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With Rob Kelley hurt, the Redskins need a new RB — and a lot more from Samaje Perine, too

With Rob Kelley hurt, the Redskins need a new RB — and a lot more from Samaje Perine, too

Jay Gruden announced Monday that Rob Kelley will miss at least a few games, and possibly land on the injured reserve. That means the Redskins need much more out of rookie Samaje Perine, and that the team will need to sign a free agent running back. 

Kelley has been dealing with injuries throughout the season. First came broken ribs and then an ankle injury, but injuries to both his knee and ankle in Sunday's loss to the Vikings landed the second-year pro on crutches and with a boot on his left foot. Considering it's Week 11, and the coach suggested IR to be an option, Kelley's season might be over. 


Chris Thompson remains the most important running back in Washington, but the offense also requires a different type of runner to operate at its best. That means somebody that can run downhill, between the tackles. 

Now that somebody will be Samaje Perine. 

Fumbles have been an issue for the rookie out of Oklahoma, but against Minnesota, he looked effective. In that game, he ran nine times for 35 yards and added one catch for 25 yards. 

With Kelley out, Gruden believes simply that Perine must be better for the Redskins, and that the young player can deliver. On the season, Perine has rushed 66 times for 210 yards with one touchdown reception.

"I just want to see more production. That’s all, and he’s got to get the opportunity," Gruden said. "We’ve got to see, like I said, if we have a guy unblocked in the hole, it’s run him over or make him miss, something, or make sure we continue to get positive yards and keep the chains in favorable down and distance and avoid the negative plays. He’s going to get better and better the more reps he gets and the more carries."

The current roster only holds two healthy RBs, which means the team also must sign another running back.

"We’ll have to go get one, for sure. Whether we claim one on a practice squad or pick up a free agent, have some workouts, we’ll have to get another one in here quickly," Gruden said. 

As injuries ravaged the offensive line, Washington was forced to cut Mack Brown three weeks ago prior to the loss to the Cowboys. Brown then signed with the Vikings. The guess here is the Redskins wish they still had Brown, a young player with promise and speed. 

One name to watch: Jonathan Williams. A second-year pro currently stashed on the Broncos practice squad, Williams had an impressive preseason with Buffalo. Last season, he played 11 games with the Bills. 


"I have no idea why he's not on an (active) roster," NBC Sports' Josh Norris said of Williams. 

Expect to hear a flurry of RB names spotted at Redskins Park. Free agents can come in to work out for the team, while practice squad players must be signed and guaranteed a spot on the Redskins active roster. 

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 23, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.


Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. Giants, NBC, 8:30  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 7
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 17
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 24

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Giants

Look out for Eli—There are many reasons why the Giants are 2-8 but Eli Manning is not one of them. He isn’t nearly the turnover machine he has been for much of his career. His interception percentage this year is 1.6; he hasn’t been under 2.3 percent interceptions this decade. Manning only has 14 touchdown passes but considering that Odell Beckham, who went out in the fourth game of the season, still leads Giants wide receivers in touchdown receptions, that’s not bad.

Running game stuck—What makes Manning’s performance even more impressive is the fact that he doesn’t get much support from a running game. The Giants are 26th in the league with 920 yards. They have gained some traction lately after installing Orleans Darkwa as the starting running back; he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry for the season and 71 yards per game over the last three games. The Redskins certainly don’t want to let him get going tonight.

Reverting to reality—The Giants ranked 32nd in total defense in 2015. They dropped millions on free agents such as Janoris Jenkins, David Harrison, and Olivier Vernon and jumped to 10th. Now, this year they are 31st and equally bad against the pass (29th) and the run (30th). Health hasn’t been a huge issue, although Vernon has missed a few games and Jenkins was suspended. Redskins fans know full well that spending sprees don’t necessarily make for permanent improvements and Giants fans are learning it this year.

Keys to winning

  • Run the ballThe Redskins are 4-2 this year when rushing for 90 yards or more.
  • Continue to protect the ball—The Redskins have turned the ball over just twice in their last three games.
  • Don’t give them hope—The Chiefs let the Giants hang around last week and New York stole a win. The Redskins need to get on top early and mash down on the gas pedal.

Prediction—It’s hard to see a scenario where the Redskins lose this one. Even in their injury-depleted state they are battling every game and the same can’t be said for their opponents today. The weather forecast is for cold temperatures but not much wind, ideal conditions for Cousins to throw for 300 yards. For once, the Redskins get up early and keep going.

Redskins 31, Giants 13

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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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman


Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game. 

Let's be honest: the call was terrible.

Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation. 

We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.

The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan). 

Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.

If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong. 

You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.

Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.