Jay Gruden and his fellow Redskins talent evaluators this weekend stacked up the bodies of work that their four roster-bubble running backs had compiled during the offseason, training camp and the preseason and came to the conclusion that Silas Redd was the most well-rounded of the bunch.
So, the team cut Evan Royster, Lache Seastrunk and Chris Thompson, and they kept Redd — the only member of the group that the team hadn’t spent a draft pick on — and used him to round out a unit that this season will feature Pro Bowl back Alfred Morris and top reserve Roy Helu Jr.
“We felt like we went with the three running backs who did the best, and we only picked three for numbers of reasons,” Gruden said on Monday, speaking on the roster cuts for the first time. “With [Thompson] being available, we want [him] to come back and try to stay healthy for some time and he could be activated sooner than later if he can prove that he can stay healthy for some time and go from there. But, we feel good about the three guys we kept, obviously Roy, Alfred and Silas had a good camp. Silas is all-around running and blocking and catching. His consistency was pretty good for a rookie.”
Redd, who went undrafted out of Southern Cal and signed with Washington as a free agent, led the team this preseason with 157 rushing yards and a touchdown on 34 carries. He also had three catches for 26 yards. He offers a blend of both power and speed, the ability to pick up tough yards up the middle, or crank out big gains on the edges. He also showed good pass-catching ability.
“I don’t care where you’re drafted,” Gruden said. “You want to play the best guy, and hats off to Silas Redd coming in as an undrafted free agent and taking advantage of his reps and winning the job right now. … There’s a lot of running backs out there on the streets right now that probably could help us that are close, so it’s up to those three guys right now that are active to maintain their level of consistency and play well. As for [Seastrunk], he had his big-play abilities and he’s a good running back. He’s a young kid with a lot of talent, obviously, but we just felt [we needed] to go in a different direction at this time.”
Redd said that he came away from the preseason unsure of his future, but that he did have confidence that “I left it all out there.”
He continued, “I don’t know what their thinking was and what the process was to cutting. I’m just happy that I’m here and happy to make the 53.”
Redd pulled up to Redskins Park on Saturday unsure of his status. But he proceeded through the front doors, and the lobby and then reached the locker room unhindered. Because other players were stopped and called into offices before being dismissed, he got the sense that perhaps he had survived cuts.
He went to Gruden’s office confirm his status, thanked the coach and then went to thank running back Randy Jordan.
Redd said Jordan issued a challenge to him, and that he plans on accepting it.
“He said, ‘Your preparation has to change. Things you were doing, you have to step it up another level. You’re a pro now.’ I accept full responsibility for that and that type of talk, that type of thing excites me. It was good advice.”
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