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Play of the Day: Redskins running back depth chart on display

Aug 5, 2016, 12:01 PM EDT

Matt Jones fumble drill AP

RICHMOND—The Redskins don’t put out their first unofficial depth chart of the season until early next when they distribute the media notes for their preseason opener against the Falcons. But on Thursday it was apparent how the depth chart at running back stacks up.

Matt Jones, who is the unquestioned No. 1 back, was out of practice, resting a sore knee. Chris Thompson, the senior member of the running back corps at the age of 25 with three NFL seasons under his belt, ran with the first team. He popped a few nice runs and did a good job protecting the football from the constant efforts of the defense to strip it out.

That makes Thompson No. 2 on the depth chart. But that is not a spot that he seems to be particularly anxious to hold on to as he indicated in a couple of interviews (here and here). For now, if only by default, there he is.

Running the Colt McCoy and the second-team offense was undrafted rookie free agent Robert Kelley. At 6-0, 228 Kelley is four inches taller and about 30 pounds heavier than Thompson. He was the surprise star of OTAs and minicamp and he has kept it up so far in Richmond. Kelley was back in the lineup after missing a couple of days with a hamstring pull.

With Nate Sudfeld and the third team was Mack Brown, who spent a little time on the Redskins practice squad this year. He struggled some but the threes on the offensive line didn’t give him much help.

That left Keith Marshall to grab reps where he could. The seventh-round pick had only a few carries but he did show some power and speed on one run up the middle.

To sum it up, there is Matt Jones at the top of the depth chart going into the first preseason game followed by Thompson, Kelley, Brown, and Marshall. It’s hard to see it remaining like that when Week 1 of the regular season rolls around. It seems likely that one of two things will take place.

Kelley could move into the No. 2 spot. I’m not sure if he has gained the trust of the coaches just yet but he has four preseason games and about 25 practices to make that impression.

Or, they could sign a veteran running back. Such a move has been much discussed but it doesn’t seem to be imminent.

The situation is opening the door for Kelly, Brown, and Marshall to grab some NFL playing time. We will see how the rotation stacks up when they open the preseason in Atlanta six days from today.

  1. redskins12thman - Aug 5, 2016 at 12:26 PM

    I would give Jones and Thompson the minimum amount of reps so that they are 100% ready for the Steelers and have them sit for the rest of the preseason games. Then give Kelley, Brown and Marshall the rest of the carries so they select the best RB to make the 53. I take it from you comments that it’s unlikely we’ll see much if any of Young or FB Kerridge?

    • sidepull - Aug 5, 2016 at 12:52 PM

      12th, you dont mean DY right? Hes signed by the Browns. Stil upset he had no place here.

      • celticsforever - Aug 5, 2016 at 12:58 PM

        Actually, DY signed with the Bears. Letting him go was not indicative of his play, just that Gruden’s offence rarely uses a FB in any set.

        • sidepull - Aug 5, 2016 at 4:09 PM

          My bad it was da Bears. Either way it is good he is still playing but I wish it was for the Skins.

      • John - Aug 5, 2016 at 1:11 PM

        I thought they said DY signed with the Bears.

      • redskins12thman - Aug 5, 2016 at 1:41 PM

        I was talking about Kelsey Young, the UCFA from Boise State.

    • bangkokben - Aug 5, 2016 at 3:27 PM

      All the backs need reps and especially hits since what they do at practice is basically patty-cake. The last two years there were practices against New England and Houston that could replicate game-like situations better. What is curious is how they’ll run the offense during the preseason. That will determine playing time. Usually the back-ups get the most action in the first and last games but they are already down to 75 players by that last pre-season game. Bottom line, everyone’s favorite 7th round draft pick, Keith Marshall, has a hill to climb. Everyone thought Lache Seastrunk would make the team over Silas Redd back in 2014 even when every rep seemed to indicate that Redd was ahead of him.

      • Trey Gregory - Aug 5, 2016 at 3:43 PM

        @Bang: I was severely duped by Seastrunk. And that will never happen again. I learned my lesson there. Don’t forget how so many fans raves about Trey Williams last year too. I had people GUARANTEE me that he would make the team and have a big role in the offense. I don’t think he even made an NFL roster.

        Anyway, you’re right that it’s hard to evaluate these guys until actual games come. I hope Kelly has some magic and really breaks out but we likely won’t know until a couple weeks into the season.

        For everyone outside of Jones and Thompson, probably the most important determining factor for playing time will be their ability to block for Cousins. Look for who does better there to see who’s going to get that 3rd spot.

        • bangkokben - Aug 5, 2016 at 3:59 PM

          Yeah, ol’ Trey Williams was ‘the deal.’ He was on the ‘skins practice squad and Dallas picked him up toward the end of the year. Then we heard how he was going to burn us in the games. I don’t know if ever got a carry. Looked it up. There’s a Trey Williams who was active for the final two games for the Colts and got two carries for twelve yards in the season finale.

          There are WAAAY too many examples of Redskin fans over-hysteria of unknown players during training camp and now it has spread to OTAs even. It’s as if these peddlers of hope have some sort of stock in these players and are trying to sell shares.

          One thing is for near certain. Pierre Thomas will sign with the Redskins come September 13th.

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 5, 2016 at 4:17 PM

          Lol yes. That’s right. I forgot he went to the Cowboys. I have a ton of Cowboys fans, but one who is particularly delusional. I went from telling Redskins fans Williams probably wouldn’t work out to telling my Cowboys friend that they accomplished nothing by picking him up. “Did you see what he did in college? In TEXAS? With our OLine and his moves we will have the best run game ever!” It was so absurd.

          I understand wanting to believe in these guys. Especially on a team that’s been so bad for so long. When you know your starters aren’t great, the best chances for hope rely on the unknown. But I can’t stand irrational fan posturing or delusional faith in a guy just because he’s wearing your uniform. Plus, this team has improved tremendously. There’s no need to hold on to the longshots for hope anymore.

          I guess some people just like to say they saw it coming. They’ll be wrong for 10 years straight. But as soon as the next Arian Foster breaks out they’ll be all “I told you this guy was legit.” People love to let everyone know when they said something before it happened. Even if they’ve been wrong 1,000 times before.

          You commented on my apparent distain for Ross and Marshall last night. I have nothing against them. I just don’t believe in them, at all, and don’t see a reason to at the moment. But I’ll be the first one to admit I was wrong and cheer them on if they break out.

          I hope we do sign Pierre Thomas though. I would prefer it before September. Let’s just get him ready and let him help from the young guys. But it’s all good as long as he comes. I hope Kelly does surprise everyone, but having a steady vet presence is always a good thing.

      • sidepull - Aug 5, 2016 at 4:12 PM

        i thought Silas Redd was going to emerge this year. Then he screwed up. Perfect opening for him. Bet the Redskins didnt see that coming.

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 5, 2016 at 9:09 PM

          Redd really did show some potential in limited time. It’s hard to know if he really could have worked out for us, but it’s still a damn waste of potential.

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 5, 2016 at 3:37 PM

      Niles Paul is going the be the fullback. More and more teams don’t carry a true FB and use a 4th TE in the role instead. That’s just the new way of the NFL. Which sucks, I like FBs too, but most formations you see these days start with a 1, not a 2. So there’s really no reason to take up a roster spot for a fullback.

      • rtcwon - Aug 5, 2016 at 10:45 PM

        Not to nit pick but you meant personnel not formations that almost never are in the 20s anymore.

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 6, 2016 at 2:24 AM

          No worries. I don’t mind nit picking at all. I should have been more accurate.

          But yes. I was talking about personnel groups. I was actually thinking to say that we will see less and less formations ran out of personnel groups in the 20s, but I shortened it.

          We may still see an occasional 23 on a goal line or 4th and 1. But it will mostly be tight ends lined up as a full back or half back. I think it’s a shame that we’re losing that part of the game, but it’s the natural progress I guess.

  2. Trey Gregory - Aug 5, 2016 at 3:45 PM

    Rich: I know it’s hard to tell in practice. But in your opinion, does Kelly have the makings of a potentially good RB? Or is he just the best if a bad group (meaning everyone after Jones and Thompson)?

    • Jimmy kubas - Aug 5, 2016 at 4:10 PM

      I still say we need a veteran RB.I don’t wanna take a lot of reps from the young guys development but Just about all of the backs ability to stay healthy is suspect…We are making playoffs and vet R could mean the difference in a win or loss.All of our past good teams had one.Riggins..Byner.Allen…etc…Except for the SB with Timmy Smith… and that hasn’t happened again or probably never will.

      • sidepull - Aug 5, 2016 at 4:13 PM

        Give me Pierre Thomas. Any day now.

      • Trey Gregory - Aug 5, 2016 at 4:21 PM

        A steady vet presence adds so much to a position group. I think they’re just waiting for the season to start so they don’t have to guarantee his salary.

        But Thomas doesn’t necessarily have to take any reps from the young guys. Just having him as an option would do a lot for my confidence in the team. But injuries happen, guys get tired, and they need an example of how to be a pro. Then, in those close games where you need a steady presence, that’s when you use Pierre Thomas. There’s still plenty reps for the young guys to develop. Plus, I would trust Thomas to block for Cousins on big plays more than a young guy. Just because of experience.

      • rtcwon - Aug 5, 2016 at 10:42 PM

        I still think a young guy cut from another team is more likely than Thomas.

        The game has changed so much, the fond memories of the glory days are just that. RBs are plug and play, the least valuable position except for NT. I’ld argue that even long snapper is more valuable than RB or NT.

        The fact that we’re not invested in those positions is a good sign.

  3. kenlinkins - Aug 5, 2016 at 4:51 PM

    There is a long list of guys I want to see in preseason games before I start giving out roster spots on here. There could be a lot of Vets now at Redskins training camp that will be looking for work in Sept or lot of young guys finding out just hard it is to make a NFL roster or even Practice Squad. Just have to wait and see who does what in those preseason games. Should be interesting to see who steps up and who doesn’t. Besides, watching the rookies getting their first taste of NFL action is always fun, that wide eyed look when they see NFL game speed for the first time is just priceless. (Coach: What happened son/ Player: I have no idea coach, it was just a blur, he was there then he wasn’t). .

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 5, 2016 at 5:02 PM

      I like preseason games too. I find those who don’t usually don’t really know the team outside a couple stars. It’s fun to get a glympse at the young guys and backups.

      I agree that we need to see more before having a good idea about the final roster. But I’m just curious. Which vets did you have in mind about possibly being unemployed soon? Archives

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