- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Washington Redskins receive good production from their running backs, especially considering none of them are expensive. Look for more of the same, though the Redskins will need to add a couple pieces here; they need to find more help for special teams from this position. Our positional outlook continues with a look at running backs.
Alfred Morris: His status won’t change with Jay Gruden in charge as offensive coordinator Sean McVay said the running game will remain similar to what it has been. That’s good news considering it’s worked well the past two years, with or without the zone read option. Morris is an excellent one-cut back, but he has to eliminate the fumbles (most of which have not been the result of hard hits either). Morris would help the offense if he became more of an all-around back, though he showed in the Pro Bowl that perhaps he’s better than we thought in this area. Then again, he did not show good hands this season in limited opportunities.
2014: Starter; Contract status: Signed through 2015
Darrel Young: He was, when healthy, an effective blocker. He has improved each season in that role, but never touches the ball as much as he would like. He catches the ball well, but most teams want to limit passes to their fullback -- if you want an explosive offense. It’s very hard to see that changing in 2014 under coach Jay Gruden. But Young will continue to help on special teams. It helps him that offensive coordinator Sean McVay knows what Young can do.
2014: Contributor; Contract status: Signed through 2015
Roy Helu:Though he had moments, Helu did not have the impact I thought he would this past season. He had moments -- the Oakland game, for example -- when he showed what he could do. I’m not sure why he wasn’t more involved at times, but it’s not as if he was constantly making big plays, either. As a runner, Helu is fast -- and at times remains too fast to the hole. That led to a lot of 2-yard runs. When he was patient, Helu did a nice job.
2014: Third down back; Contract status: Signed through 2014
Evan Royster: He was an insurance policy for a second consecutive season. Here is the problem with Washington’s special teams: Guys at the end of the roster, like Royster, did not help much in that area. There were too many cases like this. If you’re the No. 3 running back and you’re active, you’d better help on special teams. Royster played special teams, but it’s far from a strength. Royster is a capable runner and a fine backup, but if the Redskins want to upgrade special teams, they will find guys who can be a quality special teamer and a backup runner.
2014: Bubble; Contract status: Signed through 2014
Chris Thompson: He never played from scrimmage, after showing a little flash in the preseason (but only a little). Thompson also showed that he needed to improve his ball security. In the preseason, he did a nice job with his cuts at times. But if he is ever going to help from scrimmage, it will be as a pass-catcher in space. He is not much of a blocker, so he would only be used sparingly. Durability is an issue. His speed warrants another look, but if he gets hurt again, you can’t waste more time on him.
2014: Bubble/returner; Contract status: Signed through 2017
Jawan Jamison: He didn’t do anything as a rookie and spent most of the season on the practice squad. Jamison was a project anyway, so it’s not as if the Redskins expected a lot from him. However, he did not report to camp in good shape, which is inexcusable for a rookie -- especially one who left college early. It will be tough for him to make the roster next season. He showed in college that he could pass protect. He needs to show something next summer.
2014: Practice squader; Contract status: Signed through 2017
The Washington Redskins receive good production from their running backs, especially considering none of them are expensive. Look for more of the same, though the Redskins will need to add a couple pieces here; they need to find more help for special teams from this position.