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Redskins Have To Keep Their Leverage Against Kareem Hunt


The Redskins will be facing the 2017 NFL breakout start Monday night in Kareem Hunt, who was recently named AFC Offensive Player of the Month with more than 400 rushing yards in three games.

Eric Dickerson may have a new contender for the best rookie running back of all time.

Dickerson, who in 1983 ran for 1,808 yards and 18 touchdowns, holds the crown for the best rookie season by a tailback in the NFL. No other first-year back has even come within 100 yards of breaking Dickerson's yardage record.

But with the 2017 season comes a new challenger to the infamous Los Angeles Rams rusher. Kareem Hunt, the great question mark prior to Week 1, has exploded onto the scene for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Hunt spent four years in college as the Toledo Rockets' featured back, amassing 5,500 yards and 45 touchdowns. Hunt helped lead the Rockets to four straight winning seasons.

Drafted 86th-overall in the third round, Hunt was not expected to start for Kansas City right away. The Chiefs and Jamaal Charles split ways after the 2016 season, and Spencer Ware was expected to carry the load.

However, Ware went down with a torn PCL and LCL during the preseason, leaving a gaping hole in Kansas City's depth chart. Hunt stepped into the role left by Ware, and things could not have started worse.

In Week 1, Hunt fumbled his first snap against the New England Patriots, a ball the defense would recover. It looked like the rookie was in for a rough ride.

But Hunt kept with it, finding seams in the defensive line and breaking off large chunks of yardage. Before the Patriots could gather themselves, Kansas City had cruised to a 42-27 victory and Hunt had 148 yards and 3 total touchdowns under his belt.

Hunt's rampage on the NFL is far from over. Through three games, Hunt has averaged 8.5 yards a carry and has a touchdown in each matchup. He also has a run of at least 50 yards in every game this season.

With this kind of pace, Hunt could be looking at a 2,000-yard, or more, season. That would shatter Dickerson's record and begin Hunt's career as the NFL's most explosive back.

But first, Hunt and the rest of the Chiefs' offense have to first get by the Washington Redskins' defense in Week 4.

"We have got to make sure we are keeping our leverages and not giving up the big play. These guys have scored a touchdown of 50-plus yards in nine games in a row," Washington head coach Jay Gruden said. "But I think we will be up to the challenge and the guys are ready for it."

Gruden and the rest of the Redskins have faced explosive offenses before. In Week 3, Washington kept the Oakland Raiders from converting all 11 of their third downs. Derek Carr, who had no interceptions on the season, threw two against the Redskins' secondary.

Hunt is not the only playmaker on the Chiefs' offense. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill is having a career year with 253 yards and two touchdowns. Kansas City likes to use Hill in a variety of schemes. Gruden said this diversity can confuse a defense and make it difficult to know which player to focus on.

Despite his abilities to break off big runs, Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger is confident the defense -- which held Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch to just 18 yards last week -- will be ready for Hunt.

"He's definitely a tough task," Swearinger said. "He puts his foot down in the ground and gets vertical, he breaks tackles. He's an all-around back, catches the ball out of the backfield, so we definitely have our hands full with him, he's definitely going to be a good back in the near future and we got our hands full, can't wait to play him, though."

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