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Need to Know: Brady says RG3 is facing different challenges than he did

Need to Know: Brady says RG3 is facing different challenges than he did

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, August 6, one day before the Redskins open the preseason against the Patriots.

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—Brady and Belichick have been together for 15 years. Gruden and Griffin have known each other for about six months. The Redskins’ coach dreams of getting to where Belichick is. “It takes a lot of time,” he said. “It takes a lot of trust, a lot of wins, a lot of ups and downs that you fight through together. You work out together, off the field, on the field. Like you said, 15 years, I think it is now? That’s something that you only hope to have, you only dream of having as a head coach.”

—What is secondary coach Raheem Morris looking for during the joint practices and in Thursday’s preseason opener against New England? “Really, I’m just looking for these guys to be physical,” he said. “We’ve done all of the running around in shorts you can do, stuff you can do in underwear. And now it’s time to put your pads on and go out and hit some people. I want to see these guys have contact and go out and play football the way it’s supposed to be played.”

—Morris is happy to get his guys a chance to get his guys to play against one of the best in the business. “Tom is arguably one of the best if not the best guy in the league,” he said. “Any time you get a chance to go against a guy like Tom who’s going to be accurate, going to be pinpoint, going to know exactly what he wants to do. That’s always helpful, that’s always nice to see. We practice against a pretty good one ourselves but when you get a chance to go against one of the best it’s always great for your guys, it’s always a great measuring stick.”

—Tom Brady doesn’t envy the environment that Griffin has to operate in. It was a different world when Brady came into the league in 2000 and as a sixth-round pick he was not under the spotlight that shines on Griffin, the No. 2 overall pick in 2012. “The news cycle is different now and there is so much pressure for the young guys,” Brady said. “The spotlight is so bright, and these younger players have an opportunity to develop and there are less practices now and less time they can spend at the facility, so there are different challenges that they’re facing.”

—Bill Belichick said that one of the most important things he got out of joint practices is the ability to work in special situations. During the preseason the first team might get into only a few red zone situations or a handful or third and short. In this setup, Belichick and Gruden can work on them as much as they want to. “Absolutely awesome, it really is,” said Gruden. “You can’t underestimate the reps that we got today and yesterday -- situational. Third down and short, third down and medium, third down and long, red zone opportunities, we had some ‘move the ball’ opportunities, we had two-minute today three or four times, we had to use a timeout, all that stuff, man. That’s something that’s not only good for our players but good for us to watch the situations and make good decisions with the clock – spiking it, when to call timeout, are we in field goal range?”

If you have any questions about what's going on at training camp, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Timeline

Today’s schedule: Joint practice with Patriots 8:35; Jay Gruden media availability after practice; Player availability coming off the field; Bill Belichick availability TBD

—It’s been 220 days since the Redskins played a game; in 32 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Bills 12; Final cuts 25; Home opener vs. Jaguars 39

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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.