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RG3 not a done deal for Week 1--yet

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RG3 not a done deal for Week 1--yet

Will Robert Griffin III be the starting quarterback for the Redskins when they take on the Eagles on Sept. 9?

The short answer is that it seems very likely, perhaps inevitable. But the longer answer is that there are still one more hurdle to  clear before RG3’s status as the Week 1 starter is etched in stone.

This morning, Adam Schefter’s tweet stating that Griffin will start on Monday night against the Eagles seemed to confirm what many have thought for a long time. Griffin has seemed to be on track to be ready for the season almost from the moment Dr. James Andrews finished up the surgery. We heard he was “ahead of schedule” so often that it became a punch line. But every time he was seen in public, from the NFL awards dinner to the draft day appearance at FedEx Field to throwing during OTAs and minicamp, it seemed as though he was, yes, ahead of schedule.

But soon after Schefter reported this, word came out from sources inside the Redskins organization and from people close to Griffin that we should tap the brakes on it. He has not yet been cleared to play. That will not happen until tomorrow when Andrews is scheduled to watch Griffin work out before the Redskins’ preseason game in Tampa and then conduct an examination of his famous right knee.

Before that happens, it can’t be said that Griffin is “officially” cleared to play. But that appears to be a mere formality. Griffin said on the radio yesterday that he feels like he is no less than 100 percent.

Kyle Shanahan seems to agree. “I don’t think anybody knows if you’re 100 percent except the person who’s saying that,” said the Redskins’ offensive coordinator on Tuesday. “I mean, you only can know your own body. He’s such a good athlete, he could fool me; he looks 100 percent to me. He can fly around. He can make the throws. There’s no gimp at all – obviously he wouldn’t be out there if there was. But he looks good to me.”

Mike Shanahan also was impressed. “He had a good practice yesterday [Monday] and he had a good practice today [Tuesday],” said Shanahan. “I can see a big improvement from the start when he came out here the first day to where he is now. You can see he is in football shape and there hasn’t been a setback so everything has been very positive.”

Let’s see here, looks 100 percent, flying around, no gimp, making the throws, big improvement, in football shape, very positive—sure sounds like they’re talking about a guy who is their starter in 12 days to me.

It’s like you’re about to buy a house. The money is in the bank, everything checks out, the paperwork is ready to go. All that you need to do is hand over the check and sign the papers.

But you have that final walkthrough to do. And while it’s highly unlikely that you will find anything during that inspection that would derail the deal, it’s possible that you see cracks in the foundation, mold, or something else major that will change everything.

The chances are, however, that nothing will be found and you’ll sit down and sign the papers and the house will be yours.

The Andrews exam tomorrow is like that final inspection. It’s one more look to make sure everything is good to go. It’s a formality, but it’s there for a reason.

So we will have to wait a little bit longer to hear that Griffin is officially cleared to play. Hey, it’s been 231 days since his surgery, what difference is a few more days going to make?

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Need to Know: How many starters are left from the Redskins' last playoff game?

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Need to Know: How many starters are left from the Redskins' last playoff game?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 19, 54 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 46
—NFL Draft (4/26) 97
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 233

Things change quickly

Two years ago today, the Redskins were in the process of picking up the pieces after their 35-18 home loss to the Packers in the wild-card round of the 2015 season playoffs. How many of the 22 players who started that game for Washington are still with the team? You may be surprised to find out just how few are likely to be with the Redskins when the season opens in September.

Offense:

WR DeSean Jackson—Signed with the Bucs as a free agent last year.
WR Pierre Garçon—Signed with 49ers as a free agent last year.
WR Jamison Crowder—Still with the Redskins
TE Jordan Reed—Still with the Redskins
LT Trent Williams—Still with the Redskins
LG Spencer Long—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
C Kory Lichtensteiger—Retired following the 2016 season
RG Brandon Scherff—Still with the Redskins
RT Morgan Moses—Still with the Redskins
RB Alfred Morris—Signed with the Cowboys as a free agent in 2016
QB Kirk Cousins—Set to be a UFA, you know the story here

Of the 11 offensive starters, five are still with the team, one has retired, three are employed by other teams, and two are headed into free agency. The chances of either Long or Cousins returning currently hover under 50 percent, although things can change.

Defense:

DE Chris Baker—Signed with the Bucs as a free agent last year.
DE Jason Hatcher—Retired following the 2015 season
NT Terrance Knighton—Signed with the Patriots following the 2015 season but was cut and he hasn’t played and subsequently retired
ILB Will Compton—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
ILB Mason Foster—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
OLB Ryan Kerrigan—Still with the Redskins
OLB Trent Murphy—Spent 2017 in injured reserve, set to be an unrestricted free agent
CB Bashaud Breeland—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
CB Will Blackmon—Released last September, currently unsigned
S DeAngelo Hall—Set to be an unrestricted free agent, likely to retire
S Dashon Goldson—Released after 2015 season, currently unsigned

Only one starter, Ryan Kerrigan, is under contract for 2018. Of the free agents, Breeland is likely to depart and things are up in the air regarding Foster, Compton, and Murphy.

To sum it up, out of 22 starters in that game played 740 days ago, only six are certain to be with the team in 2018 while nine have either signed elsewhere, spent 2017 out of football, or have retired (10 if you count Hall).

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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Looking at cheap, reasonable and expensive wide receiver scenarios for Redskins

Looking at cheap, reasonable and expensive wide receiver scenarios for Redskins

Most NFL teams usually carry at least six wide receivers, but going into the 2018 season, only Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Maurice Harris and Robert Davis hold signed contracts with the Redskins.

That means Washington must consider adding receiver help via free agency, especially considering Harris and Davis rarely played in 2017. Terrelle Pryor and Ryan Grant both played with the Burgundy and Gold in 2017, and while Grant has a solid chance to return, it would seem Pryor will head elsewhere after a disappointing season in D.C. 

Like every year, a number of receivers will be available via free agency, but what guys make sense for Jay Gruden's team? Let's take a look at three different scenarios, knowing Washington likely needs to add at least one free agent wideout. 

RELATED: MOCK DRAFTS LINKING 'SKINS TO BAKER MAYFIELD

  • Expensive: Jags WR Allen Robinson - A second-round pick in 2014, Robinson posted a 1,400-yard season in 2015 and has shown the ability to be a true No. 1 wideout in the NFL. He's 6-foot-3 with speed and leaping ability. In 2016, his numbers dipped to less than 900 yards receiving, but that season the Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles struggled significantly. Here's the thing: Robinson blew out his knee in the NFL opener in 2017, and that might make his price tag drop a bit. Word is the former Penn State star should be fully cleared by early March from the injury, and just 24 years old, he will be intriguing. Washington showed they would spend for a wideout in 2017 with the Pryor signing, but they did so on a one-year deal. If Robinson finds the free agent market not as robust as he wants, maybe a similar short-term deal could be reached?
  • Reasonable: Colts WR Donte Moncrief - A third-round pick in 2014, Moncrief also had a big sophomore season in 2015. He grabbed 64 catches for 733 yards and six touchdowns. That was his only full 16-game season, as injuries have continued to be an issue for the 6-foot-2, 220 lbs. wideout out of Ole Miss. In 2016, only playing in nine games, he still contributed with seven touchdowns. In 2017, his numbers slipped big-time, and he posted less than 400 yards receiving in 12 games. Moncrief's problem isn't talent, it's health. That means he could be relatively cheap, and at just 24 years old, that contract might bring a strong return. 
  • Wild Card: Jets WR Eric Decker -  The Redskins have lacked a true veteran wideout since DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon left the team following the 2016 season. Decker will turn 31 in March and would give Washington a different presence in the WR meeting room. He posted two 1,000 yard seasons playing with Peyton Manning in Denver and went to the Super Bowl in 2013. In 2015, while teamed up with Ryan Fitzpatrick playing for the Jets, Decker again hit the 1,000-yard mark and hit the end zone 12 times. Throughout his career, Decker has been a solid red zone threat and has shown the ability to win on tough routes. He will need to take a big pay cut from the $4.5 million, one-year deal he signed in Tennessee in 2017, but that has to be expected considering his paltry production. In 16 games with the Titans, Decker logged 563 yards and only one TD. Decker might make sense, though the cost would need to be low. 

There are plenty of other names to watch, guys like Seattle's Paul Richardson or Buffalo's Jordan Matthews. Free agency opens in mid-March, and some connections between the Redskins and wideouts will start prior to that.

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