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Need to Know: Redskins accountability in action

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Need to Know: Redskins accountability in action

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 6, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Atlanta Falcons.

More accountability in action            

My CSN colleague Tarik El-Bashir wrote a fine column yesterday of how accountability is becoming a real, tangible thing at Redskins Park. You can read the post right here. Go ahead, check it out, I’ll be right here when you’re done.

Welcome back. As you just read, Tarik uses four examples of how your draft status, tenure with the team and size of your free agent contract just don’t matter as much as they used to. Robert Griffin III and Andre Roberts are on the bench and Kai Forbath and David Amerson are unemployed because they just didn’t get it done as well as others.

But there are plenty more examples of accountability at Redskins Park that Tarik didn’t address. You see, he has to craft a concise column so he only touched on the major points. I am paid to ramble on and go into minutia, so let’s take a look at other players who learned the hard way.

—A few hours before yesterday’s game I ran into Tom Compton in the tunnel outside the locker room. He said his strained calf, which we thought had kept him out of the first two games, was feeling fine. A short time later Compton, who started nine games last season, was on the inactive list. Ty Nsecke, a street free agent who was a surprise member of the 53-man roster, was the only backup offensive tackle active. Since Compton says he’s healthy, he must have been inactive for performance reasons.

—Jeron Johnson was signed to a free agent contract with the idea that he would be the starting strong safety. But the former Seahawk battled with Duke Ihenacho for the job in the spring and lost it to him during training camp. That was not a big surprise. But when Ihenacho went out for the year just eight snaps into the season with a wrist injury it was Trenton Robinson who took his place, not Johnson. We are four games into the season and Johnson has yet to take a single snap on defense.

—Chris Baker was moved up into the starting lineup over free agent pickup Stephen Paea. He already was taking on a larger role.  In the first four games he has played 100 snaps, more than any defensive lineman besides Jason Hatcher. That’s more than free agent acquisitions Terrance Knighton (93), Paea (68), and Ricky Jean Francois (58).

So it doesn’t seem to matter if the player came in before Scot McCloughan arrived as GM or if he was one of his acquisitions. There are no “safe” players, they must perform or an alternative will be found.

Honestly, this really shouldn't be a big deal. It's not really something that should be noted and celebrated by fans. It's the way that most successful teams operate. But the Redskins haven't operated like the better organizations for quite some time. This is no guarantee that they will turn it around but it's a step in the right direction.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Player meetings, no media availability

Days until: Redskins @ Falcons 5; Redskins @ Jets 12; Bucs @ Redskins 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.