Commanders breakout candidate could spearhead offensive renaissance

This would be tremendous news for the Commanders.
Kliff Kingsbury
Kliff Kingsbury / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

There weren't many of the Washington Commanders who came out of the 2023 campaign with much credit. It was a season that promised much and delivered little once again. This was swiftly followed by landmark changes across the board as Josh Harris' ownership group finally put their ambitious plans into motion.

It wasn't all doom and gloom where the Commanders were concerned. Second-year running back Brian Roobinson Jr.'s raised consistency was among the biggest highlights. This was despite offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy relying heavily on a pass-happy scheme that lacked sufficient balance.

Robinson looked like a genuine three-down presence. He improved in almost every area, including as a pass blocker when the situation dictated. The former third-round selection went over 1,100 all-purpose yards and looked like someone who could be a core foundational piece moving forward.

Brian Robinson Jr. tipped for big things under Commanders' new regime

The Commanders added veteran backfield threat Austin Ekeler in free agency. That should alleviate some pressure from Robinson, but he'll do the heavy lifting. Having an accomplished coach such as Anthony Lynn to further aid his development is another major boost entering Year 3 of his professional career.

Hopes are high surrounding Robinson's scope for growth in 2024. This was a sentiment echoed by Tony Catalina from Pro Football Network, who named the Alabama product as the Commanders' player most likely to enjoy a genuine breakout campaign next time around.

"Dan Quinn is changing things in a big way for the [Washington] Commanders, and with a ton of new pieces in place, the running game is going to be a rookie QB’s best friend. Following a season in which [Brian] Robinson showed some exciting potential, 2024 could be the year he puts himself in the breakout category."

Tony Catalina, Pro Football Network

Robinson has the on-field vision and explosiveness to achieve this objective. His evolution as a route-runner out of the backfield last season was encouraging. Picking Ekeler's brain in his quest for additional progress in this ever-important area is only going to help.

All the hype centers on rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels. But for the signal-caller to thrive right out of the gate, he needs a strong rushing attack to keep opposing defenses on their toes.

The trio of Robinson, Ekeler, and Chris Rodriguez Jr. can provide that if utilized correctly by offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury. Couple this with Daniels' outstanding ability to gain yards on the ground when plays downfield aren't developing as expected, and the Commanders might have a potent rushing attack on their hands.

Much will depend on the offensive line. This unit received some upgrades throughout the offseason, but concerns remain about its ability to become a cohesive unit. This will have significant ramifications for good or bad depending on their performance levels.

Again, a strong run game takes the pressure off and limits the risk of massive flaws being exposed. Robinson shoulders a heavy burden next season as the Commanders look to improve under new head coach Dan Quinn, but it's a challenge he's sure to relish.

It wasn't the best start to Robinson's career due to unfortunate circumstances beyond his control. Looking at the way he approached last season, he's eager to make up for some lost time.

If the same trend continues, the Commanders will benefit enormously in 2024 and beyond.