What should the Washington Commanders expect from second-year running back Brian Robinson Jr. during the upcoming 2023 campaign?
When the Washington Commanders selected Brian Robinson Jr. in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft, head coach Ron Rivera wasn't sure what they were getting. Needing more explosiveness in the backfield to go alongside Antonio Gibson, the former Alabama star seemed to complement the veteran's ability as a pass catcher out of the backfield.
But before the season could get underway, a very unfortunate incident happened.
Robinson was shot after being carjacked - a moment that had the potential to change his life as a football player forever. He was shot twice in his right leg, a scary moment to say the least for the player and the Commanders, who felt like the air was sucked right out of them.
That same year, Robinson came back six weeks later. He was able to practice and work his way back into shape. Still, we were witnessing something the NFL hadn't seen, where positivity emerged after something that could have quickly become a potential tragedy.
Robinson was able to gain 797 rushing yards and two touchdowns in his first 12 games. It was awe-inspiring.
Commanders are expecting bigger things from Brian Robinson Jr. in 2023
Although Robinson fell just short of 1,000 yards, you could clearly see that Robinson was gaining more confidence each game with every carry. As the season progressed, the backfield threat eventually found himself in the starting lineup after splitting carries with Gibson initially.
Now we move forward into the 2023 season - everything is refreshed and new. Washington fired offensive coordinator Scott Turner and brought in Super Bowl champion Eric Bieniemy to run the offense and add to his head coaching credentials after being unfairly overlooked in recent years.
Rivera wanted his offense to be more dynamic and explosive. That is exactly what Bieniemy intends to bring and Robinison looks to be a major key with lots to prove.
Not only does Bieniemy want to run the ball more, but he also wants Robinson and others to be involved plenty in the passing game as well.
Robinson also feels like he has made significant strides to power the Commanders' running attack behind a revamped offensive line and alongside second-year quarterback Sam Howell. He also recently stated that he feels like himself again after finally getting a prolonged spell to fully heal.
I expect great things from Robinson this season. With the Commanders drafting another running back in Chris Rodriguez Jr., it sure helps balance the workload in the backfield where the top-two tandem doesn't get too worn down with excessive work throughout the campaign.
The Crimson Tide product might be primed for a big season. NFL defenses thought they had their hands full last year with a less than 100 percent Robinson - just wait and see what Bieniemy has in store for the explosive sophomore.
The road to redemption for Robinson will be a special one depending on how the team plays and how successful they become. But make no mistake, he'll give every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears to show he belongs in the NFL.