Mike Shanahan'sdeclaration on Sunday that rookie Robert Griffin III was indeed the Redskins starting quarterback surprised nobody. The timing of said announcement, thats another story.After a single three-day rookie camp and before veterans report, the coach made it clear who would be the passer taking snaps with the first team. Not the veteran Rex Grossman, but the electric Heisman Trophy winner the team paid a hefty price to acquire.Any time you pick a player with the second pick of the draft and you give up two No. 1s and a No. 2 to move up four spots youve got a game plan in mind, Shanahan said.Whetheranyone previouslybelieved RG3 would start from day one of camp, the regular season opener against the Saints ortake over afew games into the campaign, there was no doubt who was truly atop the depth chart. With everyone in on the secret, there did not appear a reason to formally anoint Griffin the starter.That's why Shanahan's decision to make it official so soon in the off-season process was a bit of a head scratcher, at least to one former NFL quarterback.I wish they would have waited a little bit longer," Kurt Warner said Monday on the NFL Network. "We all understand the pressure that this young man is feeling already with all they gave up to get him, the excitement that he brings to Washington, D.C. But I would have loved for them to hold off on putting more pressure on him. The starter pressure, having to answer those questions, having to go into the second camp, third camp knowing that hes in that position and whats all on his shoulders."The Super Bowl-winning passer starred for the Rams and Cardinals. Warner was also the veteran in camp when the Giantsbrokein the 2004 number one overall pick, Eli Mannning. Warner started early that season before giving way to the rookie. In the Redskins case, add him to the list of those who simply assumed RG3 would get the Week 1 call."But we have to be honest: I dont think anybody expected Rex Grossman to be the starter opening day. We knew Griffin was going to be that guy; they assembled a team around him that they feel can win right now, and so why hesitate? Why hold off for any amount of time? Lets throw him in there, lets let his teammates know that hes going to be the guy and lets rally around him.Warner added that Shanahan's announcement could be curious if RG3 struggles early. However, by backing the new guy now,the coach hasalso made it clear to the team who is the starter should those struggles exist.This leaves little wiggle room at this point," Warner said. "You have franchised everything to get this guy, you have made the moves in the off-season, you have a tough schedule. Everyone believes that even if hes not the best snap-in, snap-out on day one that he gives them the best opportunity to win because of the way that he plays the game. "Thats why coach Mike Shanahan made this decision: He knew regardless of how it played out that he wanted this guy in there Day 1 building, learning, growing together with his teammates in the hopes that even if it isnt Game 1, Game 2 or Game 3, by the time they get to midseason they can be competitive with everybody else in the league.No mention of the Kirk Cousins brouhaha by Warner, which by my ears was the catalyst for the May 6 depth chart reveal. Not that it mattered. Whether it was May 6, July 6 or Sept. 6, we all knewRG3 the starter was going to happen anyway.
NEW ORLEANS—Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, November 18, one day before the Washington Redskins play the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes Benz Superdome.
Today’s schedule: AM walkthrough and then travel to New Orleans. No media availability.
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 6
—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 13
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/19) 23
Quick Redskins news hits
C Spencer Long tried to play last week and he couldn’t make it more than a dozen snaps before sitting down for the rest of the day. He is out against the Seahawks tomorrow.
With Brian Quick and Ryan Grant questionable with concussions and Terrelle Pryor out with an ankle injury, the Redskins are down to three healthy wide receivers. While Quick and Grant might play, the depth chart could have Doctson, Crowder, and Harris on it.
The Redskins week that was
2 reasons Redskins didn't trade Terrelle Pryor—If you want to know why the deal with the Browns didn’t happen, follow the money. Between his signing bonus and the half of the year’s salary, the Redskins have already paid $4.5 million. Although he hasn’t been nearly as productive as they hoped he would be, there was no point in letting him go to save $1.5 million unless they got a second-day draft pick, or maybe a fourth, in return. See that Jay Gruden said that he didn’t hear of the proposed trade, talks must not have become too serious.
Remember Junior Galette? The Redskins don't seem to—As with Pryor, everyone is waiting for Galette to break out. But unlike Pryor, he’s not an expensive unproductive player. He’s making the veteran minimum. Against the Vikings, he played just 19 snaps. Perhaps a return to New Orleans for a game against his old team will spark a sack or two.
Recent comments from Cousins may hint at future in D.C.—Cousins has been big on making statements about the long-term future with the Redskins (read the post for specifics). That doesn’t mean that it’s a lock that he stays in town. But it should give some pause to those who believe that it is a lock that he will be in another uniform when 2018 or, at the latest, 2019 rolls around. He has never been inclined to go to the highest bidder and if the Redskins make a competitive offer that delivers what he wants he could well stick around.
How the Vikings scored 21 unanswered points against the Redskins—The 21-0 run in about seven minutes of game time that the Vikings used to make a competitive game at FedEx Field a rout was a combination of good offense by the Vikings and bad defense and offense by the Redskins. They couldn’t cover Adam Thielen on either drive. Cousins threw an interception off of his back foot and that set up the middle of the three touchdowns. If the Redskins end the season a game out of a playoff spot that seven-minute stretch will be one of the big reasons why they failed to make it.
Player one-liners, defense— Usually, the offensive edition of the player one-liners tends to be the most popular but this week it was the defense that drew the most interest. The defensive player I’m going to keep an eye on the most in the last seven games is rookie safety Montae Nicholson. He has the speed and hard hitting ability that the secondary needs. When asked what will happen when Nicholson is healthy, Jay Gruden said without hesitation that he is the starter. Nicholson’s health will be important for the defense down the stretch. DeAngelo Hall is better suited to a part-time role at this stage of his career.
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In case you missed it
- Redskins lose three starters to injury ahead of Sunday
- Norman earns Week 10 NFLPA commuinty MVP
- Week 11 Redskins at Saints: Getting desperate
- Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Saints
In August, Redskins fans would freak out if they heard Jordan Reed and Terrelle Pryor would both miss a November game.
In November, that news doesn’t carry much worry.
Washington coach Jay Gruden announced that Reed and Pryor, along with center Spencer Long, won’t play Sunday against the Saints.
RELATED: KEYS TO VICTORY AGAINST THE SAINTS
Reed hasn’t played in a few weeks as he is dealing with a hamstring injury. It seemed he might have returned last week before a setback slowed down his progress.
In his place, Vernon Davis has proved to be a sturdy backup capable of some big games.
Long injured his knee and while he played last week, he did not practice this week.
Not having Pryor is a bit of a surprise. His ankle injury popped up this week and he will see a specialist next week to examine the joint. In the middle of a disappointing season, the Redskins offense won’t lose much with his absence.
Elsewhere on the injury list, a number of players will be questionable for Sunday’s contest against the 7-2 Saints.
Perhaps most important, Trent Williams is questionable but will probably play.
MORE ON THE REDSKINS: FIVE PLAYERS UNDER PRESSURE
Receivers Ryan Grant and Brian Quick are expected to play after undergoing concussion protocol, but that will leave the Redskins with only three fully healthy wideouts: Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson and Maurice Harris.