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Posted at 03:17 PM ET, 08/21/2014

News and notes from Thursday’s open locker room


Wide receiver Rashad Ross. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

The Redskins wrapped up their final day of practice leading up to Saturday’s preseason game with the Baltimore Ravens, and tomorrow will have a walk-through at Andrews Air Force Base prior to their “Welcome Home Luncheon.”

Here are some nuggets from Jay Gruden’s press conference, and the locker room.

● Gruden expects his starters to play roughly a half of Saturday’s game. He said it’s possible that either one or both of the units could see limited action in the third quarter, depending on how well they do.

● Gruden expects to make some roster cuts on Sunday, in advance of Tuesday’s deadline by which teams must trim their rosters from 90 to 75 players.

● Gruden hasn’t determined how many players he will keep at various positions, but said that instead he will let performance and needs determine those groupings.

● Look for rookie Morgan Moses to see time at backup right tackle on Saturday. He has played exclusively at backup left tackle during training camp and the first two preseason games. Gruden sees Moses improving both in confidence and technique, and now wants to see how he would do on the right side, where eventually he could start.

● Wide receivers Rashad Ross and Nick Williams could make it hard on coaches when it comes to making final cuts. Gruden likes the way both have played, but the Redskins are crowded at that position.

● No decision has been made on defensive end Stephen Bowen, who remains on the PUP list while rehabbing from microfracture surgery. Gruden said it’s possible that he could return to practice some time next week, but that determination remains up in the air because Bowen still has a bit of swelling and soreness in his knee.

● Center Kory Lichtensteiger and left tackle Trent Williams are encouraged by the progress that the offense of line has made. Lichtensteiger said the group is still working on carving out its identity, however.

● Williams believes this weeks game will serve as a good measuring stick for the Redskins as they go against a quality opponent like the Ravens, who are strong both offensively and defensively.

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

More from The Post:

Gruden befuddled by Griffin penalties | RGIII responds to social media critics

Outsider: A closer look at four rookies | At Griffin’s play

Hall praises Rambo | Thompson is 50-50 for Ravens game

Cowboys suffer another blow on defense | Fletcher makes TV debut

More NFL: Home page | D.C. Sports Bog | The Early Lead | Fancy Stats | Fantasy

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @lizclarketweet | @JReidPost | @Insider

By  |  03:17 PM ET, 08/21/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Morgan Moses, Nick Williams, Rashad Ross, Stephen Bowen, Trent Williams

Posted at 02:47 PM ET, 08/21/2014

Robert Griffin III responds to critics regarding social media activity


Robert Griffin III, here signing autographs for fans before the preseason game Aug. 7 against the Patriots, likes to connect with his fans via social media as well. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

After having to hear criticisms about his decision-making in the 48 hours that followed Washington’s preseason game against the Browns on Monday night, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III took to Twitter on Wednesday evening. He told the critics to continue doubting him.

“They doubted in High School. They doubted a turnaround at @Baylor. They doubted a Heisman was possible. Keep doubting. It’s nothing New,” he tweeted at 5:58 p.m.

Two hours later, he followed up with, “Because at the end of the day, in the Griffin Household we read Philippians 4:12-13. We can do ALL things. Through Him & For Him.”

Griffin posted the same message on his Facebook and Instagram accounts. But his message sparked only more scrutiny. On Thursday, Griffin responded to questions about the source of his perceived frustration. But he said no further explanation was needed.

“You can say what you want in that regard, but as far as I’m concerned, I said what I needed to say,” he said. “There’s no need to look into it. It’s right there. It’s on Facebook, it’s on Instagram and it’s on Twitter. And it’s what our household deems necessary to go out there every day and be successful. That’s all I have to say.”

Griffin is always active on Twitter. Most of the time, he uses it to send out inspirational messages to his fans. In response, he receives both tweets of adoration and condemnation from followers. The critical voices argue that Griffin shouldn’t be so active in the social media realm, and that he should instead focus on football.

But Griffin disagreed.

“To each his own, but you know, but there’s 1.1 million people on Twitter that want to hear what quarterbacks and guys have to say,” he said. “It’s not like we tweet all the time. But, any time we tweet something, it gets blown up. But it is what it is.”

Griffin, by the way, has 1.17 million Twitter followers.

He added that tweeting doesn’t interfere with his job in any way.

“It is what it is,” the quarterback said. “We spend a lot of our day focused on football, so when we get a chance to unwind, whether it’s watching reality TV or being on Twitter for five minutes out of the day, that’s subtracting from what we do on the field or in the film room. A lot of these guys have to find ways — just like myself — to unwind or just relax for 10, 20 minutes out of the day, and that’s what we do.”

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

More from The Post:

Gruden befuddled by Griffin penalties | Reid: Griffin needs to get down

Outsider: A closer look at four rookies | At Griffin’s play

Hall praises Rambo | Thompson is 50-50 for Ravens game

Cowboys suffer another blow on defense | Fletcher makes TV debut

More NFL: Home page | D.C. Sports Bog | The Early Lead | Fancy Stats | Fantasy

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @lizclarketweet | @JReidPost | @Insider

By  |  02:47 PM ET, 08/21/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Robert Griffin III

Posted at 02:17 PM ET, 08/21/2014

Chris Thompson ’50-50′ for Ravens game

Second-year running back Chris Thompson took part in a second day of limited practices for the Redskins, but remains uncertain for Washington’s preseason game at Baltimore on Saturday.


Chris Thompson, returning a kick last season against Detroit. (Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he believes Thompson — a fifth-round pick last season, who has missed the last preseason game and 11 practices with a low ankle sprain before returning to action yesterday  will be a game-time decision on Saturday.

“He looked quick, still a little tentative, but I think he’s going to be a game-time deal,” the coach said. “We’ll look at him in warmups, see if he’s running around, see how he feels, and we’ll talk to him and the trainer and go from there. I’d say it’s 50-50 right now with him. It could go either way, in my opinion.”

Gruden said backup cornerback Tracy Porter (hamstring) will likely miss Saturday’s game. Backup inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton also missed practice while nursing a high ankle sprain. Sharpton is doubtful for the game.

Starting nose tackle Barry Cofield, who missed practice on Wednesday with a sore groin, returned to action Thursday and is expected to play.

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

More from The Post:

Outsider: A closer look at four rookies | At Griffin

Hall praises Rambo | Reid: Griffin needs to get on down

Maske: What would it mean if Sam was cut?

Redskins’ off coverage preference means crackdown is no worry

More NFL: Home page | D.C. Sports Bog | The Early Lead | Fancy Stats | Fantasy

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @lizclarketweet | @JReidPost | @Insider

By  |  02:17 PM ET, 08/21/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  barry cofield, Chris Thompson, Darryl Sharpton, Tracy Porter

Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 08/21/2014

Gruden befuddled by false start calls on Robert Griffin III


Jay Gruden on Monday against the Browns. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Redskins coach Jay Gruden wasn’t pleased with the 11 penalties that cost his team 100 yards in Monday’s preseason victory over Cleveland.

But when it comes to the two false starts called on Robert Grffin III in the span of 10 minutes, Gruden had empathy for his quarterback and voiced a touch of frustration and bewilderment with officials this week in explaining why.

What Griffin did wrong, under a strict reading of the rules, was move his torso while going through the snap count, which officials interpret as a ruse to coax the defense offsides.

But in Gruden’s view, there’s simply no way a quarterback can make himself heard in an NFL stadium filled with 70,000 fans without shouting full voice. A former quarterback himself, who followed his Louisville career with stints in the Arena and U.S. football leagues, Gruden demonstrated for reporters that it’s impossible to issue an audible count from a static position.

“In a loud stadium, in order to enunciate your words, sometimes you have to move your chest to yell. Am I right? ‘HUT!’ ” Gruden barked, by way of example. “Sometimes you yell, and that’s what he was doing.”

Given that Cleveland’s defense didn’t jump, the coach questioned whether the 5-yard penalties should have been called at all.

“We’ve just got to make sure we don’t have him do any sudden movement with his hands or try to really move his head and shoulders,” Gruden said. “But that to me was a little insane.”

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

More from The Post:

Outsider: A closer look at four rookies | At Griffin

Hall praises Rambo | Reid: Griffin needs to get on down

Maske: What would it mean if Sam was cut?

Redskins’ off coverage preference means crackdown is no worry

More NFL: Home page | D.C. Sports Bog | The Early Lead | Fancy Stats | Fantasy

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @lizclarketweet | @JReidPost | @Insider

By  |  01:00 PM ET, 08/21/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:12 PM ET, 08/21/2014

Redskins’ 53-man roster: How things look after two preseason games


Daryl Sharpton, right, going against the Patriots’ Nate Ebner in training camp, has a spot on Mike Jones’s roster. (Skip Rowland/Associated Press)

The Redskins’ bubble players on Monday received another chance to prove themselves, and some could have helped their cases for roster spots, while others could have seen hopes dim.

In our second projection of the 53-man roster, we have some changes, but a lot remains the same.

Saturday represents another audition opportunity prior to Tuesday’s first cut-down day (from 90 to 75 players), and then next Thursday, they’ll get one last shot before the final cut day on Aug. 30.

Here’s a look at how things could stand now:

Quarterback — 3: Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy

(Last week: Griffin, Cousins, McCoy)

This projection remains the same. Jay Gruden again spoke highly of McCoy and his contributions to the room, and he also is the insurance policy if Griffin, who in Game 2 displayed his reckless side again, if the starter can’t remain healthy and Cousins has to take over.

Running back — 4: Alfred Morris, Roy Helu Jr., Evan Royster, fullback Darrel Young

(Last week: Morris, Helu, Thompson, Young)

Royster replaces Thompson, who has yet to get back on the field following a low ankle sprain. With Thompson out, the three competitors for the spots behind Morris and Helu — Royster, Silas Redd and Lache Seastrunk — made their case on Monday, and it was Royster, who had a 24-yard catch-and-run and a hard-fought two-yard rushing touchdown.

Wide receiver — 6: Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Santana Moss, Aldrick Robinson, Ryan Grant

(Last week: Garcon, Jackson, Roberts, Moss, Robinson, Grant)

Rashad Ross for a second straight week made a play both on offense and special teams. He had a 42-yard kickoff return, and had a 43-yard catch. However, it’s still hard to envision the undrafted rookie overtaking one of the six guys ahead of him. Leonard Hankerson still could open the season on PUP.

Tight end — 3: Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul

(Last week: Reed, Paulsen, Paul)

Again, this is pretty cut and dried. Ted Bolser didn’t make any noise in the second preseason game, Mike Caussin remains sidelined with a knee injury, and Matt Veldman was signed last week to serve as a practice body.


Shawn Lauvao and Robert Griffin III high five during Monday’s game against the Browns. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Offensive line — 10: Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Chester, Tyler Polumbus, Morgan Moses, Mike McGlynn, Spencer Long, Josh LeRibeus, Tom Compton.

(Last week: Williams, Lauvao, Lichtensteiger, Chester, Polumbus, Moses, McGlynn, Long, Compton)

LeRibeus didn’t necessarily do anything spectacular to work his way back into the mix. He had some solid moments in this past week’s game, but he again blew some assignments. But, the team hasn’t closed the book on him. Some in the building  believe that he can still possibly develop into a starter, but that he’s still probably a year away from that. It’s hard — because of needs in other areas — to see them carrying 10 linemen. But he has experience that none of the other backups do.

Defensive line — 6: Chris Baker, Barry Cofield, Jason Hatcher, Jarvis Jenkins, Chris Neild, Kedric Golston

(Last week: Baker, Cofield, Hatcher, Jenkins, Neild, Golston)

This group remains the same, and I still have Stephen Bowen opening the season on PUP. He restructured his deal to give the team more flexibility, but he doesn’t look like he’s ready to come off the PUP list.

Linebacker — 9: Ryan Kerrigan, Keenan Robinson, Perry Riley Jr., Brian Orakpo, Trent Murphy, Adam Hayward, Will Compton, Rob Jackson, Darryl Sharpton

(Last week: Kerrigan, Robinson, Riley, Orakpo, Murphy, Hayward, Compton, Jackson, Sharpton)

Sharpton missed the last game with a high ankle sprain, and competing inside linebacker Akeem Jordan made a nice special teams tackle. But Sharpton’s athleticism and nose for the ball still give him the edge.

Cornerback — 5: DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, E.J. Biggers, Bashaud Breeland, Tracy Porter

(Last week: Hall, Amerson, Biggers, Breeland, Porter)

Breeland continues to impress, bouncing back from his marijuana possession incident in Richmond, and having a strong game on Monday night. Coaches love his physicality and feel like it’s only a matter of time before he works his way onto the field in a key role. Richard Crawford’s best bet could’ve been special teams, but he hasn’t been used as a return man, as he was his rookie year. Crawford hasn’t really made any notable plays on defense in the past two games.

Safety — 4: Brandon Meriweather, Ryan Clark, Phillip Thomas, Bacarri Rambo

(Last week: Meriweather, Clark, Thomas, Rambo, Robinson)

The Redskins like Trenton Robinson on special teams, but the numbers at other positions would make it hard to keep five safeties. Rambo has displayed improvement, and he and Thomas both are being used on special teams. Akeem Jordan Davis could be stashed on the practice squad and called up for special teams help should someone go down with injury.


Zach Hocker kicks a field goal in the preseason opener against the Patriots. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Specialists — 3: Zach Hocker, Robert Malone, Nick Sundberg

(Last week: Forbath, Malone, Sundberg)

Forbath made his lone field-goal attempt versus Cleveland — a 26-yarder. But kickoffs remain an issue for him. While Hocker had a touchback out the back of the end zone to open the game and then sent his other two attempts four and six yards into the end zone, Forbath didn’t have any touchbacks, and got only one of his kicks into the end zone (four yards). Consistency is key for a place kicker, and although Forbath has the track record on field goals, kickoffs could hurt him. Malone beat out Blake Clingan, and then Washington brought in Tress Way. Given his struggles in Chicago, it doesn’t seem likely that Way would overtake Malone.

We’ll check back in next week to see where things stand, and if anyone has made a strong push, or big slide, with their play against the Ravens.

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

More from The Post:

Outsider: A closer look at four rookiesAt Griffin

Hall praises Rambo | Reid: Griffin needs to get on down

Maske: What would it mean if Sam was cut?

Redskins’ off coverage preference means crackdown is no worry

More NFL: Home page | D.C. Sports Bog | The Early Lead | Fancy Stats | Fantasy

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @lizclarketweet | @JReidPost | @Insider

By  |  12:12 PM ET, 08/21/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

 

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