The Washington Football team has had a tumultuous offseason to say the least. Starting with allegations that their cheerleading team was put in unquestionably uncomfortable positions, yet another push for the franchise to change their name from the Redskins, a clearly racist slur from a translation of a letter sent by Chief Mosquito to a British Lieutenant Colonel, and then the release of their “star” running back Darrius Guice following an arrest stemming from charges of strangulation, assault, battery, and destruction of property that stemmed from three separate domestic violence incidents that had taken place at his home earlier that year. Each of these have been widely reported on by multiple news outlets. These, compounded with losing records and a culture considered toxic to say the least, encourage very little in the way of free agents choosing Washington as their signing destination and have left the Washington football team with little in terms of hope outside of their current roster consisting of a young promising quarterback in Dwayne Haskins, rising star Terry McLaurin and a backfield of hall of fame running back Adrian Peterson, newly drafted Antonio Gibson. The storm is in full force and yet as with any storm there is a silver lining.
The need for a culture change is rarely more evident than what the Washington Football Team faces in 2020. However they have made some strides. Signing Ron Rivera, a two time NFL Coach of the Year who brings a degree of steady leadership and class few available coaches could have, was a great start. Rivera inherited a 2-14 Carolina team as a rookie head coach and by 2015 had led them to three consecutive NFC South Division titles, an NFC Championship and a Super Bowl appearance. A better coach to transform a culture may not exist outside of Bill Belichik, and he was clearly the best choice of those available. Dan Snyder, surprisingly, did something right. But a coach can’t play the games, he needs players who not only have talent but the kind of character that can raise those around him and truly transform a locker room. Enter 2019 fourth round selection Bryce Love.
Bryce Love had an outstanding junior breakout season at Stanford after the departure of Christian McCaffery compiling 2118 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns on an outstanding 8.1 yards per carry. He also had 13 plays of 50 yards or more, a current NCAA record that I would wager will stand for a long long time. The Talent is clearly there. If Bryce had simply entered the NFL draft as a junior he would have been an unquestioned day one or two pick. However Love returned for his senior season and suffered a torn ACL resulting in a drop to the 4th round of the NFL draft and a redshirt rookie season. This however was taken as an opportunity to showcase his most important asset, one that can not be coached: character.
Prior to the NFL draft Bryce sent out a letter to every team in the league stating that he was the best running back in the draft, that returning for his senior season made him a better person, leader, and player. The letter is littered with highlight film plays (something he has plenty of) and reasons for his decision to return to school, how his rehab is going, who he is today, and stating again that he is the best running back in the class and that he “can’t wait to get to work”. These are all things that point to the drive, determination, confidence, leadership and most importantly character that Bryce will bring to the Washington football team in 2020. Combine this with the game changing talent Love showed as a junior at Stanford and a team that can use all of these traits to help redefine a culture that is at rock bottom while winning some games and i believe Bryce Love is a definite candidate for comeback player of the year in 2020 and an excellent sleeper for your fantasy football team.