Countdown to The Draft
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By Tony Grossi
Extra Points …
RG3, round the clock: Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (knee sprain) practiced on Wednesday, improving the chances of playing against the Browns on Sunday.
“I tested my instinctive movements and cuts in practice and it well,” Griffin told reporters. “No way to exactly simulate game speed.”
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan was predictably non-commital about playing Griffin. Asked if he will delay a decision until the very latest possible time, Shanahan answered, “Probably.”
So the Browns will continue to prepare for both the multi-dimensional Griffin and for the more traditional drop-back, play-action passing game of rookie backup Kirk Cousins.
“Who plays quarterback for the Redskins will not affect our preparation,” coach Pat Shurmur maintained. “We have to prepare for their offense. It’s extremely important we not try to look at what’s being said. They have two really fine quarterbacks that are different in styles in some ways, but their offense is very effective, they have elements of dropback passing game, they have elements of option football. And of course their running game resembles the off tackle zone stuff Shanahan’s known for. So that’s what we have to prepare for.”
Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said that the Browns are preparing for Griffin to play.
Shurmur said that Colt McCoy would simulate both Griffin and Cousins on the scout team at practice.
No change at returner: Rookie Travis Benjamin was named AFC special teams player of the week for his franchise-record 93-yard punt return for a touchdown against Kansas City. The same day, Josh Cribbs, the man who Benjamin replaced when Cribbs shifted up to the line of scrimmage to rush the punter, was named the fourth captain for the Washington game.
Cribbs grew up in the D.C. area as a Redskins fan.
Shurmur didn’t see the irony of the Cribbs-Benjamin honors. He indicated there is no movement on replacing Cribbs with Benjamin.
“I think they both can be very effective,” Shurmur said. “Of course, Josh is not the fastest guy in the world and never really has been, but he’s found a way to run back kicks, quite a few in his career. Travis is extremely fast. They add different elements to the return game.”
Pro Bowl update: The Twitter campaign of Reggie Hodges and other teammates on behalf of Phil Dawson might be working.
In the second batch of fan voting for the AFC Pro Bowl team, Dawson has moved into the fourth position. He’s about 53,000 votes behind leader Sebastian Janikowski, but is within sight of Baltimore’s Justin Tucker and New England’s Stephen Gostkowski.
Also, Cribbs has closed to within 23,000 votes of Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones for the kicker returner spot. Cribbs maintains a comfortable lead for the top spot in the special teams category for coverage specialists.
D’Qwell Jackson is second to New England’s Jerod Mayo among middle or inside linebackers and Joe Thomas is fifth among offensive tackles. The top four are Baltimore’s Michael Oher, Denver’s Ryan Clady, Houston’s Dwuane Brown and Miami’s Jake Long, who is out for the year with an injury.
Fan voting, which counts one-third toward the total, concludes on Monday. Coaches and players vote after that. The teams are announced on Dec. 26.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 44 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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