Early in the day, Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden laid out what he wanted to see from a running back. It wasn't earth shattering; he says the same thing every year. It was noteworthy, though, because of what happened later.
Gruden wants his backs to be able to pass protect, to not fumble and to make tough yards.
During a red-zone drill, rookie running back Samaje Perine had the ball stripped from him at the 5-yard line. He did not carry the ball again. Maybe that was by design, but it also could have been Gruden letting Perine know that was unacceptable.
"Ball security is very important," Gruden had said before practice.
Perine showed mixed results in a blitz pickup drill against the linebackers, allowing Mason Foster to get inside him on one rush and stopping Zach Vigil on another.
Perine will continue to challenge Rob Kelley for the starting job. But days like Monday serve as a reminder Perine has to prove a few things. There's a lot to like -- and other stuff to clean up. Kelley does well with ball security and he's improved in the pass game. Gruden loved some of his short runs last season that he felt weren't blocked well.
Perine has a fairly clear path to major touches in Washington since he only has Kelley to beat out. Reports about Kelley have been mixed, so Perine is no shoo-in to win the starting job. Redskins OC Mat Cavanaugh said that Kelly is “obviously” the starter, but things can change. Chris Thompson is the best receiver in this backfield, so neither Perine or Kelley are likely to see many receptions regardless. Keep in mind that once Kelley won the job in Week 8, he was the #13 RB in standard (#15 in PPR) down the stretch.