Quick Links

Need to Know: RG3 benched--The beginning of the end? Or the end of the beginning?

Need to Know: RG3 benched--The beginning of the end? Or the end of the beginning?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, November 26, four days before the Washington Redskins travel to Indianapolis to play the Colts.

RG3 benched

—In case you missed the news, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported late last night that the Redskins will bench Robert Griffin III and start Colt McCoy at quarterback against the Colts on Sunday. Other media sources have confirmed the report.

—There was ample foreshadowing for this move. Looking back over the notes from Monday’s conference call with Jay Gruden, he said that he and the staff were looking over the 49ers game film to see what needed to be done to get an offense that had scored just 20 points in the last two games going. At the same time, he praised the play of Alfred Morris, said that the offensive line executed against the run well and although there were protection issues they got something of a pass because of who they were up against and because rookie Morgan Moses was the left tackle. And Gruden said that he understood the frustration of the receivers because they were doing their jobs but not getting the ball. That left just one position, quarterback, that wasn’t holding up its end of the deal.

—Is this the fair thing to do, the right thing to do, after 33 career starts for Griffin and four under Gruden’s offense? That is a fairly small sample size but I think what led Gruden to come to the conclusion to sit Griffin is the lack of progress. It wouldn’t be reasonable to expect Griffin to have mastered the offense by this time. But after having worked OTAs, minicamp, training camp, the preseason, and those four games, I think it was reasonable to expect Griffin to be playing better than he is now, much better. There has been frustration with his inability to execute some of the basic concepts in the offense since training camp.

—Is this the end for Griffin in Washington? Maybe. But he’s going to cost the Redskins $6.7 million against the cap next year whether they keep him or release him. If they can persuade a team to trade for an underperforming quarterback with a $3.3 million guaranteed contract the Redskins would have $3.4 million in dead cap to deal with. Might he be better if he has to push to compete for the job? Or would he be too much of a distraction on the bench?

—Griffin likes to quote Winston Churchill. The British leader once looked at a very different situation, a world war, and said that a particular event may not have been the beginning of the end but it may have been the end of the beginning. That may be what we have here in regards to Griffin’s tenure in Washington. It may not be over but it certainly marks the start of a phase very different from the beginning, the two and a half years since he was drafted.

—My friend Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders sent me this: The Redskins have averaged 1.26 points per drive with Griffin under center. With McCoy and Kirk Cousins, both of whom also have had limited time to learn the offense, they have averaged 1.99 points per drive. To put those numbers in perspective, with Cousins/McCoy the Washington offense is similar to that of the Falcons, who are 12th in the league in scoring. With Griffin, they are like the Jaguars, who are 32nd in scoring.

—One of the reasons that I have been skeptical of making a move like this is that I’m not sure the Colt McCoy will end up being a major improvement. Yes, he has the 107 passer rating in a game and a half and has left the field a winner twice. But I look at his career record with a completion rate of under 60 percent, 21 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions, and a passer rating of 74 and winder if he can keep it up. Yes, he has better offensive weapons here than he had in Cleveland and maybe that will help. But opposing defensive coordinators now have six quarters of film on him in this offense and we will see if knowledge is power in this case.


Today’s schedule: Practice 1:00; Player availability and Jay Gruden news conference after practice, approx. 3:00

Days until: Redskins @ Colts 4; Rams @ Redskins 11; 2015 NFL Draft 154

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

Like Real Redskins on Facebook!

Follow Real Redskins on Instagram @RichTandler

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Week 7 NFC East Update: As Giants derail rest of division rebounds

USA Today Sports

Week 7 NFC East Update: As Giants derail rest of division rebounds

In Week 5, every NFC East team suffered an embarrassing defeat. In Week 6, every NFC East team rebounded, except for the New York Giants.

The Redskins rebounded from their ugly Week 5 loss in New Orleans with a home win over a strong Carolina team. Dallas logged the division's best win, stomping Jacksonville 40-7, while the Eagles took no mercy on the Giants, beating them 34-13.

Now, three teams sit at the top with three wins, while the Giants lag quite far behind in the basement. Here's the update:

Washington Redskins (3-2)

Only by virtue of an early bye week do the Redskins rank slightly ahead of the Eagles and Cowboys, thanks to a .600 winning percentage. This week will change that, as the Redskins play their first NFC East division game when they host the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon. Defensively, Washington should match up well with Dallas, a run-first team that is challenged in the vertical pass game. But the Redskins have plenty to deal with internally, including major injuries at WR as well as a four-game losing streak to their rival. The Redskins haven't beaten the Cowboys at home since 2012. 

Up next: Oct. 21st vs Dallas (4:25 p.m.)

Dallas Cowboys (3-3)

Coming off their most impressive win of the season, Dallas will march into Washington on Sunday full of confidence and defensive swagger. The Cowboys defense held the Jaguars to only 204 total yards last Sunday and posted three sacks with two turnovers. The strength of the Dallas defense comes up front, with a menacing defensive line that confuses their offensive counterparts with significant movement and stunts at the snap of the ball. Now, all of that said, the Cowboys posted their standout defensive numbers against Blake Bortles and a bad Jaguars offense that was playing without injured running back Leonard Fournette. The Cowboys defense is good, but maybe not quite as good as they looked against Jacksonville. It's also a good time to point out that on the 2018 season, Dallas is 3-0 at home, and 0-3 on the road.

Up next: Oct. 21st @ Washington (4:25 p.m.)

Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)

Don't look now but the defending Super Bowl champs might be getting their act together. The Eagles scored more than 30 points for the first time this year in a demolition of the Giants last Thursday night, and snapped a two-game losing streak. Carson Wentz threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns, his best performance since coming back from knee surgery. Defensively, the Eagles sacked Eli Manning four times, but rookie sensation RB Saquon Barkley was able to gash Philly on the ground. The Panthers will present a very strong run game this Sunday and if Philly is all the way back, they need their stout run defense from 2017 to reappear. 

Up next: Oct. 21st vs Carolina

New York Giants (1-5)

Woof. Not much to celebrate in the Big Apple. It's become very obvious that Eli Manning is no longer a starting caliber QB, but the Giants have no other real options. And for all the complaints about Eli and the Giants offensive line, the defense hasn't been very good either. New York has a -45 point differential on the year. The Giants need to rebuild their offense around Saquon Barkley, who has looked outstanding, and hope Eli can hit Odell Beckham on play action. Barkley must get more carries for the Giants; that's the only way to salvage an already broken season.

Up next: Oct. 22nd @ Atlanta (8:15 p.m.)


Quick Links

Need to Know: Tandler’s Take—Dramatic improvement to Redskins rushing defense

Need to Know: Tandler’s Take—Dramatic improvement to Redskins rushing defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 16, five days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

Talking Points

A better 3-2

For the third straight year, the Redskins are 3-2 after five games. As you know, they did not make the playoffs after either of the last two seasons. But they are in better shape in the standings now than they were in 2016 or 2017. Last year they were in second place in the division, a game and a half behind the 5-1 Eagles. They were worse off two years ago as they were in third place behind the 3-1 Eagles and the Cowboys, who were 4-1. 

It’s still very early, but it’s better to be in first place nearly a third of the way into the season than it is to be in second or third place and being in a position where you have to chase one or two teams. 

Take it away

The Redskins had three takeaways against the Panthers—the fumble recovery on the punt, Josh Norman’s interception, and the fumble forced by Norman and recovered by Mason Foster. They did not give the ball away. The last time they got at least three takeaways without giving the ball up was on Christmas Eve, 2016 in Chicago. Perhaps not coincidentally, that is the last game in which Norman had an interception until Sunday. 

After being either even or in the positive in takeaway ratio in four of their five games this year, the Redskins are now tied for fourth in the NFL with a plus-four turnover margin. If they can stay on the even or plus side from week to week they will have a very good chance at being successful. 

Rushing D much improved

After finishing 32nd in the NFL in rushing yards allowed in 2017, the Redskins are currently sixth, giving up an average of 90.2 yards per game. The improvement has come even though they have faced premiere running backs David Johnson, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, and Christian McCaffrey. They have allowed no more than 104 yards on the ground in any of their five games. Last year's opponents ran for 127 yards or more 10 times. Their defense will be tested on Sunday against the Cowboys, who average 147 rushing yards per game on the ground, second in the NFL. 

Looking in the mirror

When the Redskins take a look at the Cowboys they might feel like they are watching themselves. Both teams run the ball well, although Ezekiel Elliott is more consistent than Adrian Peterson. Alex Smith has better passing stats than Dak Prescott but both teams are in the bottom third of the league in passing yards. The defenses on both teams are strong. Washington is sixth in yardage allowed per game and the Cowboys are fifth. 

And both teams have started off the season alternating wins and losses. Dallas started with a loss to the Panthers then beat the Giants, lost to the Seahawks, won over the Lions, suffered an OT loss to the Texans and then thumped the Jaguars. It will be an interesting match up on Sunday.

The agenda

Today: Off day, no media availability

Upcoming: Cowboys @ Redskins 5; Redskins @ Giants 12; Redskins @ Eagles 48