Robert Kelley has come out of nowhere to be a solid back for the Washington Redskins.
The Washington Redskins seemed confident this offseason that Matt Jones was worthy of replacing veteran Alfred Morris for the feature running back position. The performance of rookie Robert Kelley has given the Redskins a different perspective. Jones had the reigns on the starting job. It was his to lose, and well; he lost it.
Through 7 games this season Jones complied 460 rushing yards on 99 attempts (good for an average of 4.6 yards per carry). He accounted for 3 rushing touchdowns. However, Jones had some issues, and his biggest flaw was ball security.
During the 2015 season Jones was responsible for 4 lost fumbles. He has totaled 3 to date in the 2016 season. The fumbles and the overall lack of production in short yardage have led the Redskins in favor of rookie Robert “Fat Rob” Kelley.
Kelley, an undrafted free agent from Tulane, has seized the opportunity and very fittingly ran away with the job. He has amassed 287 yards rushing on 60 attempts this season, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. He has been on the verge of 100 yard games on both of his career starts. Against Cincinnati he ran for 87 and against the Vikings he finished with 97.
Kelley has the ability to gain short yardage when it’s needed. His vision, strength, and footwork allow him to get increased yards when things look bleak. In his 60 carries this season Kelley has lost yards just twice. As a starter, Kelley has lost yards just once in his 43 carries. Jay Gruden has been impressed by his performance, per ESPN’s John Keim:
The first thing you have to like about Robert is there aren’t many negative plays. There are other plays where it looked like there was nothing there and all of the sudden, 2nd and 7. And those are huge. You stay on track as play caller, and it makes the game flow a lot smoother when you’re in 2nd and 7, 2nd and 6, 2nd and 5 and that’s a great tribute to him.
Things run smoothly when you are able to run the football effectively. Kirk Cousins and the Redskins thrive on the play action scheme, and having a running back threat continues to keep the defense honest.
I’m always surprised. I always try to take advantage and don’t just go out there and get a big head and stuff like that.
Sunday, Kelley will be faced against the Green Bay Packers who rank fourth in the league in rushing defense at 84.4 yards per game. Kelley hasn’t rushed for less than 87 in his two career starts. With that being said, challenge accepted Green Bay.