NFC Notes: Commanders, Saquon Barkley, Giants, Panthers


Commanders HC Ron Rivera said that they are holding a competition between RBs Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, and third-round Brian Robinson for the starting role. 

“That’s what we’re doing,” said Rivera, via Ben Standig of The Athletic. “There’s always been a competition for the positions on this team.”

Commanders OC Scott Turner said their staff is stressing that it’s important to protect the football and limit turnovers to their running backs, including Gibson after fumbling six times last season. 

“One of the first things we talk about when we get together as an offense when training camp started is protect the football,” Turner said. “We can’t waste possessions. If you fumble the ball, that’s a waste of possession. That’s a ball carrier’s first job. To protect the ball. We can’t have that. (Antonio) knows that. I’m not saying anything to you guys that hasn’t already been said to Antonio.”

Turner has been impressed by Robinson so far in training camp. 

“I was happy and impressed with him. The way that he ran some things,” Turner said. “He wasn’t perfect on his tracks, but he runs so hard, he was still able to gain positive yardage. That’s great to see from a back.”


Giants RB Saquon Barkley thinks that some criticism about his tendency to play laterally is unfair.

“I’ve been playing this position for a very long time, and by no means am I the perfect running back, and I still got so much work to do,” Barkley said, via ProFootballTalk. “But I know that’s been the conversation or been a thought or been a thing out there that’s said about me it, ‘He don’t know what he’s doing. He’s just dancing back there.’ I’m really kind of fed up with people who never played a position and try to speak on how I run a position. We call them All-Pros with clickers in their hand. Running back is a tough position, but it’s easy to be there and watch football and watch on tv, or even watch on watch film and stop the clicker and say, ‘Oh, he should’ve made that cut.’ There’s a lot of things that go into making that cut. There’s a lot of things like your shoulders being square. There’s a lot of things that have an impact on your vision.”


Panthers DE Brian Burns has been asking Patriots LB Matt Judon questions, trying to learn valuable information from the veteran amid the fighting at the team’s joint practices.

“Pretty much just picking his brain about rushing and how he approaches it,” Burns said, via “He’s had a lot of success in this league, has been doing it for a long time, so just picking his brain. Judon’s good at a lot of things. He has an elite bend. His moves are crisp. He’s very physical. And his approach to rush is a lot different than I thought.”

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