The Redskins once again find themselves in the midst of a full-blown quarterback nightmare. On Friday, Robert Griffin III was surprisingly ruled out for the rest of the preseason with a concussion after reportedly being cleared earlier in the week. On Saturday, ESPN reported the team had already decided Kirk Cousins would start Week 1 even if Griffin was able to get cleared. On Sunday, ESPN reported Washington’s front office and coaches want to cut ties with Griffin, but owner Dan Snyder is resisting the change.
The dysfunction is dripping off this organization, and at this point Griffin moving on is probably in everyone’s best interest. The problem is Griffin has no trade value, and it would be very difficult for GM Scot McCloughan to cut Griffin without the owner’s support. Coach Jay Gruden claims he has the final say on who plays quarterback, but if that were the case Griffin likely would not have been named the starter in February.
Cousins, Griffin and even Colt McCoy could make starts this year, and Washington has the look of a team who will be picking very early in next year’s draft. All of this dysfunction could hurt Alfred Morris, who has been better with Griffin running the offense throughout his career, and the rest of Washington’s skill players should be downgraded a couple spots as well.
The Cowboys’ running back situation is not quite as dire as Washington’s quarterback room, but it is equally confusing. Jerry Jones spent all offseason pumping up Joseph Randle while Darren McFadden sat on the sidelines with two separate hamstring injuries, but Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson reports Dallas views McFadden as the “best of the bunch.”
Robinson also said the Cowboys are committed to using all of their running backs, including Lance Dunbar, but it now appears McFadden has a real shot to chair the committee. If true, it would mean Randle is being dramatically over-drafted in the fourth and sometimes the third round, and McFadden could be a value in the ninth. The best bet may be to avoid the situation altogether.
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In Other News…..
Randall Cobb suffered a shoulder injury in the Packers’ third preseason game. Cobb feared he had broken his collarbone when he walked off the field, but an MRI revealed only a sprained AC joint. The Packers have not officially announced Cobb’s chances of playing Week 1, but he should be ready to face the Bears. After losing Jordy Nelson to a torn ACL last week, Green Bay appears to have dodged a bullet.
Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Joique Bell is “moving along really well” in his recovery from offseason knee and Achilles surgeries. This has been Caldwell’s refrain since early in the summer, but Bell has yet to practice or play in a game this preseason. Bell does not expect to be limited when he returns, but he had a very slow start last year coming off a similarly unhealthy offseason. If he repeats that start this year, Ameer Abdullah could eat away at his workload.
ESPN’s Adam Caplan expects rookie Duke Johnson to lead the Browns’ backfield in touches if he stays healthy. The last part of that sentence is important, especially since the comments came before Johnson suffered a concussion in the third preseason game. With neither Isaiah Crowell nor Terrance West taking control of the job with Johnson sidelined, the rookie should have a large offensive role whenever he is able to suit up. For his part, coach Mike Pettine refused to rule out adding Ray Rice to Cleveland’s running back mix.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he does not expect Victor Cruz (calf) to practice this week. Coming back from a torn patellar tendon last season, Cruz strained his calf early in training camp. He has yet to play in a preseason game and is very unlikely to suit up for the fourth exhibition contest. Cruz’s availability for Week 1 is uncertain at best.
ESPN Jaguars reporter Mike DiRocco said RB Denard Robinson “should be” the starting running back when the season begins. DiRocco has consistently questioned rookie T.J. Yeldon’s early-season workload, but Yeldon’s usage in the third preseason game told a different story. Yeldon was the clear feature back with Robinson serving in a change-of-pace role. Perhaps that will change if Yeldon struggles and Robinson keeps playing well, but it makes sense for the Jaguars to get Yeldon’s growing pains out of the way in a year they are unlikely to contend.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Tre Mason is questionable for Week 1 after suffering a hamstring injury in the team’s third preseason game. Rookie Todd Gurley is not expected to suit up for the regular season opener, meaning Benny Cunningham could have a surprisingly large role against the Seahawks. No one on the Rams offense will be a recommended play in that matchup.
The Panthers plan to “stick” with Corey Brown despite a rash of drops this preseason. Brown dropped three passes in the team’s third preseason game including his second drop in the end zone in as many weeks. The Panthers do not have much choice but to stick with Brown. Kelvin Benjamin (ACL) is out for the season, Devin Funchess (hamstring) is injured and unproven, and the rest of the depth chart is either old, uninspiring or both.
Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said the team is open to signing another running back. Bishop Sankey came back to earth in the third preseason game. … Falcons signed Julio Jones to a five-year, $71.25 million extension which includes $47 million guaranteed. Julio is very good at football. … Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said “everything points to” Julius Thomas (hand) being ready for Week 1. … Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said “everything’s in place” for Cody Latimer to have a big year, but he expressed disappointment Latimer had not taken advantage of his chances in the preseason. … James White played just two snaps in the Patriots’ third preseason game. He is behind Brandon Bolden and perhaps Dion Lewis for the third-down job. Travaris Cadet may not make the final roster. … Zach Zenner is expected to make the Lions’ final roster. He is not worth a pick in redraft right now, but he is a name to keep in mind if Joique Bell goes down. … ESPN Raiders reporter Bill Williamson said Trent Richardson is on the roster bubble. Averaging 2.8 yards per carry against mostly backups in the preseason will do that. … Redskins locked up Trent Williams to a five-year, $66 million extension which includes $43.25 million guaranteed. He now is the highest paid left tackle in the league. … ESPN’s Adam Caplan reported Brandon Albert (knee) is unlikely to return before Week 3. That would be a big hit to the Dolphins offensive line and Ryan Tannehill. … Bears released veteran CB Tim Jennings on Sunday. He had slipped down Chicago’s depth chart, but he will find a new home quickly. They also placed S Ryan Mundy (hip) on injured reserve. … Raiders RT Menelik Watson is done for the year with a torn Achilles’ tendon.