Brian Robinson

Commanders Expected To Activate RB Brian Robinson

The Commanders are expected to activate running back Brian Robinson from the reserve/NFI list this week, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports. While Robinson has been trending in the right direction, this news is nonetheless a welcome development given that he suffered multiple gunshot wounds in an attempted carjacking at the end of August.

Robinson, a third-round rookie, was impressive in spring work and in training camp, leading to reports that he could be in line for the RB1 role, ahead of 2020-21 starter Antonio Gibson. Robinson took on a larger offensive workload in the early stages of the preseason, whereas Gibson was used as a kick returner for the first time in his pro career. Then, in the preseason finale, Robinson sat out, another sign that he was poised to work with the starting offense.

Shortly after the shooting, it was reported that Robinson was eyeing a return to the field this season, and in the middle of September, we learned that the Alabama product was already doing footwork and agility drills, which suggested that he was getting closer to game action. Rapoport cautions that Robinson is not necessarily assured of playing in Washington’s Week 5 matchup against the Titans; his activation would simply open a three-week window for him to practice before he either has to play or else be shut down for the remainder of the year.

John Keim of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter) that Robinson will have his right leg reexamined today (the gunshots hit his hip and knee, though there was no serious damage to his ligaments, tendons, or bones). Assuming the examination goes well, he would be activated Monday and practice on Wednesday. In his absence, Gibson and J.D. McKissic have split reps in the offensive backfield, with Gibson taking most of the handoffs and McKissic being used in more of a receiver role. Gibson has rushed 40 times for 124 yards, good for a meager 3.1 YPC average. Washington is ranked in the bottom-eight in the league in terms of rushing offense, so the club is doubtlessly eager to get Robinson going.

In other injury news, defensive end Chase Young, who is recovering from an ACL tear, is continuing to target a midseason return. That is consistent with what we heard in August. Center Tyler Larsen, meanwhile, will come off the PUP list this coming week and will be evaluated in practice (Twitter link via Keim). Larsen, who started three games for the Commanders last year, is dealing with an Achilles injury.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Miller, Kearse, Commanders, Eagles, Seumalo, Giants

Being Von Miller‘s hometown team, the Cowboys had a recruiting advantage this offseason. Miller expressed interest in returning to the Broncos, but when that did not happen, he opened the door to a hometown discount with the Cowboys. Dallas’ offer was believed to be the same one it proposed now-Denver-stationed Randy Gregory — five years, $70MM. Miller moved on, choosing the Bills’ three guaranteed years ahead of Rams proposal that would have paid him more in the short term. After Gregory spurned the Cowboys, they opted for a thriftier trip through the pass-rushing market.

Von Miller is a great football player,” Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan, via Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams. “I mean, you see them play at that level and especially this early there is a lot of school of thought on older guys like that that when you really get those guys are for more so for the playoffs than it is for the first part, middle of the season. Now, granted, I’m sure there was a little bit of motivation for Von playing for the Rams and winning a Super Bowl to go out there and showcase what he’s all about.

There is a lot of players that if there was unlimited cap space that you could do things, but that wasn’t a short-term, one-year deal. It was a long-term deal, and we had to not only look at what we’re doing this year but look at what is going to be coming at us here in a year or two. Just made a conscientious decision there that we wanted to go with the direction that we went.”

The Cowboys turned to a committee approach to replace Gregory, re-signing Dorance Armstrong, adding Dante Fowler as a UFA and drafting Sam Williams in Round 2. Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Brian Robinson continues to make progress after suffering two gunshot wounds on August 28. The rookie Commanders running back attended practice for the first time since being shot in the hip and knee. The third-round pick had a wrap around his right knee but did footwork and agility drills on a side field, per the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala. Robinson is eligible to come off Washington’s reserve/NFI list in Week 5.
  • The Eagles created some cap space this week. They restructured Isaac Seumalo‘s contract, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). A $4.62MM chunk of Seumalo’s base salary is now a signing bonus, opening up $3.69MM in cap room. The Eagles now hold nearly $11MM in space, a total that sits sixth in the league. This is Seumalo’s contract year, though four void years are on the deal as well now. The team not doing another deal with the starting guard by the start of the 2023 league year would create a $7.53MM dead-money charge.
  • Second-year Giants cornerback Aaron Robinson will be out for Week 2 due to an appendix removal, Brian Daboll said (via the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz). This likely will be a multigame absence for the first-year starter, Schwartz adds. Robinson, a 2021 third-round pick, played every Giants defensive snap opposite Adoree’ Jackson in Week 1. This depletes an already-thin position group for the Giants, who cut James Bradberry months ago. The team did draft slot option Cor’Dale Flott in Round 3, claimed ex-Steelers third-rounder Justin Layne via waivers and added ex-Washington and Atlanta starter Fabian Moreau to its practice squad. Of the three, Moreau is by far the most experienced option.
  • The Cowboys will be without one of their starting safeties for a while. Jayron Kearse sustained an MCL sprain in Week 1, per Jerry Jones (via ESPN.com’s Todd Archer, on Twitter). Kearse, who impressed as a Cowboys starter last year, re-signed with the team for two years and $10MM this offseason. He is expected to be out between two and four weeks. The Cowboys had a rough Week 1 on the injury front, losing Dak Prescott and Connor McGovern as well. Malik Hooker figures to step into the starting lineup alongside Donovan Wilson.

Commanders Injury Updates: Robinson, Thomas, Curl

After surviving an attempted robbery that resulted in multiple gunshot wounds, rookie third-round running back Brian Robinson is looking more and more likely to make a return to the field this season for the Commanders. On the Don Geronimo Show, head coach Ron Rivera divulged that the swelling in Robinson’s knee has gone down “an awful lot” and that Robinson is off crutches less than two weeks after suffering his non-life-threatening injuries, according to Nicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post.

The Commanders were forced to place Robinson on the reserve/non-football injury list as a result of the shooting, meaning that, at the very least, Robinson will miss four games to begin his rookie season. Many expected the result to be much, much worse, but it’s looking more and more like a Week 5 return is possible, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

Here’s a few more updates out of DC, starting with some more good news on the offensive side of the ball:

  • Washington’s starting tight end, Logan Thomas, will be available for the season opener tomorrow versus the Jaguars after tearing his ACL and MCL only nine months ago, according to ESPN’s John Keim. Thomas opened training camp on the active/physically unable to perform list, being activated off the list about three weeks ago, but has been practicing with a brace on his leg since coming back. The former Virginia Tech quarterback will want to try and recapture the magic of his breakout season two years ago, when he caught 72 balls for 670 yards and six touchdowns. The addition of Thomas should give new quarterback Carson Wentz a full array of targets along with Terry McLaurin, rookie first-round pick Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel.
  • After suffering a thumb injury a little over a week ago, it was confirmed that starting safety Kamren Curl indeed underwent surgery to repair his thumb, according to Jhabvala and Sam Fortier of The Washington Post. Curl feels that he could potentially play “if it came to that,” but he will forgo the club-like cast and play it safe as he works towards a quick recovery. Curl is expected to miss the the season opener, according to a tweet from Keim, but his absence is expected to end there. According to Jhabvala’s Twitter account, Rivera is “pretty optimistic” that Curl will only miss one game, making sure to clarify that he is not the team’s doctor, for what it’s worth.

Commanders Place RB Brian Robinson On Reserve/NFI List

The Commanders’ 53-man roster included Brian Robinson on Tuesday, but the rookie running back is now off the squad. The team moved the third-round pick to its reserve/NFI list Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Robinson had put together a strong preseason, but he suffered two gunshot wounds in a robbery attempt Sunday. The injuries were non-life-threatening, and Robinson has already undergone surgery. Ron Rivera opened the door to the Alabama product playing this season, and this roster move will give Robinson time to recover as he attempts to do so.

This roster designation will keep Robinson out until at least Week 5. While it would be surprising if a player who was shot twice in late August was ready to return to football in early October, Rapoport adds the scenario is not completely off the table. That said, no timeline is in place for Robinson just yet.

Washington drafted Robinson 98th overall, and despite rostering Antonio Gibson, the team was coming around to the prospect of the rookie as its starter. Sunday’s scary scene changes those plans. The Commanders have Gibson, veteran J.D. McKissic and journeyman Jonathan Williams on their 53-man roster at running back.

Commanders Move Down To 53, Keep RB Brian Robinson On Active Roster

Teams have until 3pm CT to trim their rosters to the regular-season 53-man limit. The Commanders have done so but did it without moving Brian Robinson off the roster.

Shot twice in the lower body Sunday, Robinson underwent surgery. Ron Rivera also expressed optimism the third-round rookie could play this season. Washington is following through on these hopes, keeping the rookie running back on its active roster. Here are the moves the Commanders made to reach the 53-man max Tuesday:

Released:

Waived:

Placed on IR:

By keeping Robinson on their active roster, the Commanders opened the door to him not only playing in 2022. The team needed to carry the Alabama product through to its 53-man roster today in order to place him on short-term IR. An IR placement today would have ended Robinson’s season.

One of the gunshot wounds Robinson sustained hit his knee, but the bullet did not seriously damage ligaments, tendons or bone, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports (video link). It is not a lock Robinson returns this season, per Garafolo, but the team is keeping its options open.

Robinson playing as a rookie would be obviously be a remarkable development. Prior to being shot, the Day 2 draftee had made a serious charge at the Commanders’ starting running back role. The team’s primary starter over the past two seasons, Antonio Gibson, remains on the roster, as do J.D. McKissic and Jonathan Williams. Robinson being moved to IR later this week will sideline him for at least four games — likely much longer, in this case — but allow him to return later this season, should he be cleared to do so.

The Chiefs, per ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter), also submitted a claim for Blanton recently, when the Rams waived him. It will be interesting to see if the young tight end generates any interest this week. Martin has generated consistent interest on the wire. The Commanders, who drafted the guard during the Bruce Allen regime, have made two waiver attempts to land him. The second one, earlier this month after the Jaguars cut Martin, was successful. It would not surprise if Martin is brought back via the practice squad — as several of Tuesday’s cuts will be — but he could also bring more interest on the wire.

Commanders RB Brian Robinson Shot In Attempted Robbery

AUGUST 29: Echoing Rivera’s comments from last night, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Robinson hasn’t been ruled out of returning to game action at some point this season (Twitter link).

9:09pm: The Commanders confirmed Robinson’s injuries are not life-threatening, and after visiting with the rookie running back in the hospital, Ron Rivera described him as “in good spirits.” Rivera added (on Twitter) that Robinson is eyeing a return to “doing what he does best” soon.

AUGUST 28, 6:48pm: Commanders rookie running back Brian Robinson was the victim of an attempted robbery, and suffered gunshot wounds, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link). He adds, fortunately, that Robinson is currently in stable condition. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that Robinson was shot “multiple times” during an attempted carjacking. His injuries are considered non-life-threatening. 

The 23-year-old was taken in the third round of this year’s draft. His impressive performances in the spring and summer led to reports that he could be in line for the No. 1 spot, ahead of Antonio Gibson. Robinson took on a larger offensive workload earlier in the preseason, whereas Gibson was used as a kick returner for the first time in his career.

Robinson also sat last night’s preseason finale, another sign that he was poised to work with the starting offense. The Alabama product put up middling numbers until his final year with the Crimson Tide; in 2021, he ran for 1,343 yards and 14 touchdowns, adding another 296 yards and two majors in the passing game. That production, along with his work in training camp, had made him one of the most talked-about Commanders players heading into the season.

In the (likely) event Robinson misses significant time, Washington will have the choice of giving Gibson a similar workload to the one he had last season (258 carries, 52 targets). Another young option in the backfield would be 2021 UFFA Jaret Patterson, who had a hugely productive college career and recorded 339 scrimmage yards as a rookie. Much will depend, no doubt, on Robinson’s recovery.

Commanders RB Brian Robinson In Line For Starting Role?

Commanders running backs Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson are engaged in a battle for the team’s starting RB job, and Robinson may have a leg up. As Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk writes, Robinson has outplayed Gibson during training camp, and the former earned the starting nod in the team’s preseason loss to the Chiefs on Saturday.

Robinson, a third-round rookie, carried the ball eight times for 31 yards, while Gibson handled just two carries for three yards (though he did have three receptions for 37 yards). What is particularly interesting is that Gibson, despite not handling any kick returns during his first two years in the league, took the opening kickoff in the Kansas City contest.

That usage represents the continuation of a developing trend. Gibson fumbled the ball on his second carry in Washington’s preseason opener against the Panthers last Saturday, and he was relegated to special teams duty when the Commanders hit the practice field on Tuesday, operating as a blocker on the punt team and working with the third-team offense. He began working as a kick and punt returner on Wednesday.

Head coach Ron Rivera has criticized Gibson for excessive stutter-stepping (Twitter link via John Keim of ESPN.com), and while he tried to downplay the significance of Gibson’s special teams deployment and pointed out that his third-year back ran better after the fumble, it presently appears as if Robinson is in line to earn more carries than his veteran counterpart. Indeed, a starting running back probably would not be returning kicks, and after Gibson fumbled six times in 2021, Rivera is understandably willing to give more of a role to a player he thinks will take better care of the football.

Of course, Gibson should remain a key member of the Commanders’ offense. Over 30 games (24 starts) from 2020-21, the Memphis product has accumulated 428 rushes for 1,832 yards (4.3 YPC) and 18 touchdowns. He has added 78 catches for 541 yards and three scores, which is perhaps why Smith speculates Gibson could serve as Washington’s third down/receiving back.

On the other hand, Robinson added more of a receiving element to his game in his final season at Alabama in 2021, catching 35 balls for 296 yards and two TDs to go along with his 271/1,343/14 line as a ball-carrier. In the Carolina game, he had six carries for 26 yards and a score and two catches for 15 yards. He looks the part of a starting-caliber back, and he may well get the chance to prove as much when Week 1 rolls around.

Draft Rumors: Ojabo, Jaguars, Jets, Giants

Michigan still might see two of its edge rushers become first-round picks this month. Despite David Ojabo‘s Achilles tear last month, the ex-Wolverine’s talent could well keep him on track to hear his name called on the draft’s first night. Ojabo remains firmly on the Round 1 radar, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. Ojabo is expected to make a full recovery, and a team that uses a first-round pick on him would be positioned to have him contracted for five seasons — via the fifth-year option. Operating opposite Aidan Hutchinson, Ojabo recorded 11 sacks in a breakout 2021. There is recent precedent for pre-draft injuries not keeping talented pass rushers out of the first round (Jeffery Simmons) and for Achilles rehabs going well enough players become factors months after the tears (Terrell Suggs, Michael Crabtree, Cam Akers).

Here is the latest from the draft world:

  • Hutchinson and NC State tackle Ikem Ekwonu met with the Jaguars this week, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes both will head to New York for Giants and Jets visits (Twitter link). Both players are candidates to go first overall, with Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker joining them. The Jets and Giants hold four of the next nine picks — the Jets having Nos. 4 and 10 and the Giants at 5 and 7 — and will be set to add top talent. The Giants have a few needs, but it will be hard to see them exiting Round 1 without a right tackle prospect. They have done extensive homework on Mississippi State’s Charles Cross and would likely pounce if Ekwonu, who is rated ahead of Cross almost universally, fell to 5.
  • After a strong Combine showing, Walker is being projected as a top-five pick. He will visit with each of the teams holding those selections, with Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com noting the Jags, Lions, Texans, Jets and Giants are meeting with the pass rusher. Despite weighing 272 pounds and frequently playing inside with the national championship-winning team, Walker clocked a 4.51-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. Viewed as a D-lineman with fewer red flags than Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux, it is unlikely Walker will wait long to hear his name called.
  • Teams will do their due diligence on Thibodeaux, who is set to meet with the non-Jaguars contingent of the top five (Lions, Texans, Jets, Giants). The Eagles (Nos. 15 and 18) and Falcons (No. 9) are also planning “30” visits with Thibodeaux, Wilson notes. Questions about Thibodeaux’s motor and attitude have injected uncertainty into the defensive end’s status. A fall to Philly at 15 might not shock at this point.
  • One season remains on Saquon Barkley‘s contract, and the Giants‘ new regime has fielded trade calls on the previous staff’s top investment. The team is now using a few of its allotted 30 visits on backs. Breece Hall (Iowa State), Brian Robinson (Alabama) and James Cook (Georgia) visited the Giants on Tuesday, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. Hall could be available when the Giants’ second-round pick (No. 36) comes. However, the ex-Cyclones standout grades as a first-round talent on Daniel Jeremiah’s NFL.com big board. Cook and Robinson are viewed as later-round prospects.
  • The Commanders are also taking a look at a top back, being set to meet with Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker on Friday, Rapoport adds (on Twitter). Scouts Inc. grades Walker just ahead of Hall as this class’ top back, but views him as a second-round talent. The Wake Forest transfer blew up for 1,636 rushing yards in his only Michigan State slate. Washington also met with Hall this week, John Keim of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Andrew Booth may miss his NFL team’s offseason workouts due to hernia surgery, but that should not deter teams from considering the Clemson cornerback in Round 1. Booth has met with the Bills (No. 25) and Eagles, with Rapoport adding Patriots (No. 21) and Saints (Nos. 16 and 19) meetings are also on Booth’s docket.