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RG3: 'The mojo was definitely working today'

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RG3: 'The mojo was definitely working today'

OK, now we can say it.

RG3 is back.

This time, it wasn’t for just a stretch of a game or a mixed bag or some nice stats in a loss. Robert Griffin III ran and passed from beginning to end and led the Washington Redskins to a 45-41 win over the Chicago Bears.

“We had to win a shootout and we did,” said Griffin.

The Redskins were able to fire the last shot of the shootout thanks to a 12-play, 80-yard drive that started after the Bears had scored a touchdown to take a 41-38 lead with just under four minutes left to play. It took one play for the Redskins to get into Bears territory as Griffin found Jordan Reed over the middle and the rookie tight end rolled for 26 yards to the Chicago 49. In all, Griffin completed 5 of 7 passes on the drive for 58 yards. The last pass was for 10 yards to Jordan Reed to the three yard line, converting a third and four, the third third-down conversion of the drive. Roy Helu Jr. capped off the drive by smashing it into the end zone from there. The Redskins held off a desperation Chicago drive and walked off with the win.

“Very confident,” said Griffin when he was asked what the mood was in the huddle at the start of the winning drive. “Told the guys we have to have positive plays. Get positive yards on each play and if we don't, make up for it on the next play. Just take it one play at a time and when you have those crucial third-down situations, we had guys step up and make plays for us.”

It was the third fourth-quarter, game-winning drive of Griffin’s career.

Griffin passed for two touchdowns on the day. His first one went to Reed just before halftime. On third and goal at the three, Griffin dropped a couple of steps and lofted the ball to the corner of the end zone.

“It was a fade and the safety was playing inside leverage on me,” said Reed. “I just gave him a little jab step inside and Rob threw a perfect, easily catchable ball.”

That gave the Redskins a 24-17 halftime lead. Early in the fourth quarter the Bears scored on one of Matt Forte’s three rushing touchdowns. The Redskins retook the lead with a five-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a play that reminded Griffin of some of the plays the team made during it’s seven-game winning streak that got them into the playoffs last year.

Griffin wasn’t specific but it appears that he went off script during the play.

“I just had a feeling in that situation,” he said. “You can talk to [offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan] about the play call, I don't know if I went about it the right way. He called the play. I had a thought, I went with my instincts and gave [wide receiver Aldrick Robinson] a chance to make a play for me.”

What he did was drop back to pass from the Chicago 45-yard line. He launched the ball to Robinson, who was in the end zone surrounded by defensive backs Charles Tillman and Chris Conte. It looked like either one of them could make the play but Conte ran into Robinson and fell to the ground and Tillman couldn’t quite get to the ball as it descended into Robinson’s arms for the TD.

“Al made a great play, when I saw him catch it, it was a feeling of last year,” he said.

“The mojo was definitely working today.”

Griffin finished the day completing 18 of 28 passes for 298 yards and the two TD’s. He did throw one interception to Tillman and ended up with a passer rating of 105.2. Griffin ran for a season-high 84 yards on 11 attempts.

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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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