REDSKINS RUNNING BACKS PREVIEW
Washington Redskins Coach Jay Gruden will be keeping the power zone scheme, and the Redskins running backs herd has become overcrowded with a stable of talent. The starter is Alfred Morris, and that seems to be fairly stable. But the rest of the backfield is giving way to a tighter competition with the addition of Lache Seastrunk out of Baylor and the return of Chris Thompson from the IR.
In 2012, Alfred Morris carried the ball for 335 times in his rookie campaign, and that type of workload can ultimately result in the type of hits that end careers prematurely. In 2013, his carries went down by 60 carries to 275, as a healthy Roy Helu Jr. saw a bit more playing time.
Keeping Morris under 300 carries for a season will add some life to the wear and tear of his body and keep him fresh for any, ahem, playoff runs.
Helu Jr. has the spell back position locked up among Redskins running backs, but in OTA’s there has been a buzz about Lache Seastrunk and the athletic ability he brings to the table. Seastrunk will be expected to play on special teams and contribute a lot to the unit. While Seastrunk has looked lost at times, he continues to show flashes during training camp with his speed and ability to break away from the pack.
If Seastrunk can grasp the playbook, he could make the roster. If not, he’s bought a one-way ticket to the practice squad.
Doing so does make Seastrunk available for a team to sign him away to their active roster, so that has to be in the mind of Coach Gruden and GM Bruce Allen. This coaching staff has no ties to Roy Helu Jr. and could likely be pushed to the back of the pack if he gets complacent especially because of his injury history.
SOW caught up with Lache Seastrunk after Wednesday’s OTAs: check out his comments here (with an audio-bomb from Morgan Moses):
THOMPSON “RETURNS” TO REDSKINS RUNNING BACKS
Chris Thompson might be more of a staple for the special teams unit as a returner and punt returner, but his inconsistency holding on to the ball and his questionable decision making will have to improve for him to be trusted. He certainly has the speed and ability to take it to the house on either punts or kickoffs and still be a legitimate pass catching back in certain packages.
If Thompson is not able to secure the football and show the coaches that he has the ability to be trusted on special teams as a returner, then his NFL career among the Redskins running backs might be shorter lived than he thought.
Evan Royster could be the odd man out at this point with the Redskins running backs getting faster overall. His slow 40 time and inability to adapt to the speed of the NFL game will most likely see his tenure with the Redskins come to an end.
While Royster has played Special Teams as a backup for the return man which will most likely be taken over by another running back (Darrel Young) or Niles Paul because of their blocking abilities. Royster will have to show a lot for him to make the 53 man roster — Gruden has no ties to him and will need to impress to be a part of the Redskins running backs this season.
His position on the depth chart is ultimately predicated on a numbers game: divide his performance by how many backs Coach Gruden wants to carry into the season.
Silas Redd is also fighting for a position spot on the roster, but at this point he might be stashed on the practice squad. Redd was an undrafted free agent out of USC who transferred from Penn State. He eventually got buried on the depth chart last season at USC and saw limited time due to the emergence of Javorius “Buck” Allen and Tre Madden for the Trojans.
The real question is how many Running backs are going to be carried for this season? Mike Shanahan liked to have a deep depth chart when it came to the running backs; Jay Gruden may be different. Either way, the one time glamour position of the NFL running back is becoming a dime a dozen post as the league continues its climb to a pass first party.