ASHBURN, Va. (AP) By adding rookie Matt Jones to dependable veteran Alfred Morris, the Washington Redskins have created an unusual two-back rushing attack.
How unusual? With Jones running for 123 yards in Week 2, after Morris gained 121 yards in Week 1, the Redskins are the first NFL team since the 2006 Chargers to have two backs each gain at least 100 yards on the ground in a season’s first two games.
”To have that solid, 1-2 punch – and both of those guys are so much alike – keeps the pressure on the defense,” Redskins left tackle Trent Williams said. ”It takes a gang to tackle them. It’s priceless, man, to have that type of backfield. It don’t come too often.”
The Redskins (1-1) lead the NFL by averaging 171.5 yards rushing per game. On Thursday night, the next team to try to stop them will be the NFC East rival New York Giants (0-2), whose defense ranked fourth entering Monday by allowing 68 yards per game.
In Washington’s 24-10 victory over the Rams on Sunday, Jones carried 19 times and wound up in the end zone twice, on runs of 39 and 3 yards. Morris ran it 18 times for 59 yards.
”People a lot of times devalue running backs nowadays,” Morris said. ”But we’re just showing that we are still valuable.”
Overall, the Redskins wound up with a whopping 182-67 advantage in yards rushing, often employing three tight ends.
”They ran the ball down our throats,” Rams defensive lineman Chris Long said.
In a Week 1 loss to the Miami Dolphins, Washington ran for 161 yards, so this marks only the third time since 1950 that the Redskins began a season with two games of at least 150 on the ground.
Another side benefit: The Redskins’ time of possession in each game was at least 37 minutes, the first time the club did that in consecutive games since 1992.
”It does open up a lot of things for us, and I think it’ll continue to open up things in the future, if we can continue to stick to it. … We have to stick to it,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. ”It does a couple things. Obviously, it runs clock. Our linemen love it. And it takes a little bit of pressure off the quarterback, which is very, very important. It’s been a good recipe for us, so far.”
Some teams that rotate runners have a big, drive-it-up-the-gut guy, and then will go to a change-of-pace alternative, often a smaller and perhaps speedier back.
Not the Redskins. They have two heavy runners.
The 5-foot-10, 224-pound Morris is in his fourth season; he’s gained at least 1,000 in each of the first three. The 6-foot-2, 231-pound Jones was taken in the third round this year out of Florida.
”In my opinion, I think those guys are extremely close as to what they do well. They both run with a lot of power. They both have some shiftiness to them. They both can punish the defense. They both deliver contact,” said Williams, part of an offensive line that has successfully opened hole after hole so far under new assistant coach Bill Callahan. ”It’s just a matter of keeping those guys fresh. Keep pounding it; one gets tired, you bring the other one in. Both present a challenge for the defense.”
How might that be better than having two runners with different styles?
”The advantage is that when one gets tired, you don’t have to change up the offense,” Williams said. ”You bring the other one in and they run the same offense, the same plays, just as well as the other one does.”
Note: CB David Amerson, a second-round pick in the 2013 draft, was waived. The Redskins also re-signed DE Frank Kearse. … LB Perry Riley (left calf) didn’t participate in Monday’s walkthrough. ”He’s up in the air” for Thursday, Gruden said. … RT Morgan Moses (knee) was a limited participant Monday, Gruden said, while DT Chris Baker was absent ”on a non-football-related deal.”
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