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Need to Know: Sorting out the roles for the Redskins' 2015 draft class

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Need to Know: Sorting out the roles for the Redskins' 2015 draft class

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 3, 44 days before the Redskins hold their mandatory minicamp.

Role playing

Here is a quick assessment of what the role of each of the Redskins’ draft picks might be in the coming season.

OL Brandon Scherff—He will be plugged in at right tackle and over the course of the season we will see if he is more suited to playing guard or tackle in the NFL.

OLB Preston Smith—I’m not even sure if the coaches know exactly how he will be used at this point. Smith will be used in a variety of roles, playing with his hand in the dirt and in a two-point stance. He and Trent Murphy, who also might line up in a variety of spots, will compete for playing time.

RB Matt Jones—The obvious spot to use him early on is in short-yardage situations, giving him the ball and having him bang out a couple of yards on third and one. He will compete with Silas Redd for carries when Alfred Morris needs a rest.

WR Jamison Crowder—Jay Gruden said that he could well be the punt returner from Day One and he will back up Andre Roberts as the slot receiver. It will be hard for a fourth-round receiver to get very many snaps as a rookie.

G Arie Kouandjio—It’s not realistic to think he could compete for a starting job this year. He will need to battle with Spencer Long (or Chris Chester if Long beats him out for the starting job) and Josh LeRibeus for backup roster spots. LeRibeus and Chester are better suited to the zone-blocking scheme so Kouandjio could benefit from the team’s move to more of a power scheme.

ILB Martrell Spaight—He likely will need to push his way past either Will Compton or Adam Hayward to land a spot as a reserve inside linebacker. To do that he will have to excel on special teams.

S Kyshoen Jarrett—Virginia Tech is known for its emphasis on special teams and that is how Jarrett will have to earn his way onto the 53-man roster. It will be tough for him to get a regular role on defense even if he does.

CB Tevin Mitchel—Like Jarrett, he will have to carve out a role on special teams. Cornerback is rather crowded and it will be tough for Mitchel to earn snaps on defense.

WR Evan Spencer—The same theme continues here; he is also going to need to play some special teams to make the 53. It will be interesting to see if Gruden carves out a roster spot for a sixth wide receiver. Holdovers Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Roberts, and Ryan Grant aren’t going anywhere and Crowder is likely to claim the fifth spot.

C Austin Reiter—Last year Chester was the backup center and that is a typical arrangement on many teams. Reiter might even have a tough time beating out Tyler Larsen, a second-year player signed as a free agent. If he can't work his way onto the 53 a practice squad job is a possibility.

Timeline

—It’s been 126 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 133 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 44; Redskins training camp starts 88; Redskins @ Giants 144

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.