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Gruden: RB Jones needs to 'be more focused'


Gruden: RB Jones needs to 'be more focused'

Rookie running back Matt Jones had a hot start to the season, with 151 yard rushing in his first two games including a 39-yard run in Week 2 in which he displayed an impressive blend of speed and power.

But he hit his rookie wall early. Since those first two games he has averaged 30.8 yards rushing per game and has no more than 62 yards rushing in any one game.

It’s not like he has totally disappeared from the offense. He had a big game against the Saints, going 78 yards with a screen pass for a touchdown and caught two more passes for 29 and 24 yards. Against the Giants he rolled 45 yards with a screen pass to set up second-quarter touchdown.

But steadiness and consistency have eluded the rookie. Jay Gruden believes it’s a matter of concentration.

“Yeah, he’s got to hone in there, be more focused – the false start penalty and he almost missed a big blitz pickup that luckily Kirk got away to [Jamison] Crowder in the flat,” said Gruden. “He’s working hard. He’s a rookie, he’s going to make some mistakes. We have to limit those mistakes.”

To his credit, Jones has made progress in one area. In the first 10 games, he fumbled the ball four times and the opponents recovered all four of them. He has not fumbled in the last four games.

But Gruden went on, perhaps sending a message to Jones that there are alternatives on the roster if he can't clean up his game.

“Luckily for us we have three, four good backs now that are all playing pretty well. Chris Thompson could be healthy next week and obviously Pierre [Thomas] is learning and learning. Obviously Alfred [Morris] had a big game yesterday. I think for being a rookie I think he’s been a pretty good football player – smart, too. His mistakes haven’t been that often. He’s had a few, as everybody has, but I think he’s done OK."

With Morris likely to leave as a free agent after the season is over there could be a big opportunity for Jones. But he needs to reduce the errors his game if they are going to trust him with a major role. 

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Bashaud Breeland the latest former Redskin to fail a physical; won't be signing with Panthers

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Bashaud Breeland the latest former Redskin to fail a physical; won't be signing with Panthers

The Redskins had to say good bye to several key players as the 2018 NFL free agency period began.

Cornerback Bashaud Breeland was one of those players.

On Tuesday, Breeland reported agreed to a 3-year, $24 million deal with the Carolina Panthers.

But on Friday afternoon it was reported that Breeland failed a physical, which means he won't be signing with the Panthers, per Panthers reporter Bill Voth.


If this sounds familiar, it's because it is familiar.

Redskins wide receiver Ryan Grant intended on signing a four-year, $29 million deal with the Ravens. But a failed physical just a day before his introductory press conference meant a voided contract and back to the drawing board.

According to multiple reports, Breeland's failed physical was due to a recent non-football injury. Breeland and the Panthers could still come to an agreement, but the former Clemson star is now back to being a free agent and will have to pass a physical before officially signing with a new team.

According to ESPN's David Newton, Breeland injured his foot on vacation in the Dominican Republic and will need his skin grafted in order to repair the injury.

The Redskins were one of the NFL's most injured teams in 2017, and that trend appears to have extended to the offseason.


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With Zach Brown back, a look at the Redskins' inside linebackers depth chart

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With Zach Brown back, a look at the Redskins' inside linebackers depth chart

The Redskins went into the offseason with their inside linebacker position very much up in the air. Starters Zach Brown and Mason Foster and top backup Will Compton were all heading into unrestricted free agency. They faced the prospect of needing to start all over.

Things started to look better in late January when Foster re-signed, agreeing to a two-year deal. “I had unfinished business here,” Foster said at the time.

As long as Brown remained unsigned, the Redskins also had unfinished business. They got it done yesterday as Brown inked what is reported to be a three-year deal worth $24 million. We will need to see some details to know just what the contract entails but it looks like a fair deal for both sides.


Compton remains unsigned. With Brown and Foster back he will not be in line for a starting job. We will see how things shake out for him.

Looking at the players under contract, the Redskins have Zach Vigil, who played well as a starter late in the season after injuries struck, Martrell Spaight, and Josh Harvey-Clemons.  

Vigil was released on the final roster cut and returned on November 15 after Compton went to injured reserve. He had 55 total tackles in seven games. If you project that out over a 16-game season that’s 126 tackles, which would have placed him in the top 10 in the NFL. He also plays special teams well. Vigil went from expendable last September to a very valued reserve at this point in time.

Spaight has been a spot starter when starters have been injured. This will be an important year for him as he goes into the final year of the contract he signed after the Redskins made him a fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft.


The Redskins might have been happier if Harvey-Clemons, a 2017 seventh-round pick, didn’t have to play all last year but injuries forced him into a regular role. He was converting from college safety to NFL nickel linebacker and was very much considered to be a project. Harvey-Clemons still needs to add some weight and he has a lot to learn. Still, even if injuries don’t hit this year he should play considerably more than the 93 snaps he logged as a rookie.

The Redskins usually carry nine total linebackers, going with either five inside and four outside or vice versa. So they could be set or perhaps they will bring back Compton or sign another veteran to compete with Spaight for the last roster spot.  

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.