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Need to Know: Redskins 2015 regular season superlatives

Need to Know: Redskins 2015 regular season superlatives

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 5, five days before the Washington Redskins host the Green Bay Packers in a wild card playoff game.

Redskins 2015 regular season superlatives

Before we dive head first into the playoffs let’s take a look back at the 2015 season. As you know, most major sports awards are decided after the end of the regular season but before the playoffs start. Let’s pass out a little Redskins hardware here based on the 2015 regular season.

Offensive player of the year: Kirk Cousins—The hotter he has gotten over the past couple of months, the better the team has played. His most impressive stat this year was his 69.8 percent completion rate. It was the seventh best season a quarterback has had in that stat category ever. Honorable mentions: Jordan Reed, Trent Williams

Offensive newcomer of the year: Brandon Scherff—He was every bit as good as advertised. If he keep improving over the next year or two nobody will care that the Redskins used the fifth overall pick on a guard. He missed two snaps all year, one against the Bears and one against the Cowboys on Monday night. Honorable mention: Jamison Crowder

Defensive player of the year: Chris Baker—There were a lot of ways to go here on a defense that didn’t have any real stars and was in constant turmoil due to injuries. But Baker was steady throughout, getting six sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, and setting an infectious attitude on the defense. Honorable mention: Bashaud Breeland

Defensive newcomer of the year: Will Blackmon—He wasn’t even on the team in Week 1 but he turned out to be invaluable to the secondary. Blackmon started 10 games and played some nickel. His presence allowed the team to move DeAngelo Hall to safety. Blackmon put on one of his best performances on Sunday. In the second half he picked off a pass with the Cowboys in a goal to go situation. Later he poked the ball out of Darren McFadden’s arm as he was about to score a TD. The ball bounced out of the end zone and the Redskins took over after the touchback. Honorable mention: Preston Smith, Kyshoen Jarrett.

Special teams player and newcomer of the year: Dustin Hopkins—Another player who wasn’t on the Week 1 roster. They wanted a kicker who could pound the ball into the end zone consistently and they found one in Hopkins. He booted 65 percent of his kickoffs for touchbacks and he was No. 8 in the league in net kickoff distance. Hopkins was solid on field goals as well, converting on 25 of 28 with two of his misses coming from 50-plus yards, kicks they likely would even have attempted before signing Hopkins. Honorable mention: Tress Way

Agree? Disagree? Dive into the comments and let me know!

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Player meetings, no media availability

Days until: Redskins vs. Packers in wild card playoff game 5; Super Bowl 50 33

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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.