Washington’s NFL team released running back Derrius Guice after he was arrested amidst domestic violence allegations. Head coach Ron Rivera said it was a tough decision considering Guice’s role in the organization. The plan was to make Guice the team’s starter and franchise running back. He has a seductive blend of power and speed that offenses crave, and would have fit well into Washington’s plans.
That plan never materialized. Guice suffered a torn left ACL during the preseason of his rookie year in 2018. The injury forced Guice to miss the entire season. In 2019, Guice suffered a sprained left MCL during a game against the Green Bay Packers. Injuries have limited Guice to only five games in two years. That sample size is too small for Guice to establish any sort of presence in Washington’s backfield.
It’s unclear if Guice’s injury history or these current allegations led to his release. None of that matters as Washington moves forward with their current crop of running backs. Veteran Adrian Peterson will be the team’s unquestioned starter. Peterson is a future Hall of Famer who’s rejuvenated his career in Washington. At 35 years of age, Peterson can’t be expected to fit into Washington’s long term plans at running back.
Supporting Peterson in the backfield will be veterans J.D. McKissic and Peyton Barber. Both are expected to provide depth at the position after signing as free agents during the offseason. Bryce Love and 2020 draft pick Antonio Gibson will also figure prominently at running back as well. Love has breakaway speed that can translate into big play potential. Gibson can also play wide receiver, providing versatility that can keep opposing defenses on their toes.
Guice’s release won’t hurt Washington as 2020 is a rebuilding year under a new regime. Washington fans hope McKissic, Barber, Love, and Gibson will be able to take advantage of the opportunities presented behind Peterson. If they can, the team’s offense will be that much improved.