Matt Waldman’s RSP contributor, J. Moyer examines Derrius Guice’s recent emergence in the Washington backfield in this week’s RSP Running Room.
Derrius Guice has had it rough during his short NFL career. After flashing his bruising, physical style and receiving chops during his rookie training camp, Guice tore his ACL in the 2018 preseason. An infection, strained hamstring, and torn meniscus over the subsequent calendar year pushed Guice into injury-bust purgatory. But in the last quarter of a lost Washington season, Guice has finally regained his health enough to get some things off his chest.
What a show it was in week 13.
With Washington holding a 15-14 lead over the Panthers entering the fourth quarter, Guice dazzled with one of the most spectacular four-run displays you will see. In completely taking over the game, he displayed a vast toolbox for solving even the most difficult situations.
Let’s take a deep dive into how he won and why it was so impressive.
Starting at his own 33 with 12:51 to play, Guice gets things started on Wide Zone Weak. Rapid post-snap processing earns him an opportunity to defeat early play-side penetration. He capitalizes with a decisive upfield cut, showing off startling footwork efficiency and agility. The quick read and ability to react effectively produce a play made by only a handful of NFL backs.
Guice’s next tote comes on Duo, a down-blocking power run play that asks the back to process multiple inside gaps while reading the middle linebacker. Presented with an unblocked second-level defender, Guice calls on balanced footwork and advanced conceptual understanding to manipulate leverage and create his own hole. Adept micromovement while getting skinny through a tight crease and extremely powerful and persistent leg drive then turn a four-yard carry into eight.
Next, Guice is at it again with Duo. Presented with no obvious hole, Guice interprets his blockers’ leverage, anticipates an attackable lane, and flashes adept micromovement to slip through an arm tackle on his way to another chunk play.
Having flashed refinement with advanced scheme awareness, rapid processing, disciplined footwork, and effective micromovement, Guice finishes his day with brute physicality that has always been a hallmark of his game. Bursting through a tight crease, Guice tosses aside Carolina linebacker Shaq Thompson like a 180-pound defensive back with a rock-solid stiff arm, while taking the ball 37 yards.
If Guice can complement the physical talent he is known for with consistent application of the cognitive-performance skills shown across this fourth-quarter display, he will be a top-five back in the NFL. Here’s hoping health is finally on his side.
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