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The case for Brian Robinson Jr. to make his first Pro Bowl


Brian Robinson never felt like himself last season after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds a week before the 2022 season.

The Commanders already knew that Robinson could carry the load for them on the ground. Despite missing the first four games of the season, he led the team in rushing yards on 205 carries, and through performances like his 86 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 10, he proved that he can be a problem for defenses.

But Robinson insisted that his skill set is more robust, and he has shown that in his second season.

"BRob, he's playing some really good ball and he's done a good job throughout the year," said Commanders quarterback Sam Howell. "I just think he's gotten better every single week."

Howell is right, of course; it seems like Robinson makes bigger strides each week, and the Commanders have benefitted greatly from his improvements. With 990 scrimmage yards, he leads the Commanders' playmakers by a wide margin and has been the franchise's most productive scorer with eight touches. With his physical running style and pleasantly surprisingly quickness, he's quickly become one of Washington's most critical pieces.

That's why you should stop what you're doing right now and vote Robinson to his first Pro Bowl, HERE. Then, come back to read over all that he's accomplished this season and vote for him again.

"He's a hardworking professional," said offensive coordinator/assistant head coach Eric Bieniemy. "The thing that I love about him is that he has the right attitude and the right mindset. Those are the type of people that you want in an organization. Those are the type of people that you want to lean on in certain situations such as what he did this past week and just running the football."

The Commanders haven't run the ball as much as other teams this season -- with four games left, they're last in run percentage (33.45%) -- but Robinson has made the most of his opportunities on the ground. Despite that number being significantly lower than in 2022, when Washington leaned on the run game to put it in playoff contention, he's currently projected to surpass his rushing total of 797 yards. With four games remaining, he's at 664 yards on 160 carries -- tied for 12th most in the league.

Part of that increase in production has been his ability to hit more explosive plays, which Robinson highlighted as one of the areas he would like to improve upon. Robinson excelled at picking up short yardage that kept the chains moving in 2022, but he only had two runs go for over 20 yards.

True to his word, Robinson has gotten better at that in Year 2. He currently has five rushes of at least 20 yards, including a 29-yarder against the Miami Dolphins last week.

"It's so much fun to play with him just because you know how bad he wants to win. I think we've all seen when he's going it's hard to stop him," Howell said. "We got to continue to get him involved and continue to try to get him going in the running game. I think when we have all that stuff working, we're hard to stop."

Check out the top photos from Brian Robinson Jr.'s 2023 season so far. (Photos by Emilee Fails and Kourtney Carroll/Washington Commanders)

Perhaps Robinson's biggest area of growth has come as a pass-catcher, another area that he wanted to improve upon in training camp. There were moments in 2022 where he showed that part of his skill set, like his touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 12, but with just nine receptions for 60 yards, that was not nearly enough to get the full scope of what he could do.

"The biggest thing for me [is] I just don't want to be one dimensional and I don't want to be just a power back," Robinson said in training camp. "I want to be able to run routes, run down the field, catch the ball with soft hands and continue to grow my game."

Robinson has growth exponentially in that regard. He's surpassed his receiving totals from last season, catching 29 of his 36 targets for 326 yards, putting him seventh among all running backs. He's also gotten the explosive plays that he sought in the offseason with six receptions of at least 20 yards.

Two of his most impressive: 51- and 48-yard catches against the Seattle Seahawks. The former featured him going untouched for a score that put the Commanders up 6-0.

"I think he's done a really good job in that area and that's something that coming into this year and coming out of college, that's not something he was really known for. So, just to see how much time and effort and commitment he put into that area of his game and see that payoff this year has been really cool."

The Commanders' season has not gone the way they hoped it would this season, but Robinson has shown that he can be a piece to build with heading into the future. He might not get the same recognition as some of the other top backs in the league, but in many ways, Robinson's stats place him among them.

So, be sure to vote Robinson to his first Pro Bowl. He's more than deserving of the honor.

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