Redskins Challenge: Samaje Perine, it’s time to “Put up your Dukes”
With Robert Kelley on IR, Samaje Perine has the opportunity to seize the starting running back position. If the Redskins are able to pull off an upset inside the Superdome they’ll need a big game from the 2017 fourth-round pick.
The Washington Redskins can ill afford to leave New Orleans with their sixth loss. The Saints are 7-2 and winners of seven straight after losing their first two games. Injuries are beginning to catch up with the Redskins but they’re not out of the playoff hunt yet. On Sunday, Washington will be without three offensive starters. One player that could be in store for a big game is rookie running back Samaje Perine.
He’ll likely make his first career start tomorrow and should receive every opportunity to be the primary ball carrier for the Redskins. Chris Thompson is relegated to his third down role but Jay Gruden should be actively seeking to give Thompson more carries. Just not in short yardage situations. The 236 pound Perine is better suited to run the ball on those particular plays. Ironically, Perine is most effective running out of the shotgun.
Perine received nearly all of his carries out of the shotgun at Oklahoma and is still adjusting to the NFL level. Against the Vikings, Perine had a somewhat decent outing with 35 yards on nine carries. Head coach Jay Gruden expressed his thoughts on the type of back he believes Perine is, per Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington.
"He’s not so much a spell guy, he’s more of a “run it, run it, run it,” type guy."
In order to keep the Saints offense off the field, it’s essential that Perine is effective on first and second down. The Redskins are more dynamic on offense when they’re consistent with the rushing attack. The past three weeks they’re 1-3 largely due to the fact that they don’t run the football enough. The most carries any back accumulate in one game during that four-game stretch was 14. Perine has had his struggles with ball security and has been impatient at times on runs early in the season. Now he should be able to get into a rhythm being that he’s no the lead back.
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It has been a tough stretch for the Redskins the past four games. However, they’ll have to dig deep if they want to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Although Perine is a rookie, he’ll have to elevate his game. So, Samaje Perine, I challenge you to “Put up your Dukes” and be the bell-cow for the Redskins offense.