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Redskins struggling to balance carries between Jones, Morris

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ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Redskins, at one point the NFL’s top rushing offense, are still struggling to balance carries for rookie running backs Matt Jones and fourth-year veteran Alfred Morris.

Do you keep going with the hot hand and let the other back sit and watch? Or after a couple of nice runs to you sub in the other back? Finding a rhythm for both players has been difficult. Is it time to give one of them the majority of the carries?

“There probably is some validity to it,” Washington coach Jay Gruden said. “But there’s also some validity to keeping them fresh and having a package of plays for each back that we feel good about.”

Morris has 74 carries for 276 yards while Jones has 54 carries for 220 yards. Jones has three touchdowns and the two have combined for three carries over 20 yards. It’s an effective run game, but not one prone to big plays save for a win over the Rams when Morris and Jones had back-to-back runs of 35 and 39 yards.

–The Redskins had a chance to draft Jets rookie defensive tackle Leonard Williams. He surprisingly fell to them at No. 5, but they chose instead to fortify the offensive line with Iowa tackle Brandon Scherf, who began training camp at right tackle, but moved inside to right guard within a week and has started every game there.

The Jets, meanwhile, scooped Williams with the next pick at No. 6. The USC product has a half sack and 18 tackles with three for a loss. Williams earned credit for a safety, but has yet to force a turnover or knock down a pass. He, too, is finding his way.

“(Williams) is a big, athletic guy,” Gruden said. “He can play nose guard. He can play 3-technique. Very athletic. They’ve got a great substitution pattern.”

–TE Jordan Reed (concussion) took a small step forward in his recovery on Wednesday when he was on the field at Redskins Park for practice. Unfortunately, it was just to watch in street clothes. Reed is able to attend meetings and watch practice now, but he has yet to be cleared to take part in on-field individual drills.

Reed, still in the NFL’s concussion protocol, was hurt late in an Oct. 4 win over Philadelphia and didn’t play against Atlanta. He was not seen at all last week.

“It’s a very positive step,” Gruden said. “But it’s up to Jordan and the doctor when he gets cleared.”

NOTES: CB Chris Culliver (left knee) missed the Atlanta game and was limited at practice on Wednesday. But he is confident that he’ll make a return to the lineup on Sunday. … CB Bashaud Breeland was limited in practice on Wednesday, but expects, like Culliver, to play. … C Kory Lichtensteiger (broken thumb, shoulder injury) was limited at practice Wednesday, but also expects to play against New York. Washington’s back-up center is Josh LeRibeus.


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