There's a hotly contested competition brewing for the RB2 position for the Redskins. Roy Helu, Jawan Jamison, Chris Thompson, Evan Royster, Keiland Williams and Tristan Davis all are expected to compete for that wide open position of backup behind Alfred Morris. We all are familiar with Helu's and rookie Chris Thompson's injury history and Royster, Williams and Davis' ineptitude at the position but here's why Jamison could win the job.
Kyle Shanahan has stated that the RB2 position is not just about being a "change of pace" back but about who could bring the same amount of production as AlMo if they are in the game. Helu has the experience and the numbers from a couple of years ago to bolster his claim but that was 2 years ago and the offense has completely changed from that time. Whoever takes that RB2 position must provide an inside running ability and none of the backs mentioned have shown that ability except Jamison.
Jamison (5'7" 207 lbs)possesses the inside running ability but whereas AlMo runs with power inside, Jamison uses quick feet and elusiveness. Other than AlMo, he's the only one with the vision and quickness to burst through the tight spaces inside amongst all the big bodies flying around. He and AlMo have the same vision but to see how Jamison utilizes his vision completely different from AlMo is quite interesting.
In the clip below, Jamison runs a zone blocking scheme (ZBS)-like running play to the left. His ability to get up to speed quickly after making that decisive cut that is a staple of the ZBS allows him to hit the hole at almost full speed and he is at the 2nd level before the LB's can even shed their blocks. Once he gets to the 2nd level he instinctively looks to make a 2nd cut to elude the 2nd level of defenders and break outside. His ability to make cuts and either not lose much speed or quickly get back up to speed running on the inside is something none of the other RB's currently possess. See here...
His vision inside and at the point of attack is fantastic. At one point, once he got to the 2nd level he had the choice of cutting it right and going into the teeth of the defense or cutting outside where the least amount of defenders are. That's what separates him from Royster. Royster has the tendency of stutter stepping at that same point where he has to make that choice and it allows the backside defenders to catch up and seal him in for a 3 yard gain. What also is interesting is just before he cuts left outside, the cut to the right LOOKED wide open and most RB's would have ran into that trap because that's where the most defenders are. His instincts running inside along with his quickness inside is fascinating. Very few RB's have that kind of ability. Ray Rice, Jones-Drew, Doug Martin, Shady McCoy and Mark Ingram come to mind.
The next clip demonstrates his ability to make defenders miss in the open field on an INSIDE screen play. He catches the ball and immediately gets his shoulders turned north and south, then kicks it into gear. That's very important on an inside screen because you are in the teeth of the defense and the first priority is to get upfield. Once up to speed and clearing the 2nd level he makes a hard cut to the right at full speed and goes sideways to clear the defender while also avoiding the trailing defender and then outruns them both. Fantastic.
Jamison does have some negatives. He's very suspect in the pass protection department because he wasn't really responsible for that at Rutgers. At 207 lbs, it's not out of the question for him to contribute in some sort of capacity from time to time. There are actually reports that he has deceptive core strength for his size. I'll take that over bench reps any day of the week. I also doubt his long speed, meaning quick players can make you miss but the longer the distance the more their speed plateaus thus allowing defenders to walk them down on long runs. From 45 - 50 yards in he's a threat to take it to the house anytime though. Perhaps another negative could be his over-reliance on his quickness so he runs a little upright inside and doesn't really protect himself. That could lead to a few ankle and foot problems at the next level but the problem is you have to catch this guy for that to happen. One might ask "if he's so good why didn't he go sooner in the draft?" I would probably guess that his 40 time wasn't quite up to par thus limiting his break away speed but that's over long distances. However, I think he has the quickness to make even the quicker players at the 3rd level miss for long runs. But ,again, 45 yards in to the end zone is where he will most likely light it up.
I think this player can help us immediately by offering a skill set that we currently lack in our stable of RB's. His inside vision, inside cutting ability and quickness and his elusiveness in the open field are all skills that we could use to complement AlMo as RB2. Kyle Shanahan bristles at using the term "change of pace" back but in effect, he is the epitome of that. I also think Jamison represents the best opportunity to supplement AlMo's production because of his inside running capabilities and elusiveness between the tackles. It's going to be quite interesting to watch his skill set evolve at the pro level in training camp. In my opinion, all it will take is him adjusting to the speed at the pro level, meaning everything will have to be quicker and sooner. His cuts have got to be sooner and he won't have as much time to wiggle and juke at the point of attack like he did at Rutgers. His natural instincts will kick in at some point and he will make that adjustment and when he does... He's RB2 for the Redskins. Bank on it.