WASHINGTON — Former Redskins GM Scot McCloughan kicked off his second straight Twitter Q&A Wednesday, and from the looks of it, he still firmly believes in running back Matt Jones.
A third-round selection under McCloughan in 2015, Jones opened 2016 as the Redskins’ starting running back, but lost the job to Robert Kelley after losing a critical fumble on the goal line in a three-point loss to Detroit in Week 7.
Jones never played another down — didn’t even so much as dress for another game — while Kelley went on to carry the bulk of Washington’s rushing duties for the remainder of the season.
Jones skipped OTAs this summer after being informed by coach Jay Gruden he had been relegated to fifth-string on the Redskins depth chart, where he still remains, behind Kelley, Chris Thompson, fourth-round pick Samaje Perine and Mack Brown.
But McCloughan’s scouting eye won’t allow him to lose faith in Jones. Fired in March, McCloughan told fans on Twitter the Florida running back is still one of his proudest draft picks — along with Brandon Scherff, Jamison Crowder and Kyshoen Jarrett — from his two years as Redskins GM.
Jones is still “the best back on that team,” McCloughan said, even going as far as to assert Jones is “the most criminally underrated player in the NFL.”
And McCloughan has an excuse for that goal-line fumble: “It was the third effort when he fumbled. When you fight three times for the same thing, it’s few and far between.”
Jones may finally get his shot to re-prove himself as starting-caliber back Thursday, in Washington’s first preseason game against Baltimore.