Jay Gruden explains RB decision

ASHBURN, Va. -- The Redskins knew they had a tough choice at running back, which is why many expected them to keep four and not three. And then they kept three, a mild surprise, after their final cuts.

The surprise, too, was that of the three they kept none were Chris Thompson or sixth-round pick Lache Seastrunk. They at least signed Thompson to the practice squad, but opted not to do the same with Seastrunk. They also cut veteran Evan Royster.

“It's not over for Lache,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “I'm sure somebody will get a look at him and it could be us later on. But we felt like we went with the three running backs who did the best. ... Lache had his big-play abilities and he's a good running back.”

But he also struggled in the pass game, despite his turning a short pass into an 80-yard touchdown against Tampa Bay in the preseason finale. He routinely was beaten in coverage during training camp practices.

The three who won jobs included undrafted rookie free agent Silas Redd, who earned his spot with his physical running style. He also was better in the pass game overall than Seastrunk, notably in protection. As for Thompson, health remains the single biggest issue. Before spraining an ankle, Thompson was on track for a roster spot. But it fed into the durability questions many have about him.

“We want Chris to come back and stay healthy for some time,” Gruden said. “He could be activated sooner than later if he can prove he can stay healthy. … Silas is all-around, running and blocking and catching. His consistency was pretty good for a rookie.”

The first two backs -- Alfred Morris and Roy Helu -- were not in question. Helu will handle third-down duties, though Redd will be able to provide an occasional boost.

For Redd, making the roster capped a tough road, starting off as undrafted. He found out he made it when he reached the locker room for practice Saturday. Had he not made it the 53, the Redskins would have told him beforehand. Redd then went to thank coach Jay Gruden and his position coach Randy Jordan.

“It's just a little surreal,” Redd said. “I worked really hard for it, prayed a lot. ... Being undrafted and coming in here [against] a sixth-round pick and not having a chance. That's a testament to my hard work and how I was brought up. I couldn't be more happy.”

Redd's coaches told him he must now adjust to regular-season work habits.

“[Jordan] said your preparation has to change, things you were doing just aren't good enough anymore. You have to step it up another level, you're a pro now,” Redd said. “I take full responsibility for that. I'm ready for that. That type of thing excites me.”