Can the Redskins and Robert Griffin III survive and even thrive if Tyler Polumbus ends up playing right tackle instead of the ailing Jammal Brown?Many Redskins fans and analysts are cringing at the thought of the journeyman lineman taking over a key spot on the offensive line. They fear that Griffin will not get a chance to succeed, as he will spend most of the season running for his life.But are people saying this because they have really examined what he has done? Or is it because Polumbus was signed off of the street by the Redskins in the middle of last year and they really havent heard of him?Lets take an objective look at what Polumbus has done on the field the last couple of years and what the offenses of the teams he was playing for were able to do when he was in the lineup at tackle.2011Polumbus started three games at right tackle for the Redskins last year and one at left guard. Were only going to look at his games at tackle here.He started at right tackle and played every snap against New England at FedEx Field, and at the Giants and Eagles. According to the folks at Pro Football Focus, in those three games he gave up no sacks, three QB hits, and 10 QB hurries. Two of the hits and six of the hurries came against the Eagles, where he was lined up against Jason Babin most of the game.Earlier in the season, Brown started and played every snap against the Giants and Eagles. He gave up a total of one sack, three hits, and four hurries in those two games, a total of eight pressures. Against those two opponents Polumbus gave up no sacks, three hits and eight hurries, a total of 11 pressures.How did the Redskins offense do when Polumbus played? Lets take a look, with the caveat that we are dealing with a small sample size of three games.In the three games with Polumbus at right tackle, the Redskins averaged 141 yards per game rushing; in the other 13 games, they averaged 92. With Polumbus, the Redskins gave up 1.3 sacks per game; without him the averaged was 2.8.Again, take into account the small sample size, especially the fact that the Patriots defensive was one of the worst in the league last year (although they were in the middle of the pack in the two areas were looking at, 14th in sacks and 17th in rushing yards allowed). But the Redskins offense did not come apart at the seams when Polumbus was playing right tackle.2010We have a larger sample size to look at during Polumbus 2010 season in Seattle. He played six games at left tackle and one at right tackle. Polumbus also started three games at left guard including two playoff games but, again, were going to disregard those games and focus on his play at tackle.In his seven games at tackle, Polumbus gave up five sacks, four hits, and 11 hurries. Two of the sacks and five of the hurries came in one game, when Seattle visited the Rams and Polumbus was matched up against defensive end Chris Long.When he was at left tackle, he was filling in for rookie Russell Okung, the sixth overall pick in the draft. In the nine regular season games where Okung played all of the snaps (he started one game but left after being in for nine plays), he gave up four sacks, five hits, and 14 hurries.We do have a better sample size to work with when it comes to the teams performance while Polumbus was in the lineup as he started almost half of their regular season games.Seattles rushing performance was virtually the same with our without Polumbus at tackle, with an average of 88 yards per game with him and 89 without him. On average, however, the Seahawks pass protection was considerably leaker. They have up an average of 3.4 sacks per game with Polumbus at tackle and that dropped to 1.2 per game without him.The with Polumbus average was pushed up by a bad two-week stretch. They gave up five sacks to the Cardinals in Week 7 and the Raiders sacked Matt Hasselbeck eight times the next game. Individually, Pro Football Focus charged Polumbus with one sack in each of those games.Can they survive?Based on this limited look, it appears that an offense can function with Tyler Polumbus at tackle. Given his struggles against top ends like Long and Babin, the coaches should consider giving him some help when he is lined up against the better right-side pass rushers. But the rushing game seems to function reasonably well with Polumbus in the lineup rather than the more heralded Brown and Okung.Again, this is a small sample size but it seems to be a more systematic way of looking at it than the Tyler Polumbus is at right tackle, the offense is doomed level of analysis that we have been getting.
You would think that after spending two years as the team’s third-down back, playing more snaps than any other running back last season, and getting a second-round restricted free agent tender that will pay him $2.7 million this year, Chris Thompson might feel comfortable as the Redskins start up the final phase of their preseason program.
But Thompson says that he is as nervous about making the team as he was when he was a fifth-round in 2013.
“Even after the last preseason game when you guys talk to me I’m going to still be nervous when that time comes around because I never forget that feeling,” he told reporters on Monday prior to the Redskins charity golf tournament at Army-Navy Country Club.
“For me, I’ve just got to come out here and work every day to try to secure my job.”
The approach has worked for him in the past. He struggled with injuries his first two years in the league, playing a total of just six games. In 2015 he found his niche as the third-down back and he hasn’t given it up.
In fact, he may get more opportunities on first and second downs.
“I have a feeling that I might get a little more this year,” he said. “He [coach Jay Gruden] knows that I’m healthy and I can stay healthy. I think that was one of his biggest concerns, that I can handle the load. I think I’ll get a lot more opportunities.”
Rob Kelley is expected to be the starter and fourth-round pick Samaje Perine should get a significant number of carries. If Gruden plans on Thompson getting more work on the ground, that likely means that the Redskins anticipate running the ball more ofent than they did in 2016, when they were 27th in the NFL with 379 rushing attempts.
Health is key for Thompson. He not only played in all 16 games for the first time in his career last year, he came out of the season in good health. Not having the need to rehab is allowing Thompson to work on refining his game.
“[Being healthy] helps me to get away and focus on the little things that I need to work on,” he said. “Having a full offseason, being able to get away, I’ve been able to focus on those things. Just like my quickness, my route running. I know my route running is big for me to make it in this league so I work on that. . . that was my main goal.”
Thompson’s work ethic and his mindset where he takes nothing for granted have served him well. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2018 and if he continues to produce he will be setting himself up for a nice payday.
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Matt Jones entered the 2016 season as the Redskins undisputed starter at running back.
That lasted seven games.
By Week 8, Jones landed on the inactive list, and he never took another snap all year.
With OTAs beginning for the 2017 season, it looks like Jones might not play with the team.
#Redskins RB Matt Jones will not be at OTAs, source said. He was a healthy scratch most of last year, doesn’t appear part of their plans.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 24, 2017
In April at the NFL Draft, reports surfaced that Washington was trying to trade Jones.
Weeks before that, at the NFL Owner's Meetings in Arizona, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden had to be reminded that Jones was still on the roster as the coach talked about the running back situation for this fall.
Robert Kelley surpassed Jones as the top running back on the team last season with Chris Thompson secure in his third down back role.
Mack Brown even moved past Jones on the depth chart. When the Redskins drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round, that signaled even bigger trouble for Jones' roster situation.
The Redskins will likely only keep four running backs this fall, and with Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Brown, it sure seems like Jones is the odd man out.
It's remarkable considering Jones has size, speed and an NFL resume that has three 100-yard games on it in just 20 games. The Redskins spent a third-round pick on Jones in 2015, and he largely ousted fan favorite Alfred Morris from the RB1 role as a rookie.
Life comes at you quick in the NFL.
Jones is a clear example of that.
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