Bye week grades: Running backs
El-Bashir: After getting off to a very strong start the first two weeks, the Redskins’ running game has all but disappeared. Overall, Washington ranks 21st in rushing yards per game (99) and 27th in yards per attempt (3.7). Not all of that is attributable to the backs, of course. Inconsistent run blocking from a banged up O-line and other factors such as game situation have not helped. Still, the individual stats for Alfred Morris and Matt Jones are a concern. Morris’ career yards per carry has gone like this: 4.8, 4.6, 4.1, 3.3. Yep, through seven games, he’s averaging a full 1.5 yards per carry less than he did as a rookie and has yet to score a touchdown this season. Jones, meanwhile, enjoyed a breakout performance against the Rams (123 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries) but has struggled since, averaging 24.4 yards and missing one game with a toe injury. The rookie has also fumbled twice. The bright spot has been Chris Thompson, who has racked up 120 yards on 19 carries (6.3 per) and hauled in 23 passes. The key for Thompson has always been staying healthy. And he had done just that…until he missed last week’s game with a bruised back. Earlier this week, Coach Jay Gruden said fixing the run game would be his staff’s “main priority” during the bye—as it should.
Tandler: It’s been a mixed bag at this position this year. The bright spot has been Chris Thompson, getting a chance to play for the first time in his three-year career. He has gotten the job done as the third-down and passing situations back. He hasn’t had a ton of touches (19 rushing attempts, 23 receptions) but he has done well with them, getting 270 yards from scrimmage. When not handling the ball, Thompson has done well pass blocking, with just one sack and two hurries on his ledger. Rookie Matt Jones flashed his potential early by gaining 123 yards rushing against the Rams but he has just 98 in four games since then. But he hasn’t fallen off of a cliff to the extent that Alfred Morris has. He picked up 180 yards in the first two games and just 122 in five games since then. The last three weeks the three-time 1,000-yard rusher has averaged just 1.6 yards per carry. The struggles of Jones and Morris aren’t completely their faults; some offensive line injuries have hurt. But film review shows that both can do a better job of taking advantage of the holes that are being created.
Grading the Redskins at the bye: