Quick Links

Need to Know: Redskins RB Jones shows impressive speed

matt-jones-td-vs-rams.png

Need to Know: Redskins RB Jones shows impressive speed

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, September 23, one day before the Redskins travel to play the Giants.

Jones shows surprising speed

Like many people, I was pretty surprised in the first quarter of the Redskins’ game against the Rams when Matt Jones took a handoff from Kirk Cousins, headed down the left sideline and rolled past everyone 39 yards to the end zone. I knew he had good feet and was quick for a guy his size but I never had him pegged as a player with impressive speed. After all, the stopwatch at the NFL Combine timed him at 4.61 in the forty.

But this was some, dare I say it, John Riggins type speed. Back in Riggo’s day there wasn’t any way to quantify how fast players were. But now the NFL has a GPS sensor on every player and they can track the speed of each player. I came across this tweet from Chris Wesseling, a blogger for NFL.com.

In case you don’t know, “DHB” is wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, former of Maryland and the Raiders and currently of the Steelers. So Jones ran faster on the field than anyone on any NFL team in Week 2 with the exception of a speedy wide receiver.

Let’s do some math here. A person traveling at 21.70 m.p.h. will cover 40 yards in 3.77 seconds. Now, that not a legitimate 40 time since it doesn’t count acceleration time, only peak speed. Still, that is flat out moving for any player, let along one who is 6-2 and 230 pounds.

Jay Gruden said that the Redskins saw Jones’ speed on tape when he played for Florida.

“Yeah, he showed that when he burst out in the open field,” said Gruden. “And, you know, big, strong, fast men like that are hard to find. That’s why we’re very lucky to get him when we got him. He does have a rare combination of size and speed and he’s got good vision right now. We’ve just got to keep him going, keep him fresh.”

Jones’ run was the Redskins’ longest touchdown run since Robert Griffin III bolted 76 yards for six points against the Vikings in 2012. Jones doesn’t possess that kind of speed but he could turn out to be a special player if the Redskins find the right way to utilize that rare speed and size combination.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough before traveling to New York; no availability

Days until: Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 1; Eagles @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Falcons 18

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Redskins RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

Redskins RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

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.”

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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. 

RELATED: OFFSEASON NFL POWER RANKINGS

Quick Links

RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

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. 

NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT?

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. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back