- Associated Press - Saturday, September 19, 2015

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) - For however long Robert Griffin III remains a member of the Redskins, the team will be linked to the St. Louis Rams because of the massive trade that brought him to Washington.

When the teams met last season, Rams coach Jeff Fisher sent out six of his players - all acquired thanks to the swap that allowed the Redskins to pick RG3 second overall in the 2012 draft - for the pregame coin toss, and St. Louis wound up winning 24-0.

“Coaches have different ways to try and motivate their team pregame, and if their way was to send out guys they got in that trade, so be it,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said ahead of a Week 2 reunion Sunday, insisting he didn’t notice what Fisher did last season. “I don’t know how he motivates his organization. But it didn’t affect us one iota. What affected us (was) they played better than us that game. Who they sent out as captains had nothing to do with it.”

Fisher, for his part, says he has no plans to repeat that stunt.

When the Redskins (0-1) host the Rams (1-0) this time, the benched Griffin will be a backup to Kirk Cousins, at best; Gruden wouldn’t say whether RG3 or Colt McCoy will be Washington’s No. 2 quarterback or inactive.

And while the Redskins are still trying to find their way, the Rams appear headed in the right direction, coming off a season-opening overtime victory over two-time NFC champion Seattle.

The Redskins are 7-26 since the start of the 2013-14 season, which Gruden referred to when asked whether his players might be particularly fired up by what happened against St. Louis last year.

“We shouldn’t need any motivation right now,” Gruden said. “We’ve won seven games in two years, so we’re motivated to get this thing turned around, whoever we play.”

Here’s more to know about Sunday’s game:

SPECIAL, AND NOT-SO-SPECIAL, TEAMS: All eyes will be on Rams punt returner Tavon Austin, the NFC special teams player of the week, and how the Redskins manage to deal with him one game after allowing Miami’s Jarvis Landry to earn AFC special teams player of the week honors. Austin scored on a 75-yard punt return and a 16-yard run in Week 1; last year against the Redskins, he produced a 78-yard punt return for a TD. “He’s electric,” Rams quarterback Nick Foles said.

MASON AND GURLEY?: Neither first-round draft pick Todd Gurley (coming off knee surgery) nor Tre Mason (hamstring injury) played for the Rams in Week 1, but both running backs practiced this week. “If you’re going to draw up a running back on X-Box,” Gruden said, “it’s probably going to look like Todd Gurley.”

O-LINE VS. D-LINE: In Week 1, the Redskins and their revamped right side of the offensive line - rookie Brandon Scherff at guard, second-year player Morgan Moses at tackle - had to deal with Ndamukong Suh and the rest of Miami’s talented defensive line. Now comes St. Louis, which had six sacks against Seattle, including two each by Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn. “It’s not like after you play the Dolphins, you can take a sigh of relief and say, ‘Thank goodness they’re out of here,’” Gruden said. “Now you have St. Louis coming in here, whose defensive line is probably better.”

MORRIS’ DAY: Redskins running back Alfred Morris’ worst game in the NFL came against St. Louis last season: 6 yards on eight carries. Washington was without deep threat DeSean Jackson that day, and he won’t be there Sunday, either, sidelined for about a month with a left hamstring problem. That won’t make things easier on Cousins, who threw two interceptions in Week 1 and is up to 21 in 15 NFL games.

DB SHUFFLE : Foles will get his turn against a revolving-door defensive backfield for Washington, which gets back cornerback Bashaud Breeland after he was suspended for Week 1. But the Redskins will be missing cornerback Chris Culliver because of his own one-game suspension. Plus, starting strong safety Duke Ihenacho is done for the season with a broken wrist, meaning Dashon Goldson will be paired with Trenton Robinson. “I don’t get sidetracked or (have) tunnel vision with one guy who’s playing next to me,” Goldson said, noting that his motto is: “I get fresher under pressure.”


AP Freelancer Brian McNally in Ashburn, Va., contributed to this report.



AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: www.twitter.com/AP_NFL


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