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.
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.
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