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Redskins' RG3 practices, feeling 'really good'

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Redskins' RG3 practices, feeling 'really good'

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Three days after spraining his knee, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was just a little gimpy on the practice field and very cagey behind the microphone

He likes his chances of playing Sunday, but he and coach Mike Shanahan want to keep the Cleveland Browns guessing as long as possible.

Wearing his No. 10 jersey and a black knee brace underneath his sweatpants on a chilly day, Griffin high-stepped and moved laterally with barely a hitch as he stretched, then favored his right leg during throwing drills as the Redskins began on-field preparations for this week's game.

``Sunday night, I thought there was probably no chance that I could play the next week,'' Griffin said. ``And then Monday morning, I felt better about it. Yesterday, I felt better about it. And today I feel really good about it, so it just depends on if I continue to progress the way I am.''

So, to cut to the case, Griffin was asked if he expects to play Sunday.

``I can't tell you all that,'' he answered. ``First, I don't want to give the Cleveland Browns a competitive advantage. And I don't want to let anybody down, so I don't want to say that I'll be playing and end up not playing.''

Griffin has a mild sprain of the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee, a favorable diagnosis considering the scary hit to his leg from defensive tackle Haloti Ngata at the end of a scramble late in regulation in Washington's 31-28 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

``I was the happiest guy in the world on Monday to be blessed with the injury that I did have,'' Griffin said, ``after looking at it so many times.''

Still, the Redskins (7-6), who have won four straight to move within a game of the first-place New York Giants in the NFC East, are trying their best to keep Griffin's status shrouded in mystery. They closed practice to the media after 20 minutes, in compliance with NFL rules. And even Griffin - who at one point waved to reporters watching his every move - admitted that there was a public relations aspect to his participation.

``Coming out here and doing what I did in practice, it's kind of a showcase for you guys to see me move around, and that I'm not on crutches or limping or anything like that,'' Griffin said. ``But it's also for (my teammates) to see that I'm OK, and if I do step out there between those lines that they don't have to worry about me.''

Griffin was officially listed as ``limited'' in practice, and neither he nor backup Kirk Cousins would say who took most of the work with the starting offense.

``I was advised not to comment on the rep distribution,'' Cousins said. ``So I'm sorry, but I'm not going to say anything along those lines, just to protect my team and give us the best chance to win on Sunday.''

Shanahan was also naturally vague about his No. 2 overall draft pick.

``I was impressed with how he worked and what he did,'' the coach said. ``We'll see at the end of the week if he's full-speed and ready to go. And if he is, he'll play.''

Shanahan was asked if he plans to string out the announcement as long as possible, even if he already knows who will start.

``Probably,'' he said with a smile. ``Why did you ask that silly question?''

Griffin did offer some insight into the factors that will help determine whether he will play. He said he wants to be able to make ``instinctive moves without thinking about it'' and that he was able to accomplish that to some extent Wednesday.

Griffin also said planting and throwing is ``not a problem'' and that it has become much easier to walk up and down steps as the leg loosens up and the swelling goes down.

``If I can give the team the best chance to win, then I'll play,'' Griffin said. ``And if I can ensure my safety out there and my health and my career, then I'll go out there and play. And if not, then I won't.''

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Ronnie Stanley, Matthew Judon among NFL’s top 25 potential free agents in 2021

Ronnie Stanley, Matthew Judon among NFL’s top 25 potential free agents in 2021

The Ravens (and most likely all 32 NFL franchises) will face some very difficult decisions next offseason, especially with the talent that potentially could be available on the free agent market.

NFL.com recently released the top 25 potential free agents for the 2021 offseason, and Baltimore features prominently on their list. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley ranks as the third-best to possibly hit the open market, behind only Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle.

“If there were a poll among general managers picking one franchise left tackle to build around for the next decade, Stanley might top the list,” Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com wrote. “Baltimore has a lot of big contracts coming up, but Stanley is the most important player on the Ravens' roster besides Lamar Jackson.”

Stanley, the 6th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, is set to play out the fifth-year option on his rookie deal this season. A huge payday no doubt awaits the All-Pro left tackle, but its not something he’s dwelling on right now.

“It’s definitely not really in the forefront of my mind,” Stanley said. “My main focus right now is just - for me, it’s always been be the best player I can be, help my team win. The money usually takes care of itself after that.”

RELATED: STANLEY HAPPY TO SEE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYERS UNITED

Further down the list at #22, Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon will play under the franchise tag this season. However, there is doubt about how long Judon’s tenure in Baltimore will ultimately last.

“A terrific player who may thrive more with effort than pure raw talent, Judon looks likely to be the latest pass rusher to leave the Ravens nest,” Rosenthal wrote.

Financial flexibility will be at a premium next offseason, with the salary cap likely headed for a historic drop due to the effects of the current pandemic. Regardless, the future of Stanley and Judon in Baltimore will be worth monitoring next offseason.

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More on the table for potential Matthew Judon trades?

More on the table for potential Matthew Judon trades?

Uncertainty surrounds the upcoming college football season, with a majority of high-profile schools and conferences across the country unsure exactly how this year will play out. That uncertainty could actually end up benefiting the Ravens.

Former Jets general manager and current ESPN NFL analyst Mike Tannenbaum knows the draft process well having spent more than two decades in various front offices. Tuesday on ESPN’s “Get Up,” he connected the dots between the state of college football, the 2021 draft and potential NFL trades.

“The impact is massive,” Tannenbaum said. “We take an inexact science and make it even murkier… it just makes draft choices next year less valuable because you just don’t know what you’re getting.”

That murkiness could ultimately work in the Ravens favor. Baltimore placed the franchise tag on linebacker Matthew Judon this offseason but were unable to come to a long-term extension before this past July’s deadline. Tannenbaum sees a way for general managers like Eric DeCosta to capitalize on the current situation and get a haul of draft picks if they’re willing to deal.

RELATED: DEADLINE PASSES WITHOUT A LONG-TERM DEAL FOR JUDON

“If I’m Joe Douglas, the general manager of the Jets, I’m thinking, ‘Should I call Jacksonville or Baltimore right now and see if I can get Matthew Judon or Yannick Ngakoue and get a proven pass rusher?’” Tannanbaum said. “Because if I draft a guy next year who doesn’t play this year, he may not impact that team until the end of ’21, maybe 2022.”

“The permutations are really somewhat complex and I think we’re going to see some unusual trades this year because their picks next year won’t be as valuable if we don’t play college football this season.”

Judon has tallied 28.5 sacks over 4 seasons in Baltimore, including a career high 9.5 sacks last season.

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