Brian Robinson is in line to make his NFL debut tomorrow. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports (on Twitter) that the Commanders have activated the rookie running back from the non-football injury list. Robinson returned to practice earlier this week.
The third-round rookie suffered multiple gunshot wounds in an attempted carjacking at the end of August. The gunshots hit his hip and knee, though there was no serious damage to his ligaments, tendons, or bones, leading to optimism that Robinson would be back this season. The RB quickly provided some optimism when he was seen doing footwork and agility drills in the middle of September. His stay on PUP ended up being a short one, and after opening his practice window earlier this week, Washington will now welcome the rook to the 53-man roster.
Robinson was impressive through the spring and in training camp, leading some to wonder if he could be in line for first-team reps. The rookie saw a significant workload early on in the preseason, and he joined many of the team’s bona fide starters on the sideline for the team’s preseason finale.
It will be interesting to see how much work Robinson gets in a crowded backfield that also features Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic. After topping 1,000 yards from scrimmage in each of his first two seasons, Gibson has earned the start in each of Washington’s first four games this year. After hitting 130 yards from scrimmage in Week 1, Gibson has been limited to only 144 offensive yards over the past three weeks. He snap count has also continued to drop, leading some to wonder if he could be eyeing a reduced role with Robinson back in the lineup. McKissic, meanwhile, continues to serve in his standard pass-catching role, hauling in 17 catches through the first four weeks.
“You’ve got a good group of backs that rotate through and you try to find the matchups that you can exploit,” Commanders coach Ron Rivera said recently (via ESPN’s John Keim).
Robinson had a successful career at Alabama, including a breakout 2021 campaign where he finished with 1,343 rushing yards and 296 receiving yards. Thanks to his performance, he ended up being the sixth RB off the draft board when he was selected by Washington in the third round (No. 98) of this year’s draft.