5 Commanders who cannot afford to get complacent in 2024

Brian Robinson Jr. and Jonathan Allen lead the list of five Washington Commanders' players who can't afford to get complacent during the 2024 NFL season.
Brian Robinson Jr.
Brian Robinson Jr. / Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
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Brian Robinson Jr. - Commanders RB

The arrival of Austin Ekeler means Brian Robinson Jr. faces a fight to maintain a healthy workload in the running game. Fortunately, the veteran acquisition usually makes more of an impact as a receiver.

Ekeler snagged 440 receptions with the Los Angeles Chargers, including 107 back in 2022. His reliable hands and expertise in running pass patterns mean the Washington Commanders won't lean on Robinson as a check-down receiver.

He made 36 catches from 43 targets last season, but Robinson's role moving forward will probably be more niche. Something like a power back trusted to carry the load in the red zone, particularly near the goal-line.

The problem is that Ekeler is no slouch as a runner. Instead, the 200-pounder is a solid bruiser with a low center of gravity who has a true nose for the end zone.

Ekeler has 39 career rushing touchdowns to his credit. A proven track record on this level means the Commanders are likely to find it tough to take him off the field inside the 20-yard line.

Robinson also lacks the sub-package skills to emerge as the true third-down back this offense needs. Any competition for snaps on football's money down likely wouldn't go his way. Not with Chris Rodriguez Jr. and undrafted free agent Michael Wiley, who was a pass-catching phenom out of the backfield at Arizona, also in the mix.

What Robinson needs to do is add more muscle mass to his 228-pound frame and run with a lower pad level. Doing those things can help the 25-year-old become the short-yardage specialist and between-the-tackles bruiser the Commanders need.

A power element will add variety to a rushing attack underused and all too predictable at times last season.

That'll do it for members of the offense who need to up their respective games. There are two defensive players who can't risk standing still.