Interestingly, the work Jones put in with trainers seemed more focused on his legs than his shoulder, which Jones explained as a way to keep his legs strong when he's not taking reps with the first team offense. More importantly, Jones feels like his injury is moving along quickly.
"It's feeling pretty good. I'm moving fast in my healing process right now," Jones said. "I'm taking big strides."
Jones has been shutdown from playing in preseason games. The story said his shoulder wasn't in a sling nor did he seem to be in discomfort. All good signs he should be ready for Week 1.
Doctson has slowly been increasing his rehab work in an effort to get back to the field prior to Washington’s regular season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 12.
“He did the route tree today, which is very positive – not 100 percent yet obviously – he’s not running full-speed but he’s doing a lot more now than he did a week ago, which the progress that we see is a very, very good sign for us,” Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said on Tuesday. “I have total expectation that he’s going to be ready Week 1, possibly the fourth preseason game, but we’ll still see. Like I said, it’s a new injury to me.”
Doctson has been dealing with an Achilles injury for a few months now that forced him to watch the entirety of his first professional training camp from the sidelines. While he was only able to do some catching and light calisthenics, Gruden believes Doctson is “in good shape right now mentally,” the story said. Fantasy potential is certainly there for Doctson, especially of the run game continues to struggle for the Redskins, and also considering DeSean Jackson has had his share of injuries recently. The concern right now is chemistry with Kirk Cousins and trying to catch up.
Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed said he will play against the Buffalo Bills on Friday. He did not suit up during Washington’s first two preseason games against the Atlanta Falcons and the New York Jets because of a sprained left thumb, although Reed said he’s been practicing for the past two weeks.
Redskins Coach Jay Gruden has been cautious with Reed’s injury that he suffered during training camp in Richmond. Reed was active during individual drills and during 1-on-1s at the start of Monday’s practice.
Reed said he feels physically fine leading up to the Bills game. It’ll be his first opportunity to face a live-tackling situation this season in what will be the offense’s dress rehearsal game. He one of our top TE picks and poised for another big season as long as he remains healthy.
Redskins RB Matt Jones suffered an AC joint sprain in his left shoulder in the first quarter of last Friday’s preseason game against the Jets and didn’t return to the game. On Monday, coach Jay Gruden said that Jones will not play in either of the team’s two remaining preseason contest.
As for the regular season, Gruden said, via CSNMidAtlantic.com, that he has “high hopes” that Jones will be recovered in time to take the field against the Steelers on September 12.
The team has been rumored to be looking for outside help and now that may especially be true with this news. Undrafted rookie Rob Kelley has run 10 times for 48 yards in the preseason and Gruden indicated he’ll get a look with the first team along with seventh-round pick Keith Marshall with third-down back Chris Thompson also on hand, the story said.
While Marshall is listed as the No. 3 running back on the Redskins’ current unofficial depth chart, Kelley could get some work with the first- and second-team offensive units to see how he responds. With Jones banged up (AC joint), this is a key fantasy position to keep an eye on. Jones should be OK for the season, but if he gets hurt again at some point, the team's RB3 could get some significant work with Thompson likely remaining a third down back and change of pace option.
Redskin running backs actually fared better than I originally thought while watching the game. Maybe that’s a function of low expectations, but in general there was more to build on than in the game against the Falcons.
That’s not to say “problem solved” but just that at least it wasn’t a lost cause. There were more yards after contact, for example. Matt Jones' biggest issue, of course, is durability. But he showed more of what he could do, less stutter-stepping through holes. There was at least one run in which Jones again opted to try to bounce rather than lower his shoulder against a defensive back; coaches don’t like that. So it wasn’t perfect and I still have big questions about the run game this season, but there were more positives than in the preseason opener.
Of course the big issues is Jones now has a banged up shoulder and the team doesn't really have a clear, proven backup. However, it's a bit of good news for the run game it made some progress in Preseason Week 2, at least according to this author. Washington isn't giving up on the run, but many feel the team is poised to throw a lot again in 2016.
Their starting running back left the game after being tackled on the sideline late in the first quarter. The second-year player suffered a sprain to his left AC joint.
“Just a little bruised up,” said Jones after the game. “Somebody landed on my shoulder. I was going down on my shoulder anyway but somebody landed on it.”
Jones said that he has no history of shoulder injuries and that he really doesn’t have a good feel for how serious this one might be. Although he minimized the pain he was in he appeared to have difficulty raising his elbow up to the level of his chest.
The problem here is that the Redskins have little proven depth at the running back position. Rookies Keith Marshall and Robert Kelley are currently second and third (not necessarily in that order) on the depth chart. Neither was particularly impressive against the Jets with Marshall gaining 26 yards on 10 carries and Kelley gaining eight yards on three carries, the story said. There has been talk of the Skins bringing in another back and Pierre Thomas has been mentioned. Chris Thompson has admitted he's more of a change of pace, third down back than a direct backup to Jones. If Jones misses time, this has the looks of a committee situation, at least right now.
Jones returned to the bench, which is probably a good sign. Our injury expert, Russell Manalastas, says this: "Depends on severity, but reports of him in a sling is just precautionary. Minor sprain 1-2 weeks, more significant 2-4 weeks. The Sports Injury Clinic: "A grade 1, 2 or 3 injury is usually treated conservatively without surgery. Grade 4,5 and 6 injuries and grade 3 sprains which do not respond to treatment usually require surgery." For now, we'll assume that he's going to miss 1-2 games to start the season. Chris Thompson is the 3rd-down/change of pace back. Rob Kelley came in as the primary back once Jones left the game.
Steelers running back LeVeon Bell has been suspended three games by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
The running back was facing a four-game suspension but appealed to the league. Though Bell will be eligible to practice and play with the team through the preseason, he will miss the team’s first three regular-season games against the Washington Redskins, Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles.
This will boost Bell's projections, but he's still a little dicey as a 1st round pick since he'll miss the first three games of the year. He has extra value in leagues where more than half the teams make the playoffs. He's also recovering from MCL and PCL tears but recently declared himself 100 percent, for what it's worth.
The problem with the running game might not be the ball carriers. There were not many openings for the running backs against the Falcons and it’s hard for the best of backs to gain much yardage without blocking.
Matt Jones is still the starter and he has said all of the right things and he has looked pretty good in practice.
“We’re going to keep working on it,” said head coach Jay Gruden. “We’re not going to panic in the first preseason game but we also understand that in these games you are who you are and what you put on tape. We’ve got to make sure that we continue to work on it and get better at it. That’s all you can do.”
Jones appears to be the clear starter but the team doesn't appear to be over it's rushing struggles. Right now, Christ Thompson is the backup to Jones but the story said Thompson admitted he's better off as a third down back, which means the team could possible bring in Pierre Thomas once again. Some of the younger backs looked good against second and third teamers, but that may not translate against first team defenses once the season starts. This is something we've been hearing since the spring: the Skins may have to take to the air more often than they would like again in 2016.
With tight end Jordan Reed aligned in a tight slot position to the right and running back Chris Thompson split further outside, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins pounced on a defensive move. When safety DeAngelo Hall walked up to the line of scrimmage across from Reed, Cousins called an audible.
It turned into a touchdown pass, though if there had been officials it might have been a pick play (can’t rewind practice tape to check it if you don’t have it). But once Hall crept to the line, the Redskins changed to what amounted to a screen by Thompson. That freed Reed to run to the corner and catch Cousins’ pass.
As the story said, it was an example of how quickly the offense can adjust to a move by the defense. And the story said it's not just Cousins, but the entire offense. Something to keep in mind is Cousins, Reed and Thompson are in their third year in this offense, so they quickly were able to change their assignments.
Washington Redskins rookie Josh Doctson will remain sidelined at least another week or two because of an Achilles injury suffered in late May, according to multiple sources. But there is a sense that his left foot is improving and there’s still hope that he’ll be ready for the season opener.
Doctson injured his Achilles in an organized team activity session on May 25 and was placed on the physically unable to perform list before training camp.
The Redskins had said two weeks ago that they had hoped Doctson would return within one to two weeks. Since then, he’s been limited to mostly catching passes, which is why the new timetable comes as no surprise. Once his foot is healthy, Doctson would then have to work himself into playing shape. Last week, Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan told SiriusXM NFL Radio the injury is “not going to be a long-term thing.”
It's not as if the Packers' running game was deficient last season; they ranked 12th overall in the league in rushing yards per game (115.6). But McCarthy wants to start this season the way they finished last year. They averaged 131.0 yards rushing per game over the final six games, including playoffs. In the two playoff games, they rushed for 141 yards against the Redskins and 132 yards against the Cardinals.
"We wanted to run the ball,” McCarthy said. “Eddie Lacy and James Starks is our 1-2 punch. That's been an excellent combination now going into our third year with those two guys. It's important to establish that and make sure those guys touch the football."
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden is confident that the team’s run game can complement a lethal passing attack this season.
And not until the third quarter did the yards on the ground start to come in bunches, as the Redskins had just 12 rushing yards on their first nine carries before finishing the evening with 79 yards on 24 carries.
“We are going to stick with it,” Gruden said. “We are going to fix it. We have to get our line coming off better. We have to get it to the right people. Atlanta played very good defense. They loaded up the box and did a nice job stopping us. That is no excuse we have to run the ball better.”
The Skins run game only got better later in the game. After Jones played in just the first series of the game, Chris Thompson and 2016 seventh-round pick Keith Marshall worked with Colt McCoy and the second-team offense, although neither running back was able to do much when the ball was placed in their hands. Against Atlanta’s third-team defense, though, rookie Robert Kelley and 2015 practice squad member Mack Brown sliced up the Falcons. Running the ball was a problem last year, and some who follow the team think it will continue this year. Those same beat writers think the team will have to throw the ball with Kirk Cousins and a talented WR corps.
"It's his overall command of the offense," Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay said.
"Kirk has done a nice job of handling it," McVay said. "You start to see him understand where the progression takes him based on that coverage and understanding situationally how aggressive I can be on certain window-type throws and how whether second or third down alters my approach and how I attack a play."
For now, the signs of growth are evident to them and Cousins himself.
"A better understanding of the nuances," Cousins said. "The basic design of plays I've always understood from Day 1. But there are so many nuances and unique situations that only experienced players and quarterbacks are able to navigate properly. So just continuing to get put in those situations and react and make quick decisions and the right ones is where I'm continuing to grow."
Cousins was the #17 QB through the first seven weeks of the season, but really started to produce after his Week 8 bye, averaging 20.9 PPG in his final nine games. That was the 4th-highest per game average during that stretch. He averaged 9.28 YPA in that span and threw at a 4318-yard, 36-TD pace. The team added Josh Doctson to an already talented receiving corps, so Cousins could offer top 10 numbers again in 2016.
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