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Redskins training camp report, day 5: Things get chippy

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Redskins training camp report, day 5: Things get chippy

RICHMOND—The Redskins held their fifth full practice of training camp in full pads, football pants and all. Here are my observations:

—Lined up to return punts were DeSean Jackson, Lache Seastrunk, Richard Crawford, Nick Williams, Rashad Ross, and Chris Thompson. Crawford, Williams, and Thompson each fumbled a punt.

—An open-field tackling drill didn’t last long but it was a lot of fun. Safety Ross Madison got a good hit on WR Cody Hoffman.

—Brian Baker gets down to the nitty-gritty on pass rush techniques. Here’s a Vine of one of their drills. (Note: This is my first attempt at this medium, I’m sure there are some refinements that I can make to my technique as well.)

—One more time with the Vine thing, a look at blitz pickups, running backs vs. safeties.

—The defense also did a drill where everyone ran over in pursuit of the ball carrier. Trash cans represented blockers so it wasn’t realistic but the goal is to create the mindset. Ryan Clark talked about it yesterday. “When you’re playing the LeSean McCoys and the Darren Sproles, you have to gang tackle those guys,” he said. “You have to get a lot of people around that ball.”

—Silas Redd has shown some promise but he has to remember what Gruden says all the time—low man wins. Near the goal line in an 11 on 11 session, Redd hit the line upright. Very quickly, he was knocked back a couple of yards behind the line of scrimmage.

—Lache Seastrunk didn’t try to go through the defense he went around it. The rookie displayed some impressive speed scooting around the left end and into the end zone from about 10 yards out.

—When Robert Griffin III was a rookie and new to the team and Pierre Garçon was new to the team after signing as a free agent, Griffin threw to Garçon frequently during training camp to develop chemistry between the quarterback and receiver. This year, Griffin is strongly focusing on throwing to Andre Roberts and DeSean Jackson.

—During 11 on 11 drills, Griffin saw an opening up the middle and shot through it, picking up about 20 yards. He looked very much like the 2012 version of RG3, covering the 20 yards in the blink of an eye. This is why Gruden, while he is going to cut way back on planned runs by Griffin, will encourage him to run out of the pocket when the situation calls for it.

—Things got a bit heated, both literally as it got hotter and figuratively as a couple of scuffles broke out. First Ted Bolser and Chase Minnifield got into it and then it was cornerback Peyton Thompson and Roberts. The latter was a push, with Roberts losing his helmet but getting off a solid punch.

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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.