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Is standing pat at running back the right move for the Redskins?

Is standing pat at running back the right move for the Redskins?

With Matt Jones hurt and both Keith Marshall and Robert Kelley both struggling to demonstrate that they have the ability to replace him, it looks to many that the Redskins botched their handling of their running back depth chart this offseason.

But it appears that the Redskins are not second-guessing how they ended up where they are.

RELATE: WHAT RUNNING BACKS ARE AVAILABLE?

Despite the sprained AC joint that Jones suffered on Friday against the Jets the Redskins are not going to seek immediate help at running back, according to the Washington Post.

Ever since Alfred Morris left as a free agent in the spring, the Redskins have had numerous opportunities to improve depth at running back and to provide some legitimate competition to Jones for the staring but their response has been, no, thanks, we’re good.

They bypassed free agents like Lamar Miller and Chris Ivory.

When the draft game there were talented running backs on the board throughout the draft but they addressed other positions or traded for future picks until the seventh round, when they took Marshall. Given the absence of Morris it’s arguable that the Redskins entered training camp worse off at running back than they were in 2015.

And that was before Jones got injured. The Post is reporting that the Redskins don’t think that his injury is very serious but at this point there is no estimate of how long he might be out. It’s difficult to see him playing against the Bills in the third preseason game on Friday. The starting offense will play for an extended amount of time and that would have been a good test to see how ready Jones is for the season.

Instead, it looks like the dress rehearsal game will turn into a test to see if Marshall and Kelley, an undrafted rookie out of Tulane, can handle the load with Jones out. That’s probably not a bad thing. There will be dozens of running backs becoming available in the week following the Bills game and the Redskins as teams cut their rosters from 90 to 75 and finally to 53 by the afternoon of September 3.

Jones has the size and speed needed to become a very good NFL runner but the game last Friday demonstrated why he needs a solid backup. Some of the issues that plagued him during his rookie 2015 season reared their heads again. The fact that he got injured was not surprising. He missed a game with a toe injury last year and then a hip injury forced him to sit out the last three games, including the playoff loss to the Packers.

In addition, ball security problems returned. Last year Jones committed five fumbles and lost four of them.

On Friday there was a fumble on an exchange between him and Colt McCoy. Jones pounced on the ball and the stats officially charged the fumble to McCoy.

It was the kind of miscommunication that happens during the preseason and it was understandable since Jones had not worked with the backup quarterback much.

But the play involved Jones and that served as a reminder that even though he has worked on ball security during the offseason and has been very good at it in training camp, his ability to hold on to the ball remains a question mark.

RELATED: THE BEST OF REDSKINS VS. JETS

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Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

roullier-ap.png
Associated Press

Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 21, 21 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The Redskins appear to be set at center

Originally published 12/19/17

Chase Roullier might have been the Redskins’ fourth choice to play at center this year. But he could be snapping the ball for Washington for a long time.

Kory Lichtensteiger, the starter for the previous three years when healthy, retired. Veteran backup John Sullivan departed as a free agent. Spencer Long started six games this season before knee and quad problems pushed him to the sideline, elevating the rookie Roullier into the starting lineup.

The sixth-round pick started three games before breaking his right hand at some point during the game against the Saints. That’s his snapping hand and him finishing that game was an underrated act of courage this year. But he was out for three games before returning against the Cardinals on Sunday. Jay Gruden was pleased with his play. 

“Chase did good. He did good,” said Gruden. “It was good to see him back in there. His snaps were outstanding and handled the calls and play well.”

That was good but standard praise. What was interesting was what he said next.  

“I like Chase’s progress right now,” he said. “I think he is going to be a very good center for a long time here. It was a great pickup for us in the draft.”

It appears that you can at least pencil in Roullier as the 2018 starter at center, if not put him in with a Sharpie.

Where would this leave Long, who is slated to be a free agent in March? The Redskins could let him walk and go with the younger and cheaper Roullier. They also could sign him to be their starting left guard. That job has belonged to Shawn Lauvao. But Lauvao also is a pending free agent and he is 30 and he has missed large chunks of two of the last three seasons with injuries. When he missed the last 13 games of the 2015 season, Long went in at left guard and played well.

If that happens, that would give the Redskins a starting offensive line consisting entirely of players drafted by the team and with only Trent Williams over the age of 27 in Week 1 of 2018.

Regardless of what happens at left guard, it looks like Roullier will be the man in the middle for 2018 and beyond.

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

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 8
—NFL Draft (4/26) 64
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 200

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New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

News broke Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Bucaneers released former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, and while the name certainly triggers value, his play of the last two seasons should calm the excitement. 

Since a 2015 season where Martin rushed for 1,400 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards-per-carry in 16 games, Martin has been suspended, undergone substance abuse rehab and missed games due to injury.

In the last two seasons, Martin has played in 16 of 32 games, rushed for 827 yards and averaged less than 3 yards-per-carry.

Over his six year NFL career with the Bucs, Martin has only played two full seasons. Those two seasons were great, in 2012 and 2015, but the other four have been largely disappointing. 

RELATED: WHAT SHOULD THE REDSKINS DO AT RUNNING BACK?

The Redskins averaged just 3.6 yards-per-carry last season, and could definitely use a boost in the run game. It's entirely possible Washington might look to upgrade their offensive backfield this offseason, either in free agency or in the 2018 NFL Draft, but Martin does not look like the player to help. 

Early in the 2017 season, it appeared the Redskins run game might be a strength for the offense. After a disappointing effort on the ground to open the year in a loss to the Eagles, the Redskins rushed for at least 111 yards in their next three contests, including nearly 230 yards on the ground in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Injuries undid the run game, however, as Rob Kelley got hurt and the offensive line lost players, too. Over the course of the season, rookie Samaje Perine sustained minor injuries and Chris Thompson was lost for the year with a broken leg. 

Going into 2018, Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are all on the roster and expected for now to stay with the team. That's yet another reason why the Redskins are likely to stay away from Doug Martin.

RELATED: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 5.0

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