As usual, Washington Redskins fans are wanting to grasp onto any news coming out of organized team activities. However, Rob Kelley taking the first reps shouldn’t be a coveted headline.
Organized team activities, or OTAs, are almost like varsity tryouts. Veteran players have the opportunity to showcase themselves first, then the sophomores, then the rookies. It’s baffling to me that Washington Redskins fans can just forget all about the talent of Derrius Guice because Rob Kelley took the first reps at OTAs.
Let me quickly remind you of Rob Kelley’s stats. In 2016, he played 15 games and fashioned 704 rushing yards and six touchdowns, with a 4.2 rushing average. Let’s be real: These numbers aren’t impressive. He had the starting job handed to him because Matt Jones couldn’t hold onto the football.
Last season, in 2017, Kelley showed his true value. He finished the season playing seven games with 194 yards and three touchdowns. His average? 3.1 yards per carry. Even though he was injured for half the year, it still was an extremely disappointing season, to say the least. All Kelley demonstrated was that he had no agility and that he couldn’t run between the tackles. His best running feature? Running straight up the middle and falling on the first offensive lineman he met.
I will admit, Kelley had a lot of pressure on him last season. Redskins Nation was so desperate for a running back that they made themselves believe that Kelley was the answer to all their running back woes. It was an experiment that was set up for failure from the beginning. What the Washington Redskins should have done was turn Kelley into a poor man’s version of LeGarrette Blount. Kelley should have been the guy to get those tough 1-2 yards on third downs and on goal-line opportunities. He should have been the bruiser to finish off close games. He wasn’t meant to be an every-down back, which was clearly demonstrated.
Here’s how the running back depth chart looks, heading into the 2018 season: Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine, Rob Kelley, and Byron Marshall. I don’t think that Kelley will even beat out Perine. I’ll go out on a limb and say that Rob Kelley won’t be on the Washington Redskins roster this coming season.
I understand that people have been smitten with the nickname “Fat Rob”. I was, too. Looking back, everyone just had blind faith in the man, because of his nickname and his story. For the past moves from the organization, I don’t blame anyone.
Now, however, the Washington Redskins have a brighter future ahead with Derrius Guice as the early-down back and Chris Thompson as the third-down back. It will be exciting to see what the run game has to offer this season. I believe it could be the best running back season since the days of Clinton Portis. Sadly, this new era will have to leave a man behind, and it’s looking like Rob Kelley will be the odd man out.
As I said earlier, let’s not jump the gun on who gets the first or the most reps at OTAs this early in the game. Coaches want to make players earn the reps, especially when it comes to rookies. Nonetheless, Derrius Guice will take the job. After all, anyone who is treating fans to Avengers tickets is already a starter, in my book.