The Washington Football Team will have plenty of bodies at the running back position this training camp. The biggest question mark at the position is going to be Derrius Guice. Guice has played a total of five games in two seasons combined and missed the entire 2018 season with a knee injury. With Ron Rivera and a new offensive coaching staff coming in to implement an entire new offensive scheme, Guice’s future could be in question. You know the age old saying, “you can’t make the club in the tub”, and Guice has spent the vast majority of his career submerge in the tub. Now don’t get me wrong, when Guice is on the field, you clearly see the ability. You can clearly see that he can play at a high level when healthy. The caveat is that he is NEVER healthy.
The Washington Football Team went out this off season and signed free agent running backs Peyton Barber and JD McKissic who are both versed at catching the football out of the backfield. Guice has that skill in his arsenal, but hasn’t had many opportunities to show it consistently. He did catch a screen for a 45-yard TD against the Jets last season, which showed his explosiveness and his ability to make a play catching the football. Some may not believe Guice’s roster spot is in jeopardy, but the McKissic and Barber pickups, the draft selection of Bryce Love last year (who has yet to see an NFL down), and the selection of Antonio Gibson in this year’s NFL draft clearly indicate the Washington Football Team are keeping their options opened at the position. You can’t knock them for not fully investing in a kid who has not proven his body can withstand the rigors of the NFL just yet. That doesn’t necessarily mean the staff is giving up on him, or looking to supplant him, but they are definitely putting themselves in position to prepare for the worst, and keep it moving in the event Guice does not pan out.
Now I know Guice is on record as saying he doesn’t appreciate being labeled as injury prone, but at this point, there isn’t anything more definitive about his career on the field except that he hasn’t been on it much. Until he changes that narrative, that’s the energy he is going to continue to receive. Guice puts up his workout videos and is very verbal about proving people wrong. That’s all great, but I don’t think many doubt his talent. What’s pretty tough for me to understand is why he can’t grasp why fans see him as injury prone.
There are 16 games in an NFL season and Guice has played just five in TWO seasons due to injury. Something eventually is going to have to give. Guice is either going to have to find a way to get healthy and stay on the field, or The Washington Football Team is going to have to go in a more reliable direction. Guice currently averages 5.8 yards per carry, but has a total of only 42 carries for his entire career. I am a Guice fan. I want to see Guice rise to the occasion and overcome his current “injury prone” label. I know he is working hard to get back on that field and be a problem for the opposition. I know he wants to be on the field to help his teammates and to give the Washington Football Team fans something to cheer about. This isn’t a “Guice bashing” piece. It’s shedding light on how important Guice can be to this team, but at the same time, how easy it will be for Ron Rivera and his staff to move on from him. It’s the concept of “they can’t miss what they never had”.
Guice is dynamic in that he is strong, fast, and explosive. You don’t find a lot of backs in the league with all of those attributes at once, but the ones you do see are normally very successful. Training camp will be very valuable to Guice in that he will need to get his body in football shape, absorb some contact, and get back used to the overall physicality of the game. Not only the hitting and the tackling, but the falling awkwardly, the planting and cutting, and the stopping and going. Guice has a history of various leg injuries so all these things matter. I fully anticipate Guice to come back better and stronger than he has ever been, but how healthy will he stay? We shall see. As you were…
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