“We have guys in here [that can] play you know,” Coach Jay Gruden said. “We drafted Derrius because he was the best player, we thought, at the time of the draft. We thought he could really help our football team, not because we weren’t satisfied with the backs we had.
“So, with Rob and Samaje, and what Byron did the other night, the flashes he showed off and obviously Chris Thompson, Kapri Bibbs . . . I think we are pretty good at the running back spot.”
That doesn’t mean the organization won’t do its due diligence and weigh all options, even if those options aren’t exactly thrilling upon first glance at the free agent list.
The proven running backs available tend to be older and/or coming off injuries while the younger options aren’t exactly accomplished. Some have seen their production fall off and haven’t gotten additional chances.
Either way, those on the current roster aren’t feeling bad for themselves. The Redskins had 23 players on injured reserve in 2017 and three more so far in 2018, but they refuse to dwell on it.
“You can feel [unlucky] and try to make yourself feel better by saying stuff like that,” Kelley said. “But at the end of the day, it happens to everybody. We’re not the only group going through stuff like this and we won’t be the last group. You’ve just got to see if you want to get better.
“How can we help the situation out instead of just tanking it and bringing it in, or the team might want to get somebody else. Nah, we can do it right here with this group that we have.”
Here are several running backs remaining on free agency:
Eddie Lacy: The 28-year-old Alabama product burst on the scene with back to back 1,100-yard seasons in his first two seasons with the Green Bay Packers, and racked up 20 rushing touchdowns. Weight, production and injury issues began his downfall. He signed a one-year deal with the Seahawks in 2017 and rushed for just 179 yards.
Jamaal Charles: The 31-year-old, four-time Pro Bowler had 296 rushing yards in 14 games with the Broncos last season. He had five 1,000-yard seasons in six years between 2009-14 with the Chiefs, including a career- high 1,509 in 2012. Charles had 1,287 yards rushing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns, 70 catches for 693 yards and seven receiving touchdowns in 2013. The former Texas Longhorn had a strong connection with Alex Smith, but hasn’t been the same since ACL surgery in 2015.
Adrian Peterson: The 2012 NFL MVP has seen his production drop in the twilight of his career. He played for Arizona and New Orleans last year and had 448 rushing yards in six games with the Cardinals. Peterson’s last best season was a 1,485-rushing yard, 11-touchdown effort with the Vikings in 2014. He’s a seven-time Pro Bowler and was the 2007 offensive rookie of the year. The eventual Hall of Famer is 12th in NFL history with 12,276 rushing yards.
Orleans Darkwa: The 26-year-old rushed for 751 yards and five touchdowns in 15 games with Giants in 2017, the best output of his four-year career. The undrafted college free agent was signed by Miami in 2014. He visited multiple teams in late July, but remains unsigned.
Alfred Morris: The organization is plenty familiar with Morris, who had back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons in 2013 and 2014. He spent the last two years in Dallas and rushed for a combined 790 yards in 28 games with the Cowboys. The Redskins may not want to rekindle that relationship, but there are not many free agent running backs under 30-years-old with two Pro Bowls and a 1,613-rushing yard, 13-touchdown season on the résumé.
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