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The Redskins signed Justin Snow to replace Nick Sundberg as long snapper. Sundberg broke his forearm during the second quarter of the week one win over the Saints, but finished the game. It isn't clear how long Sundberg will be out, but the Redskins have designated him for return this season, so he must miss at least 8 games. That's a new rule in the NFL this year -- each team can put one player on injured reserve and then bring him back during the season. Having done that with Sundberg, who is a good long snapper, the Redskins will not be able to do it for any other player who gets injured this season.
As Deron Snyder writes, the Shanahans were wise enough to incorporate much of Robert Griffin's college offense into their Redskins game plan...and it worked.
Dual-threat QBs who excelled in spread-type college offenses rarely get much love from the NFL. They’re allowed to continue operating a similar style of attack even less often. Either they get with the program of playing on Sundays, or content themselves with memories of glory on Saturdays.
The Redskins took the opposite approach with RG3 in his NFL debut. They made him as comfortable against the Saints as he was against Stephen F. Austin. If he changed Washington’s uniform, Griffin might have imagined he still was at Baylor, running the same offense that netted him the Heisman Trophy.
Griffin lined up in the pistol, a shorter version of the shotgun with a tailback behind him. He ran zone reads and keepers and options. He looked very much like the spread quarterbacks who populate the NCAA Top 25. He rushed 10 times and eight of them were by design, a supposed no-no for NFL teams that want their quarterbacks to enjoy long careers.
The Shanahans also studied Cam Newton and Tim Tebow in the NFL when designing an offense for RG3.
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Rich Campbell hands out game balls and gassers for last Sunday's game and notes RG3 looked good in the pistol or behind center:
Out of shotgun, he was: 15 of 21 for 176 yards and a touchdown; a passer rating of 112.4.
From under center, he was: 4 of 5 for 144 yards, a touchdown and a sack; a passer rating of 158.3, which is the highest possible.
On play-action passes, he was: 12 of 15 for 237 yards, a touchdown and a sack; a passer rating of 141.0. That's a good indication of how effective play-action was in sucking the Saints' linebackers toward the line of scrimmage, or at least freezing them, to create openings over the middle for Griffin to attack.
On straight passes (no run fakes), he was: 7 of 11 for 83 yards and a touchdown; a passer rating of 116.9.
The Redskins secondary, much-maligned by many [including me], did all right against the Saints on Sunday:
But for the most part, the Redskins’ defensive backfield got the job done. Brees, who completed 71.2 percent of his passes last season, connected on only 46.2 percent of his throws Sunday, going 24 for 52. He threw two late interceptions and the Redskins won, 40-32.
“I was surprised by the way the secondary covered,” former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert, now a broadcaster in New Orleans, said by telephone Monday. “That was surprising to me because of the injuries at safety. You don’t keep Drew Brees under 50 percent very often. It just doesn’t happen. And it wasn’t necessarily that Drew was off by that much. I felt like they had people covered and made some plays in the secondary to prevent some of those passes from being completed.”
The only problem I had with the secondary last Sunday was all the penalties, mostly against safeties Madieu Williams and DeJon Gomes. Williams, in particular, I think, has a lot to clean up.
RG3 has fallen afoul of the relentless money-making machine that is the NFL.
WR/RS Brandon Banks fumbled two punt returns last Sunday, but recovered both. Mike Shanahan wants him to knock off the fumbles, but likes everything else.
Griffin wrote the word "Heart" on the left side of his undershirt before the game on Sunday. Meant to inspire? Perhaps. Meant to conceal? Definitely.
The "H" was drawn extra wide so that the logo of Nike, which has the official apparel deal with the league, was covered. Griffin has a lucrative deal with its competitor adidas.
Players are allowed to wear logos of shoe brands that endorse them as long as those brands have deals with the league. They are not, however, allowed to cover up the swoosh of Nike, which is in its first year of a five-year deal with the league.
Griffin won't likely be fined because the shirt was only visible before pregame warmups, but NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN.com that league officials would talk to him.