Welcome back to the Burgundy and Gold Report. Most Skins fans know the Draft day storyline, in which Derrius Guice fell to the Redskins in the second round due to “character issues”. The so called rumors ended up being nothing more than just irresponsible chatter and a rumored TMZ video that never surfaced. What we’ve seen to date is a rookie that dove right in and embraced the Redskins fan base and community. As most optimistic Redskins fans felt post Draft, I believe the LSU back will have immediate success running the football. The Redskins O-Line looks to be the best it’s been in years. Word is LT Trent Williams is ahead of schedule, after offseason knee cap surgery. Having a healthy Williams will be paramount to getting the run game going. Success should come early for Guice, but what does he bring to the table and what will set him apart from the other rookies? Time to dive in and discuss what Guice brings to Washington.
#1 Toughness & Heart
*The toughness and heart that Derrius Guice showed during his time at LSU are second to none. His toughness runs deep and so does his pain. As many fans learned during the draft process, Guice’s father was murdered when Guice was only 6 years old. His family is his number one motivating factor to succeed. In a July 17, 2017 interview with Louisiana based news site Gridiron Now, Guice discussed his toughness and where he manifests it from;
“I guess the reason I run the way I run is to get me family away from it. I don’t want my family to be in that situation anymore. I’m very fortunate to be here and to be alive for where I came from. I feel like that’s where all the anger comes from. I’m just wanting better days.”
Redskins Coaches have gone on record, stating that the former LSU Tiger looks anything but a rookie wet behind the ears. Running back is without a doubt a position that could have success, running behind Washington’s mamouth/athletic line. Based on the team’s confidence in the young back, Guice will get early opportunities to prove himself. Contrary to popular belief, Jay Gruden is intent on getting the Redskins run game going. Resurrecting the Skins run game, in turn will open up more opportunities for play-action, zone read formations as well as opportunities to utilize RPO’s. Alex Smith and 2017 Rookie RB Kareem Hunt showed how effective they could be together in Kansas City, running those formations with success. I believe Guice is a better talent with a higher ceiling and tougher running style compared to Hunt, so Smith should continue to build confidence adapting to the new offense. The toughness and heart are in Guice for sure, but he will be tested early on when facing the top level defenses in the NFC East.
* The production at LSU was clearly there for Guice and the vanilla offense they ran did him no favors. His final two years at LSU would be his introduction to the world! In 2016, former LSU and current Jacksonville Jaguar Leonard Fournette was LSU’s Heisman Trophy hopefull. Unfortunately the current Jaguar struggled to stay healthy, thus only appearing in 7 games. The young backup running back Derrius Guice would step up to the plate and registered 1,387 yards rushing for 15 TD’s, 9 rec for 106 yards and a TD. Guice would finish the year with with an eye popping 11.8 yards per carry average, which nearly doubled Fournette’s career rushing average! Guice wouldn’t stop there and finished with 1,251 rushing yards for 11 TD’s his final season at LSU and added 18 rec for 125 yards 2 TD. Guice would finish his career at LSU with a 6.5 YPC average. That milestone moved him past Leonard Fournette, Hershel Walker and Bo Jackson for the highest yards per carry average in SEC history. That’s some good company to be among for sure. Many of Guice’s yards came after contact, which is impressive considering opposing teams would often load the box. LSU hasn’t had a passing game worth mentioning, as long as I’ve been watching college football. So going up against some of the countries most decorated run defenses in the SEC, most notably Alabama will help prepare Guice for the NFL.
Anytime Guice is qustioned as to who he compares himself to the answer is always the same, “Beast Mode” refering to former Seahawk and current Oakland Raiders RB Marshall Lynch. Although his relentless style does bring back memories of Lynch running over would be tacklers, I see Guice as a more versatile back. Although his number of receptions were low during his time at LSU, that had more to do with LSU’s lackluster and unimaginative passing game. I have no doubt, Guice has the ability to gain separation and be an effective pass catcher on the next level.
On multiple occasions we witnessed Guice hit behind the line of scrimmage, only to bust out of the pile for a big gain. You see, the NFL running back is a different kind of animal from the rest of the wild kingdom. Playing running back in the NFL entails being involved in more head on collisions than any player on the field (barring QB). The average career for an NFL back is only around 3.5 years, so running backs often have limited opportunities to make their mark. Being fast is great, being able to truck an opposing player is even better, but putting it all together is what Guice has done. Falling to the second round might be the thing that keeps Guice hungry! Between endorsements and his second round salary Guice is in no way set for life, but his family will now be in a far better situation financially. As Guice previously mentioned “Just Wanting Better Days“, he could achieve that with Chris Thompson as his potential mentor. Thompson similar to Guice, admits to being a big kid who just likes to play video games and also is not a big drinker. Seems like a great situation, in that Thompsons’s role is not threatened and Guice’s success helps the group. Yes I’ll admit that I’m drinking the Guice Kool Aid, but his film is simply undeniable! The way he runs angry and moves laterally, should translate well to the next level. Thompson will be the main man when it comes to receiving the ball out of the backfield, but Guice will still see plenty of opportunities to make plays as a receiver.
2017 Fourth round pick Samaje Perine looked average at best last year, but might have a role in short yardage. In saying that, the Redskins starting running back position is Guice’s to lose. Although the Redskins will have some new faces on offense, most notably at Quarterback, I expect the running game to carry this team for the first few weeks of the season. In no way am I implying that Alex Smith will start off slow, just that Smith has shown how good he can make an offense when the threat of a real run game is there. I’m expecting Gruden to mix it up and add more Zone read/Jet Sweep concepts, considering this team made adding team speed an offseason focal point. Guice is walking into a pretty good situation in Washington and should help propel the Redskins back To relevancy.
#3 Team Player
*Guice Treating Fans to a Movie in Asburn, VA*
*Guice has an almost Clinton Portis like aura about him and has endeared himself to the DMV in only a few months. The LSU back is playing the role as the people’s champ, before he’s even taken a pre-season or regular season snap. Coaches and teammates have mentioned how Guice is a fixture in Redskins Park, as he’s routinely the first player in and the last player out of the team facility on any given day. He’s a kid at heart, who just likes to play video games and hang out. Guice and former teammates have gone on record stating, the running back doesn’t even drink. Recently Guice was seen celebrating the Capitals Stanley Cup Championship, it was a refreshing site to say the least. With local Pro athletes John Wall and Brice Harper showing support for opposing teams at Redskins and Capitals home games, it really made me proud to call Guice a Redskin! Players like Junior Galette getting a Redskins tattoo was cool and all, but gestures of kindness such as paying for a movie theatre full of youngsters to see the latest Avengers flick is what separates Guice. I’m looking forward to seeing what Guice will do next and his childlike draw is what will make Guice an endearing fixture in the DMV for years to come.
Written By: Adam Aniba