January knee surgery kept Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III sidelined for the entire preseason, and he hasn’t been quite as spectacular as he was as a rookie last season, when he was the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year.
But he’s getting there. Last week Griffin had his first 200-yard passing, 75-yard rushing game of 2013, something he did three times as a rookie. Only Randall Cunningham and Michael Vick, who each did it six times, have accomplished that combination more often. Cunningham played 16 seasons, and Vick is in his 11th.
“I caught a little bit of him (Sunday) night, and I thought he looked like the Griffin of old in terms of his ability to run and the confidence level he had,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “I think he’s very close to being back to where he was a year ago, just from the little I’ve looked at him. This is a team that’s averaging close to 400 yards a game, and they’re running the football well.”
The Redskins are No. 4 in total yards but just 20th in points, primarily because of red zone difficulties. Griffin’s passer rating is 80.4 (21st in the NFL), a drop-off from last year when he was fourth in the league at 102.4. He’s also averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Last year he led the league with a 6.8-yard average (815 yards on 120 carries).
Jay Cutler isn’t the only Bear who spent his formative years under Mike Shanahan when the Redskins’ coach was leading the Denver Broncos.
Brandon Marshall’s first three years, and his first Pro Bowl season, came on Shanahan’s watch.
Shanahan recalled the impression the fourth-round pick from Central Florida made on the Broncos’ veteran cornerback Champ Bailey.
“Bailey came to me the first time we practiced with Brandon Marshall and said, ‘What happened? How did we ever get this guy in the fourth round?’ Shanahan said. “When you get a Pro Bowl player that realizes the talent of a guy like Brandon Marshall right away, (that’s) the upside a guy like Brandon brings to a team. One thing about Brandon, he’s a fun guy to be around. He’s got an infectious personality. He’s a difference-maker.”
Money well spent:
The lime green cleats that Brandon Marshall wore in last Sunday’s game to raise awareness for mental health cost him a $10,500 fine from the NFL, but he said his foundation received $75,000 in donations as a result of the publicity.
“It was successful,” Marshall said. “I would have done it for 30 grand.”
Marshall also pledged to donate the amount of his fine, and the shoes fetched $3,601 at auction, which Marshall said would also be donated to his Brandon Marshall Foundation, which promotes mental health awareness. The Pro Bowl wide receiver admitted in 2011 that he had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder but recently said he no longer is afflicted.
Cornerback Charles Tillman (knee), defensive end Julius Peppers (coach’s decision) and tight end Martellus Bennett (shoulder) did not practice Wednesday inside the Walter Payton Center.
Tillman and Peppers are expected to play Sunday and Bennett will be re-evaluated today. Defensive tackle Stephen Paea (toe), linebacker James Anderson (back), safety Anthony Walters (hamstring) and safety Major Wright (knee) were limited.
By the numbers:
Since 2003 Lance Briggs leads the NFL by a wide margin with 79 stuffs — a tackle of a rusher for negative yardage — according to STATS LLC.
The Ravens’ Terrell Suggs is second with 65. The Vikings’ Jared Allen is tied for third with Brian Urlacher at 62. Briggs is second this season with 8 stuffs, trailing the Texans’ J.J. Watt, who has 9½.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.