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Need to Know: Redskins have contained Peterson

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Need to Know: Redskins have contained Peterson

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, November 6, one day before the Washington Redskins visit the Minnesota Vikings.

Nickel coverage

Five notes and quotes from the Redskins locker room:

1. David Amerson may have saved the Redskins season by knocking running back David Woodhead out of bounds just short of the goal line late in Sunday’s game against the Chargers. But being a hero did not cross his mind at the time. “I wasn't thinking about trying to save the game or whatever,” said the rookie cornerback. “I just, I can't let him get in this end zone. I'm going to do everything in my power to keep him out. That was my mentality.”

2. The Redskins gained some nice yardage with a few new offensive wrinkles including a couple of 18-yard runs out of the triple option. Robert Griffin III says that the benefit of such plays can go beyond the immediate yardages picked up. “I think it can be a little confusing for a defense,” he said. Nothing that such plays can “mess up guys’ keys”, Griffin said that you might just need one big play. “All you need is a few, a couple of big plays every game to kind of help you establish yourself and get into a rhythm as an offense,” he said.

3. The Redskins have done a pretty good job of containing Adrian Peterson over the years. He has played in four games against them, including one in 2007 before the current coaching staff was in place. He has 180 yards on 44 carries, an average of 45 yards per game and 4.1 per carry. Both averages are well under his career numbers of 98 yards a game and 5.0 per carry. They do need to watch for him catching some passes out of the backfield, however. He has 12 receptions for 119 yards against Washington.

4. On Tuesday the Redskins practiced in the bubble wearing no pads or helmets. With the short week the focus now in more on film work and other such preparation rather than going through physical reps. “A lot of it right now is mental preparation—watching a lot of film over the next 48-plus hours,” said Mike Shanahan. “It’s not really physical coming off of that game we just had, especially going into overtime. You take all those factors into consideration in a short week.”

5. NFL players have tremendous focus, often to the point where they don’t know things that most fans and media members just assume they know. After Sunday’s game, Griffin knew the Redskins were playing the Vikings next but he didn’t know who they played the week after that (it’s the Eagles). And when asked about the possibility of a letdown against a 1-7 Vikings team, Brandon Meriweather replied: “Honestly, I didn't know even know their record. I try to take it one game at a time. We was 3-6 last year and made the playoffs, you really can't overlook anybody in this league.”

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Stat of the day

—With a win tomorrow night the Redskins will improve to 4-5. Their playoff chances will get better but, historically, they will still be a long shot. Since 1990, 14 out of the 122 teams to start 4-5 made the playoffs (11.5%).

Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Vikings 1; Redskins @ Eagles 11; Monday night 49ers @ Redskins 19

—Today’s schedule: Practice 10:30; Player availability, Mike Shanahan, Kyle Shanahan, and Jim Haslett news conference after practice (approx. 12:00)

In case you missed it

“How could we overlook them when we’re not that good?”

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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrence Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins draft oft-injured Auburn CB Joshua Holsey with their final pick

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins draft oft-injured Auburn CB Joshua Holsey with their final pick

The Redskins haven't shied away from using draft picks on players with an injury history, and that trend continued all the way to their final pick of the draft with Auburn CB Joshua Holsey.

Holsey missed parts of the 2013 and 2015 seasons at Auburn due to torn ACLs, but rebounded with a strong season in 2016. He had 30 tackles, three interceptions and 10 passes defended in his senior season.

RELATED: REDSKINS ROLL THE DICE ON 7TH ROUND SAFETY

He was overlooked through most of the draft process due to his injury history and was snubbed at the combine. 

The seventh round is a spot to take a flier on a guy who has some traits you like, and this certainly fits the bill with the pick of Joshua Holsey. 

MORE REDSKINS: ANOTHER TALL WR? 3 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ROBERT DAVIS