Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden has yet to decide which three of his four running backs he will dress for Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers. For now, his decision will come down to health, but his decision could become more difficult depending on how things play out this week.
The Redskins had hoped that two weeks on the sideline would allow rookie Matt Jones to heal up from a hip pointer suffered in Week 15 against Buffalo. But he remains limited, and so, his status for Sunday remains in doubt.
“Really, we want to play the three healthy backs, and Jones is limited right now,” Gruden said. “Unless he shows us some major improvement tomorrow and Friday, he’s going to be the odd man out.”
Alfred Morris has started all 16 games, although numerous times this season, he has taken the back seat as Jones has played a more prominent role in the offense. Jones has been the more explosive of the two, but has struggled with consistency and ball security. He has rushed for 490 yards on 144 carries (averaging 3.4 yards per carry) and three touchdowns, but also has served as a reliable pass catcher with 19 receptions for 304 yards and a touchdown.
Morris last Sunday posted only his second 100-yard rushing game of the season, but in Week 16, with Jones sidelined, coaches relied more heavily on Pierre Thomas than Morris.
Thomas, who signed with Washington four games ago, has served primarily as a third-down back, catching nine passes for 84 yards and rushing for 52 yards on 11 carries.
Meanwhile, prior to the arrival of Thomas, Chris Thompson had contributed on third downs, recording 35 catches for 240 yards and two touchdowns and also rushing for 216 yards on 35 carries (6.2-yard average). But shoulder and toe injuries have limited Thompson as of late.
“We’ll see how Jones is doing tomorrow, and if all four are healthy, then we’ll have to make that determination come Friday or Saturday,” Gruden said. “Chris Thompson is banged up a little bit with his toe. I think it’s between those two [Jones and Thompson] right now. We’ll make a determination Friday or Saturday.”
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