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Redskins' Evaluations Continue For Third Running Back Spot


Continuing with Friday's game against the New York Jets, the Redskins coaching staff will be looking at the performances of the team's young backs in preseason game to determine who makes final cuts.

Every single rep from now until the final roster cuts will be crucial for players trying to make the 53-man squad, and perhaps no position group has more of a battle going on right now than the running back position.

While Matt Jones has cemented himself as the team's lead running back and Chris Thompson is showing progression as an overall payer, the third running back spot remains up for grabs.

2015 practice squad member Mack Brown, seventh-round pick Keith Marshall and fellow rookies Robert Kelley and Kelsey Young are all in the running.

"These guys are putting out great effort though," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said of the roster this week, running backs included. "I have a lot of respect for all these guys. They're doing a great job of honing in in the meeting room and trying their best out here on the practice field. Now it just comes down to producing."

Jones, Thompson and Marshall all struggled to gain ground yards in the preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons last week, albeit on limited workloads.

Kelley and Brown both were effective, though.

Kelley – a college free agent out of Tulane – ran for a game-high 40 yards that was highlighted by a one-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Brown, meanwhile, ran for 24 yards on the Redskins' second touchdown drive of the evening.

While Marshall is listed as the No. 3 running back on the Redskins' current unofficial depth chart, Kelley could get some work with the first- and second-team offensive units to see how he responds.

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

"He's been impressive since we got him," Gruden said of Kelley. "He's got great vision. He's built low to the ground and he really runs hard and that showed up against Atlanta and I'd like to see him in an expanded role, see how he does."

The hope for Marshall is that he can get more chances to showcase the same speed that earned him the fastest 40-yard dash time at the 2016 NFL Combine.

"He's shown worthy of getting more looks," Gruden said. "Some of the explosive plays that he's had out here in camp, we've got to get him the ball too. We've got some interesting battles there and I like to see these guys get the ball with some looks."

Brown also doesn't want his performance against the Falcons (he finished the game averaging four yards per carry) to be a one-time situation.

"I'm happy I produced, can always be better, do better on my routes, hopefully this game I can get some more blitzes so I can show them I can block out of the backfield," Brown said. "(I'm) just trying to make the team."

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