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Griffin not playing for Redskins

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Griffin not playing for Redskins

CLEVELAND (AP) Robert Griffin III won't be running wild or throwing passes for the Redskins. He can only watch them.

Washington's electrifying rookie quarterback is inactive for Sunday's game against the Browns, eliminating any chance of him helping his teammates continue their NFC playoff push.

Griffin sprained his right knee last week against Baltimore, and after days of speculation about his playing status, the Redskins announced late Saturday night that rookie Kirk Cousins will start.

Cousins, who came off the bench last week against Baltimore after Griffin got hurt, will make his first career start and veteran Rex Grossman will be Washington's No. 2 QB. Grossman has been inactive for every other game this season.

Griffin sustained a mild sprain of the lateral collateral ligament when he took a scary hit from Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata following a 13-yard run late in the fourth quarter. He was limited in practice all week, but as of Friday it appeared he might play and coach Mike Shanahan was keeping tight lipped about his young star's status.

The 22-year-old RG3 was one of the first players on the field Sunday morning. He seemed to be moving well with a brace on his knee. At that point, it still wasn't official that he would not be inactive, and the Redskins (7-6) didn't make it known that No. 10 would suit up at all until 90 minutes before kickoff.

The Browns spent all week preparing to face Griffin, who is tied with New England's Tom Brady for the league lead in passer rating and who has dazzled opponents and fans with his speed and arm strength.

His absence could be a break for the Browns (5-8). Cleveland has won three straight games and is still in the playoff chase after starting the season 0-5.

Cousins rallied the Redskins in the fourth quarter last week, throwing a late touchdown pass and ran for a 2-point conversion before the Ravens won in overtime. Washington selected Cousins in the fourth round of April's draft. The former Michigan State star was somewhat of surprise pick because the Redskins had already selected Griffin after trading several picks to St. Louis to move up to get last season's Heisman Trophy winner.

Cousins also played earlier this season after Griffin sustained a concussion against Atlanta. He has completed 7 of 11 passes for 137 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

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Ravens training camp preview: How effective of a season can Matthew Judon have?

Ravens training camp preview: How effective of a season can Matthew Judon have?

Rostered outside linebackers: Matthew Judon, Jaylon Ferguson, Tyus Bowser, Aaron Adoeye, Chauncey Rivers, Marcus Willoughby, John Daka.

If there was one position of “need” the Ravens didn’t address this offseason, it was outside linebacker.

The Ravens instead added to their interior defensive line and inside linebacking corps, but didn’t add a notable free agent or draft pick at outside linebacker. Instead, they’re set to run back the group from a year ago. 

The team ranked 21st in the NFL a year ago in sacks with 37, but second in quarterback knockdowns. Essentially, the team dialed up pressure more than anyone else in the league but didn’t get home enough. Now, they're hopeful they've fixed that problem.

And if there is a trickle-down benefit to the outside linebackers of those additions elsewhere, it’s that the Ravens’ outside linebackers should have more one-on-one matchups on the outside. Notably, that includes Matthew Judon. 

He finished the year with 9.5 sacks a season ago and had 33 quarterback hits — more than three times the second-place finisher on the roster. And now, he’ll play on the franchise tag in his fifth season in the league. As the team’s top pass-rusher, he’s got a lot of pressure on his back entering the 2020 season. 

RELATED: HOW MUCH WILL THE ROOKIE LB's MAKE AN IMPACT ON THE DEFENSE?

If Judon is able to become an upper-tier pass-rusher this season, he’ll not only boost the Ravens’ defense, he’ll cement his monster contract that appears on the horizon, whether that comes from the Ravens or another team. 

But while Judon is the headliner of the Ravens’ edge rushers, in terms of success of the team this season, he might not be the most important part of the front seven. It might end up being whoever lines up across from him. 

Judon has shown the ability to be a No. 1 pass-rusher in the NFL, and with the benefit of an improved defense around him, it’s reasonable to assume he can repeat his 9.5 sack performance — or better it — in 2020. That shouldn't be the worry.

Where the true test will come, however, is who lines up as the second outside linebacker on the depth chart. 

Pernell McPhee had three sacks last season, but missed a majority of the season with a torn triceps. The team used rookie Jaylon Ferguson, who had 2.5 sacks, and Tyus Bowser, who had five sacks, in his absence.

With Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams and Derek Wolfe on the defensive line, it’s reasonable to assume that the Ravens’ outside linebackers will get more favorable matchups. 

And if Judon and the host of other outside linebackers are able to get more one-on-one matchups, the Ravens’ could wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks in 2020. 

So while the Ravens didn’t address their outside linebacker position this offseason, the additions elsewhere on the roster should provide the benefit that position group needed.

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Report: NFL to cut preseason in half, taking away Ravens first and fourth preseason games against the Bills and Redskins

Report: NFL to cut preseason in half, taking away Ravens first and fourth preseason games against the Bills and Redskins

According to a report from ProFootballTalk, the NFL has scrapped its first and fourth preseason games this season and cut the preseason in half. 

The Ravens were scheduled to play the Bills at home on Aug. 14 to open the season, then end the preseason on Sept. 3 against the Redskins. 

RELATED: TRAINING CAMP PREVIEW: INSIDE LINEBACKER

Now, the Ravens’ tentative preseason schedule will have one road game, at the Cowboys on Aug. 22, and home against the Panthers on Aug. 30. 

According to the report, the move was spurred on by two factors: Firstly, that road teams would have trouble moving that many bodies and risk spreading COVID-19. Secondly, that no team has had on-field workouts this summer. Now, with training camps scheduled to start on July 28, teams will have more time to prepare for the season. 

The move came with coronavirus cases continually rising in the United States a day after Dr. Anthony Fauci said new cases could reach 100,000 per day if more preventative measures were not taken. On June 30, the U.S. had 46,042 new cases, the second-highest total since the pandemic began.

Baltimore is still set to report to camp at the end of the month, as is the rest of the NFL. With the new preseason schedule, they’ll have about three weeks to prepare for the first on-field game action of the season. 

The Ravens haven’t lost in the preseason since Sept. 3, 2015, when they lost 20-19 to the Falcons. 

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