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Redskins rookie camp practice report--afternoon session

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Redskins rookie camp practice report--afternoon session

The Redskins finished up the open portion of their 2015 rookie camp under mostly cloudy skies in Ashburn. In my report from this morning’s session I focused primarily on the offense. Here is a look at their afternoon session (which was shortened somewhat by impending storms) with a focus on the defense.

—Kyshoen Jarrett lined up at both free and strong safety. He showed some good instincts at free but he’s a step too slow.

—Preston Smith is very active when the ball is snapped. On one snap from right OLB he got to the middle of the line fast enough to clog up a quick-hitting inside run. On a pass he charged in and nearly was in position to knock down a pass that was thrown to the defensive left side (another defender did bat it down). It should be noted that this was in shorts and helmets against an offense mostly comprised of players who will never play a down in the NFL. But it was fun to see such an active defender who probably will take snaps all over the defensive front.

—Martrell Spaight was in at inside linebacker and dropped back in coverage. The pass went deep over his head and tight end Je’Ron Hamm caught it. It didn’t look like Spaight should have been that deep but he did something wrong because Joe Barry gave him an earful. “That's a hard lesson to learn, Spaight,” the defensive coordinator yelled as he jogged back towards the huddle. “That's a hard lesson to learn.” Perhaps he needed to get a jam on the tight end but whatever it was made Barry very unhappy.

—Tryout linebacker Abraham Kromah out of Duke made a nice play on a quick out pass intended for undrafted free agent tight end Devin Mahina. Kromah timed his move well and knocked the ball down before the tight end could get his hands on it. Mahina perhaps could have had a shot at the ball if he had come back to it a bit and used his body to shield off the defender.

—I won’t swear that Tevin Mitchel played exclusively at slot corner but I didn’t see him line up anywhere else. He was good in coverage and blitzed on occasion. Now that we know what his role is we can see how well he performs it.

—They broke out into special teams drills about 45 minutes into the session. Rasheed Ross, Reggie Bell, and Jamison Crowder fielded punts. Tryout punter Keith Kostol out of Oregon State put them through a good workout, booming some punts with good hang time. He got some congratulations from other special teamers as he came off the field.

—The camp ends tomorrow; the rookies will convene at Redskins Park for film work and meetings.

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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]

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!

 

 

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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.