Once the Redskins get over the shock of losing rookie running back Derrius Guice for the season they will have to figure out if they are going to replace him on the roster and, if so, how they will do it.
Prior to free agency and the draft, Doug Williams told reporters that the Redskins needed to upgrade the running back position, emphasizing the point by adding “ain’t no doubt about it. They did that by taking Guice in the second round of the draft in April.
Guice was supposed to be the No. 1 back. He had star potential and everyone—players, coaches, fans—was confident that he would have a huge impact.
Now, the Redskins are back to the same group that Williams was so desperate to upgrade back in the spring. Rob Kelley started seven games last year and Samaje Perine started eight. Perine led the team in rushing with 603 yards (3.4 per carry) and Kelley battled injuries and rushed for just 194 yards (3.1 per carry).
Thompson was having a very good year when he suffered a broken fibula that ended his season in Week 11. Byron Marshall and Kapri Bibbs were signed to replace him as the third down back and both flashed some ability.
A flash here and there is great but nobody on the roster has the potential that Guice had. Should the Redskins go with who they have or try to add to the group?
There are veteran possibilities. Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles both have All-Pro honors on their resumes, but both are well over 30 with a ton of carries and neither has done much in the last few years.
Old friend Alfred Morris is available, and he was a favorite of Jay Gruden’s. It seems unlikely that the Redskins would re-sign him after letting him walk in free agency in 2016 without so much as making him a competitive offer. But between him, Peterson, and Charles he would be the most likely veteran to target.
They could pull off a trade if a team finds it has an excess of talented backs. They have 10 draft picks in hand next year, putting them in position to make a deal if someone they like becomes available.
Williams and Bruce Allen also could keep an eye on the waiver wire as teams make the cut to 53 in three weeks. The issue there is the same as it is with signing a veteran or making a trade—is the player you get enough of an upgrade over what you have on the roster to make him worth the price?
With all that said, recent history tells us that the Redskins are likely to go with what they have. They suffered a plethora of injuries last year, including many before the trade deadline, but they did not pull off a trade. They relied on out-of-work veterans and younger players signed away from other teams’ practice squads to take the roster spots vacated by the 22 players who were put on injured reserve during the course of the season. That may or may not have been the best way to handle the situation, but it seems likely that they will handle this injury the same way.
Take Kelley, Thompson, and Guice and then add either Marshall or Bibbs and there you probably have your 2018 Redskins running back corps.
If you’ve paid attention to recent history, ain’t no doubt about it.
Redskins 2018 training camp news