Changing of the Guard for the Redskins
Rob Kelley gets his opportunity
Matt Jones takes a seat
Matt Jones will be a healthy scratch against the Vikings this week. The loudest narrative is that the benching is due to ball security issues, but the problems with Matt Jones run deeper. At 6’2” 232lbs, Jones was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft because of his speed-size combination and premier quickness. Unfortunately, the Redskins are realizing that his speed and quickness don’t marry well with his indecisiveness and upright running style. When Jones commits to an open lane he can run with power and effectiveness. But his inability to make quick decisions at the line and “run behind his pads” is costing the Redskins yardage. Sprinkle in fumbling issues and you have a situation where Washington is exploring it’s options. Enter Rob Kelley.
Rob Kelley is an undrafted rookie out of Tulane that has impressed the organization enough to earn himself a roster spot. Kelley is everything Matt Jones isn’t. Kelley runs low to the ground and powers through contact. He has excellent vision and makes very quick, sometimes too quick, cuts. While Jones may be the more dynamic, athletic runner, Kelley is proving himself to be the more effective runner. The Redskin’s offensive line play has improved this year and the coaches don’t value Jone’s athleticism as much as Kelley’s consistency. Kelly has 38 carries on the season and only one of those was for a loss. A lineman can fart and Jones will fall down. Jones’ upside athleticism is taking a back seat to Kelley’s ability to fight for extra yards.
Kelley averaged only 6.5 carries per game in college so he has a lot to learn. Fat Rob got his first start in week 8 against the Bengals and finished with 21 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown. The first half of the game saw Kelley trying to get downhill as fast as possible. At halftime coaches and teammates told him that he needed to run with a little more patience and let lanes open up for him. In the second half Kelley showed that he took the advice and allowed his holes to develop. Teachability is a very good thing in the NFL. Kelley also needs to better develop his pass protection skills. Teammate Chris Thompson handles most of the passing down duties so this isn’t enough of a factor to keep Rob off the field. Kelley is hungry, willing to learn and has enough talent to carve a significant role for himself in the Redskins offense. This week he will have a difficult matchup against the Vikings. If he performs well the Redskins will almost certainly continue with him as their starter. It’s way too early to crown Kelley the future of the Redskins running game, but the writing is on the wall for Matt Jones.
Kelley isn’t offended by his nickname, he embraces it. His first nickname given to him by his teammates was “R-Kelley”. But when the real R-Kelly started peeing on people his teammates decided on a change and “Fat Rob” was born.
Christopher Tyler Baker
DKL Staff Writer
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