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.