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Need to Know: Five early thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

Need to Know: Five early thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, September 22, two days before the Redskins travel to play the Giants.

Five early thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

Actually, these are not really early because the game is in two days. But here we go anyway:

—The Redskins get no break when it comes to playing teams that are tough to run against. The Giants actually have allowed fewer rushing yards than the Redskins and teams have tried to run against them. The numbers are 45 rushing attempts, 136 yards, a 3.0 average. Washington’s line is 31/141/4.5.

—The Giants have a rather extensive injury list. If Jason Pierre Paul started practicing today he would not play Thursday. WR Victor Cruz missed the first two games with a calf injury following knee surgery last year and it is very unlikely that he makes his season debut on Thursday. Other Giants who have a short week to try to recover are left tackle Ereck Flowers (ankle) and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (head). Tom Coughlin did not give the media much of an update on Flowers and Rodgers-Cromartie on Monday so time will tell on them.

—Rodgers-Cromartie is the injury to keep an eye on. The New York pass defense has been shaky even with him in the lineup. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 72.5 percent of their passes against them and have gained 7.9 yards per attempt. It should be noted that the quarterbacks were Tony Romo and Matt Ryan. Kirk Cousins isn’t on their level at this point in his career. We will see what he can get done.

—Odell Beckham Jr., as one would expect, has been Eli Manning’s favorite target. The quarterback has thrown at Beckham 20 times, seven more targets than to any other player. Last year’s rookie of the year has 12 catches for 190 yards and a touchdown. You can do the math and see that he’s on pace for another spectacular season. Chris Culliver gives the Redskins a good shot at limiting him but he will make some plays.

—Rashad Jennings has been the Giants’ primary running back but he has averaged just 2.9 yards on his 22 carries. It should be noted that being handed the ball and told not to score doesn’t help your average much. If that keeps up we could see a shift to the younger Andre Williams, who is averaging 4.8 yards on 12 carries.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 12:15; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice.

Days until: Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 2; Eagles @ Redskins 12; Redskins @ Falcons 19

In case you missed itActu

—The Redskins get no break when it comes to playing teams that are tough to run against. The Giants actually have allowed fewer rushing yards than the Redskins and teams have tried to run against them. The numbers are 45 rushing attempts, 136 yards, a 3.0 average. Washington’s line is 31/141/4.5.

—The Giants have a rather extensive injury list. If Jason Pierre Paul started practicing today he would not play Thursday. WR Victor Cruz missed the first two games with a calf injury following knee surgery last year and it is very unlikely that he makes his season debut on Thursday. Other Giants who have a short week to try to recover are left tackle Ereck Flowers (ankle) and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (head). Tom Coughlin did not give the media much of an update on Flowers and Rodgers-Cromartie on Monday so time will tell on them.

—Rodgers-Cromartie is the injury to keep an eye on. The New York pass defense has been shaky even with him in the lineup. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 72.5 percent of their passes against them and have gained 7.9 yards per attempt. It should be noted that the quarterbacks were Tony Romo and Matt Ryan. Kirk Cousins isn’t on their level at this point in his career. We will see what he can get done.

—Odell Beckham Jr., as one would expect, has been Eli Manning’s favorite target. The quarterback has thrown at Beckham 20 times, seven more targets than to any other player. Last year’s rookie of the year has 12 catches for 190 yards and a touchdown. You can do the math and see that he’s on pace for another spectacular season. Chris Culliver gives the Redskins a good shot at limiting him but he will make some plays.

—Rashad Jennings has been the Giants’ primary running back but he has averaged just 2.9 yards on his 22 carries. It should be noted that being handed the ball and told not to score doesn’t help your average much. If that keeps up we could see a shift to the younger Andre Williams, who is averaging 4.8 yards on 12 carries.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 12:15; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice.

Days until: Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 2; Eagles @ Redskins 12; Redskins @ Falcons 19

In case you missed it

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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.