This series asks a few more detailed questions about the newest Redskins. This year I had the pleasure of asking the writers at And The Valley Shook about Redskins 2nd round pick Derrius Guice. Crissy Froyd gave us some great information regarding new Redskin RB Derrius Guice.
Cadillactica: Derrius Guice is going to be the first true franchise running back the Redskins have had in almost a decade. The Redskins ranked 28th in total rushing last year which no doubt prompted his selection. Just what kind of bell cow is the team getting in Guice and how much do you think the Redskins run game could improve with the ball in his hands?
Crissy Froyd: The Redskins are clearly looking to liven up their offense, and they made a very good selection in Guice. I see him making an impact quickly, and becoming one of the best the team has had at the position in more than ten years. Guice absolutely has the ability to revolutionize the run game for the Redskins.
Cadillactica: I thought Guice was the second best RB in the draft behind Barkley - having called him ‘elite’ in another offseason article I was somewhat surprised when he slid down draft boards and into the second round. When rumors started to swirl about his personality and a TMZ story was floated I got very uneasy (the team has had more than its share of in-house drama over the years). The team selected him with their 2nd round pick. Having covered the team yourself is there any validity to the personality, maturity, and other character concerns? What kind of guy are the Redskins getting? Do you know how he is perceived by teammates?
Crissy Froyd: All of these claims made about Guice are completely bogus. There’s not a shred of evidence to substantiate them - I’ve looked. In Derrius Guice, the Washington Redskins are getting an incredibly talented athlete with a lot of personality, and a lot of heart. In the few times I’ve conversed with him, I’ve always found him to be an upbeat, genuine and supportive person. I believe his teammates perceive him the same way. Bottom line, he’s well-liked by those close to LSU.
Cadillactica: One critique of Guice’s game is the question about his ability to stay on the field for 3rd downs at the next level. I think it’s fair to say he needs some work in pass protection but the other factor is his ability as a receiver. Was his lack of production in that area due to offensive scheme and weaknesses in the passing game or were there other factors at play that prevent Guice from hauling in more catches?
Crissy Froyd: LSU’s offense has essentially been ‘under construction’ for years now. Naturally, being in a scheme like that put some limitations on its players, including Guice. Obviously, he’s a rookie this season, so he’s going to have to make the same adjustment every other player crossing into the NFL does. But I think he makes a smooth transition into the next level.
Cadillactica: As an outsider to LSU football when studying Guice this offseason it appeared that LSU incorporates both power and zone blocking into their offense. The Redskins are a power rushing team. With some of Guice’s biggest plays coming on jet sweeps and zone stretches do you think he will experience and difficulty adjusting to a more rigid scheme? With fewer opportunities to use his lateral abilities on designed zone runs do you think he has the durability to bang through the interior of the line 20+ times a game?
Crissy Froyd: Guice is a strong runner and a very powerful athlete overall. Given the differences in the Redskins and the LSU schemes, Guice is going to have to put in some overtime to make the jump to a new offense. But I don’t think durability is a concern at this point, especially given he practically had to run through a brick wall at LSU.
Cadillactica: Guice won’t be alone in the backfield. He has the company of the best 3rd down back in the NFL (in my opinion) in Chris Thompson and he has a thumper in Samaje Perine as well who showed promise last season. LSU spelled Guice with Daryl Williams but do you think he will benefit from playing with two backs arguably on both sides of the RB spectrum? How do you think his strengths could be highlighted in this stable?
Crissy Froyd: Between these three, I think Guice and Perine will be neck-and-neck in getting the highest number of carries. Guice will be used a lot on the goal line and on first and second down. Thompson will take on a lighter load, seeing most of his action on passing downs.
Cadillactica: Matt Canada who was LSU’s offensive coordinator in 2017 described his offense as ‘simple’ in this article. Do you think Guice will have any trouble adjusting to new terminology and concepts in the NFL?
Crissy Froyd: Not at all. LSU’s offensive strategy is an everchanging one, and I think he adjusts to the NFL fine.
Cadillactica: Would you mind giving us your best guess for his production in his rookie year? Rushing yards TDs etc?
Crissy Froyd: Let’s go with 1,000 yards rushing, 7 touchdowns.
Cadillactica: If you had to pick a single word or short phrase to describe Guice what would it be?
Crissy Froyd: Freak. Strength and Conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt used this word as well, and I can’t think of a better one to describe his athleticism.
Thanks to Crissy again for this Q&A. There have been very few doubters on this blog regarding Guice's ability. If you all remember I did a prompt about-face at the prospect of the team selecting him on day 2 of the draft when these rumors about his character came up. Crissy, who covers multiple sports at LSU for SB Nation and USA Today finally put my concerns to rest over what amounted to essentially a non-story. I’m also very excited about the possibility of a well-managed timeshare of Guice, Perine, and Thompson.
No doubt Guice can be a bell cow if the team needs him to be but that does not mean the team needs to run into the ground and ignore other talents at running back. Provided they get the opportunities the Redskins running back group should produce in a big way with speed, power, receiving ability, agility, and toughness among other things and help carry the team to a more balanced offense and hopefully a better result.