The torn ACL suffered by rookie running back Derrius Guice cast a pall on the Washington Redskins' backfield plan entering the 2018 season. Coach Jay Gruden, however, doesn't expect the team to entertain bringing in a free agent back to compete.
"We're OK. He was sixth string on the depth chart," Gruden said Saturday, joking about the Redskins' initial preseason depth chart. "We have guys here that can play. We drafted Derrius because he was the best player we thought at the time of the draft, and we thought he could really help our football team, not because we weren't satisfied with the backs we have. We thought he'd be a heck of a player for us. With Rob (Kelley) and Samaje (Perine) and what Byron (Marshall) did the other night, the flashes he showed, and obviously Chris Thompson, Kapri Bibbs had a couple big hits. I think we're pretty good at the running back spot."
Guice was officially placed on injured reserved Saturday.
Following the rookie's injury there was speculation the Redskins might entertain bringing in an early-down veteran. The likes of Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and former Redskin Alfred Morris sit on the open market.
Gruden's matter-of-fact statement on Saturday, however, indicates Washington will roll with its in-house backs.
Thompson projects as the multi-dimensional passing-down back. With Guice out, Kelley and Perine will battle for early-down snaps. The Redskins also have Marshall, Bibbs and undrafted rookie Martez Carter on the depth chart.
The Redskins planned for Guice to take the early lead as a between-the-tackles complement to Thompson. His injury, however, wiped out that plan.
"We're obviously very upset for Derrius," Gruden said. "He's put a lot of work in and a (had) a very promising rookie season ahead of him. But unfortunately, these injuries happen. He's a great kid, he's going to work hard, he'll recover, so there's no problem there. We're disappointed for Derrius. We had high hopes for him and what he'd do for this football team and what he'd accomplish his rookie year."
Now the Redskins will turn to their in-house candidates to try and fill a role they've been struggling to satisfy for the past several seasons.