Morning Manny: Should The Redskins Make A Change At Running Back?

The Redskins could consider removing starter duties from Matt Jones. But should they?

Manny Benton often tweets random thoughts regarding the Washington Redskins at random times of the day that typically bring interesting dialog. Now from Monday through Thursday at around 9 a.m., you can find those Twitter-sized thoughts in "Morning Manny." Complete with explanations! 

It's not time to bench Matt Jones... yet.

Matt Jones had five fumbles in 13 games his rookie season and already has three this year. There's no doubt that Jones has a fumbling issue. He worked hard on fixing the issue in the off-season, yet the problems have appeared again this year. The former Gator had two fumbles in Week Seven against the Detroit Lions and one was lost on the goal line. Ball security is a priority for any skill player, especially running backs. With eight fumbles in 1.5 seasons, it's growing harder to trust Matt Jones.

"You can’t put the ball on the ground as a running back," Head Coach Jay Gruden said in his Monday presser. "That’s just rule number one."

The main concern I have with Jones and his fumbling is that it's forcing him to avoid contact. He's a big back who already doesn't lower his shoulder and initiate contact enough in the open field. Now, as the fumbles continue, you have to wonder how much more it could affect his game. 

"We’re more worried about the team success than somebody’s confidence," Gruden said. "We’ve got to make sure we protect the ball, and that’s everybody. He understands the magnitude of fumbling the football. If he doesn’t, he does now. I mean, he should know it by now. But unfortunately he was trying to get an extra yard there at the goal line, he took his eyes off the exchange on another time, tried to make the cut before he got the ball, we fumbled again. So, it's something that has to be addressed.”

You can sense the frustration in Gruden's tone. However, I don't think it's time to bench Matt Jones yet. He's had several solid games this season and he recovered against the Lions by having a few good third down runs. Not to mention, he's the best running back on the team in pass protection. I just don't think rookie Robert Kelley is ready in that regard. Kelley had a few slip-ups in pass pro against the Lions and while he flashes good skill in the run game -- pass pro is important. As for Chris Thompson, I could see the team continuing to use him more. But I'm sure they would be reluctant to overuse him considering his injury history. The team attempted to use Thompson more early last season and he ended up with an injury. "We don’t want to overdo it with him – he’s still not a very big guy," Gruden said of Thompson. 

So for now, the team should and likely will continue starting Matt Jones. It may not be what the fans want, but it's the best move for now. 


You can find Emmanual on Twitter @manny_benton.

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