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DL A'Shawn Robinson needs work but could be a good fit for the Redskins

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DL A'Shawn Robinson needs work but could be a good fit for the Redskins

Redskins draft countdown

The NFL draft is 45 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players Scot McCloughan will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how he might fit in Washington.

A’Shawn Robinson
Defensive lineman
Alabama

Height: 6-4
Weight: 307
40-yard dash: 5.20

Projected draft round: 1

What they’re saying
Hard to find an interior lineman with a more well-proportioned frame than Robinson. His size and overall talent level will have NFL teams drooling and projecting him along any and all defensive fronts, but his film might leave them hungry for more. As opposed to teammate Jarran Reed who already plays with polish, Robinson is a projection-oriented two-gapper who can step in right away and help plug holes in a leaky run defense. If Robinson can improve his leverage issues and pass rushing, he has all-pro potential; however, he’s not a sure thing to become a star.
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: It’s almost becoming cliché to project a defensive lineman to the Redskins in the first round. It’s an aging unit and the Redskins were one of the worst teams in the NFL when it came to stopping the run (122.6 yards/game, 26th). Add in Scot McCloughan’s preference for big guys and it all makes sense for the Redskins to take a good look at Robinson.

Robinson is nearly the perfect physical specimen for his position, especially his powerful legs, which make him tough to move. In 15 games for the Crimson Tide Robinson posted 46 tackles, 7.5 for loss, and 3.5 sacks. His performance earned him consensus All-American honors and the attention of virtually every NFL scout in the land.

Although Alabama played a two-gap approach in its 3-4 defense as opposed to the one-gap that the Redskins use, Robinson should be able to adjust.

Potential issues: Although he is large and strong, he has some fundamental issues that need to be corrected. In particular he tends to play with his pad level too high. He can get away with that against blockers in college but it’s something he’ll need to fix if he’s going to succeed in the NFL.

Bottom line: Dane Brugler of CBS Sports wrote that Robinson “is the poster prospect for the golden rule of scouting (traits over production).” It’s not as though Robinson is like Robert Nkemdiche of Ole Miss, who admitted at the combine that he took some plays off. But Alabama’s scheme called for the defensive line to occupy blockers to free the linebackers to make plays. The task that McCloughan has is to project his traits into the Redskins’ scheme, which calls for linemen to make some plays, and figure out how he would perform in Washington.

The draft projections have not yet firmed up so just where Robinson might fall in the first round remains to be seen. He’s probably not a top-ten pick but he could well be gone in the 10-20 range, before the Redskins go on the clock at No. 21. But if he makes it to the Redskins one would think that he would be on the short list of players that McCloughan will be considering.

Previously in Combine Countdown:

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Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass

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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

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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.”

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS OF THE WIN

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.”

RELATED: FIVE KEY MOMENTS IN RESKINS VS GIANTS

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 Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.