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Need to Know: How important was the Redskins' players-only meeting?

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Need to Know: How important was the Redskins' players-only meeting?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 3, four days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night football.

Five thoughts on the state of the Redskins

—Yesterday I presented three options the Redskins and DeSean Jackson will have regarding his future with the team. What I didn’t do was take $100 in imaginary poker chips and split them according to the chances I think of each of the three options coming to pass. I’ll got with $20 on him staying on his current contract, $30 on him getting cut and $50 on him getting a new deal with some guaranteed money and heavy on workout bonuses and per-game roster bonuses.

—I think that players-only meetings are sometimes overblown events but I don’t believe that the importance of the one the Redskins had last Saturday was overrated. This team has had issues with its mindset ever since I started covering them in 2009. With the exception of the seven-game winning streak in 2012, their results have always been less than the sum of their parts. To me, that's a problem that emanates from above the neck. The players needed to get on the same page and the ones who have played in Super Bowls needed to impart some wisdom. And they need to keep it rolling with more than a one-game pop out of the meeting.

—John Keim had a good post about Jay Gruden and his relationship with the players. Football is a people business and a big part of a coach’s job is relating to his players (just as is the case with any boss at any job). You should check out the post but two quotes caught my eye. This one from DeAngelo Hall: “You can’t help but notice him joking around with this guy or that guy. He’s not just talking to [DeSean Jackson] or Trent [Williams] or big-name guys. It’s everybody. He jokes with [Robert Griffin III] even to this day. It’s not something where I bench him so I won’t talk to him anymore.” And this one from an unnamed player: “It helps when you win a couple games. It could change if we lose a couple in a row.”

—In the post Keim says that Gruden has been assured that he will be back in 2016. Since the Redskins have now won five games they have improved on their record from last year. While Dan Snyder has been accused of having a quick trigger finger, he has never fired a coach after the team improved its win total from one season to the next. Gruden should and will be back.

—What about Kirk Cousins? I’ve found his refusal to say even a token, “Sure, I’d love to be back if things can be worked out,” when asked about his future with the team to be somewhat odd. I don’t get the impression that he has completely soured on the organization although he certainly could have some bad feelings over what has been a rocky ride with the Redskins. I think that eventually the natural tendency of a quarterback to want to stay in a system where he has had some success, especially one who is still developing, wins out over any ill will that may have been created. But I’d be a heck of a lot more confident about predicting that if he would give the slightest hint that it’s what he wants to do.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:35; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Monday night Cowboys @ Redskins 4; Redskins @ Bears 10; Bills @ Redskins 17

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]

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

 

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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.