With training camp set to begin later this month, Redskins.com previews the current state of the Redskins' roster, continuing today with the team's running backs.
The Washington Redskins will venture down to the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center later this month with a new headline act at running back, as Matt Jones is expected to be the team's primary tailback.
Before the Redskins head to Richmond for training camp, check out who all is on the roster position-by-position. Today it is the running backs and fullbacks
Along with Jones, the Redskins currently have Chris Thompson and 2016 seventh-round pick Keith Marshall on the roster along with three running backs that entered the NFL as college free agents. Gone, however, are Alfred Morris and Darrel Young after successful runs in Washington.
ROSTER SUBTRACTION(S):-Alfred Morris (Free Agent Signed By Dallas)
-Darrel Young (Free Agent)
-Pierre Thomas (Free Agent)
KEY ADDITION(S):-Keith Marshall (Drafted In Seventh Round)
CURRENT STATE OF THE UNIT:
After four seasons as the Redskins' workhorse running back, Alfred Morris is no longer in Washington, leaving for the division rival Dallas Cowboys in the offseason.
While Morris came out of the gates strong to start his career – recording a franchise single-season record 1,613 rushing yards as a rookie in 2012 – his numbers dipped each of the next three seasons.
With Matt Jones becoming more involved in the offense, Morris managed just 751 yards and one touchdown last season.
Jones – a third-round pick out of Florida – tortured the St. Louis Rams' defense in Week 2, running for 123 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries in a 24-10 victory.
Later in the year, Jones recorded the first 100-yard receiving game of his young career against the New Orleans Saints, totaling 131 receiving yards and a touchdown on just three receptions.
With an understanding of a greater workload on his hands, Jones has been focusing on his ball security this offseason. He fumbled five times last season, four of which were lost.
He's worked with a special football recently that forces him to hit all five pressure points of the football. If he doesn't, the ball echoes out a loud beep.
"Just knowing I'll be the man, being the first back, it changes my approach a lot," Jones said. "I do everything harder. I listen harder. I mean I get around Kirk [Cousins] because he's a leader and he's teaching me how to be a No. 1."
Behind Jones, the Redskins return Chris Thompson off of a career year.
The 5-foot-8, 195 pounder averaged more than six yards per carry last year while totaling 240 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 35 receptions.
Thompson missed all on-field activities during the offseason as he recovered from shoulder surgery, but he's excited to once again be a threat out of the backfield when cleared to return.
"It comes naturally, but that has been my role in the NFL, to be a pass catcher and now I have to be really good at it so Kirk can depend on me," Thompson said. "It also helps Kirk to have another outlet in certain situations. Once I get back, I am going to try and be more consistent, be a better route runner than I was last year and I think it can help out our offense."
The Redskins used the first of two seventh-round picks this year on Marshall, a speedy back out of Georgia.
When healthy during his college career, Marshall gave opposing defenses fits. He recorded more than 1,375 yards and 12 touchdowns in his career along with three more receiving touchdowns.
At the NFL Combine in February, Marshall recorded a blazing 4.31-second 40-yard dash time, the fastest run of all participants.
The Redskins signed college free agents Robert Kelley and Kelsey Young shortly after the NFL Draft.
With the 242nd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected running back Keith Marshall of Georgia. Take a look at his collegiate career in photos.
Kelley served in multiple roles while at Tulane including some fullback duties, but still managed nearly 1,300 rushing yards and 727 receiving yards in 50 career games.
Young, meanwhile, spent his final collegiate season at Boise State, where he collected 511 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.
Washington also returns Mack Brown, who had two different stints on the practice squad last year.
University of Michigan product Joe Kerridge is the only listed fullback on the roster following the departure of Darrel Young.
WHAT TO WATCH:
Now taking a brunt of the first-team duties at running back, training camp will provide the first glimpse at just how much Jones has progressed after his rookie year and how tight he'll be able to hold onto the football with a change in running form.
Marshall has an opportunity to showcase his speed against a veteran-laden defensive unit. If he can clinch a roster spot with a positive showing in Richmond, he could provide the offense a new wrinkle out of the backfield.
Also keep an eye on how the college free agents at the position perform. Quite a few undrafted running backs over the years have gone on to have strong careers.
The team could also bring back veteran Pierre Thomas, who played the final four regular season games with the Redskins when Thompson and Jones were both hinder by injury, or another seasoned running back if they feel the need to do so.
At fullback along with Kerridge, the Redskins have also hinted at the possibility tight end Niles Paul could get some reps.
Paul briefly took a few snaps there during the 2013 season when Young was hurt.