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Will the 2017 Redskins go with running back by committee?

Will the 2017 Redskins go with running back by committee?

With the addition of Samaje Perine in the draft, will the Redskins handle 2017 with a running back by committee approach with the rookie sharing carries with Rob Kelley? Let’s look at Jay Gruden’s history to see if we can get an indication.

In 2014, Jay Gruden’s first season as the Redskins’ head coach, he operated what was essentially a one-man show at running back. Alfred Morris had 265 rushing attempts. The other tailbacks, Roy Helu, Chris Thompson and Silas Redd, combined for 59 carries. That comes to a split of 82 percent of the tailback carries for Morris, 18 percent for all the others.

In 2015, a committee emerged. Morris still led the team in carries but his attempts dropped to 202. Rookie Matt Jones had 144 rushing attempts, Chris Thompson had 35, and late-season addition Pierre Thomas had 11. That is a split of 52 percent for Morris, 37 percent for Jones, and 12 percent for the other two combined.  

RELATED: Pre-draft look at the Redskins depth chart: Running Back

Last year the numbers make it look like a committee but it really wasn’t. Robert Kelley led the tailbacks in carries with 168 while Jones had 99. With Chris Thompson logging 68 rushing attempts and Mack Brown getting nine, it looks like Kelley (49 percent of the tailback attempts) and Jones (29 percent) were a committee. But Kelley had only 17 carries in the first seven games while Jones had all 99 of his in that time span. From Week 8 on, Kelley carried 151 time while Jones was inactive ever week.

Looking back at Gruden’s coaching tenure in Cincinnati, 2014 in Washington resembles 2012 in Cincy in terms of the rushing attack splits. BenJarvus Green-Ellis took 80 percent of the tailback rushing attempts. But the next season the Bengals drafted Giovani Bernard. In 2013, Green-Ellis had 56 percent of the tailback rushing attempts and Bernard had the other 44 percent. That more closely resembles the 2015 Redskins.

To close to loop here, in 2011, Gruden’s first year with the Bengals, Cedric Benson had 70 percent of the tailback carries.

So here is the percentage of tailback carries the leading rusher had in each of the five seasons that Gruden has overseen an NFL offense:


If you’re looking for a consistent philosophy here you’re not going to find it. Gruden has adjusted to the talent he had. When he had a strong lead back and limited second and third options, the lead back got most of the work. When viable alternatives were present a committee emerged.

So, what will it look like this year with the addition of Perine, a powerful, 235-pound fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma? He is used to splitting time, getting about the same number of carries as Joe Mixon with the Sooners last year.

READ MORE: Jay Gruden is a huge fan of his rookie RB Perine

But Perine can handle a heavy workload when he needs to. In 36 games with the Sooners he had 20 or more rushing attempts 16 times including five with more than 30 carries.

As a rookie last year, Kelley had 21, 22, and 24 carries in his first three games as the starter. He didn’t have a 20-attempt game the rest of the season. The decreased workload did not necessarily come about because he couldn’t handle it. Game situations dictated fewer rushing attempts as the Redskins slumped to a 2-4 finish down the stretch. Still, Kelley did leave the Week 16 Bears game with a knee injury and although he played against the Giants the next week, he averaged just 2.75 yards on 13 carries. While it would be unfair to question Kelley’s durability at this point, we will see how he handles the punishment as a primary back over 16 games.  

The one thing that seems certain is that Jones won’t be taking carries away from anyone. Even before the team drafted Perine there were reports that they were looking to trade him. If they can’t make a deal it looks like his slide from committee member to unquestioned starter to the end of the bench will conclude with him getting released.

Thompson’s 68 carries last year were a career high. He had 38 rushing attempts while Jones was the primary back and 30 when Kelley was the work horse. The 2013 fifth-round pick will continue his role as a change of pace back who, barring an injury to another back, will continue to average four or five rushing attempts per game.

Perhaps Brown can earn a regular role but for the time being he seems destined to playing special teams when he is active on game days.

Since Perine hasn’t even put on a helmet yet it is difficult to project what his workload will be. However, if he is the player the organization believes it drafted he likely will get more than the 99 carries that Jones got this year.

If he does get, say 8-10 carries per game in short yardage and in relief of Kelley that should make it more of a true committee. While Gruden may go with the hot hand and one back may get significantly more action in a given game than the other, it wouldn’t be surprising to see each back getting 40 to 45 percent of the tailback carries with Thompson getting most of the rest. 

MORE REDSKINS: Roster shuffle will continue through rookie camp, OTAs

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Chase Young or Tua Tagovailoa? NFL Draft provides plenty of intriguing betting options

Chase Young or Tua Tagovailoa? NFL Draft provides plenty of intriguing betting options

With live sporting events on the shelf for the foreseeable future, the eyes of the sports world will be glued to the NFL Draft on April 23. 
And that means the eyes of the sports betting world will also be all over the NFL Draft. There are countless wagers to be made on the draft and I will take a look at a handful over the next couple weeks.

Who will be the second overall pick?
Chase Young (Ohio St.) -715
Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama) +400
Joe Burrow (LSU) +3300
Justin Herbert (Oregon) +3300
Isaiah Simmons (Clemson) +3300

Despite a new coaching staff in town, I would be stunned if the Redskins used the second overall pick on Tua Tagovailoa. But does that mean Chase Young is a lock to be the second pick? Not necessarily. 

The Redskins do not have a second-round pick this year after moving back into the first round last year to select Montez Sweat. Washington head coach Ron Rivera has said that not having a second-round pick is a “burden.” However, talking to reporters on Tuesday, Rivera struck an interesting tone. 
“If you're going to make a trade and you're going to go back, that guy you're going to take at that spot has to be able to make the kind of impact you need to validate missing an opportunity to take a player that's a high-impact guy,” Rivera said. 

It sounds like Young is the guy, but it doesn’t completely rule out a trade. If Miami wants Tua, they have the assets to move up. The Dolphins own six of the first 70 picks in the NFL Draft: No. 5, 18, 26, 39, 56, 70. Miami also has three fifth-round picks and three seventh-round picks.

Come the night of April 23, I do believe the Redskins will select Young, the Ohio State defensive end and DeMatha Catholic alum. But if you’re putting money down, is it worth the risk? At -715, you have to put down $715 to make $100. 


We have seen plenty of examples of organizations trading up to get the quarterback of the future. In 2016, the Rams moved from 15 to secure Jared Goff with the first overall pick and the Eagles made multiple trades to get to two and select Carson Wentz in the same draft. The odds on Chase Young are too rich for my blood. 

My official play: Pass

What team will draft Tua Tagovailoa?
Miami Dolphins -110
Los Angeles Chargers +160
Washington Redskins +1100
Jacksonville Jaguars +1100

While we all would love to hit on an 11-1 long shot, I don’t think the Redskins (or the Jaguars) are going to draft Tua Tagovailoa. This is a two-team race between the Dolphins and the Chargers. Miami has been searching for a franchise quarterback since Dan Marino retired in 2000. The franchise passed on signing Drew Brees in 2006 due to concerns over his injured shoulder and opted for Dante Culpepper instead. In 2012, the Dolphins used the eighth overall pick on Ryan Tannehill. He is now a Tennessee Titan. 

Can Miami afford to miss on another quarterback? How healthy is Tua's hip? Do the Dolphins like Oregon’s Justin Herbert more than Tua? ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. recently said “there has been some buzz around Herbert to Miami, but it's still early.”

These are all legitimate questions to think about when deciding if you want to put some money down on the Dolphins.

What about the Chargers? Does Los Angeles, a team with a small fan base, need to make a splash in the draft? 

If the Detroit Lions use the third pick and Tua is still available at four, I would not be surprised if the Chargers called the Giants and traded up to select the former Alabama quarterback.

While I understand there has been a lot of smoke recently about the Dolphins not being in love with Tua and there are legitimate concerns with his injury history…it makes too much sense.

My official play: Dolphins -110

First Wide Receiver selected?
Jerry Jeudy (Alabama) -121
CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma) +175
Henry Ruggs III (Alabama) +250

The 2020 NFL Draft wide receiver class is loaded. There are plenty of quality players at the position to be had on the second and third days of the draft. That said, three players will go in the top half of the first round. But, who will go first? 

If you search, one mock draft will say Jerry Jeudy, another will say CeeDee Lamb, and a third will say Henry Ruggs III. The New York Jets own the 11th overall pick and after losing Robby Anderson, New York will likely be in the market for a top tier wide receiver. The Las Vegas Raiders at 12 need help at wide receiver and the San Francisco 49ers, who traded DeForest Buckner to Indianapolis for the 13th pick, lost Emmanuel Sanders to free agency. There is a good chance all three will be gone 13. 

Another team to keep an eye is the Denver Broncos at 15. Could John Elway look to trade up to add another weapon for Drew Lock?

This comes down to value here. Ruggs ran a blazing 4.27 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. While he is not considered the most complete receiver in the draft, I could see a team being enamored by his speed. Additionally, there has also been some steam on Ruggs being the first receiver selected. I personally played Ruggs being the first wide receiver selected at +400 two weeks ago. I still believe there is value there now.

My official play: Henry Ruggs III +250

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

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Should the Redskins follow the recent trend and update their uniforms?

Should the Redskins follow the recent trend and update their uniforms?

The first wave of NFL free agency is in the books and the NFL Draft is still a couple of weeks away, meaning there is some downtime in the league's offseason right now.

There's even more time now in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic with stay-at-home orders in almost every city in the United States.

So earlier this week, two NFC South teams took advantage of the unexpected free time and released updated uniform designs. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released three different uniforms on Tuesday that were a little bit of a throwback style, similar to the uniforms the squad wore in the early 2000s. A day later, the Atlanta Falcons released a completely new arsenal of jerseys and they were quite controversial. Even another NFC South opponent took the opportunity to troll the new Falcons design on Twitter.

The Redskins have made minor alterations to their uniforms over the years, but they've had the same basic design since 1983. So, is it time for the Burgundy and Gold to join the recent trend and give the fans a new design?

Honestly, there's no better time to make a change.

The team is entering a new era of Redskins football. Longtime team president Bruce Allen has been ousted, along with head athletic trainer Larry Hess. The team has brought in well-respected head coach Ron Rivera to turn the culture around in Ashburn, and there's more optimism surrounding Redskins Park than there has been in years. Heck, even the team's official Twitter account reads "new vibe. new szn. new rivERA."

If the Redskins were to release new uniforms, they have two options: rebrand an old uniform (there are several good ones to choose from), or completely make a new design. Let's start with the first option.

Over the past decade, the Redskins have sported four regular uniform combinations: Burgundy jersey with gold pants; burgundy jersey with white pants; white jersey with burgundy pants; and white jersey with gold pants. 

The team has shied away from a burgundy-on-burgundy or a white-on-white look, arguably the two cleanest uniform combinations the Redskins currently have. Bringing these back would be a super easy, yet worthwhile change.

The one-color uniform was worn often by the Redskins during the 2000s, as some of the team's best memories with Clinton Portis, Santana Moss and Sean Taylor came in the white-on-whites. Multiple current Redskins still love the white-on-white design and sported the look at practice at times last season.

But if Washington was to alter the uniform design slightly, it wouldn't have to look far to find an easy solution. Some of the Redskins throwback uniforms could easily be modernized, and as a result, be turned into one of the cleanest looks in football.


The helmet is one of the easiest things that could be upgraded, and the Redskins have two options they could turn to.

During the 1960s, the Redskins wore a spear on the side of their helmet. It was fierce, intimidating and clean. The spear is one of the Redskins' best helmets in franchise history. The spear was last donned during the Steve Spurrier era, but only as an alternate. 

The other helmet the Redskins could revert back to would be the classic 'R' logo, inspired by Vince Lombardi. The Redskins wore this helmet for just two seasons in the early 1970s, but it certainly made its mark on the fans. It has also been used as a Redskins alternate uniform but not on a game day since 2007.

This uniform as a whole deserves to be modernized and brought back. The retro logo is terrific, as are the yellow helmets, single red stripe and gray facemasks. The striping on the shoulder pad, meanwhile, looks nice, and the red numbers set on top of the pristine white jersey complete it all.

Of course, the team could also release a completely new design that no Redskins fan has seen before. With the burgundy, gold and white color scheme, the Redskins certainly would have options with a new design. 

But if the Redskins were to learn one thing from recent uniform releases, avoid gradient color meshes. It doesn't look good. If you don't believe me, just ask the Falcons or Jaguars.

Deion Sanders once said, "If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good."

Well, maybe it's time for the Redskins to listen to Primetime.

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