NFL Wire News

Concussed RG3 practices; game status TBD

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The Sports Xchange

ASHBURN, Va. — Three days after being KO’d from the preseason game against Detroit with a concussion, quarterback Robert Griffin III was back on the practice field for the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

While still going through the NFL’s concussion protocol, Griffin was cleared to resume non-contact work. He took the first snap of 11-on-11 drills, earning a cautious vote of confidence as the Redskins began preparing for Saturday’s preseason visit to Baltimore, the final preseason game in which the starters are expected to play.

“So far, so good,” said head coach Jay Gruden, who will start Griffin at Baltimore if the quarterback successfully completes the concussion protocol and is cleared by a neurosurgeon. “He didn’t have any headaches. He did a good job of executing the offense today. He stepped up and scrambled and did a nice job.”

Whether or not Griffin plays Saturday, Washington’s starting offense needs to show some life after generating only three points on six possessions in preseason games with the Lions and Cleveland. The starters managed a lone first down on 16 plays last Thursday.

Griffin was hit six times on eight dropbacks, sacked three times, lost a fumble and completed only two of five passes for eight yards before exiting after Detroit defensive end Corey Wootton landed on him while trying to recover his fumble early in the second quarter.

“He didn’t have much of an opportunity in that game,” Gruden said. “We need to fix a lot, obviously. We would like to get some positive production from our ones. Detroit’s defense did a nice job stopping us in the first quarter. With Robert, we didn’t get the running game really going. We had one good hit (referencing Pro Bowl running back Alfred Morris), but other than that it was one or zero, and we were stuck in the long yardage “

The offense is hindered by the absence of deep threat wide receiver DeSean Jackson (shoulder) and tight end Jordan Reed (hamstring), who missed both preseason games. Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams was also scratched against the Lions due to a sprained foot. Williams returned Sunday, Jackson took part in individual drills and Reed worked on the side.

With the Redskins not working on Monday, they have only three practices for the receiver and tight end to get ready to face the Ravens. They have not played in a game since December.

Per the NFL’s concussion protocol, Griffin wasn’t made available to the media on Sunday.

Gruden was asked if the huge contrast in production between the Griffin-led starters and backups Kirk Cousins or Colt McCoy at quarterback troubled him.

“I’m glad we’re having some success somewhere,” he said, acknowledging that the backups are having that success. “We want to have some momentum going into the season. We’re going to continue with our process. We’re not going to be doom and gloom because we didn’t get any points with our ones in the first quarter (against the Lions). They were No. 2 (on defense) last year for a reason.”

Although Griffin and the starting offense have struggled so much, the Redskins have won both games, rallying past the Browns 20-17 and the Lions 21-17.

Last August, Griffin and the starters managed a lone field goal on five possessions in the third preseason game at Baltimore. Griffin was sacked three times and threw an interception while earning a 27.1 passer rating. Griffin’s only other game against the Ravens was in Week 14 of 2012, his rookie year, when he injured his right knee on a hit from Haloti Naga. Cousins came in and rallied Washington to victory.

Griffin, who would be voted the Offensive Rookie of the Year, missed the next game before returning to beat Philadelphia and Dallas as the Redskins won the NFC East for the first time in 13 years. However, his knee didn’t fully recover before he tore the ACL and MCL in the wild-card playoff loss to Seattle that sent his career into a tailspin from which he has not yet recovered.

–A week after losing newly anointed starting tight end Niles Paul (ankle), reserve tight end Logan Paulsen (toe) and backup running back Silas Redd Jr. (knee) for the season, the Redskins lost special teams captain Adam Hayward to a torn right ACL against the Lions.

“It’s a big blow for special teams … and leadership,” head coach Jay Gruden said. “He just got here from Tampa last year, and he was voted captain unanimously. That’s the type of guy he is in the locker room, and Niles too. That’s a big blow, more so off the field in the locker room than on the field, but they’re both impactful players on the field.”

Hayward’s absence could open a spot for undrafted rookie inside linebacker Houston Bates, who recorded his third sack in two games against the Lions. A defensive end at Illinois and Louisiana Tech, the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Bates is making the transition to inside linebacker look easy.

This after Bates considered not accepting the Redskins’ contract offer following his release by Houston earlier in May.

“For the first time in my life, I let doubt kind of seep in,” said Bates, who was contemplating putting his degree in hospital administration to good use. “But something told me to give it my last shot.”

–With two of last season’s three tight ends, Paul and Paulsen, out for the year and presumed starter Jordan Reed having missed the first two preseason games with yet another in a series of hamstring injuries, the Redskins sent their fifth-round pick in next year’s draft to San Francisco for tight end Derek Carrier.

The 6-foot-4, 241-pound Carrier got into five games with the 49ers in 2013 after spending 2012 on Philadelphia’s practice squad. Playing behind Vernon Davis last season, Carrier caught nine passes for 105 yards in 11 games.

“He’s a good, young prospect that we’re looking forward to working with,” said Gruden, noting that the 25-year-old Carrier is a former basketball player and receiver.

Carrier will compete with recently signed journeyman D.J. Williams, practice-squad holdovers Je’Ron Hamm and Chase Dixon and undrafted rookies Devin Mahina and Ernst Brun Jr. for playing time behind Reed.

“I learned about Derek yesterday,” Hamm said during an Aug. 22 conference call. “We’re just going to embrace him and try to help him in any way with learning here. Everybody is working to get a roster spot, but also trying to help each other as we go along.”

Hamm started against Detroit and had a fine 23-yard catch-and-run. Dixon gained 20 yards on a similar play.

Hamm, a receiver at Louisiana-Monroe, made the switch to tight end last year with advice from Paul, who made the same transition in 2012, his second year out of Nebraska.

“The biggest thing is the footwork (while blocking) and going from blocking corners and safeties to blocking defensive ends and outside linebackers,” Hamm said.


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