Run Game: Samaje Perine establishes himself as solid lead back
Speaking of the run game, this was a major strength for the Redskins on Thursday. Samaje Perine didn’t look good at all in the first half. He generated only three yards on five carries and couldn’t find any holes. It looked like Damon “Snacks” Harrison was going to help shut him out all night long.
But, in the second half, things changed for Perine. He came out of the gate with a nice gain on an outside zone run. Once he got going, he was able to use his vision to make plays and find space. He ripped off a bunch of 8-to-10 yard runs that got the Redskins ahead of the down markers. While he didn’t have any big, explosive plays, his longest run was 16 yards, he chipped away at the Giants tough defense to open up space. By the end of the day, he had exactly 100 yards on 24 carries.
Moving forward, Perine is definitely the lead back. That’s an obvious statement given the lack of talent they have on the roster at running back right now, but it looks like he might be able to be a lead back for the team beyond this year. Rob Kelley doesn’t appear to be a starter at the NFL level, so pairing Perine and Chris Thompson long term could benefit the Skins. The rest of the year will be a test run for him. But right now, he’s looking good.
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Elsewhere in the backfield, Byron Marshall saw a lot of third down action. Perine has had some troubles with drops, he had one to start the day Thursday, so that should continue. Marshall was pretty quiet during the day, only generating 30 yards on five touches. He may get better with more time in the offense.
It’s also worth noting that the banged up offensive line really improved their blocking in the second half to help Perine out. They were generally solid in the run blocking department, and the talented rookie will hope that continues moving forward.