ATLANTA – Washington Redskins undrafted rookie running back Robert Kelley shined in his preseason NFL debut after he ran for 40 yards and a touchdown on seven carries during the Redskins’ 23-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Aug. 11. The Tulane product averaged more than five yards-per-carry, however the same could not be said […]
ATLANTA – Washington Redskins undrafted rookie running back Robert Kelley shined in his preseason NFL debut after he ran for 40 yards and a touchdown on seven carries during the Redskins’ 23-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Aug. 11.
The Tulane product averaged more than five yards-per-carry, however the same could not be said for the rest of the Redskins’ running back corps.
With the exception of Kelley, Washington’s running back unit accounted for only 39 yards on 17 carries – making for a 2.3 yard-per-carry average. Redskins starting running back Matt Jones was pushed back for a loss of three yards on the first series, but eventually had one more carry for four yards before hitting the bench. Rookie seventh-round pick Keith Marshall couldn’t find any space to make an impact and only accounted for a negative yard on five carries.
“We’re not going to panic after the first preseason game, but we also understand that these games, you are what you are based on what you put on the tape,” Washington Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden said about the running game. “We have got to make sure we continue to work on it and get better at it – that’s all you can do. Our backs have got to continue to see it, but we have got to give them more opportunities.
“With Matt, it would be nice to get him two, three, four carries in a row to get a rhythm going and see how he does then. That will be our intent next week – to try to get him going – and see how he does.”
Redskins’ signal-caller Kirk Cousins had an efficient start, completing all five of his passing attempts for 39 yards in one series of play. In relief, backup quarterback Colt McCoy threw for 53 yards including a beautiful back corner touch pass to Vernon Davis in the first quarter. Unfortunately Davis dropped what would have been a sure touchdown.
Rookie Nate Sudfeld looked impressive as well, going 10-for-15 for 89 yards and a touchdown toss to tight end Marcel Jensen in the fourth quarter.
It wasn’t until the second half that Washington’s offense started to get going, but rookie defensive back Su’a Cravens looked sharp early on in his NFL debut.
Cravens was active in the box and tallied three tackles in his first action of the year. Gruden has been impressed with his progress in training camp and it seems to have translated to the game.
“When (Cravens) is around the football, he makes plays,” Gruden said. “He’s batting balls down and on a punt play, the guy cuts it back, one man to miss, and he upends him. He makes his presence known.
“When you’re on the sideline with all the stuff going on, guys flash and pop out at you and Su’a is one of them. He’s all over the place. We’ve just got to keep coaching him up. Sometimes he’s out of place, but he’s out of place with great effort. That’s for sure.”
With one game in the books, Washington saw some things it liked and some it didn’t. However, it will take a collective team effort to thwart the New York Jets in the next preseason game on Friday night at FedExField.