Quick Links

Redskins practice report: Defense picks off Cousins twice in final minicamp session

Redskins practice report: Defense picks off Cousins twice in final minicamp session

The Redskins wrapped up their offseason program on Wednesday with their second and final minicamp practice. Here are my observations.

Nico Marley is still in there working with the inside linebackers. At 5-8, 200 lbs., he certainly looks out of place. But he is making good progress on the fundamentals and techniques considering that he is an undrafted rookie. He could become a fan favorite in training camp but it’s hard to see him making it higher than the practice squad.

—The more I watch NT Phil Taylor, the more I like his chances of making the team. He seems to be healthy and problems staying on the field are what kept him out of the league for the last two years. Of course, the pads have to go on in training camp before we get a solid idea of what the 343-pounder has left at age 29. I’ll still put him at less than 50-50 to make the team but he seems to be on the right path.

RELATED: What do the front office moves mean for Cousins?

—Free agent WR Brian Quick pulled up lame during individual drills and if he was in team drills it was only briefly. Word is that the coaches are not very happy with his progress in picking up the offense and his practice performance. He will have to turn things around in Richmond to make the team.

—In 11-on-11 work, Kirk Cousins launched one deep to a quadruple-covered Terrelle Pryor. The throw didn’t have enough on it and Josh Norman made the interception. It was one of two interceptions on the day for Cousins, who said that he decided to be a “little more aggressive” to see where his limits are.

—Rookie RB Samaje Perine made a nice run on a play with some counter action to it. He did a good job finding a lane going against the grain.

—In seven-on-seven, Cousins tried to hit Pryor deep again. This time he overthrew the pass and Pryor had to grab DJ Swearinger to prevent another interception.

MORE REDSKINS: 5 best players of the Redskins offseason 

—Cousins’ second interception was the result of a mixup between quarterback and receiver. Josh Doctson cut his route short, Cousins thought he would keep going and Swearinger had an easy interception.

—It wasn’t just Cousins who had the interception bug. In red zone drills, CB Dashaun Phillips stepped in front of a Colt McCoy pass and took off down the sideline to the cheers of the defensive unit.

—There were a couple of successful red zone passes. Cousins fired one over the middle right into the arms of Pryor. Then Niles Paul reached up and hauled in a McCoy pass right at the goal line.

—Jay Gruden ended practice about 15 minutes early and sent the players off for the six-week break before training camp starts.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

Quick Links

Kirk Cousins breaks down the terribleness of FedEx Field grass


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]

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!



Quick Links

When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

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.”


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.”


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 and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.