Matt Jones’ mother picked a good game to see her son play in the NFL for the first time in person.
The Redskins saw Jones as a punishing power back when they made him a third-round pick in the 2015 draft.
At 6-2, 232 they envisioned him breaking tackles and generally making life miserable for opposing defensive players, particularly the smaller ones on the secondary.
But as a rookie he didn’t get it done like that. He averaged 3.4 yards per carry, the lowest average of any back with enough carries to qualify for that dubious distinction.
However, with his mom present today at FedEx Field, Jones finally gave the Redskins a taste of four quarters of power running. Jones carried a career high 22 times for 117 yards, the second-highest total of his career. Doing the math, that’s a solid 5.3 yards per carry.
Last week coach Jay Gruden told the media that he wasn’t happy with the way Jones ran in the first three quarters of the game against the Giants. Jones took it to heart.
“I just had to learn from last week,” he said. “Once I found out a way, I’m ready to run. I took it to today. I just wanted to start off like that and the game went well.”
Jones scored the touchdown that salted the game away for the Redskins. A few plays after Josh Norman intercepted a Cody Kessler pass, Jones went storming around the left side for 16 yards down to the one. After an offside penalty against the Browns, Jones powered in from a half yard out and the subsequent point after touchdown put the Redskins up 31-20.
“Looked like he was running with more power and more conviction,” said Gruden. “You know, that’s the big thing as a back. You’re not going to make every correct decision and when you watch the film back and run it back, you could’ve cut there, you could’ve done this, but when you make a decision, make it and be decisive. And he was more decisive today and more physical.”
Jones will learn to make better decisions; you can still see where he leaves yards on the field by choosing the wrong place to run. But as long as he learns and remains decisive he will be able to be productive while he learns.
And as long as he remains productive they will continue to feed him the ball. He has just 20 carries in the first two games combined and he has 39 in his last two games combined.
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