RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on Thursday, August 2, seven days before the Washington Redskins open up their preseason at New England.
Jay Gruden was asked to evaluate his running backs and the “possibility” of keeping Robert Kelley, Kapri Bibbs, and Bryon Marshall. He addressed Kelley right off the bat.
"Possibly Kelley? Kelley has had a great camp,” said Gruden. “I don't know if anybody has been out there, but he looks very good.”
He talked about the other backs, but none of them got the level of praise that Kelley got.
Of course, if you’ve been paying attention you know that Gruden loves Kelley. In fact, during the spring of 2017, Gruden said, “I love Rob Kelley!” to reporters.
Kelly has had an up and down career with the Redskins, as in he’s had one good year and one bad year. In 2016 he made the team as an undrafted rookie and he started the last nine games in place of the struggling Matt Jones. He was the team’s leading rusher as he gained 704 yards on 168 attempts (4.2 yards/att.) with six touchdowns.
He went into the 2017 season as the starter, but rib, knee and ankle injuries limited him to just seven games and 64 carries for 194 yards.
After the team drafted Derrius Guice in the second-round this year, the chances of Kelley being the primary starter again seem very slim. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a significant role for him.
Does Gruden’s enthusiasm for Kelley’s performance mean that he’s a lock to make the 53-man roster? His response to the question yesterday morning was telling. It was as though he was saying, “Are crazy? No way I cut him. Have you been paying any attention at all out there?” You can take it from there.
It also should be noted that special teams will be a factor when it comes to deciding on a backup running back. Kelley has been an enthusiastic participant in special teams drills. He knows what it takes to stay on the 53-man roster and he’ll do whatever it takes.
Alfred Morris led the Redskins in rushing four straight years from 2012-2015. The last time the Redskins had a longer streak of years with the same player leading the team in rushing was from 1969-1974 when Larry Brown was the leading rusher for six straight years.
On the record
Jay Gruen on if he is sure that Chris Thompson will be available for Week 1 vs. the Cardinals: "One hundred percent [sure], yes I am, actually. The way he runs, he looks faster right now just watching him on tape. His burst looks like its 100 percent back. You know, only he knows how he feels as far as being 100 percent and, you know, quite frankly, football players not all of them are 100 percent anyway. You know, if you get to 90 percent, you should be pretty good. But, he looks great right now.
Comment: Thompson spoke earlier this week about how he still had a lot of progress to make before he would be ready to play. I asked this question just to see if there is any doubt about what his status will be on September 9 in Arizona.
Today: Jay Gruden press conference 9:30; Training camp practice 9:45; Walkthrough 4:40; players available after both practices
Upcoming: Preseason opener Redskins @ Patriots (Aug. 9) 7 days; Final cut (Sept. 1) 30 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 38 days
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We also got D-Hall on for a special edition of the Redskins Talk podcast.
In case you missed it
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- Redskins RB Thompson still on the road to recovery from broken leg
- Redskins training camp practice report, Day 6
- DeAngelo Hall officially retiring
- Josh Doctson suffers apparent injury at training camp
- What does Diggs' new contract mean for Crowder?
- Redskins, Preston Smith have not started contract talks