With the signing of Adrian Peterson earlier this week, the fog is starting to lift.
Peterson will most likely start the season as the starting running back. He would handle first and second downs. Chris Thompson is the Redskins top third down back and is guaranteed a spot on the 53-man roster as well. There are two spots left to be filled. One being Peterson’s immediate back-up and the other being a back-up to Thompson.
Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine are the two running backs now battling it out to be Peterson’s back-up. They have gone from going against each other for the starting role to back to where they were when Derrius Guice was healthy. Kelley has not performed well this preseason and has continued to struggle averaging more than three yards per carry. Perine is now recovering from an ankle injury and could miss the third preseason game limiting film on him.
The back-up, or the back-ups back-up
The back-up third down running back battle is a little trickier. Byron Marshall has shown his explosive ability in the passing game with a touchdown against the Jets. However, he is projected to be out another one to three weeks with the severity of the injury still unclear.
Adam Shefter has reported that it is possible that Marshall ends up on IR. What that would mean is Marshall would not be able to start practicing until Week 6 and then cannot play in a game until Week 8.
This would allow for Kapri Bibbs to continue to make his case through the rest of the preseason and into the early parts of the regular season. Whomever ends up as Thompson’s back-up could see significant playing time due to Thompson unlikely being 100% until November. Bibbs managed respectable stats in the final three games of the Redskins 2017 season.
Right now, I have Perine and Bibbs earning the final two running back spots on the 53-man roster with Marshall slated for the IR. This will allow for the coaching staff and front office to evaluate Bibbs further until the halfway point.
The Redskins could also choose to go with five running backs and keep both Marshall and Bibbs as insurance.
One thing is for certain, Friday night’s game against Denver could decide the fate of all four of these men.