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Redskins' Gruden sees RG3 in a 'steady climb'

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Redskins' Gruden sees RG3 in a 'steady climb'

RICHMOND—The last three Redskins training camps have been focused on quarterback Robert Griffin III. In 2012 the spotlight was on the charismatic Heisman trophy winner as he prepared for his first NFL season. The following year camp was all about both Griffin’s sensational rookie year and his rehab from a knee injury that ended that season on a sour note, along with Griffin’s verbal sparring and war of wills with head coach Mike Shanahan. Last year camp focused on Griffin’s adjustment to new head coach Jay Gruden’s offense.

But this year? Griffin had a news conference before the first practice and he said nothing controversial or even all that interesting. Gruden answered questions from the media daily for the first four days of practice and did not get one question about Griffin.

Perhaps the media could be accused of focusing too much on negative news about Griffin. When it was apparent to all that he was struggling to pick up Gruden’s offense last year there were frequent questions about what was going wrong. Griffin often spoke the media after practice and Gruden press conferences were peppered with questions about the quarterback.

This year, most daily observers at training camp agree that Griffin has looked pretty good so far. There is less hesitation and more confidence when he drops back to pass. Competence is not as big a story as struggling.

Gruden was finally asked about Griffin on Monday. He acknowledged improvement in the quarterback’s game.

"He’s been doing fine,” said Gruden. “It’s just going back to the basics really. We’re continuing to build off what we did last year and then obviously in OTAs. It’s just all about repetition now and gaining more knowledge of the system, anticipation and a feel for the throws and the protections and the run game . . . We evaluate the heck out of him. Matt [Cavanaugh] coaches the heck out of him, Sean [McVay] does.  Overall I think he’s handled everything extremely well. He’s benefiting from Coach Cavanaugh’s presence and he’s benefiting from the repetitions. I feel like he’s on a steady climb and we’ve just got to keep him that way.”

A “steady climb” seems to be just the ticket for a player who had a meteoric rise as a rookie followed by a hard crash back to earth.

It’s not like Griffin has been anonymous, another face in the crowd of 90 players. When national writers come to Richmond, they post an article centered on Griffin. Fans still chant “RG3, RG3”, trying to get an autograph or even a smile and wave as the quarterback leaves the field after practice. Gruden noted that there will always be focus on the quarterback but they’re trying to take some of the pressure off of him.

“We’re trying to make this more about the team than Robert, obviously,” he said. “We don’t want to put too much pressure on our quarterback. I mentioned before we can do a lot to take away that pressure with strong running game and good sound defense and special teams. But overall, Robert is Robert. He’s going to get a lot of attention and deservedly so – he’s a great player. We’ve just got to keep building him and building his confidence and get him ready for Miami."

The Miami game is really what it’s all about. It is then that we will get some truly useful knowledge about how far along Griffin is on the road back to being at least a solid NFL quarterback and how well Gruden and Scot McCloughan have done in building a team that doesn’t need a stellar performance from the quarterback to remain competitive. 

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins get good news on David Amerson's injury

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Redskins 53-man roster projection, ver. 2.0

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USA Today Sports Images

Redskins 53-man roster projection, ver. 2.0

<< Click here to see Redskins 53-man roster projection ver. 2.0 >>

The Redskins are halfway through the preseason and the first two games may have done more to muddy the waters when it comes to who will make the 53-man roster than they did to clarify things. 

Here is my second training camp prediction of who will make the final cut for the Redskins. See where players are safe and where the hot spots are for competition. 

Among the big battles taking shape:

—An injury and one player’s impressive preseason have juggled the wide receiver depth chart. 

—With Orlando Scandrick cut, the cornerback position looks set but the rookies had better not do anything to shake the coaches’ confidence in them. 

—There are seven safeties who may be worthy of roster spots, but only four are likely to make it. 

—Despite the Hogan-led rally last night, it still looks like the roster will have only two QBs. 

<< Click here to see Redskins 53-man roster projection ver. 2.0 >>

Redskins 2018 news:

-Redskins vs Jets: Must-see photos from the game
-Analysis: Five Redskins-Jets observations

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

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No touchdowns but plenty of action in Redskins' 15-13 win over Jets

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Bob Youngetob

No touchdowns but plenty of action in Redskins' 15-13 win over Jets

The Redskins starters got their first real snaps of the preseason on Thursday night. It wasn’t extended, but there was enough action to glean some information. 

1) The defensive line could be a force. Rookie Daron Payne recorded a sack on the first third down rush of his career. Think about that. In the nickel package, Payne lined up next to Jonathan Allen with Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith positioned as the outside pass rushers. That’s a formidable group. 

2) Kapri Bibbs has usually been the last running back mentioned among the Skins rushers. Might be time to adjust that. Bibbs had seven catches last night and arguably more importantly looked strong in blitz pickup on pass protection. Byron Marshall sustained a leg injury, albeit minor, and Samaje Perine sprained his ankle. Meanwhile, Bibbs got through healthy and looking good. With Derrius Guice done for the year, the competition at running back behind Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson is very much alive. 

3) Speaking of competition at the skill positions, the receiver battle is heating up. Mo Harris and Jamison Crowder did not play Thursday, and while Josh Doctson and Paul Richardson looked good early, undrafted rookie Cam Sims made plays throughout the game. Could Sims make the 53 man roster? Certainly. He has a huge frame that coaches drool over. If he does, that likely means trouble for one of two players with last names that start with Q: Brian Quick or Trey Quinn. Offensively Quinn seems ahead of Quick, but on special teams Quick can do much more. Sims is still far from a lock, but this is a situation to keep an eye on. 

4) Fans can be frustrated by the Redskins inability to score touchdowns against New York. Five short range field goals is not efficient offense. But withhold any anger until the actual first team unit gets on the field. On Alex Smith’s lone drive of the game, remember that the end zone pass to Quinn that fell to the ground likely would have gone to Crowder if he was playing. Or if Jordan Reed was playing, Smith might have thrown a different direction entirely. Or Chris Thompson. And oh yeah Trent Williams wasn’t playing either.

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