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#HailMail: 2016 Bye Week

hail-mail-redskins-11416-660-350-kelley.jpg's Stephen Czarda answers YOUR questions submitted on Twitter about the Redskins' roster and more as the team enjoys a Week 9 bye.

Jose Sosa asks: @Redskins do you think will see more of Robert Kelley in the second half of the season? #HailMail

In a short answer, yes it appears the team wants to get Robert Kelley involved in the offense more in the second half of the season.

But let's explore this a little bit deeper.

In the team's first five games of the season, the Redskins really only utilized Matt Jones and Chris Thompson from the running back position, as Kelley totaled just nine carries for 33 yards during that span.

Then came his Week 6 performance against the Eagles where he totaled five carries for 59 yards, highlighted but one of the strongest runs you'll see this season on a 45-yard carry.

After his 21-carry, 87-yard performance against the Bengals last Sunday, the undrafted free agent out of Tulane is averaging an even five yards per carry on the season. Of running backs with at least 35 carries, that's tied for the seventh best average in the NFL through eight weeks.

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said earlier this week that he thought that Kelley "ran hard" against the Bengals, but he still has some areas he needs to work on to improve as the season wears on.

"I think he pre-determined a couple cuts here and there, maybe didn't let the play develop a little bit like we would like, but I think for the most part I was happy the way he ran," Gruden said. "He ran physical and he ran hard. I think he had 21 carries for 85 yards, or something like that, 87 yards. That's a pretty darn good first day for the guy as far as being a lead-down back."

Gruden added that Matt Jones – who did not play last Sunday with a knee injury – could "come back in here and get some of those reps back."

What does that mean for Kelley and really the running back position? We'll soon find out.

Ryan Chase asks: @Redskins do skins consider LONG future center or guard? which position does LONG prefer? #HailMail

The Redskins have certainly been impressed with how Spencer Long has transitioned to the center position after being needed there following Kory Lichtensteiger's Week 3 injury that resulted in a placement on Injured Reserve.

Check out the top photos of Spencer Long from the 2015 season!

"He just continues to get better and better at the position. The more he plays, the better he's going to get. It's not an easy position. It's not easy to come up with all these calls and then when those fronts are moving like Cincinnati had a multiple front, they were shifting into jam-fronts and double-A's and all that stuff,  to have to make calls at a split-second rate – changing protections in a split-second – it's not easy. He's just getting better and better at it. He's a big, physical guy. He can move people in the running game [and] he's showing he can handle the mental side of it, too. That was my biggest concern initially, but he's handled that extremely well and he's doing a good job."

Remember, Long was a full-time guard during his years at Nebraska and continued to play the position exclusively his first two seasons in Washington.

It wasn't until this past offseason that Long added center duties to his plate.

Long is just 25 years old, so if the Redskins continue to like what they see out of him, he could very well stay at center for the future as well.

"I'm excited to be a center; it's a real fun position," Long recently said. "In order to break down defenses and stuff, that's something I feel I do well. Keep getting better."

@JR_Salvi asks: @Redskins #Hailmail What will the team do if Morgan Moses can't play next Sunday?

During his Bye Week conference call with the media, Gruden said Moses had ankle sprain and will be "day-to-day when he gets back."

So it is hard to say now exactly where Moses will be by the time next Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings rolls around, but the third-year tackle certainly benefits from having this weekend off.

With Trent Williams set to serve a four-game suspension, Ty Nsekhe will shift into the starting lineup at left tackle.

If Moses is unable to play, the team has offensive lineman Vinston Painter on the active roster and rookie Isaiah Williams on the practice squad.

Painter – a sixth-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft out of Virginia Tech – started the season on the practice squad before being promoted to the active roster earlier in the year.

The 6-foot-4, 322-pound Norfolk, Va., native appeared in three games for the Browns during the 2014 season.

Williams, meanwhile, was signed by the Redskins on Aug. 3 and has spent the entire season to date on the practice squad.

@regskinner asks: @Redskins will DJAX & Garcon get utilized more going forward? #HailMail

The Redskins certainly want to get Jackson and Garçon more involved, as both starting wide receivers can change games when they have the ball in their hands.

But Gruden also doesn't want the Redskins forcing the issue too much either – particularly with deep balls to Jackson -- if the defense is making Kirk Cousins to look to different targets.

"I think Kirk has enough on his plate to worry about who is getting their stat numbers," Gruden said. "DeSean is a great player. There is no doubt about it. We have to try to figure out ways to get him more involved in the offense. …He's just got to continue to keep working and he'll get his balls."

Jackson does have five receptions of 30 yards or longer this season, but only one (against the Giants Week 3) has resulted in a touchdown score.

The Redskins do have some stiff competition coming up in recent weeks, though, as some of the defenses they'll face kept the deep ball at bay.

Minnesota has allowed just one 40-plus-yard reception while the Cowboys – the Redskins' Thanksgiving opponent – and Cardinals have allowed just two such plays.

As for Garçon, the veteran wide receiver has been a great red zone target over the years but doesn't have a touchdown reception from inside the 20-yard line.

Of course, the team has also seen Jamison Crowder break out this season while Jordan Reed continues to be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. 

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