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Need to Know: Will Santana Moss make the Redskins' roster?

Need to Know: Will Santana Moss make the Redskins' roster?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, April 15, 23 days before the NFL draft.

Nickel coverage

Here are five thoughts on the state of the Redskins as we wait for the draft (May 8) and the release of the 2014 NFL schedule (date prior to May 8 TBA):

DeSean Jackson has reported to Redskins Park. The team tweeted out a picture of him hard at work in the weight room. Now we can all get along with our lives. Some will search for other molehills to build into mountains.

Long snapper Nick Sundberg is one of the best in the business. It’s good news that he has been cleared to participate in offseason workouts. It’s bad news that clearance was necessary. In the past two seasons he has played in just 13 games. A broken arm interrupted his 2012 season as he spent a stint on injured reserve and last year he suffered a torn meniscus in the fifth game of the season. Since a team only carries one snapper availability is critical and another spell on the injured list could encourage the Redskins to seek other options.

Some are questioning if David Amerson is “ready” to start at cornerback for the Redskins. Looking at him at the end of last year, the answer is probably no. But he has offseason workouts, OTAs, two minicamps, training camp and three preseason games to learn. He was close enough that he should be able to polish out the rough spots over the next five months.

There’s no doubt that Keenan Robinson faces longer odds than Amerson of being ready to take a starting role but I’m not ruling him out entirely. From the time he was drafted in 2010 until he took over as the starter at inside linebacker half way through the 2011 season Perry Riley played just nine snaps on defense. Robinson played 69 snaps as a rookie. Of course, Riley had practice time that Robinson has been unable to get during his season and a half on injured reserve. But if he has been studying film like Riley did as he waited for his opportunity he could make a push for the top of the depth chart.

It’s hard to figure out if Santana Moss will be on the roster when the season opener comes around. His contract, which was for the veteran minimum with a $65,000 signing bonus, means that he could either stay on the roster carrying a small cap hit or get released. Obviously Pierre Garçon, Jackson, and Andre Roberts are the top three wide receivers. If Moss isn’t one of the top three will he have to play special teams (beyond an occasional punt return) in order to stay on the roster. Under Mike Shanahan too many reserve running backs and wide receivers didn’t play special teams. Will Moss learn or be given a pass? It may make or break his chances of sticking around.

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Timeline

—It’s been 107 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 145 days until they play another one.

Days until: First veteran minicamp 14; NFL Draft 23; Training camp starts 99

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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.