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Redskins practice report, Day 12: A strong day for Forbath

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Redskins practice report, Day 12: A strong day for Forbath

RICHMOND—The Redskins returned to Richmond and so did the rain. There was some pretty steady rainfall for about the first half of practice but it tapered off for the latter part of the session. Here are my observations.

Robert Griffin III had an up and down day. In fact, it probably was more down than up. His first pass attempt of the day came as he was moving to his right and it was about a three-quarters overhand delivery. Griffin might have had WR Pierre Garçon on the sideline but the pass was off the mark, giving the receiver no chance. A few plays later, Garçon beat CB DeAngelo Hall on a crossing pattern and Griffin’s pass was on the money. For most of the day, he was on the money with his feet set and throwing a short pattern. Later in some simulated game situations he missed his first two, overthrowing Ryan Grant and leading Evan Spencer by too much over the middle. He finally nailed one, a dart to Andre Roberts.

Joe Barry was getting on OLB Preston Smith during a run blocking drill, using salty language not suitable for this site. The rookie was getting moved off of the ball and Barry was trying to get him to use the proper technique to get loose. Smith wasn’t the only front seven defender struggling; despite the fact that the drill strongly favors the defense since they know what’s coming the offensive line did pretty well in the drill.

Colt McCoy worked with the second unit, Kirk Cousins with the third. On defense, the Redskins finally had their starting cornerbacks, Chris Culliver and DeAngelo Hall, back on the field together.

—Cousins has been pretty good at avoiding interceptions compared to how he performed in training camp last year but he threw a bad one today. He rolled to his left and then threw back to the right. Safety Kyshoen Jarrett tracked the ball from the moment it left the QB’s hand and easily picked it off. A bad decision and bad throw by Cousins, no two ways about it.

—Starting RT Morgan Moses had a tough time with OLB Trent Murphy during one on one pass blocking drills. The two second-year players squared off three times and Murphy won all three matchups. All Moses could muster on the third try was a shove that Murphy easily beat.

—Moses and Preston Smith squared off twice. On the first snap Smith got around Moses, forcing the offensive lineman to reach out and hold. The second time Moses just stonewalled Smith, whose feet kept moving but the rookie wasn’t going anywhere.

—With RB Matt Jones out with a minor knee issue, Chris Thompson got some additional work. He is learning to be a more patient runner, relying on more than just his speed to pick up yardage. Jones did take part in some individual drills.

—There were some apparently minor injuries suffered by two offensive starters. OL Brandon Scherff rolled his ankle on a running play and TE Niles Paul suffered a shoulder injury and left the field with athletic trainer Larry Hess. We will provide updates when they are available.

Kai Forbath has a tough time kicking field goals on Saturday, missing two of five from usually makeable range, so Jay Gruden gave him another shot today. He was much better, going four for four from 34, 36, 43, and 45 yards. A couple of his kicks were no doubters, traveling far over the net that extends to the top of the goal posts and going right down the middle. Ty Long, the other kicker in camp, also boomed some but he went wide left with one from 40 yards.

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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.