Will Matt Jones Be Inactive On Sunday For The Washington Redskins?
Matt Jones appears to have lost the starting job. Could that cause him to be inactive for Sunday’s game against the Vikings?
The Washington Redskins were faced with a key decision during their bye week. They had some questions at the running back position that needed to be answered. The team had some issues at the position with Matt Jones leading the group. There were some questions about his ball security and running ability before he missed Week 8 with a knee injury. During that game, Robert Kelley got a chance.
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Kelley proved to be a solid runner, gaining 87 yards on 21 carries during the tie against the Bengals. Kelley also scored his first rushing touchdown and generally was able to rip off chunks of yardage. He kept his legs churning and used his physicality to his advantage. It looked like he could take over for Jones as the starter.
Jay Gruden seemed to agree with that sentiment. Earlier this week, the team’s head coach gave Kelley a solid endorsement, per CSN Mid-Atlantic’s JP Finlay:
"Right now I think it’s going through Robert Kelley as I stand up here right now. That could change come Thursday or Friday, but Matt [Jones] will get his touches and earn his way back into the role that we think he should be in."
Well, it is Friday and it does not look like that will change. Now, it is fair to wonder whether or not Jones will even play against the Vikings.
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The fact is that the Redskins have some interesting, unproven weapons at running back. Kelley is locked in as the starter this week while Chris Thompson will be the third down and change of pace back. The third spot will come down to a battle between Jones and Mack Brown. Given the way Jones’ stock is trending, Brown could beat him out.
In the preseason, Brown was one of the best running backs in the league. He was an explosive playmaker, and it looked like he would make the final roster. He did not quite make the cut, and lived on the practice squad until being called up Week 8. Since Jones has not lived up to expectations yet, the team could elect to give Brown a chance to get a couple of carries. That way they can see what he offers against an NFL caliber defense. That would leave Jones on the inactive list.
Conversely, the team could look to give Jones a few carries given the physical strength of the Vikings team. Jones offers the ability to run through a few tacklers on a good day, so they may opt to give him five or so carries to see how he does. That would leave Brown inactive.
For this week, I think Gruden should choose the latter scenario. The team needs to have their best offensive weapons on the field to take down the Vikings, and Jones offers more upside right now than Brown. I would like to see Brown get some action later in the year, but not against the Vikings defense, which ranks as one of the best in the league.