How many running backs will the Washington Commanders keep on their 53-man roster next week?
Rookie sixth-round pick Chris Rodriguez Jr. is likely safe as the third running back. Outside of his fumble against Baltimore, Rodriguez has been outstanding, averaging six rushing yards per attempt in the preseason.
Then there is Jonathan Williams and Jaret Patterson. Williams is in his third stint with Washington. The veteran delivers every time the coaches call his number. Patterson enters his third season with the Commanders after entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2021. Patterson had a terrific touchdown reception in Monday’s game.
Will Washington keep four backs? If so, who is the fourth back?
If the Commanders do keep a fourth back, pass protection could be the key to making the roster. And if we learned anything from Monday night’s preseason win over the Ravens, the Commanders were in midseason form protecting the quarterback.
Here’s a compilation of some of that work from Monday’s game, courtesy of Nicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post.
Eric Bieniemy on the RBs' blocking/blitz-pickups: "I thought they put on a clinic this past weekend. … You talk about being accountable, those guys are doing everything under the sun in the pass game to make it successful for our offense where we can make the downfield throws." pic.twitter.com/pKymmZ3jV7
— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 24, 2023
Here’s a closer look at Williams leveling a Baltimore defender.
That type of work in pass protection is a mindset. And offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy — a former NFL running back — couldn’t be more pleased.