While the Redskins emerged victorious out of Thursday night's game, they weren't completely unscathed. After one impressive 30-yard carry early in the first quarter, running back Samaje Perine exited for the remainder of the game with a sprained ankle. Running back Byron Marshall later exited the game with an ankle injury as well.
That left Martez Carter and Kapri Bibbs to carry the load in the backfield, and their performances made the competition for snaps at running back that much more enticing as the final two preseason games approach.
Carter led the team in carries and yards (seven rushes for 45 yards, including a 30-yard run), and Bibbs led the team in targets (8) and receptions (7) with 47 receiving yards. Their performances gave us a preview of what to expect throughout the regular season, and were vital in taking the load off of the veteran skill position players. When asked about what it meant to perform in the midst of multiple injuries to the running backs group, Bibbs knows what to expect.
"That's a part of the game you know what I mean?" Bibbs said. "Like I said in one of my previous interviews, we've got a great group of guys out here that do everything for the system. I'm lucky to step in and do what I do – be a jack of all trades and be able to pick these guys up when they get banged up because of my skill set."
Carter missed Week 1 of preseason with an aggravated hamstring, so he was just happy to play in his first NFL game.
"Man it felt pretty good," he said. "It's crazy that it's my first game, and it's my first time going to an NFL game – first NFL game I've been to, I played in. So it was pretty exciting for me to go out here and have an okay night, it's big for me."
Carter's journey to the NFL was no cakewalk. Mental toughness is something he developed at his alma mater Grambling State, a historically black college in northern Louisiana. As he reflected back on the discipline he acquired during his tenure, one thing came to mind regarding his gameday mentality.
"Positive yards," he said. "Even if it's one or two yards, making sure I'm blocking accordingly, or whatever the case may be, it's always positive. I'm trying to make sure that it's positive."
Recognizably, health for this year's running back group is of utmost importance. In the midst of Derrius Guice's season ending ACL injury, having Marshall and Perine dinged up has tested the team's depth at the position.
Check out game photos of the Washington Redskins' preseason home opener against the New York Jets at FedExField in Landover, Md.
With the high frequency of injuries the Redskins offense has been forced to deal with in the past couple of weeks, it's no surprise questions have risen about how this will affect roster spots. Bibbs however, quickly put a stop to inquiries about his newfound opportunity.
"You know, I don't look at a situation of a guy going down for me to prosper off of that because I should've been prospering before that," Bibbs said. "That's what I work hard every single day for, to make this roster, even if everybody's healthy. If something happens to these guys, I'm praying for these guys – I don't think about them going down. I think about their health – that's what I think about. Because I know that the whole time I was going to go out and do what I was supposed to do anyway."
Bibbs, specifically, has had a strong preseason to date. In the opener against the New England Patriots, he displayed his rushing prowess, leading the team in rushing yards (48) on only four carries. Against the New York Jets, he was used more as a receiving back. After the game, Bibbs expressed his excitement on being able to display his diverse skillset in such a short period of time.
"I think it was kind of intriguing that I could come out and catch a lot of passes today after running the ball well last week and coming out this week and showing my pass catching ability," he said. "So I think that was important, an important part of showing your value to the team."