ASHBURN, Virginia -- The Washington Redskins made it clear they weren’t looking for a particular style at running back. They just wanted someone who could help. So they turned to a division rival and found someone who offers a similar skill set of someone they already have, but who could still provide what they need most right now -- depth. And, perhaps, some playmaking ability.
The Redskins signed running back Byron Marshall off Philadelphia’s practice squad Tuesday to fill the void left when Rob Kelley suffered a high ankle sprain and a sprained MCL on Sunday. Kelley was placed on injured reserve Monday.
Marshall is intriguing because he offers a combination of speed and quickness. He played both running back and receiver at Oregon and became the first player in Pac-12 history to post 1,000-yard seasons at both positions. He played in the slot as a junior and moved outside as a senior. An ankle injury ended his senior season after four games.
Marshall signed with Philadelphia in 2016 as an undrafted free agent and spent 14 weeks on the practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster for the last three games of last season, rushing for a combined 64 yards on 19 carries and catching three passes for 10 yards. Marshall led Philadelphia in rushing this past preseason with 111 yards on 31 carries.
With only two healthy running backs, the Redskins needed more help at the position. They lost Keith Marshall during the summer to a torn ACL, and Mack Brown was released on Oct. 28 and claimed by Minnesota two days later. The Redskins plan to start rookie Samaje Perine, with Thompson serving as the third-down back.
Marshall, once acclimated, would provide a breather when necessary. He also can return punts and kickoffs; the Redskins took Thompson off that role recently, instead using Kelley and Perine.
The Redskins' run game has been largely unproductive. Kelley was averaging only 3.1 yards per carry, and Perine hasn't been much better at 3.2 yards per rush. Thompson is averaging 4.62 yards per run, but in the last six games -- covering 48 carries -- he has gained just 3.43 yards per run. The Redskins don't want to wear him out, thereby limiting his playmaking ability in other facets -- namely the passing game. But there's a chance his opportunities will increase.
The Redskins signed defensive lineman Caraun Reid to the 53-man roster. They released Brandon Banks, with the plan of re-signing him to the practice squad if he clears waivers. The Redskins also signed inside linebacker Zach Vigil, whom they released this summer in their final cuts. Vigil's addition became necessary after they placed linebacker Will Compton on injured reserve.
Reid provides insurance in case Matt Ioannidis can’t play Sunday at New Orleans. Reid was a fifth-round draft pick with Detroit in 2014 and played as a rookie but was released the following summer. He signed with San Diego but tore his ACL in Week 7. The Chargers cut him in September; Detroit re-signed him on Oct. 11, only to cut him a week later.