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How many preseason passes will Redskins' RG3 attempt?

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How many preseason passes will Redskins' RG3 attempt?

RICHMOND—A year ago, Robert Griffin III barely broke a sweat in the Redskins’ preseason opener against the Patriots at FedEx Field. He was in for one drive, took 10 snaps and threw four passes, completing two for nine yards. Alfred Morris carried five times for 27 yards to key an 11-play, 35-yard drive to a field goal.

Perhaps Jay Gruden doesn’t think that was enough work or that he needs more work in the first practice game at this stage of his development. That game comes on Thursday night in Cleveland.

“We'll see,” said Gruden when asked how much Griffin and the starters will play against the Browns. “I would think at least a quarter right now, just off the top of my head, but we'll see. Could be longer. Just depends on how many plays you get. We'll probably have a pitch count on him and go from there."

So even though Gruden hasn’t made a firm decision on how long Griffin and the starters will go, it sure sounds like it will be much longer than one possession and four pass attempts.

It seems apparent that the Redskins didn’t like a number of the things they did last year to prepare Griffin for the season, his first playing in Gruden’s offense. The biggest admission that they needed to do things differently was the addition of a quarterbacks coach in Matt Cavanaugh. He replaces, well, nobody. Gruden decided to leave the job vacant and work with the quarterbacks directly along with offensive coordinator Sean McVay. Towards the end of the year, the Redskins had used all three quarterbacks on the roster and none of them played well consistently. Towards the end of the year Gruden saw that the arrangement was not going to work and he hinted that a QB coach would be hired. Cavanaugh came on board in January.

And now we have a shift in the thinking on snap counts during the preseason. Yes, it may be just a difference of dozen or so snaps on Thursday. But it’s a pretty good bet that when the preseason is over, Griffin will have thrown more than the 20 passes he attempted last year.

Perhaps Griffin will play more in the preseason at the behest of Cavanaugh. Last year he was the QB coach of the Bears and Jay Cutler, an established quarterback, threw 42 passes in the preseason. The previous year Cutler threw 34 preseason passes. Cavanaugh was the quarterbacks coach of the Jets from 2009-2012. Mark Sanchez threw an average of 41 passes during the preseason. It appears that Cavanaugh is a believer in getting his quarterbacks at least a game’s worth of pass attempts in during the preseason.  

Playing Griffin more snaps does increase the chances that he may get injured during a meaningless game. Simple math tells you that and Griffin’s propensity to get injured is greater than that of the average QB. But perhaps the feeling is that if Griffin doesn’t get enough reps to start the season he doesn’t have a chance of being effective. The injury risk is one that they believe they have to take. 

MORE REDSKINS: Gruden on TE injuries: Redskins haven't looked at Chris Cooley, yet

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Need to Know: Five Redskins on the bubble who could make the roster

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Need to Know: Five Redskins on the bubble who could make the roster

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 21, 35 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The first five off of the roster

Here are five players who are not on my projection of the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) but who are one injury or a few strong preseason game performances away from making it. 

G Kyle Kalis—Last year he lined up with the second team during most of training camp and he nearly made the roster as an undrafted free agent. The team did re-sign him after injuries struck the O-line in the middle of the season. He will push Tyler Catalina for a backup guard spot. 

RB Byron Marshall—He got a few touches last year before ending up on injured reserve. Marshall has looked good in practices so far, especially catching out of the backfield. Jay Gruden likely will play Chris Thompson sparingly in the preseason and that could give Marshall a chance to shine. Don’t sleep on him. 

WR Cam Sims—Right now, the undrafted rookie out of Alabama looks like the eighth wide receiver on the roster and they are only going to keep six. But if he continues to get the attention of Gruden with his play in practice and makes the most of his opportunities in preseason games, Robert Davis and Maurice Harris should look out. 

S Fish Smithson—The Redskins liked him a lot after they signed him as an undrafted free agent last year. But they didn’t like him enough to keep him on the 53-man roster; he spent the year on the practice squad, getting a late-season cup of coffee on the roster. He will push both Deshazor Everett and Troy Apke for a backup safety spot. If the Redskins have reason to be concerned about the health of Montae Nicholson they might figure out a way to keep Smithson on as a fifth safety. 

ILB Martrell Spaight—It looks like Spaight’s three-year tenure with the team essentially came to an end when they drafted Sean Dion Hamilton in the fifth round. But his play in offseason practices indicates he’s not going to go out without a fight. 

Next five off: OT T.J. Clemmings, QB Kevin Hogan, RB Kapri Bibbs, NT Phil Taylor, CB Danny Johnson

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Timeline 

Redskins running back Derrius Guice was born on this date in 1997. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 35
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 49
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 72

The Redskins last played a game 172 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 80 days. 

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The best players on the Redskins according to their Madden 19 ratings

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USA Today Sports

The best players on the Redskins according to their Madden 19 ratings

Madden 19 won't be released to the public until August 10, but the player ratings for the top players on each NFL team have been released.

The video reaches the Redskins a little after four minutes in. The top nine players on the Redskins, according to their Madden 19 overall ratings are as follows:

  1. LT Trent Williams, 91
  2. RG Brandon Scherff, 88
  3. FS D.J. Swearinger, 86
  4. MLB Zach Brown, 85
  5. CB Josh Norman, 84
  6. RB Chris Thompson, 83
  7. WR Paul Richardson, 83
  8. QB Alex Smith, 81
  9. WR Jamison Crowder, 81

The list has Washington's two best linemen up top followed by its best skill position players and Zach Brown. Beyond Williams and Sherff, there's some debate to be had. Both Richardson and Crowder can make a serious case to be the team's best receiver. Crowder had 22 more receptions and 86 more yards than Richardson in 2017, but Richardson had six touchdowns to Crowder's three.

Smith is coming off arguably the best season of his career with Kansas City. He put up over 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his career, posted career bests in quarterback rating, touchdown passes, interception percentage and completions. His rating as the fifth-best offensive player behind two other skill position players seems off.

These rankings will change throughout the season as more updates become available, but this is what there is to work with right now.

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