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.
The way he entered college was far different than how he landed in the NFL. Keith Marshall was a big-time recruit, wooed by college heavyweights and celebrated by Georgia when he committed. In the NFL, he was a seventh-round pick by the Washington Redskins who's trying to earn a roster spot.
It’s quite a change for Marshall. But it’s one that he’s OK with because two things remain: his confidence and his speed.
“I never felt that I wasn’t good enough,” he said.
The early returns have been good for Marshall, coming off a solid day Monday. There’s a long way to go as he won’t play his first preseason game until Thursday -- in Atlanta, where he hopes to show what he can do.
Marshall is firmly entrenched among the Redskins’ top three backs, along with starter Matt Jones and backup Chris Thompson. There's a gap between this group and the rest, multiple sources say, with undrafted free-agent fullback Joe Kerridge garnering some attention. Another undrafted free agent, running back Robert Kelley, also will be one to watch.
Matt Jones is the likely top dog in the running backs corps as the Washington Redskins head into training camp, but there are concerns.
And while the 23-year-old running back, who rushed for 480 rushing yards, three touchdowns and 3.4 yards per carry last season, is expected to be a factor from Week 1, the concerns are enough to evaluate the rest of the running back depth.
Coach Jay Gruden did not rule out the possibility Wednesday that the team could add another veteran free agent to compete with the group.
Jones' surgically repaired hip and his fumbling issues are the main concerns. After the team moved on from Alfred Morris during free agency, it is thin on experienced running backs. Keep an eye on this situation, whomever the team gets could end up with significant work. Thompson is more used in the passing game and likely isn't a heavy-workload back.
Besides the quarterback, the player on offense under the most pressure to perform this year will be Matt Jones. The team let Alfred Morris walk in free agency and they waited until the seventh round to draft his replacement. And at this point the often injured, lightly used Keith Marshall isn’t even a sure bet to make the team. Jones will need to stay healthy while averaging 15-20 carries per game, add about a yard to the 3.4 per carry average he posted last year, and make fumbles very rare occurrences.
Jones had a few moments as a rookie, but they were mostly in the passing game, where he averaged 16.0 yards per catch on 19 receptions. As a runner, he averaged 3.4 YPC on 144 totes. It appears that he'll be the primary running back, though Chris Thompson led the Washington running backs with 35 receptions last season and may form a committee by taking over most of the third-down work.