NFC East Roundup: Shanahan Talks RGIII
Here’s a look at the latest from around the NFC East:
Mike Shanahan offered some thoughts on his former quarterback, Robert Griffin III, during a recent radio appearance. From CSN Washington:
“I don’t think getting hurt has anything to do with it,” Shanahan said of RG3 on the Grant and Danny Show on 106.7 The Fan.
The struggles, per Shanahan, are due to system changes.
After his rookie season, where Griffin’s running ability catapulted the Redskins offense but also caused the QB to take a lot of tough hits, Shanahan said the word came from Griffin as well as owner Dan Snyder to have less quarterback runs. With less running for Griffin, the second year player was forced into more of a drop back passer role. Shanahan said RG3 was not ready for that, and while he has the physical tools, becoming a drop back passer will continue to take time for Griffin because he has no experience doing it.
“In college he didn’t have a route tree, didn’t have a playbook,” Shanahan said of Griffin’s transition to a pocket passer. “That does take some time.”
Mike Jones of The Washington Post reports on one of RGIII’s new targets, WR Jamison Crowder:
His college resume, plus his showing last week, has Redskins officials believing that Crowder can help them in a variety of ways. His elite punt and kick return abilities likely will get him on the field right away. Crowder, the first wide receiver drafted out of Duke since 1990, also could wind up cracking the rotation on offense.
Crowder doesn’t want to get ahead of himself, however. He knows he has plenty to learn. For now, he just wants to prove himself.
“That’s my mind-set. I just want to get out there on the field and play, and display my talents and abilities,” Crowder said. “I’m trying to learn from the older guys as much as possible, and learn from [receivers] Coach Ike [Hilliard].”
Bob Sturm of The Dallas Morning News has high expectations for the Cowboys defense in 2015:
I have high hopes. I have no idea how to quantify that amongst league powers, but I do not believe that this team needs to hide the defense anymore. I think there are very few really weak spots in the front 11 and this means that they should have depth and quality to not be exposed. They had major issues last season and many of those have been replaced with real talent. The idea that [Greg] Hardy, [Demarcus] Lawrence, and [Randy] Gregory could all be pass rushing down the stretch in 2015 when none of them were here in Sept and October of 2014 is pretty insane. I think they have a great coach bringing it together, too.
The Cowboys took care of a member of that defense this week, inking cornerback Orlando Scandrick to a one-year contract extension worth a reported $9.5 million.
John Clayton of ESPN.com thinks the Cowboys could target Ray Rice to help out their running back committee:
Jerry Jones appears to be content with starting the season with Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden running behind the best offensive line in football, but Rice could be an option if something happens to either player (Randle has had his own off-field issues, and McFadden has an extensive injury history). As he’s shown with the additions of Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory and La’el Collins, Jones is willing to take some chances on players with behavioral and/or legal issues in their past. The Cowboys are currently considering adding veteran RBs Felix Jones and Ben Tate.
Pro Football Focus rated Eli Manning as the worst passer against pressure in 2014, reports Jordan Raanan of nj.com:
Manning was rated Pro Football Focus’ worst quarterback under pressure in 2014.
The league’s best quarterbacks under pressure were Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (+18.1), New Orleans’ Drew Brees (+14.8), Miami’s Ryan Tannehill (+12.7), New England’s Tom Brady (+12.5), Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck (+8.9), Seattle’s Russell Wilson (+7.8), San Diego’s Philip Rivers (+6.9) and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (+6.6). Pretty much, it’s a list of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Manning wasn’t even close. He had a very poor -12.1 grade last season when the pocket collapsed.
That’s the bad news and, really, not all that surprising. Manning was middle of the pack against pressure in 2012 and sixth-worst in 2013.
Dan Graziano of ESPN.com offers his thoughts on the injury to Giants offensive lineman Will Beatty:
The news broke Wednesday that New York Giants left tackle Will Beatty tore a pectoral muscle lifting weights this week and needed surgery that will sideline him until at least November. There was surely some predictable reaction from the Beatty-bashers among the Giants’ fan base, some believing this to be addition by subtraction. But I’m here to tell you it’s not.
The Giants will miss Beatty. For all his flaws, he has started their past 46 games, is a consistent performer in the run game and is the least to blame for Eli Manning’s protection issues of anyone on the line. Look at it this way: Of the five starting offensive line spots, the only one about which there was no question before this week was left tackle, where the Giants were sure Beatty would be the starter. They don’t know who’s going to be the right tackle, who will play which guard spot or how Weston Richburg will handle the transition to center. Beatty was a known quantity at his position, and there’s comfort in that.