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Redskins Roster Analysis - The Offense
by Chris Russell
Sep 02, 2014 -- 4:46pm

The Redskins opening day 53-man roster now appears set. After an intense week that included two road games and around 50 roster transactions, the regular season is finally here.

As you know, the Redskins open in Houston against the Texans. It is a matchup of the teams that had the worst records in the NFL last year and had the top two picks in the draft. Of course, the Redskins did not have their selection because of the Robert Griffin III trade.

You can hear game one of the Jay Gruden era Sunday at 1 PM right here (ESPN980.com) and ESPN 980 AM, 94.3/92.7 FM, and Audio Now (832) 999-1980. We will be live in Houston beginning at 9 AM.

Now let's take a look at what the Redskins will bring with them to Houston.

Offense:

Quarterbacks: By the time Sunday rolls around it will have been 14-and-a-half long days for Robert Griffin III. Quite simply, he needs to be efficient and perhaps conservative to get into a good groove and establish that the Redskins can move the ball as they need to.

Griffin has to get better at not only getting rid of the football quicker (Ideally, no longer than 2.75 seconds per snap) but he has to get better at avoiding turnovers.

I don't really care about passing stats or anything of that sort. I need to see no more than two sacks per game on average this year AND no more than 1.5 offensive turnovers average per game. In case you are not a math major, that's no more than 32 sacks this year and no more than 24 offensive turnovers.

That's not good enough, but that would still represent an improvement from 2013. Some of that is not on Griffin, a good portion of it is. He knows that and certainly Gruden and Sean McVay know it.

Griffin is the starting quarterback and he will be the quarterback until Jay Gruden has virtually no choice. His ability to run this year more effectively, should help buy him more time.

I feel you will see some read option earlier than later in games to try and keep opposing defenses honest. You will see it more against 4-3 teams than 3-4 teams.

Kirk Cousins is about as good of a backup for no cost as you can possibly ask for. There isn't a person that I know of that feels the Redskins would be in bad shape if Cousins had to play.

Colt McCoy made the roster and is very likely to be inactive for games (at least to start the year)

Running Backs: The Redskins kept Alfred Morris, Roy Helu, Silas Redd and Darrel Young. This was a somewhat surprising decision to not keep Chris Thompson and/or Lache Seastrunk on the roster to give Washington a speed threat. Yes, Roy Helu can run but he is not as explosive as Thompson or Seastrunk.

I am not surprised at all about Seastrunk and it actually shows that this staff values more than just speed, which is a good thing. You have to be a good all-around player and Seastrunk was lacking significantly in many areas.

I feel Thompson will be promoted sooner than later, only because the Redskins know that he is a boom or bust type talent and can't really be tested on the practice squad.

I believe Morris will benefit from DeSean Jackson's arrival more than anyone. I would not be surprised to see Morris top 1,500 yards this year. Fumbling has been a little bit of an issue, so Morris needs to be extra secure especially with tosses.

Morris' biggest leap figures to come in the screen game. I believe Morris will exceed his two year career total (20 receptions) this year. It will be an emphasis as we have reported and emphasized all off-season.

Helu is a solid backup, and the best third down back the team has in terms of picking up blitzes and pressure. That's not to say he's not capable of a great athletic play every now and then (@ Seattle, @ Oakland) but the notion that Helu is consistent is overrated in my mind.

He'll be big in the checkdown/screen game as well for Griffin, and that has already proven to be true several times in the preseason.

Redd did everything well this August. I am not sure if he'll be active on gameday to start the year but he could be. I don't think the Redskins feel he couldn't pick up a blitz if asked to do so. He was pretty good at it, especially a few times against Cleveland that jumped out.

Darrel Young might be the best fullback in the NFL. How's that for analysis? If he stays healthy, DY is a multi-faceted beast.

Wide Receivers: DeSean Jackson (if healthy) should be a tremendous addition to the offense and is very likely to have as big of an impact on his teammates success as he will in terms of his individual numbers.

I truly believe that. He'll make Pierre Garcon's job even easier, not to mention the slot receiver to his side or Jordan Reed on the same side of the formation on clear-out routes. John Keim has talked about this a lot and I completely agree.

Garcon led the Redskins in receptions last year at 113 but he won't and there is no need for him to come anywhere close to that amount this year. Where he needs to get better? In the red zone. The Redskins were terrible in this area last year. According to Mike Clay of ProFootballFocus, Garcon was targeted eight times while in the actually end zone and had no catches in 2013.

Andre Roberts will be a crucial addition, because he can work inside and outside while also contributing on special teams.

As for Santana Moss and Ryan Grant, I feel their biggest impact will be on third down for Moss and in the red zone for Grant. The reasons are pretty obvious for both.

I am expecting Aldrick Robinson to be inactive early on, but I wonder if Gruden and McVay would be tempted to have a double speed demon package on the field in some spots. You can't keep everyone active on a 46-man gameday roster.

Tight Ends: Jordan Reed is insanely good, if he can stay healthy. It's more than just the concussions. Remember, he had some nagging hip and lower body issues last year that he fought thru for the most part. The book against him is that he needs to prove he can work thru some of these issues. At times last year, Redskins coaches were very frustrated with this issue.

Logan Paulsen is as steady as they come. One of the smartest, hard working dudes on the team. He will be very important against a team like Houston with the double edge threat of JJ Watt and Jadaveon Clowney.

Niles Paul MIGHT be the most improved individual Redskins player on the roster throughout camp and the preseason. He caught everything, and his blocking has improved under Wes Phillips who comes from a more in-line blocking mentality. I am really curious to see if Paul makes that big jump as a receiver this year.

Offensive Line: The starting unit from left to right is Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Chester and Tyler Polumbus.

We all know what Williams is and as long as he stays healthy - he is likely headed to a third straight Pro Bowl selection. Lauvao struggled at first and then settled down according to Jay Gruden. He should help Washington be a little more physical at the point of attack and on inside zone runs. Lichtensteiger is an upgrade over Will Montgomery and bulked up a bit to prevent what happened last year to the interior of the offensive line. Coaches believe Chester will revert back to his career form that he exhibited before a tough 2013. I agree he will be better. Polumbus gets a lot of criticism, but a good deal of it is unwarranted. Check the tape and listen to Chris Cooley. He's not going to fluff up anybody for no reason. Coaches know that Polumbus is better than fans think he is. So do I.

The real question(s) comes with the backups. Quite honestly, all are unproven and if any have to play for any significant stretch - you should be pretty nervous. I suppose you could say that for any backup but as we just outlined - the Redskins have very good quality depth in my eyes at every position on offense. Except for the offensive line.  Tom Compton, Morgan Moses, Josh LeRibeus and rookie Spencer Long comprise the second unit. You will see Compton in some jumbo packages when the Redskins go with a sixth offensive lineman inside the five-yard line.

One thing to keep an eye on with the Redskins offensive line this year from a schematic stand point is how often Trent Williams and/or Tyler Polumbus switch sides and line up next to each other. Trust me on this - you will see this several times in 2014. If anybody watched Jay Gruden tape, you know he did this with the Bengals from time to time.

Coaching Staff: Jay Gruden the play-caller will be under fire at times, especially if the Redskins struggle in the red zone again. The good news? His Bengals improved dramatically over his three years with Andy Dalton and friends in the red area.

Sean McVay is one of the brightest young minds in football and will work directly with the quarterbacks in a hybrid offensive coordinator/quarterback coach position.

I think the Redskins hired two outstanding coaches in Tight Ends Coach Wes Phillips and Running Backs Coach Randy Jordan. I can't say enough good things about their points of emphasis and their creative drills that I witnessed over and over again during the entire off-season.

Keeping Offensive Line Coach Chris Foerster and the same run scheme gives this offensive line the best chance to succeed. This was a very savvy choice by Gruden to listen to those that knew Foerster the best.

Chris Russell - SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com - www.twitter.com/russellmania980


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Building the Redskins 53
by Chris Russell
Aug 30, 2014 -- 2:05pm
Redskins

The Redskins like every other NFL team are in the process of finalizing their initial 53-man roster for week one in Houston. With the Saturday 4 PM ET deadline now having passed, things will still be fluid and certainly could change after today.

Why? As other teams release players all across the league, the Redskins are almost assured to bring in one or two new players (perhaps more) that haven't been with the organization. Those players could be active roster additions OR they could be ticketed to the expanded practice squad.

All players subject to waivers (non vested veterans) will have to clear waivers by NOON ET Sunday before signing to a practice squad or becoming a free agent.

The Redskins issued a release at the 4 PM deadline confirming the moves:

RB Chris Thompson - Waived
RB Lache Seastrunk - Waived
RB Evan Royster - Waived

WR Nick Williams - Waived
S - Phillip Thomas - Waived
K - Zach Hocker - Waived

OT - Maurice Hurt -Waived
CB - Chase Minnifield - Waived

LB - Everette Brown - Released

Brandon Meriweather's two-game suspension was upheld by Ted Cottrell and the NFL per Randall Liu. That means the Redskins as expected will have to carry Meriweather on the roster until Monday and get a two week exemption.

ESPN 980 was first to report that DL Frank Kearse had made the Redskins initial 53-man roster and that DE Stephen Bowen would be placed on the regular season PUP list.

Chris Neild (Torn ACL) and ILB Darryl Sharpton (ankle) are  on reserve/injured, which means they are out for the season.  Zac Boyer of the Washington Times was first to report on Sharpton.

As mentioned above, Bowen and WR Leonard Hankerson are now on the regular season PUP list which means they are out for the first six weeks at least.

I must say that I really am surprised that the Redskins let both of their speed demons go at the running back spot. I was bold yesterday, against my better judgement, to put both Lache Seastrunk and Chris Thompson on the final 53-man roster.

I was wrong, and I should have stuck with my gut instinct.

The Redskins never thought that Seastrunk was close. Sure, the 80-yard touchdown catch-and-run made it a more difficult decision, but Seastrunk was soooo far behind in other areas, that he just couldn't close the gap.

He's an ideal practice squad candidate but his speed will make it difficult to sneak him thru to the taxi squad.

Selecting Kai Forbath over Zach Hocker makes sense because Forbath is more reliable and experienced when it comes to kicking field goals. The Redskins had to value that over kickoffs in the end because their red zone offense has been putrid since the start of the 2013 regular season and has continued in the 2014 preseason.

I had heard that there was some differing opinions on the coaching staff in this regard, but that ultimately Bruce Allen and/or Jay Gruden chose to go with Forbath. It's probably the right call, although Forbath is far from automatic as he has been painted out to be by many.

The Redskins are going deep on their defensive line with seven players in the wake of Chris Neild's injury. They will carry Kearse along with Jason Hatcher, Chris Baker, Clifton Geathers, Kedric Golston and Jarvis Jenkins. Only one true nose tackle in Barry Cofield is on the roster.

Chris Russell - SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com - www.twitter.com/russellmania980


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The Final 53 - Predicting the Redskins 53-man Roster
by Chris Russell
Aug 29, 2014 -- 12:38pm
Afred Morris

As everybody does that covers a football team at this time of the year, we make roster projections that are reactionary and based on gut feeling more than actual ability to have full access to the information required to make such complicated decisons.

I took my shot at "The First 53" on Wednesday  but my view has changed in some areas based on those that I talked with and the events of last night's pre-season finale in Tampa.

Photo Galleries So here we go. My final 53 projection as the Redskins will begin to make cuts later today.

Quarterbacks: (3) Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy.

Running Backs:(5) Alfred Morris, Darrel Young, Roy Helu, Lache Seastrunk and Chris Thompson.

Notable Cuts: Evan Royster, Silas Redd.

**I changed from Royster to Seastrunk, even though I believe that Seastrunk has quite a way to go in his development. Fans look at stats and speed. I look at pass protection and other things that matter. The one thing that Seastrunk brings to the table that Royster and Redd just do not have is speed.  Last night showed that.

Receivers: (6) Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts, DeSean Jackson, Ryan Grant, Santana Moss, Aldrick Robinson.

Physically Unable to Perform: Leonard Hankerson.

Notable Cut: Nick Williams.

***I changed from Williams to Robinson despite the fact that I think Williams is the better route-runner and hands catcher. He's more consistent and can help a lot more on special teams, not only in the return game. Bottom line, the Redskins can probably  get Williams to the practice squad and Robinson is the most natural replacement for DeSean Jackson. Robinson drives me crazy at times, but he has continued to improve his game overall and showed an ability to break tackles last night in Tampa.

Tight Ends: (3) Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul.

Notable Cut: Ted Bolser.

Offensive Line: (9) Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Chester, Tyler Polumbus, Morgan Moses, Tom Compton, Josh LeRibeus, Spencer Long

Notable Cuts: Maurice Hurt, , Tevita Stevens.

Total Offense - 26

Defensive Line: (6) Chris Baker, Barry Cofield, Jason Hatcher, Jarvis Jenkins, Kedric Golston, Clifton Geathers.

Notable Cuts:  Frank Kearse.

Physically Unable to Perform (Projected) Stephen Bowen

Reserve/Injured - Chris Neild

Linebackers: (9)  Outside: Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy, Everette Brown.

Inside: Keenan Robinson, Perry Riley, Adam Hayward, Darryl Sharpton, Will Compton.

Notable Cuts: Akeem Jordan, Gabe Miller.

**This kills me because I have been a huge fan of Gabe Miller's game since we had the ability to see him on a every-day basis. A lot of times with these selections, it comes down to who has practice squad eligibility and who doesn't. Brown doesn't and Miller does. Brown didn't shine last night, but has been very good in practices that I've seen and in the first three preseason games. I asked a source if the team could take five outside linebackers instead of the expected four. He said they could, but would not.

Jordan's injury (which is not a significant tear, but could cost him a few weeks) seals his fate. He was not expected to make the roster because of his lack of versatility and the way that Will Compton came on.

Cornerbacks: (5) DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Bashaud Breeland, EJ Biggers, Tracy Porter.

Notable Cuts: Richard Crawford, Chase Minnifield.

Safeties (4) Brandon Meriweather (Suspended first two games pending appeal), Ryan Clark, Bacarri Rambo,  Trenton Robinson.

Phillip Thomas was in a protective boot on Thursday at Redskins Park according to ESPN 980 sources. He is not expected to miss a significant amount of time according to Tarik El-Bashir of CSN Washington.

Because the  Redskins will get  a  roster exemption for  Brandon Meriweather's suspension starting Monday September 1st until the conclusion (currently September 15), the safety picture is a complete mess.  The Redskins  have to be at 53 by Saturday August 30 at 4 PM ET and as we wrote the other day, and Jay Gruden confirmed, Washington will have to release a player they would likely bring back on Monday to replace Meriweather's spot.

In other words, they will have to carry and count Meriweather for a day-and-a-half before receiving the exemption and then would be  able to sign somebody. At that point, they could bring back whoever they release or sign a veteran that gets cut elsewhere.

My guess is the Redskins do not sign a veteran that they would have to pay a guaranteed salary to if he is on the Week one roster.

Notable Cut (for now) - Akeem Davis

Total Defense: 24

Specialists:  (3) Robert Malone - Punter, Nick Sundberg - Long Snapper, Kai Forbath- Placekicker.

Notable Cut: Zach Hocker, Tress Way.

I changed here, because I am leaning finally towards the young veteran in Forbath. He's more consistent, but far from automatic as he has been made to be.  I think the Redskins have to value field goals over the kick-off element, because more than anything, that's how you score points and because the Redskins have been woeful in the red zone since 2013 started.

Both punters are inconsistent for the most part, but I lean towards Malone because he has more experience with Ben Kotwica.

For comparison sake - here is John Keim's of ESPN and ESPN980 from this morning.

***The Physically Unable to Perform projections are just that. Projections for both Leonard Hankerson and Stephen Bowen. If either player is cleared to return, that will clearly affect numbers elsewhere.

Chris Russell - SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com - www.twitter.com/russellmania980


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The First 53
by Chris Russell
Aug 27, 2014 -- 12:06am
Redskins

On the day before the Redskins final preseason game, it is finally time for me to unveil my first projected 53-man roster.

Here's why I wait so long. I at least have a chance to be mostly right by waiting this long. If I did one at this time a month ago, I might have put eight or nine different guys than I will have today. That's a significant change.

When you can evaluate after seeing some practices, three games and talking to coaches - you stand a much better chance of being right. After all, who wants to be wrong?

So here we go.

Quarterbacks: (3) Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy.

Running Backs:(5) Alfred Morris, Darrel Young, Roy Helu, Evan Royster and Chris Thompson.

Notable Cuts: Lache Seastrunk, Silas Redd.

Receivers: (6) Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts, DeSean Jackson, Ryan Grant, Santana Moss, Nick Williams.

Physically Unable to Perform: Leonard Hankerson.

Notable Cut: Aldrick Robinson.

Tight Ends: (3) Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul.

Notable Cut: Ted Bolser.

Offensive Line: (9) Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Chester, Tyler Polumbus, Morgan Moses, Tom Compton, Josh LeRibeus, Spencer Long

Notable Cuts: Maurice Hurt, Mike McGlynn (Cut on Tuesday), Tevita Stevens.

Total Offense - 26

Defensive Line: (6) Chris Baker, Barry Cofield, Jason Hatcher, Jarvis Jenkins, Kedric Golston, Clifton Geathers.

Notable Cuts: Chris Neild, Frank Kearse.

Physically Unable to Perform: Stephen Bowen

Linebackers: (9)  Outside: Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy, Everette Brown.

Inside: Keenan Robinson, Perry Riley, Adam Hayward, Darryl Sharpton, Will Compton.

Notable Cuts: Akeem Jordan, Gabe Miller.

Cornerbacks: (5) DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Bashaud Breeland, EJ Biggers, Tracy Porter.

Notable Cuts: Richard Crawford, Chase Minnifield.

Safeties (4) Brandon Meriweather (Suspended first two games), Ryan Clark, Bacarri Rambo, Trenton Robinson.

Phillip Thomas is seeing the world's leading foot and ankle specialist in Charlotte, Dr. James Robert Anderson, who performed his original surgery. This is not a good sign, clearly. I am taking a shot and leaving him off the roster with the thought that it is a greater chance he is on injured reserve or the long-term injury list than on the active roster.

Notable Cut: Akeem Davis

Note: The Redskins are expected (pending confirmation from the NFL) to get a roster exemption for Meriweather's suspension starting Monday September 1st until the conclusion (currently September 15). The problem is that they have to be at 53 by Saturday August 30 at 4 PM ET.

In other words, they will have to carry and count Meriweather for a day-and-a-half before receiving the exemption and then would be  able to sign somebody. At that point, they could bring back Davis (assuming he isn't claimed) or sign a veteran like Reed Doughty.

My guess is the Redskins do not sign a veteran that they would have to pay a guaranteed salary to if he is on the Week one roster.

Total Defense: 24

Specialists:  (3) Robert Malone - Punter, Nick Sundberg - Long Snapper, Zach Hocker - Placekicker.

Notable Cut: Kai Forbath.

For comparison sake - here is John Keim's of ESPN and ESPN980 from earlier this week.

***The Physically Unable to Perform projections are just that. Projections for both Leonard Hankerson and Stephen Bowen. If either player is cleared to return, that will clearly affect numbers elsewhere.
 

Chris Russell - SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com - www.twitter.com/russellmania980


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Meriweather Suspended Again but Why?
by Chris Russell
Aug 25, 2014 -- 11:00pm
ESPN 980 Home of the Redskins

Brandon Meriweather was suspended for the Redskins first two regular-season games on Monday afternoon by the National Football League.

It is sixth violation of "unnecessary roughness rules relating to hits to defenseless players and impermissible use of the helmet" according to a league issued statement.

Meriweather has the right to appeal (ESPN 980 has learned that he will) but it must be noted that he already has been suspended for two games last year, which was reduced to one game (Denver) so the likelihood that he would win such an appeal is difficult to fathom.

Meriweather has absolutely no margin for error with the league because of the repeat violations, but the people I talked to within the Redskins organization were furious.

Some of the reaction was so explicit, that I can't even attempt to print it. Suffice to say, the Redskins are not happy.

Before the suspension was announced on Monday, I asked Jay Gruden for his view after being able to watch the coaches film and other copies of the hit in question.

"He did the best he could," Gruden told reporters. "It looked like Flacco threw a late one across the middle and he saw the ball and he tried to lower his target. Unfortunately, as he was lowering his target, the receiver felt him and lowered his head also at the same time. It was a bang-bang play."

It was, and officials threw the flags because of how it looked. My view? With the technology that I have and unable to get the right view, I saw Meriweather lower his head initially (:34 mark of video link) to where it looked like his eyes were not seeing what he hit. It then appeared that Meriweather led with his shoulder first into the upper chest and neck area of Torrey Smith.

The NFL ruled that "Meriweather made forcible contact to the head and neck area of a defenseless player (Torrey Smith) on a pass play."

OK so what exactly does that mean. When you delve further into the NFL's ruling, Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent said "Meriweather delivered a forceful blow to the head and neck area of a defenseless receiver with no attempt to wrap up or make a conventional tackle of this player."

The NFL via their statement wrote that Meriweather violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7 saying in part,  “it is a foul if a player initiates unnecessary contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture.” The league explained that  a defenseless posture includes “a receiver attempting to catch a pass; or who has completed a catch and has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become a runner.”

I would agree based on what I saw on video that Smith was defenseless. The main problem is that Joe Flacco's throw led him too far and right into the path of Meriweather.

The biggest problem for Meriweather and that fans haven't grasped yet is that the league is not only punishing for hits made with the crown of a helmet but they are dropping the hammer for “forcibly hitting the defenseless player’s head or neck area with the helmet, face mask, forearm, shoulder, even if the initial contact of the defender’s helmet or face mask is lower than the player’s neck, and regardless of whether the defensive player also uses his arms to tackle the defenseless player by encircling or grasping him.”

Clearly, nobody would argue that Meriweather led at the very minimum with his shoulder and that is against rules according to the NFL. The league further explains that the complete onus is on the defender by saying " A standard of strict liability applies for any contact against a defenseless opponent, even if the opponent is an airborne player who is returning to the ground or whose body position is otherwise in motion, and irrespective of any acts by the defenseless opponent, such as ducking his head or curling up his body in anticipation of contact.”

Again, what this simply means is that the NFL has no margin for certain conditions such as Smith ducking or shrinking his body in anticipation, or for a throw by the defenseless players quarterback that leads the target into danger.

There is no gray area and there is absolutely no mercy for Meriweather, who has been a documented offender.

"I thought he tried – in his best interest he tried his best to lower his target and avoid the helmet-to-helmet contact," Gruden said on Monday.  "But sometimes when you’re lowering and your receiver lowers at exactly the same time, it’s very difficult. But he’s trying to lower it."

Again the league says that doesn't matter. Gruden tried to point out a situation that his other starting saftey faced in Baltimore Saturday night.

"Ryan Clark had one later in the game on [Dennis] Pitta. He did a great job of lowering his target with his shoulder and got him in the stomach/rib area and it was a clean hit," Gruden said Monday. "We’ve just got to keep preaching that to our secondary guys that it’s an emphasis on it, obviously. It’s important to not try to go helmet-to-helmet for their sake along with the other players’ sake.”

That's the exact point the league is making. If you lower your target and don't lead with your crown, you will be given a lot more leniency in the "defenseless" department.

One positive for the Redskins? Houston and Jacksonville are two very meager offensive attacks and if Meriweather was going to miss any games, these two would be ideal.

As for who will start, I'll lean to Bacarri Rambo and Ryan Clark but I would not be shocked if Bashaud Breeland somehow gets the nod. He's so physical and a great tackler so far. The Redskins love him and even though he's a rookie, nothing would surprise me.

Chris Russell - SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com - www.twitter.com/russellmania980


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Redskins Release Rob Jackson & Relax on Robert
by Chris Russell
Aug 24, 2014 -- 5:56pm
Rob Jackson - ESPN 980

The Redskins have waived Rob Jackson, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post. This move is not and should not be considered a surprise. Jones also reported the release of LB Jeremy Kimbrough.

ESPN 980 was also first to report that the Redskins have waived wide receiver Rashad Lawrence as well. Zac Boyer of the Washington Times was first to report that DE Jake McDonough had been released. Dianna Russini of NBC -4 first reported that DE Jeremy Towns had been waived.

In addition, Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reported that WR Cody Hoffman had been waived.

The Redskins made the above moves official via press release later on Sunday, along with announcing the release of Adrian Robinson and Ross Madison.

Back to Jackson, Redskins fans had a very unique fascination with the 2008 7th round draft pick and veteran that was hard to explain and understand quite honestly.

I had no problem with Rob and we always had a good relationship, but a few big plays in his career does not constitute always keeping a player forever.

Jackson was a free agent the last two off-seasons, including coming off a somewhat breakout season in 2012 and could not attract any offers better than a one year offer to return at veteran minimum salaries. That's not a good sign. That's also a sign that 31 NFL teams had the same feeling on Jackson that the Redskins did. He was a guy. That's it.

As John Keim points out, Jackson is the last remaining member of the Redskins 2008 draft class and until Jackson signs with another team, former third round pick Chad Rinehart is the only other player from that year's selection still in the NFL.

Quite simply, as most reporters that are with the team every day have been reporting, Everette Brown, Gabe Miller and Adrian Robinson have all stood out at times and I think Brown and Miller have been better overall. It did not help Jackson that his shoulder was problematic. He was never one hundred percent during camp.

As for Robert Griffin III, Joe Theismann was right to some degree on Saturday night on the Redskins Broadcast Network presentation.

Joe said “Let’s stop beating around the bush. Kirk Cousins has played much better at the quarterback position than Robert Griffin III has."

It's hard to deny the obvious in games and stats. However, Joe failed to point out a couple of very important things (or maybe I didn't hear them). Griffin has practiced and played against first team defenses of the Redskins, Patriots, Browns and Ravens.

Clearly, there was some mixing and matching in the New England game and you see that in practice as well.

Personnel gets shuttled in and out. For the most part though, Cousins has gone against second and third teamers and has performed admirably.

Cousins is (35-54) for 370 yards and four touchdowns. He does have one interception. Griffin III is (13-20) for 141 yards and no touchdowns. He has thrown two really bad interceptions.

There is a difference. It sounds like an excuse but I take you back to the way things have been decided in college football and even in college basketball. Strength of schedule or opponent always matters when you are trying to judge two separate teams or individuals.

Clearly, Alabama going undefeated in the SEC would always be more impressive or worthy than Boise State in 2009. Auburn's undefeated record in 2010 was  more impressive than TCU's mark in the same year.

Nobody would dispute that right? Sure Boise State and TCU could play and probably beat anybody on a level field in a one game situation. That doesn't mean they're accomplishments are the same though, because of the quality of competition they faced.

Sorry, that's the truth.

Same thing for the quarterbacks. Kirk Cousins admitted that  last night. "It's hard to compare, because there are so many variables that change."

Here's the bottom-line, Robert Griffin III is the Redskins quarterback for now. As I've said many times, I don't believe that Jay Gruden is a very patient head coach and I would not be shocked in any way if a switch is made at some point during the season.

If Griffin does not improve fast enough, that situation could be forced or it could be chosen by Gruden. That's not out of the question, and I point you to  a very difficult two-game stretch against extremely physical defenses.  Monday October 6th at home against the Seahawks and a very short week and long trip to Arizona against the Cardinals the following Sunday. Yikes.

Theismann  pointed out the lack of a true competition, but said Kirk Cousins would have won it. “Right now, Robert Griffin III is his (Gruden's) quarterback. Now, if there was a quarterback competition, it wouldn’t be a competition," Theismann said as transcribed by Dan Steinberg. "Kirk Cousins would be the man I believe he would have to go to, because of the efficiency with which he has run [the offense]."

Theismann compared Cousins to Andy Dalton, Gruden's former quarterback in Cincinnati. That's a fair comparison I suppose, but many NFL analysts feel that Dalton maxed out his potential and will never be anything more than a good quarterback.

Nobody is questioning that Kirk Cousins can't be a good quarterback, but does he have the ability to be great? That's the question that I think has already been answered in many ways by NFL teams besides the Redskins. The feeling is no. It could be wrong, but that's the feeling many times over.

It was the same kind of answer that Rob Jackson received when he hit the free-agent market. Nobody thought he could be anything more than a serviceable piece of the pie.

Griffin may never get there, but the universal belief is that his skill set gives him that opportunity. Now it is on him to start climbing the ladder.

Chris Russell - SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com - www.twitter.com/russellmania980


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