Redskins need more help, good health at running back

Perhaps what the Washington Redskins will miss most about Alfred Morris is his durability. They knew he would be available every game and they knew he could take a pounding. The same can’t be said for the running backs on the roster now.

That’s not to say they can’t help or be good, but the Redskins have three backs coming off surgery.

Matt Jones, the likely starter at this point, missed the final three games because of a hip injury that required surgery. The Redskins are excited to see what he can do as the No. 1 back, but he must improve his durability. That’s the primary thing the team will mention when discussing him.

Jones admitted after the season that he had changed his ways as a rookie, paying attention to what Morris told him about taking care of his body. Part of Morris’ legacy could be the advice he passed on to Jones. There’s a reason Morris never missed a game in four years.

The Redskins also have Silas Redd (knee injury), who was on the bubble to make the roster last summer, and Chris Thompson (shoulder surgery), who has definitely improved but knows staying healthy is his No. 1 issue. General manager Scot McCloughan has mentioned Mack Brown, the fourth back on the roster, on occasion this offseason. Brown spent time on the practice squad last season.

It’s a tough way to go at running back. I’m not saying they should or shouldn’t have re-signed Morris, but that durability is tough to reproduce. They need to draft another running back just because the more depth you have, the better off you’ll be, especially at a position where you have health questions.

They can always bring back Pierre Thomas. Coach Jay Gruden said it was a possibility. If the Redskins feel they still need help after the draft, Thomas could be answer.

Thomas was a strong addition late in the season, both in terms of his play and his leadership. Thompson, for example, said Thomas' advice on how to handle one pattern in particular led to a more patient approach -- and a touchdown. It’s good to have someone like Thomas around (provided he can still play, of course).

Here’s what Gruden said of Thomas last week: “First class. It was a great experience. You have a great experience with their performance which he was very solid in helping us, but also off the field, his professionalism. You’re not going to find more of a professional guy than Pierre Thomas. He’s on time, into it, helping the younger guys, helping Matt Jones, led-by-example type of guy which is huge for those guys.”

But the Redskins still need a little more at this position. The draft should produce some help, but they need the backs they have to stay healthy.