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

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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Redskins @ Ravens - LIVE IN GAME BlOG
by Chris Russell
Aug 23, 2014 -- 7:50pm
ESPN 980

(AP Photo/Gail Burton)

 

Dan Snyder Cake for Sonny

Dan Snyder delivers the birthday cake to Sonny Jurgensen, celebrating his 80th birthday Aug 23rd at the Redskins / Ravens game.

(Click To Download Video)

The Redskins have taken a 3-0 lead in the first quarter here at M & T Bank Stadium. Once again the first-team offense failed to punch in a touchdown despite a first-and-goal situation. That has to change. They were not very good in that area last year.

 

Kory Lichtensteiger had a rough go once inside the red area, as he was beaten off the snap by Brandon Williams for a run stop. He also had a high snap.

Alfred Morris had a terrific inside zone run  on first down.

 

The scoring possession was set up by Keenan Robinson blowing up a fourth-down and one at midfield. That's the third consecutive game the Redskins have had a fourth down stop.

On the first Redskins defensive series, they did allow a big checkdown gain to FB Kyle Juszczyk in which Brian Orakpo missed a big tackle in space to allow the play.

****

 

***

Jason Hatcher just bulldozed his blocker (Marshall Yanda) on third down for a sack. Just a tremendous job of leverage and strength.

ESPN 980 Galleries **

The Redskins have had great field position twice and have three points to show for it. Robert Griffin III was sacked on a scramble on third down on the first possession and just a moment ago he did not catch the snap in pistol cleanly.

Red zone offense is still a big problem but so is converting on great field position. If you start with the ball on the Ravens side twice, you have to come away with more than three points.

**

This game is fast and furious. Ryan Kerrigan made a huge play on a reverse earlier to force a big loss that Keenan Robinson cleaned up.

The Ravens have made two big plays tonight. Steve Smith broke a combined tackle attempt by DeAngelo Hall and Ryan Clark for a 3-0-yard gain.

Brandon Meriweather has been all over the place and he lit up Bernard Pierce. Pierce is being evaluated for a concussion.

David Amerson made two terrific plays. One in deep coverage in the end zone. Did a good job with ball location. On a third-and-two, Amerson made a hell of a stop with a shoestring tackle. to force another fourth down. The Redskins once again stoned the Ravens on a fourth down...Jarvis Jenkins, Chris Baker and Perry Riley helped blow it up.

***

The Redskins offense struggled again on their third series and that ended with Griffin scrambling out-of-bounds, but at least he did not get hit on the play.

**

The defense once again gave up a play or two but managed to buckle down and ferociously attack with sacks by Ryan Kerrigan and huge pressure by Jarvis Jenkins and Kedric Golston. Then on 3rd down, Keenan Robinson tipped a pass that fell incomplete. The Ravens kicked a field goal to tie it up at 3-3.

**

Finally a series that I liked from Robert Griffin III. A long pass to DeSean Jackson that was a bit underthrown but it did not hold up as Jackson was pushed out-of-bounds. The Redskins did finally convert on third down on a great hook up to Jordan Reed, but it was called back because of a holding penalty on Trent Williams.

Kory Lichtensteiger was pulled out for a series, with Chris Chester subbing in to snap and rookie Spncer Long at right guard.

**

On the Redskins next offensive series, Griffin III was sacked under seige. It appeared he took too long as he was in the pocket for over three seconds according to John Keim.

**

The Redskins defense playing in a two minute situation without DeAngelo Hall, Jason Hatcher and Brian Orakpo was really no match for the Ravens quick strike offense as they yielded a 24-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Steve Smith who beat EJ Biggers with a little push-off and a diving catch.

David Amerson's illegal use of the hands penalty did not help matters, giving the Ravens a first down after a 2nd-and-15.

***

The Redskins first team offense came back out as they should have to start, and on the very first play Robert Griffin III threw a pretty bad interception. Not sure what he was looking at, but his check down receiver was blanketed. Just a bad decision.

Griffin finished (5-8), 20 yards with an interception and was sacked three times.  Not much to say except, YUK.

***

The Ravens connected for a field goal to start their 2nd half after the turnover. The Redskins defense nearly forced a turnover but were able to hold and force the kick.

**

Kirk Cousins came out and hit Ryan Grant on a back shoulder throw, but then also short hopped Grant. He hit Aldrick Robinson on a nice five step drop.

Cousins then finished off a 13 play, 81 yard drive on a slant touchdown pass to Santana Moss for 11 yards. The Redskins had  the ball for   6:44 on the drive, and   now  trail 13-10 with 6:28 left in the third quarter.

Last week, Dale Earnhardt Jr was in the Redskins Radio booth being interviewed and on his very first play calling the action - the Redskins scored a touchdown to Ryan Grant. Tonight,, Redskins Owner Dan Snyder delivered Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen a birthday cake and almost as soon as he entered the booth, the Redskins scored the touchdown.


***

Trent Murphy on third down just bulldozed the Ravens right tackle all the way back for a sack. A classic bull rush for the rookie, who has made two standout plays already tonight.


**

While this game long ago stopped being super interesting, Tyron Taylor made Clifton Geathers look silly in space on a scramble for a huge gain of 26 yards, that set up a touchdown to Deonte Thompson who badly beat rookie Bashaud Breeland.  The touchdown for the Ravens was for 21 yards. The Ravens lead 20-10.

**

Bashaud Breeland is not having the best of nights. He got beat again in space and the Ravens were able to connect on a 46-yard field goal. It's 23-10 Ravens and the Redskins eight game preseason winning streak appears to be coming to an end.

**

Niles Paul with just a tremendous catch for 20 yards on a 3rd-and-10 situation, over a defender as Kirk Cousins threw a seed into a tight window That set up a seven yard TD pass from Kirk Cousins to Nick Williams and the Redskins trail 23-17.

**

That's how the game ended at 23-17, so the Redskins dropped to (2-1) in the preseason with Tampa next up on Thursday night on the road.  The Redskins streak of eight straight in the postseason came to an end.

**

Some post -game reaction and thoughts from ESPN.com & ESPN 980's John Keim and myself.

John's "Ten Observations" had a heavy focus on Robert Griffin III and the next steps.  John also wrote this on Jay Gruden and Robert Griffin III's reaction to a dismal Saturday night.

My spin on this whole issue is the same as just about everybody that is with the team on a daily basis. There is no quarterback controversy for now. Sure, Kirk Cousins does some things better than Robert Griffin III, and for that reason, you have people asking the question and making the argument.

Kirk had three games last year plus one game in 2012 and a part of a game in October 2012 against  Atlanta and the results have been mixed. Certainly, it hasn't been a huge sample size but Cousins has not exactly shined. He is what he is. He is a classic pocket passer with a good arm who lets it rip quick and as a result, makes a lot of big throws like he did Saturday night and normally turns the ball over more than you would want.

That's it. Start all the quarterback controversies you want, but the two players have not been playing or practicing against the same competition this off-season and in August and that has to count for something. 

I will have much more in another posting.

I can't leave without saying the  defense was tremendous for the most part with the exception of a couple of big plays that mostly were the result of missed tackles. There was sustained waves of pressure, physical play and terrific coverage. Don't lose sight of all the good that came out of Saturday night and for that matter the last three weeks.


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