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!
Rookie running back Robert Kelley had his first career start against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week Eight. Kelley ran for 87 yards on 21 caries and also scored a touchdown. It was a solid outing for him and apparently was enough for him to secure the starting job. Head Coach Jay Gruden said in his presser Monday that the team's running back carries will continue going through Kelley, for now. Of course with Mack Brown now on the active roster, Chris Thompson playing well and Matt Jones healthy, touches will be shared. But the team views Kelley as a workhorse candidate and has no reason at this point to strip him from those duties.
The former Tulane RB has shown flashes of being a competent NFL RB. That's not to say he could be a great player, but he's been reliable. As for Matt Jones, his inability to protect the football, among other issues has forced the team to now limit his carries. Robert Kelley has not only done a solid job of protecting the ball, but he's run well. Kelley does a nice job making hard, decisive cuts and quickly going up-field. Besides the fumbles, an issue coaches have had with Matt Jones is his indecision in the open field. Jones often times is hesitant to lower his shoulder and run through defenders. Instead, he hesitates and tries to turn into a 6ft 2, 230 lb scat back. He's been the total opposite of what the team believes he can be.
However, that doesn't mean the Redskins are giving up on Matt Jones. In fact, it may be quite the contrary. "Matt [Jones] will get his touches and earn his way back into the role that we think he should be in,” said Gruden on Monday.
I think the second half of that Gruden-quote is interesting. GM Scot McCloughan has gone on record comparing Matt Jones to former Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch. So he obviously has high expectations for the second year running back. It should also be noted that Matt Jones, 23, is actually a year younger than Robert Kelley. Neither one of these backs had a lot of mileage on the collegiate level. So to throw in the towel on a player like Jones right now wouldn't be smart. He's clearly a guy the team still thinks could be a legit workhorse for them.
So while Robert Kelley will maintain the starting gig this week, that doesn't mean it's a long-term situation. The team may be hoping to get a message across to Matt Jones while also handing Kelley an opportunity to prove himself.
You can find Emmanual on Twitter @manny_benton.
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