Redskins GM McCloughan includes Keith Marshall in RB plans

The general manager didn't just tout the rookie runner during an interview Monday, but talked about Marshall as part of a 2 or 3-headed backfield.

RICHMOND -- When it comes to the analyzing the Washington Redskins' current depth chart, specifically the running backs, words speak louder than actions. 

The Redskins released their first depth chart Monday. Shrugs. At least that's the stance coach Jay Gruden offered when asked about such matters earlier during training camp. For Thursday's preseason opener at Atlanta, we're just talking about a grouping of players on a page. Once we reach the third preseason game, take notice.

Therefore, that fact that seventh-round pick Keith Marshall comes in behind roster locks Matt Jones and Chris Thompson but ahead of fellow roster hopefuls Mack Brown and Robert Kelley is interesting, but hardly concrete. 

What general manager Scot McCloughan had to say about the rookie on SiriusXM radio Monday from training camp, as the kids would say, stay woke.

We know Marshall can fly seeing his 4.31 40-yard time was the fastest at the 2016 NFL Combine. We know there is a roster spot open behind Jones and Thompson, who has a clear role, but isn't a true lead back based on his limited size. Marshall, that's another story and one McCloughan seems excited to tell. 

The GM also singled out Jones as a breakout player this year during a recent TV interview, so this Marshall praise seems just that. As Gruden noted Sunday, some backs rock during a non-tackling camp practice and get rolled when the game turns real.

During Monday's rain-filled afternoon practice  pads, Marshall twice took advantage of the no-tackling scenario for lengthy runs.

"I feel like we've been able to show them a lot of stuff, but getting tackled, taken to the ground, that's a big part of being a running back," Marshall told Breaking Burgundy following practice. "That's the last thing to show."

For a player who missed most of his college games at Georgia because of injuries, that idea of showing what happens when tackled is no joke. Getting the opportunity is exciting and makes the concept of practicing in the rain irrelevant.

"Football, you've got battle the elements," Marshall said. "As long as it's not negative degrees, I'm good."

Gruden mentioned Kelley and Brown by name Sunday when positively discussing his young runners, but not Marshall. Those two have also had sharp moments in camp and dating back to practices in Ashburn. In other words, the young backs are still battling for a roster spot, in theory. 

That's true even if unofficial depth chart says Marshall has the lead. That the GM is already talking about a larger role for the rookie is something else.

Ben Standig is the Publisher of Breaking Burgundy and the Huddle Report's 2012 NFL Mock Draft champion. You can find him on Twitter @benstandig and on Google+.

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