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Gruden on Redskins running backs: I love Alfred, I love Matt


Gruden on Redskins running backs: I love Alfred, I love Matt

After beating Chicago, Jay Gruden didn't want to talk about the Redskins running back platoon. Washington's run game again was subpar, and rookie Matt Jones again out-carried veteran Alfred Morris.

"One day after a game you guys are going to not ask me about running backs," Gruden said to the media after being asked about the roles of Jones and Morris.

For the game, Jones got 18 rushes and gained 62 yards while Morris got 11 carries for 24 yards and a touchdown. Morris' TD marked his first of the season. Last week in a loss to the Cowboys, Jones got three times as many carries as Morris, which prompted Gruden to confirm Morris was still the No. 1 runner for the 'Skins.


Early in the game it looked that way, as Morris had six carries on the opening drive. But late in the game when the team needed a first down, Jones was on the field, and he provided a physical, bruising run to finish the game. 

"I love Alfred," Gruden said. "I love Matt."

Week after week, both Jones and Morris have been asked about the rotating role of feature back. Both players echo similar sentiment; that individual stats don't matter in a team sport and the players root for one another. 

Throughout the season, Jones has seemed the stronger, swifter back, but he also has shown a dangerous penchant for fumbles and rookie mistakes. That nearly happened Sunday in Chicago when Jones made a lucky catch off a ricochet from Jordan Reed. Only when Jones caught the ball, he sat up, and placed the ball on the ground for a fumble. The rookie realized his mistake and grabbed the ball back, but it was another in a series of eye-popping errors that have marred an otherwise strong rookie season. Luckily for Jones, and for the Redskins, there was no harm caused by the gaffe.

After a close win that keeps his team in first place of the NFC East, Gruden did not seem concerned at all about his running back time share.

"They’re both really good backs."

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Trent Williams was definitely not playing Sunday against Houston, but now he might

Trent Williams was definitely not playing Sunday against Houston, but now he might

On Wednesday, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said that six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams would not play on Sunday against the Texans. 

"That's for sure," the coach said. 

By Friday, the tune had changed. Drastically. 

Gruden said that Williams' status on Sunday will come down to the medical staff. The coach added that Williams has to be comfortable in whatever cast will support his dislocated thumb.

As for Williams, he would not say for sure that he's going to play. But after talking with him for a few minutes in the Redskins locker room, it seems like the medical staff will be hard pressed to keep him off the field. 

Williams missed the Redskins last two games after injuring his thumb in a victory over the Giants. Without him, the Redskins offensive line performed admirably, but both tackles Morgan Moses and Ty Nsekhe are fighting through a number of injuries. 

The thumb injury required surgery, which happened about two weeks ago and came with a rough four-week timetable for recovery. Williams is attempting to cut that in half. 

Asked about Williams possibly playing Sunday, Redskins running back Adrian Peterson said he wants his friend and teammate to be smart about his future. Peterson said "there's a lot of football left" but the running back also added that there were situations watching Texans film this week where "it'd be real nice to have Trent out there."

Williams himself said that it must be tough for Peterson, as the two are close friends. Obviously, the running back wants the star tackle out on the field, but he also cares about his long-term future. 

Notes: Redskins K Dustin Hopkins landed on the injury report earlier with a groin injury in the week and the team brought in other kickers for tryouts on Tuesday. On Friday, Hopkins said he was pain-free and planned to "give it a go" Sunday against Houston. 


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With Samaje Perine ruled out for Week 11, expect Byron Marshall to be activated off IR


With Samaje Perine ruled out for Week 11, expect Byron Marshall to be activated off IR

The main news on Friday at Redskins Park was the surprising return to the practice field by Trent Williams. 

That wasn't the only notable development when it comes to injuries, though. 

During his end-of-the-week podium session, Jay Gruden ruled Samaje Perine out for Sunday's game against the Texans. The second-year back has a calf injury and won't be able to go in Week 11.

As of Friday afternoon, that leaves the 'Skins with just two healthy running backs in Adrian Peterson and Kapri Bibbs. Chris Thompson is on the active roster as well, but he's dealing with rib issues and he's going to be absent when Houston visits.

This means you should expect to see Byron Marshall in Burgundy and Gold come kickoff. Marshall has been on IR with an ankle injury since the start of the year but said he's been healthy for a while now and would be ready to step in as the third back.

The majority of offensive snaps the past few weeks have gone to Peterson and Bibbs, so Marshall shouldn't figure into things too much when the Redskins have the ball. He showed flashes in some spot duty in 2017, though, so if need be, he could be productive for Gruden.

With Trey Quinn already back on the 53, if/when the team elects to bring back Marshall, the Redskins will be out of IR activations. NFL rules stipulate each club only gets two per season.