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Should Redskins' Jackson play vs. Ravens?

Should Redskins' Jackson play vs. Ravens?

DeSean Jackson is unlikely to play in Baltimore when the Redskins take on the Ravens in the “dress rehearsal” third preseason game, according to Jay Gruden. The wide receiver suffered a shoulder sprain on August 6 during the joint practices with the Texans.

At the time it was announced that the injury was only going to keep Jackson out for one or two weeks. The longer time frame would have put him out for the Redskins’ first preseason game on August 13 and possibly the second one on August 20. But the Ravens game on August 29, just over three full weeks after the injury, certainly appeared to be a realistic possibility for Jackson to get some snaps with the offense.

Gruden said yesterday that keeping Jackson out is a matter of finding a comfort level in dealing with his injury.

“He’s got full range of motion it looks like out there doing individual drills,” said Gruden. “It’s another thing if we just don’t want to get it hit again on game day. I think doing the non-contact stuff he looks pretty good. But with shoulder pads on, we’re not going to do that until we feel like he’s 100 percent. He’s not quite there yet.”

Since top-line players don’t play in the fourth preseason game it appears that Jackson will make his game debut on September 13, the regular season opener against the Dolphins. That will be over five weeks since the original injury. But Jackson said that he’ll be ready.

“Won’t have to worry about me at all,” Jackson said on Tuesday. “I’ll be the same person I’ve always been: Making plays and being the guy that brings the energy to this team.”

He caught some passes and participated in individual drills but he wasn’t in pads so it is unlikely that he participated in full team drills. (Teams do not have to disclose such information until the week before the regular season starts.)

It should be noted that DeAngelo Hall, who suffered a twice-torn Achilles last fall and has dealt groin and, most recently, toe injuries since the start of training camp, will be playing. Nobody would have batted an eye if Hall wanted to tap out of this one. Although he will be a bit rusty after missing the last 13 games of last year and the second preseason game this year, he is likely to start at corner when the Dolphins come to town.

Some would like to see Hall’s attitude rub off on Jackson. Although it is always dangerous for anyone but a doctor with full access to all of the to make a medical judgment it seems that he could play if he thought it was important. And with the starting offense in need of a boost after failing to get into the end zone in either of the preseason games it would be good to have their top weapon participating against the tough Ravens defense.

But it is unlikely to matter much once the regular season starts. The season will not succeed or fail based on scoring a preseason touchdown. As Jackson said, he will be ready to play. He and Robert Griffin III have been getting in some work and will continue to do so between now and September 13. Getting another 15 to 20 snaps in the mix might help some but it’s not a make or break situation. And the risk of him suffering a setback, not matter how slight, isn't worth it.

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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.