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Jay Gruden approves of Robert Kelley as RB1: 'He's fun to watch'

Jay Gruden approves of Robert Kelley as RB1: 'He's fun to watch'

Things change quick in the NFL.

Less than a month ago, Matt Jones rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown in a win against the Eagles. The second-year runner looked well on his way to a strong season for Washington. 

Then, following a bout with fumbleitis in Detroit and a knee injury that forced him out of action in London, Jones lost his job to undrafted rookie Robert Kelley. After two games with Kelley as the starter, the job looks like his to keep.

"He’s fun to watch, and he’s going to get better and better," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of Kelley after the rookie ran for nearly100 yards in a win over Minnesota. 

RELATED: THE BEST IMAGES FROM REDSKINS' WEEK 10 WIN

The coach is right - Kelley is fun to watch. The Tulane product has a knack for making the first tackler miss, a quick shift in his hips and, perhaps most importantly, has been secure with the ball on every one of his NFL carries.

"I thought he ran really, really well," Washington QB Kirk Cousins said of Kelley. 

"I thought he did the same thing against the Bengals. He just picked up where he left off and was phenomenal all day. I was very pleased with the way he ran the football and I can’t say enough good things about him, his effort, the way he produced for us and his approach to the game."

HIgh praise from Cousins, yet deserved. In his last two games - both starts with Jones inactive — Kelley has run for 194 yards and more than 4 yards-per-carry. Most important for Kelley, he rarely loses yards. His run style and ability to make tacklers miss often nets the Washington offense at least a one or two-yard gain even when runs look stuffed from the snap.

"You try and minimize the negative runs. That’s something Coach Gruden talks about a lot to make sure that I get positive runs," Kelley said. "If I get just one yard, stay positive. You can’t go broke with a positive."

Kelley will continue to get the ball for Washington as long as he keeps his approach simple. Multiple times against the Vikings, Kelley broke 10+yard runs, and they all started with making a defender miss. For the season, Kelley averages 3.6 yards per carry after contact, an impressive total.

Leaving the field on Sunday, Kelley held a football under his arm (full video above).

He explained that he wanted to keep that ball for his collection, but he added that it would have been nice to get to 100 yards instead of finishing the game with 97.

"I feel good," Kelley said. "I got 97 yards. I don’t care as long as we got the win with it. I could have had 12 yards and it wouldn’t matter.”

RELATED: WHAT WE LEARNED FROM REDSKINS' WIN OVER VIKINGS

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A possible trade destination for Redskins RB Matt Jones?

A possible trade destination for Redskins RB Matt Jones?

RICHMOND—The Redskins reportedly have been looking to trade running back Matt Jones since just before the draft. They may be able to find a partner just up I-95.

The Baltimore Ravens are in need of a running back after Kenneth Dixon suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this week. Terrance West, who gained 774 yards on the ground last year, is healthy and returning but the Ravens want more depth at the position.

That is where Jones could come into play. The 2015 third-round pick of the Redskins was the unquestioned starter going into last season. But fumbling and other issues prompted Jay Gruden to make him inactive the last nine games of the season. Jones further fell out of favor by skipping OTAs this year, a move he made on the advice of his now-former agent.

RELATED: Is Cousins overrated?

Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh said last year that he liked Jones “a lot” in the 2015 draft and he could well still be intrigued by his size and speed. ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley said that Jones could be a good fit for the Ravens in their current situation.

It should be noted that Hensley seems to be engaging in informed speculation and not relaying anything he heard from the team’s decision makers. He also speaks of the possibility of Baltimore picking up Jones after the Redskins release him.

But there could be some incentive for the Ravens to talk trade with the Redskins rather than waiting for Jones to hit the waiver wire. For one thing, getting their new back in sooner rather than later would benefit the Ravens, allowing the player to get acclimated to his new quarterback and offensive line. While the Redskins are inevitably going to cut Jones, they have no incentive to do so before the final cuts just before the start of the season. Perhaps the Ravens will want to give up some minor compensation, something like a swap of sixth- and seventh-round picks, to get Jones in for the start of training camp.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

Hensley also mentions the possibility that the Ravens will look at former Redskin Alfred Morris for depth at running back. He currently is buried on the Cowboys’ depth chart behind All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott and Darren McFadden. However, there is the possibility of a domestic-violence suspension on the horizon for Elliott. While the suspension is likely to be brief the Cowboys probably don’t want to depart with any running back depth until the matter has been settled.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Ranking the 2017 Redskins roster, the final update: 1-10

Ranking the 2017 Redskins roster, the final update: 1-10

At CSNmidatlantic.com we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offense, defense) right after minicamp. Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2017 Redskins. No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings over the next few weeks.

Today we’re updating the list with the players we ranked from 1-10. Here are some of the players in our latest update:

—A 2016 free agent who needs to make more big plays.

—A rookie expected to bolster one of the weakest units on the team.   

—Each of the five highest-paid players on the team.

—What you won’t find: Any players who will be over the age of 29 in Week 1.     

Go here to see our ranking of the 2017 Redskins, players 1-53.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.