Matt Jones was injured during Friday’s preseason game, and the recently released Karlos Williams could be a good insurance policy for the Redskins in the regular season.
The Washington Redskins were dealt a blow to their offense during the second week of the preseason. Their projected top running back, second year player Matt Jones, went down with a shoulder injury that is expected to sideline him for a couple of weeks. Jones was expected to become a workhorse back for the team and this injury may make that difficult. The Redskins will need someone to step up and help him out, but they may not have an obvious complement on the roster.
The team does have seventh round rookie Keith Marshall and fourth year veteran Chris Thompson as possible top backups, but the fact is that neither is built to carry the load. That would be a major issue for the team if Jones were to go down.
Marshall still needs to develop after dealing with injuries at Georgia. Thompson, meanwhile, is best as a receiving threat. Undrafted rookie Robert Kelley could get a look, but he really should not be a top backup either. Due to their lack of the quality depth, the Redskins have to consider adding another player and Karlos Williams could be their best option.
Williams was a fifth round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. In 11 games as a rookie, he totaled 517 yards on the ground with nine touchdowns overall and averaged 5.6 yards per carry while doing so. He also totaled 96 receiving yards on 11 catches. Williams looked like the back of the future for the Bills, but things took a turn during the offseason.
Williams got started on the wrong foot when he showed up to training camp 20-25 pounds overweight. Reportedly, he packed on the extra weight during his wife’s pregnancy. He was unable to participate in offseason workouts until he got back into playing shape, and during that time he was dealt a four game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse program. Williams was recently able to get back on the practice field but he did not show the ability to keep the weight off. His fall from grace was completed when he was released on Saturday.
Still, Williams has an immense amount of talent despite all of his issues. If he can get into playing shape, he will be able to become a lead back for whatever team takes a chance on him. The Redskins would have relatively little to lose by adding him. At the worst, he eats up a roster spot that would have normally gone to an impressive undrafted rookie. At the best, he is their back of the future.
Should the Redskins sign Williams, I think he will be put into a role similar to what he had last year in Buffalo. He will be the primary backup and try to spell the starter to ensure they stay healthy. Of course, all of this is predicated on Williams losing weight. If he cannot do that, then he will not get another chance in the NFL.