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Need to Know: Will Matt Jones have a big role for the Redskins?

May 9, 2015, 5:38 AM EDT

Matt Jones Florida-2

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 8, 82 days before the Washington Redskins open training camp in Richmond, VA.

Three and out

Thoughts on the Redskins as they continue to tinker with their roster in preparation for OTAs starting later this month.

1. Scot McCloughan was quite effusive in his praise of Matt Jones on Thursday, comparing his third-round draft pick to Marshawn Lynch. I don’t know about that, but the high praise does hint at a big role for Jones, at least in relation to the very light role that tailbacks not named Alfred Morris have had in the last three years. I’ll put the top end at 115 carries, 500 yards. If Morris’ production returns to what it was in 2013 (276 carries/1275 yards) the Redskins would have quite the potent running attack.

2. If Adam Hayward, Martrell Spaight, and Will Compton are battling for two jobs as inside linebacker reserves, I’m not so sure I’d write off Hayward’s chances of sticking around. He was the special teams captain before getting injured last year and he was instrumental in getting some of the younger players to buy in to what they were doing. The special teams improved from historically awful to merely bad last year and if they are going to continue to get better I think that Hayward needs to stay. So it could be Spaight against Compton for the remaining reserve spot.

3. Free agency may not be over for the Redskins. You’d have to think that they are looking for a free safety to back up Dashon Goldson after not getting a long-term solution in the draft. Teams are adjusting their rosters now but there doesn’t appear to be anyone out there who they would be comfortable with. Keep an eye on the waiver wire; the backup free safety could arrive on the roster anytime between now and a week before the season starts.

Out: The Redskins already have some of their draft picks under contract (as of this writing, Austin Reiter and Tevin Mitchel) and all of them are likely to be under contract before rookie camp starts on Friday. The lockout of 2011 was a drag but the rookie pay scale is the best thing to come out of it. Rookie training camp holdouts were dumb since most of the time the offers didn’t budge and the draft pick signed for the same money he would have had before missing a week or more of valuable camp time.

Timeline

—It’s been 132 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 127 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 38; Redskins training camp starts 82; Redskins @ Giants 138

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. bk70 - May 9, 2015 at 5:58 AM

    Nice article! I’d love to see the team have over 2000 yards rushing spread out among the backs. As far as linebackers, don’t you believe they will keep a total of 9 (4 OLB and 5 ILB). There’s room for Riley, Robinson, Haywood, Compton and Spaight on the inside. Most likely Kerrigan, Murphy, Smith and Jeffcoat on the outside. One or two others should be held over for the practice squad. Like you, I’m still looking for additional players to come on to the roster as long term solutions for free safety and nose tackle. I do believe we’ll be OK at those positions in the interim.

    Do any of the undrafted free agents stand out to you? Lot of press about Takoby Cofield OT, Corey Crawford DE and Connor Halliday QB. Practice squad should have a lot of quality replacements for future.

  2. Stephfan - May 9, 2015 at 6:03 AM

    Matt I think will have a very small role

  3. troylok - May 9, 2015 at 7:43 AM

    Rich, I had not thought about it but you are right. The rookie pay scale is a good deal for football. Rookie holdouts were stupid and they set back the development of the players. Players aren’t getting the money they would have gotten under the old system, but it makes sense from the viewpoint of handing big, big money to players who were not yet proven at the professional level.

    Now, if the NFL could exercise some of that intelligence to shrink the rule book, that would be awesome.

  4. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - May 9, 2015 at 8:46 AM

    No. 3 pick Dante Fowler suffers season-ending ACL injury at first practice

    Dang.
    ~

    • kenlinkins - May 9, 2015 at 2:01 PM

      I also saw where Gregory could not finish his first day at Dallas rookie camp. Both of these were guys were mocked to the Redskins by many expects. Maybe our new GM knows what he is doing or maybe he is just lucky but either way I like we Redskins fans are not already questioning our picks.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - May 9, 2015 at 2:58 PM

        No one can forecast a ACL injury so yeah the GM was lucky that the JAGs were not bullish on Leonard Williams. However, being drafted by the Redskins would not have guaranteed he’d had the same injury so early in his career. What a devastating lost for the JAGs and my heart goes out to them.

  5. shermanp79 - May 9, 2015 at 9:51 AM

    With the idea this team needs more talent, all the Rookies should have a role. When you look around the league and see all the young guys helping, it has to start happening here. It sounds like they took guys with a role in mind, let them get on the field. We are building for future success, they are only learning so much on the bench. The good teams will figure out what young guys do best, then put them in a role they can be successful. Look at the SB, both teams had Rookies making an impact. In SEA they even had an UDFA WR putting up big stats. We took Jones in the 3rd round, where starting RB are easily found. They should get him over 100 carries, I would use him more than just a short yardage guy. Let him in on 1st downs, if his hands are good, get a back in early that can catch and give more options. I don’t see him as a 3rd down guy, he is slower than Morris or at best similar speed. We brought in an UDFA who I think will challenge Thompson, he is a Sproles type back. He is a bit slower but same quickness and agility. He could return KO if Crowder is more of a punt return guy.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - May 9, 2015 at 3:05 PM

      Matt Jones (4.61) ran a better 40 than Alfred Morris (4.67). I’m not saying that translates to speed on the field but with Jones’ size advantage and faster time, he will most likely be faster than Morris.

  6. obxskins - May 9, 2015 at 10:12 AM

    God read Rich…Hayward got the young guys to buy in to special teams? Then we probably need a new teacher with all due respect..unless they fell off when he got hurt..everyone knows special teams was one of the worse in the NFL. I do agree about us finding or signing a back up at safety. Thanks for your work Rich. #HTTR

    • obxskins - May 9, 2015 at 10:17 AM

      GOOD read, God read it too probably, LOL!

      • brucefan1 - May 9, 2015 at 7:12 PM

        READ it…I thought God WROTE it?!

        At least, A god.;^}

  7. mr.moneylover - May 9, 2015 at 11:24 AM

    I think matt jones will have a big role because he know how to pass protect something that alfred morris struggle in …martrell spaights is a long shot to get cut I have a gut feeling perry Riley will not be our starter week 1 they looking for other players hard that plays his postion…perry Riley is not a starter he just a good average backup keenan Robinson looked and played his postion better then perry Riley did I wouldnt be surprise if scot m. Or jay gruden might plug martrell Spaights in next to keenan Robinson…I think perry Riley got burned to many times when he try to cover tight ends or WR ryan clark gone now perry Riley must go or put him on special teams

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - May 9, 2015 at 3:09 PM

      I don’t now if we found a answer yet to replacing Riley. Spaights has shown no evidence of defending the pass effectively in his college career and as a rookie is not going to be ready to be a starter.

    • brucefan1 - May 9, 2015 at 7:22 PM

      If there is anything that Perry Riley is NOT doing at this point in his career that would make him better player if he did (not saying that IS the case…just saying IF it is), than he better start doing it now, right from the first OTA — cuz it might be a safe assumption that if he doesn’t step up his all-around game he could soon be on the outside of Redskin Park, looking in.

      (Actually, even if he is doing all he possibly can, but will never be any better of an ILB than he is now, he might soon be shown the door anyway.)

      • mr.moneylover - May 9, 2015 at 9:25 PM

        Yea hes a average LB I think we can find somebody else that can play his postion better..and for the ppl who expect his lack of improving then they want the team to fail…he was given the starting job last year cause of knowing the playbook….Keenan Robinson didnt know all the plays in his first year but when he got on that football field he show hustle witch made him not look so bad same as will compton but my point is if you show hustle and effort you can get a starting job…perry riley job is up for competition may the best man win

  8. abanig - May 9, 2015 at 1:17 PM

    I think Matt Jones is going to shock people honestly. They never had a pass offense to help out the running backs in Florida, my thinking is he’s going to be a way better pro than college player. I agree with Rich about his production and he could be Alfred’s replacement in the future.

    I definitley think Adam Hayward is going to make the team, it wouldn’t shock me if they kept all 3 back up ilbs because they are all good special teams players.

    I guess it’s possible they sign a FA FS still, but I think it’s just as possible that they’re comfortable with the guys they have at safety and see Jeron Johnson as someone who can play both FS & SS. They also probably trust Trenton Robinson as he’s proven to be a good special teams player and made some plays at safety over the last few years. I’m also still not ruling out a move of David Amerson to FS. Coming out some scouts felt he’d fit better at FS. Since we have Goldson starting, Amerson can learn and develop behind him for a year or two and possibly be our future starting FS.

    • Agent Smith - May 10, 2015 at 11:36 PM

      Amerson would do well at FS. Much better fit than at CB.

  9. kenlinkins - May 9, 2015 at 2:33 PM

    My U of Fla. connection tells me the Redskins are going to like this kid Matt Jones. Said he has the right stuff to play in the NFL, is raw but will not back down and willing to put in the time required to learn the pro game. Is tuff to a fault and doesn’t mind contact (something way too many of the Redskins Special Team members seem to stay away from). Said he runs a pretty nice “Draw” and “Screen” play (something missing from the Redskins for a while now) and has no fear “hooking” over the middle for a pass. Pass blocking is good (not great) but will always get a in front of “free running rusher” and put heart into the hit. Reminds him a bit of Duane Thomas system of running (picks his way though the hole upright and leans side to side a lot, uses arm to help clear the way forward) but unlike Thomas doesn’t square himself to impacts and takes them on the side of shoulders. It did him a year to get squared way at Gator land and learn it took more than just running the ball to be a starter. IMO this kid is good but not polished in any way yet and will spend most of his time on Special Teams in 2015.

    • brucefan1 - May 9, 2015 at 7:31 PM

      DUANE THOMAS! Now that is a blast from the past!

      The Sphinx was BA — and a helluva player when he wanted to be. Too bad he was so whacked …and self-destructive!

      Ended up his NFL career in B&G ta boot!

      If Jones could be something like Thomas (physically — NOT mentally! LOL) Mac would have pulled off a major heist with this pick!

  10. redskinsnameisheretostay - May 9, 2015 at 2:50 PM

    I’m not sure if anyone has touched on this yet: It is not yet known how effective Alfred Morris will be under a new power blocking scheme. AM is one of my favorite Redskins and still the only Jersey I have from any player in the last 7 years.

    AM was designed for the zone blocking run scheme Shanahan introduced and Gruden continued last year. I have a lot of trust in AM’s patient running style and ability to read blocks. However, with power blocking; holes open up much quicker and he’ll have to run right at defenders; where in zone blocking, defenders momentum normally moved them along the lines. The run blocking for this team is going to continue to change where zone blocking will completely disappear. As a result, I actually think Morris could have a bigger drop in run attempts than Rich suggest.

    • bangkokben - May 9, 2015 at 8:44 PM

      Kyle Shanahan touched on it toward the end of 2013 when he said that Alf was not a system back and that he would thrive in any system.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - May 10, 2015 at 10:55 AM

        Kyle Shanahan is not among the current staff

        • bangkokben - May 10, 2015 at 4:17 PM

          Yes. This staff is deliberately saying nothing. Nothing you can point to either way. I suspect they have their doubts about Morris – enough so to draft in the 3rd round.

  11. goback2rfk - May 9, 2015 at 8:51 PM

    Matt will come in on some 3rd downs I think. He can catch the ball pretty well out of the back field. Might get him going in the short passing game. Get some easy dump off throws to build RG3’s confidence.

  12. Agent Smith - May 10, 2015 at 11:32 PM

    I still feel the pick was a bit of a reach in the third round, but I’m very excited about Matt Jones. I think he’s got great potential in short yardage situations where the Redskins might pass instead. Jones’ massive size presents a problem for opposing LBs, do they key on him in short yardage, or if they pass rush, they might have to work that much harder for the sack as Jones is known as an excellent blocker. So yeah, second and short, third and short, I like Jones in there, if to do nothing else than to keep opposing LBs honest and for Jones to pass protect.

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