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OPEN THREAD: Fans or not, it's time to give RG3 some credit

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OPEN THREAD: Fans or not, it's time to give RG3 some credit

Months ago when Redskins coach Jay Gruden announced that Washington would start Kirk Cousins at quarterback instead of Robert Griffin III, many fans and media alike expected a firestorm to follow. RG3 won't be able to handle the bench, the thinking went, and will be a disruption to Gruden, Cousins and the Redskins.

13 weeks into the season, and that theory couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, Griffin has been a good teammate and even better person.

In an MMQB.com feature on Cousins, the story of the Redskins QB telling his teammates about his father's battle with cancer emerged. In the story, Cousins explained that Griffin told his replacement that he would pray for his father.

"This is about more than football," Griffin said in the story.

MORE NFL: REDSKINS IN THE PLAYOFFS? CHARLEY CASSERLY SAYS YES 

Indeed, it appears Griffin's 2015 season will go down as one about very little football. The 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year has not taken a regular season snap through 12 weeks, and barring injuries to Cousins and Colt McCoy, seems unlikely to see the field all year. With a potential $16 million injury payment hovering, the Redskins would be foolish to play RG3 unless circumstances completely dictated the move. 

And despite the benching and much talk about his work ethic, his film study and his place in the locker room, Griffin has maintained a calm, quiet dignity throughout the year. He goes to practice, works out and participates in charitable works with the team. Talk to people in Ashburn about Griffin this season, and it's hard to find a negative word. Walk the sidelines on gameday or enter the locker room after a Redskins game - win or loss - and RG3 is hardly visible except for supporting teammates.

The reality is a player that has only been active once in 11 games should be a good, supportive teammate, but consider the baggage and circumstances surrounding Griffin's 2015 season, and it's obvious things could have gone much different. 

A quick look at Griffin's social media accounts, once a source of much consternation, reveal a family man with a penchant for Baylor football. Nothing controversial. And what about those reports earlier this year that Griffin and Cousins could not be in the same room? Based on the MMQB piece, which reveals both QBs attend prayer group regularly, that seems nonsensical.

The Redskins are in first place in the NFC East, thanks in significant part to a solid season from Cousins. Griffin has done nothing to slow that progress, while both visibly and behind the scenes supporting his teammate. When the Redskins fielded a depleted secondary a few games into the season, the former franchise QB ran scout team safety in practice. Prior to a game against Cam Newton, Griffin ran scout team QB to show the Washington defense similar looks as the team would face against Carolina. 

Griffin remains a lightning rod. Undoubtedly, some RG3 critics will read this and refute every word. Regardless of the Redskins improvement this season, some RG3 zealots maintain he still should start over Cousins. Clearly an athlete cognizant of his image, it's possible RG3 has laid low on purpose, en effort to prepare for life after the Redskins. 

What is undeniable, however, is that RG3 has proven himself a good teammate this season. In past years, particularly the end of the Mike Shanahan era and at times in Gruden's first season, Griffin shared culpability in his and the team's undoing. A young man used to nothing but success, Griffin often said too much.

This season, that is not the case, on or off the field. 

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Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp

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Associated Press

Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp

Even though it was a bright, warm Wednesday in Ashburn the Redskins held their OTA session in the practice bubble because recent rains have left their outdoor fields to soggy to use. Here are my observations from the practice:

—A few Redskins were not present and a few who were there were not participating in the drills. Jay Gruden said that OT Trent Williams is rehabbing in Texas and that LB Zach Brown is in the process of relocating to the Washington area. RB Chris Thompson and OT Morgan Moses were present, but both were spectators. 

— It should be noted that even though Moses didn’t practice and is still rehabbing after ankle surgery, he still participated in the sideline-to-sideline running the team does at the end of practice.

—At rookie camp, RB Derrius Guice was first in line to do every drill. Today, he gave way to the veterans to all take their reps and then he went first among the rookies. 

— “Fat Rob” Kelley never really was fat but he is now lean and mean. He also seems to be a half step quicker than he was in the past. Added competition in the form of second- and fourth-round picks being added at your position will do that to a player. 

—The “starting” offensive line from left to right was Geron Christian, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, and John Kling. The interior could well start the season; the tackle position awaits the returns of Williams, Scherff, and Ty Nsekhe. 

—RB Byron Marshall, who was on the team briefly last year before getting injured, looked very quick with good acceleration.

—CB Josh Norman was back with the group fielding punts. I seriously doubt that he will handle any kicks in games, even preseason games, but perhaps with DeAngelo Hall being gone he wants to be available as an emergency option. Also back with the punt returners were CB Danny Johnson, CB Greg Stroman, WR Maurice Harris, WR De’Mornay Pierson-El, and, of course, WR Jamison Crowder.

—S D.J. Swearinger spent most of the special teams practice on the sideline working on catching passes with his hands extended away from his body. A little while later, he had a chance to make an interception with his arms extended. Of course, he dropped it. 

—It seems like QB Alex Smith and Crowder have some good rapport built already. Once on the right sideline and a few minutes later on the left, Smith threw a well-placed ball into Crowder, who was well covered on both occasions. 

—Eventually, CB Orlando Scandrick caught on and he swatted down a quick out to Crowder. 

—With Brown out, Josh Harvey-Clemons was with the first unit at inside linebacker. He’s still skinny but less so than he was last year. The second-year player was impressive in coverage, staying with Crowder step for step on a deep pass down the middle.

—The play of the day was a deep pass down the right side from Smith to WR Paul Richardson. Stroman was with the receiver step for step on the 9 route but Smith laid the ball out perfectly and Richardson made a lunging catch. Even though it doesn’t have to under the new rule, the catch did survive the ground. 

—WR Cam Sims had a few impressive plays. On one, QB Colt McCoy lofted one high in the air down the right side. Sims kept his focus on the ball while two defenders lost it and made the catch. 

—WR Trey Quinn had his moments. He made a good grab while being bumped by Scandrick. But a while later he dropped a fairly easy one. 

—The running backs all looked good but Guice looked the best of all of them. He had an ability to cut and maintain his speed that not many have. With the warning that they were playing with no pads with no contact and not at full speed, Guice’s vision appeared to be outstanding. 

More 2018 Redskins

- 53-man roster: Player one-liners, offense
- Tandler’s Take: Best- and worst-case scenarios for 2018
- The draft: Redskins should get 4 additional picks in 2019 draft
- Schedule series: Gotta beat the Cowboys

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 @TandlerNBCS.

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NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

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USA TODAY Sports

NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that allows players to remain in the locker room if they prefer but requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance.

This new policy subjects teams, but not players, to fines if any team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem. 

Teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction separately though. 

The NFL Players Association released it's own statement after the news was made official.