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Need to Know: Gruden, Redskins may not get 4th QB for camp

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Need to Know: Gruden, Redskins may not get 4th QB for camp

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 17, 74 days before the Washington Redskins open training camp in Richmond, VA.

Nickel coverage

Five notes and quotes from rookie minicamp on Saturday:

—Gruden believes that there is no pressing need to find a fourth quarterback after rookie free agent Connor Halliday decided to give up football. “Well, we brought in two quarterbacks here to look at for that fourth spot, but there’s no law that says we have to bring four,” Gruden said. “We have three guys who are going to really fight for every rep as it is, so in a way it’s not bad to have three.” Hutson Mason of Georgia and Anthony Neyer of USC are the two QBs trying out.

—What happened to Halliday, whom GM Scot McCloughan scouted pretty heavily? Gruden was light on details. “Connor, I can’t speak for the decision that he made,” he said. “He just chose to jump on a plane and head to the house. I haven’t had a chance to talk with him yet. He just left me a voice message, but I’m sure he had personal reasons behind it.”

—Gruden is very impressed after working with new offensive line coach Bill Callahan. “He’s detailed, for sure, and he’s a grinder,” he said. “That’s two things about him that are two great qualities, and our line needs it. They’re going to work their butts off, not only on the practice field, but in the classroom. And every drill, every waking moment they’re awake and they’re in this building and out on this practice field, he’s going to be in their ear, working them. And they’re going to get better as a result.” That last part is what everyone is looking for.

—Gruden likes what he has seen out of Arie Kouandjio and it looks like they plan to test him in training camp. “Kouandjio is a detailed guy,” he said. “He loves football, man. He practices hard. He wants to hear every ounce of criticism, every ounce of coaching that he can get and he tries to translate that onto the next rep . . . Come training camp time, we’re going to have [Stephen] Paea go against him one time and then here comes [Jason] Hatcher. It’s going to be some tough days for him.”

—Gruden likes the way that Blake Sims, who quarterbacked Alabama to the national championship playoff semifinals last year but is trying out as a running back, has translated his scrambling ability to the running back position. “He runs a little upright, but he’s got some natural running ability,” he said. “You saw that in college at the quarterback position. When he breaks contain, I never, ever saw the first guy tackle the guy. He always made the first guy miss and the second guy miss and he always got the four or five yards needed for the first down.”

Timeline

—It’s been 140 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 119 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 30; Redskins training camp starts 74; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 130

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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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.