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Redskins QB wants to battle for playing time, but now isn't the time

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Redskins QB wants to battle for playing time, but now isn't the time

In 2014, Robert Griffin III, Colt McCoy and Kirk Cousins all started games at quarterback for the Redskins. For the 2015 season, coach Jay Gruden has installed Griffin as the starting QB, but the smart money would suggest at least one of the other passers makes a start, if not both.

Gruden made clear that beyond RG3, there is no depth chart at the quarterback position. Last week, Cousins said that he just wants a chance to compete for a job, and any questions about who is the No. 2 QB need to be directed to the coach. On Wednesday, Colt McCoy reiterated that stance.

"I don't spend my time thinking about the depth chart. I just want to come out here and compete," McCoy said.

MORE REDSKINS: DOUBLE DUTY FOR LeRIBEUS?

The University of Texas legend made four starts last season, and only lost his starting gig due to injury. McCoy impressed in a win at Dallas, and put up big numbers in a loss to Indianapolis. The Redskins QB situation is unique compared to the rest of the league in that all three players likely believe they should be the starter, and a case can be made for all three.

"We’re learning as an offensive group," Gruden said Wednesday. "Overall, I think all three quarterbacks have done some good things." 

Griffin has the most accomplishments, but they came in a rookie season made dynamic by his running ability. A new offense, and many injuries later, and it's unknown if RG3 can get back to that level of play. Cousins has shown an ability to win games and make impressive throws, but he has also shown a tendency to turn the ball over at a high rate, a trait that gets QBs benched on any level.

And then there's Colt. The oldest of the three at 28, McCoy has played in the NFL for five seasons; three in Cleveland, one in San Francisco, and last year in Washington. Despite his time in the pros, this will be the first time McCoy plays in the same system for a second season in a row. 

"I feel like for the first time in my career," he said, "I'm really trying to benefit from that."

That could mean a lot for McCoy. Last season, he completed more than 70 percent of his passes with four TDs and three INTs. McCoy also moves well in and out of the pocket, and in a way, that makes him a better candidate to back up Griffin than Cousins. Where McCoy can run the same offense that's implemented for Griffin, including any designed QB runs, Cousins is more of a traditional pocket passer. 

For his part, McCoy said he is not worried about the depth chart at quarterback. Yet.

"You just can't get into that right now. That's reserved more for training camp," McCoy said. "When you get to Richmond, you're starting to think about the season."

Gruden knows his current stance is not pleasing for Cousins or McCoy.

"They’re not happy with their role but they understand it and they’re just continuing to work and they both know that they deserve a chance to play and they want a chance to play but their also waiting their turn while helping Robert whatever way they can," the coach said. "Those are two great guys to have on your football team and I would feel I have no problems letting either one of them be two or three."

Since it's June, sure, everyone is all right with the waiting game. Once training camp starts in Richmond, and all three passers get chances in preseason games, the feelings may shift. Dramatically. 

"Competition everywhere," McCoy said. "I'm excited for it."

Griffin is clearly QB1 heading to Richmond, Gruden reiterated that. But the coach also allowed that once the games start, anything can happen.

"We still have got to play games," the coach said. "We have announced Robert as the starter obviously and we’re going to go from there."

In about a month, the competition gets very real. 

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Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes

Annually, Forbes releases the worth of all professional sports franchises in the world. Once again, the Washington Redskins are sitting near the top. 

This year the Redskins are ranked the fourth most valuable NFL franchise at $3.1 billion. 

That marks a five percent worth increase from a year ago. They leapfrogged the San Francisco 49ers for a spot in the top four after placing fifth in 2017. They still trail the Dallas Cowboys ($4.8 billion), the New England Patriots ($3.7 billion), and the New York Giants ($3.3 billion).

Compared to other leagues and franchises, the Redskins jumped into the top-10. They are tied for the tenth overall value with the Golden State Warriors who are coming off of their third NBA title in four years.

From year-to-year there is never much movement from the top of the ranking. Once again, the Cowboys are the top team in the world by over $600 million. They were followed by three European soccer teams. In total four NFL teams made up the top-10, the most of any sport. 

2018 Top-10 World’s Most Valuable Sports Teams according to Forbes:

1. Dallas Cowboys, $4.8 billion (NFL)

2. Manchester United, $4.123 billion ( Soccer)

3. Real Madrid, $4.09 billion (Soccer)

4. Barcelona, $4.064 billion (Soccer)

5. New York Yankees, $4 billion (MLB)

6. New England Patriots, $3.7 billion (NFL)

7. New York Knicks, $3.6 billion (NBA)

8. Los Angeles Lakers, $3.3 billion (NBA)

8. New York Giants, $3.3 billion (NFL)

T-10. Golden State Warriors, $3.1 billion (NBA)

T-10. Washington Redskins, $3.1 billion (NFL)

Next five NFL franchises:

13. San Francisco 49ers, $3.05 billion

T-14. Los Angeles Rams, $3 billion 

17. Chicago Bears, $2.85 billion 

T-19. Houston Texans, $2.8 billion

21. New York Jets, $2.75 billion

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

Redskins Training camp opens next week, and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope.

Between now and the start of camp, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

Additions: Pernell McPhee (free agent)
Departures: Junior Galette (free agent)

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Other roster locks: Ryan Anderson, McPhee
On the bubble: Pete Robertson

How the outside linebackers compare

To the rest of the NFL: By any measure, the Redskins had a top-10 pass rush last year. They were tied for seventh with 42 sacks and they got a sack on 7.3 percent of pass attempts, also seventh in the league. Looking forward to this year, Pro Football Focus has them ranked as the sixth-best pass rushing team for 2018. Ryan Kerrigan is showing no signs of slowing down as he approaches age 30 and Preston Smith is about to hit his prime. After the departure of Galette, the depth is questionable, and we’ll deal with that next. Even without Galette, it’s still one of the best units in the NFL. 

To the 2017 Redskins: Some downplay the decision to let Galette walk in free agency, saying he had just three sacks. But his value went beyond that. He had 9 QB hits and 25 hurries, both second-most on the team, in just 258 pass rush snaps. Someone will have to step up and replace that pressure. The spotlight will be on Anderson, who had no sacks after being a second-round pick. He will need to step up for this year’s Redskins pass rush to be as good as last year’s. 

2018 outside linebacker outlook

Biggest upside: Since the 2015 season, only one NFL player has at least 20 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions and it’s Preston Smith. His consistency is an issue but even when he is going for a few weeks between sacks he is getting pressure on the quarterback. Still, there is more ability there. Smith could set himself up for a big payday by breaking through with a double-digit sack season while continuing to make big plays in his contract year.

Most to prove: To be fair, Anderson did not get a whole lot of chances to rush the passer last year, playing just 81 pass rush snaps. Still, there are reasons to be concerned about how much he can produce after a zero-sack, one-hit, three-hurries 2017 debut season. Anderson was not expected to make a splash as a rookie, but more was anticipated. He was drafted where he was in part because of his work ethic. The Redskins hope he will work his way into a significant second-year leap. 

Rookie watch: There are no rookie outside linebackers on the roster. 

Bottom line: The main concern about the Redskins’ defense this year revolves around the cornerback spot following the departures of Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland. The best way to manage problematic cornerbacks is by getting a strong pass rush. The Redskins need to Smith to have a true breakout season and for Anderson or McPhee to be a strong contributor off the bench. Along with the improved defensive line, the pass rush could transform the defensive line into a quality unit in 2018. 

2018 Redskins Position Outlook Series