Redskins TB Alfred Morris is a candidate for Rookie of the Week. I don't think he has much of a chance -- David Wilson of the Giants should have a lock on it, I'd think -- but go vote for Morris anyway. You can be sure New York/Jersey will turn out for Wilson.
Where do the Redskins rank among the 32 NFL teams? Find out by reading The World's Most Prestigious Power Poll: Week 15, which ranks all the teams, without fear or favor, from first to worst.
As we told you yesterday, RG3 has a "mild sprain" of his LCL ligament in his right knee. Head coach Mike Shanahan calls it a "class 1" sprain of the knee.
How does Robert Griffin III stack up with all the other rookie quarterbacks? Find out by reading our week 14 edition of Tracking the Rookie Quarterbacks.
Tom Brady gets a few laughs by comparing himself to RG3.
WR Pierre Garcon was on ESPN earlier this morning and said backup QB Kirk Cousins would be starting against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. I don't know if that's true or not or if Garcon is in a position to know such a thing right now, but him saying so won't sit well with Mike Shanahan. As Rick Snider notes:
Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan is playing his favorite sport: mind games.
Shanahan said quarterback Robert Griffin III suffered a Grade I LCL knee sprain against Baltimore and wouldn't rule him out against Cleveland on Sunday. It sounded sincere enough until Shanahan mentioned a few caveats, like practicing and proving he wouldn't get hurt further by playing against the Browns.
In other words, Griffin may play, but Cleveland's coaches still must spend extra time watching film of backup Kirk Cousins. Essentially with a wink, Shanahan said he has one game plan for both but each does different things. Translation: The Browns' coaches won't sleep this week preparing for both passers.
Inside, Shanahan is chuckling. Outwardly, Shanahan is giving the "who me?" look of someone accused of using smoke and mirrors.
Indeed, if it weren't for NFL sanctions, Shanahan wouldn't say anything at all.
Another good column from Dan Daly today. You might think he's on a hot streak, but his whole career has basically been a hot streak. Anyway, he points out that it is probably useless trying to get RG3 to stop running. It's what he does.
With three weeks to go, Griffin has 112 rushing attempts; that’s the most for an NFL quarterback, through 13 games, in 40 years (Bobby Douglass, 1972 Chicago Bears, 127). Some of RG3’s runs are by design in Mike and Kyle Shanahan’s cutting-edge offense, and some are sheer improvisation. When he was hurt against the Falcons and Ravens, he was trying to “make a play,” as he put it, trying to salvage something from a disintegrating situation.
The designed runs and option pitches certainly can be called more sparingly, so Griffin isn’t subjected to as much abuse. That’s totally within the coaches’ control. But you can’t stop RG3 from being RG3, nor should you want to. Those scrambles are a form of self-expression. They’re a part of him, what makes him different from other QBs, what makes him special.
Joe Perry, the Hall of Fame back, once told me, “Running is mostly instinct, and you can’t teach instinct. It’s God-given. It’s like a fingerprint.” The same, I suspect, holds true for quarterbacking, particularly when the pocket is collapsing. In those instances, it’s just a swirl of competitiveness and adrenaline and athleticism.
As you might expect, medical experts say RG3 faces real risk of worsening his knee injury if he plays on Sunday.
Here's a bit of good injury news: ILB London Fletcher and LT Trent Williams, who have battled tough injuries lately, both came through the Sunday win over Baltimore in relatively good shape and should be ready to start in Cleveland.
Rich Tandler notices the Redskins won the turnover battle with the Ravens and also won the game. And this is a big reason the Redskins already have more wins this year than in any year since 2008.
On the season, Washington is tied for fifth in the NFL with a plus-12. This represents a vast improvement from last year when they were tied for 30th at minus-14.
The Redskins have made a solid improvement on the takeaway end of the equation. With three games to go this year they have 24 this year after getting 21 in 16 games a year ago.
But they have made a quantum leap when it comes to giving the ball away. A year ago John Beck and Rex Grossman combined to throw 24 interceptions and the team lost 11 fumbles for a total of 35 giveaways. This year through 13 games the Redskins have thrown six interceptions (RG3 with 4 and Kirk Cousins with 2) and have lost six fumbles.
Washington's defense has struggled this year [you may have noticed that by watching games], but Mike Wise correctly points out that Coordinator Jim Haslett has actually done a pretty good job patching this over-injured and under-talented unit together.
TE/KR Niles Paul was "inconsolable" after the game on Sunday as he discussed his fumble on Washington's last kickoff return -- the one that almost handed the game to the Ravens. Good. Paul should be inconsolable after that. A fumble in that situation is not acceptable. While he's working on that, maybe he can start catching the ball better. Yet another drop last Sunday.
Staying with the special teams, PK Kai Forbath is 14 of 14 on field goals this year and ILB/special teams star Lorenzo Alexander says better protection is a big reason why the team is getting much better production from the kicking game lately.
Mike Shanahan is not worried about Alfred Morris and believes he will soon conquer his fumbling problem.