Redskins-Raiders Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 25, 2013
Although at least one teammate feels Robert Griffin III has yet to return to his elite form, the Washington Redskins have reason to believe they can recover from the franchise's worst start in 12 years. Perhaps a matchup with a banged-up Oakland Raiders team is what they need to begin that turnaround. The visiting Redskins try again for their first win Sunday when they face an Oakland team that could be without starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor. While Griffin displayed a little bit more running ability last week, he lost a fumble on an awkward dive at the end of a 21-yard scramble in the fourth quarter of a 27-20 loss to Detroit. His fifth turnover of the season proved to be a key play in the Lions' first win in 22 trips to Washington. Griffin ran the ball a season-high six times for 37 yards but also had a career-high 50 pass attempts, failing to throw for a touchdown despite posting his third straight 300-yard game. He's averaging 46.3 pass attempts, more than Matthew Stafford's NFL record of 45.4 set last year, largely because Washington (0-3) has been outscored 67-21 in the first half. The Redskins, though, still believe they can bounce back, as they did last season by rallying from a 3-6 start with seven straight victories to win the NFC East. "I don't think this team has lost its sense of confidence," Griffin said. "We know how close we are. We know we can turn it around and we're built to get out of this hole, just like we were last year." However, that was before Griffin suffered a serious knee injury in a playoff loss to Seattle. Griffin has come back this season to complete 63.3 percent of his passes for 975 yards with five touchdowns, but he also has four interceptions and has run for 4.1 yards per carry after averaging 6.8 in 2012. While the quarterback insists he's healthy after his rehab from offseason knee surgery, wideout Pierre Garcon feels Griffin has yet to regain the form that earned him NFL offensive rookie of the year honors last season. "He's not fully healthy, obviously," said Garcon, who has team highs of 23 catches and 280 yards. "He's running a little bit more, but last year's RG3 was a lot different than this year's RG because of his knee. It's not surprising - we've been talking about it the whole offseason. ... I don't think he's 100 percent, but he's definitely giving 100 percent effort to get 100 percent." Griffin will try to help Washington end its worst start since opening 0-5 in 2001 while facing an Oakland defense that allowed 536 total yards in Monday's 37-21 loss at Denver. The Raiders (1-2) have injury concerns on both sides of the ball. Safety Tyvon Branch remains out with an ankle injury and cornerback Tracy Porter returned to practice Wednesday after sustaining a concussion. Oakland looks like it might be without Pryor, who was knocked out of Monday's contest in the fourth quarter after a hard hit to the helmet. Pryor will not be able to practice until he goes through the league-mandated concussion protocol. If he's unable to play, Matt Flynn would make his third career start and first as a Raider. "We'll see whether (Pryor) is able to go or not," coach Dennis Allen said. "Then we'll see as the week goes on and make a determination on what we can do." Pryor, who beat out Flynn for the starting job in the preseason, has competed 53 of 81 passes for 624 yards with touchdowns and two interceptions. His biggest weapon, however, might be his legs, having rushed for 198 yards to rank fourth in the AFC among all players. Flynn isn't nearly as mobile, part of the reason why he ended up the backup. He's connected on 55 of 81 passes for 731 yards with nine touchdowns and two picks in two career starts - both while with Green Bay. "We've got to have a game plan if Terrelle's able to go that he can go in and execute and give us a chance to win," Allen said. "If not, we've got to have something in there that gives Matt Flynn a chance to have success." Regardless of who gets the start, Oakland has to feel confident about moving the ball against a Redskins team that has allowed a league-high 488.0 yards per game. "Too many mistakes, poor tackling, blown assignments on defense," linebacker Bryan Kehl said. Washington's Fred Davis is questionable with a high ankle sprain, while fellow tight end Jordan Reed is day-to-day with a quad contusion. The Redskins have won their last two trips to Oakland, including 34-13 in 2009 in the most recent meeting.
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