Last Sunday, Robert Griffin III rushed for 77 yards on nine carries against the Cowboys. It was the most involved he’s been in the running game since the season opened. Coming out of the bye week, the Redskins appeared to call more read-option and designed quarterback draw plays. The Redskins showed glimpses of this in Week 3 versus the Lions when RGIII toted it six times for 37 yards and rolled out of the pocket on numerous occasions, but they ramped it up even more last week. The only problem is that Griffin is fumbling the ball too much. He’s already fumbled six times, losing two of them.
On Wednesday, Griffin said he thinks he needs to run more to improve Washington’s chances of winning. Coach Mike Shanahan, who took a ton of heat for RGIII’s knee injury last season, is apparently on board with more scrambling and designed runs for his second-year quarterback.
"He’s got to be himself. Robert is Robert," Shanahan said. "We don’t ask quarterbacks to do anything in particular. We have a game plan going in. Whatever that game plan may be, we are hoping they execute it.”
“Everybody wants me to slide and get out of bounds and do that whole thing,” Griffin said. “For me, I can’t really listen to that. It’s not that you ignore it. I understand that people are concerned. But at the end of the day you have to go out there and play with your instincts.”
The Redskins have appeared to be on the verge of an offensive outburst in recent weeks. They just can’t punch it into the end zone. Washington racked up 433 yards of total offense against Dallas but settled for four field goals. Alfred Morris accounted for the only touchdown. Griffin has some juicy matchups ahead. He’ll be a borderline QB1 this week against the Bears. Following Chicago, the Redskins take on the Broncos, Chargers, Vikings and Eagles. All four of those teams are in the bottom ten when it comes to fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. It’s a perfect time to buy low on RGIII.
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News Nugget #2
Josh Freeman was released by the Bucs on October 3. On October 6, the Vikings signed him to a one-year, $3 million contract. On Wednesday, Minnesota named Freeman its starting quarterback for Monday night’s Week 7 game against the Giants.
After being inactive last week against the Panthers, Freeman has apparently learned enough of the playbook to be inserted into the starting lineup. The plan all along for the Vikings was to settle on a starter by Wednesday so that whoever it was would have enough practice reps with the first-team offense to gain chemistry. Freeman’s insertion into the lineup is a boost to everyone on offense, including Adrian Peterson, Jerome Simpson, Greg Jennings and Kyle Rudolph. Freeman is a legit QB2 for Week 7 against a struggling Giants defense.
Christian Ponder will be the No. 2, while Matt Cassel will either be inactive on game days or be released. Ponder admitted Wednesday that he may not have a future in Minnesota. The former first-round pick may look to get a fresh start elsewhere in 2014. He likely won’t find a team willing to let him compete for the starting job. How Freeman performs the rest of this season will determine his future.
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News Nugget #3
Coach Doug Marrone said Wednesday that E.J. Manuel will need another 4-6 weeks of recovery time before he even returns to the practice field. In that scenario, the No. 16 overall pick will return for Week 11 against the Jets at the earliest. The Bills have a Week 12 bye, so we wouldn’t expect Manuel to return any time before Week 13 versus the Falcons.
Buffalo will continue to trot Thad Lewis out there as its starting quarterback. Lewis wasn’t terrible in his debut against the Bengals last Sunday, though the offense did stall for over a quarter of play before coming alive in the fourth quarter. Lewis will routinely be in the bottom five of Rotoworld’s weekly quarterback rankings. Matt Flynn will be Lewis’ direct backup, while undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel will be inactive on game days as the No. 3. The Bills have been hit harder by injuries than any other team in the league.
Quarterback/Running Back Quick Slants
Jake Locker (hip, knee) was limited on Wednesday. He’s not expected back until after the Week 8 bye. … Michael Vick (hamstring) was limited Wednesday. Look for Nick Foles to start this week against the Cowboys. … Matt Schaub (lower leg) did not practice. Case Keenum and T.J. Yates split first-team reps. One of the two youngsters will start against the Chiefs. … James Starks (knee) has been ruled out for Week 7. He’s been making progress but will look to return in Week 8. … Zac Stacy (chest) and Benny Cunningham (ankle) did not participate in Rams practice Wednesday. Stacy is going to play, but Cunningham’s status is up in the air as the No. 3 back. … Marshawn Lynch (hip) is listed as probable and will play Thursday night against Arizona. … Steven Jackson (hamstring), DeMarco Murray (knee) and C.J. Spiller (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. Spiller is fully expected to play. Joseph Randle will carry the load in place of Murray this week. … The Giants signed Peyton Hillis.
Wide Receiver/Tight End Quick Slants
Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) is listed as probable for Thursday night. We wouldn’t trust him as much more than a WR3 against Seattle’s fearsome defensive backfield. … Andre Johnson (shin), Stevie Johnson (back), Mike Williams (hamstring), Calvin Johnson (knee) and Julian Edelman (thigh) were limited in practice Wednesday. … Miles Austin (hamstring) practiced in full Wednesday. … Roddy White (ankle, hamstring), Justin Blackmon (hamstring/groin), Eddie Royal (toe), Santonio Holmes (hamstring), James Jones (leg) and Danny Amendola (concussion) did not practice Wednesday. … Vernon Davis (hamstring) is practicing in full this week. He’s Rotoworld’s No. 2 tight end play foe Week 7 against Tennessee. … Rob Housler (ankle) is listed as probable for Thursday night versus the Seahawks. He’s not even on the TE2 radar. … Rob Gronkowski (back, forearm) was limited in Wednesday’s practice, as usual. … Greg Olsen (foot) was back in a walking boot and did not practice Wednesday. … Martellus Bennett (knee) also missed practice Wednesday. … The Falcons plan to feature Tony Gonzalez even more in the wake of Julio Jones’ season-ending foot injury. Gonzalez is Rotoworld’s No. 1 fantasy tight end for Week 7. … Brandon Bostick is expected to see increased snaps as Green Bay’s No. 2 tight end following Randall Cobb’s (broken fibula) injury.