ASHBURN -- The Washington Redskins returned to practice Monday, three days after their preseason game against the New York Jets. Running back Matt Jones did not and yet there were seemingly no alarm bells going off at Redskins Park even though he won't make another appearance this preseason. Perhaps that's in part due to more praise for undrafted rookie Robert Kelley.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden informed the media Monday that he ruled Jones out for the remaining two games. The second-year back was also kept out of practice with his injured left shoulder in a sling. He suffered a sprained AC joint in the first quarter of Friday's win and headed to the locker room for X-rays soon after. Depending on the severity, Jones could miss several weeks, a scenario that would put his status for the Sept. 12 opener against Pittsburgh in jeopardy.
That seemed possible when, using a 1-10 pain scale, Jones deemed his a "7" on Friday.
The forecast has improved since.
"He's made significant strides already in a couple of days, "Gruden said, "so we have high hopes he'll be ready."
As for that pain scale, Jones provided a less worrisome number.
Granted, Jones hasn't been hit since leaving the game, but progress is progress.
Anyone hoping the Redskins' running plan would progress toward some help arriving immediately should picture a sad face emoji here.
"We have the guys here that are practicing," Gruden said when asked about any next steps with Jones is some limbo. "I think we feel pretty good here."
He said that even while also acknowledging that Chris Thompson is "a little sore right now." That means it's possible "the guys" facing Buffalo in Friday's preseason game will be a trio -- Kelley, Keith Marshall, Mack Brown -- with zero combined NFL regular season games. Gruden expects Kelley and Marshall will receive the "lion's share" of the carries against the Bills.
What we think: No offense to running backs, but I agree with the general idea that they're disposable. Yet to think a defending NFC East champion would enter the season with such mass uncertainty at the position is somewhat shocking. It's not just the "running part of the job; the pass blocking is key for a team expected to throw lots and simultaneously doesn't want its quarterback getting maimed. That's why I'll maintain a stance in thinking the Redskins must add a veteran option.
Then again, Kelley seemingly makes more people around him believe he's got the goods with every passing day. Listen to what Jones said about him at the end of his answer about the backfield options.