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The 53: Stability at running back

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The 53: Stability at running back

The Redskins will report to training camp on July 25. Over the next five weeks they will undergo the process of cutting their 90-man roster down to 53. Which players will get those coveted spots and which will join the ranks of the unemployed? Over the next couple of weeks well go through position by position and try to predict what decisions Mike Shanahan and company will make.The first area we will look at is running back, including fullback.There are eight running backs on the roster, the Redskins will keep four.In: Roy Helu Jr., Tim Hightower, Evan Royster, Darrell Young
Out: Tristan Davis, Alfred Morris, Antwon Bailey, Lennon CreerChanges from 2011: Hightower back from injured reserve, Ryan Torain released just prior to the end of last seasonBubble watch: Morris, a sixth-round pick, has a chance if he can learn to play fullback as well as halfback. However, there appears to be no room for him. His best shot is to wind up on the practice squad and wait to be called up if someone gets hurt.BreakdownThis should be one of the most stable units on the team. All four of those who are expected to make it were with the team a year ago. Royster came off of the practice squad in Week 12 and Hightower was the starter in five of the first six games before winding up on IR.It seems like Helu is penciled in as the starter right now, given how he finished up 2011, but its a very light pencil. Nobody would be surprised in the least if Hightower lined up for the first snap in New Orleans. During the course of the year, Royster could get his share of starts as well.The starter could be the hot hand, he could be the last man standing. Hightower is coming off of a knee injury and Helu was banged up the last few games of last year after carrying the load for a month.Davis, Bailey, and Creer have talent but the numbers are stacked against them. Fortunately, to coaches are unlikely to work the front-line players too much during preseason games so those three and Morris should get plenty of carries. That will give them to get a shot at the practice squad or to get a look by another team.

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It's crazy to think what has happened since the RG3 and Andrew Luck draft in 2012

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It's crazy to think what has happened since the RG3 and Andrew Luck draft in 2012

It wasn't that long ago when Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III intended to dominate the NFL. It might seem crazy now, but it wasn't that long ago. 

In 2012, Indianapolis drafted Luck first overall to take over for the then-injured Peyton Manning. It was a tall order, but Luck seemed up to the challenge. Immediately after Luck, the Redskins selected Griffin. His challenge wasn't replacing a legend like Manning, but rather Washington asked RG3 to rescue a franchise stuck in a constant vortex of turmoil. Somehow, even as a rookie, Griffin seemed up for that challenge too. 

Both rookies started right away, and while there were some hiccups, both were great. 

  • In 16 games, Luck completed 54 percent of his passes for 4,300 yards with 23 TDs and 18 INTs while the Colts went 11-5 and returned to the playoffs. 
  • In 15 games, Griffin completed 65 percent of his passes for 3,200 yards with 20 TDs and 5 INTs while the Redskins went 10-6 and returned to the playoffs. Griffin also rushed for another 800 yards and seven TDs. 

The hype was so real around both young quarterbacks that a preseason matchup between the Colts and Redskins got promoted as a showdown. A preseason game. 

The truth was both Luck and RG3 seemed like can't-miss prospects. Cannot miss. Luck had the pocket pedigree every QB coach dreams of. Griffin had the arm and athleticism that was going to turn the NFL upside down. 

For a brief time, it worked. 

There were no Super Bowls, no real triumphs, but in 2012, both guys lived up the hype. 

Things quickly deteriorated for Griffin, both through injury and infighting. Who's to blame in the demise of the RG3/Mike/Kyle Shanahan relationship doesn't really matter now. That short glimpse of the perfect player in the perfect offense fell apart, like looking at a solar eclipse for just one second too long; it's beautiful right until it burns your eyes. 

Luck lasted longer in Indy, until he was betrayed by a terrible front office that refused to invest in capable offensive linemen. His body got beaten up, battered, and eventually he lost his love for the game as he was forced into a repeated cycle of rehab and recovery with only snippets of football in between.

Luck retired Saturday night. It was shocking, yet given the full context, understandable. 

Griffin is now the backup quarterback in Baltimore, playing behind a young athlete with a gifted arm that might change the QB position forever in Lamar Jackson. 

Long gone are the days of stadiums chanting RG3. And now, long gone are the days of Luck being the next great pocket passer. 

That doesn't mean it never happened, but in the NFL as in life, there is no such thing as a sure thing. 

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NFL players react to news that Andrew Luck is retiring

NFL players react to news that Andrew Luck is retiring

NFL players took to Twitter on Saturday to send well-wishes to Andrew Luck after news broke that he is retiring from the NFL. 

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Luck was 'mentally worn out' after years of battling injuries. Luck confirmed the news in an emotional press conference on Saturday night.

"Andrew luck I understand you 100% brotha," wrote Dez Bryant. "... take your time ... I wish you the best."

Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins reacted to the news with emojis.

Former player turned ESPN analyst Emmanuel Acho posted video of Colts fans booing Luck as he walked into the locker room. "Coach always said, 'the pats on the back eventually turn into stabs,'" he wrote.  

"That's bad to boo that man," added former Redskins player Chris Baker.

Former Ravens and current Carolina player Torrey Smith tweeted that anyone in the sport understands.

Jaguars long snapper Matt Overton wrote he was "shook."

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