Last year at this time, Redskins running back Rob Kelley was just a few weeks removed from being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Tulane and hoping to make a name for himself in a crowded backfield. Kelley, who came to be known by his delightful nickname, Fat Rob, succeeded, and ended the season as Washington’s leading rusher with 704 yards and six touchdowns.
As the Redskins began the first of three weeks of voluntary workouts on Tuesday, Kelley’s spot on the roster is considered secure, but the size of his role could depend on how much he’s improved since last season.
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“I think last year I was just more focused on trying to get on the team, trying to impress coaches,” Kelley said Tuesday on ESPN 980’s “Inside the Locker Room.” “I think this year it’s more about, like, what can I do to bring my game to the next level? So, I’m not really stressed about, I don’t know if I’m going to be here, I don’t know if I’m going to do this, it’s more like, I’m going to try to master this wide zone this year, or I’m going to try to work more on the option route, or something like that. I think it’s more narrowed down. Last year it was just trying to make the team.”
ESPN 980 host Scott Jackson said it might be time to retire the slimmed-down Kelley’s nickname, even though the “Fat” in Fat Rob referred as much to the size of his heart as his belly. Kelley is listed as 228 pounds on the team roster and didn’t offer his updated weight.
“How about Rip Rob?” Doc Walker suggested.
“I can run with that,” said Kelley, who averaged 16.7 carries per game after taking over the starting spot from Matt Jones in Week 6.
With Coach Jay Gruden inheriting the play-calling duties from former offensive coordinator Sean McVay, who left to become coach of the Los Angeles Rams, Kelley and his fellow running backs could see more work in 2017 than they did last year. Washington averaged 26.4 carries per game in 2016, 14th in the league.
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