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Need to Know: Five running backs who could be on the Redskins' radar post-combine

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Need to Know: Five running backs who could be on the Redskins' radar post-combine

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 4, 11 days before NFL free agency starts.  

Five running back draft targets for the Redskins

Doug Williams didn’t just tip the Redskins’ hand when talking to the media at the NFL Combine last week; he practically laid the cards on the table when it came to upgrading the team’s running back position.

He didn’t completely rule out signing a veteran free agent back but the focus clearly is on the draft. Williams talked about how deep the draft is at the position.

“With this draft and what you already have, you get one in second, fourth round, third round, that’s a pretty good running back to go with what you already have,” he said.

While you have to take what is said at the combine with a giant grain of salt, let’s take Williams at his word and look for some good running backs who might be available in rounds 2-4. Although the Redskins don’t have a third-round pick they could acquire one in a trade.

Sony Michel, Georgia—The four-year player did not create much buzz with his 4.54 time in the 40; that placed ninth among running backs. However, he has never relied on speed, averaging 7.9 yards per carry as a senior with his power, shiftiness, and being able to pick the best path.

Rashaad Penny, San Diego St.—You may not have seen much of Penny if you live on the East coast as the Aztecs were not part of the Saturday afternoon or prime time TV fare. But you should learn more about him. Penny led the nation in rushing with 2,248 yards and he has the ideal size (5-11, 220) to be an every-down back at the next level. His 4.46 in the 40 was fourth among running backs at the combine.

Kerryon Johnson, Auburn—The SEC offensive player of the year will wait and run the 40 at his pro day. He did do most of the other drills including an impressive 40-inch vertical jump. Johnson is good a shifting gears and he can deliver punishment to his tacklers. I’ve seen him rated as anywhere from a first to a fourth-round pick so we will have to see when he is available.

Ronald Jones, USC—He doesn’t have ideal size (5-11, 200) but he could be the key player in the “by committee” approach at running back that Williams talked about. He has excellent running instincts, with a natural ability to skirt the line and then burst forward when the finds an opening. His 4.65 time in the 40 was well back in the pack but he plays plenty fast enough.

Derrius Guice, LSU—You might expect Guice and Jones to be gone by the time the Redskins’ second-round pick comes up. But the depth of the running back group just might keep these late-first round talents around until the Redskins’ second-round pick goes on the clock since teams know that if they miss out on one of these guys there are others to be had later. Guice is a good blend of speed (4.49 in the 40) and sheer running ability.

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.


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 53
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 189

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—The brawl, the flinch, and following the money

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—The brawl, the flinch, and following the money

Here is what you need to know on Saturday, August 17, six days before the Washington Redskins host the Broncos in their third preseason game. 

Talking points

The Redskins week that was: A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskinsand NBC Sports Washington.

The 'Skins and Jets got into a brawl an hour into practice—I was about 10 yards away from where the fight took place, but I was only a few yards from where Morgan Moses hit the ground after taking what the Redskins interpreted to be a cheap shot. I can attest that the earth moves when Moses hits the ground. As to the dustup itself, I wouldn’t have cared at all if it had taken place in the middle of the field. But the fight spilling over into the spectator area made it a very dangerous incident. They need to do better. 

Redskins release CB Orlando Scandrick—When an out-of-the-blue move like this takes place, follow the money. If Scandrick had sustained an injury during the preseason that was serious enough to put him on injured reserve, the Redskins would have been on the hook for his entire 2018 salary of $1.72 million. In addition, his salary would become fully guaranteed if he had been on the roster in Week 1. The Redskins decided to cut their losses, which was his signing bonus of a cool $1 million. 

How Davis' injury affects the Redskins' WR depth chart—Robert Davis was not a lock to make the Redskins’ roster, but he certainly was a contender. But that all changed in an instant a week ago when he got tangled up with cornerback Danny Johnson during practice. Johnson bounced right up, Davis did not, having sustained a broken leg and knee ligament damage. Davis spent most of last year on the practice squad so this will be a second straight season without game action for the 2017 sixth-round pick. 

Redskins starters training camp one-liners, offense—You hear plenty of talk about the backups and bubble players during training camp and often the front-line players get overlooked. So there is your look at how the offensive starters fared in camp, one-liners style. You can find the defense here

Tweet of the week

We didn’t expect him to say anything but we had to ask Terrelle Pryor if he had any comment after the “flinching” incident with D.J. Swearinger. This was all he was willing to say as he jogged towards the locker room with a smile on his face. 

It would be inaccurate to say that Pryor is a polarizing figure among Redskins fans because that would mean that he had an equal number of supporters and detractors. It’s pretty much all haters. And it’s probably not fair.

From my point of view, I don’t have a problem with Pryor. He was always a stand-up guy when dealing with us. And while he was a free agent bust with the Redskins he didn’t cost a ton of money. Besides, he is hardly unique in that regard. 

The agenda

Today: Practice at Redskins Park 2; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice, approx. 3:30

Upcoming: Preseason Broncos @ Redskins (Aug. 24) 6 days; Final cut (Sept. 1) 14 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 22 days

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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 and on Instagram @RichTandler

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Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Following the Redskins' Week 2 preseason win over the Jets on Thursday, Jay Gruden said both Byron Marshall and Samaje Perine were "OK" after the two running backs each left the game with injuries. Marshall's was labeled a lower-leg issue, while Perine's injury was called a twisted ankle.

Timetables for their recoveries were then reported on Friday, and while the two members of the backfield escaped anything too severe, they will each be sidelined for decent chunks of time.

Perine will miss a week, according to Mike Garafolo. Marshall, meanwhile, is looking at a longer two-to-four week recovery, per Tom Pelissero. Those pieces of news hurt them in more ways than one.

Derrius Guice's torn ACL in Week 1 of the team's exhibition schedule meant that Marshall and Perine both had a big-time opportunity to step up and earn a spot on Washington's 53-man roster, spots that were harder to envision for them when Guice was healthy.

Overall, the two were slated to compete with Kapri Bibbs for what will likely be two spaces on the depth chart behind the absolutely safe Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley. Now, though, they'll be forced to sit until they're healed up, giving Bibbs more chances in practice and the two remaining August contests to earn Jay Gruden's trust.

Against New York, Bibbs struggled on the ground but led the offense with seven grabs, including a 29-yard gain off a screen play. That performance absolutely brought him closer in the race with Marshall, who scored vs. the Patriots a week earlier. Next, he'll need to prove he can run effectively between the tackles vs. the Broncos in Week 3, which will put some heat on Perine as well.

The 'Skins have 15 days left until they have to finalize their regular season roster. As things stand now amongst the running backs, Bibbs presently has a real shot at stealing a job from the two shelved RBs. But with the way this race has unfolded thus far, that can all change in a split second.