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Rookie running back Jones is making some noise in Redskins camp

Aug 9, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

Matt-Jones-camp

RICHMOND—Coaches don’t expect rookies to be perfect. But they do expect them to listen to what they say. It looks like Matt Jones is listening to his coaches.

During OTAs, when the players were not wearing any pads, Jones was being too physical, lowering his shoulder to finish off runs. Gruden said that they asked him to ease off, concerned that the 6-2, 231-lb. back would injure some defenders. Jones eased off and there were no injury issues during the offseason program.

When they arrived in Richmond for practice in pads, Gruden became concerned that Jones was maintaining his habits and being soft at the end of his runs.

“Randy [Jordan] and Scot [McCloughan] and myself, he’s been challenged a little bit to finish some runs,” Gruden said on Friday. “A lot of the times in these practices you’re not sure how to finish runs, but we want him to finish violently. That’s what type of guy he is and he did that today, so I was excited to see Matt.”

What did Jones do that was so exciting on Friday? During the joint practice against the Texans, he rolled around the left end and headed up the sideline. Cornerback Kevin Johnson, Houston’s first-round draft pick, tried to stop him. Jones is three inches taller and about 45 pounds. The result was predictable and it was captured here:

Jones’ run drew hoots and hollers from the Redskins along the sideline, from both offensive and defensive players.

Mowing over Johnson wasn’t the only good play Jones made on Friday.

“He had a couple of really good cuts in the hole, unblocked,” said Gruden. “We had a poor assignment on a defensive end. We didn’t block him and he made him miss in the hole. He made a great positive run in one of the run periods. He had a much better day today than he did yesterday.”

Jones’ style hasn’t drawn universal acclaim. Early in camp it seemed like the defenders were delivering some extra licks on Jones, perhaps in part to welcome the rookie to the NFL and in part to deliver some payback for the no-pads blows that Jones delivered in the spring. They run that de-cleated Johnson may have precipitated the brawl that took place at yesterday’s practice with the Texans.

If Jones keeps up the physical style during preseason games and when Week 1 comes around it will be difficult to keep him off of the field.

  1. mr.moneylover - Aug 9, 2015 at 10:47 AM

    I heard repeatedly friday he made the DBs quit cause of his physical style and texans coaches didnt like the fact redskins was bein the more physical team so Saturday nacho said during warm up when they was seperated they walked on they side and Interrupted and some redskins players took that as a sign of disrespect so when they started practicing against one another redskins players said the texans was bein overly aggressive like stuff after the whistle so redskins gave them they own medicine in return and they didnt like it so thats when the brawls started but it really started when the texans players was talking trash to redskins players for bein physical in friday I herd scot m. Love it and it show they wont back down to nobody… He did say when you play the redskins this year you will be very soar the next day

  2. bangkokben - Aug 9, 2015 at 11:01 AM

    As good as Jones has looked, according to guys like B Mitch and Doc Walker, he’s no where near Alfred Morris. Still it would be good to have a heavy hammer to loosen up the defense some more.

    • ET - Aug 9, 2015 at 12:16 PM

      He’s going to be fun to watch. And if nothing else, Jones (and Thompson, fingers crossed) can give Morris some breathers. If this backfield can stay healthy and execute well, they’ll be pretty durn good.

    • sidepull - Aug 9, 2015 at 2:29 PM

      Yup, its training camp and you can make all the noise you want. He has a long way to go to be the back Alf has proven to be for 3 straight years with little to no help from the line. Well two years anyways. Alf doesn’t get dinged up and miss multiple games, Alf is low key, Alk is the type of guy you want on your team. So I would say go get em Jones but the book on him is just getting started and hopefully he will be as good as Alf one day. For now I hope he keeps delivering more slobberknockers.

      • mr.moneylover - Aug 9, 2015 at 2:46 PM

        Go look at the tape and numbers and I bet u will change your mind on alfred morris…the first year I was like yeah alfred morris the best running back in the league now hes far off and own run the ball well in garage time the good news is alfred morris played in a power run scheme in college from what I was told so this new scheme probably will help his numbers get back up to they was in 2012

        • Johnny B. - Aug 9, 2015 at 3:20 PM

          Alfs production was off the last 2 years because of the o-line. Getting stopped before the play began will cause any back to drop production. If you cut his stops in half and take the lost yards and make them positive yards Alf would have had a very good year. That will show this year with over 1500 yards.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 9, 2015 at 3:49 PM

          If you look at the recent statistics on AM then you’d know he was hit in the back field last season far more than any other back under a minimum number of carriers. In spite of getting hit the most often behind the line he still managed the 2nd best average runs per hit behind the line among the group. That should make clear two things: 1) AM is still breaking tackles as well if not better than 2012. 2) AM was not getting the blocking he had in 2012.

          So I think reviewing the tape and those number should change your mind on Alfred Morris.

        • Rich Tandler - Aug 10, 2015 at 9:08 AM

          How often did Alfred Morris get hit in the backfield because Alfred Morris didn’t go to the right spot? Probably more than you think.

    • mr.moneylover - Aug 9, 2015 at 2:56 PM

      I think matt jones will eventually be better then Alfred Morris he might need a year under his belt…at the end of the year come holler at me I bet you wont be so high on alfred morris…me and john keim seen the tape and its plays were he suppose to block so rg3 won’t get sack and the lack of effort he showed is the reason scot m. reached to get matt jones in the third round…wake up ppl alfred morris had a great training camp last year but when it came to playing games he didnt care for blocking for rg3 or catching the ball

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 9, 2015 at 4:11 PM

        I don’t think anyone doubts Matt Jones is a big strong man and he can add another physical element to the running game. I’ve seen the “tape” on Jones and I can also see some shiftiness to him that many may not realize about a man his size. However, his style is very physical and questions of durability are large at this point. He doesn’t need to beat out AM, both need to compliment each other and spell one another. Games are played with many running backs today for a reason. The only thing faster than the average career of a running back is the life of a fruit fly. Honestly, I hope the best for Matt Jones but I’ve seen far too many instances like now when a someone jumps on a guy and touts his greatness before even a single preseason game is played. If you watch tape then you should also know his has an injury history for a reason.

        I’m excited about Matt as well but I don’t see the need to proclaim him as a future star running back over a player who has been nothing but a professional since he showed up in 2012. A player how played behind another one Gruden’s porous blocking schemes. Maybe you will be right and he can become a true replacement. What’s most important is for use to regain an elite running game to aid RG3 and the passing game. However, I think you are making claims about Matt Jones more on a hunch than and any facts he has shown on tape.

    • mr.moneylover - Aug 9, 2015 at 3:04 PM

      Let me catch you up…Alfred Morris always have great training camp he had one last year but in games from last year he showed a lack of effort in pass blocking for rg3…ppl claim all the sacks was the O-line but the tape showed Alfred Morris and the tight ends struggle alot in blocking

      • bangkokben - Aug 9, 2015 at 3:20 PM

        Keep banging your drum if you must. I’m just repeating what I’ve heard. Morris missed blocks in pass pro last year but not nearly as much as Helu. Sure, there is a reason the GM drafted Jones and he may be better than Morris – or more suited for this offense than Morris at some point. Point is that isn’t now and I’ll take the word of former ‘skins who watch the team all day over anyone on this blog. The way the praise for Jones has been reported had B. Mitch and Walker thinking there could be competition right now for the starting back. Then they watched and they’re like slow everyone’s roll they’re still miles apart. One day, perhaps. The same goes for every rookie we hear good things about. It simply means there is good things to hear about them – which is good – it doesn’t mean that if Crowder doesn’t start (over Roberts) the coaches don’t know what they’re doing. Let’s see how the rookies do in the last preseason game or the third. Grant had a great camp last year and was given first shot at the beginning of last year’s season as the fourth WR then the coaches realized they needed Santana Moss’ experience. Let see how is plays out for everyone on the team.

  3. kenlinkins - Aug 9, 2015 at 12:09 PM

    Watching Jones in Cleveland this week will be interesting as I had a chance to watch the Browns in practice and their D-Line looks good with Danny Shelton. The Browns pass rush will be a good test for the new look Redskins O-Line. The Browns are down a few RB’s so the Redskins D-Line should not have problems controlling the run but both Browns QB’s (McCown and Manziel) looked really good throwing the ball. The Redskins can prove a lot to me by getting a good pass rush against a pretty good O-line. IMO Thursday’s preseason game should be about the big guys up front on both sides of the ball. I will not be as concerned about the QB’s yet other than watching RG3’s footwork or the D-backfields coverage (too many starters down) . The D-line and O-line is where the new GM placed most of his investments this year. I want to see if it is starting to pay off.

    • sidepull - Aug 9, 2015 at 2:31 PM

      I wanted Danny Shelton in a Redskins uniform badly. Then they got Knighton.

  4. mr.moneylover - Aug 9, 2015 at 2:38 PM

    I think when its all said and done ppl will like matt jones more…cause he can catch he can block and theres no limit to his game scot m. Didnt draft matt jones in third round for nothing it was to put more pressure on alfred morris to step his game up rg3 wasnt the only player who was struggling last year but ppl dont realize that…if you not scot m. Guy theres no room for mistakes because scot m. Gonna pick apart the tape at the end of the year even if we have a good year to see what postion he can upgrade to get even better thats how you create a dynasty team

  5. kenlinkins - Aug 9, 2015 at 4:35 PM

    I hope that Matt Jones gets some time against the Browns first unit and Danny Shelton. That will be a very good first test of just where is he at this point. Anyone else want to guess what the first play the Redskins run against the Browns on Thursday night will be? I think the odds are 6-5 on Morris running behind T. Williams to the left.

  6. redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 9, 2015 at 6:10 PM

    Hey Rich,

    What’s your feel on Scherff playing RG with Morgan Moses playing RT? Is this an indicator that Long is not performing well at RG, Schreff struggling as a rookie at RT, or Moses just playing that well to start at RT? I know there are many variables attached to this decision to start Morgan Moses at RT and Scherff at RG. I’m just curios if is a primary driving factor here for the current line up?

    I expressed here a few times that Schreff strength and style is better built for a guard position. He looks like a powerful mauler instead of an athletic phenom like Trent Williams. So I really feel he may only become an average player at tackle but he seems like a destined prop bowler at guard. I’ll take greatness in one position over mediocrity in another any day. I understand his selection in the draft makes it a business incentive to keep him at tackle. Maybe with added agility and experience he’ll eventually move to tackle as a starter.

  7. dirgyman - Aug 10, 2015 at 8:54 AM

    I just hope Gruden’s play calling reflects his claim to want to run the ball. Sexy plays down field are set up with good running plays. We have the talent. Not just running backs but RG3 himself, as well as Jackson and Crowder . this could make for an interesting year, but the coach has to have the courage to stay with the run. I was going to say the courage of his convictions, but I believe he is a pass first guy. Run Mr. Gruden run run run.

    • Rich Tandler - Aug 10, 2015 at 9:04 AM

      It will also help if the team isn’t giving up a touchdown per quarter. I think Gruden went in with the intention of running on many occasions but too frequently he was looking up and the wrong end of a two-touchdown deficit.

      • jspb22 - Aug 11, 2015 at 9:37 AM

        A two-touchdown deficit doesn’t necessarily mean you need to abandon the run. Especially, if the deficit is in the first half of the game.

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