Two weeks into the 2016 preseason, Washington’s offense continues to display inconsistencies in the ground game. In Week 1 at Atlanta, the Redskins averaged less than four yards per carry in the first half when the 1st and 2nd unit played. This week against the Jets the 1st unit played very well, including running back Matt Jones. However, Matt’s last carry came with less than two minutes left in the first quarter. Jones left the field, he had separated his shoulder and was diagnosed with an AC sprain. Chris Thompson replaced Jones immediately after the injury and played well for a limited amount of carries. A decent, impressive outing by the 1st and 2nd team running backs.
When Robert Kelley and Keith Marshall came in, the drop off in production was substantial. Statistically the backs combined for 34 yards on 13 carries, averaging just 2.6 yards per carry. Keith Marshall took 10 of those carries, for 26 yards. Marshall was the guy who was talked about all offseason, for his breakaway speed especially for a guy his size. It’s fair to say the hype surrounding Marshall was well worth it.
His lack of vision and patience are the main issues with Marshall, both of which could affect his value to this team. Scot McCloughan was on record saying he had big plans for a duo of Jones and Marshall, and Marshall is doing himself no favors keeping Robert Kelley (who deserves the credit) in the conversation. This week against the Jets Kelley even got the nod over Marshall at a chance to take over the 3rd spot at running back.
It’s safe to say Scot will not overreact in this situation, obviously because Marshall and Kelley are still worth evaluating. However, should Scot still consider making a move?
Bishop Sankey is a guy worth taking a look at, maybe Charcandrick West or Knile Davis of Kansas City. It could even be a back off of all our radars, but is on McCloughan’s.
Whether it’s via free agency or trade, this could be worth exploring after next week’s game against Buffalo. Regardless of Marshall losing ground in this battle against Kelley, he is a spark plug who may need a few weeks to get the feel of the pros. Kelley’s vision, pad level, and shiftiness at his size provides an advantage over Marshall. Washington needs to let this play out for another week, as Jay Gruden stated post game he was going to play the starters a lot and treat Buffalo “very seriously”. So with Jones being out for a few weeks, Robert Kelley and Keith Marshall will have plenty of reps in next week’s game.