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Jay Gruden says Redskins running game goes through Robert Kelley, for now

Jay Gruden says Redskins running game goes through Robert Kelley, for now

All offseason, the Redskins coaches and front office expressed their confidence in running back Matt Jones. In just his second season out of Florida, Jones was installed as the 'Skins No.1 RB, taking over from fan favorite Alfred Morris.

The results were mixed. In seven games, Jones showed both why the coaches were so excited by his potential, and why some fans were concerned if he was ready for the top spot. Jones twice broke the 100-yard mark, including a career high 135 yards in a win over the Eagles. But Week 7, Jones' old fumbling habit popped back up, and a goal-line fumble proved particularly costly against the Lions.

Following the Week 7 bout with fumbles in Detroit, Jones injured his knee, and didn't play Week 8 against the Bengals in London. Robert Kelley took the starter's share of carries againat Cincinnati, and it appears, will keep that job.

"Right now I think it’s going through Robert Kelley as I stand up here right now," Washington coach Jay Gruden said when asked about the team's starting running back.

Gruden made sure to clarify that things can change on the RB depth chart, and could change soon.

"That could change come Thursday or Friday, but Matt [Jones] will get his touches and earn his way back into the role that we think he should be in," the coach said.

For the season, Jones has run for 460 yards and three touchdowns, but he also has three fumbles. He's gaining an average of 4.6 yards-per-carry, up significantly from the 3.4 YPC he averaged as a rookie.

Kelley has had significantly less carries than Jones, 38 compared to 99, but has amassed 190 yards with one TD while averaging 5 YPC. 

Jones has a clear advantage over Kelley in catching balls out of the backfield, though Kelley seems to avoid negative plays better than Jones. Don't forget Chris Thompson, a highly capable third down back, either. 

"I’ve said it all along, we’ve got three, four good backs – four good backs now that Mack [Brown] is up," Gruden said. "I’m not going to project who’s going to get the bulk of the load."

The coach did allow he was pleased with Kelley's effort against the Bengals. The undrafted rookie out of Tulane ran the ball 21 times for 87 yards, scoring a touchdown, and proved himself capable of the workload.

"I think he played good, I really do," Gruden said of Kelley.

For now, Kelley played good enough to hold on as the Redskins starting runner. But as Gruden made clear, things can change. Jones was back on the practice field Monday and looked to have no restrictions, and it's a safe bet to expect competition to remain in the backfield. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes or press play below.

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2018 NFL Power Rankings: Titans rising, shake-up in Top 10


2018 NFL Power Rankings: Titans rising, shake-up in Top 10

The most surprising outcome from Week 10 in the NFL season was the Tennessee Titans 34-10 thrashing of the New England Patriots.

How far did New England fall? How high did the Patriots rise?


Despite missing three starting offensive lineman and several other key contributors due to injury, the Redskins got back in the win column with a 16-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With a two game lead in the NFC East, their stock rose a tad.

Coming off their bye week, the Eagles fell to the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. How were each of their rankings affected?

The Saints won their eighth straight, while the Steelers won their fifth straight. Where do these two rank in the Top 5?


The battle for No. 32 is perhaps more interesting than the battle for No. 1, but the Raiders stay in control of the bottom spot for now.


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Adrian Peterson is fifth in rushing and, oh yeah, he finally feels fully healthy now


Adrian Peterson is fifth in rushing and, oh yeah, he finally feels fully healthy now

The version of Adrian Peterson the Redskins have been getting this year — the one who currently sits as the NFL's fifth-leading rusher and the one who has been the team's only consistent offensive threat — hasn't even been the fully in-shape version, according to Peterson.

If you take him at his word, that's a pretty frightening thought for non-Redskins defenses to ponder.

After practice on Wednesday, the 33-year-old was asked about how he's feeling after dealing with ankle and shoulder problems earlier in the season. Those problems are apparently now all behind him.

"Last week, I actually started feeling all the way healthy," he said in the 'Skins locker room. "My shoulder, I'm back to bench pressing. I hadn't done that in three weeks. And so I'm back to doing the normal things that I was able to do. My ankle's feeling good, my body's just feeling refreshed."

Oh, so the guy who's been averaging nearly 75 yards per game on about 17 carries per game and the guy who's scored four total touchdowns through nine contests is only just now back to normal?


"Second half has been a blessing to me, you know?" he said. "It was a grind the first eight weeks, and here now, as I stand in front of you, my body's feeling amazing."

Must be nice to be one of the sport's best players of this generation, huh?