Washington is prepared to have Matt Jones carry most of the load at running back.
Alfred Morris signed with the Dallas Cowboys this offseason.
"Matt played well and we're very excited about him," Gruden said, via CSN Mid-Atlantic. "We let a heck of a running back, and a very productive running back, go because we have Matt."
During his rookie campaign Jones displayed power between the tackles, speed to get to the edge, burst at the second level and size to break tackles. However, the 6-foot-1, 231-pound back proved inconsistent as a rookie. He missed holes, was stuffed often in the backfield -- leading to a 3.4 yards per carry average -- and he had a fumbling problem.
"We need him to protect the ball a little bit more," Gruden said. "He's a big, strong, powerful back that I think can handle the workload; time will tell on that. We're taking a bit of a gamble here, but based on our professional opinion, we believe he can handle it and be very, very effective at it, toting the rock."
Gruden left zero doubt Jones will assume the No. 1 role.
"That's what we envision, yes. He's got the size. I mean, he's got the measurables, that's for sure. That doesn't always translate, so we'll see. We like Matt. We think he's a smart football player and he runs very, very hard. Now we just have to make sure the ball security is there (because) he can catch the ball out the backfield. He's a very good solid football player that we have high hopes for."