Bryce Love pushing for opportunity in Derrius Guice’s absence

With Derrius Guice gone, Bryce Love is already making a push for an opportunity in Washington’s backfield.

Derrius Guice was in line to be Washington’s lead back if he could stay healthy this year, but domestic violence charges led to him being cut this month. With an opportunity to earn a bigger role, and healthy himself now, JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington believes Bryce Love’s role as the  No.2 running back “seems quite real.”

This is not the first indication Love is turning some heads early in training camp. The 35-year old Adrian Peterson is the No.1 back on the depth chart. Behind him, along with Love, is rookie Antonio Gibson and two retread veterans (Peyton Barber, J.D. McKissic). So there is a theoretical opportunity for someone to emerge.

Can Bryce Love make a real push for playing time?

A big key for Love is health. He missed his entire 2019 rookie season as he worked his way back from a torn ACL, which required a second surgery last fall after he suffered the injury in his final regular season game at Stanford. He was banged up throughout his senior season for the Cardinal, with just 739 yards (4.5 yards) and six touchdowns in 10 games.

But as a junior in 2017, Love ran for 2,118 yards (8.1 yards per carry) and 19 touchdowns on his way to being the Heisman Trophy runner-up. The case for him to forego his senior season and enter the 2018 NFL Draft was strong, as he was a possible first-round pick, but finishing his degree was important to him and he returned to school. Washington took him in the fourth round (112th overall) in 2019.

Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner recently said Love “hasn’t missed a beat” and is “another guy we’re going to throw in the mix.” Exactly how that running back mix will look is sure to be fluid into the season. But Love is taking the opportunity to state his case for a prominent role.

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