Washington doesn’t need to add a running back after Derrius Guice’s release
The Washington Football Team cut Derrius Guice this week but they don’t need to add another running back.
On Friday, the Washington Football Team made a critical decision in their running back room. Shortly after Derrius Guice was arrested on multiple charges of domestic violence, the team released the third-year pro. The former LSU product was expected to be the team’s top runner in 2020, but Ron Rivera and the team had to cut him as they look to install a culture of accountability in the locker room.
Now, Washington will proceed without Guice. That may not sound ideal, but unlike other positions where they’ve lost talent, they don’t necessarily need to add another running back to the fold to help replace Guice.
As it stands, Washington has plenty of running back talent on the roster. Veteran stalwart Adrian Peterson figures to re-emerge as the team’s starter, a role he has held down in each of the past two seasons as Guice dealt with injuries. Though he’s 35, Peterson has proven to be a solid starter in recent seasons and should do fine again shouldering the primary workload.
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Aside from Peterson, Washington has two young players that could be primed to break out. Third-round rookie Antonio Gibson may need time to develop as a between the tackle runner, but he figures to be a top-tier pass catcher in Scott Foster’s offense. He could easily take over the Chris Thompson role and eventually take on a bigger role for the team.
Then there’s Bryce Love. In 2017, he was the runner up for the Heisman after he logged 263 carries for an absurd 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns for Stanford. Since then, he had a middling senior year and suffered a torn ACL that held him out of his rookie season. But there’s no denying that Love is talented. And if he’s healthy, he could emerge as the heir apparent to Peterson. He just may have to be eased back into his first football action in a year and a half.
Beyond this talented trio, Washington has a couple of serviceable veterans. J.D. McKissic is a solid pass-catcher coming off the best season of his career. And though Peyton Barber isn’t a very explosive player, he can be used as a short-yardage battering ram. Both players have a few NFL seasons under their belts, so they can help Peterson hold the fort until Gibson and Love are ready for bigger roles.
In short, Washington has five running backs that could feasibly log playing time and find success. There’s no need to add another player to the mix at that position group unless there’s an injury. They can instead use the extra roster spot created by Guice’s release to stock up on extra depth in the secondary or the receiving corps.
Rivera and Kyle Smith’s decision to add a lot of talent to the running back room is looking like a smart one at this point. The team is well-stocked to compete without Guice and surround Dwayne Haskins with a solid group of running backs that should help take the pressure off him in his second season as a starter.