Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice will be featured in the team’s offense to start the regular season per head coach Jay Gruden. The head coach has faith that his young back will perform up to expectations.
Starting with the Week 1 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles to kickoff the regular season, the Washington Redskins offense is expected to heavily feature running back Derrius Guice. He will reportedly get a majority of the carries ahead of veterans Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, and the newly acquired Wendell Smallwood.
Asked about the recent release of now ex-Redskins running back Samaje Perine at the coach’s daily press conference, Gruden revealed that the release of Perine was more about the faith the team had in Guice as a ball carrier. Per a video from the team’s website, Gruden specifically stated that Guice “can be a first, second, and even third down back if needed,” and that “the offense, carries wise, will go through him”.
The charismatic running back has surely been ready for this moment since suffering a devastating season-ending ACL tear last preseason against the New England Patriots.
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Guice, 22, was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Louisiana State University at pick No. 59. In his college career alone, he finished with 3,324 total yards from scrimmage and 32 total touchdowns in just three seasons with the Tigers. His astounding production at the college level was thanks to his superb field vision, and almost brutal physicality running the ball.
During his only game experience of the preseason against the Atlanta Falcons, Guice displayed some of the aforementioned traits that helped him become one of the more highly coveted backs going into the 2018 NFL Draft.
In the game, he was able to show some pre-injury burst, along with a willingness to take on defenders that most assuredly made his head coach cringe. His final statistics were not gaudy by any means, but he did finish the game with a modest 11 carries for 44 yards, to go along with one catch for four yards. If his performance in the game was any indication, expect Guice to be just fine being the focal point of the running game going forward.
However, while the news of Guice being featured is undoubtedly great news, it’s important to remember that the team still has plenty of capable backs to help him carry the load throughout the new season.
With a new starting quarterback for the Redskins in Case Keenum, questions surrounding the offensive line, and an inexperienced wide receiver group, the talented stable of running backs will most likely see a lot of work collectively. Even though Guice will still be the lead back, he will most likely need more repetitions to feel like his pre-injury self.
For those who haven’t followed the football career of Derrius Guice in college and the NFL, just know that he will unquestionably be up for any challenge he might face in the lead role. Everything has not always come easy for him on the field, but he has always seemingly dug deep within himself to persevere.
Having already earned the label of “fan favorite” in such a short time since being drafted by the Redskins, be ready to see even more No. 29 jerseys at FedEx Field if Guice can live up to the hype that has followed him since entering the NFL.