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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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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Who will be the Redskins new top wideout?

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Who will be the Redskins new top wideout?

Rich Tandler and JP Finlay make predictions about the Redskins leading wideout in 2017 and how the offense shakes out. Plus, who will drink the most beer over Memorial Day? Bonus guest local celebrity Mitch Tischler joins the pod.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, 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

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Third-round pick Fabian Moreau signs with Redskins, all draftees now under contract

Third-round pick Fabian Moreau signs with Redskins, all draftees now under contract

By: Caroline Brandt, @carolinewbrandt 

The Redskins have a lot to feel good about going into Memorial Day weekend. Fabian Moreau, a cornerback out of UCLA and the Redskins' 81st pick, has officially signed with the team.

The 6-foot, 200-pound CB tore his pectoral muscle during the bench press at his pro day, but he recently told Redskins Insider JP Finlay that his rehab is going well. There is hope Moreau could return to the field in August or September.

All 10 of Washington's draft picks this season are now under contract with Moreau's signing.

The Redskins' 2017 draft class includes:

  1. Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama (No. 17 Overall, Rd. 1)
  2. Ryan Anderson, OLB, Alabama (No. 49 Overall, Rd. 2)
  3. Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA (No. 81 Overall, Rd. 3)
  4. Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma (No. 114 Overall, Rd. 4)
  5. Montae Nicholson, S, Michigan State (No. 123 Overall, Rd. 4)
  6. Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas (No. 154, Rd. 5)
  7. Chase Rouiller, C, Wyoming (No. 199, Rd. 6)
  8. Robert Davis, WR, Georgia State (No. 209, Rd. 6)
  9. Josh Harvey-Clemons, S/LB, Louisville (No. 230, Rd. 7)
  10. Joshua Holsey, CB, Auburn (No. 235, Rd. 7)

MORE REDSKINS: After 4 teams in 5 seasons, Swearinger ready to make Redskins home