Matt Jones, the Redskins’ third round selection, hasn’t played a down in the NFL yet. But he’s already drawing comparisons to one of the game’s best running backs: Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch.
Yes, the same Marshawn Lynch that has appeared five Pro Bowls, back-to-back Super Bowls and rushed 1,200 or more yards in each of the past four seasons.
“Matt Jones reminds me a lot—a lot—of Marshawn from the standpoint that he’s north-south, he’s downhill and he’s not afraid of contact,” Redskins General Manager Scot McCloughan said this week on ESPN 980.
Sure, it’s probably a stretch at this point. Jones was taken 95th last week; Lynch went 12th in 2007. But it should also be noted that McCloughan is very familiar with Lynch’s physicality. He was the Seahawks’ senior personnel executive when Lynch was dealt to Seattle from Buffalo during the 2010 season. So, if anyone is qualified to make such a comparison, it’s McCloughan.
“He’s going to hit you and he’s going to keep hitting you until you get tired of tackling him,” McCloughan added, referring to Jones’ lower-the-shoulder and bowl-you-over running style.
Jones, who is listed at 6 foot 2, 231-pounds, is expected to be a complement to Alfred Morris next season as the Redskins transition to a more physical run game under new offensive line coach Bill Callahan.
“It’s very important for our offense to be able to run the football,” McCloughan said. “Jay [Gruden] is on board. Bill Callahan is on board. We need to dominate the line of scrimmage, and the fact that [Jones is] going to come in—same with Alfred [Morris]—and he’s gonna hit you and keep hitting you, it’s a good one-two punch, for sure.”
Considering how serious that November leg injury was and how difficult the subsequent surgeries were, any time you see Alex Smith out, about and smiling, it's encouraging.
On Thursday, the Redskins posted a couple of pictures of Smith helping out at the team's third day of OTAs. The QB was photographed hanging out with coaches and even tossing a football:
You can't tell in the pictures whether Smith is still wearing the external fixator on his right leg, but regardless of whether he is or not, it's still great to see him in Ashburn around the organization.
It remains unclear what kind of role Smith will have with the 'Skins in 2019. However, if he's willing, he'd be an ideal mentor for Dwayne Haskins and overall a positive influence on the entire roster, seeing as many players don't hesitate to praise the leadership he displayed in 2018.
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Montae Nicholson and Vernon Davis were among those absent at Monday's open Redskins OTAs session, and both absences were surprising considering each player's somewhat unsteady spot on the roster.
Nicholson's second year with the Redskins was a struggle both on and off the field, while Davis is often mentioned as someone who might be in line for a contract restructuring or even a release.
However, thanks to a video that the Redskins posted on Instagram, it's now clear that the safety and the tight end have since returned to Ashburn to work with their fellow teammates:
It's an especially encouraging development for Nicholson, who should be doing whatever he can to get back in the good graces of the coaching staff. Whatever the reason for his absence was on Monday, it's a good sign to see that he didn't stay away too long.
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