Austin Ekeler outlines primary objectives after Commanders switch

The running back has some targets in mind.
Austin Ekeler
Austin Ekeler / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Ekeler is looking for a new lease of life on the Washington Commanders in 2024. The veteran running back parted ways with the Los Angeles Chargers after a clash of contract demands and apparent usage under new head coach Jim Harbaugh. He saw the NFC East team as the perfect spot to prolong his time in the league entering Year 8 of his professional career.

Ekeler won't be tasked with lead-back duties, and that's fine with him. The former undrafted free agent was looking for somewhere that had an established young running back to carry a heavy burden. This allows the veteran to focus more on maximizing his strengths in the passing game and red-zone situations - two areas in which he excels.

Brian Robinson Jr. will do the heavy lifting. The Alabama product looks poised for a breakout campaign next to rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels in the backfield. Ekeler will play an important role in his development, which is exactly the sort of leadership Washington wanted to acquire to help their young studs during an important transition for the organization.

Austin Ekeler outlines key targets after Commanders switch

This is something Ekeler elaborated on his potential role next season during an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show. The dual-threat weapon is thrilled to be working within a productive tandem again based on comments via Fan Nation. He's also aiming to lead by example and guide those following in his footsteps on the path to potential greatness in the nation's capital.

"I know I'm going to be one of those backs that's going to catch it and run the ball. And then when I've had the most success, it's been usually when we have some type of tandem where we have someone else that can relieve me. They wanted to have some new leadership coming in, so they're bringing in some of these older guys. I've been a captain on the Chargers for the last few years as well. And it seemed like a match made in heaven for going back to some of my roots, but also building a new culture out in Washington."

Austin Ekeler via Fan Nation

Some question whether Ekeler has enough tread left on the tires to make a difference. Kliff Kingsbury will already have a plan in place for how best to use the veteran and keep him fresh. The one-time Western Colorado State standout also wants his influence to go way beyond the gridiron based on these latest statements.

Ekeler is an outstanding player and a proven performer when the lights are brightest. This experience will be invaluable for not only Robinson but also for Daniels as he looks to become Washington's next great franchise signal-caller. More importantly, taking something of a back seat is a role he wanted and will embrace fully.

This cost-effective deal for Ekeler could reap significant rewards. If things don't go according to plan - which seems unlikely barring any drastic injury setback - the Commanders can move off the player with one year remaining on his deal looking at how his contract is structured.

For now, Ekeler looks like a big piece of the puzzle. Hopefully, he doesn't become the latest in a long line of veteran acquisitions who fluffed their lines in Washington.