike Shanahan has plenty to be pleased with.I thought Robert did a good job, he said. He keeps on getting better and better, more comfortable with the system and what were trying to do.Griffin had plenty of help, too. Much of it was in the form of 107 rushing yards by fellow rookie Alfred Morris.He makes my job easy. I told him that on the sideline and his comeback to me was you make my job easy as well, said Griffin. Gaining 107 yards in a preseason game is a pretty big deal.Griffin said that he thought his timing with his receivers was better this week than it was in the previous two preseason games. I just feel more comfortable, just getting into the flow of the game, being able to play a little bit.The first touchdown the Redskins scored came on a two-yard Morris run. That capped a 66-yard drive that saw Griffin go 3 for 3 including an 18-yard strike to Pierre Garon. That moved them to the Colts 19. Morris took it in from there with runs of 17 and then two yards. That put the Redskins up 7-0.The Colts and Luck answered with an 80-yard drive to tie the game. Washington answered with an 80-yard drive of its own. Griffin was 5 of 6 on the drive and capped it with the TD toss to Moss. From a shotgun formation, Griffin sprinted to his right and hit Moss in the front corner of the end zone.Tana did a good job getting open, Griffin said. Its my job to hit him in stride and I hit him in stride and the rest is history. The offensive line did a great job of sealing off the edge, along with the running back because you cant have any penetration on a play like that.Everything was clicking and we got a touchdown.Three of Griffins four incompletions came on deep passes. He missed connections with Garon twice, once on the first play from scrimmage, and once with Leonard Hankerson.Itll come, said Griffin of success on the long balls. Those type of things, those situations, you have to get used to a guys game speed.Once were in the season and we get a few more reps at those deep routes well hit those like theres no tomorrow and well get a lot of touchdowns and a lot of people celebrating.The celebrations will come if Griffin keeps on making progress. He did not get sacked after taking three sacks in the first quarter against the Bears last week. After turning the ball over once in each of the first two preseason games he did not turn it over at all.This will be Griffin's last game action until the season opener on New Orleans on Sept. 9. Both he and Shanahan confirmed that the first team, including Griffin, will not play in Wednesday's preseason finale against the Bucs.
Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 23, 52 days before NFL free agency starts.
—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 42
—NFL Draft (4/26) 93
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 229
Five Redskins free agents—Stay or go?
Kirk Cousins isn’t the only Redskins free agent whose future with the team is up in the air. Let’s break out some imaginary casino chips and budget a maximum of $100 on whether each of the following free agents stays with the Redskins or plays elsewhere in 2018.
ILB Zach Brown—I’m starting with the toughest one first. He seems to be a good fit in the Redskins’ defense and he had a good year playing in it. The six-year veteran didn’t express any great desire to stay in Washington when talking to the media, but that is just the smart thing to do. At age 28, this probably is his best shot at getting a big contract and he may simply go to the highest bidder. If he has to go to his fourth different team in four seasons to get it, he probably will. $55 on stay
OLB Junior Galette—Galette still has the Redskins tattoo on his arm, but he might have to start calling it a buffalo nickel tat if the wants to get more playing time. He’s still grateful that the Redskins stuck with him through two seasons lost to Achilles injuries. But he can read a depth chart and he knows that his playing time will be limited as long as Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith are around. $80 on go
OLB Trent Murphy—You can’t have too much pass rush. If Galette leaves, the Redskins could have too little if Murphy also bolts in free agency. Ryan Anderson may develop but he is not someone the Redskins can count on as their first option off the bench. It’s easy to forget the nine sacks and 45 pressures Murphy had in 2016 before tearing his ACL in a preseason game last summer. Although another team could swoop in and grab him, a one-year deal with some performance incentives should work for both sides. $60 on stay
OL Spencer Long—The easy talking point is that the Redskins will keep Chase Roullier at center, let free agent Shawn Lauvao walk, and have Long play left guard. But the word is that the Redskins are looking for an upgrade at LG in either the draft or in free agency. That would leave the 2014 third-round pick looking for a new employer. It’s possible that the Redskins will look for a replacement and not be able to find one who is both significantly better and affordable, leading back to Long. $65 on go
WR Ryan Grant—This is a simple case of Grant likely being worth more to the Redskins than he is to other teams. Jay Gruden and the other coaches appreciate his hard work in practice and his ability to line up at any wide receiver spot on the offense. After three years of learning, his work finally showed up on Sundays as he exceeded the combined production of his first three seasons with 45 receptions for 573 yards and four touchdowns. It seems likely that the team and player will continue their mutually beneficial relationship. $75 on stay
Tandler on Twitter
Big V has come a long way from getting trucked by Ryan Kerrigan again and again. A big part of building depth is having patience. https://t.co/ONhSz6bU4K— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) January 22, 2018
In case you missed it
- It's Senior Bowl time, and also time to start talking Mayfield and Allen
- All eyes on the QBs as Redskins brass goes to Senior Bowl
- The pros and cons of each way to handle the Cousins situation
- Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins
- What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles Super Bowl run?
MOBILE — Kirk Cousins remains the best option to be the Redskins quarterback of the future, but that future isn't very secure. For the past two seasons, Washington has been unable to get a long-term deal done with Cousins and optimism is low heading into the 2018 negotiating period.
At this point, after consecutive franchise tags, it might be time for the Redskins to look at options beyond Cousins. Colt McCoy is under contract for 2018, and head coach Jay Gruden has repeatedly voiced confidence in the famed Texas product.
Big picture, however, the Redskins need to find their QB for 2018, and beyond. Perhaps that will be Cousins, but it's time for serious due diligence.
That means the Washington contingent heading to Mobile, Alabama, this week for the Senior Bowl needs to be watching the quarterbacks. And there's a lot to watch.
Senior Bowl rosters are loaded with future NFL talent at all different positions. NBC Sports will have much more on that later in the week, but to kick things off, start with the passers.
- 1) Baker Mayfield - Nobody will have a brighter light on them in Mobile than Mayfield. The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner made big splashes on the field for Oklahoma, posting video game numbers. He threw for more than 4,600 yards in 14 games to go with 43 touchdowns against only six interceptions. He completed a crazy 70 percent of his throws, which is very high for a college passer. There was some off-field immaturity, and a February 2017 arrest, but those issues aren't expected to cause him to slide in the draft. A number of draft experts predict Washington drafting Mayfield with the 13th overall pick, but there will be plenty of teams ahead of the Redskins that need a passer. Mobile will give the Redskins brass a chance to meet and learn who Mayfield is off the field, and that will be vitally important, along with figuring out if there are reasons to be concerned about his height on the pro football level.
- 2) Josh Allen - Big arm and traditional pocket passer, Allen will ace the eyeball test from talent evaluators. His 2017 numbers from Wyoming will not, however, and he will need a strong showing at pre-draft workouts. Mel Kiper suggested Allen could go as high as No. 1 overall, and at 6-foot-5, 230 lbs., there is clearly not a lack of physical talent. In his last two seasons at Wyoming, Allen threw for more than 5,000 yards along with 44 TDs against 21 INTs. Don't try too hard to compare Mayfield and Allen's stats, as comparing the talent and situations at Oklahoma and Wyoming are wildy different. Many NFL scouts love Allen, but some worry about his accuracy. In college, he completed just 56 percent of his passes. He may be a boom or bust type pick, but after the success of Carson Wentz coming out of North Dakota State, teams will be more willing to roll the dice on the Wyoming Cowboy in Allen.
- 3) Mason Rudolph - Upstaged by Mayfield's success at Oklahoma, Rudolph put together a terrific season of his own at Oklahoma State. A prolific passer for three seasons in Stillwater, as a senior, Rudolph tossed 37 TDs against nine interceptions along with nearly 5,000 passing yards. At 6-foot-5, Rudolph faces no questions about NFL size, and he certainly has a strong enough arm to play in the pros. Rudolph won't be practicing at the Senior Bowl but is expected to interview with NFL teams. Redskins coach Jay Gruden has said before the interviews are arguably the most important part of the pre-draft process, and this could be a big meeting. Rudolph isn't expected to go quite as high as Allen or Mayfield, and could even be drafted in the back half of the first round.
There will be other quarterbacks playing in Mobile, including Washington State's Luke Falk, Nebraska's Tanner Lee, Virginia's Kurt Benkert, Troy's Brandon Silvers, Western Kentucky's Mike White and Kyle Lauletta of the University of Richmond. There is some intrigue surrounding Lauletta and White, especially as small school QBs continue to thrive in the NFL and both passers have NFL size and play best from the pocket. Not for nothing, Bruce Allen played football at Richmond too.
It's a little weird that both Allen and Mayfield are on the same team, splitting reps in practice and snaps in the game. Then again Allen might not even play, so it could be irrelevant.
Stay with NBC Sports Washington throughout the week for updates from the Senior Bowl.
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