News & Notes: Robert Griffin III To Play First Half, Markus White Hurt
ASHBURN – Head coach Mike Shanahan reiterated his stance that Robert Griffin III will only play the first half against Chicago on Saturday in the Washington Redskins’ second preseason game.
Shanahan will restrict Griffin to playing only with the first-team offense, which he typically takes out of the game after the first half. Griffin, the Redskins’ rookie quarterback, was targeted for 12 to 20 snaps against Chicago on Thursday and ended up playing 14, leaving after a 20-yard touchdown pass to receiver Pierre Garçon.
“I’ve worked that way a number of years,” Shanahan said. “When you make a decision how many plays you go, usually, your quarterback stays in with the first group, and when you change those players, you change [out] different positions as well.”
Griffin will likely play into the third quarter in the third preseason game, as Shanahan’s pattern has dictated, while he and the rest of the starters will not play at all in the fourth.
The quarterback completed four of his six pass attempts for 70 yards and a touchdown in the 7-6 victory. Tight end Niles Paul dropped one incompletion, while Pierre Garçon was errantly ruled to be out of bounds on the other.
The season opener is Sept. 9 at New Orleans.
* After losing approximately 30 pounds in his transition from outside linebacker to inside linebacker during the offseason, Lorenzo Alexander doesn’t appear to have missed a step, according to Shanahan.
The Redskins prefer their inside linebackers to weigh approximately 245 pounds, while their outside linebackers are typically in the 275-pound range. Alexander was at 245 pounds at the start of training camp.
“I think he’s quicker,” Shanahan said. “He’s done an excellent job backing up London Fletcher. I like the way he played in the first game – how he handled himself both in the running game and in the passing game and his coverage as well. I don’t think he’ll lose a beat on special teams.”
Alexander served as the Redskins’ special teams captain each of the last two seasons and was the team’s special teams player of the year in 2010. The honor for 2011 will be given out at the Redskins’ annual “Welcome Home Luncheon” on Aug. 24.
* Other notes on linebackers: Bryan Kehl, who spent last season in St. Louis, has been playing almost entirely inside during training camp as the primary backup to Perry Riley. He’s listed at 6-foot-2 and 243 pounds, but Shanahan said he has the flexibility to also move him outside.
“We’ll get a chance to look at him at a couple different positions, both inside and outside, and you know, the more you can do, the better chance you have of making our football team,” Shanahan said.
Markus White, meanwhile, left practice early Wednesday with what Shanahan described as a back and rib injury. White, in his second year, has been working with the third team at left outside linebacker; Ryan Kerrigan will continue to be the starter, while Chris Wilson has worked as the primary backup.