With a strong, but inconsistent, rookie season under him, the Redskins believe
After a year that saw running back Matt Jones demonstrate his physical tools, turn heads with his speed and remind everyone that he’s still a rookie, the Redskins believe he has the opportunity to be their primary back for 2016.
“We drafted him with that intent,” head coach Jay Gruden said Wednesday, and his promising first season in the NFL has only buttressed those hopes.
But Jones also missed three games with an injury – Gruden said the Florida product received surgery on his hip after the season and has recovered well – and lost four fumbles, an issue that plagued him throughout the year.
“The big thing about Matt is, we’ve got to keep him healthy and work on ball security – those are the two things in the offseason,” Gruden said. “I know [running backs coach] Randy Jordan will harp on that, and getting his pad level down a little bit. But health, ball security, those are the two biggest things.”
General manager Scot McCloughan, who drafted Jones in the third round last year, echoed Gruden.
“I think so,” he said of Jones' ability to take over as the featured back. “But he’s got to do it. He’s got to hold onto the ball. That’s huge for a running back. He’s a young guy that’s got a lot of talent. He’s got some really good ball skills but he’s got to stay healthy and hold onto the ball. But I feel really comfortable about him going into the season fighting for the one job for sure.”
“I’m not going to say he’s a longshot,” Gruden said of Morris. “There’s not one negative thing I can say about Alfred Morris as a person and as a player. When you talk about running backs, the most important things you talk about are ball security and durability. He’s been durable and he’s protected the football. He’s been very productive. And those are three things that are hard to say about any running back for the amount of time he’s played the position. We wish him well if we don’t get him done, but if we do get him done we’ll welcome him back with open arms.”
Among those that will still be options for the Redskins to consider are
“It doesn’t have to be a veteran,” McCloughan said. “It has to be a good football player. It’s plain and simple. We’ll see what we do with Alfred, but Chris Thompson had a really nice year. We’ve got