3 pleasant surprises from the Commanders 2023 season

It wasn't all bad...

Sam Cosmi
Sam Cosmi / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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Commanders RB Brian Robinson Jr.'s growth

Much has been made about assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy's lack of focus on running the football during his first - and perhaps last - season as the Washington Commanders' play-caller. The team was often chasing games, which didn't help. While this was a mitigating factor, not establishing the run became an ongoing frustration for an offense in freefall.

This was more bemusing when one considers the progress made by Brian Robinson Jr. in Year 2 of his professional career. It wasn't the easiest start to his NFL journey for well-documented reasons, but the former third-round pick's evolution into a legitimate three-down presence at the position was a big step in the right direction.

Robinson looked explosive and a threat to break off big yardage when afforded enough seams from Washington's woeful offensive line. The Alabama product's on-field vision improved. He was more aware of his blocking assignments. Perhaps the most encouraging element was from a pass-catching standpoint, where the second-year-pro became a dependable asset.

With 1,101 all-purpose yards and nine touchdowns, Robinson's future is bright. If the Commanders can find a progressive offensive-minded head coach such as Ben Johnson, there is nothing to suggest he cannot become one of the league's best dual-threat backfield weapons when the 2024 campaign arrives.