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Need to Know: Clarity for Redskins, RG3 remains elusive

Need to Know: Clarity for Redskins, RG3 remains elusive

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, August 29, the day the Washington Redskins play the Baltimore Ravens.

A cloud of uncertainty will remain

After having a fairly positive training camp in Richmond, the Redskins have not had much go well since returning to Ashburn. To recap the last 12 days at Redskins Park:

—Robert Griffin III was widely quoted as saying he believes he is the best quarterback in the NFL. The remark was taken out of context but that did not keep it from being fodder for blogs and radio and TV talk shows.

—There was a very visible debate involving Griffin and team PR officials over whether or not the quarterback should address the media following the first practice after his “best” comments.

—Griffin and the first team offense looked awful in their Thursday preseason game against the Lions. In four possessions they mustered just one first down and Griffin was hit six times on eight pass dropbacks.

—During that game the Redskins lost special teams captain Adam Hayward for the season with a torn ACL.

—Griffin left the game and it was announced that he was being examined for a possible head injury. Despite media reports that Griffin had passed concussion testing, including one from the team’s own broadcast network, Jay Gruden announced after the game that Griffin did indeed have a concussion.

—Outside linebacker Junior Galette, who was going to be a key part of the Redskins’ pass rush, was lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon he suffered late in practice. He was to make his preseason game debut on Saturday.

—On Thursday Griffin held a rather odd news conference where he said that he doesn’t know when or even if he suffered a concussion. He also said, “I just work here” as part of a response to a question about being in the Lions game for four series despite taking some hard hits. A few hours after Griffin’s news conference the team sent out an announcement that he had been cleared to play through the NFL’s concussion protocol.

—On Friday, it was announced that the decision to let Griffin play against the Redskins had been reversed.

The week already was strange before Griffin was taken out of Saturday’s game. And that action robbed the Redskins of a chance to change the narrative.

Had Griffin come in and played well against the Ravens, the conversation would have gone from the tumult at Redskins Park to Griffin and an offense that had turned things around. It would not have taken much, maybe a touchdown drive, a field goal, and a minimal number of sacks and Griffin generally looking better than he did against the Lions. The noise would have died down and the talk could shift to football and preparations for the team’s season opener on September 13.

To be sure, there was no guarantee that such a positive scenario would take place if Griffin was allowed to play. But there was a chance.

But now with Kirk Cousins likely to work with the first team offense the forecast is for more turmoil. If the plays well, Washington will instantly be in full-blown quarterback controversy mode two weeks before the season opener. If he plays poorly, fans and the media will rightly wonder if the team can even match the four wins they got last year. Either that or take hope in Colt McCoy as the savior.

A lack of clarity regarding Griffin has been one of the big clouds hanging over Redskins Park. And it’s not going away.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Ravens, M&T Bank Stadium, 7:30, Comcast SportsNet

—It’s been 244 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 15 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Final cuts 7; Rams @ Redskins 22; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 26

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Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

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Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

Terrelle Pryor made a number of highlight reel catches last year during training camp, and it appears the Redskins defense didn't like it. 

Washington's marquee free agent signing last season, Pryor came into Richmond with sky-high expectations. Throughout the training sessions last August, Pryor put on one-handed displays at the Jugs machine and often made big catches in team drills. It's also important to remember there was never any live tackling during these drills, leaving defenders at a distinct disadvantage. 

Zach Brown remembers the scene quite well, and thinks it will look very different this summer when Pryor comes to Richmond as a member of the New York Jets. 

"That’s going to be something right there. The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now," Brown said on Inside the Locker Room on the Team 980 (full audio here).

Brown explained that Redskins coach Jay Gruden would not allow the defense to hit Pryor last year, even when the wideout did some showboating. 

"Jay ain't here to protect you anymore," Brown said.

The Redskins linebacker explained that he tried to explain to Pryor that the one-handed catches from training camp would not translate in the NFC East, where players get hit hard. It doesn't seem like Pryor listened, as he finished the season with only 240 receiving yards on 20 catches in nine games. 

"The boys were already hot for what he was doing last year," Brown said. He added, "Try to one-hand something while you’re with the Jets, you’re gonna catch a forearm."

One incident that supports Brown's comments came when Bashaud Breeland got thrown off the practice field last training camp. Breeland got mad that he wasn't allowed to get physical with Pryor at the line of scrimmage, and the scene blew up. Breeland eventually got sent off the field after arguing with coaches. 

The Jets visit the Redskins for three days of practices beginning August 12th. The two teams then square off in the second preseason game on August 16th. 

Brown will get his chance at Pryor, assuming the wideout plays. Pryor finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve, but is expected to be fine once training camp begins in New York. 

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

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Need to Know: The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 17, 39 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The best Redskins players 25 or younger

Here is a look at the best Redskins players who have played at least one season and will be 25 or younger as of Week 1 this year. 

WR Jamison Crowder, 25 as of Week 1—Crowder hit the ground running in his first year, with 59 receptions, a team rookie record, and gaining 604 yards. He has been very dependable in his three years, averaging 64 catches, 747 yards, and four receiving touchdowns per year. 

OLB Preston Smith, 25—Since he came into the league, no player but Smith has at least 20.5 sacks, three or more interceptions, and four or more forced fumbles. His sack numbers tend to be up and down from week to week, but Jay Gruden has said more than once that Smith is very consistent in getting pressure on the quarterback even if he doesn’t always get home for the sack. 

DL Matt Ioannidis, 24—A year ago it was thought that he would face an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster. Now goes into the season as a starter and key contributor. The 2016 fifth-round pick got much stronger between his first and second seasons and he took well to the coaching of new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Only a broken hand that cost him two games and had him playing with an awkward cast for a few more kept him from threatening to make double-digit sacks. 

DL Jonathan Allen, 23—The Redskins were just starting to get a hint of what Allen could do early in the season. Pro Football Focus credited him with a total of three sacks in the Redskins third and fourth games. But in their fifth game, he suffered a foot injury that ended his season. Allen was a full go for the offseason program and there is no reason to think that he won’t pick back up right where he left off. 

S Montae Nicholson, 22—Like Allen, Nicholson’s rookie season was shortened due to injuries. He took advantage of the absence of anticipated starter Su’a Cravens and made an impact from the beginning. While the 2017 fourth-round pick and free-agent pickup D.J. Swearinger were in the lineup the decade-long struggles the Redskins have had at the safety position were suddenly gone. 

Best of the rest: WR Josh Doctson (25), C Chase Roullier (25)

It should be noted that DL Daron Payne turned 21 in May and RB Derrius Guice will the 21 later this month so they could be joining this list soon. Assuming those two start, the Redskins will have nine quality starters aged 25 or younger this year. 

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

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Timeline  

Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder was born on this date in 1993. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 39
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 53
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 76

The Redskins last played a game 166 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 84 days. 

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