Commanders interior running on offense
With a couple of exceptions, the Washington Commanders were stopped cold every time they tried to run between the tackles. Primary ball carrier Brian Robinson Jr. averaged just 3.1 yards per carry, and almost all of those yards came on plays where he had to bounce runs outside because the middle was stacked up.
Rookie Chris Rodriguez Jr. had better success inside on a couple of runs. Antonio Gibson managed one strong run where he appeared stoned at the line, but pushed forward for nine yards.
I have been worried about this since before the season began. The Commanders have Saahdiq Charles, Nick Gates, and Sam Cosmi playing the interior of the offensive line. It’s not as if they have been terrible. But power blocking simply is not their strength.
They are three men who all played tackle in college. Charles is the shortest at 6-foot-4. They are tall linemen who move well. None is a particularly good mauler in the trenches and that is showing up on running plays.
The trio gets virtually no push. They rarely get to the second level. The middle is generally closed to Commanders' ball carriers.
Conversely, we all saw what they could do in space on Robinson's screen pass touchdown. All three of them got out in front and made excellent blocks.
The Commanders have passed on several quality power blockers in recent drafts. That’s fine, provided their offense is designed to take advantage of what they linemen can in fact do.
That doesn’t always seem to be the case so far this year.