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Samaje Perine Emerging to Keep Redskins in Playoff Hunt

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FedEx Stadium Washington Redskins” by Kevin Coles (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Washington Redskins are keeping their playoff hopes alive as we enter the final few weeks of the regular season. They have a current record of 5-6, and they still have work to do but they are sticking in there, and showing encouraging fighting qualities, despite the odds being against them.

The Redskins have been hit hard by injuries at the running back position recently, with Rob Kelley going on injury reserve and then emerging star Chris Thompson suffering a horrific break of his fibula and ending up in the same place. The departure of these two has left a huge hole in the Redskins backfield, and that has put more pressure on quarterback Kirk Cousins to throw the ball. However, he has started getting some help in the form of a rookie, Samaje Perine.

At the start of the season, Perine was expected to challenge for a prominent role in the backfield. However, he got off to a poor start and quickly found himself relegated down to third on the depth chart. The injuries have given him another chance to show what he can do, and this time he has taken that chance and delivered when the Redskins needed him the most.

Perine has put together two games where he has carried for over 100 yards, giving his team a second dimension to keep opposing defenses on their toes. After the losses of Thompson and Kelley, it was expected the Redskins would throw the ball a lot more which would could make them predictable; however, Perine has prevented that from happening to a large degree.

Samaje Perine” by Keith Allison (CC BY-SA 2.0)

With Perine in the backfield, Cousins has managed to keep a good mixture of passing and rushing plays in the playbook, keeping the Redskins varied and most certainly not predictable. He has quickly been thrown into a huge role with the team and responded to the pressure very well, something the management team will be thrilled with.

The Redskins have an outside shot at the playoffs and the latest sports insight from the experts still gives them a chance, too. They will have to continue playing as well as last week, and keep getting big games from Perine, but it is a possibility. The Redskins have shown the will to fight until the end.

As well as competing right now, the Redskins are also getting a glimpse of what their future may be like with Perine in the backfield. This is an important role for him this season, but it’s also his audition for next season. So far he is not letting his team down. After an auspicious beginning to the season and looking slightly out of place, he has since rebounded and come back in a much better light. He will get another chance to show what he can do in a Thursday Night marquee matchup this week, against the division rival Dallas Cowboys. If he continues to play well, he can give Washington a chance to win, move to 6-6, and play meaningful games all the way to week 16.

If he continues to play well in 2017, he may also enter the 2018 season as the starting running back.

More By Mark Solway

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