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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Jets

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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Jets

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, October 18, the day the Washington Redskins play the New York Jets.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Jets

—Yes, I know. The injuries, the injuries, the injuries. Yes, there is a reason that Trent Williams ($10.6 million) has a cap number about 20 times higher than that of Ty Nsekhe ($510,000). He's a lot better. But every week in the NFL players who haven’t played much before come in for injured players and get the job done, getting in and out of the lineup before the other team can figure out his strengths and weaknesses. We will see if Nsekhe is one of those guys.

—The defense is largely intact with the exception of CB Chris Culliver. The pressure will be on the defense to get the job done. DE Jason Hatcher and NT Terrance Knighton said during the week that they were looking forward to going up against the straight-ahead power running scheme of the Jets after chasing Devonta Freeman in the zone stretch against the Falcons last week. If they can do their part and bottle up Chris Ivory it will be tough for Ryan Fitzpatrick to beat them.

—We could find out if the one-back theory that has been fodder for discussion on talk radio and on the web (including here) has any validity. It seems likely that Matt Jones will be either inactive or available on a limited or on an emergency basis only. That could mean the 20-plus carries for Alfred Morris that everyone has been looking for. It is likely to be tough sledding against the Jets’ defensive front with the Redskins’ banged-up offensive line no matter who carries the ball. But we should get a limited feel for whether or not Morris does do better once he gets into a “rhythm” and warmed up or if that is one of those myths floating around out there.

—The Jets have 13 takeaways and they have played only four games. The Redskins have six in five games. Taking a closer look at the Jets’ numbers, they have forced eight fumbles and recovered seven of them. Their ability to recover them isn’t all training and skill; there is an element of luck involved as well. Over time, every NFL team will recover about as many balls on the ground as the other team does. But even though New York’s luck is likely to run out at some point, it’s not necessarily going to happen against the Redskins.

—If the defense can get it done—meaning holding the Jets to around 14 points—the Redskins will have a shot. Washington has not won a game scoring fewer than 14 points since September 12, 2010, the first game of the Shanahan error, um, era. If the defense or special teams can log a score (DeAngelo Hall scored a touchdown on a fumble return in that 2010 game), the chances will be better. I think the offense goes ultra conservative so Tress Way will have to have to boom punts from deep in Redskins territory and artfully drop them inside the 20 when he’s called upon to do that. Kirk Cousins will need to avoid multiple turnovers. In the big picture it’s like drawing to an inside straight flush. A Redskins win is possible but the odds are very much against it.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Jets, 1:00 p.m., FOX

Days until: Bucs @ Redskins 7; Redskins @ Patriots 21

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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.