The Redskins are on pace to run the ball 500 times this year, a substantial increase from their 401 rushing attempts last year. This is a very early projection at this point in the season but the fact that they have run the ball 94 times in three games is not a fluke; it has been part of the plan all offseason.
A 500-attempt season would not be anywhere close to a team record. That came in the 1983 season when John Riggins, Joe Washington, and a few assorted others carried 629 times. More recently, Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III led a rushing attack that carried 519 times.
But one thing that the Redskins have a chance to do that they never have done before is have two 1,000-yard rushers in a season. Through three games, Morris has 199 yards rushing and Jones has 189. Over a 16-game season those totals project to 1,061 yards for Morris and 1,008 for Jones.
Having a pair of backs go over the thousand-yard mark is unusual in the NFL but not unheard of. The last time it happened was in 2009 when Panthers running backs Jonathan Stewart (1,133) and DeAngelo Williams (1,117) did it. It’s happened two other times in the last 10 years with the 2008 Giants getting Brandon Jacobs (1,089) and Derrick Ward (1,025) there and the 2006 Falcons doing it with running back Warrick Dunn (1,140) and quarterback Michael Vick (1,039).
Since 1970 the Redskins twice have had players rush for over 750 yards in a season. In 1983 it was Riggins (1,347) and Washington (773) and in 2012 it was Morris (1,613) and Griffin (815).
A thousand-yard season is a nice milestone but it’s not really special in the era of 16-game seasons. Since 2010 between 13 and 17 players rushed for over 1,000 yards each season. A player only has to average 62.5 yards per game to get there.
But getting two players over a thousand would be a solid accomplishment for a team. And such an accomplishment generally indicates team success. The six teams that have done it averaged 10 wins during those seasons.
There is a long way to go and a lot has to happen for Morris and Jones both to get over 1,000 yards rushing. Primary among those factors are health and the team staying competitive in enough games to be able to keep the running game in play. But it is something to keep an eye on as the season moves along.