Redskins

Redskins' RG3 reflects on early accomplishments

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Redskins' RG3 reflects on early accomplishments

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Robert Griffin III sat on a sofa, working the controls of a new video game, the always-present dog tags and fiance's high school ring dangling from his neck. His speech is flush with self-confidence. He is fully aware of what he's done and what he means to the Washington Redskins, just seven games into his career.

He has quickly become one of most dynamic players in the NFL.

``I didn't come in joking,'' Griffin said in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press. ``I came in working hard. You don't come in showing them all your personality all at one time, because then you can become extremely annoying. So you want to come in and show them, `Hey, I'm a hardworking guy. Coach brought me here for a reason, to help us win.' And you build that reputation through the preseason games, through practice.

``I've done it through the first seven games,'' he continued, ``and now I don't think there's a player on this team that has any doubt that I'm a leader of a football team, and that every time we step on the football field we have a chance to win, not only because I'm their quarterback, but because they're out there with me.

``It's something you build over time. Kind of like if you're dating a girl: You don't show her everything on the first date.''

Then he flashed that million-dollar RG3 smile.

Take his words in black and white, and one could mistake him for a braggart. His tone, however, is analytical, as if the 22-year-old rookie is giving a dispassionate review of his inaugural NFL season even as he is living it.

Griffin has wowed the NFL and brought the Redskins back to life. He leads the NFL in completion percentage and is third in passer rating. He's run for 468 yards - on pace for more than 1,000 - and his six rushing touchdown rank second in the league.

Those are just numbers. Just watch one fourth-quarter drive against the New York Giants - the scramble to get room to complete a fourth-and-10 pass, the 23-yard run, the perfect throw to Santana Moss for a 30-yard touchdown that temporarily gave the Redskins the lead - and it's easy to conclude that Griffin will make Washington competitive for many years to come.

That's not good enough for the rookie. He wants to win this year. With the Redskins at 3-4 headed into Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he feels he has a shot at making it happen.

``There are guys on this team that don't have three, four years to wait for me to develop, and continue to use the excuse that I'm a young quarterback,'' he said. ``London Fletcher doesn't have that many years. (DeAngelo) Hall is a guy that, based on history, doesn't have a ton of years left in his career, so I wanted them to know that I was going to come in and try to be ready as soon as possible, and I think I've done that. And by no means am I there, and I continue to get better, but I don't hold myself to a rookie-type of mindset.

``If I throw a pick, it's not because I'm a rookie. It's because I made a mistake. That's how I look at it.''

If that sounds like a lot of self-belief for someone new to the pros, Griffin has a response: ``If you don't believe, who else is going to believe?''

Griffin is fully aware that fans, teammates and family are concerned about his health, especially after he suffered a concussion in a loss to the Atlanta Falcons earlier this month. He promised everyone afterward that he would take better care of himself. Even though his rushing totals have increased in the two games since, he feels he is running for smarter yards.

``I've done the best job of protecting myself in both of those games,'' he said. ``Getting out of bounds, getting down when I have to, and not taking big hits. So if I run for first downs, or run for 90 yards or 80 yards and I'm able to get out of bounds, then it doesn't matter.''

The Redskins lost to the Giants, 27-23, despite Griffin's late drive, but it's one of those defeats that perhaps could serve as a psychological springboard.

``There's no moral victories, but we walked out of the game feeling that we won the game, because we did dominate the game. We should have won the game,'' Griffin said. ``We're upset that we lost, but we don't hang our heads saying, `Man, we went out there and got our butt whipped.'''

Griffin took some time away from football Tuesday to indulge a couple of passions. He was trying out the soon-to-be-released Assassin's Creed III video game, and the game's publisher is featuring him in a painting that's being auctioned off to benefit Rock the Vote.

``I grew up in the military,'' he said. ``I've lived that life. I know that our soldiers are out there fighting for our right to vote and they're out there fighting for other countries' rights to vote. ... Guys have been dying for it, and we have to go out and exercise it.''

Griffin is registered in his home state of Texas. He has met President Barack Obama and has challenged the commander in chief to a basketball game, but he declined to state his own political beliefs, saying that race, religion and politics are ``three things you don't talk about.''

He will talk video games, which he says work better as an offseason hobby.

``It's easier to watch a movie than it is to play a video game during the season, just because you can fall asleep on the movie,'' Griffin said. ``Usually when you play a video game and you get into it, you want to keep playing. That kind of can hurt you during the football season.''

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Why Daniel Jones might make sense if the Redskins truly believe they’re ‘close’

Why Daniel Jones might make sense if the Redskins truly believe they’re ‘close’

Daniel Jones seems unlikely to be the best quarterback in the 2019 rookie class. He also seems unlikely to be a bust.

Given the Redskins' history at the quarterback position, both recent and ancient, Jones’ lack of sexy upside might be his most attractive quality. 

Polarizing might not accurately portray this class of QBs. Divisive might be the better word. 

Kyler Murray ranks as the top prospect, and seems likely to be drafted first overall by the Arizona Cardinals. Still, some teams don’t believe he has the size or commitment to make it as an NFL signal caller.

After Murray there’s even less consensus. 

Dwayne Haskins has a big arm and great size, but only started one year in college and didn’t show much ability to read defenses in the Ohio State offense. Drew Lock makes some 'Wow!' plays, but then he also makes terrible plays. His most consistent traits are arm talent and inconsistency. 

In some order, Murray, Haskins and Lock probably mark the top three rated passers in the 2019 draft. 

Then comes Jones. 

The Duke quarterback does nothing that screams first-round pick. His combine numbers were good and his game film seems good. At the same time, there aren’t any real knocks against him either, other than Jones doesn’t have the super star potential the other three have shown. 

Jones isn’t a sexy pick. He’s not even a PG13 make-out scene pick. 

And that might be just what the Redskins want. 

For months, the Washington front office has repeatedly talked about being “close.” Close to what remains a question, but it must at least mean competing for the NFC East title and winning a playoff game. 

Well, of all the rookie passers, Jones might be the one that presents the least risk. He might not make jaw dropping deep throws or electric moves outside of the pocket, but he probably won’t throw 20-plus interceptions either. 

Last year, the Redskins traded for Alex Smith to run their offense. Smith’s best traits are controlling the football and making the smart, not sexy, play. 

You know what rookie could fit that mold? 

Certainly isn’t Murray. Probably isn’t Lock. And Haskins likely needs to sit a year to learn NFL offenses. 

Jones, however, has been playing in a pro system for years at Duke. He’s been coached by the Manning-Whisperer in David Cutcliffe. 

Veteran NFL personnel executives believe in Jones in a major way. Gil Brandt, a Hall of Fame former Cowboys GM, compared Jones to Peyton Manning. Seriously.

"When you watch him and you go back (20) years and watch Peyton Manning, you are watching the same guy. He's athletic," Brandt said on an SiriusXM pre-draft conference call. "He doesn't have a rocket for an arm, but neither did Peyton. Very smart."

ESPN's Mel Kiper believes Jones will be the best QB in this draft. Former Redskins GM Charley Casserly thinks Jones is the most ready for the NFL of any 2019 passer.

Add all of that up, and the Redskins taking Jones with the 15th overall pick starts to make sense. Then go back and listen to some Jay Gruden quotes, and it makes even more sense. 

Speaking at the NFL League Meetings in Arizona last month, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden explained that he likes winning low-scoring, grinding football games. 

"You try to protect the football and let the strength of your football team carry you through the tough times and hopefully your team or offense or special teams or offense will come through and make a play at a critical time," Gruden said. " It was a great recipe for us early. I like playing that way."

Of the rookie quarterbacks the Redskins might be able to get, Jones could be best suited for that style, especially in 2019. Not every analyst believes in Jones, including NBC Sports' Chris Simms. He doesn't even rate Jones in the top four QBs available this fall.

Regardless of the analysts, the Redskins believe they’re close, and need a quarterback that won’t lose them games. Of the rookie collection, Jones best fits that role.

Just by his risk taking nature, Lock will probably lose some games as a rookie. Maybe throughout his career. Haskins can play but the speed of the NFL will require a major adjustment for his game. Murray is dynamic, but his skill set requires a complete offensive overhaul for whatever team takes him. 

Add any of those three QBs to the Redskins and it’s hard to imagine the team competing for the playoffs in 2019. In the penultimate year of his contract, Gruden needs to compete for the playoffs in 2019. 

Last season, ugly or not, the Redskins legitimately looked on their way to a playoff spot. In Week 10, the team was 6-3. Injuries derailed those plans, but the roadmap was established. 

Even at 6-3, the Redskins hardly played aesthetically pleasing football. It sure as hell wasn't sexy. 

If the Redskins want to recreate that formula, and build on it for the future, Jones might be the best pick. 

In football, in sports, even in life, sometimes the best course of action is to avoid a major mistake and play it safe. 

The Redskins tried to that last year with Smith, but a broken leg disrupted the plan. 

It's entirely possible the Redskins don't take a quarterback in the first round, but if they do, Jones offers the best chance for a mulligan.

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Late comeback falls short as Twins complete sweep

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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Late comeback falls short as Twins complete sweep

After dropping both games of the doubleheader on Saturday, the Orioles comeback bid was just short on Sunday, as they fell 4-3 to the Minnesota Twins.

The loss marked a sweep for the Twins, and the second time the Orioles have been swept in Camden Yards this season.

PLAYER NOTES:

ORIOLES:

Outfielder Dwight Smith, Jr. is not expected to miss time due to injury, according to manager Brandon Hyde. Smith was removed during Sunday's loss with what was considered to be right quad tightness. While he may be held out a couple days, do not expect him to end up on the injured list.

Second baseman Johnathan Villar continues to impress early on in 2019. Villar stole his sixth base of the season (in 23 games) on Sunday, also adding three hits and an RBI during the loss. He continues to be a bright spot for a young Orioles team.

The Orioles defense did not help starting pitcher Dylan Bundy, who gave up four runs (two earned) over six innings on Sunday. In the first inning, Smith Jr. lost a fly ball in the sun that resulted in a three-base error, leading to two runs. Regardless, Bundy moved to 0-3 on the season with a 6.56 ERA, neither of which is very good.

TWINS:

Relief pitcher Taylor Rogers earned his second save of the series -- and third of the season -- on Sunday. Despite allowing a run, he could be emerging as the Twins go-to ninth inning arm, but manager Rocco Baldelli could continue to move forward on a game-by-game basis.

Outfielder Max Kepler missed the entire series against Baltimore with what was described as just an illness. His health is something to keep an eye on moving forward, as Kepler has not played since Thursday.

WHITE SOX:

Outfielder Jon Jay is traveling with the team, but it is unlikely if he will play in any of games in the upcoming series against Baltimore. Jay has yet to play this season after suffering a hip injury late in Spring Training.

Starting pitcher Lucas Giolito also will miss the entire series against Baltimore with a hamstring injury that sent him to the injured list. The right-hander has not had the best start to 2019, as he has a 5.30 ERA through four starts.

INJURIES:

OF Dwight Smith, Jr.: Quadriceps, day-to-day

RP Richard Bleier: Shoulder, 10-Day IL

SP Nate Karns: Arm, 10-Day IL

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, 60-Day IL

COMING UP:

Monday 4/22: White Sox @ Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards 

Tuesday 4/23: White Sox @ Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards 

Wednesday 4/24: White Sox @ Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards 

Source: Rotoworld

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