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Need to Know: Strange timing on releases of two Redskins veterans

Need to Know: Strange timing on releases of two Redskins veterans

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 1, 63 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

The week that was

I was on vacation last week and it looks like I missed a few things that took place during the first week of OTAs. Here are my takes on some of the major events.

—DeSean Jackson absent—He should have been present at OTAs, no question about it. Jackson has had, as noted below, 155 days since the Redskins last played a game. That’s plenty of time to take care of any personal business. Plus he has four-day weekends during OTAs and minicamp and another six weeks between offseason work and training camp to take vacation time. But if he shows up this week, which he is expected to do, and works hard, his absence will be forgotten well before training camp. Ryan Kerrigan indicated that his teammates were OK with Jackson missing three days of voluntary work so I have no idea why fans or media types should be bothered by it.

—Chris Chester cut—The only thing that was odd here was the timing. I expected Chester to be gone before the start of free agency back in March but the longer he was still there, the more I thought he had a chance to stick, if only as a backup at a reduced salary. But a day after he lined up with the first team in OTAs he was gone. Chester was an iron man (missed just a handful of snaps in four years as a starter), a class act and a much better player than fans gave him credit for being. The fact of the matter is that at age 32 with a salary of $4 million and a coaching staff favoring size and power, his time was up.

—Tracy Porter cut—Yes, injuries happen but Porter missing 11 games last year was entirely predictable based on a six-year career that has seen him play 16 games just once. This was a case of a free agent mistake made by Bruce Allen and corrected by Scot McCloughan. Again, the only thing about it that was not widely predicted about this was the timing. Perhaps they were waiting for news on DeAngelo Hall’s injury rehab before making the decision. When it was determined that Hall’s Achilles injury is very likely to be good to go by the time training camp starts Porter and his $2 million salary became expendable.

—Spencer Long moves up?—I have the question mark there because we’re all assuming that the second-year guard will move up into Chester’s spot but we haven’t had it confirmed yet. It appeared that Long was being given every opportunity to make a move up on the depth chart last year but he couldn’t push Chester out of the way. We don’t know if he did anything in particular to show that he would be a better option than Chester for 2015 or if they just decided it was time. It’s up to Long to prove that he deserves the trust of Gruden and company.

Timeline

—It’s been 155 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 104 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 15; Redskins training camp starts 59; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 115

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.