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OPEN THREAD: Seems important for RG3, Redskins, but it's still preseason


OPEN THREAD: Seems important for RG3, Redskins, but it's still preseason

Considering the mountain of hype surrounding Saturday night's Redskins game against the Ravens, it would be easy to forget this game will be played in August, making it just another meaningless preseason game. Sure, it's the third preseason game, when starters typically play their most, but still, it's preseason.

Redskins fans, and perhaps players and coaches, need to walk back the rhetoric. The hysteria of course starts with quarterback Robert Griffin III. The world saw an inept RG3 get beat up last week by the Detroit Lions, and considering how Griffin has looked in the years since his dazzling rookie campaign, there is little reason to expect much improvement against Baltimore.

Yet look around the Internet, and some fans are suggesting this is the most important game of Griffin's career. That sentiment, besides being asinine, is also a clear example of the crazed recency bias of our times. Preseason Game 3 will somehow be more important than Week 1 against the Dolphins? No chance. 

Washington coach Jay Gruden has a good perspective on the game.

"Hopefully we have some positive energy coming out of this game. That's what we all want," Gruden said. "We want some good things to happen, but if it doesn't happen, we wouldn't be the first team in America to be stifled by the Baltimore Ravens. We're not going to lose sleep."


While this game will best show how the Redskins stack up going into the regular season, it's also not the RG3 referendum some people expect. 

That's the thing everyone needs to remember: Barring injury, Griffin will start Week 1 against Miami. It would take a truly awful effort - a signature moment like a Mark Sanchez "buttfumble" - to unseat Griffin from the starting QB spot before Week 1. And odds are that will not happen.

In fact, Griffin gave good insight going into the game. His goal for the trip to Baltimore, "We want to go score points."

Would it be great for the Skins, Griffin and Gruden if the game goes well against the Ravens? Yes, if nothing else just to slow down the negative momentum around Ashburn that is already at peak regular season form. But in two weeks, when real games start and the best players are on the field for 60 minutes, the third preseason game will be forgotten.

There is also a lot to watch beyond RG3 in the Ravens game. Trent Williams and Ryan Kerrigan are expected to play. Both players are arguably the best on the offense and defense, respectively, and how they look returning from injury could arguably mean more to the Redskins than Griffin's passing percentage. The right side of the offensive line - rookie Brandon Scherff and 2nd year man Morgan Moses - also need a strong performance after being abused against Detroit. Baltimore will certainly provide a stern test.

And the strength of this team, as it's been recreated by GM Scot McCloughan? Arguably the defensive line, which was believed to be the catalyst to an improved defense. With Junior Galette out for the year, let's see if Trent Murphy is ready for the starting job. Some around Redskins Park think Murphy is already playing a bit banged up, which could open the door for rookie Preston Smith.

Considering it's a preseason game, monitoring the injury return from stars like Williams and Kerrigan and the emergence of young players like Muprhy, Smith, Scherff and Moses are all much more realistic and rewarding activities than stressing over the quarterback situation. Whatever we see from Griffin Saturday night - barring injury - will be just a preview of Week 1. 

Disagree Let us know what you think in the comments. 

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As injuries linger at WR, Jay Gruden believes a trade might help Redskins

As injuries linger at WR, Jay Gruden believes a trade might help Redskins

The Dallas Cowboys traded for Amari Cooper on Monday, and with that, alarms go off around the NFL that it's wheeling and dealing season. The trade deadline hits in one week, and for teams looking to bolster their squad before the second half of the year, it's time to see what areas could improve. 

For Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, the injury situation at wide receiver means that his team could use help at the position. 

"We could probably use one more there if we could," Gruden said Monday on the Redskins Talk podcast. 

Asked if there was one area the team could bolster via trade, the coach explained that if wideouts Jamison Crowder or Paul Richardson could come back from injury right away, the Redskins would have no need to trade for another receiver. Unfortunately for the Redskins, neither injury situation is very clear, and some reports show that Crowder could miss a few more weeks working back from an ankle injury. 

"I think if you look at our team right now with the injuries to Crowder and obviously the uncertainty with Richardson you might want to add another receiver, but I like what [Michael] Floyd’s done coming in here," Gruden said. 

Floyd had one catch for 20 yards in the Redskins win on Sunday over the Cowboys, but he's a physical veteran that has the coach excited. Gruden also complimented what Maurice Harris and Brian Quick have done in the absence of Richardson and Crowder.

While the Cowboys struck first in the receiver trade market, more players remain reportedly available, including Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas and Dolphins WR DeVante Parker. 

Thomas is a five-time Pro Bowler in Denver, but at 30 years old and with some trade value, it makes sense for John Elway to consider his market. The Broncos are 3-4 and have an underperforming offense. 

Parker was a first-round pick in 2015 but has not had a 1,000-yard season in Miami. Making matters more complicated, Parker's agent Jimmy Gould called Dolphins head coach Adam Gase "incompetent" to a host of different media outlets. Parker has only been active twice this season though he contends health is not an issue. 

Gruden remains confident that 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson will get going, and he is a similar big target as Thomas and Parker. Should Richardson miss significant time, the Redskins would lack a true speed threat.

There's certainly no clear indication that Washington will make a move before the NFL trade deadline, but as things stand now with injuries, there is a need. Remember, too, the Redskins are long on 2019 draft picks with 10 selections in seven rounds.



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A day after loss to Redskins, Cowboys trade for Raiders WR Amari Cooper

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A day after loss to Redskins, Cowboys trade for Raiders WR Amari Cooper

The Dallas Cowboys are in desperate need of a playmaking wide receiver. The lack of talent at wide receiver has been evident throughout the first seven weeks of the 2018 NFL season, with wide receivers accounting for just five of the Cowboys' eight passing touchdowns.

Following the 20-17 loss to the Redskins on Sunday, the Cowboys decided to make a quick fix, trading a 2019 first-round pick to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for star wide receiver Amari Cooper, according to multiple reports.

Cooper, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, has just 22 catches for 280 yards and one touchdown in the first six games. The former Alabama star had an equally disappointing 2017 campaign and has grown frustrated with his role in John Gruden's new regime.

Cooper will instantly become the Cowboys best deep threat and will allow Cole Beasley to shine both in the slot and spread out wide. Beasley leads the Cowboys with 33 receptions for 350 yards and two touchdowns.

Rookie Michael Gallup, who scored the Cowboys' only passing touchdown against the Redskins, has the second most targets among Dallas receivers, hauling in 10 of his 22 targets for 190 yards. Tight end Geoff Swaim has 19 catches for 205 yards and running back Ezekiel Elliott has 25 catches for 175 yards.

Prescott is averaging just 202.2 passing yards per game, and while Cooper may not be a true top-tier wide receiver, he is the next best thing and will allow the offense to be more dynamic in its play-calling.

Cooper will make an estimated $13.9 million in base salary in 2019, meaning the Cowboys will have to pay a pretty penny to keep him.

The move makes it clear that the Raiders are shifting toward a full rebuild. It also shows that Dallas understands it didn't have enough firepower to compete for a divisional title.