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RG3 nearly perfect vs. Eagles

rg3_celebrate_vs.eagles.png

RG3 nearly perfect vs. Eagles

Robert Griffin III added another “is he really a rookie?” performance to his already impressive resume in leading the Redskins to a 31-6 win over the Eagles.

Griffin completed 14 of 15 passes for 200 yards and four, count ‘em four, touchdowns. You could say he wasn’t perfect due to the one incompletion, which came late in the second quarter on a short throw over the middle intended for Josh Morgan.

But the NFL said that he was perfect on the day, at least according to its quarterback rating system. If you plug the numbers into the calculator it spits out a rating of 158.3. You can’t get any higher than that.

Griffin is the first rookie since at least 1960 to get a perfect QB rating in a game with at least 15 pass attempts.

He also set a record for the best completion percentage by a rookie in a game with at least 15 pass attempts. In fact, he shattered it by completing 93.3 percent of his throws. Charlie Batch of the Lions held the previous record with a 16 for 19 (84.2 percent) performance in a game in 1998.

Griffin got things going early. His first pass of the game went to Darrel Young for six yards and a touchdown. That score was set up by DeAngelo Hall’s interception and return to the Philly nine on the Eagles’ third play from scrimmage.

Griffin’s next two TD passes were highlight reel material. In the second quarter he dropped back and had plenty of time to find Aldrick Robinson, who was open by at least 10 yards, in the end zone from 49 yards out. That got the Redskins out to a 14-3 lead and they never looked back.

That doesn’t mean that the rest of the game was not worth watching. In the third quarter Griffin scrambled and launched one deep to Santana Moss at around the five yard line.

“It was an ‘Oh, no . . . oh, yes!’” moment, said Mike Shanahan. The “oh, no” part came from the fact that Moss was bracketed between to defenders. But all was well as Moss snagged the ball and then ran through an attempted tackle by rookie Brandon Boykin and fell into the end zone.

There was a flag on the play that was in the area where we usually see offensive holding called so the stadium was largely quiet after the play. Eagles defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins was so sure it was a holding flag that the mocked RG3’s touchdown celebration.

But it turned out that the penalty was against the Eagles so Griffin got to do his celebration all over again and the Redskins had a 24-6 lead.

His final touchdown came in the fourth quarter when he found Logan Paulsen near the five. Safety Kurt Coleman made a couple of feeble attempts to bring the big tight end down but he powered his way to the end zone to make it 31-6.

Griffin’s day throwing the ball overshadowed some pretty nifty runs he had. On one third quarter play he took off around left end, raced up the sideline for a first down and then executed a spin move that resulted in a would-be tackler grasping at air as he stumbled out of bounds.

Griffin ended up with 84 yards rushing on 12 carries.

Oh, about that one incompletion. A couple of hours after the game ended, he replied to a tweet from ESPN’s Trey Wingo poking fun at him:

“So @RGIII goes 14/15 for 200 yds and 4 TDs. What the hell happened on that one incompletion? unacceptable”

Griffin’s response:

“Looking at film now”

He may have been kidding, but not many would bet against it.

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No tension between Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, but the coach wants improvement 

No tension between Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, but the coach wants improvement 

MOBILE -- Jay Gruden is making jokes about Kirk Cousins again, and that's good news for Redskins fans that worried about a fracture between coach and quarterback. 

It all started in the weeks following the Redskins dreadful Week 17 loss to the Giants as Gruden and Cousins seemed to be throwing slight jabs at one another.

Gruden, in his end of year press conference, explained that while Cousins "showed flashes" in 2017, when the team goes 7-9, the coach can't say any player was outstanding: 

You know when you’re 7-9, you know it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ You know there’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent when he played was Pro Bowl type, Brandon when he was healthy was Pro Bowl type guy. Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know we’re 7-9. He did some great things, threw for over 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns I believe. So, I think he’s a very, very good quarterback without a doubt, but as far as getting us over the hump from 7-9 to winning a division with all the injuries that we had, I think he competed and did some good things.

Cousins, in his year-end radio appearance with 106.7 the Fan, explained that he wants the team to do better but doesn't think the 7-9 record should fall on his shoulders alone. (Quote via Washington Post)

What I gathered from the comment was 7-9 and the quarterback play are causally related and that quarterback play is 7-9, 7-9 is the quarterback play. I saw that and I thought, ‘I think it’s slightly more complicated than that.’ I think there’s a few more dynamics in play as to what your final record is. … At the same time, his job is to evaluate. That’s a big part of his role and his position. In that comment, he’s just doing his job, he’s evaluating the position and he has the right to say what he wants to say.

Both comments were fairly innocuous, but also clearly at odds. Combine that dialogue with the undercurrent of another offseason contract negotiation, and it seemed things between coach and quarterback weren't quite right. 

On Tuesday, speaking at the Senior Bowl, Gruden cleared the air. Asked directly about tension between he and Cousins, the coach was blunt. 

"No." 

Gruden went on to explain his answer about Cousins 2017 play, the now infamous 7-9 line.

"When I say 7-9, if I say one player played great that means I'm saying everybody else was not very good," the coach explained (full video above). "I think we all have to stick together, we all have to improve from a 7-9 season, coaches, players, everybody."

Cousins was good in 2017, throwing for more than 4,000 passing yards for the third straight season. He also showed that he can produce offensively without a great supporting cast, as injuries robbed the Redskins of many of their best passing game threats and seriously damaged the offensive line. 

The quarterback did play two terrible games in the last month of the season, however, including a three interception stinker in the Week 17 finale.

It's possible that Gruden had that fresh in his mind when he spoke in early January, and with the benefit of a little time, his assessment mellowed by late January. 

Either way, Gruden joked about Cousins deserving a vacation, and even said the QB needs a tan. Gruden often uses humor to defuse touchy situations with Redskins players, and maybe he just did it again. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins fans want Zach Brown back. Bad. And for weeks there had been no news about contract talks between Washington and Brown. 

Now that's changed.

"We've been talking to his agent," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said on Tuesday. 

Gruden, speaking from the Senior Bowl, explained that the team would like Brown back in 2018 but Washington also understands that the linebacker might want to explore the free agent market. 

"It’s a process," Gruden said (full video above). "These guys have a chance to be a free agent, they had a good year and they want to check what the market is sometimes. If we can get them before they get to free agency, great, but if not, the bidding wars will begin."

For Brown, free agency will look different in 2018 than it did last season when he signed a one-year. bargain deal with the Redskins. 

Prior to injuries forcing him to miss the final three games of the season, Brown led the NFL in tackles. For two straight years, 2016 in Buffalo and 2017 in Washington, Brown has proved to be a tackling machine and arguably the fastest linebacker in the NFL. Brown also signed new representation last offseason, Jason and Michael Katz of CSE Football, and should Brown hit the free agent market the Katz brothers will aggresively market their client. 

Washington Senior Vice President of Football Operations Eric Schaeffer will handle the contract discussions for Washington, and is known as a shrewd negotiator. 

Like many business deals, this will come down to money. Brown established himself as a fit in Washington, both on the field and in the locker room. Interior linebackers do not command top dollar like pass rushers do, but Brown will still expect to be compensated appropriately. 

Further complicating matters for Washington, the Redskins only have Josh Harvery-Clemmons, Zach Vigil and Martrell Speight under contract for 2018. 

It's too early to predict what "it's a process" means from Jay Gruden, but Redskins fans should draw some encouragement that talks have begun with Brown. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!