The Redskins’ ranked 19th in the NFL in yards gained last year and their 4.2 yards per carry ranked 15th. That’s not good enough for a team that is as unsettled as the Redskins are at quarterback. Whether it’s Robert Griffin III behind center or Kirk Cousins or Colt McCoy, the QB will benefit greatly from a running game that is better than something right around the league average.
So there will be changes in way they do things. One is a more power-oriented ground game. The other may be some form of running back by committee.
“The running game nowadays, you need to have a couple of guys that can tote it,” Jay Gruden told Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro on ESPN 980 earlier this week. “Sixteen games is a long time, that’s a lot of games, a lot of carries, that’s a lot of hits on these running backs.”
Gruden said that he would like to split up the carries more than he did last year, when he went with what was mostly a one-back attack. Alfred Morris had 265 rushing attempts. The other tailbacks on the roster, Roy Helu, Silas Redd, and Chris Thompson, combined for 59 rushing attempts. That is 82 percent of the carries for Morris, 18 percent for the rest.
Most backs come into the NFL with some innate ability to run the football. But it’s learning to do the other necessary, less glamorous work that separates an NFL running back from a guy who can find a hole and pick up some yards.
The story went on to say in his three years as the offensive coordinator with the Bengals, Gruden spread the workload in different ways in different seasons. In 2012 he had BenJarvus Green-Ellis take 80 percent of the tailback rushing attempts. But in 2011 it was a 70-30 split between Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott. And in 2013 Cincinnati drafted Giovani Bernard and gave him 170 carries to 220 for Green-Ellis (that’s a 56-44 split in percentage terms). The story also added the roster can often dictate who gets the carries, and Gruden, in the interview, added that Morris would get the bulk of carries with Matt Jones, Chris Thompson and Silas Redd getting chances to get the carries Morris won't get. However, the story continued to say if Gruden can find another running back or two, it could be more of a running back by committee approach than we have seen with this team in the past.
“The more he gets around our terminology and understands it and learns it and can see it against different coverages, the better he is going to be,” Gruden said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “And he has shown improvement in the OTAs, which is exciting.”
“All three quarterbacks have [shown improvement],” Gruden continued, referring to backups Colt McCoy and Kirk Cousins. “Colt’s done a good job. So has Kirk. But Robert, especially, has taken over the leadership role and done some good things. He’s just got to continue improve. And we’ve got to be patient with him. There are going to be some bumps and bruises along the way, but I think we’ll be okay as long as we stay patient.”
RG3 averaged 12.0 fantasy points in the six games that he started and finished in 2014. That's what Blake Bortles averaged as the league's #24 fantasy quarterback. We know Griffin is capable of more, but he hasn't been the same player since his rookie season. Specifically, he's not running the ball as often or as effectively. The team has a nice receiving corps and a strong running game, so there is upside here.
Sunday, July 5, 2015, 10:30am
In his first year as the head coach in Washington, Jay Gruden figured he could coach the quarterbacks himself. Gruden was a college and arena football quarterback, and he wanted to take a hands-on approach to the most important position.
But after franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III struggled last season, Gruden decided he needed an assistant who could spend all his time coaching the quarterbacks. So Gruden hired a full-time quarterbacks coach, Matt Cavanaugh. Gruden says he can already see that Griffin is benefiting from Cavanaugh’s presence.
“Now we have a set of eyes strictly on the quarterback, and I think that’s important,” Gruden said, via Richmond.com. “Every snap, every handoff, every dropback is being critiqued to make sure we do it the right way, and I think that’s been a big benefit for Robert.”
Cavanaugh spent 14 seasons as an NFL quarterback for the Patriots, 49ers, Eagles and Giants, and has spent 23 seasons as a quarterbacks coach, first at his alma mater the University of Pittsburgh, and then for the Cardinals, 49ers, Bears, Ravens and Jets. Griffin agrees that he’s benefiting from Cavanaugh’s knowledge, the story went on to say. Despite that, we have Griffin ranked 20th among our QBs and he isn't getting a lot of draft attention in ten team leagues. The potential is there, and if you're looking to grab a second QB late in your draft, Griffin should be there.
“I think Geno, when I’ve looked at him now for a couple of years in the NFL, I see a quarterback that’s getting better,” said ESPN analyst Ron Jaworksi. “He’s forgotten the mistakes and I still remember going to Morgantown, West Virginia for his Pro Day and outside of Robert Griffin III – it was one of the best pro days I’ve seen. So he can make every throw, he can do everything it takes to be an NFL quarterback. It’s just about consistency.”
Smith is expected to get an opportunity to start at least four games so that the franchise can decide if he’s their quarterback of the future. With the addition of Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and receiving TE Jace Amaro in the last two years, the weapons around him are improved. He could work his way into the QB2/streaming conversation if he gets off to a good start.
To help RG3 improve as a more conventional pocket passer, consider new general manager Scot McCloughan's first draft a throwback nod to the Redskins' championship past. McCloughan focused on making the team bigger, tougher and stronger in the trenches, beginning with the fifth overall pick, Iowa's Brandon Scherff, who will start at right tackle. Then McCloughan, who places a premium on building through the draft, added fourth-round guard Arie Kouandjio and seventh-round center Austin Reiter.
In a need-based draft, McCloughan gave RG3 everything he needed to improve.
Think of the 2015 Redskins as The Hogs 2.0 (they can only hope) after McCloughan infused the offensive line with the same smash-mouth mentality that helped the Joe Gibbs-coached Redskins win three Super Bowls behind blockers like Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic and Russ Grimm.
"Just get back to the old days — the ground-and-pound football, which will open up the passing lanes," 6-5, 319-pound Scherff said. "I think that's what they want to start doing, and that's what we will start doing from Day 1."
"We want to be able to run the football. It sets up everything else for us," said McCloughan, who seemed to have a solid, meat-and-potatoes first draft. Scherff and second-round pass rusher Preston Smith project as immediate starters."
McCloughan's picks gave new offensive line coach Bill Callahan the resources to revamp a leaky group that also allowed 58 sacks last season. Couple that with a successful running game, and it should take pressure off RGIII. Unfortunately, that game plan won't necessarily make for great fantasy QB production, and Griffin comes in 20th in our rankings. But it could be good news for RB Alfred Morris, who once again shapes up to be a safe RB2 option in the third or fourth rounds of fantasy drafts.
Though it’s unwise to make sweeping inferences from a few offseason workouts, there were signs, as the Redskins wrapped up last week’s minicamp, that Pierre Garcon will be featured more prominently in the 2015 game plan as Coach Jay Gruden attempts to rally from his 4-12 debut as a rookie NFL head coach.
Gruden said more than once last season that he wanted to get Garcon more involved in the passing game. But it never really happened, whether as a result of free agent DeSean Jackson’s addition to the receiving corps, the revolving door at quarterback or the failure of Robert Griffin III to make timely, decisive reads.
When the Redskins got back to work this offseason, Garcon frequently lined up split out wide to the right of Griffin rather than in his customary spot to the quarterback’s left. According to wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard, it represented an attempt to diversify the offense and get players comfortable with other roles.
And both Hilliard and Gruden gushed about the work Garcon was putting in. Heading into his eighth NFL season, Garcon, who’ll turn 29 in August, didn’t miss a session of optional workouts or the mandatory minicamp.
After a #11 finish in PPR formats in 2013, Garcon was the #47 receiver last season. His targets dropped from 182 to 105, thanks to the addition of DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts in free agency. The team is expected to run the ball a bit more this season, so we're not expecting much of a bounce-back season for Garcon.
HC Jay Gruden called QB Robert Griffin III the Redskins’ starter this offseason and said Monday that he’s already seen a positive difference from Griffin when it comes to film study. Gruden expects to see the same kind of growth from Griffin on the field now that he’s more familiar with the scheme.
“Going into Year 2 in this system should be a big jump, you know,” Gruden said, via the Washington Post. “You’re not really thinking about who’s where, what’s my footwork. Everything should come a lot more natural for you, and hopefully, we see that transition from year one to year two in this system with the terminology and knowing where to go with your footwork and anticipation of getting the ball out quicker. Hopefully, that comes.”
RG3 averaged 12.0 fantasy points in the six games that he started (and finished) in 2014. That's what Blake Bortles averaged as the league's #24 fantasy quarterback. We know Griffin is capable of more, but he hasn't been the same player since his rookie season. Specifically, he's not running the ball as often or as effectively. If Gruden is right and the offense clicks in Year 2, then Griffin could be a nice value in the later rounds.
Monday, April 27, 2015, 12:36pm
Redskins GM Scot McCloughan annouced at a Monday news conference that the team will exercise the fifth-year option for Robert Griffin III ahead of next Monday's deadline. However, McCloughan said the decision "does not affect our draft process whatsoever."
According to NFL Media's Albert Breer, the cost -- $16.1 million -- is viewed by the club as a discount version of the franchise tag and may give them one more season to make a clear evaluation.
Allowing a player of Griffin's caliber to walk before you are certain he is no longer the same player he was as a rookie would be foolish. New general manager Scot McCloughan is not willing to take that chance.
This will keep RG3 with the team through the 2016 season.
The quarterback competition that Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden discussed after the season apparently has ended. Gruden told reporters at the NFL scouting combine Wednesday that Robert Griffin III will enter next season as the starter.
"We'll go into the season with Robert as our No. 1 guy," Gruden said. "It's up to Robert to continue to grow and mature as a quarterback and as a person. Moving forward we want to see improvement. It's up to us as a staff to get more out of him."
RG3 averaged 12.0 fantasy points in the six games that he started (and finished) in 2014. That's what Blake Bortles averaged as the league's #24 fantasy quarterback. We know Griffin is capable of more, but he hasn't been the same player since his rookie season. Specifically, he's not running the ball as often or as effectively.
Robert Griffin III did not do enough to warrant heading into the offseason with the Washington Redskins' starting quarterback job. You can say the same thing about Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy as well. Which is why head coach Jay Gruden said in his season-ending press conference that, as of now, there’s a competition for the starting job.
That’s how it should be given the lack of success by all three passers.
“I’d like to pick one as soon as I could so we could try to work and grind on him and develop him,” Gruden said. “But until that position is earned, you have to have a competition. I anticipate us having a competition at a lot of spots, and quarterback is no different next year.”
The big disappointment is that Griffin did not emerge as the starter considering what the Redskins surrendered for him. Also, the expectation was that he’d improve given a full offseason and one year further removed from his knee surgery. Dislocating his left ankle and missing five games did not help. But even before the injury, there were concerns among the coaching staff about his (lack of) development, the story said. It would also seem to mean Cousins will stick around for a bit. He recently said he wanted to be traded if there wasn't at least a competition for the starting QB job.
The third-year quarterback said Monday that if Robert Griffin III is named the starter during the offseason he'll ask for a trade, per NBC Washington's Diana Russini.
"Isn't it obvious I couldn't stay here?" Cousins told Russini.
Cousins started five games this season after RGIII was injured before being replaced by Colt McCoy. In his six appearances this year, Cousins completed 61.8 percent of his 204 passing attempts for 1,710 yards, 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He lost four straight starts before being replaced at halftime of Week 7.
Cousins explained that if there is no quarterback competition, there is no point to staying in Washington, the story went on to say. The signal caller added that he would approach the season as 16 games until free agency if RGIII is made the starter. There are plenty of teams who could be looking for help at the QB position for 2015: Buffalo, NY Jets, Houston, Tennessee, Chicago and Tampa Bay are among them.
Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:53pm
Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (right shoulder, probable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is probable for Week 17. Griffin is expected to start despite the shoulder injury.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden announced Tuesday that the neck injury that knocked Colt McCoy out of last Sunday’s loss to the Giants won’t heal in time for him to play in the final two games of the season and that he’ll be placed on injured reserve as a result.
It's actually a pretty nice matchup for RGIII against an Eagles defense that is prone to getting torched through the air. Griffin would still come with great risk at this time of year, however.
Redskins QB Colt McCoy was taken to the locker room after his first series in Sunday's game against the Giants. McCoy, who was questionable because of an aggravated nerve in his neck, was hit hard at the end of a scramble on Washington's opening possession.
Robert Griffin III took over in place of McCoy. RGIII completed 18-of-27 passes for 236 yards and one touchdown Sunday, but it wasn't enough. After the game, coach Jay Gruden said he's not sure who will start against the Eagles on Saturday, according to the story. The article went on to say before naming a starter, Gruden said he wants to watch the film and learn more about the extent of starter Colt McCoy's injury. He wants to see how badly McCoy aggravated the neck injury that caused him to leave the game after the first series.
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