10 cool things about Ravens at Redskins, starting with RGIII’s knee.

 

Trainers tend to Robert Griffin III during the Ravens at Redskins game

1. – and most important to Redskins fans, Robert Griffin III has a sprained knee.
RGIII's knee flexed unnaturally near the end of the Ravens game. Every fan screamed like a man along with Robert, and Mike Shanahan clinched every bodily orifice. The Redskins didn't wait until Monday to get a MRI. They hustled Robert off right after the game to get the news.

The results were negative. Griffin III does not have an ACL tear. He will return this year, perhaps as soon as next week in Cleveland. Watch the Friday injury report.

2. The Redskins exorcised another demon, this time by beating the Baltimore Ravens 31-28 OT.
The Ravens and Steelers are the most Giants-like of all teams on the schedule other than the Giants themselves. A quality win over a quality opponent marks how the Redskins have improved. Now lets see how they do against a team like Cleveland.

It's the poor-performing teams like the Rams, the Panthers, and the 2011 Vikings that bedevil the Redskins. Hog Heaven thinks Cleveland is the most dangerous team still on Washington's schedule. The Browns have won three straight. They play the Redskins at home, outdoors in the cold.

3. RGIII, the QB that might have been for the Browns.
This will be in the papers all week, so get ready. If Mike Holmgren made his best offer up front instead of trying to haggle, Jeff Fisher might have accepted Cleveland's Draft trade offer instead of Washington's, and Holmgren might still be in his job and Mike Shanahan facing the axe.

Kirk Cousins spikes the ball after scoring 2-point conversion
4. If you followed Spartans football, you saw nothing new from Kirk Cousins. It's who he is and what he does.

Nobody ever confused Cousins as a gifted, mobile athlete, but the man delivered clutch performances for Michigan State for better than three seasons. There were rare lapses, but the Spartans with Cousins did things unseen in East Lansing since the 1960s.

After Cousin's designed run for the two-point conversion against the Ravens, I've been dying to mock two ideas about the RG3 offense.

1)You can't run the RGIII offense with Kirk Cousins.

2)The Redskins run Kirk Cousins too much.

Say anymore and I'll be into Jack Bauer jokes.

5. New people did all the scoring for the Redskins.
It's a "Who are those guys" season. Joshua Morgan, Alfred Morris and Pierre Garçon scored touchdowns. Kai Forbath kicked three field goals. That's before you get to the quarterbacks.

Other teams have a member of the QB Golden Class of 2012. The Redskins have two.

There's always a transition cost when you bring in new people. Players and team need the time to adjust to each other. That cost cannot be avoided. It's paid in installments over the season. This late season resurgence should have been expected.

The Shanahan front office team is doing a good job here.

6. Size matters
Richard Crawford is 5-11, 188 lbs. Niles Paul is 6-1, 233 lbs. Brandon Banks is 5-7, and 153 lbs. Size matters on special teams.

Banks was inactive for the Ravens while his return duties were handled by Crawford and Paul. Paul averaged 18.5 yards per kick return. Crawford averaged 33.3 yards per punt return. Banks averaged a decent 24 yards per kick and a poor 6.8 yards per punt return.

Size is an issue. Crawford ran straight ahead when he fielded a punt. Banks tends to run laterally before turning up field as if he were trying to avoid contact. Hog Heaven does not crawl into a player's head, but I cannot help but wonder what Banks thinks when he sees all those big bodies barreling at him at high speed.

8. Fire Jim Haslett?
Hog heaven hasn't joined the chorus calling for the defensive coordinator's head. Firing people is rarely a solution and always means resetting the clock to zero and starting all over. (See "transition cost" under item #5 above.)  We're not saying Haslett has been perfect, but the keep or kick decision has to factor who Haslett is working with.

Washington's secondary was supposed to feature Brandon Meriweather and Tanard Jackson at safety. Meriweather played half-a-game and Jackson not any (suspended).  Maybe they would have added ss much to the defense as Garçon has done on offense.

And that's the point for anal Redskins fans. A decision on Haslett has to weigh how well he coached to the team's weaknesses. Normally you expect to coach to strengths. Haslett is coaching the 'Skins defense to do what it does well, force turnovers and score off them.

9. Kyle Shanahan can't win without RGIII
Smart guys are fond of saying of Kyle's father, "Mike Shanahan never won the big one without John Elway," as if Elway won a Super Bowl without Shanahan.

If there truly is a plot to install Kyle Shanahan as Redskins head coach in the future, it will be a matter time before fans say young Shanahan cannot win without Griffin III. All we know for sure is that Kyle can't win with Rex Grossman and John Beck. If Kyle wins a few games with Cousins, this argument dies.

10. Alfred Morris and Ray Rice on the same field.
What a treat to see two of the NFL's best running backs on display.

Images:
Trainers tend to Robert Griffin III during Ravens at Redskins game, Getty Images/North America via zimbio.com.
Kirk Cousins spikes the ball, December 9, 2012, Getty Images/North America via zimbio.com.

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Anthony Brown

About Anthony Brown

Lifelong Redskins fan and blogger about football and life since 2004. Joined MVN's Hog Heaven blog in 2005 and then moved Redskins Hog Heaven to Bolguin Network. Believes that the course of a season is pre-ordained by management decisions made during the offseason. Can occasionally be found on the This Given Sunday blog and he does guest posts.

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