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Redskins training camp practice report, Day 7: Reed impresses again

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Redskins training camp practice report, Day 7: Reed impresses again

RICHMOND—The Redskins did not wear pads. They were coming off of three straight physical practice before their day off and the Texans are coming into town  for what is likely to be a tough three days.

—The defensive coaches want their players to jump on a ball that’s on the ground even when it’s there as the result of an incomplete pass. It certainly can’t hurt and you never know when something might appear to be an incompletion from one defender’s angle but it’s not. Better to jump on it than let it roll on the ground.

—Injured cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland (knee) and David Amerson (shoulder) did some rehab work on the side. Breeland had a brace on his injured right knee (sprained MCL) but he is able to walk and put weight on that leg. If he is ready in the lower range of the 4-6 week estimate he could be back in time to get into preseason game No. 4 against the Jaguars. Terrance Knighton missed practice with the flu.

—I think it should officially be his middle name—Jordan “If He Can Stay Healthy” Reed. He put a nice double move on Duke Ihenacho during one-on-one coverage drills. The safety stayed close, though, and Reed had to turn around and make the grab in the end zone. Kirk Cousins’ pass was about the only place it could have been. He has done something impressive almost every day of camp but everyone knows he can play, it's matter of how many games he is able to show up for.

Martrell Spaight had good coverage on Chris Thompson but the back made a good catch and was able to turn upfield.

—The first play in full team drills was Alfred Morris up the middle, just like it is almost every day. I think the defense is detecting the pattern as they stuffed it again today.

—A few snaps later Morris got around the right end and the crowd cheered. However in a live drill Keenan Robinson, who flew over from his inside linebacker spot, would have nail Morris for about a two-yard loss.

—On his first pass during team work, Robert Griffin III had Reed wide open but the pass was too high. Later in the same session he heated up, hitting DeSean Jackson deep down the middle. The receiver found a soft spot in the coverage and Griffin fired the ball to him about 20 yards downfield. All in all it was a so-so day for Griffin, who misfired on several passes.

Jerrell Powe got a lot of snaps at nose tackle. He has the size to be effective (6-2, 331), but he just doesn’t have the quickness or power to be a front-line player. I think he has a shot to make the team if the coaches decide that they would rather have a true nose tackle to spell Knighton rather than using Chris Baker or Kedric Golston.

Ryan Grant caught a medium pass from Colt McCoy and turned up the sideline. It looked like safeties Trenton Robinson and DaMon Cromartie-Smith had a bead on him but Grant found another gear and cruised past them. Speed is not supposed to be a great asset of his but he found some there.

Brandon Scherff looked good in one-on-one drills against Stephen Paea. Once it looked like the defensive end had the slip on him but Scherff recovered and got in front of him. One local analyst, a former NFL player, said that he was satisfied that Scherff will be able to hold his own once the games start.

—Rookie Arie Kouandjio had a similar battle with Ricky Jean-Francois. The veteran lineman initially had an advantage on him but Kouandjio recovered and executed the block. Not everyone has that recovery ability and having it give Kouandjio an edge.

—The same player turned analyst who liked Scherff was not nearly impressed with Trent Murphy. He said that Murphy had great burst at Stanford and you could nhear his initial contact with the blocker on the sideline. Murphy seemed to be much more tentative today.

—Reed made a nice, one-handed catch of a short McCoy pass. It would not have gained much but it was still an impressive athletic feat.

—Reed wasn’t the only tight end who made an athletic catch of a McCoy pass. On one throw Je’Ron Hamm turned around, jumped, and gathered in the pass for a gain of about 15 yards.

—Both in walkthrough and during the main practice the first-team offensive line featured Scherff at right guard and Morgan Moses at right tackle. The coaches say that it is to prepare for injuries down the road. But there is a possibility that it will become permanent so the situation bears watching.

—The crowd of 5,006 almost had something to cheer about a couple of times but Griffin misfired on a deep pass to Pierre Garçon and Rashad Ross couldn’t catch up with a long one from McCoy.

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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.