- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 5, 2017

Redskins running back Robert Kelley admitted he was expecting to feel a little rusty when he returned to practice Saturday after missing four days with a neck injury. But that wasn’t the case. 

“I think I went out and did well,” Kelley said.

Kelley went through all of practice and got reps, which included being tackled. The impact to his neck didn’t create any more problems.

“The neck feels good,” Kelley said. “I feel like I didn’t have any cautions out on my game today. I went out there and ran around and did what I had to do. I think everything went good.”

Kelley took the majority of reps with the first team and split them with Chris Thompson, who has carved out his role as a third-down and catch passing specialist. Kelley took over the starting job last year after fumbling issues dogged Matt Jones.

Kelley, an undrafted free agent, ran for 704 yards last season in 15 games and is focused on keeping his job.

“There’s a lot more to running back than running the ball,” he said. “There’s smaller things that can help your game out, blocking and catching the ball. Knowing what’s going on on the defensive side of the ball and what techniques they bring.”

Here are other things that stood out during Saturday’s practice.

The last one or two receiver spots are going to be competitive

The Redskins will have a tough decision to make when it comes time to cut down on the number of receivers for the team’s 53-man roster. Terrelle Pryor, Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder and Ryan Grant are all but guaranteed spots, but the last one or two choices will be interesting.

On Saturday, Robert Davis had a long catch down the sideline from Colt McCoy. It was one of the number of noteworthy catches from the 2017 sixth-round pick Saturday.

Maurice Harris also returned to practice after missing time with a knee injury and then an illness. Zach Pascal, who was on the Redskins’ practice squad last season, could also be an option to make the roster.

Nico Marley had a good day

Already, the story of Nico Marley being the grandson of Bob Marley has been well-documented. Marley, however, can also makes plays. The 5-foot-8 linebacker had a nice hit in the backfield and came up with an interception while the third-unit was driving down the field. Marley picked off quarterback Nate Sudfeld just before the end zone.

Preston Smith hurt

Outside linebacker Preston Smith will miss “probably a week or two” with a twisted ankle and is in a walking boot. Smith left Thursday’s practice early and was being evaluated with an ankle sprain.

“He’s in a boot [for] a couple days,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “I saw him walk around in the weight room here a little bit. I think he’s going to be sore for a little bit of time. It will probably be a week or two, I would think.”

Smith, a 2015 second-round pick, had 4.5 sacks last year.

Bonus: Saturday was Fan Appreciation Day, but that didn’t mean all the fans appreciated every player. When Kelley was running and almost fumbled the ball, a fan yelled, “Hold onto that ball. You don’t want to end up like Matt Jones!” Ouch.

(Jones lost his starting job last season because of fumbling.)

Bashaud Breeland was also the target of some fan heckling.

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