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Competition at heart of decision to bench RG3


Competition at heart of decision to bench RG3

On August 31, the Redskins made a move that nobody thought they would make, at least not two weeks before the season was to start. They benched quarterback Robert Griffin III and moved Kirk Cousins into the starting job.

“It’s Kirk’s team,” said Jay Gruden when he announced the change.

The decision was not an easy one to make. Although Gruden ultimately had the authority to pull the trigger on the switch, it was best to get the franchise’s other major decision makers on board. According to a report in the Washington Post, Gruden, GM Scot McCloughan, team president Bruce Allen, and owner Dan Snyder came to a consensus on the decision based on two main points:

“—Cousins gave the Redskins a better chance to win in 2015 than Griffin, whose struggles in Gruden’s timing-based offense were increasingly evident.

—And Gruden risked losing credibility with the team if he continued to preach competition and award starting jobs to the victors at every position except quarterback.”

The first point is debatable. The Redskins did not win any of the four games that Cousins started and finished last year. But they won only one of Griffin’s start-to-finish efforts so his case is also weak based on recent history.

There wasn’t a traditional quarterback competition at camp with the candidates rotating snaps with the first team during OTAs and training camp. But the job was up for grabs, with Griffin’s work with the starting offense going up against the front-line defense being compared to Cousins’ play with and against backups.

We will see how it plays out. Although the franchise principles all reportedly buy in to the decision to start Cousins, Gruden owns it. And his job security may depend on it.

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Trent Williams was definitely not playing Sunday against Houston, but now he might

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Trent Williams was definitely not playing Sunday against Houston, but now he might

On Wednesday, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said that six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams would not play on Sunday against the Texans. 

"That's for sure," the coach said. 

By Friday, the tune had changed. Drastically. 

Gruden said that Williams' status on Sunday will come down to the medical staff. The coach added that Williams has to be comfortable in whatever cast will support his dislocated thumb.

As for Williams, he would not say for sure that he's going to play. But after talking with him for a few minutes in the Redskins locker room, it seems like the medical staff will be hard pressed to keep him off the field. 

Williams missed the Redskins last two games after injuring his thumb in a victory over the Giants. Without him, the Redskins offensive line performed admirably, but both tackles Morgan Moses and Ty Nsekhe are fighting through a number of injuries. 

The thumb injury required surgery, which happened about two weeks ago and came with a rough four-week timetable for recovery. Williams is attempting to cut that in half. 

Asked about Williams possibly playing Sunday, Redskins running back Adrian Peterson said he wants his friend and teammate to be smart about his future. Peterson said "there's a lot of football left" but the running back also added that there were situations watching Texans film this week where "it'd be real nice to have Trent out there."

Williams himself said that it must be tough for Peterson, as the two are close friends. Obviously, the running back wants the star tackle out on the field, but he also cares about his long-term future. 

Notes: Redskins K Dustin Hopkins landed on the injury report earlier with a groin injury in the week and the team brought in other kickers for tryouts on Tuesday. On Friday, Hopkins said he was pain-free and planned to "give it a go" Sunday against Houston. 


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With Samaje Perine ruled out for Week 11, expect Byron Marshall to be activated off IR


With Samaje Perine ruled out for Week 11, expect Byron Marshall to be activated off IR

The main news on Friday at Redskins Park was the surprising return to the practice field by Trent Williams. 

That wasn't the only notable development when it comes to injuries, though. 

During his end-of-the-week podium session, Jay Gruden ruled Samaje Perine out for Sunday's game against the Texans. The second-year back has a calf injury and won't be able to go in Week 11.

As of Friday afternoon, that leaves the 'Skins with just two healthy running backs in Adrian Peterson and Kapri Bibbs. Chris Thompson is on the active roster as well, but he's dealing with rib issues and he's going to be absent when Houston visits.

This means you should expect to see Byron Marshall in Burgundy and Gold come kickoff. Marshall has been on IR with an ankle injury since the start of the year but said he's been healthy for a while now and would be ready to step in as the third back.

The majority of offensive snaps the past few weeks have gone to Peterson and Bibbs, so Marshall shouldn't figure into things too much when the Redskins have the ball. He showed flashes in some spot duty in 2017, though, so if need be, he could be productive for Gruden.

With Trey Quinn already back on the 53, if/when the team elects to bring back Marshall, the Redskins will be out of IR activations. NFL rules stipulate each club only gets two per season.