Who is the Next Man Up at Running Back for Washington?
The Washington Football Team unceremoniously released their former 2018 second round pick Derrius Guice last week after he was arrested for domestic violence. With the current state of the organization, and a culture overhaul taking place, Guice’s misstep(s) couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time. With a new coaching regime, and his roster security already in doubt, Guice had no room for error. Guice was projected to be anywhere from the starting running back to being one injury away from being a numbers casualty because the coaching staff had no ties to him. Washington will now have to solely rely on a 35 year-old Adrian Peterson to carry the bulk of the rushing load this season.
Or will they?
Washington received some good news when their 2019 4th round draft pick Bryce Love was activated to full participation and cleared for contact drills. Love missed the entire 2019 season with an injury he has been rehabbing since he was drafted by the team. Washington had high hopes for him and they now hope more than ever that he is ready to be a contributing performer in the backfield. Currently, Adrian Peterson is slated as the starter. Washington signed Peyton Barber and JD McKissic in free agency to compete. They also drafted Antonio Gibson in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. With Guice out, the running back depth picture has become even more blurry with uncertainty. Just a week ago, Washington fans weren’t sure Love was going to even be ready for training camp. Now they are hoping he can be an instant contributor from the moment he steps on the field.
Bryce Love is a former 2017 Doak Walker Award winner for the best running back in college football and was also a first team All-American that season. In his final game in his final season at Stanford, he suffered a torn ACL, which knocked him down the draft charts of every team’s prospective big board. At that point when he suffered his injury, he became an instant liability in the eyes of all the teams that previously had him slated as a first or second round talent. The keys for Love in training camp are fairly simple. He needs to show he has not lost that explosiveness that he was synonymous with while at Stanford, and he needs to prove he is capable of not only picking up offensive coordinator Scott Turner’s system, but also prove he is able to execute it effectively.
Head coach Ron Rivera has spoken highly of Bryce Love, but has also indicated that just like everyone else currently on the roster, he will need to come in and prove he deserves a spot on the team. Rivera loves running backs that can catch the football out of the backfield, and if Love shows this dynamic like they anticipate, he will open a lot of eyes as camp goes on. The stage has been set for him to be successful. The question is whether or not he can show that elusiveness and speed he once had as a Heisman Trophy Award hopeful. As you were…
Photo Credit: Getty Images