With Kelley likely out, Redskins Samaje Perine can break out against 49ers
By Ian Cummings
The bye week helped, but some Redskins players will need a bit more time to get healthy. Starting running back Robert Kelley is one such player.
The Washington Redskins suffered a slew of injuries in their Week 4 29-20 loss against the Chiefs. And although the players were given an extra week to get healthy, some are still riding on the road to recovery, per the Redskins’ official Twitter account.
Kelley’s lingering injury is certainly disappointing. The second-year running back was performing well this year, averaging nearly five yards per carry with the looks he’d gotten thus far. But in his absence, another young running back has a chance to emerge and provide the Redskins with a solid option in the backfield.
Samaje Perine, the burly Oklahoma product, has been a bit up and down this year. His stats aren’t too impressive, but they don’t tell the whole story. With 46 carries for 143 yards, Perine has been a physical back. He imposes himself at the line, as the scouts knew he would. However, for the excitement that surrounded Perine early in the year, he hasn’t played as well as some would have hoped. He hasn’t displayed a lot of versatility thus far, as most of his attempted catches wind up as bobbled drops, and the rookie hasn’t yet found the end zone in four games of action.
Nevertheless, Perine was drafted in the fourth round for a reason. He offers the Redskins with unparalleled strength, and as he gets more comfortable, he should be able to use his physical gifts to his advantage for greater and greater affect. The Redskins’ offensive line helps, as does Jay Gruden’s unwavering commitment to the run game.
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On Sunday, against a subpar 49ers defense, with the home crowd behind him, Samaje Perine has a chance to break out. He won’t take the starting job away from Kelley. But he can instill confidence in this team by having a stellar performance. This will be his best chance all season to churn out yards and prove himself to be a viable option in the backfield. He has the opportunity to do it. And he certainly can. All that’s left to do is see if he will.