The Washington Redskins entered the 2016 season thinking Matt Jones would be their every-down 'bruiser' running back. Half-way through this year, and those plans are no longer in play it seems.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden was clearly frustrated with Jones just a few weeks back after the second-year back had his career-long fumbling
Last week Jones was held out against the Bengals in London with a knee injury. Yesterday Jones was a healthy scratch. In both cases, the Redskins turned towards an undrafted rookie back that no one outside of Redskins Park knew existed beyond three months ago.
As the No. 1 running back Robert Kelley has impressed during his last two outings. In just two games Kelley has rushed 43 times for 184 yards with one rushing
Gruden is enthused with watching Kelley grow with each carry, “He’s fun to watch, and he’s going to get better and better. I’m very excited for his progress as a young, new player and we’re excited about what’s to come.”
Thankfully, Kelley is showing no signs of losing his humble attitude after nearly crossing the 100-yard mark for the first time as a pro Sunday. "Some of the other guys are giving me the other stuff, like I got 97 yards," said Kelley. "I don’t care as long as we got the win with it. I could have had 12 yards and it wouldn’t matter.”
For the Redskins, the continued emergence of Kelley at running back is allowing the team to institute a precise offensive gameplan aimed at establishing a good ground game, and then taking anything the defense gives up through the air. It's also giving the team the luxury of not further chancing things with the problematic Matt Jones.
No matter what Gruden thinks, if Kelley continues to improve each week, Jones could be out of a job altogether.