Jay Gruden says Derrius Guice still isn’t ready for full contact, but ‘looks good out there now’

Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice tore his ACL just over a year ago and appeared on the verge of returning to the field. Head coach Jay Gruden pumped the brakes on Guice entering the Redskins’ running back rotation, noting he has to get cleared first. 

“The first thing, and foremost, is when the trainers say he can go full contact, he’ll go,” Gruden said to reporters after Redskins practice. “If I get that okay, then we’ll make that decision. But he looks good out there now. You see him running around cutting and running fast, catching the ball and pass protecting. He looks good right now, but until I get the thumbs up, he’ll be next to me.” 

The Redskins would like to add Guice in the running back rotation with Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson, spelling the 34-year old Peterson and limiting his carries. Peterson had 251 carries for 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018 at the age of 33, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. Thompson, the Redskins’ top pass-catching back, has battled a broken leg and rib injuries over the past few years. He’s been limited to just 20 of the 32 games played. 

In three seasons at LSU, Guice rushed for 3,074 yards (with a 5.3 yards per carry average) and 11 touchdowns. He also caught 32 passes for 250 yards with three scores. Guice led the SEC in rushing in 2017 (his final season at LSU) with 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns, despite starting just six of 12 games. He set a school record with 285 rush yards against Texas A&M and finished fifth in the country with a 7.6 yards per carry average. 

Guice broke 36 tackles on the ground out of 216 carries in 2017, but his yards per carry after contact dropped to 3.2 in 2017 from 4.4, mainly as a result of injuries.

The Redskins would like to have Guice in their backfield, but are willing to be patient with the 2018 second-round pick. Guice is still in line to be the featured back down the line in the Redskins’ offense. 

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