Chris Rodriguez Jr. - Commanders RB
The Washington Commanders' run game has yet to get out of first gear this season. Just a cursory look at the team's rushing totals so far will tell you everything you need to know:
- Brian Robinson Jr. - 85 rushing attempts for 325 yards and 4 touchdowns (3.8 YPC)
- Antonio Gibson - 18 rushing attempts for 76 yards (4.2 YPC)
- Chris Rodriguez Jr. - 14 rushing attempts for 61 yards (4.4 YPC)
The Commanders' running backs have combined for just 117 rushing attempts through the first seven weeks of the season. In contrast, quarterback Sam Howell has attempted a whopping 256 passes during the same span.
Washington needs to strive for a much more balanced attack, beginning by featuring a heavy dose of starting running back Robinson. It would also be wise to give Rodriguez increased snaps to form a lethal 1-2 punch in the backfield.
Last week against the New York Giants, Rodriguez played nine total snaps on offense. He still ended up leading the Commanders in rushing with seven carries for 31 rushing yards.
It's a small sample size, but Rodriguez has shown great patience and vision to find running lanes while also displaying some serious pop and leg drive to finish runs with force.
Giving Rodriguez more work as a change of pace to Robinson would obviously come at the expense of Gibson. This would leave the former 1,000-yard rusher relegated mainly to kick return duties on special teams.
Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, a former running back himself, would do well to alter his pass-first philosophy to favor a more run-oriented attack featuring his two young powerful backs.
With the Commanders' abhorrent struggles in pass protection, relying more on the run game would do wonders to lessen the burden on Sam Howell. It would also play more to the strengths of an obviously overmatched offensive line.