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The Redskins have seen a lot of running backs come on and off their practice squad this season.
News broke on Monday that undrafted rookie running back from Oregon, Jeremiah Johnson ,had been picked up and signed on to the practice squad after running back Chad Simpson (who hasn't seen a snap as anything but a kick returner for the Redskins) injured his hamstring, and Quinn Porter (who had never seen a snap period) was released. Not too long after that, Brooding Burgundy reported that Jeremiah Johnson (who had a great preseason for the Houston Texans) wouldn't even make it to be signed to the practice squad, because former Cleveland Browns running back James Davis would be brought in instead.
Sure enough, Jeremiah Johnson ended up having a shorter stay at the Redskins than did running back Javaris James, who was signed to the practice squad for about a day before getting signed to the Indianapolis Colts.
James Davis made up the "Thunder" portion of Clemson's "Thunder and Lightning" backfield, with rookie first round pick for the Buffalo Bills C.J. Spiller comprising the "Lightning" portion. He displayed good vision and burst and is the kind of "one-cut" back that Shanahan looks for in the ZBS.
He's also somewhat controversial. After starting the first three games of the 2009 season for the Cleveland Browns (and being a preseason sensation of a short), he was put on injured reserved after tearing his labrum during practice. While the story is somewhat foggy, and a league investigation turned up no evidence, it was said that Davis was made to face a linebacker in full pads while not wearing any pads of his own.
From then on, he could never seem to work his way back into the starting lineup for the Browns, for whatever reason, and was ultimately replaced by Peyton Hillis. (Who, ironically enough, was also drafted by Mike Shanahan. Our coach has a good eye for running backs, apparently).
It seems that James Davis still has all the upside in the world and doesn't have many miles on him. With Keiland Williams not providing significant production to relieve Ryan Torain when he gets gassed, Davis could easily make it to the roster this year after some practice.
But a back field consisting of two young backs in Ryan Torain and James Davis and veteran back Clinton Portis would be one hell of a monster for teams to contend with, if James turns out to be as good as he was when Spiller was stealing the spotlight...