By Adam Aniba
Washington's passing game has been the talk among fans during training camp, but their run game has been the topic of discussion after their preseason matchup vs Carolina. Last season's starting running back, Antonio Gibson had 4 carries for only 2 yards, but his costly 1st half fumble led to speculation that he might not be the bell cow back Washington envisioned.
On the other hand, rookie RB Brian Robinson Jr. looked solid in his debut, registering 26 rushing yards on 6 attempts. His first run resulted in a 1st down after 11 yards gained and on the next play was a target on a screen pass, resulting in a 9 yard gain.
The former Alabama back finished the game with 6 carries for 26 yards rushing and 1 TD, in addition to 2 receptions for 15 receiving yards in his debut.
Ron Rivera discussed his thoughts on Robinson during the post game presser and had the following to say.
“He's a Physical... downhill... good lean... moves the pile... creates energy. I think Brian [Robinson] showed why we drafted him.”
While at Alabama, Robinson waited his turn behind such backs as Joshua Jacobs and Najee Harris. In his 5 year collegiate career, Robinson ran for 2,704 for 29 TDs as well as registering 446 receiving yards for 2 TDs.
Robinson amased 1,342 rushing yards and 14 TDs during his final season, displaying the ability to move the chains as a power back (Full Post-Draft Report).
Robinson, Gibson and McKissic form a trio that should be fun to watch, but Robinson continues to make his case to be the primary back in Washington's run game.
He displayed his ability and patience on screen passes vs Carolina as well, but also continually moved the chains as a north/south runner. Getting the nod as a starter for week 1 is in the realm of possibility with Gibson's struggles.
During Tuesday's practice presser, OC Scott Turner had the following to say about Antonio Gibson's fumbling issues (Per John Keim).
"You can't waste a possession; if you fumble the ball that's a waste of a possession. The first job is to protect the ball. It's something that has to be fixed."
Gibson hasn't helped his case with 6 fumbles in '21 and already had another one in his first action of '22.
Although Gibson was briefly relegated to special teams during practice, this seems more like a message from HC Ron RIvera to get it together or he'll see his rushing attempts decrease. Re-signing McKissic and drafting Robinson Jr, were solid moves and put Gibson on the hot seat to produce with two capable backs ready to carry the load.
As coaches mentioned, putting the ball on the ground is inexcusable and Gibson chances could be running out. Utilizing Gibson more at his natural WR position, would be the best way to utilize his skill-set, until he gets his concentration lapses/ball control issues in order.
Robinson will need to work on is pass pro with McKissic having the edge in that department, but the future's bright for potentially the second coming of Stephen Davis, per Rick Doc Walker's reference.
**Also CLICK BELOW & SUBSCRIBE to B&G Report Happy Hour**