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Derrius Guice still learning how to hold back in practice

July 31, 2018

RICHMOND Derrius Guice has been soaking up his first NFL training camp. The Redskins rookie running back routinely spends 30-45 minutes after practice, signing autographs. He gets along well with teammates and has even received advice from former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann.

Guice said that so far, the NFL is everything he thought it would be.

“Football is a fun game,” Guice said. “I’m finally at the highest level, man.”

But while Guice is having fun, there is at least one area the 21-year-old finds himself having to work on knowing when, and specifically when not, to go at full speed.

Under coach Jay Gruden, the Redskins try to avoid heavy contact in practice, even with pads on. For a guy with the reputation of being a “violent runner,” Guice has had to adjust.

“It’s pretty hard, bro,” Guice said. “Especially with us having pads on and Jay not wanting anyone to get hurt. It’s kind of hard when you want to go full speed through the hole, but you don’t want to step on anybody, hurt anybody, run into the back of anybody. ... When you have pads on, you like it’s all good now. But it’s still kind of slow-paced.”

In camp, the Redskins have rotated their running backs for every drill. Guice has taken snaps with the first team, but so have reserves like Byron Marshall and Kapri Bibbs. This year’s running back room is crowded and talented but the LSU product said he isn’t worried about the competition for playing time.

Guice, who fell on draft night amid reports about teams being concerned over his character, said he has talked to other active and former players around the league to get advice.

Guice recalled a conversation with Theismann in which he asked the quarterback about his most challenging experience in the NFL. Theismann, according to Guice, told the running back of an instance when he was great in a two-minute drive only for the Redskins to still lose the game.

The lesson? One player can only do so much. “Just do your part and everything will be fine,” Guice said.

Guice, though, said he feels comfortable with his adjustment to the league. In fact, he said, he’s actually picking things up at a faster rate than he anticipated.

“I’m really not going through the motions,” Guice said. “The speed of the game changes, but if you know what’s going on, it actually slows itself down. It’s actually just fast when you don’t know what’s going on.

“But since I’m out there and know what’s going on, it’s actually still slow.”

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