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Matt Jones: 'I'm capable of being a No. 1 back'


While the often wayward career arc of an NFL running back leaves plenty of possibilities open, Washington made a bold decision this offseason to let go of veteran Alfred Morris and install second-year back Matt Jones as their No. 1.

Jones, 23, was explosive during his rookie season with a 123-yard, two-touchdown game under his belt and a 131-yard receiving game. However, he had trouble holding on to the football, and lost four fumbles a year ago.

"I knew that I had a little problem, but I didn't know how to go about it because we were in the season and there's not enough time to work on it," Jones told The Washington Post on Wednesday. "I know I had a problem, and I knew I was letting people down, too, so I took that as motivation to show them that I can hold the ball."

Washington is betting on their infrastructure, which includes veteran offensive line coach Bill Callahan and running backs coach Randy Jordan to fix the problem. Jordan, over nine NFL seasons between 1993 and 2002, fumbled just seven times.

For Jones, though, the problem went deeper than fumbling. He told The Post of "leveling off" issues that included a lack of explosion once he saw an opening. Perhaps that is the more mechanical definition of the rookie wall.

"I definitely want to show Redskins nation that I'm capable of being a No. 1 back all the time," Jones said. "That's the approach I take every day I touch the field to be great. Not necessarily just to show people, but I want to be great for myself anyways."

With the division wide open in 2016, a good running game could make the difference for the Redskins in a year when Kirk Cousins is expected to come back to Earth a bit statistically. Jones has the talent to make that difference.