RICHMOND—In 2014 the Redskins ran 1006 plays from scrimmage. Jay Gruden called 401 running plays and 605 passes (that’s 547 pass attempts and 58 sacks). The math is pretty simple; if you round it off, that comes to 60 percent passes and 40 percent runs. The Redskins are looking to drastically alter that script in 2015.
It was not exactly shocking when Ian Rapoport said on NFL Network that the Redskins plan a run-heavy attack. “The Redskins are going to want to pound it and run the ball a lot more than they ever did, especially since they drafted physical running back Matt Jones,” said Rapoport, who spend some time at Redskins training camp here this week.
The mention of Jones, however, was somewhat intriguing.
"They see [Jones] as the kind of guy who will pound it at a defense late, especially when they still have the lead,” he said. “No, he's not the bell cow yet -- it's still going to be Alfred Morris -- but at this point what the Redskins hope is to be a tough, physical running team and make plays in the passing game just when they need to on third down and in the red zone."
Does this mean that the Redskins will try to build a lead with Morris in the lineup and then turn to a relatively fresh, physical Jones to finish things off? Perhaps but first we’ll have to find out if the team can actually get some leads to protect. That’s not only on the offense but the defense and special teams have to contribute as well.
If game situations allow it, the Redskins would like to run the ball as much as anyone in the league. That would mean something in the neighborhood of 500 rushing attempts.
How might 500 carries be divided up? Let’s start with giving 250 to Morris. That would be down a bit from the 265 he had last year but if he can average 4.5 yards per carry he would end up with over 1,100 yards.
Jones could get as many as 125 carries, about eight per game, if there are several leads that need to be protected and he’s the guy to do it. That would leave about 125 rushing attempts for the other running back, quarterback scrambles, and the occasional carry by a wide receiver on a reverse or an end around.
This all looks fine on paper in August. It will go out the window if things don’t go as planned on the field in September and October.