After Washington selected a running back in the draft and reportedly demoted another this offseason, it’s fair to wonder who will be toting the rock in D.C. full-time. According to Redskins offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh, it depends on the day and the drive.
Cavanaugh was asked Thursday whether Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson or rookie runner Samaje Perine will be the primary tailback come September and while the OC indicated Kelley has earned the starting job, that doesn’t mean he’ll keep it.
“I think really it’s a game-to-game evaluation, an in-game evaluation of how well he’s doing and how winded he is — ‘Does he need a blow,'” Cavanuagh said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “We just feel like we’ve got depth at that position now with a lot of similar-type players: stocky, quick-footed, strong, smart guys that can sub in for each other.
“I wouldn’t put a pitch count on any of them, but obviously if a guy’s got a hot hand and he’s feeling good and he’s not gassed, we’ll keep him on the field. Ideally, maybe have some third-down reps too.”
It’s June, and Cavanaugh, in his first NFL offensive coordinator gig since 2004, hasn’t seen all six of his tailbacks (Kelley, Thompson, Perine, Mack Brown, Matt Jones, Keith Marshall) in pads yet; Perine, a projected starter in many circles, has never seen professional contact before. There’s a lot of unknown with these backs, especially how Fat Rob will run with less weight, how Jones will react to being dropped to fifth in the depth chart and if the latter will even be on the roster by August.
But it sounds right now as if Washington is proceeding with an open running-back-by-committee approach and saying ‘Let the best man and/or least tired man win.’ That’s what happens when you have three three-down backs of equal ability on your roster. Bad news for fantasy owners. Good news for fans of committees and chaos.