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Will the Redskins go to running back by committee?

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Will the Redskins go to running back by committee?

The Redskins’ ranked 19th in the NFL in yards gained last year and their 4.2 yards per carry ranked 15th. That’s not good enough for a team that is as unsettled as the Redskins are at quarterback. Whether it’s Robert Griffin III behind center or Kirk Cousins or Colt McCoy, the QB will benefit greatly from a running game that is better than something right around the league average.

So there will be changes in way they do things. One is a more power-oriented ground game. The other may be some form of running back by committee.

“The running game nowadays, you need to have a couple of guys that can tote it,” Jay Gruden told Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro on ESPN 980 earlier this week. “Sixteen games is a long time, that’s a lot of games, a lot of carries, that’s a lot of hits on these running backs.”

Gruden said that he would like to split up the carries more than he did last year, when he went with what was mostly a one-back attack. Alfred Morris had 265 rushing attempts. The other tailbacks on the roster, Roy Helu, Silas Redd, and Chris Thompson, combined for 59 rushing attempts. That is 82 percent of the carries for Morris, 18 percent for the rest.

In his three years as the offensive coordinator with the Bengals, Gruden spread the workload in different ways in different seasons. In 2012 he had BenJarvus Green-Ellis take 80 percent of the tailback rushing attempts. But in 2011 it was a 70-30 split between Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott. And in 2013 Cincinnati drafted Giovani Bernard and gave him 170 carries to 220 for Green-Ellis (that’s a 56-44 split in percentage terms).

So maybe splitting up the running back carries isn’t so much a matter of philosophy for Gruden as much as doing things the way the quality of his stable of running backs dictates. He told Sheehan and Loverro that he will see who can earn the carries that Morris won’t get.

“I think you give Alfred the bulk of [the carries] and then Matt Jones comes in there, it could be Chris Thompson, it could be Silas Redd,” he said. “We’ll see how camp goes to see who deserves the carries, who’s going to get the carries. They have to prove then can protect the ball, No. 1, and prove they can pick up blitzes, No. 2 and then they will get some carries behind Alfred.”

Redd and Thompson are holdovers from last year but they have combined for only 25 career rushing attempts. Jones was the team’s third-round pick in this year’s draft.

Most backs come into the NFL with some innate ability to run the football. But it’s learning to do the other necessary, less glamorous work that separates an NFL running back from a guy who can find a hole and pick up some yards. If Gruden can find another running back or two we might see more of a running back by committee approach than we have seen with this team in the past.

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Need to Know: Some amazing Redskins numbers vs. the Raiders

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Associated Press

Need to Know: Some amazing Redskins numbers vs. the Raiders

 

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, September 25, seven days before the Washington Redskins play Chiefs in Kansas City.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Jay Gruden conference call 3:00

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 28
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 34

Redskins vs. Raiders by the numbers

—The Redskins outgained the Raiders 472 yards to 128. The 344-yard differential was the largest for the Redskins since they had a 385-yard advantage over Bears in 1974.

—The Raiders were 0-11 on third down. It was the first time the Redskins allowed no third-down conversions since a game against Dallas in 2007.

—The Raiders’ 128 yards were the fewest the Redskins have allowed in a game since they also allowed 128 to the Broncos in 1992. This marked the fifth time since the merger that the Redskins have held an opponent to 128 yards or fewer.

—Chris Thompson had 150 yards receiving. That shattered his former personal best of 57 yards in a game. Going back to at least 1960, no Redskins running back has gained more receiving yards in a game.

—Thompson added 31 yards rushing. His 181 yards of offense easily beat the Raiders’ total offense of 128 by itself.

—Josh Doctson's first catch of the season was good for 52 yards and a touchdown. 

—The Redskins now have at least one sack in 27 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFC and the second-longest in the NFL (Bengals, 32).

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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In case you missed it

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: How many game balls go out after dominant win over Raiders?

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: How many game balls go out after dominant win over Raiders?

JP Finlay, Rich Tandler and Mitch Tischler give their instant analysis from FedEx Field in the immediate wake of Washington's dominating 27-10 win over Oakland.

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 Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!