Matt Jones to miss remainder of preseason, hopes to be ready for regular season
ASHBURN The pain in Matt Jones’ left shoulder subsided greatly since he was injured in last Friday’s games against the New York Jets, but the Washington Redskins’ running back will miss the remainder of the preseason.
The expectation is that Jones, who sustained a second-degree sprain in his AC joint, will be ready for the Monday night season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 12.
“It feels better knowing I did it in the preseason,” Jones said. “Not saying preseason doesn’t matter, I still want to get better, but I have some time to get ready for the first game. I’m feeling great, on a scale of one to 10, I feel like a two right now.”
Rather than signing a free agent to bolster the running back depth, coach Jay Gruden said the Redskins will rely on Chris Thompson, rookies Keith Marshall and Robert Kelley, and second-year player Mack Brown.
It’s unclear how much Thompson, who Gruden said “is a little banged up,” will play in the third preseason game against the Buffalo Bills on Friday night, but Kelley and Marshall are expected to get the bulk of the carries.
“It will be interesting to watch these guys,” Gruden said. “These guys have shown a lot of promise in training camp. We want to see them in game situations against a good Buffalo team and it will be a good test for them.”
Kelley, Marshall and Brown are vying for the third running back position on the roster along with Jones and Thompson. Kelley, an undrafted free agent from Tulane, leads the Redskins with 48 yards on 10 carries and has impressed his coaches and teammates with his strong play in the preseason. He took snaps with the second team in practice leading into the game against the Jets. Once Jones was injured, Kelley came into the game ahead of Marshall, who the Redskins drafted in the seventh round.
“They stepped up a lot just seeing them in practice and learning on film, where to hit the hole at,” Jones said. “Kelley has done an awesome job, Keith Marshall is doing great, Mack Brown is coming along. [Thompson] is a little banged up, but he’s the guy everyone looks up to. Everyone around here is doing a good job, I really like what Kelley is doing right now.”
One of the questions Jones faces as the Redskins’ lead running back is whether he can endure the heavy workload this season. His rookie year was cut short after a hip injury kept him out the final four games, including the Redskins’ loss to the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs.
After sustaining another injury, this one before the regular season even began, that question will follow Jones, but the young running back isn’t concerned.
“I’m not trying to prove nothing to anybody, I know where I stand,” Jones said. “I don’t feel like this is a setback, feel like I can learn from it, having some visual learning while I’m watching other running backs while I’m on the sideline.”