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Need to Know: Redskins' injury woes hitting during tough part of schedule

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Need to Know: Redskins' injury woes hitting during tough part of schedule

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 2, three days before the Washington Redskins go to Seattle to play the Seahawks.


Today’s schedule: Practice 2 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences, open locker room after practice, approx. 4 p.m.

Days until:

—Vikings @ Redskins (11/12) 10
—Redskins @ Saints (11/9) 17
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 21

Key injury update
OT Williams (knee), G Lauvao (stinger), G Scherff (knee), C Long (knees)
Limited: RB Kelley (ankle), CB Breeland (knee, groin)
The complete injury report is here. Suffice it to say that when news that third-string tackle T.J. Clemmings was a full go in practice is cause for celebration, it’s a dire situation. Today will be important as we see if some of these players can get back to practice before the team leaves for Seattle tomorrow.

State of the Redskins, Week 9

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 9 of the NFL season.

Top three storylines:

Walking wounded—It’s now four weeks in a row that injuries have been the top storyline. Rarely does a team go into a game with severe injury woes and emerge in worse shape but that’s what happened on Sunday. Jay Gruden said that there are 13 players who may not be able to play against the Seahawks on Sunday. There are only seven inactive spots.

A tough stretch—There is never a good time to get blasted with injuries but the Redskins are getting hit during the meat of their schedule.  The Seattle game is the midpoint of a five-game stretch against teams that either made the playoffs last year (Cowboys, Seahawks) or are currently leading their respective divisions (Eagles, Vikings, Saints). They are 0-2 so far and they will have to find a way to pull out a win or two or risk being irrelevant before Thanksgiving.

Someone besides Thompson—Third-down back Chris Thompson is leading the team in both rushing yards and receiving yards. That’s a great story but it speaks volumes about the inability of anyone else to be consistently productive on offense. Step right up, Rob Kelley! Looking at you, Josh Doctson! You, too, Terrelle Pryor!

Record: 3-4, 3rd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 0-3
vs. NFC: 2-3
vs. AFC: 1-1
Home: 2-2
Away: 1-2

Rankings and changes from Week 8

Offense (yards/game): 357.1 (14th, -6 from Week 8)
Defense (yards/game): 322.6 (12th, no change)
Points per game for: 2.9 (12th, -1)
Points per game against: 25.7 (28th, -3)

Passer rating offense:  103.3 (3rd, no change)  
Opp passer rating: 88.3 (16th, +1)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.1 (17th, +1)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.0 (17th, No change)
Third down conversions: 38.2% (16th, +1)
Opp. Third-down conversions: 40.9% (23rd , +1)
Weighted DVOA (Football Outsiders): 8.5% (14th, -5)
Playoff chances per FO: 16.5%, -22.7 percentage points from last week

Trending in the right direction: The Redskins didn’t play bad defense against the Cowboys. They were up a tick in third-down conversions and in opponent passer rating. That’s not much to celebrate but it’s better than sliding down the rankings as they have in recent weeks.

Trending in the wrong direction: The offense has been sluggish, with the running game mostly on the shelf. They fell six notches in yards per game and three in points per game.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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From the locker room

Terrelle Pryor on adjusting to not being the focus of the offense.

Posted by Rich Tandler on Wednesday, November 1, 2017

In case you missed it

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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass


Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

For years, the Redskins struggle with their home field as the fall turns to winter. It's been happening so long it's become an expected passing of the seasons, like the transition from Halloween jack-o-lanterns to Christmas lights dotting people's front yards. 

Well, on Thanksgiving night, the turf at FedEx Field again showed how bad it can be. On a second half interception returned for a New York Giants touchdown, replay showed that Kirk Cousins' foot got stuck on the dirt, and it played a role in his sailing a ball to the sideline. The bad turf was not the only reason for the interception, but it was definitely a reason. 

Beyond the pick, the field was just ugly. Twitter blew up making fun of the Redskins home grass, and the national broadcast showed just how unsightly the long brown patch between the hash marks looked. 

On Friday, the normally diplomatic Cousins opened up about the grass.

"It probably doesn't look like a professional NFL field should," the quarterback said on 106.7 the Fan (full audio here). "If you think the field is rough now on Thanksgiving, we've got two more home games in mid-to-late December. That's probably going to be a bigger challenge."

Asked about the field's impact on the interception on Thursday night, Cousins ignored it. But plenty of other players have suggested the field is a known problem in the second half, and something they just must deal with. 

"I don't know why it is that way or what causes it," Cousins said. "I've kind of learned to accept it and understand it's part of the deal. Playing here on the field has never been that great in the second half of the season for whatever the reason."

[h/t @BenStandig for the Cousins quotes]

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When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

At halftime of the Redskins’ Thanksgiving night game against the Giants, Samaje Perine had three yards rushing and his team had three points. Washington had racked up all of 113 yards.

Coincidence? Not entirely. Although the Redskins are primarily a passing team they need to run the ball to pass effectively.

“We had to get the running game going,” said Jay Gruden after the game.

In the second half, Perine and the offense did get it going. Perine ran for 97 yards and Redskins put up 210 yards and 17 points. It’s safe to say that it wasn’t a coincidence.

The Redskins didn’t make any halftime adjustments to get the ground game in gear.

“We just had to stay the course,” said Perine. “We knew they were going to come out fired up, they just came off a big win. We just had to stay the course and then things started going our way.”


Perine was more steady than spectacular. His longest run was 16 yards. He came out of the locker room and ran for six and 10 yards on his first two carries. Later in the third quarter the Redskins were backed up at their own 10. Perine ran four straight plays for 39 yards and the Redskins were near midfield.

Although they didn’t score on that drive they did change field position. That was part of the Redskins’ strategy playing with an injury-depleted offense.

“If you had to punt in a game like this and play field position, it’s not the end of the world because our defense was playing so good,” said Gruden.

Not only did the running game flip the field, it flipped the time of possession. In the first half, the Giants had the ball for 17:40 compared to 12:20 for the Redskins.

“We had to get on the field and control some of the clock,” said tackle Morgan Moses. “We had to give our defense a rest. Samaje put his foot in the ground and got extra yards when needed and we were able to move the chains.”

Moses wasn’t the only one enjoying seeing Perine pile up some yards.

“As a defensive player, you want to see that,” said safety D.J. Swearinger. “We say, keep running it. Keep running him. Let him keep getting those carries, put a dent in the defense. It was a good sight to see.”


Swearinger got to watch a lot of Perine. The Redskins piled up 22:17 in possession in the second half, while Swearinger and his defensive mates had to defend for just 7:43.

Last night was the second time in four days that Perine has rushed for 100 yards or more; he had 117 in New Orleans on Sunday. No Redskin has rushed for 100 yards in consecutive games since Alfred Morris did it in November of 2013.

He will have a chance to extend that streak to three on Thursday against the Cowboys, who are ranked 17th in rushing defense. That would put him in some elite company in Redskins history, including Larry Brown (twice) and Stephen Davis.  A steak of three straight 100-yard games was last done by Morris in 2012.

It may be a little early to look forward, but the Redskins record is five straight 100-yard games, held by Clinton Portis (twice) and Ladell Betts.  

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.